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Shelly Verougstraete’s Bold Predictions for MLB

Go bold or go home.

March is finally here and not only does baseball start but… it’s Bold Prediction SZN! While I’m sure most of these will be laughable by July, I tried to make some predictions that have a pretty good chance of coming true.

 

1. Kirby Yates is on another team by August

 

I am extremely bearish on the Padres’ chances of competing this year. Their lineup does not scare you. Fernando Tatis Jr./strong> is fun, but are we really expecting him to perform better than what he showed last year? Tommy Pham has a major elbow injury and has yet to play the outfield in Spring Training. Eric Hosmer is your cleanup hitter? Really?!? Their starting rotation mirrors their lineup. They have one legit stud in Chris Paddack but then Garrett Richards, Zach Davies, Joey Lucchesi, and Dinelson Lamet. I think the Padres are going to struggle to even get close to a Wild Card spot and they will trade Kirby Yates to a contender for more prospects. Yates will be 33 years old this year and is on the last year of his deal. Perfect time for a trade.

 

2. Franmil Reyes leads the AL with 45 home runs

 

Release the Franimal! Between San Diego and Cleveland last year, Franmil Reyes hit 37 round-trippers and drove in 81 runs.  His hard-hit rate and average exit velocity are in the 98th and 99th percentile, respectively. He lost 10-15 pounds this offseason, which should help him stay on the field. Do you have players where you look up their ages and are seriously shocked? Well, I had that recently with Reyes and he is only 24 years old. I seriously thought he was much closer to 30 than 20. Get ready everyone, Franmil Reyes is about to go off!

 

3. Joe Musgrove is a top-20 pitcher with 225+ strikeouts

 

Talk about I guy I cannot quit. There was a bit of hype going into the 2019 for Joe Musgrove but not like this year. He added velocity in September, no thanks to Shane Bieber. In a recent Spring Training in-game interview, Musgrove said he was focusing on commanding the top of the zone with his four-seamer and throwing more curveballs. Musgrove is going into BEAST MODE and I am here for it. Yes, the Pirates are not a very good team but I believe in Musgrove’s talent.

 

4. Dylan Bundy wins 15 games with a sub-3.00 ERA

 

I really hate to do this Orioles fans but… you let another pitcher slip through your hands. As the great Michael Ajeto wrote during the winter, Dylan Bundy really needs to change his pitch mix and throw that slider more. I feel that getting away from Baltimore and in another organization, he can do it. As of this post, Bundy has 13 strikeouts in just four innings of work and I am buying it… hook, line, and sinker. The Angels have to catch a break at some point, right?

 

5. Castellanos and Moustakas combine for 80 home runs

 

Last year, I was extremely high on the Reds because I thought those bats would be on fire. To my surprise, it was their pitching that was on fire. In this offseason, the Reds added Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas to the offense and it will be bombs away in Cinci this year. For Castellanos, he will finally call a hitters park home and Moose migrates south into another great lineup. If everyone can stay healthy, it will be a super fun time in Cincinnati.

 

6. The Marlins have a better record than the Phillies, Padres, and Cardinals

 

This predication is more about the Phillies, Padres, and Cardinals than the Marlins. I loved what Miami has done this offseason. They traded for Jonathan Villar because the Orioles didn’t want to pay him and also signed Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar. The top three in their rotation are pretty good, and they match well with Caleb Smith, Sandy Alcantara, and a rebounding Pablo Lopez. They also have some interesting guys in the upper minors that could contribute very soon. I’m down on the Phillies. They lack the depth to really compete. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are a good one-two punch but… it ends there. There was also an interview with their pitching coach saying they are going to focus on fastballs low in the zone. Facepalm. I mentioned before why I am down on the Padres, so now we get to the Cardinals. Their situation is much worse. They lost Marcel Ozuna and replaced him with…Tyler O’Neill? Their rotation outside of Jack Flaherty is full of question marks. It is going to be a long summer in St. Louis for sure.

 

7. The Texas Rangers starters finish the year with a cumulative ERA above 4.00

 

I’ve been a bit confused this offseason with the hype around the Rangers rotation. I understand that Lance Lynn had an incredible, out of nowhere season and Mike Minor, famously, had 200 strikeouts, but I’m not buying it. They traded for Corey Kluber during the winter but I’m unsure what version of Klubot we are getting. He missed most of the season with a broken arm and an oblique injury and he was not looking great before those injuries. Their fourth and fifth starters are Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles… hard pass from me. Their pitching depth in their high minors is very scary, with Kolby Allard being the most interesting.

 

8. Mark Canha is the highest ranked Oakland outfielder

 

Mark Canha has made himself a much better hitter. He became more patient at the plate and his chase rate dropped from 34.8% in 2017 all the way to 22.1% last year. He posted a 146 wRC+ with his 26 home runs, 0.273 AVG, and 0.396 OBP. Canha should be the most valuable outfielder in the Coliseum, even over Ramon Laureano. Laureano should steal more bases, but that is the only category where he can top Canha. As of this post, Laureano is going 73rd off the board while Canha is going 223! He is an absolute steal at that price.

 

9. Dylan Cease becomes a top-30 pitcher

 

Get ready for it White Sox fans, Dylan Cease is going to be an excellent No. 2 starter behind Lucas Giolito. Cease was one of the worst pitchers last year in his debut season. In his 14 starts, he had a 5.79 ERA with 1.55 WHIP and had pretty much zero command of any of his pitches. In an interview with Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times, Cease said he is focusing on his mechanics more: “The biggest thing I’ve really been working on is not getting too rotational on my front side.” I am totally on board any pitcher when they know what went wrong and make the proper changes. Cease has been really good this spring. In his most recent start, he went four innings, striking out five and hitting 98 MPH. More importantly, he was showing strong command and was not flying open when throwing his fastball.

 

10. Twins beat the Yankees in the playoffs

 

Get ready folks. The curse will finally be broken. The Twins will finally beat the Yankees in a playoff series. Their lineup absolutely mashed the ball last year and got even more potent with the addition of Josh Donaldson. They also added some pitching depth with the trade for Kenta Maeda, signed a resurgent Homer Bailey, and Michael Pineda should return during the season. Their bullpen is much better this year, led by Taylor Rogers. Sergio Romo, Trevor May, and Tyler Duffey are also great relievers. They also have a pretty deep farm system that they can trade from to pick up whatever they need during the season. The Yankees, however, are already battling injury issues and the only thing they did in the off-season is sign Gerrit Cole.

Photos by Quinn Harris & Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Zach Ennis (@zachennis on Twitter and Instagram)

Shelly Verougstraete

Writes at Over The Monster, The Dynasty Guru, and Pitcher List. Can be heard on many podcasts at The Dynasty Guru and Over The Monster. Proud Dog Mom to Orsillo and Soto. Can be found filling your timeline with pictures of dishes coming out of her kitchen.

4 responses to “Shelly Verougstraete’s Bold Predictions for MLB”

  1. Will says:

    Really like predictions 2-6 and 8-10. Also, FYI, your twitter link doesn’t work.

  2. djo162@gmail.com says:

    This was the first article I read after I took Dylan Bundy probably 2 rounds early simply cause I believe as well. Appreciate the reassurance!

    • TedBundy's_SonIsaPitcher says:

      I reached for bundy in the 4th round cause i didnt want to risk someone else snatching him up. Top 5 in Cy Young this year for sure

  3. Pitcherlist Superfan says:

    Ah, Shelly you are a treasure. I really began to appreciate your work last year and love that have articles up here on my favorite site! Hope some of these come true!

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