With baseball season almost upon us it’s time for my annual Jackson 5 where I make bold predictions for the upcoming year. These predictions are labeled bold for a reason – they’re unlikely to come to fruition. Just to put it in perspective these were my predictions last year.
- Boston Red Sox would win the AL East, but it would come down to the wire between them and Tampa Bay. Verdict: At least I got it half right.
- Cleveland Indians, who at the time were predicted to have the best record in baseball before last season, wouldn’t do so. The Houston Astros would. Verdict: Hey, this is going well.
- Andrew Benintendi will fall short of expectations when it comes to home runs, but will challenge for the batting title, which will eventually go to Mookie Betts. Benintendi will lead team in doubles. Verdict: Not so much on this one.
- The Red Sox would be forced to make a big move at the deadline involving Rafael Devers. Verdict: Not how I meant it, but this one kinda came true in a roundabout way.
AL Award Predictions: Jose Altuve MVP, Chris Archer AL CY Young. Verdict: Half right again
NL Award Predictions: Bryce Harper MVP, Madison Bumgarner NL Cy Young
Verdict: Nope nope nope.
Here are this year’s bold predictions:
- Neither Aaron Judge nor Giancarlo Stanton will lead the league in home runs, but one will lead the league in strikeouts. Both have a love for the long ball, and a love for missing the ball. Don’t be shocked if neither come close to hitting the amount of home runs they hit last year again in their career.
- Mike Trout will lead the league in home runs, and win the AL MVP. He’s getting better every year, and assuming health, I think he’s perfectly capable of hitting 50 plus homers. He’s still only 26, and has yet to hit his prime, which is terrifying to think about.
- Manny Machado will be traded at the deadline, and will overshadow Bryce Harper in the race to see who can get a bigger contract. Both are free agents at the end of the year, and both are likely to get top dollar. But Machado will be the top dog in this race, showing his versatility now a shortstop, and a late season trade will give him another JD Martinez like boost towards more money.
- Philadelphia Phillies, after big free agent spending on Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta, will fight for a playoff spot after being near the bottom of baseball last year. Aaron Nola is considered an ace. Arrieta is still good. They’ve got some young talent in Rhys Hoskins, Sean Kingery and Makiel Franco. Plus they got rid of Clay Buchholz. I’m not sure they make it, but they’ll be competing come September.
- David Price will have his best, and last, season with the Boston Red Sox. He’ll put up Cy Young caliber numbers for most of the season, helping them win the division. He’ll be so good Sox fans will want him to stay, but he’ll opt out anyway, deciding that his time in Boston wasn’t as enjoyable as he thought.