MLB pre-season bold predictions

Astros SS Carlos Correa was the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year

Astros SS Carlos Correa was the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year

April is here, which means baseball has arrived.  Last season was laced with many surprising teams and players.  The Royals surprised many by winning the World Series.  The Astros and Cubs experienced unexpected surges, while the Nationals and Mariners were surprisingly disappointing.  Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and Cubs third basemen Kris Bryant became young superstars, while Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig failed to live up to their potential.  2016 is destined for more surprises and excitement.  Here are my bold predictions for 2016 season.

Steven Matz will win National League Rookie of the Year

Dodgers SS Corey Seager is the popular pick, but I like Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz.  Matz had a historic debut against the Reds on June 28th of last year by throwing seven innings of solid baseball and he went 3 for 3 at the plate.  A back injury sidelined Matz after just four starts in 2015.  The southpaw had a rough spring, but look for him to be a solid middle of the rotation starter and NL Rookie of the Year contender.

The Red Sox will win the American League East

The Red Sox are a tough team to figure out.  They won the World Series in 2013, but they have a compiled a 149-175 record in the past two seasons.  Obviously, the addition of David Price was huge, but they need more production from Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly if they want to win the division.  The offense should score plenty of runs.   Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are a pair of youngsters who broke out last year, and David Ortiz is still productive at the age of 40.  If the Red Sox can piece together a solid rotation, they can contend for a World Series.

photo from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts will look to lead the Red Sox back into World Series contention
photo from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts had seven homeruns, 81 RBIs and hit .320 last season.

The Pirates won’t make the playoffs

The Buccos have been a playoff team in each of the past three seasons, but this year I’m not buying in.  The Pirates lineup is led by one of the great players in baseball, Andrew McCutchen.  Additionally, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco help make the Pirates outfield among the best in the game.  Shortstop Jung Ho-Kang had a terrific rookie season and should be a solid middle of the order hitter.  The rotation is a bit shaky.  Gerrit Cole is great, but I don’t trust anyone else in the rotation.  Francisco Liriano is fine, but isn’t an ideal No. 2 starter.  The bullpen should be steady with Mark Melancon in the closer role.  In conclusion,  The Pirates could very well make the playoffs, but the rotation has some question marks.

Anthony Rizzo will win the National League MVP

This may be reaching out on a limb, but Anthony Rizzo is ready to take that next step in his career.  Rizzo is right in the midst of his prime at the age of 26.  Last year he hit .278 and had 31 homers along with 101 RBIs.  Rizzo will sit in the middle of the best lineup in the NL.  Additionally, I believe Rizzo will catapult into the conversation as the best first basemen in baseball by the end of the year.  I see Rizzo hitting .300 with 35 HRs and 115 RBIs.  Rizzo might not be the popular pick, but he has the ability to take a big step this year.

The Reds will win 72 games

Many experts predict the Reds to lose 100 games.  Can you really blame them?  The Reds lost 98 games last year and they had Johnny Cueto (half of the season), Mike Leake (half of the season), Todd Frazier, and Aroldis Chapman.  In short, The Reds are rebuilding. However, They have a surplus of young starting pitchers.  Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias showwed flashes of brilliance last season. Meanwhile, the lineup shouldn’t have problems producing runs.  Zack Cozart is healthy, Devin Mesoraco is healthy, and Joey Votto will get on base.  The bullpen looks horrific.  JJ Hoover doesn’t worry me, but just about everyone else does.  Tony Cingrani lacks consistency, Jumbo Diaz struggled last year, and Blake Wood had a terrible spring.  Could the Reds lose 100 games? Absolutely.  However, I think they will have a better year than what most people think.

The New York Mets will win the World Series

There are many reasons why I think the Mets will the World Series, but let’s start with pitching.  In my opinion, the Mets have the best rotation in Major League Baseball.  Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and

photo from Yoenis Cespedes had 17 homers and 44 RBIs in 57 games for the Mets last year
photo from
Yoenis Cespedes had 17 homers and 44 RBIs in 57 games for the Mets last year

Noah Syndergaard are phenomenal.  Steven Matz is a solid candidate for NL Rookie of the Year (see above) and Zack Wheeler should be back by the All-Star break to round out the rotation.  Personally, I like the Mets lineup more than most baseball experts.  Curtis Granderson had a good 2015 season, and Yoenis Cespedes is coming off a 35 HR season.  Michael Conforto is the x-factor for the Mets.  Conforto was regarded as one of the top prospects going into last year, and he had a solid rookie campaign.  Jeurys Familia anchors the bullpen.  Familia was amazing in 2015, posting 43 saves with a 1.85 ERA.  If the Mets lineup can score enough runs to give their pitching a lead, they could be World Series bound.

Regardless of what team you like this year will be interesting.  The rebuilding teams will look towards the future, while the contenders will be in a World Series or bust mentality.  Enjoy the season and Go Redlegs!