Keen observers of the Gregorian calendar will note that the year 2019 is upon us. Given that we talk baseball in this space, we'll commence, you know, talking baseball with an eye toward 2019. In this instance, we're talking about the entire year of 2019 as opposed to just the 2019 season. So in keeping with the ancient laws of internet clicks, 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 via 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:
1. Bryce Harper signs with the Dodgers.
2. Manny Machado signs with the Yankees.
3. Harper's new contract is the largest in MLB history.
4. Machado's is the third-largest in MLB history, behind Harper's and Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million pact he inked with the Marlins.
5. A.J. Pollock signs with the Reds.
6. The Phillies sign Craig Kimbrel.
7. The Angels sign Yasmani Grandal.
8. Dallas Keuchel signs with the Padres.
9. The Mariners sign Yusei Kikuchi.
10. The Marlins trade catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Brewers.
11. The Indians decline to trade Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer.
The 2019 season itself
You know, actual games and stuff. These half-baked suppositions are subject to change based on things like preseason signings, trades, injuries:
12. The Yankees win the American League pennant.
13. The Nationals win the National League pennant.
14. The Yankees win the World Series in five games.
15. The Yankees prevail in a tight race over the Red Sox in the AL East.
16. The Red Sox win the top AL wild-card spot.
17. The Indians win the AL Central for the fourth straight year.
18. The Astros win the AL West.
19. The Athletics win the second AL wild-card berth.
20. The Nationals edge the Braves in the NL East.
21. The Braves win the top NL wild-card spot.
22. The Cardinals edge the Cubs in the NL Central.
23. The Cubs win the second NL wild-card spot.
24. The Dodgers win the NL West for a seventh straight year and do so by a wide margin.
25. The Yankees and Dodgers top 100 wins for the season.
26. The Mets manage a winning season.
27. Houston's Alex Bregman takes AL MVP honors.
28. Ronald Acuna of the Braves is voted NL MVP.
29. For a second straight year, the Orioles secure the top overall pick in the June MLB draft.
30. Victor Robles of the Nationals wins the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
31. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays wins the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
32. Max Scherzer wins the NL Cy Young Award.
33. Luis Severino wins the AL Cy Young Award.
34. CC Sabathia reaches 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts for his career.
35. Kenley Jansen reaches 300 saves for his career.
36. Edwin Encarnacion reaches 400 home runs for his career.
37. Robinson Cano reaches 2,500 hits for his career.
38. Albert Pujols becomes just the fifth player in MLB history to tally at least 2,000 RBI.
39. In his age-27 season, Mike Trout reaches 75 WAR for his career.
40. Jordan Hicks hits 106 mph on the Busch Stadium radar.
41. Aaron Judge of the Yankees leads the majors with 44 home runs.
42. Gritty throws out the ceremonial first pitch at a late-season Phillies home game, to the almost palpable displeasure of the Philly Phanatic.
Palace intrigue and the like:
43. In late January, the BBWAA announces that Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rivera just misses becoming the first unanimous choice in BBWAA history. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds continue to see their percentages climb, as each makes a significant jump.
44. Andy Green of the Padres becomes the first manager fired in 2019.
45. MLB formally announces plans to expand to 32 teams. Montreal and Portland are reportedly the front-runners.
46. Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke are the biggest names dealt leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
47. College baseball aside: Vanderbilt wins the College World Series.
The 2019-20 offseason
Here's just a taste of what might happen next winter before 2020 descends upon us:
48. Top-of-the-class free agent Nolan Arenado signs with the Padres during the winter meetings.
49. At those same Winter Meetings, Bumgarner signs with the Phillies.
50. Joe Maddon and the Cubs part ways.
There you have it: 50 vaguely informed predictions for the calendar year 2019 in baseball. Fifty. We counted twice and everything. Shall these be very wrong? People, these shall be very wrong.