The wait for the new baseball season is almost over and with that comes the renewed hope for fans that their teams will reach the promised land, or at least make the playoffs. Many other writers in the baseball department at LWOS are making predictions for the upcoming season that are not from popular opinion, like Mike Trout will be an all-star in 2015, for example. Here are my 5 Bold Predictions for the 2015 MLB season.
5 Bold Predictions for the 2015 MLB season- Anthony Harris edition
1) The Boston Red Sox will finish in fourth place in American League East
The Red Sox made a big splash in the off season with the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez and acquired pitchers Rick Porcello and Wade Miley through trades. As nice as their lineup will look, it will not be an easy transition for Ramirez, who in addition to being in a new league will also be learning a new position. Say what you will about left field, it is not as easy as it looks and Fenway Park has many tricky bounces off of the wall. I think this will be tough for Ramirez at the start of the season but he should improve as the season goes on.
The biggest problem with this team is the pitching rotation as they do not have a true ace or even a strong number two starting pitcher. Wade Miley is making the transition from the National League and that is a very difficult transition for even the best pitchers. Unless the Red Sox acquire Cole Hamels, I seriously doubt the team will get in the playoffs and definitely will not win the division. The only team that will finish below them will be the Rays, who are in almost the opposite position of the Sox, as they have little to no offence to speak of but a solid, young pitching staff
2) The offseason moves of the Padres will not get them into the playoffs
The team that was most active in the offseason was the Padres as they revamped their outfield and catcher positions, acquiring Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Derek Norris through trades and signing James Shields to be the ace of their pitching staff. The area that they did not address was their infield, which contributed to one of the worst offences in recent memory. The new acquisitions have their flaws as well, as Matt Kemp has battled injuries throughout his career and is a poor outfielder, shown by his -3 defensive runs saved. Wil Myers is coming off of an injury plagued sophomore season and is expected to be the team’s center fielder, even though he has saved -10 defensive runs in his career. Myers has not proven to be the real deal yet he is depended on to be a top of the order threat on a playoff team. Derek Norris was an all star last season, but that was due to a strong first half as he had a .294/.402/.477 slash line. The second half is where he really struggled, as did many of his Oakland teammates, when he hit .245/.314/.324. Oakland also didn’t start him in the wild card game against Kansas City because of his poor defence and after the starter Geovany Soto was injured in the game, he showed why by allowing 6 stolen bases while in the game and not throwing out one. The Padres improved their offence, but worsened their defence and are still not good enough to get past the Dodgers and Giants.
3) Yoenis Cespedes will lead the Tigers in home runs in 2015
The power from the heart of the Tigers` lineup has come from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez over the last few years but things will change this season because of the team`s newest position player, Yoenis Cespedes. Both Cabrera and Martinez have had offseason surgeries and Martinez has missed a lot of time to injuries over his career. Cespedes is in a contract year, which should motivate him to have a huge season and he has moved from pitcher friendly O. Co Coliseum where home runs are hit 0.903 times per game to Comerica Park where home runs are hit 1.014 times per game. The new park, combined with the decline in home runs from Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, should push Cespedes past them
4) Kris Bryant will not win National League Rookie of the year
Kris Bryant has been the story of spring training thanks to his 9 home runs and .425 average but also because he didn’t make the Cubs major league roster despite his great spring. He has been declared the early Rookie of the year by many despite being in the minors to begin the season. There is no doubt that he will be in the majors within the next month, but there are still questions about what position he will play as he has not proven that he is an MLB level third basemen. This might delay his return even more as he is also learning the outfield. Bryant also has a high strikeout rate in the minors (27.2%) which will drop his average a lot at the major league level and possibly his home runs. The National League Rookie of the year will be Jorge Soler, another Cub who tore up Major league pitching over 24 games last season with a 5 home runs and a .903 OPS. He will be in the Majors nearly the entire season and will be a great contributor throughout.
5) Chris Sale will win AL Cy Young
Chris Sale has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past three years but he has won 11 and 12 games over the past two years and has a career 2.76 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 737 strike outs over 674.2 innings. This season, Sale will win the Cy Young because he will put up the peripheral stats that everyone loves and he will win games thanks to the improvements made to the Chicago White Sox. The competitiveness of the White Sox will keep Sale in the spotlight and his wins, while not a true representation of the quality of a pitcher, will spin the voters in his direction.
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