It is only January 17th but it is never too early to lay out some predictions for the 2014 Major League Baseball season. The 2013 season was full of surprises from the incredible success of the Red Sox to the poor seasons of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels. Can we take anything from what we saw and lay down what is expected even before Spring Training? That is part of the fun. Let’s get into five things that just might come true in 2014.
Mike Trout Will Win 2014 AL MVP
I know Chris Davis had a breakout season in 2013 and Miguel Cabrera is just in a world all his own but Mike Trout has been no slouch either. I just cannot fathom Chris Davis having another year with that type of output and Miguel Cabrera has to step back at some point. Trout has been the best player not named Miguel Cabrera since he was called up. Back to back runner-up MVP finishes while watching his OPS+ climb from 168 in 2012 to 179 in 2013. He is a unique mix of power, speed and contact hitting. He is no slouch in center field either. Don’t be shocked if his next step forward in 2014 leaves him on top.
David Price Will Not Finish 2014 In Tampa
Yes I know David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays just avoided arbitration signing a one year, $14 million deal. Both sides have not been able to agree on a long term deal, the Rays have plenty of talent to fill a void left by trading Price with minor league arms looking for a shot and the likes of Matt Moore and Alex Cobb. Will trading Price hurt? Sure but when presented a chance for a quality left fielder or second baseman (I am looking at you Jurickson Profar) the Rays will not pass on the opportunity.
Washington Nationals Will Win The NL East
I can hear it already, “didn’t you see what Atlanta did even with injuries?” Let’s not forget that injuries to Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Steven Strasburg could arguably have been worse than any injury the Braves dealt with. They will have, arguably, the best rotation in the National League if not all of baseball in 2014. Assuming health is not an issue you will see a group consisting of Steven Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler and the instant impact of Doug Fister. Fister was underrated in Detroit and will love playing in this stadium. A bullpen full of Tyler Clippard, Drew Soren and Rafael Soriano will be tough to come back on as well.Don;t forget that players like Harper and Werth will be healthy playing with the often underrated Ryan Zimmerman. I like the Nationals in 2014.
Chris Sale Will Win The 2014 AL Cy Young Award
Playing for the White Sox will be the biggest challenge the youngster will have to overcome en route to the 2014 AL Cy Young award. Luckily for Sale, Felix Hernandez has proven you don’t need the wins to take the award. He won 17 games in 2012 but regressed to 11 wins in 2013. But looking at the number he did not regress as much as his team’s offense. He had basically the same ERA (3.05 to 3.07) while pitching 20+ more innings while striking out 34 more (226), lowering his opposing batting average and finished with a 1.07 WHIP. If he can cut down on the long balls and get a little run support it is his award to lose.
Matt Kemp Will Not Play In 100 Games And Be Traded
From 2008-2011 Matt Kemp was the prototypical healthy player. He played in at least 155 games in each year during that stretch. But in 2012 he could only manage 106 games and only played in 73 this past year. Entering the 2014 season Kemp is returning from shoulder and ankle procedures yet all signs point to him being ready for Spring Training. Ever since inking the eight year deal the talented outfielder cannot stay healthy. There is no reason to expect any different in 2014. It is unfortunate but he appears to be one of those unlucky players that cannot shake the injury bug. With a crowded and talented outfield in LA, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dodgers sell low on Kemp to another contender or even the Mariners to gather some return on the $160 million investment. It might be shocking but don’t be surprised if it happens.
Weigh in and let’s hear what you think about these predictions. Am I off my rocker or do you expect some to come true? Vote and leave a comment.