Anti-List: Myles Nelson’s Bold Predictions for 2019

Anti-List is the satire and entertainment section of Pitcher List. Enjoy this article as it’s all in good fun.

You know what time it is. It’s time to make regular predictions in a bold font. Nothing too crazy, no scalding hot takes … excuse me, what? I’m sorry? Oh, I’ve just been informed that that’s not what a bold prediction is. IT’S TIME TO GET WILD!

 

1. Don Mattingly will be the first player-manager since 1986

 

The death of the player-manager was inevitable. As the game has evolved, and the information we have available to us has grown exponentially, it has become impossible for any one man to be able to manage all that information and be an effective major league ballplayer. That is why, sometime near the end of June, the first player-manager since 1986 will be seen not because it was planned but out of necessity. The Miami Marlins are spiraling, losers of 14 straight games, and last night, they soiled themselves at home to the tune of an 11-0 rout. The bats couldn’t do a thing, and Jose Urena decided to experiment with an eephus pitch not once but thrice (all three smacked out of the park). It’s now Sunday, the last day of the homestand, and the Marlins are hoping against hope to end this losing streak.

It’s the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Marlins find themselves within striking distance of taking the lead. Wei-Yin Chen has been absolutely dealing today to keep them in the game, and they are down 7-5 with runners at first and second, with two outs. Neil Walker, the Marlins’ new acquisition and star first baseman, is in the on-deck circle, slashing a team-best .247/.298/.402. Brian Anderson gets ready to take a massive swing but instead gets hit by the pitch, loading the bases for Walker. That’s when he hears from the dugout, “Take a seat, Neil. We can’t afford to lose this opportunity.”

Bewildered, he turns around and sees his 58-year-old manager come out of the dugout with a bat in hand. Don Mattingly, who last played in the majors in 1995, pats Walker on the shoulder and motions him to the dugout. He steps into the batter’s box, glares right into the soul of Nick Pivetta, and dares him to make his day. Pivetta shrugs, and grooves three fastballs down the middle, all of which are far too fast for Mattingly to catch up to, ending the inning. Mattingly goes out to first base to finish the game, where he commits three errors, lets countless ground balls go right past him, and even allows former player J.T. Realmuto to get on first when he beats Mattingly to the bag on a chopper back to the mound. The game ends in a 12-5 loss, their 15th straight, and Mattingly orders the team to never mention this again. The media doesn’t pick up on the story because, let’s be real, there wasn’t anyone at the game anyway.

 

2. Nick Pollack will go 0-10 in his bold predictions

 

Our fearless leader is great at a lot of things. Bold predictions ain’t one of them. Here’s why all of his will fail:

  1. We’ll see double the amount of 20o-plus IP pitchers in 2019: We had 13 pitchers hit 200 IP last year, and he thinks we are going to see 26 pitchers hit that number this year? Unless relief pitchers go on strike this year, managers aren’t suddenly going to use their starting pitchers more. NEXT!
  2. Pete Alonso and Luke Voit each swat five more homers than Matt Carpenter: I have a better prediction. Pete Alonso and Luke Voit don’t even combine to swat as many as Matt Carpenter. Voit is everyone’s favorite shiny new toy, but he might not even be an everyday player for the Yankees with all the bats they have. Carpenter will smack 35, Alonso will have a solid-but-unspectacular rookie season and hit 17 dingers, and Voit will disappoint everyone with irregular playing time on his way to 11 home runs.
  3. Three Padres starting pitchers outperform any SP on the Reds: Nick! How could you do this to your prodigal son, first of his name and the fairest in all the land, Luis Castillo!
  4. Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright outperform any other SP on the Braves… and Blue Jays: Nick just wants to flex that he knows more starting pitchers than any of us plebs. It’s like bragging about how many Facebook friends you have … weird flex, but OK.
  5. Lewis Brinson scores 90 runs, goes 20/20 with a .300 average: HAHAHAHAHAHA.
  6. Josh Donaldson and Matt Chapman both outperform Vlad Guerrero (starting May 1): Vladito is going to have a Rookie of the Year season similar to other all-time great ROY seasons like Aaron Judge (171 OPS+), Albert Pujols (157 OPS+), and Henry Rowengartner (was 12 years old).
  7. Jeff Samardzija and Merrill Kelly are both top-30 starters: Kelly wasn’t even a top-30 starter in Korea, and obviously we have the superior talent in our league here. This is ‘Murica after all! Land of the free! Home of the brave!
  8. Jorge Polanco, Ketel Marte, and Jonathan Schoop all return top 15 MI value: Polanco won’t be the same without PEDs, Marte is as good as Ketel One Vodka (retch), and Schoop won’t be good until he admits his last name should rhyme with poop.
  9. Gary Sanchez is a top-20 player: The only thing Gary Sanchez is going to be top 20 at is passed balls.
  10. Things go horribly wrong for Austin Bristow II and he’s demoted back to the Prodigy league: Au contraire, Nick, Austin is going to dominate the Legacy League so handily that he becomes the new leader of Pitcher List, and his first order of business will be demoting YOU to the Prodigy League.

3. Mike Trout will finish as a top-10 hitter in OBP leagues

 

OK, hear me out on this one. I know this is crazy. But Mike Trout draws a ton of walks. In fact, he finished first last season in walk percentage. Walking that much will raise his OBP to a point that the rest of his contributions will be good enough for top-10 hitter values. I know it will be weird to see him finish above guys such as Javier Baez and Khris Davis, who are well-known OBP monsters, but I promise that Trout will return great value in OBP leagues.

 

4. Rob Manfred will ban both Pedro Baez and Odubel Herrera midgame for pace of play

 

Since Rob Manfred took over as commissioner in 2015, he’s enacted approximately 87 rule changes to increase the pace of play. So much so that these three words are now common vernacular, whereas no one had ever uttered them prior to Manfred taking over. I don’t know if he overbooks his schedule or what, but he just doesn’t seem to have the patience to sit through a baseball game like the real commissioners of the good ol’ days could. Regardless, he wants the game to move faster, and so it shall.

At least, it will until May 31, Phillies at Dodgers. It’s Friday night, and Manfred is in town because it’s Southern California and it’s summer and he wants to spend some time working on his tan at the beach. He’ll attend the game, sitting in his box, and in the seventh inning, he’ll see something that will get his blood boiling. Odubel Herrera is leading off the inning, which wouldn’t be notable except for the fact that Herrera is on Manfred’s List, which is his list of players who are being actively monitored for how long they take in the batter’s box. Here are 24 unedited seconds of footage between Herrera looking at Ball 2 and getting ready for the next pitch.

 

 

Still, that in and of itself isn’t really anything to get Manfred turning red and having steam come out of his ears like a cartoon character. However, it’s Pedro Baez on the mound, and Baez is No. 1 on Manfred’s List. There are snails that move faster than Baez. I’ve gotten orders at Starbucks in the time it takes Baez to make his pitch. He takes so long here that the batter calls time because he’s just fed up with standing there waving his bat.

 

 

Baez toes the rubber; Herrera adjusts his jockstrap. Baez looks in for the sign; Herrera digs his toes in the dirt. Baez steps off the rubber to reset. It’s been 46 seconds so far. Baez toes the rubber again, but Herrera isn’t ready yet. He calls time and steps back to spit in the dirt and fondle his bat. He steps back in, taps the plate with his bat, and readies himself for the pitch. Baez gets the sign and prepares to make his pitch. Herrera looks at Baez; Baez looks at Herrera. A fan finishes his beer and figures he’s got time to get another. Baez looks down at his shoes and notices one of them is untied. He thinks about whether he should step off and tie it. He decides he’ll do it after the pitch and looks back at his catcher, who’s fallen asleep. Then, booming from above, comes Manfred’s decree: “YOU’RE BOTH BANNED FROM MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FOR LIFE!”

 

5. The New York Mets win the 2019 World Series.

 

You may have seen this one already, as Dave Cherman covered it in his 10 bold predictions. He’s right, but for all the wrong reasons. He mentions their stellar pitching rotation, led by Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Thor Odinson, Prince of Asgard. He touts their lineup filled with young talent, steady vets, and everyone’s favorite PED-user Robinson Cano. But none of that will be why they win the World Series. We all thought it was his destiny as the son of the man above to win a Super Bowl, but we were mistaken. You see, it was prophesized that he would be America’s champion, but football is not America’s Pastime. Baseball is. And so it is Tim Tebow‘s true destiny, as the descendant of Joseph Smith himself, to win the World Series for New York’s team, the New York Mets.

 

6. Baseball will reclaim its place as a top-5 sport in America

 

But Myles, you just said that baseball is America’s Pastime: Of course it will be a top-5 sport in America. You’re right, I did say that, and baseball is indeed America’s Pastime. Unfortunately, it is not America’s Presentime. More kids are playing garbage sports like football, basketball, and curling than they are playing baseball. But when Tebow is called up on Easter Sunday and takes the MLB by storm, kids in every state across the country will take to the game like never before. Baseball will be revitalized in America again and will begin its climb to where it belongs in the No. 1 spot in America’s heart. This year though, it will finish behind football, basketball, hockey, and poker in terms of national TV coverage.

 

7. Requiem for a Bird 2 will take place this summer

 

It’s been 18 years since the first infamous incident when Randy Johnson nailed a bird with a 100 mph heater. The crowd was stunned, the umpire called for a do-over of the pitch, and PETA even tried to sue Johnson, much to no one’s surprise. Johnson has said it was an accident, but I find that hard to believe. If it was truly an accident, we wouldn’t be going on 18 years without seeing it happen again. Birds go diving for worms and other such food on the ground all the time, and baseballs are thrown thousands of times a day across the nation. Statistically speaking, if it was an accident, it would have happened again.

It’s no accident that it was Johnson pitching, and it’s no accident the game took place against their rival, the San Francisco Giants. These two teams weren’t just expected to duke it out to win the NL West, they were among the favorites to go to the World Series. Johnson was willing to do whatever it took to win the division, so he decided to send a message right before the season started. He nailed that bird to show all the Giants hitters what could happen to them if they pissed him off. It worked, as Johnson sported a 2.25 ERA and 10.6 K/9 against the Giants.

Blake Snell is tired of seeing the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees dominate the AL East. And so on April 21, against the reigning champion Red Sox, Snell will strike. With the game happening at 2:10 p.m. in beautiful Tampa Bay, it’s the perfect opportunity for Snell to send a message to the AL East titans that he’s not messing around this season. It will be early in the game, perhaps the first inning even. Maybe Mookie Betts is at the plate, maybe it’s JD Martinez. But when everything is aligned perfectly in place for Snell, he’ll send a 98 mph rocket hurtling right toward his mark, a pigeon making a precisely timed dive in front of the plate. It won’t be until months later that anyone asks how the pigeon got into the domed Tropicana Field to begin with or why that pigeon drastically increased his life insurance policy just weeks before the “accident.” But none of that will matter because to the Red Sox, all they’ll know is: message received.

 

8. The Phillie Phanatic will be mired in the next mascot scandal

 

Back in June 2017, Mr. Met found himself in the middle of quite the controversy when he flipped the bird at a Mets fan. Now, I’m not really sure what the issue was as he was simply doing what everyone wants to do to New York sports fans, but nonetheless, it caused quite the tizzy. The Phillie Phanatic may be one of the most beloved mascots around, as evidenced by when he was ranked as the No. 1 mascot in all of Major League Baseball by USA Today. That’s why it will be shocking and heartbreaking to so many baseball-mascot-loving Americans to hear that our dear friend, the Phillie Phanatic, has been using performance-enhancing drugs.

 

(Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)

 

The most amazing thing about this will actually be that we didn’t see it coming all along. I mean, look at how thicc the Phanatic is below the waist. You don’t get legs and a derriere like that without a little extra help. I don’t care how many squats he does or dance battles he gets in with opposing players, that’s just not natural. Plus, he’s been playing the game since the 1978 season, and he’s arguably been at his peak for the past decade. Mascots simply don’t peak 40 years into their career.

It’s going to be a real shame for both the Phanatic and MLB mascots when the truth comes out, but we will just have to push on. Or do we? Do we need to keep digging to find the real scandal? USA Today ranked the Phillie Phanatic No. 1, but it should be noted that Mr. Met, the other mascot who was knocked down a peg recently, ranked No. 2 on that list. Is it a coincidence that the top two ranked mascots were outed like this? Or is this a conspiracy led by the No. 3 mascot, Wally the Green Monster?

Stay woke, baseball fans.

 

9. Chris Davis will not be the highest scoring player in our WorstBall league

 

This season, I’ll be partaking in a few wacky leagues, one of which being the WorstBall league. The main concept is the worse the player is, the higher he’ll score in our format. Chris Davis has led the majors in this points format each of the past two seasons, and for good reason. Despite a two-year slash line of .191/.276/.359, he still managed to amass more than 500 plate appearances in each season, hitting that perfect balance of futility and regular playing time.

In order to keep his hold on the throne as the No. 1 hitter in this negative fantasy league, he’ll need to have a third straight pathetic performance while still remaining an everyday player. I just don’t see that happening. Don’t get me wrong, Davis will be awful again this year, but I have faith in the Baltimore Orioles realizing that it’s finally time to take Davis out of a regular starting role and maybe just use him very very sparingly off the bench.

That’s probably more faith in the Orioles than I should ever have, but I just don’t see how an organization can continue to start someone who is such a drain on both sides of the ball.

 

10. Avengers: Endgame will end with Thanos victorious and The Snap remaining permanent

 

Since the moment Infinity War premiered this past April, the internet has been abuzz with theories upon theories of how the Avengers will overcome all obstacles and defeat Thanos. I don’t want to go into every theory, but some of them are really out there. Let’s be honest about what’s really going to happen though: The Avengers are not going to win. Come on, Thanos has all six infinity stones he’s not losing to anyone. The last act of Avengers: Endgame is going to be about the heroes simply having to accept their new reality and how to move on in a world with 50% of living beings snapped away.

“Hold on for just a darn minute. You can’t fool me, I’ve already watched the new Spider-Man trailer; I know that he’s coming back. That means the Avengers have to win.”

It’s so obvious, isn’t it? The new Spider-Man sequel actually takes place right before the events of Infinity War. He goes on the summer trip to Europe, does whatever he does there, and then comes back to New York for another school year. In his first month back at school, they take a field trip to the MOMA, and on the bus ride there is when the movie ends, as that is when we first see Peter Parker in Infinity War.

“Um … OK well maybe that could be the case. But what about all the movies they’ve already announced? Marvel has said there will be a Dr. Strange 2, a Black Panther 2, even Guardians of the Galaxy 3!”

Well, that’s simple. Dr. Strange 2 is canceled. It was a red herring all along. While Wong could certainly be the new leading man, it would be really boring watching an entire movie about a Master of the Mystic Arts just protecting the New York Sanctum. Besides, Wong will return on Disney+ Presents: The Marvel-ous Wedding of Iron Man and Pepper Potts.

Black Panther 2 will essentially be the Princess Diaries but set in Wakanda; we’ll watch Shuri grow from awkward lovable nerd teenager to warrior princess. Julie Andrews guest stars as the newest member of the Dora Milaje and Shuri’s mentor through her transformation.

Lastly, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (welcome back James Gunn!) will focus on Rocket’s discovery of Earth’s raccoon population and subsequently how he fits in with his fellow trash pandas. This insightful documentary will be narrated, as always, by Morgan Freeman.

Graphic by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Myles Nelson

Myles started playing fantasy baseball as a middle-schooler in 2004 and hasn't stopped since. He's starting to experiment now to keep things interesting, and he wants to bring you along for the ride with his Anti-List Wacky Leagues. Follow the cream of the crap @PLWorstBall to celebrate all things awful, and you can follow him @MylesNelsonPL for mostly biased Dodgers commentary and the occasional actually useful tweet.

sdf

Comments


Jeffrey M Zaslaw

Your articles and predictions helped me enormously in my draft, especially pitchers list. Now we will see how it turns out. First year with you.
Nelson’s piece was a waiste of your valuable space

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