By: Noah Wright
The 2019 will come with big surprises. Some that will affect the entire season. Most of them are shocking, especially after great seasons, or poor seasons. Here are a few of my bold predictions for the 2019 season.
1.) The Brewers barely make the playoffs with the second Wild Card spot, but don’t make it further:
The Brewers shocked many last year. They caught on fire in the final month of the season, and took the division by taking down the Chicago Cubs in a game 163. Then in the playoffs, they took the Dodgers to game 7 of the NLCS. The team can accredit their great season and deep playoff run on the breakouts of Christian Yelich, Jesus Aguilar, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, and mid season pick-up Mike Moustakas. Most of the team is back for 2019. The only player they’ve really ‘lost’ is Corey Knebel, but that was from Tommy John surgery. However, with many breakouts, you might see much regression. Now I don’t think they’ll plain out suck, but I don’t think they’ll be nearly as good as last year. The rotation isn’t deep, and that’s also going to be part of their downfall.
2.) Vlad Guerrero Jr. carries the Blue Jays to a .500 record:
The Blue Jays aren’t a great team on paper. However, they have some young players coming to the majors who could really help the team. The most obvious being Vlad Jr, and Bo Bichette. However, rookie DH, Rowdy Tellez, is another slugger who could boost the team’s line-up. Randal Grichuk finished last year with a .803 OPS, 25 home runs, and positive defensive numbers. Teoscar Hernandez, while not a great fielder, did slug 22 balls out of the park. Danny Jansen, the team’s rookie catcher, is another asset the team might see have an impressive season. Plus, if Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman are fully healthy, than you might see a bounceback from them. They also have a handful of young pitchers who could make an impact in 2019 as well. My prediction is the young kids come to the majors, and help this team reach a .500 record.
3.) Your NL Cy Young Winner: Jameson Taillon:
The Pirates young right hander, Jameson Taillon had a great season last year. He finished 2018 with a 3.20 ERA, 3.46 FIP, and 1.178 WHIP. Control wasn’t a problem either, as his BB/9 was just 2.2, and his HR/9 was .9. He also pitched in 191 innings. Opponents barely hit Taillon, as he kept them to a .681 OPS. However, he was even more impressive considering what he did from the start of summer (May 27th) to the end of the year. In that time span, Taillon kept a 2.71 ERA, 3.20 FIP, and .666 opponent OPS.
4.) Yoan Moncada’s breakout; helps the White Sox reach .500:
This one is kind of a double prediction, but it’s for the same team. The first being the formerly highly touted prospect, Yoan Moncada, finally breaking out. Moncada, since joining the ChiSox has been not super impressive so far. In his 881 PA tenure in Chicago, Moncada has a .234/.321/.403 line with 25 home runs and 15 stolen bases. Last year, Moncada struck out a league leading 217 times in 650 plate appearances. However, like with many prospects we all say ‘this is the year’ with, this is Moncada’s year. Moncada has already gotten off to a hot start to the year, having crushed a home runs,collecting 6 hits, and a walk in his first 14 plate appearances of the year. Obviously, I don’t expect Moncada to keep up a .400+ batting average and 1.269 OPS the entire season, but I don’t think a batting line of .280/.330/.470 with 20-25 long balls and about 20 stolen bases is completely reasonable. His breakout, along with young talents such as Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson, veteran 1B Jose Abreu, and off season pick-ups Alex Colome, Yonder Alonso, and Kelvin Herrera help the White Sox reach the .500 plateau.
5.) Indians don’t win the American League Central, and miss out on the playoffs:
This one is a big one, but it’s totally in the realm of possibility. This team’s offense is very shallow, as well as it’s bullpen. Past Jose Ramirez, and Francisco Lindor, there’s not much. Francisco Lindor is on the DL right now, and has no specific time table of return. While Carlos Santana has gotten off to a hot start, I wouldn’t fully rely on him to carry an offense. In the pen, Brad Hand is the only pen piece with more than 1 season of back-to-back good performance dating from 2017-2018. The strongest part of the Indians is their rotation. The starting 5 consist of players who could be given Cy Young votes, and nobody would be upset at it. Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and youngster Shane Bieber make up the best rotation in all of baseball. But an injury or two to pitching cripples this team in a big way. Plus, with the Twins looking like a potential threat, and if the White Sox start to breakout, the Indians could be in some trouble. If they don’t win the AL Central, they likely won’t make the Wild Card either. One of the Yankees, or Red Sox will take the first WC spot, and the A’s and the Rays are more balanced, and are deeper than the Indians. I think it’s even conceivably possible the Blue Jays pass the Indians if some of their young talents develop as planned.