2018 Season Preview: Bold Predictions

Hot takes are flying as everybody’s favorite day of the year has arrived: Opening Day—or as it is known in Ann Arbor, M-SABR Bold Prediction Day! Stay tuned to see how our most outlandish predictions fare, hold us accountable, and whatever you do, make sure you don’t look back at our 2017 edition!

Without further ado, the 2018 M-SABR Bold Predictions:

  1. Mike Trout will go 40/40, though nothing is all that bold when it comes to Trout.
  2. Zack Greinke finishes as the Diamondbacks’ least valuable starter, and when he puts up his first sub-2 fWAR season, you can say you read it here first.
  3. Kevin Kiermaier finally puts it all together, putting up a 20/20 season with a .280+ batting average.
  4. The Mariners’ most valuable fantasy hitter on a per-game basis is Mike Zunino, as he beats out Cruz, Gordon, Cano and Seager by hitting 40 home runs with a career-high .252 batting average.
  5. The Pirates get a sub-3.8 ERA from three of their five starters (Taillon, Williams, Musgrove).

  6. Chris Sale will go on the DL for the first time in his career this season.
  7. Mookie Betts will lead the AL in RBI’s.
  8. Anthony Rizzo will start a game at an infield position that isn’t first base.
  9. Aaron Judge strikes out more times than last season (208).
  10. Fernando Rodney will play in the All-Star game.
  11. Shohei Ohtani will be sent down to Triple-A at some point this season.
  12. Tim Tebow will hit a major league home run
  13. Either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado will sign an extension with their current team or be traded midseason and sign with that team. In other words, one of the two will not be a free agent this winter.

  14. I was wrong when I said Daniel Norris would hit 5 fWAR in 2017 (he came 3.7 fWAR, or in other terms, about one Michael Fulmer short of that mark). That said, Matthew Boyd will become a #3 starter and hit 3.4 fWAR in 2018, finishing the year with a higher fWAR than Gerrit Cole.
  15. The Washington Nationals will make it past the NLDS.
  16. Miguel Cabrera will go full Big Papi and bounce back from his worst season with a .370 OBP in 2018.
  17. After making it past the NLDS, the Washington Nationals will lose in NLCS Game 5 to the Cubs.
  18. Robbie Ray will keep to 3 fWAR. No more, no less.
  19. Ozzie Albies will make his first of many All Star Games for the Braves, who will win no more than 76 games in 2018 but challenge for best team in baseball in 2019 when they sign Bryce Harper at the end of 2018 (it’s not a season prediction, but that’s still a 2018 prediction).
  20. Shohei Ohtani will pass Bartolo within two weeks of his hitting debut.

  21. Trea Turner will join Rickey Henderson (1985, 1986, 1990), Eric Davis (1986), Joe Morgan (1973, 1976) as the fourth member of the 20 HR and 60 SB club.
  22. Mike Trout wins the AL Triple Crown (but in a cruel twist of fate Miguel Cabrera wins MVP after a bounce back season, just kidding).
  23. Shohei Ohtani puts up 4.5 fWAR but hits below .200, as him and Trout lead the Angels to the second AL Wild Card spot.
  24. Joc Pederson rediscovers his early 2015 form, claims the Dodgers starting left field jobs and three-true-outcomes his way (yes, that’s a verb now) to 30 home runs, a .375 OBP and 4.0 fWAR.
  25. Alex Bregman is the Astros’ most valuable infielder.
  26. Tim Tebow will sign with a CFL team and defeat Johnny Manziel in the Grey Cup final.

  27. The Nationals lead baseball in wins…and lose in the NLDS.
  28. Every team in the NL Central wins 80 games. The Pirates are not tanking, they just traded an overrated pitcher and an old outfielder with one season of team control. And they added major league ready pieces. The Reds could have one of the best offenses in baseball and their pitching is…well, they have Luis Castillo and four guys who I think know how to throw a baseball in the general direction of home plate.
  29. Ronald Acuna and Nick Senzel both finish in the top 15 of NL MVP voting. Six rookies will put up at least 3 fWAR.
  30. Trea Turner will steal the most bases since Jose Reyes stole 78 in 2007.
  31. Shohei Otani will post an ERA over 5.00 before the all-star break. And sub-3.00 after the all-star break.
  32. The San Francisco Giants lose at least 95 games again.
  33. Daniel Murphy doesn’t play a game before Memorial Day and hits under .280.
  34. Matt Olson hits 40 HR and bats .290 to finish top 8 in AL MVP voting. The A’s finish within 5 games of a playoff spot.

  35. The Detroit Tigers finish 3rd in the AL Central ahead of the White Sox and the Royals.
  36. Jon Gray stays healthy for the full season and takes home a top three finish in NL Cy Young voting.
  37. The Oakland Athletics finish second in the AL West and earn a Wild Card berth.
  38. Rhys Hoskins hits 50 home runs and the Philadelphia Phillies finish with 88 wins and a Wild Card berth.

  39. Chris Davis will hit 70 home runs in 2018.
  40. Aaron Judge will hit fewer than 30 home runs in 2018.
  41. Shohei Ohtani will hit under .200 in 2018.
  42. The Miami Marlins will finish the season with a winning record.
  43. After combining for a 6.61 ERA in 86 starts with the Orioles in 2017, Chris Tillman, Wade Miley, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Jeremy Hellickson will combine for under a 3.00 ERA in 86 starts in 2018.
  44. Eugenio Suarez will have the highest WAR in baseball.

  45. The Giants clinch a Wild Card spot even after the Bumgarner injury.
  46. The Tigers lose over 100 games.
  47. Giancarlo Stanton hits at least 60 HRs, breaking his total from last year.
  48. Matt Olson hits 30+ HRs for the Oakland A’s. Get to know the name.
  49. Tim Tebow will not play in the majors, but will get the call-up to AAA—maybe next year Tim!

  50. Michael Kopech will have higher WAR and lower ERA than his Rookie of the Year contender Ohtani.
  51. Trea Turner will bounce back from an injury and become a member of the 30/80 club.
  52. Bryce Harper will have a higher WAR than any other player in the league and lead the Nationals to a World Series.
  53. Lucas Giolito will have a sub-3.50 ERA and strike out a batter an inning showing his true form and his hype.

  54. Shohei Ohtani will be a full time first baseman by the end of the year.
  55. The Reds will finish in third place.
  56. Either the Red Sox or Yankees will miss the playoffs.
  57. Paul DeJong will fade into obscurity, but the Cardinals will find another unknown young infielder to become a star. My guess: Yairo Munoz.
  58. Jose Altuve will hit below .300.
  59. Chris Iannetta will hit 25 home runs.
  60. The Braves will win 88 games and make the playoffs.

The list of people to hold accountable:

1-5. Max Brill
6-13. Max Baer
14-20. Zane Harding
21-26. Max Smith
27-34. Theo Mackie
35-38. Clayton Myers
39-44. Sahil Shah
45-49. Matthew Kikkert
50-53. Conor Stemme
54-60. Cam Cain

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