Red Sox Will Be AL’s Best Team In 2016, According To FanGraphs Projections

Mookie Betts and David Ortiz

Photo via Mookie Betts and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are 2016 American League champions.

Well, not yet. But if FanGraphs’ early projected standings are any indication, the Red Sox will find themselves contending for a World Series title this season after finishing in last place in 2015.

FanGraphs, which released its annual Steamer projections a while back, updated its projected standings page this week. The popular baseball analytics website projects the Red Sox will finish with a 92-70 record in 2016, making them the best team in the American League and the second-best team in Major League Baseball behind the Chicago Cubs, who are projected to go 95-67.

This obviously would be a huge improvement for the Red Sox, who went 78-84 last season en route to their third last-place finish in the AL East in four years. The additions of ace David Price and All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel undoubtedly played a role in FanGraphs’ lofty projections for Boston, though the system also expects Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to significantly improve upon their disappointing 2015 campaigns.

The New York Yankees will be the second-best team in the AL East, according to FanGraphs’ early projections. They’re expected to finish with an 86-76 record, tying them with the Houston Astros for the honor of second-best team in the AL. The Los Angeles Dodgers (90-72) and Washington Nationals (88-74) — two National League teams — bridge the gap between the Red Sox and Yankees.

On the flip side, FanGraphs projects that the Philadelphia Phillies will finish with the worst record in baseball (66-96). They’re joined in the bottom five by the Atlanta Braves (67-95), Milwaukee Brewers (71-91), Cincinnati Reds (73-89) and San Diego Padres (73-89). The Baltimore Orioles are projected to be the worst team in the American League with a 76-86 record.

FanGraphs’ projected standings take the individual Steamer projections and the playing time projections from the website’s depth charts to produce estimated win-loss records for every team in baseball. Things could change between now and Opening Day — free agents still are available, trades still can happen, etc. — but it’s always fun to make predictions, unless, of course, your team is destined for failure.

Click for FanGraphs’ complete projected standings >>

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

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