Last year I made some goofy predictions about the upcoming baseball season. I don't like predicting division and award winners because I find those kind of predictions boring. Instead of standard predictions I'm going to have a little fun with my predictions. And this year I'm joined with The Colonel! Enjoy
The Colonel's Predictions:
1. Teams Will Stop Paying High Prices for Japanese Talent and Look Elsewhere in Asia: With reports that Nakajima and Ryu are struggling for the A's and Dodgers while players like Wei-Yin Chen and Shin-Soo Choo are thriving, teams are going to stop paying for high priced Japanese players and look elsewhere in Asia for talent. Chen comes from Taiwan and Choo from South Korea. They were both cheaper than players like Nakajima or Ryu and have both been more successful. I believe more teams will bypass Japan and the high prices for Japanese players in pursuit of cheaper talent from the rest of Asia.
2. The AL West Won't Be As Good As Thought: I'm just not in love with the AL West like everyone else. The Angels have only gotten older with Hamilton. The Rangers are starting something called "Gentry" in centerfield. People talk about the Orioles regressing, but it's the A's that I see regressing. The AL West will be competitive, but I don't think that division will be as good as everyone else is making it out to be.
3. The Astros Won't Be As Bad As Everyone Thinks: It gives me great joy reading old school baseball writers talk about the Astros like they're purposely throwing games while ignoring that they're trying to fully rebuild. The Astros are going to be bad, but I don't think they'll be bad enough that suddenly three AL West teams are going to make the playoffs because of them.
4. Nothing Will Still Be Done About The A's And San Jose's Territory Rights: At this point Selig is just ignoring the A's and will keep kicking that can down the road there's a new commissioner in baseball. He's too old to mediate fights, see the quick signing of the latest CBA, so the A's and the San Jose territory rights still won't be fixed.
5. The MLB Players Union Will Try To Grab Back Some Power From the Owners: Between this Biogenesis scandal and all the restrictions on how money is spent on the draft and the loss of draft picks when a player is signed (see the Kyle Lohse saga) the MLB players union will start to fight back against the owners for power. The power in the league has shifted to the owners in recent years and the players will begin to fight back for that power.
6. The Yankees Won't Make The Playoffs: Their pitching should still be good, but my God that lineup. They're too old, too injured, and worth too much money. The Yankees had to trade for Vernon Wells for crying out loud! If this isn't the year they don't make the playoffs, then it will never happen and we're stuck with the Yankees in the ALCS every year.
7. Manny Machado Is Going To Have A Big Year: Machado was huge for the Orioles in the limited time he played last year in Baltimore. With a full slate of games Machado is going to have a big power year for the Orioles. The only thing really holding Machado back from true greatness is his plate discipline. He strikes out a little too much and doesn't reach on base quite enough.
8. There Will Be 1000 fawning articles on the Rays front office and Joe Maddon: The stat nerds love this team and manager. I mean Baseball Prospectus actually posted this article where the author suggested that the Orioles shouldn't be allowed in the playoffs while the Rays should because the Ray built their team "the right way". Unbelievable the hold this entire franchise has on the sabermetrics nerds. Football people fawning over the Hoodie think these people need to take a step back.
9. The DH Is Coming For the National League: It's not a coincidence that baseball will now play Interleague games year around. Selig is easing national league fans into the idea of a DH with these interleague games for he can fully implement it to the league. I predict by the time Selig retires, after next season, his last move in baseball will to implement the DH in the national league.
1. The Blue Jays Won't Win The AL East: I don't know if it's a combination of too many people predicting the Blue Jays will win 90 games and the AL East or that I'm worried that the same group of players that underachieved in Miami will underachieve in Toronto, but I'm not quite buying the Blue Jays. Remember last year when I predicted the Angels won't make the playoffs? Well the Blue Jays are my Angels for this season.
2. Fredi Gonzalez Will Be Fired Mid-Season: I love everything about the Braves but their manager. It wouldn't surprise me if they struggled during some time this season and the Braves fire him and promote the bench coach.
3. After Enough Complaining About the Astros Sucking, MLB Will Finally Tweak The Unbalanced Schedule: It was Peter Gammons or one of those east coast writers that has already complained that the AL West is going to beat up on the Astros and that's going to send three AL West teams to the playoffs. I hope this happens and I hope enough people complain so much that baseball is forced to deal with the unbalanced schedule. It's ridiculous that divisional teams have to play each other up to 20 times a year. Hopefully the Astros sucking changes the unbalanced schedule.
4. Either The Pirates or Royals Will Make The Playoffs: These teams have made too many improvements for one of them to not make the playoffs this year. Add to fact they both play in mediocre divisions and you would think this finally has to be the year right? I like the Royals just a little bit more because really only the Tigers stand in their way.
5. The Orioles Won't Regress As Bad As PECOTA Is Projecting: Let me first state, I believe the Orioles will regress from last season. Winning that many one-run games is impossible. I don't believe however that the Orioles are going to regress by 19 games like PECOTA is projecting. That's a huge drop off for a team that should improve with a full year of Manny Machado and a possible Dylan Bundy call up.
6. If Mike Trout Struggles For Only A Couple Of Games, Writers Are Going To Make A Big Deal About His Weight: I'm pretty sure Mike Trout added weight just to troll the Jon Paul Morosi's and Ken Rosenthal's of the world. Because you just know that if he struggles for even a 10-game stretch, those type of guys are going to write columns blaming his weight gain from the offseason. Like a piece of meat thrown to the wolves.
7. Deadspin and Yahoos! Jeff Passan Will Continue To Write About The Marlins All Season: The low hanging fruit of the Miami Marlins is just too much for Deadspin and Jeff Passan not to grab at. They'll both write about the Marlins attendance, rip whatever move the fish make, and generally make everyone roll their eyes. Look pissing on the Marlins is easy, the Colonel and I have certainly taken our shots, but continued updates on the Marlins shittyness can become annoying.
8. There Will Be 1000 fawning articles on the Rays front office and Joe Maddon: This prediction is as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow. Baseball nerds love this team. The Rays are their pornography. Joe Maddon is their Jenna Jameson. The raw data is their lube. Maddon could murder someone on the field and a Baseball Prospectus writer or Jonah Keri will applaud him. I love the Rays as well but I don't eat out of their dog bowel.