Of course it's early, but it's also January, and I'll take a few hawt baseball projections if it means not having to hear about PAYYYY-TON and TAWWWWWM. Also, rosters aren't anywhere close to being finalized, so take this for what it's worth. FanGraphs released their 2016 projections today. What do we see?
OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG THE ASTROS WIN THE WEST. PUT THE BANNER UP NOW.
Please do keep in mind that the 86 wins are a statistical projection, and are tied for 5th-highest in baseball. The Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers are the only teams in baseball to have a projected win total of 90 or higher.
Also within the projection page, we see that FanGraphs projects the offense to be slightly better in 2016, scoring 4.56 runs/game - up from 4.50 runs/game in 2015. The biggest difference is that the projections say the Astros won't do as well on defense as they did in 2015: allowing 4.26 runs/game, an increase of almost half a run per game (3.81) over 2015. That 3.81 runs allowed/game was the best in the AL in 2015.
UPDATE: Thanks to TCB, I stumbled across (and by "stumbled across" I mean "clicked on a link they tweeted") Clay Davenport's projections for the 2016 season.
Davenport projects the AL West as follows:
Even better: the Astros have a 49.5% chance of winning the World Series, just behind Cleveland's (!) 49.6% in the American League.
Please do click the link for his explanations and other fun stats.