10 BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THIS SEASON
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. GREG BIRD WILL HAVE A HUGE SEASON
A lefty power hitter batting third in a lineup where Aaron Judge bats behind him and Giancarlo Stanton bats in front of him. Oh and his home park is ideal for lefties. Are 40 home runs and 100 RBI an unrealistic expectation? He isn’t talked about as a superstar first baseman, but he will be after this season.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. J.D. MARTINEZ WILL BE A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT THIS YEAR
Martinez played for over 125 games in a season only once in his entire career (in 2015). He also had issues with his medical evaluation upon signing with Boston. Add a potential lack of motivation due to signing what is likely the last big contract of his career, and you have a recipe for a bad season.
6. 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?
7. BRYCE HARPER IS BETTER THAN MIKE TROUT IN 2018
Wait what?! Well do you remember his 2015? He was competing for the NL MVP last year too before he got injured. If we write off his 2016 due to a shoulder injury, then he’s living up to the old hype. Entering his contract season and a chance at a record setting payday, could he have his best season ever? I think that he will.
8. WASHINGTON WILL WIN THE PENNANT
The Washington Nationals can’t seem to get out of the Division Series, but with a loaded lineup led by Bryce Harper’s MVP season, a healthy Adam Eaton, a good bullpen for once, and a shocking trade (more on that later), they will finally put it all together and win the NL Pennant.
9. CHRIS ARCHER PLAYS FOR WASHINGTON AFTER THE TRADE DEADLINE
It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays are not a good team these days. Their best player is ace Chris Archer, who is on one of the best contracts in the game. They’ve been rumored to be shopping him for a while now, what if they finally pull the trigger this year? With Washington determined to go all out this year, could they give in and trade their top prospect Victor Robles? I think that they actually might.
10. 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.