Once again it's time for the annual predictions.
AL East. Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Orioles, Blue Jays.
Red Sox are improved over last year, while the Yanks struck out, for a change, in the free agent market. An easy choice for first place. Idiosyncratic pick here for the O's over the Jays, as I'm banking on Showalter getting the O's in shape to play much better.
AL Central. Twins, Tigers, White Sox, Indians, Royals.
I decided last year that it was folly to pick against the Twins, as they always exceed expectations. One of my favorite cities, in one of my favorite ballparks, with one of my favorite managers. I was tempted to go with the improved Tigers, but in the end I decided to stick with my Twins. Sox and Indians also improved, but they rate only 3rd and 4th. Royals need to move to a more supportive part of the country--census data shows the trend continues towards the Southwest.
AL West. Rangers, Angels, A's, Mariners.
Usually I expect a team to drop back after a season like the Rangers had last year. But they got to the WS, which has to be considered. Angels are one of my favorite teams, but I'm going with only 2nd for them.
NL East. Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals.
Phillies are a lock with their 4 great starters. Even if one goes down, they should win the World Series, and I am picking them over the Red Sox in the WS. Marlins are still young and hungry, so they rate the nod over the Mets for 3rd place. Mets are old and breaking down and over-paid.
NL Central. Brewers, Reds, Cards, Cubs, Astros, Pirates.
Card are another one of those teams, like the Twins and Angels, that I hate to ever pick against, because they always seem to defy expectations. But with Wainwright going down, and the Brewers being so improved, I can't put the Cards higher than 3rd. The loveable Cubs will extend their 102-year losing streak. Pirates, like the Royals, need to relocate.
NL West. Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks.
Dodgers are another team I always like to go with, but I can't go against the defending champs here.
3/28/16 update. The Red Sox did indeed have a good year with 90 wins, but it was only good for 3rd place in the AL East. The Orioles finished last with only 69 wins. The Twins sunk to last in the AL Central, with only 63 wins. I was perfect in the AL West.
In the NL East, I had the Marlins and Nationals flip-flopped, other teams were correct. In the Central, the Cards and Reds were flip-flopped, and the Pirates finished ahead of the Cubs and Astros. In the West, the D-Backs surprised with a first-place finish, with the other teams in their predicted order.
The statistical analysis is that I was exactly right on 9 teams, 1 off on 12 teams, 2 off on 6 teams, and 4 off on 3 teams (Twins, Cubs and D-Backs).