Keen observers of the Gregorian calendar will note that the year 2018 is upon us. Given that we talk baseball in this space, we'll commence, you know, talking baseball with an eye toward 2018. In this instance, we're talking about the entire year of 2018 as opposed to just the 2018 season. So in keeping with the ancient laws of attracting internet click-throughs, we present 50 quasi-informed baseball predictions for the new year upon us.
For the busy executive and or the sports enthusiast consuming this piece on a mobile platform while passing another vehicle using the shoulder of the road, we'll do this in an easily digestible format that includes pleasing subheads and high-level bullet points. Forthwith!
The current Hot Stove
Here's where we talk about what's been a fairy quiet 2017-18 offseason in terms of free agent signings ...
- J.D. Martinez signs with the Red Sox.
- Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas wind up returning to the Royals.
- The Cubs sign Yu Darvish.
- The Giants sign Lorenzo Cain.
- Jake Arrieta signs with the Rangers.
- The Orioles trade Manny Machado during the season.
- The Pirates trade Gerrit Cole but not to the Yankees.
- The Blue Jays trade Josh Donaldson to the Cardinals leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline.
- The White Sox hang onto Jose Abreu.
- The Marlins keep Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto, at least for the time being.
The 2018 season itself
You know, actual games and stuff. These half-baked suppositions are subject to change based on things like preseason signings, trades, injuries ...
- The Indians win the American League pennant.
- The Nationals win the National League pennant.
- The Indians win the World Series in six games.
- The Angels make the playoffs for just the second time in Mike Trout's career, as they win a wild-card spot.
- The Red Sox win the top wild-card spot.
- The Astros repeat as AL West champs.
- The Dodgers win the NL West for the sixth straight year.
- The Cubs fend off the Cardinals in a tight NL Central race.
- The Cardinals and Diamondbacks claim wild-card berths.
- The Yankees top 100 wins en route to the AL East title.
- Speaking of the Yankees, they break the '97 Mariners all-time record mark of 264 home runs in a season.
- The Giants barely manage a winning season but miss the playoffs.
- Carlos Correa wins the 2018 AL MVP Award.
- Trout finishes second in the AL MVP balloting for the fourth time in his career.
- Giancarlo Stanton's seasonal home run total goes down in his first season in the Bronx.
- Stanton does, however, hit his 300th career home run in early August.
- In early July, Stanton and teammate Aaron Judge combine for more than 2,000 feet of homers in one game.
- Anthony Rendon wins the 2018 NL MVP Award.
- Carlos Carrasco wins the 2018 AL Cy Young Award.
- Noah Syndergaard wins the 2018 NL Cy Young Award.
- Shohei Ohtani fails to log a qualifying number of innings on the mound in his first MLB season, but at the plate he reaches double digits and homers and puts up an OPS north of .800.
- Ohtani edges out the Rays' Brent Honeywell in the AL Rookie of the Year vote.
- Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna wins the NL Rookie of the Year Award for 2018.
- The Manager of the Year Awards will go to ... oh, who gives a s---.
- The Tigers "edge" the Marlins for worst record in MLB and thus claim the top overall draft pick for 2019.
- It's a big year for Albert Pujols when it comes to milestones. He records his 3,000th career hit and 2,000 career RBI and passes Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place on the all-time home run list.
- Andrelton Simmons is finally selected to the All-Star Game.
- Justin Verlander notches the 200th win of his career.
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays ends the season as the consensus top prospect in all of baseball.
- White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech will make his big-league debut in the second half. He'll throw the hardest pitch of the 2018 season.
Palace intrigue and the like ...
- MLB formally announces plans to expand to 32 teams. Montreal and Portland are reportedly the front-runners.
- The Braves' Brian Snitker becomes the first manager fired in 2018.
- In late January, the BBWAA announces that Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Vladimir Guerrero have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Trevor Hoffman and Edgar Martinez narrowly miss the 75 percent cutoff. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, each in his sixth year on the ballot, see their percentages continue to climb.
- Despite expectations to the contrary, Jung Ho Kang receives a visa and returns to the Pirates in time for spring training.
- Marlins Man tweets that he has made peace with Derek Jeter. Jeter does not comment upon this matter.
- College baseball aside: Florida will repeat as national champions.
The 2018-19 offseason
Here's just a taste of what might happen before 2019 descends upon us ...
- During the Winter Meetings, Bryce Harper signs the largest contract in MLB history -- one that's worth around $450 million -- with the Phillies.
- The Dodgers re-sign Clayton Kershaw.
- Just before Christmas, Manny Machado signs with the Cubs in a deal that tops Stanton's $325 million extension.
- Speaking of the Cubs, Jason Heyward chooses not to opt out of the five years and $106 million left on his contract.
There you have it: 50 vaguely informed predictions for the calendar year 2018 in baseball. Fifty. We counted twice and everything. Shall these be very wrong? People, these shall be very wrong.