USA Today (Gabe Lacques) has released their projections for the 2016 season. Their projections are not based on anything scientific, nor are they based on any type of advanced metrics like steamer or ZIPS or Pecota. They don’t pay attention to any kind of Vegas betting line either. They use what we like to call the eye test. Their projections are just based on how many games they think each club will win this season. It’s nothing fancy, just good ol’ fashioned predicting. How quaint. You know what? I like it.
They make predictions for every division with win-loss records. So where do the USA Today boys think the Dodgers will finish in 2016?
They’re projecting the Dodgers to finish second place in the NL West, with the Giants finishing first and the Dbacks coming in third. According to Lacques the Giants will win 90 games and finish two games ahead of the Dodgers who will finish with an 88-74 record. He thinks the Dbacks will finish with 86 games, two games behind the Dodgers. He has the Padres and Rockies finishing fourth and fifth respectively. If these standings reflect reality then the Dodgers would finish tied for the second wild card with the Pirates. They would play a one-game playoff, and the winner would face the wild card leading Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Yikes. The Cubs were picked to win the NL Central with 101 wins and Washington will edge out the Mets in the NL East.
So what reasoning does the USA Today boys give for picking the Giants over the Dodgers? Lacques writes….
Cohesion matters. Defense matters. Pitching matters. We like all of it better up north. Don’t weep for the Dodgers (88 wins), however. Sure, they’d be better off if the rules allowed a 35-man roster. But they still have Clayton Kershaw, and all that depth will pay off – perhaps even in October.
I still think the Dodgers have good defense and pitching but we’ll have to wait and see about that cohesion part with a new manager and coaching staff. As for the Giants, They made improvements with their acquisitions of Jonny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Denard Span was signed to be the Nori Aoki replacement. He’ll take over center field and lead-off with the aging Angel Pagan moving to left. Otherwise the rest of the Giant’s roster is basically the same as last season. The Giants still have injury question marks at the backend of their rotation with Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. The Giants will rely heavily on Buster Posey (who should see some time at first base) and Hunter Pence on offense.
I’m guessing the reasoning behind choosing the Giants is because they signed Cueto and all that even year nonsense. I can’t stand watching these even year Giants championships anymore. That has to end this year. Please god let that end this year. Otherwise I may have to commit Harry Carry.
All joking aside, I think the Dodgers are still the best club in the NL West. Lacques talks about the Giants consistency over the last few years, but fails to mention the Dodgers. Since 2012, the Dodgers have won 86, 92, 94, and 92 games. That includes three consecutive NL West division titles. I say the Dodgers win 91 games with the Giants coming in second with 87 wins. Arizona will come in a close third with 86 wins, and the Padres and Rockies bring up the rear.
All of the betting odds, and advanced statistics mean nothing, because as we’ve see before many times is that baseball is very difficult to predict. Anything can and usually does happen. Did anyone think the Cubs and Mets would be in the NLCS last season? Or what about the Blue Jays winning the AL East for the first time since 1993? Or how about the Dodgers losing the NLDS on a ball four defensive shift stolen base. Former zany Cardinal’s pitcher Joaquin Andujar used to have a saying. He would say, (with a very thick Dominican accent) “You never know!” Of course with his accent the words kind of all jumbled together and sounded more like “Junevaknow” but you understand. So when the Rockies surprise the universe and win the division with a 94-68 record, it’ll be hilarious.
What are your projections for the 2016 season?