What’s going to happen this season? Every season there are surprises: unexpected breakouts, sudden declines, contenders having terrible seasons, supposedly bad teams making the playoffs…. If I can brag a little, I made some good predictions in the past: I predicted the Chicago White Sox winning their division in 2005 when they were overlooked by the experts; Didi Gregorius’s power breakout when he was written off as ever being a power hitter; J.D. Martinez’s breakout when he was written off completely…. and others. Will I be right this time or will my predictions be hilariously wrong? With that said, let’s begin!
1. EDDIE ROSARIO WILL OVERSHADOW BYRON BUXTON
Byron Buxton is a legit five tool player, but he’s been very inconsistent in his career. Take a look at the projections for Buxton & then Rosario. They’re very similar except Rosario is expected to hit better for average, and Buxton to steal more bases. But what if Rosario’s walk percentage continues to improve and his strikeout rate continues to go down? Is a 30 home run 100 RBI season with 10-15 stolen bases possible? I think that Rosario will have a breakout season while Buxton has another uneven year.
2. THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS WILL NOT BE IN PLAYOFF CONTENTION FOR LONG
They came seemingly out of nowhere to lead the division for most of last season, and many expect them to at least compete for the playoffs this year. But will they be able to do that? I don’t think so. Their rotation is pretty bad: Wade Miley?!Jhoulys Chacin?!Zach Davies?! These are all bottom of the rotation pitchers. Can Brent Suter improve or pitch for 200 innings? Is Chase Anderson’s success sustainable and can he really be handed the ace role? In the meantime their best starter is injured for at least half the season (Jimmy Nelson). Then there is their bullpen… is Corey Knebel’s sudden emergency as an elite closer despite a high walk rate legitimate? Is Travis Shaw for real? With all these issues and question marks, I see a .500 season as more likely than an 80+ win season which they spend in playoff contention.
3. JOEY VOTTO WILL HEAVILY DECLINE
Spring Training stats don’t mean that much, and aren’t the best way to judge how a player is going to do during the season but Votto is currently batting .133/.333/.133. Votto is already 34 years old and isn’t getting any younger. I think that his best days are behind him and that 2018 will be the beginning of his decline.
4. THE HOUSTON ASTROS ARE ELIMINATED IN THE ALDS
Houston may be the best team in the game, but we thought Cleveland were going to go all the way last year too. What if Justin Verlander struggles all season long? What if Gerrit Cole doesn’t improve? What if Ken Giles falls apart in the playoffs again? What if Lance McCullers Jr. isn’t healthy come playoff time? Would it really be that shocking if Houston were eliminated early?
5. MIGUEL CABRERA WILL HAVE THE WORST YEAR OF HIS CAREER
Miguel Cabrera is coming off of the worst year of his career, but he’s expected to bounce back this upcoming season. I just don’t see it. Cabrera will be 35 early into the season and playing on a bad team with little run support. How many 35 year olds bounce back after having a bad age-34 season? After 2018 he will no longer be considered a good player.
So these are my predictions. What do you think? And what are yours? Let me know in the comments.