The World's Worst Preseason Predictions
Spring training is about to wind down...thankfully...unbearable as it ends up being by the end, it was doubly so with the World Baseball Classic extension. The only real goal of spring training is to leave camp healthy and the Cubs failed at that much like they do at winning baseball games. As you can see, I expect little from the Cubs this season, which is rare from me, as I'm always overly optimistic this time of year. Maybe that's a good sign for the year, the biggest surprises come when you expect the least.
Nationals versus Braves feels like a coin flip to me, with which team staying healthier and getting a few breakout performances likely rising to the top. The way the Nationals handled Strasburg last year made me an anti-Nationals fan for life though, so I'm going with the Braves. A year of Utley and Howard and all that pitching talent means the Philies have a good chance at rebounding....although Michael and Delmon Young acquisitions were facepalm worthy.
While I'm certainly no fan of the Dodgers spending spree, their core players remain Kemp and Kershaw, which means the excessive spending is being built around them...kind of a good plan actually. And the Giants still have all their pitchers. I'm a little higher on the Padres than most, a lot of good young talent in my opinion that could bust out at any point, while I think the Kevin Towers can't get out of his own way.
The Reds probably won't have as much good luck with their starting staff this year, but lots of talent there in Cincy. And the same can be said for the Cardinals...albeit a little on the older side. Cards do have the best farm system, but beyond Shelby Miller, I don't know who is going to step in this year. At some point, all this team building is going to pay off for the Pirates and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if this is the year. My memories of the Brewers rebuild felt a lot like the Pirates, a few years where they seemed to get close to respectability before finally breaking through. As for the Brewers, if they end up suspending Braun, the Cubs may manage to stay out of the cellar.
- Blue Jays
- Red Sox
Flip a coin on the whole division in my opinion. As surprising as the Orioles were last year and you'd expect a pullback, they've got a ton of young talent ready to produce. I certainly expect the Red Sox to be better this year, but someone has to go last. As for why pick the Rays? They won 90 last year without their best player for most of the season or limping in the games he played. Although Longoria may end up on the DL again, a full season could do wonders for that lineup along with a full year of Desmond Jennings. That all being said, any team in any spot wouldn't surprise me here...and since they'll all be likely beating up on each other while the AL West gets to play the Astros a ton of times (and the AL Central gets the Twins), it also wouldn't surprise me if only one team makes the playoffs.
The Angels have gotten too far away from building within, that I'll go with the Rangers this year. But it's honestly another coin flip with the A's right on the outskirts. I think the Mariners shold be considerably better as well and all four teams will get to fatten up on the Astros.
- White Sox
This feels like a one team race, but you never really know. I certainly could see the Royals take a step forward this year with their young hitters and not-completely-terrible pitching staff. The White Sox always seem to do better than I expect (Northside bias I believe it's called). The Indians made some nice additions along with a decent young core (Kipnis, Santana, Cabrera). The Twins are starting Vance Worley on Opening Day.
Tier 1 (World Series favorites): Tigers, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Reds, Nationals, Rangers, Angels
Tier 2 (Playoff hopefuls): Cardinals, Pirates, Phillies, A's, the AL East
Tier 3 (Could surprise): Indians, White Sox, Royals, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Padres, Mets, Brewers
Tier 4 (#1 draft pick contention): Cubs, Astros, Marlins, Rockies, Twins
I love winning! It's, like, better than losing?
You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.
Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.
New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.
Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.
I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.
The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.
Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.
6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.
And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.