Our editor asked me to come up with five bold predictions for the upcoming baseball season. I'll do you better boss. Here's one for every team:
It's been the talk of the off season among fantasy nerds like myself. The D-Backs are installing a humidor to make the balls heavier to help out their pitchers. When they struggle offensively that contraption will be gone by June.
A.J. Minter will be closing by mid season. Fastball at 96. Wipeout slider that garners a 23% swinging strike rate. If he can prove he's tamed the walk beast he's in.
On their way to a last place finish the O's look to replenish a weak farm system by trading Manny Machado. The Yankees offer a package that includes top prospect Miguel Andujar. Holding their noses about trading with a division rival, Baltimore pulls the trigger. New York gives Machado a 6 year deal in the off season.
Boston Red Sox
Mookie Betts goes 30/110 with 25 steals and hits .320 to win AL MVP. A deep dive into his 2016 reveals he may have been the unluckiest regular in the league last season. A .268 batting average on balls in play will do that. Everything else looked normal.
In his first full season on the northside Jose Quintana has a career year. 18 wins in 32 starts. 200 innings. 220 strike outs. Seriously considered for NL Cy Young.
Chicago White Sox
Struggling to maintain a .280 on base percentage, shortstop and lead off hitter Tim Anderson is moved to 9th in the order and eventually optioned to triple A to learn plate discipline.
Jesse Winker wins a regular starting job. Seizes lead off spot. Hits .310 and scores 85 runs. His on base percentage is sabermetric porn at .380
With Jason Kipnis going on the DL.... again... The Tribe call up #1 prospect Francisco Mejia. Though he's a catcher by trade Cleveland has been working him out at third. Jose Ramirez moves to second full time. Meija talks over at the hot corner and rakes. With a cannon arm he grows into the position and remains a fixture at 3rd for the next several years.
The trade deadline arrives and Colorado has been unable to deal Carlos Gonzalez. Cargo is mired in his second straight terrible season. David Dahl has long ago taken his place in right field. Gonzalez is DFA'd. The Yankees acquire him after he clears waivers for a single A pitcher. Gonzalez pinch hits in game five of the divisional round and hits a series winning home run because Yankees.
Nick Castellanos is a bright spot for an otherwise bleak rebuilding season. He goes 32/110 and hits .290, out producing Miguel Cabrera.
Free from Pittsburgh Gerritt Cole is given his full arsenal of weapons. Allowed to work his breaking stuff Cole wins 17 games and posts a sub 3.20 era. He starts game one of the World Series.
Kansas City Royals
Jake Junis (who?) leads the club in starts, wins, strikeouts and ERA. Represents KC at the All Star Game.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Crushed by the pressure of trying to be a two-way player in the best league in the world Shohei Ohtani has his last at bat before the end of May.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Beset by injuries the Dodgers fail to win the division title.
At the trade deadline the Marlins trade Cameron Maybin to the Yankees for cash considerations. Next season Maybin announces he's signed a three year deal with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
The Brewers have the highest team batting average and the highest team ERA in the National League.
Fernando Rodney loses the closer job by May 1st. Gets it back June 1st. Loses again August 15th.
New York Mets
At one point during the season Yoenis Céspedes, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Michael Conforto, and Seth Lugo are all on the disabled list at the same time. Adrian Gonzalez gets 550 at bats.
New York Yankees
Aaron Judge strikes out 220 times and sees his batting average crater to .230. Giancarlo Stanton spends at least four weeks on the disabled list.
Having hit 24 home runs in just 59 games in 2017 Matt Olson slams 52 and leads the American League in 2018.
Weary of his underachievement, the Phils bench third baseman Mikel Franco by the end of May and insert top prospect Scott Kingery at the hot corner. Franco is traded to the Dodgers at the deadline because Justin Turner cannot stay healthy.
Cancer survivor Jameson Taillon makes 30 starts and strikes out 200 in 185 innings of work.
St. Louis Cardinals
No longer able to hold him back, late bloomer Jose Martinez is a regular at first base just weeks into the season. Matt Carpenter logs extended time at 2nd and 3rd to make it happen. Martinez hits .300 with 25 home runs and is a National League All Star.
San Diego Padres
Jose Pirela will hit .285 with 20 homers, 80 RBI, 85 runs and 15 steals and represent the Pads at the All Star Game.
San Francisco Giants
Beginning the season without Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija the Giants find themselves in a deep hole by June. An already aging roster will not be able to staunch the bleeding. The Giants finish last and manager Bruce Bochy is fired.
All the way back from Tommy John surgery Cardinals 2013 #1 pick Marco Gonzalez will log 180 innings with an ERA of 3.20, 15 wins and a strikeout per inning.
Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor combine for 80 home runs, and between them a .210 average.
Toronto Blue Jays
With only Curtis Granderson holding him back, one time Astros prospect Teoscar Hernández forces his way into the starting line up. Hernandez strikes out a lot, but with a 50% flyball rate and loads of hard contact he hits 30 home runs.
By May 1st 20 year old top prospect Victor Robles is a fixture in center field and goes neck and neck with the Braves' Ronald Acuna for National League Rookie Of The Year.
American League Division Winners: Yankees, Indians, Astros.
Wild Cards: Red Sox, Mariners.
National League Division Winners: Nationals, Cubs, Rockies
Wild Cards: Dodgers, Brewers
World Series: Nationals/Astros
World Champions: Houston Astros
Brian Phillips hosts the CD1025 Morning Show in Columbus,OH. Tune in or stream it at CD1025.com .