Predictions by sports pundits, radio hosts, writers, and local bar drunks always make for great preseason conversation. Not only that, but if you get something right, then you have a chance to brag to all of your friends (you can conveniently leave out that you were 1 for 73 on your predictions while claiming to be Nostradamus). With that said, here are my MLB predictions for 2015 in no particular order:
The NL MVP award comes down to a tight race between Anthony Rizzo, Juston Upton, and (gasp) a resurgent Ryan Braun. Baseball writers are excited by the return to relevance by Chicago and give the award to Rizzo, who hits .285 with 40 bombs and 115 rbi.
The AL MVP will come down to Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, and Josh Donaldson. Cano pulls it out by winning the batting title with a .325 average, 27 HR, and 102 rbi.
Cano wins the AL batting title, but who wins it for the NL? None other than Troy Tulowitzki, who manages to stay (mostly) healthy and only have one DL stint all season, playing a total of 140 games, hitting at a .328 clip.
The NL Cy Young goes to Clayton Kershaw. There is no need to write more words about this; you get it with him by now.
The AL Cy Young goes to Felix Hernandez. I know, I’m really going out on a limb here, right? Hey, I just predicted Troy Tulowitzki would stay healthy, so cut me some slack. King Felix finally has an offense to work with, so he won’t feel like he has to shut out every team he faces, putting less pressure on himself, leading to less mistake pitches. His numbers this season will be astonishing.
Everyone will talk about Alex Rodriguez for AL Comeback Player of the Year, but no one will be able to stomach voting for him and the talk will be much more about the story than the actual numbers. The award will go to Prince Fielder, who will remain healthy and frequently find the upper deck in Texas to a tune of 41 HR to go along with a .293 average and 94 rbi.
NL Comeback Player of the Year is easily won by Matt Harvey, who comes out firing, but will have to take a short DL stint around the mid-summer classic to get some rest. His numbers would normally put him in the Cy Young conversation, but Kershaw is not human.
Predicting a rookie of the year includes so many factors: playing time, position, health, consistency, and team standings. It’s an absolute crapshoot. With that being said, I am going to ride Kris Bryant’s hot streak from spring training and assume he gets called up mid-May and finishes the season in the bigs to win the NL Rookie of the Year.
My first thought for AL Rookie of the Year was Rusney Casillo. The tools are there, he has a strong lineup around him, and his production can be strong. However, I can also see him hitting .220 and striking out 150 times. So, I am picking Andrew Heaney to take home the trophy. He is going to be in the rotation from opening day and I think he will be a legit contributor to the Angels all season.
National League Playoffs:
NL East: Washington Nationals
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wildcards: Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins
American League Playoffs:
AL East: Toronto Blue Jays
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
AL West: Seattle Mariners
Wildcards: Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians
Mariners over Nationals in 6 games. Seattle goes wild. Starbucks gives free coffee to the world for a day. The NBA brings back the SuperSonics. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and the remaining members of Nirvana unite to record an album. Washington state hipsters have to purchase new hats because their Mariners gear is suddenly “too main stream”.
Not-so-Bold Rangers Predictions
The team finishes 83-79.
Prince Fielder has a HUGE comeback year. HUGE.
Elvis Andrus begins to click again, good Elvis is in the building and develops a close relationship with Jeff Banister, hitting .288 and scoring 78 runs while stealing 34 bases.
Adrian Beltre once again finishes as the top 3rd baseman on ESPN’s player rater, hitting .313 and hitting 29 HR.
Yovani Gallardo finishes in the top 10 for strikeouts in the AL……….while sporting a 4.30 ERA.
Derek Holland shows us what he is made of. I expect a big season from someone who has been working hard.
Tanner Sheppers appears in only 20 games. His injuries are the type that scare me; the attempt to move him from the bullpen may have permanently damaged his career.
Neftali Feliz will drive us all insane early in the season, losing control and walking too many players while he figures out how to use his high velocity pitches once again. He regains control and cruises to 30 saves.
Ross Detwiler provides a nice piece to the rotation, as long as Rangers fans keep their expectations reasonable. He can keep the team in ballgames and give them a chance to win, but don’t expect him to be an All Star.
The bullpen struggles early and often as players attempt to learn their roles and find their value.
Rougned Odor becomes the favorite Ranger for every “baseball guy”. Don’t get me wrong, there is no shortage of talent, but what Odor lacks in experience, he makes up for in grit, guts, and moxie. The more you watch him, the more you like him. I expect his numbers to rise this year as he sees more pitches and gets accustomed to the speed of MLB games.
Shin-Soo Choo has trouble staying healthy, causing Randy Galloway to write another article calling for the death of Jon Daniels.
Leonys Martin continues bunting, running, and unleashing the cannon from centerfield, but has trouble maintaining a high OBP and showing the proper patience for a leadoff hitter.
Colby Lewis will continue to be a rollercoaster of emotions. 7 innings of three hit ball, but those hits will all be homeruns that result in a 5-2 loss. We have seen this episode before.
Joey Gallo is called up the second week of August and proceeds to smack four homeruns in his first two weeks in the big leagues, then proceeds to go cold and hit under .200 for the rest of the season.
Nomar Mazzara, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Lewis Brenson, and Jorge Alfaro will make us excited about the future of Rangers baseball and we will all survive the Lost Yu Darvish season of 2015.