Only, not quite two weeks, but we’re under the full 15 day mark now, so we’re gonna say 14 and call it a day. Anywho, now that baseball is drawing near enough that some predictions are gonna start to leak out, we here at FAM thought we’d take our first crack at making a handful about the 2018 MLB season. We’ll do much more detailed predictions for who will win what and why when the season draws closer, but here’s a little taste of what we think may be to come.
Bryce Harper wins the NL MVP, but…
Harper has been one of the best players in all of baseball pretty much since he first stepped on the major league field and already has an MVP (2015) to his credit. So why is this noteworthy? Because the Nationals still won’t make it past the divisional round of the National League playoffs, and 2018 will be Harper’s last in a Nationals uniform. Will Harp’s departure signal the beginning of the Nationals window beginning to close?
Mike Matheny Gets Canned
Cardinals fans with any sort of in-depth knowledge would likely rejoice at this development, as they widely regard Matheny as a bad manager. He’s very well respected with the Cardinals organization and has put in a lot of time, but the 2018 edition of the Red Birds finds themselves languishing in third place in the NL Central behind Chicago and Milwaukee and it’s finally enough to pull the trigger.
Stanton Struggles With Expectations
Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx was one if not the biggest story of the offseason. Stanton had a monstrous year in 2017, hitting 59 home runs in cavernous Marlins Park, but he’s never dealt with the sort of attention and pressure that he’ll encounter after he first takes the field while wearing the Pinstripes. We’re not predicting a bust or anything of that nature, but rather some reasonable regression while he adjusts to his new digs. The Yankees will still win the AL East though.
Gerrit Cole Outperforms Dallas Keuchel
This one may seem like a stretch, but Cole was fed up in Pittsburgh and showed just a couple of years ago that he had ace potential. If he can stay healthy, it’s not at all hard to argue that he has better, more dynamic stuff than Keuchel and is primed for a “change of scenery is good for the soul” type campaign. The Astros just won the series and they’re not going to ask him to be the ace, which is just the type of situation I can see him thriving in.
Manny Machado Bounces Back
Okay, so Machado wasn’t exactly terrible in 2017, but a 3.5 WAR (down from 6.7 in 2016), shows definitively that he wasn’t at his best. The young infielder seemingly got caught up in the Orioles all-or-nothing offensive philosophy and it took a toll on his overall offensive game. Machado will be playing for his big contract this year though, and a move back to his original defensive position (shortstop) could be just the cures for what ailed him. Expect a big year, followed by a very big contract.
Twins and Brewers = Division Winners?
Minnesota made a surprise playoff appearance in 2017, and the Brewers came close before fading down the stretch. The former are still in the hunt for some free agent pitching upgrades, while the latter made a couple of big splashes in their outfield and they too could still be looking for pitching upgrades as well. It will be tough for them to catch the Indians and Cubs respectively, but expect both to be firmly entrenched in the wild card races and nipping at the heels of the “bigger” dogs ahead of them.
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