MLB 2014: Bold Player Predictions

It’s been 3 long months since the end of the World Series. Spring Training starts in a couple of weeks, and before reality sets in, I’m interested in any bold predictions that fans have for their favorite players. As a baseball fan, Tell me something I should be looking for in 2014.

Right now, every veteran is claiming to be “in the shape of their lives,” every prospect is the next Ozzie Smith or Ken Griffey Jr. or Tom Seaver. Players coming off poor years have corrected their mechanics in the off-season and are sure bets to rebound, and players coming off career years are guaranteed to build on their success.

A couple of guidelines: 1) Be bold, but try not to be ridiculous. No one is going to win 30 games this year, although Mike Trout could hit .400. 2) I’d suggest making individual player predictions, since we won’t know the 25-man rosters for each team until they break camp 8 weeks from this Sunday.

My 3 predictions:

  1. Xander Bogaerts will win the 2014 AL ROY. Not that bold of a prediction, since he’s the #1 prospect that will be starting the season in MLB. But, raw talent aside, it’s rare to see a 21 year old with such a perfect makeup to withstand the slings and arrows of a 162 game season under a microscope.

  2. Jon Lester will win the 2014 AL Cy Young. 5 years ago, and for the 2 successive years, I made this same prediction. But it became apparent that Lester was unable to put together a consistent enough season, start to finish, to nail down a Cy. But coming off his 2013 post-season, I think this is the year.

  3. Dustin Pedroia will hit 25 HRs in 2014. A hand injury, in the first week of 2013, took away most of his power last year. Pedroia is fiercely competitive, who always has to prove something. In 2007, as ROY, it was mentioned his only drawback was his lack of speed, so he spent the off-season becoming faster, and since he’s been a 20+ SB threat. This year, I think he tries to lead the Sox in homers.

**1) Michael Brantley (Cleveland) will finally end the season with a .300+ batting average. ** I’ve just been feeling this forever, and he keeps coming close but not keeping it up at the end of the season. I’ve said .330 in the past but I’ll be realistic this year. Just over .300 please. (Of course then the Tribe will lose him because everyone will realize how awesome he is. sniffle)

That’s all I got. That’s all I predict every year. lol

My first idea was to post Bogaerts batting .190 and getting sent down in June, Lester tearing his shoulder in spring training and missing the season and Pedroia only managing 11 dingers for the season. But that would be silly. :smiley:

So:

Mark Teixeira Huge bounce back year, 40+ homers and 120+ RBI

CC Sabathia 20 wins, ERA under 3.50

Derek Jeter Another 200 hit season, BA over .300

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury both steal 50 bases and have OBP’s over .360

David Robertson notches 50 saves, and an ERA under 2.10

Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano both hit 30+ homers

Masahiro Tanaka wins rookie of the year, finishes second to Sabathia in the AL in wins.

The New York Yankees defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to 2 in the World Series

Edwin Encarnacion will lead the American League in home runs.

(Don’t expect anything from his teammates.)

Any word on EE’s recovery from wrist surgery? Sometimes it’s not a big deal, although sometimes it is – case, in point, Teixeira has already lowered expectations for his 2014 season.

I’ll go ahead and take George Springer for AL Rookie of the Year with a .900ish OPS and 30+ home runs.

He seems fine, from what I’ve heard.

My favourite statistic from last year (as a Jays fan there weren’t many to be happy about) is this; last year there were 178 Major League players who hit more than ten home runs. 177 of them struck out more times than they walked. Edwin Encarnacion was the only one who walked more than he struck out. That’s actually the main reason I’m picking him to be HR champ; his contact is remarkable for a power hitter.

He’s a nice story, really, a guy who was given up on a few times but kept working hard and became a hell of a hitter.

Given all the depth in Houston’s farm system, Springer going from OKC to Houston is almost like a demotion.:slight_smile:

The Astros will be an interesting team to watch over the next 2-3 years to see what impact their prospects will have.

Encarnacion doubled his walk total overnight. After Beltre left the Sox, they actually considered signing EE, but, ironically, declined because of his lack of plate discipline. (They ended up trading for A Gonzalez and moving Youkilis to 3rd.)

I wonder when his playing career is over, if Encarnacion might make an ideal special hitting instructor to show them how it’s done.

I think this was a lucky break for both parties. Encarnacion’s improvement has precisely coincided with his NOT playing third base. The pressure of playing third, which he wasn’t good at, seemed to adversely affect his game.

The Indians have agreed with Brantley on a 4 year extension, with a 5th year club option. $25 mil over 4 years, with the 5th year option at $11 mil. Brantley, 26, would not have been eligible for FA until after the 2016 season. This deal locks him up through the age of 31.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24438917/report-indians-michael-brantley-close-to-long-term-extension

Teams are increasingly using their increased revenue to lock up prime years of not only their top players (i.e. LA and Kershaw) but also the good players, like Brantley. This trend is ominous for those clubs that rely on Free Agency since the available pool of players that reach FA are getting older, and thus riskier.

The Atlantis Sportsbook of Reno, NV has posted their over/under win totals for the 2014 season. Show your support for your local team by throwing a c-note on the Olde Towne Team.

http://www.covers.com/articles/articles.aspx?theArt=359018

One trend I see is that Atlantis gives very little credit to lousy teams that have deep farm systems, like Minnesota, Chicago(NL), Houston and Colorado. Most likely to encourage action.

AL East
Tampa Bay Rays - 88.5 (over -110/under -110)
Boston Red Sox - 87.5 (over -110/under -110)
New York Yankees - 83.5 (over -110/under -110)
Baltimore Orioles - 80.5 (over -110/under -110)
Toronto Blue Jays - 77.5 (over -115/under -105)

AL Central
Detroit Tigers - 91.5 (over -110/under -110)
Kansas City Royals - 85.5 (over -110/under -110)
Cleveland Indians - 82.5 (over -105/under -115)
Chicago White Sox - 76.5 (over -105/under -115)
Minnesota Twins - 65.5 (over -105/under -115)

AL West
Oakland Athletics - 86.5 (over -115/under -105)
Texas Rangers - 86.5 (over -110/under -110)
Los Angeles Angels - 84.5 (over -110/under -110)
Seattle Mariners - 80 (over -110/under -110)
Houston Astros - 57.5 (over -115/under -105)

NL East
Washington Nationals - 90.5 (over -110/under -110)
Atlanta Braves - 86.5 (over -110/under -110)
Philadelphia Phillies - 78 (over -110/under -110)
New York Mets - 71.5 (over -110/under -120)
Miami Marlins - 66.5 (over -110/under -110)

NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals - 90.5 (over -110/under -110)
Cincinnati Reds - 87.5 (over -105/under -115)
Pittsburgh Pirates - 86.5 (over -105/under -110)
Milwaukee Brewers - 78.5 (over -105/under -115)
Chicago Cubs - 65.5 (over -110/under -110)

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers - 92.5 (over -110/under -110)
San Francisco Giants - 86.5 (over -110/under -110)
Arizona Diamondbacks - 81 (over -110/under -110)
San Diego Padres - 76.5 (over -110/under -110)
Colorado Rockies - 76.5 (over -110/under -110)

57.5 is a ridiculous over/under for ANY team. I know Houston is a bad team and have had three horrible seasons, but they won 51 games last year with an incredibly young team and in any case, winning fewer than 60 games is almost always a bit flukey in modern MLB. It’s something of a miracle they’ve won as few games as they have. It’s very likely they’ll be better.

I’m in agreement, and as I alluded to, these are betting lines, and they’re calculated to get equal amounts of action on both sides of the number. If the Astros opened at 60+ wins, then I can’t see too many wagering on them. One of the things on which I’ve kept informal track is the tendency of Sports books to low-ball teams that sucked in the previous year, but still had a lot of near major league prospects that could make a difference. I always meant to collect this data so I could determine future betting opportunities, but I’ve been too much of a slack-ass. Maybe I’ll start this year.

Aroldis Chapman will pitch at least one fastball that will reach 106mph on the radar gun.

Billy Hamilton will steal 60 bases.

Joey Votto will hit .340 for next season.

Jay Bruce will hit 40 HR’s.

Greg Holland: leads the AL in saves
**Derek Jeter: **80 hits, 110 games, last game is in early August
**Felix Hernandez: **23 wins, 250+ Ks
**Adam Jones: **top 3 in MVP voting
**Wil Myers: **top 10 in MVP voting
**James Shields: **11 wins, 4.00+ ERA, 145 Ks

Billy Hamilton will have 60 steals by the all star break.

I tempered my prediction based on the fact that it’s not clear if he’s going to be the every day CF or not due to his sketchy hitting. I wish the Reds could have kept Choo for one more year but he priced himself out of the stratosphere and I doubt he has another season in him like last year. First half of the season he was unbelievably good.

Hamilton was very good at getting on base until last year. Prior to AAA he always had nice walk rates and batting averages, and he wasn’t TERRIBLE at AAA, so I’d expect him to continue to progress and get at least halfway decent at reaching base.

He also remains a work in progress in the outfield; he actually started as a shortstop and was really, really terrible at it, but they stuck with him there for several years before finally acknowledging reality and moving him to center when he got to AAA.

Hamilton’s OBP dropped .100 when he was moved from A+/AA to AAA. His walk rate went from around 14% to 7%. (Oddly enough, his K% stayed the same, so you wonder if he’s making weak contact with pitches out of the zone.) That’s not a good sign if AAA pitchers can figure out a batter, because you wonder what the ML pitchers will be able to exploit. But I haven’t seem him at the plate, so I’m guessing the Reds feel (hope) it’s fixable. But last I heard, the Reds are going to use him in the lead off spot, which strikes me as a really bad idea.