In just a few weeks New York Yankees pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training and hope will spring eternal for every team in MLB other than the Mets…they are just cursed and that’s that.
It’s the time of year when optimism is at an all-time high, and everyone thinks this year will be the year it all comes together. Every injury prone player is in the best shape of his life and is going to be the comeback player of the year, every hitter has adjusted his launch angle and is going to hit .450 with 75 home runs.
Best of all, every sports writer makes their predictions that will quickly be forgotten once the season starts and their success rate matches Joey Gallo’s batting average. Well, I want to get my predictions for the upcoming season on the record as well.
So without further ado here they are:
- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will play professional baseball in 2019. It’s true, someone will pay them to play this year, and I’m 85% certain it won’t be in Japan. One subplot to their free agency dragging on I haven’t seen enough people commenting on: How bad can it be to play in Philadelphia? The owner already basically promised his fanbase they would sign one of these guys if not both, and committed “stupid money” to do so and the response from both players has been “Ummmm cool, I’m totally interested in playing for you, seriously I am (glances at watch) ummm my guy will call your guy to work out the details, gotta go.” Their like a teenage girl who are keeping their safety date for the prom available while they wait for someone better to ask them. Then again Philadelphians are insufferable and they deserve it.
- CC Sabathia will make more starts then James Paxton. That’s right, the 300-pound lefty who turns 39 in July, and who just had heart surgery will be more durable than the 30-year-old ace that the Yankees acquired from the Mariners. I’m predicting 18 starts for Paxton and I think CC will make it to 20. Bonus prediction, remove the decimal point and I think both pitchers ERA’s will match their weight.
- All those people who demanded the Yankees trade Gary Sanchez for JT Realmuto will vanish by the end of the season. “Trade the Kraken??? I never said that, that was totally someone else. Nah, my twitter was hacked or something I knew he was gonna bounce back.” When Sanchez hits 40 homers this year and drives in 100 runs they are going to backpedal and claim they never wanted to trade him, do not allow it. Find their comments, or posts, or anything you can cut and paste it onto a word document 1000 times and send it to them once a day as a reminder of their lack of faith.
- Clint Frazier will win the left field job by June 1st and have a solid season. Brett Gardner will be a 4th outfielder and continue his transition into the veteran leader role. Jacoby Ellsbury will spike himself during a baserunning drill and miss most of the season rehabbing the injury.
- Boston’s decision to not resign most of their bullpen will be their second worst decision. I know that Betts, Bientendi, and JD Martinez were great last year but they still plan on a platoon of Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce at 1st base, the artist is formerly known as Dustin Pedroia at 2nd base, Rafael Devers whose slash line was .240/.298/.433, and HOFer Xander Bogaerts and his up and down offense. Not to mention their catchers being a total trainwreck. Not addressing their line-up will be their biggest concern, you can’t save leads you don’t have.
- Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will combine for 90 home runs and Yankee fans will still be unhappy with the team not signing Machado or Harper. The Yankees are going to break their own home run record from last year with a healthy Judge and Sanchez, Stanton more comfortable in his role, and the Voit/Bird combo being better than a season ago. All that being said Yankee fans are still going to be upset about not signing one of the big free agents. Some people are hard to please I guess.
- The best division in MLB this year will be the NL Central. The Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals are all playoff caliber, Cincinnati has retooled in a huge way, and Pittsburgh will be the best last place team in baseball. Bonus prediction: Sonny Gray wins 15 games and gets down-ballot Cy Young votes, winning more games than James Paxton.
- Shohei Otani comes back down to earth in his second go round. His .330 babip and 30% k rate are probably unsustainable and his injuries and games pitching limited his exposure to AL pitchers in 2018. If he continues to strikeout in 1/3 of his at-bats, and he loses .030 of luck on his batted balls your looking at .230 with 20 HRs. Giving him the ROY over Andujar is going to be like when they gave it to Angel Berro over Matsui.
- Chris Sale’s shoulder issues will get worse. He has gradually missed more and more time over the last few seasons with inflammation and his effectiveness has dropped off as each season progressed. He’s entering the last year of his contract and Boston may try to run him into the ground to prop up their mediocre starting rotation. If they do he won’t be pitching beyond July 4th.
- The Yankees will win the world series. They have a stacked line-up, young players growing into their roles, only two everyday players that have reached their peaks (Stanton and Lemahieu) and can expect improvements from Sanchez, Torres, and Bird. They have enough starting pitching and a dominant bullpen to get them through games when their starters struggle. With Boston needing JD Martinez and Mookie Betts to continue being Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig just to not go backward, and their rotation being a fragile Sale, David Price and his inconsistency issues, Nathan Eovaldi trying for two consecutive good seasons for the first time in his life and Rick Porcello who has been good twice in his entire career it’s clear the Yankees are the new AL favorite.
So there you have them, please remind me how I did come October.