A Baker’s Dozen Bold MLB Predictions
With the dog days of spring training upon us, and a blizzard bearing down on the Northeast, what better to do than make some bold predictions for the upcoming season.
1. I’ll start with the least bold prediction of the bunch: The Cleveland Indians will take care of business this season and finish what they started, winning the World Series. They have a great pitching staff, to go with a fantastic bullpen with Andrew Miller for the entire year. They upgraded their lineup swapping Mike Napoli for Edwin Encarnacion. And, Michael Brantley should be back patrolling the outfield. This team is stacked.
2. Because of the Indians dominance during the year, the Detroit Tigers will be out of it early and decide it’s time to break up the gang. The team basically stayed to together to win it for their aging owner, but with the passing of Mike Ilitch there is no incentive to chase the pipedream any longer. Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Justin Verlander all get dealt at the trade deadline.
3. Similar to the Tigers, the Kansas City Royals have to face the same reality and fate. With so many contracts expiring, and with a juggernaut at the top of the division, the Royals fall out of the race early, and make the hard to choice to break up the core of the team, which led them to a World Series victory a mere two years ago. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar all are dealt by the trade deadline.
4. New York Met David Wright announces his retirement. Even with four years and 67M left on his contract he decides to walk away from the game he loves. The mounting injuries have taken a toll on him these last few years, and he decides he just can’t go on playing any longer. After playing just 75 games in the past two seasons, and the prospect of another injury-riddled year, the 34 year old heart and soul of the team decides it is time.
5. At the trade deadline, the Mets trade for Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. In spite of Wright’s retirement the Mets stay in the playoff race due to their amazing starting pitching. But similar to a couple seasons ago, when they acquired Yoenis Cespedes, the team’s offense is missing a spark. ENTER MANNY MACHADO! To go with the Royals and Tigers in the AL, the Orioles find themselves out of the race early. An already weak pitching staff got worse when Chris Tillman started the season on the DL. With only one year left on his contract and the team not realistically able to keep him beyond 2018, Machado becomes expendable to GM Dan Duquette. With an abundance of pitching, the Mets reluctantly trade Steven Matz. To ease the pain of dealing Matz, Duquette includes Zac Britton who’s also a free agent at the end of 2018, along with Tillman who’s a free agent at the end of this season. To finalize the deal, the Mets give back Michael Conforto as the last piece.
6. With the Red Sox getting off to a disappointing April, and not recovering in May, GM Dave Dombrowski fires manager John Farrell by Memorial Day, which sees the Sox floundering in fourth place only ahead of the Orioles.
7. The defending World Champion Chicago Cubs have a World Series hangover. The loss of Dexter Fowler to the rival St Louis Cardinals proves to be a big hole to fill. Replacing Aroldis Chapman with the likes of Wade Davis and Koji Uehara proves to be foolhardy. Aside from being in a dogfight with the Cardinals to win the division, the Cubbies find themselves in a life and death struggle to make it back to the playoffs at all, competing with the surprising Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates just for a wild card slot.
8. Another huge surprise in the National League is the demise of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The recent moves haven’t panned out for President Andrew Friedman and the team is looking up at not only the San Francisco Giants, but a plucky Colorado Rockies team. Other than starter Clayton Kershaw, the rest of the pitching staff is somewhat dreadful. And other than the youthful core of Corey Seager and Joc Pederson it’s a fairly boring team. Surprisingly, Friedman decides to do the unthinkable: TRADE CLAYTON KERSHAW!!! Kershaw can opt out of his contract after the 2018 season, and most likely will. In looking at potential trade partners, one team peaks Friedman’s interest, the Houston Astros. Unlike the Dodgers, the Astros find themselves smack dab in the middle of the pennant chase. It is a three-team battle between them, the Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. The Astros lineup is stacked, but the starting pitching staff is weak. They make the bold move of giving the Dodgers George Springer, along with a few minor league prospects. Both teams feel it’s a win/win. Dodger fans are appeased by getting Springer in the deal, and the Astros fans are ecstatic to get one of the game’s best pitchers.
9. On the theme of big name players being traded, the game’s biggest name gets dealt this season too. Mike Trout will be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. This makes sense on many different levels. Trout is a Northeast guy, and grew up a Philadelphia fan…in fact he’s often seen at Eagles games. The Angels are going to have another dreadful season. They have no pitching, and other than Trout and an aging Albert Pujols, they have very little offense. It is amazing Trout puts up the numbers he does with no protection in the lineup. A trade to Philadelphia makes sense for the Phillies too. They are in a rebuild mode, and have some nice young players on the team. And, they are in the fairly weak division of the NL East, which has the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves, as well as the New York Mets, and Washington Nationals. A bold move in getting Trout would juice the fan base and potentially build the kind of momentum a young team needs to get over the top. The Phillies would give the Angels young CF, Odubel Herrera, to go along with a handful of top prospects. It will be nice to see Trout play the Nationals and Bryce Harper 20 times a year.
10. Speaking of Bryce Harper, he is a man on a mission the season. Coming off his remarkable MVP season in 2015 which saw him hit 42 bombs, bat .330, to go with an OPS of 1.109, last season was a little more than pedestrian. Last season at this time I predicted a regression, but I didn’t foresee a complete meltdown: he only hit 24 HR, didn’t crack 90 runs or RBI, and his average collapsed to .243. I predict a HUGE bounce back season which sees him hit 60 HR. If spring training is any indication, he may hit 70; in just 24 ABs, he’s already mashed 5 bombs.
11.Joey Votto will tinker with .400. The career .313 hitter has a lot going for him. After a disastrous 2014 season which saw him only play 62 games, the last two seasons were healthy, and so were his stats. He played 158 games each year, batted .314 in 2015 and posted his second best average of .326 last year. His career OBP is .425 and he has tremendous plate discipline. On top of that, he plays in a band box of a field in Cincinnati. And finally, he’ll most likely have Adam Duvall hitting behind him which will potentially give him better pitches to hit because opposing pitchers won’t be able to merely pitch around him.
12. Fellow Red Billy Hamilton, and Miami Marlins Dee Gordon will each steal 100 bases this season. Neither team is projected to do much this season. Both managers will want to manufacture runs any way they can. Hamilton and Gordon each have the potential to steal triple digits. Gordon stole 64 in 2014 and 58 in 2015, and last year still managed to steal 30 even though he was suspended for PED use only playing 79 games. In Hamilton’s last three seasons he’s stolen, 56, 57, and 58 bases.
13. Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado will break Hack Wilson’s RBI record of 191 set in 1930. Arenado is an RBI machine, hitting over 130 each of the past two seasons. The Rockies are stacked, and Arenado should get a ton of RBI opportunities. And don’t forget, he plays half his games at Coors Field. And, he’s entering his age 26 season, which statistically is the start of his peak years.
Those are my bakers’ dozen predictions for 2017…what else is there to do waiting for the blizzard of the century to arrive on your doorstep?
Let me know what you think. Follow me on twitter @camcamelot
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.