Bases Loaded: Incorrect Predictions

Opening day is upon us and while I still have a few hours before the first pitch in Tampa this afternoon…it’s time for some outlandish, hopeful and most likely incorrect predictions for the 2017 MLB season!

First and foremost, I want to dedicate this piece to my father, Alfred Venditti, who passed away at the end of February.  Opening day was always one of the most special days of the year for my father and I. When the Red Sox take the field tomorrow at 2:05 pm, I am sure to be a sobbing mess as I realize that it will be the first Red Sox opening day that I will not be able to call and discuss with him.  I love you Pops.

Now that we’re all good and sad…let’s brighten up the morning with some BASEBALL!!!!

The new look New York Yankees will start the season in the Trop against the Rays this afternoon…so let’s start my bold predictions with one that involved the Baby Bombers.

BOLD PREDICTION 1:

  • The Baby Bomber Yankees will score the most runs in MLB history for a team that misses the playoffs.
    • Yes, I did have to tap into my Red Sox fandom in order to lead with this, but hear me out before you scream “HOMER!” from the mountain tops.  The Yanks have undoubtedly begun to build something unbelievable in the Bronx and have done so mostly through their farm system…I know, crazy huh?  With Gary Sanchez’s endless barrage of homers to end last season, hopes are high…but reality needs to set in too.  Sanchez will be a super star, I guarantee it, but he will not keep up the pace he set forth in a month and change throughout 162 ballgames.  BUT I do know he’s a stud and the Yankees have a few other young guns (Judge, Bird and Torreyes) in the mix with solid veterans (Ellsbury, Gardner, Headly and Castro) so their offense will have no problems.  It’s their pitching that bothers me.  Tanaka, to me, could always be one start away from a DL stint and I don’t have much faith in Pineda or CC.  Obviously if they get a lead to the bullpen…they’ll win.  I just think their rotation keeps them on the doorstep of the postseason, but can’t get them invited to the party.  I said last year it would be 2 more seasons before the Yankees returned…I stand by it. They will take one more step towards being back this season and then next Winter I expect Brian Cashman to make magic happen with that rotation and…as much as I will hate to see it personally…then the Yankees will be the Yankees again and we’ll all return to hating them.

BOLD PREDICTION 2:

  • The Cleveland Indians will have a World Series hangover and look mediocre for the first half of the season.  After the break, the Fighting Franconas will get it together, tear up the league and return to the playoffs and maybe more.
    • The team hasn’t changed much since the World Series…except for the addition of mega-power hitter and bat flip extraordinaire Edwin Encarnacion.  He will both give and get protection in the line-up and add yet another explosive bat to this Cleveland offense.  You add in the fact that Yan Gomes will be back and you have to expect the bats to be alive.  Thing is, they are coming off of an extended season in which they lost the World Series in 7-games.  Their expectations are through the roof and I think they may struggle with that early.  Luckily I don’t see the AL Central as being a very deep or competitive division this season, so they’ll be in the mix even if they come out of the gate sluggish and then once it all clicks…see ya later Tribe.

BOLD PREDICTION 3 (The Homer Prediction)- 

  • The Boston Red Sox will bring home hardware in bunches when Mookie Betts wins the MVP, Chris Sale wins the Cy Young and the Sox win the American League…but will they win the series? I’m saving that for my official incorrect picks below…
    • Mookie Betts was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2016 and will not slow down in 2017.  Of course in recent history, the American League MVP has basically been the Mike Trout award, so it will be difficult for Betts to pry this award away…but he will.  I think Betts will be even better this season and can steal some votes from the machine in Anaheim.  Sale on the other hand will just have to be himself and with the run support he should get from the Boston line-up, he’s got the Cy Young locked up and staying in the Fens.  I believe that the ALCS will be between the Indians and Red Sox (legitimately) so in this homer prediction, of course the Sox are winning the pennant!  Losing David Ortiz will pose the biggest challenge for the Red Sox, but since Hanley Ramirez got back into shape he has been a force and can step into the role of the new Big Papi.

Now to the nuts and bolts of it all.  The following is a prediction, an educated prediction, but a prediction nonetheless. Predictions are rarely correct when followed by a 162-game MLB season. So, that being said…here we go.

  • AL East:
    • 1. Boston Red Sox
    • 2. Toronto Blue Jays*
    • 3. New York Yankees
    • 4. Baltimore Orioles
    • 5. Tampa Bay Rays
  • AL Central:
    • 1. Cleveland Indians
    • 2. Chicago White Sox
    • 3. Kansas City Royals
    • 4. Detroit Tigers
    • 5. Minnesota Twins
  • AL West:
    • 1. Houston Astros
    • 2. Texas Rangers*
    • 3. Los Angeles Angels
    • 4. Seattle Mariners
    • 5. Oakland Athletics
  • NL East:
    • 1. Washington Nationals
    • 2. New York Mets*
    • 3. Miami Marlins
    • 4. Atlanta Braves
    • 5. Philadelphia Phillies
  • NL Central:
    • Chicago Cubs
    • St. Louis Cardinals
    • Pittsburgh Pirates
    • Cincinnati Reds
    • Milwaukee Brewers
  • NL West:
    • Los Angeles Dodgers
    • San Francisco Giants*
    • Arizona Diamondbacks
    • San Diego Padres
    • Colorado Rockies

(* denotes Wild Card Team)

Wild Card Playoffs:

  • Rangers over Blue Jays
  • Mets over Giants

ALDS:

  • Red Sox over Rangers
  • Indians over Astros

NLDS:

  • Mets over Cubs (SHOCKER)
  • Nationals over Giants

ALCS:

  • Indians over Red Sox

NLCS:

  • Mets over Nationals

World Series:

  • Mets defeat Indians in 6 games

Yup.

I’ve bought in to the health of the Mets rotation and their ability to return to form after just one down season.

Will any of this happen?  Probably not…but it’s fun to take a guess and wait and see!  Regardless, baseball is back. Thank God.

-Ditti

Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/InsideTheMindOfDitti) and Instagram (dittius33).

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