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2016 MLB Preseason Preview

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Fourteen BtBS writers picked all six division races, the World Series champions, and their Most Valuable Players for the upcoming season.

Two consecutive World Series appearances and finally -- FINALLY -- someone picks them to make the World Series before the season starts.
Two consecutive World Series appearances and finally -- FINALLY -- someone picks them to make the World Series before the season starts.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the snow blanketing the northeast U.S., today is the first full day of the 2016 MLB season, which means winter is officially over. For the third consecutive year, we ran a preseason poll among our writers and editors, collecting 14 total responses.

We'll first go through the division races. The writers ranked each team one through five. Teams received seven points for a first-place prediction, five points for second, three for third, two for fourth, and one for fifth. Here are the results for the division races with first-place votes in parentheses.

American League

East Pts Central Pts West Pts
Blue Jays (7) 80 Indians (7) 75 Astros (13) 96
Red Sox (6) 69 Royals (5) 74 Rangers (1) 68
Rays (1) 47 Tigers (1) 44 Angels 37
Yankees 42 White Sox (1) 34 Mariners 33
Orioles 14 Twins 25 A's 18

National League

East Pts Central Pts West Pts
Mets (12) 94 Cubs (13) 96 Dodgers (9) 84
Nationals (2) 72 Pirates (1) 68 Giants (5) 78
Marlins 43 Cardinals 46 Diamondbacks 47
Phillies 24 Brewers 24 Padres 26
Braves 19 Reds 18 Rockies 17

The writers were also asked to pick the two wild card winners. Teams received two points for a first place wild-card vote, and one point for a second place wild-card vote.

Wild Cards

AL Pts NL Pts
Royals 8 Pirates 18
Blue Jays 7 Nationals 9
Royals 6 Giants 5
Yankees 5 Cardinals 4
Rangers 4 Cubs 2
Indians 3 Diamondbacks 2
Tigers 3 Dodgers 2

Also receiving votes: Astros 2, Red Sox 2, Twins 1, Mariners 1.

Next, the writers picked the AL and NL pennant winners, and the number of games each team would win in the World Series. Teams received four points for a series win, two points for a series loss, and one point for each game they were projected to win. The results are below. The number in parentheses represents the number of writers who picked that team to win the World Series.

World Series

Team Pts Vegas Odds
Cubs (7) 62 9/2
Astros (1) 23 15/1
Blue Jays (2) 16 18/1
Royals (1) 10 14/1
Mets (1) 7 10/1
Dodgers (1) 7 15/1
Giants (1) 7 9/1
Red Sox 5 12/1
Tigers 3 30/1

The Cubs are our consensus World Series favorite, with half of participants picking them to end their (stop me if you've heard this before) 107-year championship drought. This should maybe worry any Cub fans among our readers: last year's consensus pick was the Nationals, and 2014's was the Dodgers.

We also had the writers guess the Cy Young winner and Most Valuable Player in each league. The consensus choices shouldn't be too surprising to anyone familiar with this website. You guys know who our favorites are.

Awards Balloting

AL MVP Votes NL MVP Votes AL Cy Young Votes NL Cy Young Votes
Mike Trout 10 Bryce Harper 6 Chris Sale 6 Clayton Kershaw 10
Carlos Correa 2 Kris Bryant 4 Corey Kluber 2 Noah Syndergaard 2
Robinson Cano 1 Paul Goldschmidt 3 David Price 2 Jose Fernandez 1
Lorenzo Cain 1 Giancarlo Stanton 1 4 tied with 1 Matt Harvey 1

We close with a look back at last year's results. We scored participants by counting the number of points that were mis-assigned: if a writer picked the Red Sox to finish first (7 points) instead of last (1 point), for example, 6 points were added to their score. Participants got one point subtracted from their score for each wild card winner they got correct, and would have earned points for nailing their World Series predictions had anybody picked either the Royals or the Mets (which – for the second straight year – didn't happen). The five with the lowest (i.e., best) scores are listed in the table below. Only Kevin Ruprecht was on the list two years in a row.

Name Points
(Anonymous) 52
Bryan Grosnick 55
Bryan Cole 56
Michael Bradburn 56
Kevin Ruprecht 58

These results are a little down from 2014, when the best scores were in the mid-30s. And once again, the best prediction in the entire piece was the throwaway line at the very bottom. In 2014, we called the Brewers' hot start, and last year, we predicted the Twins and Astros would be in the playoff race in September. Predicting remains hard, as the late great Yogi Berra once said, especially about the future. So when the Reds and Braves meet in the NLDS, we won't say anything if you act like you called it all along.

. . .

Bryan Cole is a featured writer at Beyond the Box Score and still pessimistic about the Red Sox this year. You can follow him on Twitter at @Doctor_Bryan.