Mike’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014
Bold predictions are fun. Instead of just being ‘high’ on a player, I can create an outlandish bold prediction to really profess my love for them. I got a little homesick editing these. Without even realizing it, my eleven bold predictions begin and end with my hometown Phillies. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
1. Ben Revere steals 50 bases and hits his first career home run.
It is a warm July day at Citizen’s Bank Park. Revere is in the midst of a career year, with 24 steals already on the season. He feels good today having eaten a second bowl of Wheaties before heading to the ballpark. He takes a first pitch fastball over the right field scoreboard to the surprise of everyone in attendance that day. ESPN home run tracker will call it “lucky”. Ben Revere will just call it “awesome”. He flashes his trademark smile as he crosses home plate to put the Phils ahead 1-0.
2. Oscar Taveras doesn’t play in the majors before September.
His lower half is apparently made of glass. A crowded (and talented) Cardinals roster along with his injuries keeps him in the minors until rosters expand. After watching Carlos Martinez go to the bullpen, it’s possible that the Cardinals are not concerned with the well-being of my fantasy team.
3. Ike Davis hits 30+ homers again as a Met.
This one isn’t even that bold since one of the key words is “again”. He hit 32 in 2012 and at least part of his trouble last year was injury related. Perhaps the presence of Lucas Duda will motivate him to get his act together at the plate. I mean, having Lucas Duda around would motivate anyone. I have Duda’s Fathead hanging in front of my treadmill.
4. Jason Heyward hits 30 home runs and steals 20 bases, outperforming Bryce Harper in both categories.
This one isn’t so much about Harper being bad. It’s more about thinking Heyward will bounce back and be very, very good. I’m sorry Mr. Harper. Please don’t tear me apart with your gigantic silverback arms.
5. Speaking of bounce-backs…Starlin Castro bounces back and hits .300 with 15 homers and 15 steals.
This is more of a wish than a prediction since he’s part of my #TDGX team. However, I think it’s also the most likely to occur. Castro has a new manager that he seems comfortable with and he’s hopefully going to scrap the 2013 approach at the plate. Am I worried about the hamstring? A tad. Is the presence of Baez motivating? Perhaps. Do I like answering my own questions? You betcha.
6. LaTroy Hawkins remains closer all year and gets more saves than Rex Brothers.
Yes he is old, and yes he hasn’t exactly pitched lights-out this spring, but they brought him to Colorado to close and that’s what he’ll do, save for the occasional match-ups play for Brothers. We’ve already handed the job to Rex? I’m sticking my neck out for Hawkins. My very long, very fragile neck.
7. Sergio Santos takes over as closer in April, racking up 30 saves for the year.
Not only does Janssen have shoulder problems, but his velocity isn’t there and without it he won’t survive the first month of the season. This will open the door for Santos, who has the stuff and the experience (30 saves in 2011) to take the job and run with it.
8. Garrett Richards finishes the year as a Top-50 starter.
That has some bold flavor to it. The K/9 isn’t spectacular, but it continues to climb while the walks and homers continue to fade. His ground ball rate was a healthy 58% last year. Throw into the pot a pitcher’s park, quality stuff, and a strong lineup behind him and you get the recipe for a surprisingly solid year from a pitcher most people didn’t even draft in standard mixed leagues.
9. Josmil Pinto finishes the year as a Top-10 catcher.
Right now it’s just news that he has made the Opening Day roster. By September we’ll be talking about what an amazing season the young Twins catcher put together. He hit over .300 with 15 homers across two levels of the minors in 2013, and if he’s given enough plate appearances he could continue that success in the majors this year. He already flashed glimpses of it last September with four homers in 21 games. He’s no slouch in batting average either.
10. Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy and hits 50+ home runs.
Stanton will do unholy things to baseballs all year. He will break another scoreboard. He will break the colored thing in left center. He will destroy your delicious seafood platter at the Clevelander. Then he will use Hechavarria’s bat as a toothpick.
11. Maikel Franco wins National League Rookie of the Year.
Asche is going to get the starting third base job, and that’s great. He’s a good player. However, it is just a matter of time before we see Franco up with the Phils at either first or third. Franco hit over .300 with 31 homers across two levels last season, and he’ll do enough even without a full season of at bats to land the award, a la Wil Myers last year. And yes, I realize Franco plays in the same league as Baez.
Mike’s on Twitter: @643ball