March 7, 2013 by NowhereButPop
I’ll be honest, as a Yankee fan there really isn’t much to look forward to this year (or the next three years), but as a fan of major league baseball, things should get very interesting, very quickly.
1) The Cincinnati Reds will win it all
This is the year when Dusty Baker will finally win a World Series (as a manager). He’s a manager who still uses his gut and not a stat sheet, and while this doesn’t always work out favorably, it’s nice to see tradition still has a part in baseball games. Having managed the 2002 Giants and the 2003 Cubs, the 2013 Reds will finally be able to go all the way. With a potent offense, and a great rotation spearheaded by Cueto and Latos, my only trepidation is how well Aroldis Chapman transitions into the rotation.
2) Mike Trout will have a serious sophomore slump
Already he’s gained 15 lbs. Already he’s complaining about money. Already does he have huge expectations. Oh and throw in the fact that he has all of Los Angeles at his disposal, and it’s not too hard to believe that Trout will have a lackluster year. It seems like his head isn’t where it should be, and that sooner or later it’ll start to affect his play.
3) Stephen Strausburg will tear the National League asunder
After last year’s abrupt and distasteful exit for the young phenomena, Strausburg will try to prove to everyone that the innings limit last year was a ridiculous idea (as it was) and that his absence from the rotation cost them the championship. For a guy who’s been compared to Dwight Gooden (but without the drugs), don’t be surprised if he goes into F-you mode and steamroll right over the opposition.
4) The Yankees will not make the playoffs
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, with no catcher, a saboteur at third base, and an unstable end of the rotation the Yankees don’t look like the Yankees of old; they look like old Yankees. 86-76 is what their record will be on the finals day of the season. Although that may be good enough to win the AL central, keep in mind that the AL east has always been a little bit more competitive.
5) The Dodgers and the Blue Jays won’t be as great as everyone thinks they’ll be
For some reason people disavow chemistry when gauging a team’s skill. As the Red Sox have shown us over the past two years, chemistry can be more important than overall talent. Both the Dodgers and the Jays made huge moves acquiring tremendous talent, but we’ve yet to see how that talent meshes together. As of right now, neither is a team in the truest sense of the word, just a bunch of guys wearing the same uniform. I give them 1 or 2 years before things start to click.
6) The Pirates will finish the season with a winning record
Although the Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t won 81 games in over 20 seasons, this will be the year. Over the past two years, they’ve become a much better, more well rounded team. They have a star in McCutchen, a strong presence behind the plate with Russell Martin, and a rotation that could be surprisingly effective within the safe confines of the National League. With Clint Hurdle leading all of these pieces, the Pirates have a real chance at finishing above .500 for the first time since Arsenio Hall had his own TV show.
7) Wil Myers will make his debut sometime around the All-Star break
For as good as he is, and as starved for offense as the Rays are, don’t be surprised if the Rays call up Myers for some extra offensive power. According to scouts his offensive game is essentially complete, it’s just his defense and glove work that need honing. But, for the Ray, one benefit of playing in the AL East is the DH spot which following the departure of Carlos Pena, could be the best way for Myers to break into the majors.
8) This will be the last year that Mauer and Morneau will play together in Minnesota
In all honesty, they may very well not even make it to the end of the season. With Morneau, who is in the last year of his contract, it makes sense for a team in rebuilding mode to not resign an aging first basemen whose skill and health have been in steady decline. As for Mauer, even though he is the face of the franchise, there have been rumors that the team is willing to trade him for the right offer. Whether or not this happens is a whole other story. If the Twins really do want to preserve Mauer’s legs and move him to first base, that makes this prediction all but reality as Morneau would have no place to go. Just remember Mauer isn’t getting any younger either, so now might be the best time to get a good deal of young talent for him.
9) A-Rod doesn’t play for the entire season
Hey, I can dream can’t I?
10) The Tigers will once again underwhelm us in the regular season
I can’t say if this will remain true in October, as the post season is a different monster all together. At the very least though, the Tigers won’t be as dominant as they should be during the regular season. Miguel Cabrera isn’t a leader in the clubhouse, Prince Fielder is still a hired-hand for the time being, Justin Verlander is fixated on his next contract, Jim Leyland just doesn’t want to get fired, and Anibal Sanchez will never be worth $80 million. A team without heart has never won the World Series before, and to me the Tigers just don’t look like they have much heart.