Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Really Dusty MLB Crystal Ball-2019

For many years, this blog had produced an annual "crystal ball" list of predictions for the coming season. Somehow surviving three moves and years of inactivity, a very dusty crystal ball has been once again summoned to bring in the new year. What follows is not your scientific, analysis driven predictions based on playing 2,000 Strat-O-matic baseball games. It is an off-the-cuff look into an obviously hard to clarify crystal ball that has sat in the closet for far too many years:

  • If he stays healthy, Yasiel Puig is going to have a monster year for the Reds, make the All Star team and be in the top five for MVP
  • If he stays healthy, Aaron Judge will top Mookie Betts and Mike Trout for the 2019 MVP in the American League. Judge missed fifty games last year and still had as many WAR (5.1) as says he will have for a whole season in 2019. Wrong!
  • Two of the top three pitchers in NL Cy Young Award voting last year will be in the top three again this year. The one dropping out will be Aaron Nola.
  • The San Diego Padres will be one of the Wild Card teams in the NL.
  • Troy Tulowitzki will see more games played than Aaron Hicks.
  • Matt Wieters will catch as many or more games as Yadier Molina and have a nice bounce-back season.
  • Sticking with the Cardinals, Adam Wainwright will have a swansong season, ala Mike Mussina, and lead the Cardinals to an NL Central Division championship.
  • A lot has to go right for an aging, but talented group of starting pitchers, but the Washington Nationals will edge the Phillies for the NL East title. One of the biggest keys is whether Stephen Strasburg can turn in a star turn this season.
  • The Red Sox will again edge the Yankees in the AL East. Starting pitching is too much of a problem for the Yankees to overcome.
  • The Indians will again run away with a terrible AL Central with only the Twins and White Sox having a shot at flirting with the .500 mark.
  • I do not see the Chicago Cubs making the playoffs. They have an old rotation, an unsettled bullpen and the offense is not as potent as it once was. The Brewers will be a better team.
  • Bryce Harper will hit forty homers and walk more than 100 times.
  • The Dodgers are far from a lock as the NL West champs. Their rotation is banged up with only Kenta Meada being a reliable option. The outfield seems to be a wasteland, Corey Seager has to find his way back. The infield lacks star players not named Justin Turner. Where is the talent?
  • The American League will adjust a bit to Blake Snell. He will be good, but not AS good.
  • But who in the NL West can overtake the Dodgers? The Rockies will take a step back. The Diamondbacks will miss their first baseman. The Giants do not seem a threat. Who then?
  • The Oakland Athletics will take a step backwards. A LOT went right for them last year. That kind of thing doesn't happen very often two years in a row.
  • Thus, alas, the Astros will again win the AL West with probably the Angels finishing second...distantly.
  • The Yankees will break their own home run record. Gleyber Torres will have a better year than Miguel Andujar. Giancarlo Stanton will be better and Gary Sanchez may hit .230 but will hit 30+ homers.
  • J.D. Martinez will take a step back this season. He will be solid, but not quite the force he was last year. Injuries will limit him this year.
  • In a race for the MLB's most losses, the Orioles will again outlast the Marlins due to the amount of games the Orioles play against powerhouse rivals.
  • Umpire Angel Hernandez will average causing 5.3 Twitter rants per week.
  • MVPs - AL: Aaron Judge,  NL: Christian Yelich repeat.
  • CYA - AL: Chris Sale, NL: Max Scherzer
  • Rookie of the Year: AL: Elroy Jimenez, NL: Pete Alonso
  • Manager Of The Year: AL: Alex Cora, NL: Mike Schildt (can I buy a vowel?)
  • Comeback Player: AL: Dustin Pedroia, NL: Adam Wainwright
  • And here is the big one: The players union and MLB will sign a major and new labor agreement that will bring harmony to the game for another ten years.

Enjoy the return of our favorite sport!

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