Last minute end of season predictions

Mookie Betts
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Mookie Betts) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Tomorrow we all will get to enjoy the beginning of the NLCS and Saturday the ALCS, so it is time to make some last minute predictions.

Let’s start with the National League awards. Clearly the National League MVP will be Christian Yelich. He has risen above all other candidates and lead his team to the playoffs and in to the NLCS. Yelich lead the NL in batting average, tied for third in home runs and third in OBP. What a season and what a major breakout.

Staying in the National League we turn to the Cy Young award. My heart wants Jacob DeGrom to win this one, but with only 10 wins it just may be too much to ask. So, I have no choice but to turn to, nope not Max Scherzer like you thought I would say, but to Aaron Nola. Nola finished the season with 17 wins, a WHIP of 0.97 and second in ERA at 2.37. Talk about a breakout, Nola improved his ERA by over 1.0 point and that was with an increase of nearly 60 more innings over last season. He is well deserving of the Cy Young and should be walking away with that hardware.

Switching leagues now to the American League we look at the AL MVP. This year the AL MVP won’t be going to my favorite player Mike Trout, instead it will head to the East Coast and go to Mookie Betts. Betts finished the regular season tied for ninth in home runs and first in runs and batting average with 129 and an average of .346. Though not quite as impressive as Nola’s breakout Betts does stay with our theme of breakout players winning hardware.

Finally the AL Cy Young will be awarded to a player who barely made the All-Star team this season, what a joke, Blake Snell. Snell may have been the best breakout of all of our breakouts this year. First in ERA and wins and second in WHIP the decision to give Snell the AL’s top pitching honor is a no brainer, but then again I thought him making the All-Star game was as well.

Ok, since you twisted my arm I will give one more prediction. Our 2018 World Series Champions will be the Houston Astros. They are not getting the respect they deserve, but will show everyone who the champs are.

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Dodgers vs Brewers in the NLCS

According to @OddsShark the Dodgers and Brewers are +350 to win the World Series, just behind the Astros at +260, but let’s be honest is anyone picking the Brewers to beat LA?

Let me be clear I am not a Dodgers fan, but clearly they are the horse to bet on in the NLCS. Los Angeles finished 2018 with an National League leading 3.38 team ERA lead by not Clayton Kershaw (2.73 ERA), but by Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.97 ERA over 82.1 IP). Oh and that guy Kershaw, may be the best pitcher we have ever seen, wasn’t even the team leader in wins. That honor falls to Rich Hill. Why then am I bringing up Kershaw in all this, because that just shows the depth of the Dodgers starting rotation. They will have to face the likes of Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley, Chase Anderson and a few other castoffs from other teams. Hands down the Dodgers have the better starting staff.

While the Brewers have the clear favorite for the NL MVP in Christian Yelich and a solid center fielder, though over-hyped coming out of Kansas City, in Lorenzo Cain I dare you to name the other seven starters. Go ahead, I can wait while you try. Times up. Milwaukee was second in the NL in home runs, behind the Dodgers. They finished seventh in average, LA was eighth, and sixth in OBP while their counterpart was third. Los Angeles is lead on offense by guys like Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig and Kemp, household names for fans of the MLB. Clearly the advantage in hitting swing to the Dodgers.

With all that being said the one category that the Brewers may dominate in over the Dodgers is heart. No statistic can measure heart, but you can see it on the field and for sure the Brewers have it. Unfortunately pitching, hitting and skill usually beat out heart in professional sports and the NLCS will be no different.

Don’t worry Braves fans, your future is bright

Before the 2018 season the Atlanta Braves were likely not on your list to make it to the MLB post-season. In 2017 the Braves had finished in the middle of their division with only 72 wins and 90 losses, clearly not impressive. Many pundits (guys who pretend they can predict the future, maybe I fit in that category as well) would have told you the 2018 Braves would be lucky to get to a .500. Buy were we, they, us wrong.

Ending the season with a 90-72 record the 2018 Atlanta Braves flipped they 2017 record and proved just how wrong we all could be about a team. With 90 wins they finished eight wins ahead of the Washington Nationals who were picked to win that division. It was a special season for this young team lead by old faithful Freddie Freeman.

076b8019_freddie_freeman
By Bruce Tuten on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Freddie Freeman was rejuvenated in 2018 having one of the best seasons of his career. He set career highs in hits and doubles, while playing 162 games. Freeman played in the most games since 2014 when he also played in 162.

Freeman wasn’t the only standout for the Braves as Mike Foltynewicz seemed to finally live up to his potential in his fifth year as a major league player. Foltynewicz was rewarded for his success by being named to his first all-star team. All of this while surpassing former phenom Julio Teheran as the ace of the the Braves’ staff.

Yes Freeman and Foltynewicz stood out and are names you probably knew already , but the main reason Braves nation should be excited about the future lies in the young bucks. I’m talking about Ozzie Albies (age 21), Dansby Swanson (age 24), Ronald Acuna (age 20) who lead the team in home runs and Sean Newcomb (age 25) who had 12 wins this season. These are the names of the future for the Atlanta Braves

So yes Braves fans you were eliminated from the playoffs tonight by Manny Machado and the Dodgers, but hold your head high and know that next year could be your year. Your future is bright and filled with rising stars.

Biggest Surprise So Far

Who is the biggest surprise at this point in the 2017 MLB season? Is it the Minnesota Twins who are leading their division and have the third best record in the American League at 25 – 18. Or the Colorado Rockies who have the second best record in all of baseball?

Tweet us and tell us your thoughts or post them in the comments section on this age.

NL Rookie of the Year

Corey Seager
By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Congratulations to Corey Seager for winning the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year award. Seager was a standout for the Dodgers in 2016 and was hands down the top rookie for the NL. Many have even mentioned his name as a possible NL MVP. This young man has a bright future in Los Angeles where he will man shortstop for many years to come.