The ritual that is heading to the ballpark, watching or listening to telecasts, and fantasy baseball is returning once again. Spring Training will be here before you know it and the nations of faithful fans all awake with the hope that this is “their year.” Its baseball season let everyone rejoice. The 162-game grind where wear out many teams but there will be a final four, a World Series, and a World Series champion.
Sports bars, job sites and cubical mazes will be filled with fan conversations centered on the 2016 Major League Baseball season. Who will make the playoffs? Who will win the World Series? This time of year there are always more questions than answers. That is the beauty of it all. Bold predictions are fun and always have merit but will the grind of a 162 game season allow them to come true? That is part of the debate.
It is time to take a quick look at who should do battle in the American League Championship Series, the National League Championship Series, and eventually the World Series champion. Time to forecast and come up with who should come out on top. Will it play out that way? Time will tell.
Below you will find my very early picks to play in the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series. If you are looking for how the National League got here you can check out 2016 MLB Predictions: Projecting National League Division Winners, Wildcard and if you are wondering about how the American League came to pass you can check out 2016 MLB Predictions: Projecting American League Division Winners, Wildcard
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|World Series |
American League Championship Series –
New York Yankees over Houston Astros
The seventh-eighth-ninth of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller could be the best in the game and help hide flaws in the rotation. The back end of the Yankees bullpen is superior to that of the Astros. Of course the season may prove otherwise but that is the realty now. The starting rotations lean towards Dallas Keuchel and the Astros with the reigning Cy Young winner and in a championship series he might go three times. The Yankees need health to last and continued development of Luis Severino to get to this point in the season but it is possible. There should be no shortage of home runs in the 2016 American League Championship series between these two teams. It will be a great matchup if it happens and one the Yankees squeak through but by the thinnest of threads.
National League Championship Series –
Chicago Cubs over Arizona Diamondbacks
The stacked Cubs with young talent like Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Anthony Rizzo along with Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward will give the Diamondbacks rotation fits with no ability to take a batter off. Remember Zack Greinke thrived in Dodger Stadium but a road game in Chicago is a different animal. Meanwhile reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and John Lackey will have their collective hands full with Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and crew. The thought that we could have matchups of Jon Lester and Zack Greinke or Jake Arrieta and Shelby Miller is tantalizing. Those would be some tempting matchups. Youth would be served in an NLCS between these two teams but the stacked Cubs should be able to prevail and return to the World Series for the first time in decades.
World Series –
Chicago Cubs over New York Yankees
Welcome to the bold predictions that culminate now, in the 2016 World Series between the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. By now I have taken enough for the old Yankees making it this far but for them it is more about the youngsters in Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius, along with a lights out bullpen then the older Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and crew. The Cubs make it with a balance of young talent, cagey veterans and World Series experience.
The Yankees quest for the 28th ring runs into 108 year drought of the Chicago Cubs. While droughts and curses are fun to discuss the reality is they have no bearing on the current team. It is the fans that will sweat it, not the players. While both teams should have potent offenses the series will be decided before the seventh inning as the Cubs front of the rotation will handle the Yankees lineup enough to neutralize the Yankees bullpen dominance and propel the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908.