With spring training games underway and the start of the regular season on the horizon it’s starting to feel warm again, and that’s welcome news to all baseball fans. This off-season was one filled with uncertainty and excitement. Whether it was the drama surrounding NL MVP Ryan Braun and his plead of innocence for his alleged steroid use or tension around the pursuit of Japanese Phenom Yu Darvish, the off-season had something for everybody. There was the “big” (sort of a mean joke I suppose) signing of Prince Fielder by the Detroit Tigers which could be huge, and there was the free agency of possibly the greatest player of our generation, Albert Pujols signing with the Angels of Anaheim. This off-season had many storylines that have shaken the MLB and all of the deals made are sure to produce one hell of a season. Because of the amount of moves and uncertainty, I’d like to go a little bold here and attempt to make some predictions. These predictions may not pan out, but ones things for sure; THEY ARE BOLD!
4. Yu Darvish Wins The AL Cy Young Award
The young, cocky flamethrower has been the talk of Texas since signing a 6-year, $56 Million Dollar Deal, making the total investment in him nearly $108 Million (they had to pay his Japanese team an unreal $51.7 Million just to negotiate with him). However, if Darvish can come in and win his team games as the top starter, all that money will be forgotten. Darvish has shown in spring training that he has no fear on the mound, and that he will challenge even good hitters with his 96-97 MPH fastball. His 5 pitch repertoire also makes him dangerous as it will be tough for batters to key in on one pitch. I look for Darvish to take the MLB by storm and win 17-20 games this year while striking out 200+. If he can reach these numbers not only will he be a fantasy stud, but also your AL Cy Young winner.
3. David Wright goes for .300+ Batting Average, 30+ Homers and 110+ RBIs
Playing for a depleted New York Mets squad, Wright will be the lone bright spot. Likely to bat third or fourth, David will have the majority of the his team’s chances to drive runs in. Although CitiField is a hitters nightmare, Wright showed two seasons ago that he has enough pop to hit anywhere in going for 29 HRs and 103 RBIs coming off his disaster of a 2009 season. Although the Mets aren’t even thought to be a competitive team going forward I like Wright to get back to being a top third basemen in the game. He is a five tool player and him pulling off an MVP caliber season for a cellar team is in reach, keep Wright in mind when picking your daily fantasy teams.
2. Bryce Harper Will Be Key For The Washington Nationals…This Season
Despite being told he will start the season in AAA, Bryce Harper is still key to the Nationals MLB squad. His development throughout the year will be the factor that determines whether the Nationals will be an average team or a very good playoff team. We’ve seen his tremendous arm strength and his ability to crush the ball to all parts of the field. With the return of Strasburg and the core of Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth in place, Washington may actually have something cooking. The difference is Bryce, and whether he can emerge as the top flight talent we know he is capable of. If Harper can contribute a good batting average (.300+) and knock in runs when he has the opportunity (thinking 80+ RBI), then he could be the reason the Nationals make a serious postseason run this year.
1. Miami Marlins Win The World Series
This is not bold you say? Look no further than fellow Miami-based team, The Heat (NBA), who last season built a dominant team yet failed to win it all due to a lack of chemistry. When you look at all the talent they had you can see that a championship is never a guarantee; especially in a sport as team oriented as baseball. The Marlins are stacked; fielding a squad that features Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson and Heath Bell amongst others. The Marlins have the talent to go far, but how will they mesh together is really the question? The key for this team is Jose Reyes and his ability to manufacture runs. He’s a unique player in the sense that a single for him, or even a walk, often feels like a double because of his knack for stealing bases or scoring off a hit that other runners would have to hold up on. Reyes hitting .320+ with 110+ runs scored will result in his team being one of the most lethal squads in the entire league. If he can just get on base, Ramirez and Stanton will drive him in, and in doing so have big years for themselves. Fantasy owners should take notice of this team and pick daily any player batting in their top 4. Although the starting pitching still isn’t top notch I look for the energy of the fans to be electric and help this young team win the most important thing in baseball…A World Series Title.
That’s My Opinion on the upcoming season, what’s yours? Who’s your surprise team this year? Who’s going to win it all? Any Thoughts?