Past results do not guarantee future performance, but in the case of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, they might. Yes, if you want a short list of the top teams heading into this season, well, just use least season as a reference.
“I guess it’s a little bit of a cop-out, but the thing is that some of the teams that did the best last year went out and actually had the best offseason too,” Jonah Keri said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Really, you could start at No. 1 with the Chicago Cubs. They’e everybody’s favorite. They’re Vegas’ favorite to win the World Series, which is completely crazy because of course they haven’t won a World Series in 108 years. But we’re not really thinking about curses. It’s about quality of teams. This is a club that nearly made the World Series last year.”
The Cubs added Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey to a team that won 97 games and advanced to the NLCS.
“(They added) three really quality players to create a team that really is good in every respect,” Keri said. “They can run, they have great defense, they can hit the ball out of the ball park, good pen, good bench – good everything.”
The defending champion Mets, meanwhile, re-signed Yoenis Cespedes and should get a full year out of 22-year-old Michael Conforto, who hit .270 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 56 games last season.
As for the American League, the Astros might just have enough to overcome the Royals.
“To me, the Astros have something that the Cubs have in spades as well, which is that they’re a young team,” Keri said. “I always like that. Because when you think about teams that are going to improve, you don’t want to have a core of 34-year-olds; you want to have a core of 25-year-olds – and the Astros have that.”
Astros fans should be utterly stoked about Carlos Correa. The 21-year-old was named AL Rookie of the Year after finishing with 22 homers, 68 RBIs and a .345 OBP in 99 games. Extrapolate those numbers to a full season, and Correa could emerge this year as one of the best players in baseball.
“All three of those teams strike me as very strong,” Keri said. “If we had had a conversation three or four or five years ago and said, ‘Yeah, the Cubs, the Mets and the Astros are going to be the class of baseball,’ you would have thought I was a crazy person.”