It is Bold Predicitons week here at Fake Teams. On Tuesday, I published my National League bold predictions, and today I continue with my American League version of bold predictions. I like to offer up bold predictions as a way to show how unpredictable baseball can be from season to season.
And that is one of the reasons that the game is so great.
Onto my 2016 American League bold predictions:
American League East
Roberto Osuna will start the season as the Blue Jays closer, but he will end up with 20 fewer saves than Drew Storen, who reclaims the role in early May.
I agree with Tim Finnegan. I think Troy Tulowtizki stays healthy all season, now that's bold enough, and hits .300 with 35 home runs, 90 runs scored and 110 RBI.
Second baseman Starlin Castro has a breakout season, hitting .296 with 21 home runs, 75 runs scored and 79 RBI in his first season as a Yankee.
Catcher Brian McCann leads all catchers in home runs with 34, driving in 91 runs, but hits just .243 while doing so.
Red Sox DH David Ortiz struggles in the first half of the season, and there is talk he may be benched, but he catches fire in mid-June and ends the season with .27 home runs and 86 RBI.
Outfielder Mookie Betts makes a run at the MVP award, hitting .304 with 24 home runs, 102 runs scored, 83 RBI and 26 stolen bases.
Rays ace Chris Archer wins the AL Cy Young award, winning 18 games with a 2.35 ERA and 220 strikeouts.
Outfielder Desmond Jennings has been a disappointment since his call up to the big leagues five seasons ago, but he finally has his breakout season in 2016, hitting .280 with 20 home runs, 85 runs scored, 82 RBI and 25 stolen bases.
Catcher Matt Wieters is finally healthy for a full season, and the 30 home run power many expected from him as a rookie finally appears, as he hits 33 home runs, drives in 93 runs while hitting .277.
Third baseman Manny Machado struggles to duplicate his 35 home run, 20 stolen base season, as he hits .300, but hits "just" 21 home runs and steal 14 bases.
American League Central
The Indians win the Central and Danny Salazar is their best starter, as he wins 18 games with a 2.40 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 210 innings of work.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor is a gold glove in the infield, but he disappoints at the plate, hitting .253 with 7 home runs, 45 runs scored, 39 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
Kris Medlen is the Royals best starter, winning 14 games with a 2.85 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 164 strikeouts in 195 innings.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, adds more power to his game, hitting 29 home runs, scoring 87 runs and driving in 92 while hitting .288, finishing in the top 5 of the AL MVP voting.
The Twins are the most improved team in baseball, and outfielder/DH Miguel Sano leads the AL in home runs with 43 while hitting .279 and driving in 103 runs.
Starter Kyle Gibson puts it all together, becoming the staff ace, winning 16 games with a 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and raising his strikeout rate to 25%.
Third baseman Nick Castellanos has a breakout seasons, building on his second half of 2015, hitting .285 with 26 home runs, 80 runs scored and 85 RBI.
Free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann disappoints, winning just 8 games with a 4.45 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.
Starter Carlos Rodon is the White Sox second best starter behind Chris Sale, winning 14 games with a 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 200 strikeouts.
Reliever Nate Jones replaces an ineffective David Robertson as the White Sox closer, saving 24 games after taking over the role in late May.
American League West
The Astros are the best team in the American League, and outfielder George Springer is one of three 20 home run, 20 stolen base hitters in the Astros lineup, joining Carlos Correa and Carlos Gomez. Springer enjoys a huge breakout season, hitting .286 with 31 home runs, 35 stolen bases with 95 runs scored and 80 RBI and joins Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in the conversation for #1 pick in 2017 fantasy drafts.
First base prospect A.J. Reed gets an early call up in late April, and proceeds to hit .280 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI as the Astros starting first baseman.
Starter Cole Hamels struggles in his first full season in the AL, winning just 12 games with a 4.10 ERA and 1.29 WHIP and his strikeouts per nine drops below 8.00 for the first time since 2009.
Ian Desmond enjoys a nice bounce back season playing left field in Texas, hitting .270 with 23 home runs and 20 stolen bases, putting up his fourth 20-20 season in the last five seasons.
The mileage on his right arm catches up to Felix Hernandez as he struggles through the worst year of his career, winning 11 games with a 4.45 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and his strikeout per nine drops below 7.50.
Sean Doolittle doesn't last long in the closer role, and free agent acquisition Ryan Madson takes over in late April, saving 32 games.
Shortstop Marcus Semien enjoys a breakout season, hitting .275 with 22 home runs, 80 runs scored, 80 RBI and 24 stolen bases.
The Angels are the worst team in the AL, and Albert Pujols' career decline continues, as he hits just 19 home runs, driving in 78 runs, while hitting .232.
With the Angels farm system decimated, there is more and more talk about the Angels trading Mike Trout in an effort to rebuild.