Football season has ended, and the days are getting warmer. You know what that means? Spring training is here!!!
During the off-season I’ve looked through a lot of stats, articles, and video trying to decide who our surprise players will be this year.
I’ve collected all that into one spot to provide you with 16 predictions for the coming season.
- Giants Rotation>Mets Rotation
- Dyson leads the league in SB
- Baseball is a sport of thieves: 6 players with 50+ steals
- Chicks dig the long ball: 3 players hit 50 HR
- Carlos Correa: MVP Contender
- Miguel Cabrera: MVP Contender
- AJ Pollock: MVP Contender
- CJ Cron hits 25 HR, flirts with 100 RBI
- Miguel Sano hits 35 HR
- AJ Reed (Astros) finishes top 3 for ROY
- Byung-Ho Park (Twins) wins AL ROY
- Jose Fernandez traded
- Kyle Hendricks is an All-star
- Raisel Iglesias finishes as a top 20 pitcher
- Carlos Rodon finishes as a top 20 pitcher
- Nick Castellanos is a top 10 3B
Giants Rotation>Mets Rotation
Everyone thinks that the Mets have 3 aces in DeGrom, Harvey, and Syndergaard. There’s no doubt that they are young, talented pitchers, but I think the Giants are going to have a better rotation.
Bumgarner is well established as an elite pitcher. Cueto has always been elite in the NL. Last year, he offered a 2.62 ERA while with the Reds.
He’s going to get a better offense and defense while also pitching in a better park- Cy Young possibility? I think so!
(Bonus bold prediction) Samardzija will benefit from the park as well. His biggest issue has always been the long ball. San Francisco’s stadium alone will help with that. I believe Samardzija’s stats will improve across the board this year.
Dyson leads the league in SB
That’s right, the guy who has never been an everyday player. He’s going to get a lot of playing time this season. He won’t be every day, but I think he’ll be close.
His career average is 1 steal every 7.3 AB, which would come out to, roughly, 1 steal every other game.
I’m not sure that his numbers will be quite that high, but I don’t see anyone in the American League coming close.
He should be the first guy in the AL to swipe 70 bags since Jacoby Ellsbury in 2009.
Baseball is a sport of thieves: 6 players with 50+ steals
Specialized players are becoming more common in today’s game. You’re going to see six guys steal at least 50 bases in 2016.
Leading the Majors will be Dyson with 78. Billy Hamilton will be the only entertainment in CIN. He’ll have 75. Ben Revere should steal 53 bases. Dee Gordon will ‘only’ steal 52. Charlie Blackmon and AJ Pollock are each going to steal 51.
That’s right, we’ll have 70 steals in the AL and the NL for the first time since Coleman and Henderson each swiped over 85 in 1987!
Chicks dig the long ball: 3 players hit 50 HR
The last time we saw a player hit 50 HR was in 2013 when Chris Davis hit 53. I believe this will be the year that changes.
In fact, I think three players will reach that goal. Mike Trout is going to have a truly special year as he continues towards being one of the greatest ever.
Chris Davis is going to reward the Orioles after giving him a large contract.
Finally, Giancarlo Stanton is going to stay fully healthy (a bold prediction in itself) and be the first NL player to hit 50 since Prince Fielder in 2007.
Carlos Correa: MVP Contender
Carlos Correa just polished off his Rookie of the Year trophy. He may have to make space on the mantle for an MVP award.
It’s going to be tough for him to beat Trout, but I think Correa has a chance. He’ll be the second Shortstop to make the 30/30 club ever (the other is A-Rod).
Correa is also going to benefit from a good line up and a park that allows for lots of extra-base hits. Correa is young and isn’t going to tire. Expect great things.
Miguel Cabrera: MVP Contender
Cabrera hasn’t quite been himself recently. He’s finished 9th and 11th the past two years in the MVP voting. I think he’ll bounce back.
He’s in good shape, he’s determined, and I think Martinez will bounce back enough to offer some protection in that line up. Miggy should finish in the top 5 in votes.
AJ Pollock: MVP Contender
Pollock is my “dark horse” candidate for the NL MVP. It’s going to be tough to beat out teammate Paul Goldschmidt, but Pollock has the chance to steal enough bases and show enough power that it could happen.
Pollock made a huge leap last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do the same this year. 25 HR and 50 SB are worth consideration for the MVP.
CJ Cron hits 25 HR, flirts with 100 RBI
Cron showed some solid numbers last year, and did a lot of damage from the number 5 spot. With Pujols aging, I think Cron is going to start the season as a number 5 hitter, then move up to either the 3 or the 4 spot.
This will give him additional at bats and more RBI opportunities. I think he’ll end up taking over Pujols’ spot and performing very well by the end of the year.
Miguel Sano hits 35 HR
Sano has been lauded as one of the best power hitting prospects in baseball in recent years, and he showed why last year with 18 HR in 80 games.
He had 17 doubles and a triple to go with it. Sano showed good patience which is always key for a power hitter.
It’s not out of the realm for him to hit 40 HR, but I’m going to settle with him breaking the 35 plateau.
AJ Reed (Astros) finishes top 3 for ROY
I believe Reed makes it to the majors before the end of May. This kid is special. He has a career OBP of .415 and he hit 34 HR last season.
I realize that it’s a big jump from AA to the Majors, but I expect Reed to handle it well.
Reed will make his debut before May ends and I see him hitting about 20 HR and having a .280 average. That should be enough to have 70 RBI and 65 Runs.
Those are tough stats for any rookie to accomplish, which should make him stand out.
Byung-Ho Park (Twins) wins AL ROY
Writers have compared the KBO to anything from A to AAA baseball. Whatever the comparison for league, I can guarantee you; he’d be getting a lot more publicity if his 105 HR the last 2 seasons (173 in 4 seasons) and would be more respected if he were in any league in the US.
In the last 2 years, a AAA level player has broken 30 HR twice. Byung-Ho Park has broken 50 HR twice in the last two years.
His power will translate, he hits to all fields, and he has a good walk rate. Expect him to be the first KBO superstar in the Majors.
Jose Fernandez traded
The Marlins have a history of blowing their roster up and looking toward the future. After both of their World Series victories (97, 03) the team was dismantled.
In fact, only 4 starters returned after 2003. The Marlins know when it’s time to trade their pieces.
Sadly, Fernandez isn’t going to stay in Miami for long, and the owners/GM will realize that, and try to get prospects.
Kyle Hendricks is an All-star
Hendricks is still a young kid (26 years old) and all of his numbers are trending upward. He’s got great control (43 BB in 180 IP last season).
His FIP was lower than his ERA, his K:BB rate is roughly 4:1, and he’s got a great offense surrounding him.
I don’t think Hendricks is good enough to fight for the Cy Young, but I think he’ll be on the NL All-star team on his way to 15 wins. He should break 200 IP and could push 180 K’s this year.
Raisel Iglesias finishes as a top 20 pitcher
Iglesias is still young and had a strong showing last year. After August 1 last year, he had a 3.13 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and pitched 6 or more innings in 7 of his 9 starts.
Somehow, he got stronger as the season went on, and I expect more of that. He’s going to lack wins; otherwise he could make the top 10 out of all pitchers. This kid is going to be special.
Carlos Rodon finishes as a top 20 pitcher
There is a lot of pitching in Chicago this year. Rodon isn’t known as well as his teammate Chris Sale, but he is a great young pitcher.
As a young pitcher, he showed the ability to strike batters out (139 K in 139 IP) and avoid the long ball (11 HR).
His struggles were control (8 HBP, 7 WP) and base runners (1.44 WHIP). I think he takes big strides this season.
He’ll cut his walk rate significantly, going from 4.59 BB/9 to 3.1 BB/9. Look for Rodon to increase his strikeout total as well.
He’s got one of the nastiest sliders in the game, and can make the best hitters look like children when he throws it.
Nick Castellanos is a top 10 3B
In 2015, Castellanos had an incredible second half. He improved his OBP by 50 points and hit 9 HR in 69 games.
Last year, he had a bad average and didn’t score many runs. I think both of those will improve this year. Hitting 20 HR should help. I also see him batting around .270.
Castellanos will finally become the player that he was expected to be when the Tigers selected him in the 1st round.
Do you have any bold predictions? Do you think any of these predictions are completely unrealistic? I would love to hear your opinion.