SI.com Staff
Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

Get ready for the upcoming MLB season with this week's edition of The Strike Zone podcast, as Ted and Steve make their picks and predictions for 2016—but not before chatting with a special guest from 2015's World Series champions.

First up on the show, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer calls in from spring training to talk about Kansas City's run to its first title in 30 years and what he thinks of his team heading into the 2016 season. Hosmer talks with Ted about how it felt to win a World Series as an integral part of the Royals' young and close-knit core and the best part of his off-season as a champion. He also breaks down the pivotal play in the deciding game of last year's Fall Classic: his mad dash home in Game 5 against the Mets to score the tying run in the ninth inning. Hosmer then discusses the expectations for the Royals this season, including whether he and his teammates pay attention to the expert projections and if he thinks Kansas City has what it takes to repeat as champions.

After that, Ted and Steve get together to make some picks and predictions. To start, they discuss SI's pick of the Astros as the 2016 World Series champions and what went into the magazine's choice, including the methodology behind the decision and why SI chose Houston instead of the Cubs. Then Ted and Steve put forth their own picks for each division and all the wild card spots as they try to determine which teams will be this year's best.

Want more top-notch baseball talk delivered straight to you every week? Then subscribe to The Strike Zone podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud. Have any questions, comments or thoughts on the show? Reach out to Ted, Steve or producer Jon Tayler on Twitter. And as a special bonus, check out this week's episode of Maggie Gray's podcast, "The Gray Area," to hear Steve, SI senior baseball writer Tom Verducci and SI baseball editor Emma Span discuss this year's baseball preview issue, why they chose the Astros, and whether or not there is such a thing as the SI cover jinx.

1:41 to 13:30: Eric Hosmer on Royals, World Series, 2016 season
14:02 to 25:45: Ted and Steve talk SI cover, Astros pick
25:45 to 41:26: Ted and Steve make their division, wild card picks

Check back on SI.com next week for another episode of The Strike Zone.

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