- The White Sox will win more games than the Cubs.
The White Sox have quietly put together a really nice lineup—and now Eloy Jimenez joins them on Opening Day. Moncada, Anderson, Abreu and Sanchez are an exciting infield. Albeit the Sox rotation is still, frankly, bad—and this prediction might be putting a little too much faith in past-due prospect Lucas Giolito. But the Sox have a really nice Brewers-like bullpen that should hold that starting staff together. The Cubs now have an average pitching staff coupled with a great infield but a ho-hum outfield. This is the year the Sox start their run, and the year the Cubs end theirs.
2. Clayton Kershaw’s season ends by June 1.
Sad, but true: When the team excitedly announces you were able to throw a simulated game late in Spring Training, you’re not real close to returning. Kershaw is still just 31, has a contract paying him about $31M per year the next couple years—and those are both really good reasons to shut him down at the slightest hint of arm trouble, which doesn’t seem far away.
3. The Philadelphia Phillies win 2019 World Series
Too many people thought Bryce Harper had a bad year last year. In reality, he didn’t get many good pitches to hit. In a lineup with Hoskins hitting behind him they BOTH will be top MVP candidates. I also love what Andrew McCutchen brings to the team in terms of production and leadership. The Phillies rotation is Top 10, with a solid bullpen behind them. This was a really good team in 2019 that added exactly what they needed this offseason.
4. Ozzie Albies isn’t starting by September.
There are too many analytics pointing to Ozzie Albies struggling AGAIN this year. Again? Didn’t he have a breakout season last year? He had a breakout HALF. 20 homers by the All-Star Break and finished with 24—from a guy who almost never walks. For his career he has 30 homers in 856 at bats. Bad plate discipline catches up with young hitters, and turns them into Jurickson Profar. The speed will still be there but so might a .230 batting average and .290 on base percentage. Think Billy Hamilton with 15 steals.
5. Byron Buxton finally figures it out but can’t stay healthy, Sano gets cut, Berrios has Tommy John and the Twins are a hot mess.
It’s another important year for the Twins. “Just wait until our prospects develop” has been the mantra for too many years in a row, and now—ironically—they look like an improved team without hometown hero Joe Mauer in the lineup. Even predicted by many to win their division. I think Buxton finally figures it out this year and has a great season—until he goes down with the inevitable leg injury. I am concerned about Berrios…he’s super-talented–the only young hope on the entire pitching staff–but hard-throwers who have big breaking balls seem to all end up having surgery these days? Miguel Sano I have little hope for…he seems too undisciplined off the field to be able to stay on it. Hoping he’s not the next David Ortiz (whom the Twins gave up on a year too early), Sano seems likely to be more trouble than he’s worth. If he’s still a Twin in October I’ll be surprised. But just wait ’til next year.