For The 2018 MLB Season
Alright, here we go...
The theme in this year's predictions will be: Facts that will blow your mind.
For instance, 12+1=11+2.
Well... "twelve plus one" is also an anagram of "eleven plus two."
Not all of these will be so academic, I assure you.
Some of them; however, may be eye opening.
Like this one... Your eyes move between 50 and 60 times per second.
I thought that was pretty cool.
Also, a typical lead pencil can draw a line 35 miles long.
As we head into Spring I want everyone to know that numbers are very important. Whether it be at work, at home, where you're at or where you're going, numbers are important. But numbers aren't everything and you shouldn't be a slave to stats.
In the past I've based a lot of my research on statistics and numbers.
As I get older, and begin to look at things from different perspectives I find that it's important, now more than ever, to take life a little easier and focus on the little things.
And when I say little things, I mean family, friends, happiness and relationships.
Typically, my prediction articles are fun and interesting so please keep an open mind. I went out on a limb with a lot of these predictions but I do believe in them (at least, to a point). Also, please don't overreact on Twitter. For those of you who are easily offended: I apologize now. This article is meant to be interesting and fun, with a little humor. If I catch you getting mad on social media I'll ignore you, and maybe block you.
Please keep in mind that these predictions won't necessarily coincide with my Fantasy Projections but a lot of the numbers will be similar.
Here are my 50 Predictions for the 2018 MLB Season
And 10 Facts that will blow your mind
Blow Your Mind Fact #1
- Roughly 90% of the media is owned by just six corporations. Really makes you think.
Before I get to number two, Baltimore Orioles' fans might want to just skip to down to number three.
Or you can read it and just hate me.
2. The Baltimore Orioles were in contention last September but finished the season winning just four of their final 23 games. This year they'll pick up right where they left off-with a slow start. I have the O's winning five games in their first 25 contests this season. The slow start will force the team to move Closer Zach Britton and Shortstop Manny Machado in the Summer. I believe the Chicago Cubs will make a play for Britton and in return have to move Shortstop Addison Russell to Baltimore. Russell's departure would allow the Cubs to move Javier Baez to Shortstop and Ian Happ to Second Base.
Baltimore would look to Addison to replace Manny Machado at Shortstop after the team moves Machado to the Washington Nationals. Yes, the Nats.
Do I think Harper will stay in Washington?
I'll get to that later on.
3. After a rather quiet off season, the Cubs' biggest rival, the St. Louis Cardinals will be very active at the trade deadline. St. Louis will make a trade for Tampa Bay Closer Alex Colome and Toronto Third Baseman Josh Donaldson. In return, the Cardinals will send Outfielder Tyler O'Neill to Tampa Bay. Toronto will receive Pitcher Dakota Hudson and Third Baseman Patrick Wisdom.
4. Seeing the Cubs and Cardinals make improvements will force the Dodgers to make a deal they probably would not want to. I think the Dodgers will be coerced into dealing for Tampa Bay Rays' ace Chris Archer this Summer. In return the Rays will receive Julio Urias, the Dodgers' top prospect. A prospect once thought to be immovable by me and several Baseball people. The move will reunite Archer with the man who traded for him in 2011 when he was in charge of the Rays, Andrew Friedman.
Blow Your Mind Fact #2
- Over 50% of the people who live in Miami are of Cuban descent. This one isn't really "mind blowing" but ask yourself, why did Derek Jeter bring a man with the last name Castro to Miami? I'm not sure, but I do know that you won't sell many jerseys with that name on the back.
6. You may have noticed that I left the New York Yankees out of the trading frenzy above. I believe the Yankees will avoid any major trades this Summer as they look to compete for World Series 28. I do however, think we'll see Gleyber Torres and Justus Sheffield in New York this season. Adding both of them to the 25-man roster is just as good as making a trade for any of the above players (except maybe Manny Machado).
7. A big reason why the Yankees won't feel the need to improve their roster is the trio of sluggers in the middle of their order. This year I believe we'll see Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez combine to hit over 140 home runs. That total will be more than the what the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers will hit AS A TEAM this year.
8. There's been a lot of talk about forcing an ownership change in Pittsburgh due to their recent "fire sale" of players like Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. But there's been very little talk about an ownership change in Kansas City. I think that will change this year now that Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain were both allowed to walk via free agency on contracts that could have easily been matched by the Royals.
Royals' owner David Glass, a key player in the Wal-Mart evolution and growth over the past several decades, has big-time money but has historically refused to pay players. Glass bought the Royals in 2000 for about $96 million, the team is now estimated to be worth about $950 million. That's right Royals' fans, you lost two stars because your owner refuses to pay his players a fair wage. I guess we should have seen that coming since he doesn't really pay his Wal-Mart employees a fair wage either.
10. In 2017 I based my March Madness picks on drama. This year, in order to keep with the theme of my predictions, I'm going to base my Final Four picks on statistics... and facts.
- West Virginia because Jevon Carter can ball (that's a fact).
- North Carolina leads the nation in rebounds per game.
- Vacated Final Four wins are nothing new in College Basketball; just ask Louisville and Memphis (that's my way of saying I like Arizona).
- Only one team since 1998 has won the tournament with their main campus located west of the Missouri River (Kansas in 2008).
So there you go: West Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona and Kansas.
I wouldn't bet on these picks though, historically I've been terrible at this.
BTW: I'll take North Carolina to win it all this year.
Blow Your Mind Fact #3
The average budget to develop a video game is roughly $28 million. That number can easily double, depending on marketing costs. As crazy as that sounds, I did find out that surgeons who play at least three hours of video games per week perform 27% faster and make 37% fewer errors.
11. Before I get back into my predictions I want to take a quick break to tell you about three international players worth knowing. The first is Cuban defector Julio Pablo Martinez. I believe Martinez will sign with the Miami Marlins when the international signing period begins on July 2nd, this Summer. Martinez has the potential to step in right away and become one of the best prospects in the Marlins' system right now. The next two are a pair of Japanese Pitchers in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Tomoyuki Sugano and Takahiro Norimoto are strikeout machines who could come to the Majors within the next 12-18 months. Keep an eye on the Texas Rangers who will make a strong play for both Pitchers.
12. With Baseball changing right before our eyes, I think it's worth taking a moment to pay our respects to a soon to be endangered species: the 20-game winner. Baseball is evolving into a game where Starting Pitchers don't hold as much value as they used to.
Thanks to the implementation of larger rotations (we may see multiple six-man rotations this year), higher velocities (no need for a Starter to take it easy to go deeper in games), inning limits (teams are very careful of their young arms) and the increased use of analytics (numbers rule everything), we're going to be lucky if we see any more 20-game winners. You may have noticed that I did not project a single Pitcher to win 20 games this season in my Rankings & Projections; and I'm standing by that. In fact, I'll go as far as saying there will never be another 20-game winner in my lifetime.
I get into more detail about these analytical changes in my Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, check it out here.
13. Of all the new Managers that were hired this past off season, only one made perfect sense to me. That hire was the Mets acquisition of Indians' Pitching Coach Mickey Callaway. With Callaway leading arguably the most talented pitching staff in the Majors, the Mets should enter 2018 with optimism. Callaway was responsible for taking Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar to the next level in Cleveland. I'm expecting big things this year from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jason Vargas and a resurgence from Matt Harvey as well as Zack Wheeler. Is a six-man rotation in the works? I think so.
14. In 2017, Minnesota made the playoffs a year after losing 100 games; a feat that's never been accomplished before in the history of Baseball. I wanted to use this prediction to talk about how great of a turnaround the Minnesota Twins made last season. Instead, I feel it's more important to talk about All Star Third Baseman Miguel Sano and how his future is up in the air right now amid sexual misconduct allegations. Let Mr. Sano's situation be an example to everyone as we're living in a time where sexual misconduct allegations will be (and rightfully should be) brought to light. Don't be an idiot, respect everyone and do your best to avoid these situations. I think Sano will play this season but I have growing concerns about his future. If he does miss significant time, you can expect Minnesota to showcase top prospect Nick Gordon this season. If Gordon does get called-up early in the season he'll be in the running for AL Rookie of the Year.
Blow Your Mind Fact #4
Country Music Artist Tim McGraw is the son of Tug McGraw, a member of the New York Mets Hall of Fame. Tug was a two-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion.
15. After a surprising run in 2017, the Milwaukee Brewers will continue to be competitive in the National League Central this season. Ryan Braun will move to First Base to make room for Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Domingo Santana in the Outfield. Braun will thrive at his new position and make the All Star game as a reserve First Baseman behind Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto.
16. It's 2018 and I haven't even talked about the San Francisco Giants yet. Remember when the Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014, and we made a big deal about them heading into 2016? Remember how that turned out? If you don't, allow me to refresh your memory; the Giants were knocked out in the Division Series by the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Now in 2018 there's reason to believe the Giants will be in contention once again this season. With a healthy and improved roster, San Francisco has the makings of a championship contender.
I don't think they'll even make the playoffs this year. I love what they've done bringing in Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria, I just don't think it's enough to compete in the tough National League West. Sorry, guys.
17. Staying in the Bay Area, Oakland will once again miss the playoffs. The difference this season is that they'll actually be pretty fun to watch with some real talent on their roster. I'm a fan of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo, Khris Davis, Dustin Fowler, Renato Nunez, Stephen Piscotty, Paul Blackburn, Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and Andrew Triggs; I just think they're a few years away from being on the same level as the Houston Astros in that division.
18. Speaking of the Astros, Houston will once again dominate the regular season by winning 100 games in 2018. Houston won the AL West last season with a 21 game lead over the Angels. This year I think they'll win the division by just 12 games as the Angels (and Mariners) have improved quite a bit this Winter. The Astros will finish the season with two players in the Top 5 in AL MVP voting: Jose Altuve and George Springer. With Carlos Correa not far behind.
A TI-83 calculator has six times more processing power than the computer that helped land Apollo 11 on the moon. Isn't that crazy?
19. Every year I try to take a quick break from Baseball to give you my thoughts on the upcoming NFL season. After an exciting end to a rather boring season, I think the NFL will become more entertaining in 2018 due to an absurd amount of intriguing story lines. One of those story lines will be the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC. I think the 49ers will go 12-4 next season and win the NFC Championship game over the Philadelphia Eagles.
20. In the AFC I think it will be two familiar faces in the Championship game with Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady meeting, once again. I love greatness but I'm over the Patriots. Give me the Steelers in a blowout 31-17.
21. That means we'll get a Super Bowl match-up of the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers. I'll take the Steelers 24-23. That said, a lot of things can change from now until the season begins so I may change my mind come August, and again in October, and January and probably again in February.
Blow Your Mind Fact #6
The population of Mars consists entirely of robots.
Or so we're led to believe.
Also, a curveball thrown on Mars would actually turn into a screwball. And if you were able to make contact, the ball would travel roughly three times as far.
Back to Baseball. On this planet.
22. Giancarlo Stanton will lead Major League Baseball in home runs this year. My sleeper pick to win the home run title is Mike Trout. Maybe J.D. Martinez, maybe.
25. Justin Bour, unlike many of his former teammates, will embrace staying with the rebuilding Miami Marlins this season. Bour will also be the team's representative at this year's All Star game. Bour will then win the All Star game MVP and be traded as I mentioned earlier. He's a great pickup in Fantasy Baseball leagues.
26. Chris Taylor will continue his tear on MLB pitching this year when he posts a 20HR/20SB season in Dodger Blue. It would be just the 14th 20HR/20SB campaign in Dodgers' history.
27. Taylor's former teammate, Brandon Morrow, will lead the Chicago Cubs in saves this year. With 28. The team will be looking to upgrade all season long.
28. Morrow's current teammate, Jose Quintana, will post his second straight 200 strikeout season. Quintana is just 12 strikeouts away from reaching 1,000 career K's. He would be the first Colombian-born Pitcher to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.
29. Another Colombian-born Pitcher, Julio Teheran, has 860 career strikeouts. He'll get to 1,000 career K's before the season is over as well. Additionally, Teheran will start Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves this year, making it five straight seasons as the Opening Day Starter.
He'd be the only Pitcher in Braves' history to make five straight Opening Day starts (although it should be noted that Phil Niekro and Greg Maddux ended with more total Game One starts than Teheran).
A snail can sleep for up to three years at a time.
30. Bryce Harper will play a full 162 game season in 2018. Despite his durability, Harper will finish outside the Top 5 in NL MVP voting. Something that won't affect where he goes in free agency. I'll get to his landing spot here in a second.
31. From one former MVP to another, Dustin Pedroia will call it quits after the 2018 season. Pedroia will be in Cooperstown in 2027 (his fourth year on the ballot).
32. Corey Dickerson will record a 5.0 WAR with the Pirates this season. Steven Souza Jr. will post a 5.3 WAR with the Diamondbacks. Evan Longoria will have a 3.4 WAR with the Giants. All of their numbers (their WAR rate) will be more than double their actual replacements in Tampa Bay, whoever that may be.
33. Madison Bumgarner will bounce back in a big way this year by tossing two one-hitters and one no-hitter. Only one other Pitcher will record a no-hitter this season... (see no.34)
34. Carlos Martinez.
Blow Your Mind Fact #8
The Moon also gets earthquakes (moonquakes?).
35. Every year I try to use one of these predictions to help you win your Fantasy Baseball Leagues. Here are four underrated hitters that will help you win your leagues this season: Greg Bird, Scooter Gennett, Nick Castellanos and Raimel Tapia. I'm a fan of Tapia, if he gets a starting spot out of Spring Training he'll be fantasy gold in 2018.
36. Here are four underrated Pitchers who will help you win your Fantasy leagues: Alex Reyes, Aaron Sanchez, Lucas Giolito and Julio Urias. I think Alex Reyes will recover from his Tommy John surgery fully and become a Top 20 Pitcher within two years.
Blow Your Mind Fact #9
Warren Spahn retired with 363 career wins and 363 career base hits. This brings to mind the fact that there will NEVER be another 300 game winner in the history of Baseball.
37. Over the past few years I've used prediction #37 to talk about high-end prospects. This year will be no different. After studying every team's minor league system, I've come to the conclusion that the White Sox appear to be the team of the future. The White Sox sport several elite prospects in their system right now like Outfielders Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Eloy Jimenez and Catcher Zack Collins. Their current Major League infield consists of your stars like Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu. On the mound the team boasts Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Carlos Rodon, Dylan Cease, Dylan Covey, Alec Hansen, Carson Fulmer and Dane Dunning and future bullpen arms like Thyago Vieira and Zack Burdi.
Not to be outdone, the Atlanta Braves have acquired a plethora of high-end prospects over the past few years as well. The Braves aren't far away from having a Major League roster consisting of Pitchers like Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Luiz Gohara, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Jesse Biddle and Arodys Vizcaino. They also aren't far off form promoting top hitting prospects like Ronald Acuna and Alex Jackson to join Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Rio Ruiz.
Don't be surprised if we see the Braves and White Sox meet in the 2021 World Series. If they do meet, I'd take the Braves to win.
38. Seattle Mariners' Closer Edwin Diaz will lead the American League in saves with 39 this season. Los Angeles Dodgers' Closer Kenley Jansen will lead all of Baseball with 42 saves.
39. Ronald Acuna will win NL Rookie of the Year.
40. Shohei Ohtani will win AL Rookie of the Year.
41. Clayton Kershaw will win the NL Cy Young Award.
42. Luis Severino will win the AL Cy Young Award.
43. Paul Goldschmidt will win the NL MVP Award.
44. Mike Trout will win the AL MVP Award.
Cody Allen (Indians)
Adrian Beltre (Blue Jays)
Charlie Blackmon (Rockies)
Josh Donaldson (Cardinals)
Brian Dozier (Twins)
Bryce Harper (Cubs)
Matt Harvey (Mets)
Adam Jones (Orioles)
Dallas Keuchel (Yankees)
Craig Kimbrel (Red Sox)
Manny Machado (Nationals)
Andrew Miller (Dodgers)
A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks)
Yasiel Puig (White Sox)
46. NL Division Winners and Wild Card Teams:
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Central - Chicago Cubs
NL East - Washington Nationals
Wild Card 1 - Arizona Diamondbacks
Wild Card 2 - Milwaukee Brewers
47. AL Division Winners and Wild Card Teams:
AL West - Houston Astros
AL Central - Cleveland Indians
AL East - New York Yankees
Wild Card 1 - Boston Red Sox
Wild Card 2 - Seattle Mariners
Humans spend an average of 13% of our lives zoning out... What? Where am I?
48. League Championship Match-ups:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
50. I'm picking the Yankees to win the 2018 World Series in seven games. It would be the second straight year the Dodgers lose the World Series (both in seven games if I'm correct).
The victory would give the Yankees 28 titles and bragging rights as the team has clearly embraced analytics in the ever-changing game of Baseball.
World Series MVP: Giancarlo Stanton.