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Opening Day 2019: Predictions

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Opening Day is tomorrow, so today we’re previewing. In addition to the stuff, like this, we’ll be posting this morning, be sure to join us for a 2019 season preview on the MyTeams App at 2PM Eastern Time.

We’ve posted our National League Preview and American League Preview. We’ve cataloged the new, random and fun things in store for the 2019 season. Now let’s be dumb and do some predictions. 

By now I don’t need to tell you how silly it is to predict the outcome of a baseball season in which over 2,400 baseball games are played by over a thousand players, all of whom are subject to injury and/or wild variation from past performance or reasonable expectations. Baseball is freakin’ chaos, my friends. And while that is one of the top things to recommend it, it’s also the thing that makes predicting its outcomes a fool’s errand.

For example, neither Bill, Ashley or I picked the Red Sox to even win the AL East last year. One of us, though SHE will remain nameless, didn’t even have them making the postseason. Not that the HEs in those predictions were clairvoyant. Bill had the Nationals winning the pennant. I had the Cubs. None of us saw the A’s coming. We were guessing, just as we always guess. And we’ll guess again too.

Before we guess, though, let’s look at some of the other people out there guessing. Each year lots of other outlets do predictions. Theirs aren’t all that better than ours, frankly. Well, sometimes they are. But not always!

Here are CBS’s predictions. They have five people doing it. I’ve met most of their five and like them, so when they’re just as wrong as we are, I won’t dunk on them too hard.

Will Leitch at MLB.com is a friend, so when I read his 1 bold prediction for each of the 30 teams and all of them seem pretty reasonable and some even seem downright savvy, I get mad, because what is life if not making fun of your friends?

ESPN does a big thing in which all of its baseball “experts” do predictions. This year they have 31 people weighing in. In the past it’s been well over 40. I’d argue that if you have a head count of experts best noted in the dozens than single digits you might want to examine whether the topic lends itself to actual expertise, but that’s a rant for another time. Know now that here is where ESPN’s 31 soothsayers say their sooths.

ESPN has more people picking the Yankees (16) than the Red Sox (14) to win the division and one brave soul even picked the Rays. A couple picked the A’s or Angels over the Astros out in the AL West. Two picked the Mets in the NL East. One picked the Padres in the NL West.  Is there wisdom to be gleaned from this? Yes: every office has someone who wants to draw attention to themselves. I imagine if we had 31 instead of three “experts” we’d have a lot of gonzo stuff too. I also imagine that, when at least one of those people are right about a wild guess, I’m gonna be mad that I didn’t push the envelope myself. Fear is a paralyzing emotion, my friends.

ESPN has some awards predictions too. The same 31 voters. While picking Mike Trout or Mookie Betts or someone like that to win the AL MVP Award does not require a surplus of imagination, my hat is tipped to the person who picked Juan Soto. I don’t think I’d pick Soto (see below) but I can totally imagine a situation in which (a) he’s the best player on the Nats this year; (b) the Nats bounce back and win a tough division; and (c) all the “see what he did without Bryce Harper around!” hype carries the narrative. Smart pick, actually. Maybe I’ll go back and revise my prediction if he starts hot. You’d never even notice it and then I could pretend I had it all the way.

Enough of that, though. Let’s get down to brass tacks. Let’s do . . . our predictions for the 2019 season!

BILL’S PREDICTIONS

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Astros
AL Wild Cards: Yankees, Angels

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Padres
NL Wild Cards: Nationals, Dodgers

ALCS: Red Sox vs. Astros
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Padres

World Series: Astros vs. Cardinals, Astros win in five games

AL MVP: Mike Trout
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt

AL CYA: Gerrit Cole
NL CYA: Max Scherzer

AL ROY: Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
NL ROY: Fernando Tatis, Jr.

AL Manager of the Year: Alex Cora
NL Manager of the Year: Andy Green

 

ASHLEY’S PREDICTIONS

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Astros
AL Wild Cards: Red Sox, Twins

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Brewers
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Cards: Cardinals, Nationals

ALCS: Yankees vs. Astros
NLCS: Phillies vs. Dodgers

World Series: Yankees vs. Dodgers, Dodgers win in six games

AL MVP: Mike Trout
NL MVP: Nolan Arenado

AL CYA: Justin Verlander
NL CYA: Max Scherzer

AL ROY: Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
NL ROY: Fernando Tatis Jr.

AL Manager of the Year: Aaron Boone
NL Manager of the Year: Gabe Kapler

 

CRAIG’S PREDICTIONS 

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Astros
AL Wild Cards: Red Sox, Rays

NL East: Nationals
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Cards: Cardinals, Phillies

ALCS: Astros vs. Yankees
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Cubs

World Series: Cardinals vs. Yankees, Yankees win in seven games

AL MVP: Mike Trout
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt

AL CYA: Justin Verlander
NL CYA: Max Scherzer

AL ROY: Yusei Kikuchi
NL ROY: Victor Robles

AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash
NL Manager of the Year: Mike Shildt

Mets are interested in Rick Porcello

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Jon Heyman reports that the Mets are interested in free agent pitcher Rick Porcello and have been speaking to his agent.

Porcello is coming off a pretty dreadful 2019 season in which he went 14-12 with a 5.52 ERA in 32 starts. That ERA was the worst in the majors among qualified starters. He’s also pretty homer happy. But (a) he’s durable; and (b) a change of scenery and a move to a more pitcher-friendly division and park might do him some good, so it’s not like he’s a bad guy for the Mets to be looking at. He’s only going to be 31 next season and he’s just a year removed from a decent season.

There are far worse bounceback candidates.