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Crazy (?) Predictions for 2016: American League

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Luis Severino
Luis Severino
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Here are Crazy Predictions for the American League in 2016. You can take these as seriously as you like.  Which ones are crazy, and which ones aren't?


AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop (.297/.341/.487) posts a more impressive slash line than Manny Machado (.278/.343/.469). After opening the year in the bullpen, Dylan Bundy throws a no-hitter in his first start of the season in late June, then trips on a sprinkler head in August and misses the rest of the year. Due to nagging injuries, Kevin Gausman makes 17 different trips to the minors and pitches for every affiliate in the system.

Boston Red Sox: Hanley Ramirez hits .309/.378/.544 and makes the All Star Team. Steven Wright will throw a no-hitter in August. Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley, and Chris Young all get injured, prompting the promotion of prospect Andrew Benintendi to the majors in August. He hits .340 the rest of the season. Pablo Sandoval learns the knuckleball from Wright and embarks on a new career as a pitcher after losing four pounds with Jenny Craig.

New York Yankees: Starlin Castro takes well to New York and has the best season of his career, hitting .319/.387/.479. Next year he hits .221/.279/.398. Dustin Ackley goes 5-for-5 with three doubles and six RBI in an August game. Luis Severino is the best starting pitcher in the American League in the first half of the season and is the AL starter in the All Star Game, but the Yankees ease back his workload in the second half, annoying fans and fantasy owners. Donald Trump names Alex Rodriguez as his vice presidential running mate.

Tampa Bay Rays
:
Brad Miller wins the American League batting title by hitting .332. Chris Archer wins 20 games, leads the league in ERA, ranks second in strikeouts, and wins the Cy Young Award. Pitching prospect Jacob Faria comes up in July and throws 22 consecutive scoreless innings. Kevin Kiermaier wins the Gold Glove award. Nobody knows that any of these things happen because the news media is too busy talking about Donald Trump.

Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Sanchez is right behind Archer and Severino as the elite starters in the division. Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Justin Smoak hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers in a game in late May. Canadian government erects a wall along the border with the United States to hold back fleeing US citizens following the results of the first presidential debate.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox: Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie take well to Chicago, both hitting 30 homers. Carson Fulmer is in the majors by early July and strikes out 12 in his second major league start. Jose Abreu leads American League in RBI. The White Sox win 84 games and finish second

Cleveland Indians: Giovanny Urshela breaks out after being promoted to the majors in May to cover for some injuries, hitting .287 with 13 homers the rest of the season. Prospect Clint Frazier strikes out 12 consecutive times in Double-A in late April, then hits seven homers in three days to open May. The Indians win 85 games to take the division crown.

Detroit Tigers:
Catcher James McCann suddenly develops power and his 15 homers. Shane Greene and Mike Pelfrey have better years than Justin Verlander. The Tigers win 83 games and finish third.

Kansas City Royals: Raul Mondesi goes 20-for-38 to open his major league career, prompting comments from traditionalists that minor league performance doesn't mean anything. He then goes 1-for-50. Joakim Soria has a fine year in the bullpen but with Wade Davis closing he is considered surplus and is traded to a National League team in late July. The Royals are under .500 most of the year and are the only team that doesn't spend time in first place but a late surge gets them to 82 wins and a fourth place finish.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins play .500 ball in April, May, June, July, August, and September, winning 81 games and coming in last place but positioning themselves very well for 2017. Miguel Sano hits 47 homers and draws comparisons to a mutant cross between Harmon Killebrew and Miguel Cabrera. The Twins draft University of Florida right-hander and Minnesota native Logan Shore in the first round of the MLB draft.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Houston Astros: George Springer hits 30 homers and steals 30 bases. After Tyler White gets off to a fast start, Jon Singleton is traded to the Marlins for two minor league pitchers you've never heard of. Ken Giles breaks a finger in July and can't grip the baseball properly, missing the rest of the season. James Hoyt is closing games by September and posting better per-inning stats than Giles did.

Los Angeles Angels: Andrew Heaney wins 19 games, more than any other starting pitcher in the division, while ranking 10th in FIP. Albert Pujols has a blistering hot first half, helping carry the team while Mike Trout is in a dismal slump. Trout's dismal slump results in a .290/.378/.514 line at the All Star Break, causing people to wonder if he's washed up. He hits .395/.476/.788 the rest of the way.

Oakland Athletics
: Billy Burns leads the American League in stolen bases. Jed Lowrie is Oakland's best player by far in the first half of the season and makes the All Star Team, but promptly gets hurt in late July and is out the rest of the year. Renato Nunez and Matt Olson come up in September, play regularly, and combine to hit eight homers with a .172 average.

Seattle Mariners:
Taijuan Walker joins Dylan Bundy and Steve Wright in the no-hitter club in the last start of the season. Donn Roach's 15-0 K/BB in spring training presages a real breakout. He comes up to the majors in late April and is a bullpen mainstay by August. The hitting attack is better than expected, but the pitching is worse.

Texas Rangers:
Joey Gallo hits .397 with 18 homers in April and May in Triple-A. Promoted to the majors in June, he strikes out 10 times in his first 10 at-bats, then hits three homers in a game. He finishes the season with a .221 average, 29 homers, and 137 strikeouts in 300 at-bats.