Team-by-team preview of the 2016 MLB season

The 2016 Major League Baseball season is right around the corner. With spring training halfway done, it’s time to take a brief look at each team and whether or not they are a legitimate playoff contender. Every team’s 2015 record is placed in brackets beside their name.

Kansas City looks to defend World Series in 2016 / Nj.com

Kansas City looks to defend World Series in 2016 / Nj.com

American League East Division
Baltimore Orioles (81-81)
The Orioles managed to bring back slugger Chris Davis on a 7-year, $161 million dollar contract. Also adding Yovani Gallardo, Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez gives Baltimore another solid starter and two more sluggers to power their way to an improved 2016.

Boston Red Sox (78-84)
Two words. David Price. The dominant left-hander was just one of the many pieces that President Dave Dombrowski added to his team to possibly boost them from last place in the division. The Sox also added closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel and reliever Carson Smith. Adding those three pitchers to a lineup including David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and youngsters Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts should make them an automatic contender for first place in the AL East.

New York Yankees (87-75)
The Yankees surprised many by claiming a ticket to the 2015 American League wild-card playoff game. The Yankees need to ride their dominant 7-8-9 inning triple threat of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman if they want to find themselves right back where they were last year. However, a domestic violence suspension to Chapman might hurt their chances of success at the beginning of the season.

Tampa Bay Rays (80-82)
The Rays had a disappointing 2015 season and they may find themselves back there again after failing to do much in the offseason. Their biggest addition was outfielder Corey Dickerson who should provide them with a solid bat in left-field.

Toronto Blue Jays (93-69)
The defending American League East champions will look to power their way through games once again with a full season of Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Drew Storen solidifies their bullpen and a full season of Marcus Stroman to help replace David Price should land the Jays with a serious shot at remaining on top.

American League Central Division
Chicago White Sox (76-86)
After what looked like a successful 2015 offseason that didn’t pan out, the White Sox added infielders Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, outfielder Austin Jackson and catcher Alex Avila. With Jose Abreu dominating spring training, the White Sox look to ride their offence into a what should be a tight AL central.

Cleveland Indians (81-80)
The Cleveland Indians will once again rely on their dominant starting pitching, led by 2014 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The Indians added a couple of bats in Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis, and other small transactions will try and improve on their under-performing 2015 season.

Detroit Tigers (74-87)
One of the most active teams in free agency, new GM Al Avila left little time repairing the holes in the Tigers’ clubhouse which moved them from first to worst in the division. Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann, along with a newly improved bullpen should place them right back at the top in 2016.

Minnesota Twins (83-79)
A surprising 2015 season might have put a rebuilding process to an early end. With the help of MLB’s number 2 overall prospect Byron Buxton and rookie of the year candidate Miguel Sano, the Twins will look to replay their 2015 success.

Kansas City Royals (95-67)
The defending World Series’ champions are easily still one of the most dominant teams in the league and will look to make it to a third straight World Series. The leagues best bullpen got even better with the signing of Joakim Soria. The Royals might surprisingly be better than they were in 2015.

American League West Division
Houston Astros (86-76)
The Astros were one of the most dominant teams in early 2015, and look to keep that success going all season in 2016. The young lineup, led by superstar Carlos Correa should be able to take advantage of a weak division to return to the playoffs.

Los Angeles Angels (85-77)
After missing out on a wild-card spot by just a game, the Angels should be able to compete for a playoff spot once again. New shortstop Andrelton Simmons should go well with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in the middle of the lineup.

Oakland Athletics (68-94)
A miserable 2015 season doesn’t look to be getting any better as the A’s failed to make any major offseason additions that will provide enough of an impact to boost them into contention. Sonny Gray should continue being his dominant self, however it may be time for the A’s to cash in on his current value.

Seattle Mariners (76-86)
Is it finally the year that the Mariners turn their strong roster into good results on the field? With a lineup now featuring Adam Lind and Leonys Martin, along with Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, one has to have faith that Seattle can make it to the playoffs with King Felix in dominant form.

Texas Rangers (88-74)
After somewhat surprising results led to a division title in 2015, Texas looks to repeat their season with better playoff results. Although they did not get much better during the offseason, the rest of the division failed to do so as well which places them right back in the same spot as last year.

National League East Division
Atlanta Braves (67-95)
The Braves finally entered a full rebuilding stage over the offseason. They traded away shortstop Andrelton Simmons and starting pitcher Shelby Miller. In return, they got a load of prospects, including recent number one overall selection Dansby Swanson, to help them look forward to a bright future.

Miami Marlins (71-91)
The Marlins avoided trading away phenom Jose Fernandez, and with new manager Don Mattingly, they look to put forward a better 2016 season. A healthy Giancarlo Stanton should propel the team into at least a .500 ball club.

New York Mets (90-72)
The Mets ended up being National League champions in 2015. The Mets managed to retain outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and with one of the leagues best starting rotations should be able to cruise through the regular season thanks to a division with multiple rebuilding teams.

Philadelphia Phillies (63-99)
The Phillies 2016 season doesn’t look to be much of an improvement over last season. However the rebuilding process does seem to be paying off as they have some extremely talented youngsters such as Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera.

Washington Nationals (83-79)
Perhaps the most disappointing team in 2015, the Nationals can more than likely bounce back into a playoff position. With a dominant starting rotation including Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and superstar Bryce Harper, the sky is the limit for the Nationals in 2016.

National League Central Division
Chicago Cubs (97-65)
Although finishing in third place in the division, the Cubs managed to have the third best record in baseball in 2015. By adding a key piece to their young core, Jason Heyward, they should be able to keep the team on the rise going into 2016.

Cincinnati Reds (64-98)
The Reds finally began to rebuild during the 2015 season, and might be headed in the same direction in 2016. Outfielder Jay Bruce may be the next to be on the move after Todd Frazier was dealt during the offseason.

Milwaukee Brewers (68-94)
Even by adding talent such as Domingo Santana and Chris Carter, the Brewers will more than likely find themselves in the exact same position as last season as their division holds three of baseball’s best teams. They also traded away starting shortstop Jean Segura during the offseason.

Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64)
The Pirates continuously find themselves in the playoffs over the past few seasons, and by staying quiet throughout the offseason they should be able to once again compete for a wild-card spot. Their only worry should be that the Cardinals and Cubs are now both better teams.

St Louis Cardinals (100-62)
The best team in baseball in 2015 should be able to grab another playoff spot with ease. Their dominant pitching staff and strong lineup will keep them in contention for another division title. However, by losing Jason Hayward to the rival Chicago Cubs, they will have to play hard to keep their advantage over the young Cubs.

National League West Division
Arizona Diamondbacks (79-83)
One of the most improved teams over the offseason looks to put themselves along side the Dodgers and Giants at the top of the division. They managed to add two strong starters in Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Both should help their already high powered offence.

Colorado Rockies (68-94)
Another disappointing season may be repeated as the Rockies are still far from being able to compete with the high powered teams in their division. Nolan Arenado is becoming a star however, and if they can manage to get a solid pitching staff the Rockies might be on the right track.

Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70)
A $300 million payroll in 2015 still didn’t propel the Dodgers past the divisional round of the playoffs. After losing Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks, and the rest of their rotation (excluding Clayton Kershaw) having injury issues, the Dodgers might be in line for a set back in 2016.

San Diego Padres (74-88)
Another team with a 2015 offseason that didn’t pan out, the Padres spent much of the season trying to repair their mistakes. After letting go of several key players such as Ian Kennedy, the Padres look to bounce back with starters Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross.

San Francisco Giants (84-78)
2016 is an even year. Meaning after championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014, the Giants should automatically become World Series favourites right? Besides that, they did a fantastic job of getting better this offseason by acquiring Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to keep their rotation in competition with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

Nick Brayford

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