Wednesday, February 20, 2013

13 Bold Predictions for 2013

1. The Boston Red Sox make the playoffs
Why this is bold: The Red Sox lost 93 games last year and haven't won a postseason game since 2008. They improved during the offseason but failed to land the kind of high-impact player capable of adding six or seven wins to a roster by himself.

2. The New York Yankees miss the playoffs
Why this is bold: The Bronx bombers are October mainstays, having reached the postseason 17 times in the past 18 years. They won 95 games last year and enter 2013 with the highest payroll in the American League, a deep starting rotation and a veteran lineup loaded with All-Stars at almost every position.

3. B.J. Upton goes 30/30
Why this is bold: Upton's combination of power and speed is tantalizing, but he's yet to put together a 30/30 season. His power is trending upward but the fact remains that he's averaged just 18 home runs per season over the last five. Furthermore, his stolen base totals have decreased in each of the last two years, falling from 42 in 2010 to 36 in 2011 and 31 in 2012. I'm probably picking the wrong Upton.

4. Mariano Rivera leads the American League in saves
Why this is bold: The greatest closer of all time spent most of 2012 recovering from knee surgery after shredding his ACL while shagging fly balls during batting practice. Signed a one-year deal worth $10 million to return in 2013, but he's 43 years-old and Father Time is going to catch up to him at some point.

5. The Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians both have winning records
Why this is bold: Neither team had a winning record last year (or in 2011, or 2010, for that matter). The Mariners face stiff competition in the AL West, arguably the toughest division in baseball with LA, Oakland, and Texas all capable of winning 90+ ballgames. Furthermore, the two clubs haven't enjoyed winning seasons in the same year since 2007.

6. Dan Haren wins 20 games
Why this is bold: Haren's career high for wins is 16. Also, he's 32 years-old and coming off his worst full season as a pro.

7. Nick Swisher hits fewer than 20 home runs
Why this is bold: Since becoming an everyday player in 2005, Swish has never failed to smack less than 21 home runs in a season (averaging 26 per year). He's one of just six players who can claim that; the others are  Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira, and David Ortiz.

8. Michael Young bats over .300
Why this is bold: Young is 36 and coming off his worst season in over a decade after batting just .277/.312/.370. He's batted below .285 in two of the past three years and seems to have entered the decline phase of his career. It certainly doesn't help that he's leaving the Ballpark in Arlington, where he batted .320 as opposed to .283 everywhere else.

9 Zack Greinke wins the NL Cy Young award
Why this is bold: Since winning the 2009 AL Cy Young in a landslide, Greinke's compiled a 3.83 ERA and has failed to receive a single vote for the award. Plus, he has formidable competition in his own rotation in the form of Clayton Kershaw.

10. Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney combined have fewer saves than the AL saves leader
Why this is bold: Johnson led the major leagues with 51 saves last year, and Rodney was right behind him with 48.

11. Bryce Harper is better than Mike Trout
Why this is bold: The AL Rookie of the Year outproduced the NL Rookie of the Year in almost every conceivable metric last year.

12. Derek Jeter plays in fewer than 100 games
Why this is bold: Jeter may not be Cal Ripken Jr., but he's borderline indestructible. The Yankee legend has averaged 151 games played per year since winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1996, playing at least 148 games every year except for two (2003 and 2011).

13. The Toronto Blue Jays won't win the World Series
Why this is bold: Everyone's picking the bolstered Blue Jays to win the Fall Classic after a busy offseason in which Toronto added R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Melky Cabrera without giving up any of their established talent.

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