Welcome to the first Clubhouse Meeting at The Turf, a place where all of us chime in on whatever we want. However, since it’s Opening Day, we decided it would be a good idea for us to not only introduce ourselves but also set the expectations of what kind we expect from the 2018 MLBseason. LET’S GET INTO IT.
- Lewis Brinson wins the NL Rookie of the Year and collects all 1st place votes.
- Jake Arrieta wins the NL Cy Young
- Rafael Devers hits 40 HRs, 5 coming in Yankee Stadium
- Chris Archer is the Starting Pitcher for the AL in the All-Star Game
- Manny Machado will be traded at the 2018 trade deadline.
- Nolan Arenado is the best player in the National League
- The Tampa Bay Rays will average less than 3.7 runs a game, the lowest in franchise history
- The New York Yankees will score 20 runs or more three times during the season.
- The Philadelphia Phillies will contend for a Wild Card spot.
- Steven Souza will have the most walk-off HRs this season.
- Aaron Judge hits more than 40 HRs
- Tampa Bay Rays finish in last place in the AL East
- Yu Darvish is a Cy Young Contender
- Either the Red Sox or Yankees will be extremely disappointed with the result of the season.
- The Washington Nationals make the playoffs easily.
- The Minnesota Twins will be the surprise of the season and challenge for the American League pennant. Shrewd signings combined with young talent will propel the team into contention.
- Miguel Cabrera continues his serious downturn. The lack of talent around him in the batting order will benefit pitchers and his 2017 numbers were poor even though he only played 130 games.
- Lewis Brinson will be the prospect everyone falls in love with this year. His speed and athleticism will help fans pay attention to the horrendous Miami Marlins.
- San Francisco Giants. The acquisitions favor older players and it seems very forced. Madison Bumgarner’s injury will not help and I do not see the Giants making the playoffs.
- Pace of play. The MLB has implemented new initiatives including breaks between innings. The game will not change at all or very little, forcing Major League Baseball to implement a pitch clock in 2019.
- Free Agency over-shadowing the play of superstars. The 2018-19 free agency class is bonkers. Harper, Kershaw, Machado, Donaldson, Blackmon and more will be available. The amount of chatter about where they will play next year will cloud their incredible play in the 2018 season.
- Dansby Swanson. The former number 1 overall pick will have an underwhelming season for the Atlanta Braves and questions will arise about his ability to play in the big leagues.
Homer Heartfelt Desires
- Is it crazy to ask for the Tampa Bay Rays to win 70 games?
- Do not trade Chris Archer.
- Choose a location and go with it. If this is Ybor City (in Tampa) or if it means moving states to Charlotte or Las Vegas fine. Even staying in St. Petersburg is okay. All I ask is that the decision is made soon so the back and forth between the city of St. Petersburg and the organization end. Both parties need to move forward so that the Rays can attract more fans and the city of St. Petersburg can develop the downtown land.
- Play Jake Bauers. Willy Adames might be the higher prospect but Bauers has unique power and speed that should be tested in the majors.
- Trade for prospects at the deadline. Wilson Ramos, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Daniel Hudson are the most likely to be moved but Alex Colome is the major piece I would like to see be dealt for several prospects.
- A Red Sox starter will actually win a playoff game come October (my money is on Chris Sale).
- As much as I think the story of a true two-way player would be incredible for baseball, I think Shohei Ohtani won’t last long as a pitcher.
- Andrew Benintendi hits 35+ dongs this season, the kid has a swing that’s sweeter than sugar.
- The Colorado Rockies, I think Charlie Blackmon is going to lead these guys to a photo finish in the NL West race.
- Aroldis Chapman- he had himself a shaky stretch towards the end of the regular season, and I think this guy is slowly losing that “shut-down” ability as a closer.
Hometown Heartfelt Desire
- J.D. Martinez hits more homers than Stanton or Judge as the Sox win the division. Good Lord would that give me life.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
- The Yankees will not win the AL East
- Mike Trout will hit 50 HRs but the Angels will still struggle.
- The Giants will quietly win the NL West
- The NL Cy Young will go to someone not named Max or Clayton
- The Mariners will be the worst team in the AL West, maybe in baseball.
- Judge and Stanton will put on a HR clinic but their defense will cause them to lose close games but no one will notice for a while due to the HR Derby aspect of the games.
- The addition of the humidor in Arizona is going to do great things for that pitching staff and elevate Grienke to elite status.
- Apart from the Yankees, there aren’t many baseball stories that entice non MLB fanatics and that’s bad for the sport as a whole.
- Once again, a highly touted Japanese pitching prospect looks to be the real deal in Spring Training. But the Dodgers have put way too much stock in Ohtani and I don’t think he’s going to deliver the necessary punch to finally win them that ring.
- Even injured, Greg Bird remains the most punchable personality/face in baseball
- Astros win AL West
- Cubs win NL Central
- Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have MVP years
- Andrew McCutchen has a big year for his new club
- Nationals win NL East
- Already alluded to but the Mariners are going to be much worse than everyone seems to think.
- The Tigers won’t come in last in the AL Central.
- Rookie of the Year for both leagues will be a surprise to everyone. There are no clear front-runners in my mind.
- The Marlins. It’s not really a surprise in any way, but they may flirt with the worst record of all time.
- The Mets (just in general)
- The ASG format. I know it’s the same as last year, but I’m still really disappointed by it.
Homer Heartfelt Desires
- Miggy will have a bit of a resurgence this year.
- We’ll have a bonafide closer by seasons end.
- The team is in first place at the end of May. (They won’t stay there)
- A third place finish in the AL Central
- The town actually turns out to support a bad team with good potential and a good manager.
- They wise up and put the D on the jersey back to the way it’s supposed to be.
- Keith Hernandez’s mustache will continue to be SNY’s greatest asset.
- More Cleveland Indians fans will come out of the woodwork. Who knew they were such a popular team? Who knew Cleveland had so many residents?
- Baseball still lacks the panache of when it truly was America’s pastime, and it all comes down to short pants. Outlaw long pants.
- Aaron Judge will still be really good at hitting baseballs. And I will still be really annoyed by Yankees fans talking about it.
- The Astros will win the AL West. Ab. So. Lute. Lock.
- Matt Harvey said the Mets are going to “shock some people” in 2018. I hope he’s right, and that they are, in fact, “really good.” What won’t be a surprise, however, is that Matt Harvey is going to disappoint Mets fans again this season.
- I’m bummed that I will almost certainly never have a ballpark moment as exciting as when my friend Mary had a birthday message displayed for me on the jumbotron at Citi Field. Check it!
Homer Heartfelt Desires
- I hope Shohei Otani’s first season in the MLB is as exciting as the 60 Minutes special about him. I also can’t wait to find out what his at-bat music is!!
- I hope someone reading this is struck by my wit and intelligence, and invites me to join them in their Legends seats at Yankee Stadium when the Astros come to NYC.
Batting Average: .304 (.303 after using PEDs*)
Favorite Hotdog Condiment: Raw White Onions (should be the name of a band that opens for Kenny Chesney)
- The San Francisco Giants attempt to immediately rebuild will actually spin them further into chaos, losing close to the 98 games they lost last season (the bolder prediction is that they’ll lose exactly 92 games).
- The Minnesota Twins will win the AL Central. They’ll be neck and neck with the Indians and late-season starting pitching injury woes are going to seat the Tribe into the top spot in the Wild Card. Look for the Twins to make a serious, spirited run at the pennant after they get some pitching help in late July as they acquire Johnny Cueto and he pitches well into October.
- The Cubs. NL Central. Place the bet. Lock it down. They’re running the table in the NL, but watch out for those pesky Astros to repeat or the Yankees to be as good as they are on paper (a la 2000s).
- The Mets actually stay healthy, eek out some chemistry in that locker room with new manager Mickey Callaway (almost as good of a name as Hey Arnold great Mickey Kaline) and they reach the playoffs!
- Shohei Ohtani could very well become a meme of dissatisfaction this season, as his spring training was paltry and he’ll have more trouble adjusting to the American game than the Halos hoped.
Homer Heartfelt Desire
- I’m phrom Philadelphia, so here is the best possible outcome for this season: The Phillies nab the last spot in the Wild Card because they land a solid starter for Cesar Hernandez at the Trade Deadline. Scott Kingery becomes Utley 2.0 & JP Crawford hits for a decent average. They get swept in the Wild Card round by the eventual NL winners: the Cubs.
I (and Justin) come from a rich lineage of Wiffleball players. And if Justin thinks he’s seen things get wild during contests at Costello/Colombo gatherings, he should come check out a game on the O’Neill side…Have you ever had a wiffleball mark scorched into your chest for a whole afternoon? I have. And more importantly, yes I caught the ball.
Homer Heartfelt Desires
Justin is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He’s essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Last year he hit .714 in the Broadway Show League and almost killed a guy when he hit a walk-off home run that struck the first base coach on the opposite field. His nickname is “Manslaughter”.
- The New York Yankees will not make the playoffs. This is due to two very overlooked things: Aaron Boone’s Managing and their Pitching Staff.
- The Milwaukee Brewers will lead the entire league in in runs and wins in the first half and then absolutely tank in the second.
- Josh Donaldson, not Manny Machado, is the biggest trade piece at the deadline.
- The Houston Astros Rotation implodes/pitches like they usually do and they turn in less than stellar seasons… they still make the playoffs.
- I said something about the Yankees above and I was to clarify it because it is 1000% also a Hot Take. The Yankees have a loaded lineup, but one of the reasons they worked last year was Girardi’s playing of the hot hand. Didi Gregorius hit fourth. That’s a thing of the past. The Yankees will struggle to find a lineup that works and protects their biggest bats, but the rotation will let them down. The Yankees upgraded everything except their starting pitching. That’s the thing they’ll need to make a deep run.
- Scott Boras continues to gripe about Free Agency and a majority of his clients jump ship.
- Dusty Baker will be employed as an MLB manager before the year ends.
- One of the two Florida franchises will be rumored to be moving to Montreal.
- The humidor in Arizona fails to help their problem. #CoorsFieldSouthWest
- Jake Arrieta is the best pitcher on the Phillies.
- The All-Star Game jerseys will be FIRE.
- Michael Fulmer quietly puts together a Cy Young season.
- Mike Trout wins the AL MVP.
- The Angels look good in April and then fall apart.
- The San Diego Padres. I cannot say this enough.
- The Baltimore Orioles Starting Rotation becomes the O’s most valuable asset.
- The Seattle Mariners offseason moves pay off, especially Dee Gordon in Center and Ryon Healy at First.
- The Real Matt Kemp finally stands up.
- Walker Buehler becomes the NL Rookie of the Year.
- Otani pitches 5 games, goes 0-5 with an ERA above 6.00 and is relegated to the DH spot.
- Albert Pujols returns to first base and is not good at all.
- The Washington Nationals deal with injuries all season and never get their season off the ground.
- Aaron Boone.
- J.D. Martinez struggles in Boston. After the press gets on him, he becomes the next Carl Crawford.
Home Heartfelt Desires
- The Mets remain healthy through May. I know I’m really asking a lot.
- Matt Harvey shows up and is traded at the deadline. It’s a band-aid that either needs to be ripped off of fall off on the subway. I’d rather rip it. Harvey won’t be a Met next year. It sucks, but it’s the truth.
- Michael Conforto and Yoneis Cespedes hit more home runs than their cross-town rivals Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.
- Bartolo Returns.
- Wilmer Flores finally takes over second base. Something he has earned. Fight me.
- I want the Blue pullover throwbacks and I wanted them YESTERDAY.
Jake Bridges once baffled early Sabremetrics adopters in Little League with a .190/.460/.200 triple slash. He led all 9-year-olds in hit-by-pitches and walks. He was also 4’2’’
- Yoan Moncada finishes with top 5 production for the 2B position. Ozzie Albies does not.
- The New York Mets and NOT the Miami Marlins will finish last in the NL East. Sorry, Justin…
- Joey Gallo leads the AL in home runs
- Rob Manfred admits the balls are juiced, but no one cares because we’re all down with home runs.
- Ronald Acuna and Scott Kingery’s service time manipulations will finally cause the player’s union to attempt to revise the rules in the off-season
- Starling Marte will be top 10 offensively for all outfielders during his first full season since the PED suspension
- Gerrit Cole competes for a Cy Young in his first season in Houston.
- Aaron Nola does the same in the NL in Philadelphia.
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- The Brewers will miss the playoffs because the rotation will hold them back. Jimmy Nelson will come back in July, but will never get on track. The rest of the rotation is not enough to support a strong offense, and they finish just behind Arizona and the Cardinals in the NL.
- The Orioles will surprisingly be in contention at the All-Star Break, and this causes them to hang on to Manny Machado.
- Todd Frazier will actually be an asset to the Mets this season.
- Tim Tebow is a garbage circus the Mets are doing, but he’s going to get promoted to AAA this year, and people will start writing think pieces about how we “need” Tebow in the big leagues.
- Talk of expansion will ramp up this year and the NHL/NFL movement into Vegas will spurn baseball into action.
- The Marlins are going to be bad, but they won’t be THAT bad. Lewis Brinson is going to have a fine year, Starlin Castro will be league average, and we will see the light ahead for the Marlins. People will start whispering about how maybe this Derek Jeter thing isn’t so bad.
- The Diamondbacks rotation will statistically improve as a whole and be one of the more formidable ones in NL.
- Ronald Acuna is going to win the NL Rookie of the Year
- Gabe Kapler will turn things around in Philadelphia, and they will actually be competitive for at least 2/3 of the year
- The Dodgers and Astros will both be in their respective League Championship Series
- Clayton Kershaw will miss at least two weeks of the season at some point
- The San Francisco Giants compete for the NL Wild Card as Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen experience better than expected offensive seasons
- Johnny Cueto returns to competency leading the Giants in Madison Bumgarner’s absence. Jeff Samardzija performs similarly.
- The Oakland A’s. They’ll compete for the AL Wild Card.
- And on that note…Dustin Fowler will have a huge season and be in the discussion for AL Rookie of the Year
- Jake Arrieta has his best season in years in Philadelphia.
- Whit Merrifield who is unable to replicate his 19 HR/34 SB season. He instead goes 8/25 with a .260 average.
- Rhys Hoskins falls well short of expectations this season and only hits 22 HR
- We will spend most of the 1st half wondering when Madison Bumgarner will come back. He won’t pitch before the All-Star Break, and he’s just going to be mediocre upon return.
- JD Martinez won’t hit anything close to 40 home runs in Boston.
- Shohei Ohtani flops as a hitter and provides only mediocre pitching stats.
- After completing an aggressive offseason, the Angels finish firmly out of playoff contention
Home Heartfelt Desires
- The Braves actually manage to tape together a competent rotation. Folty takes a big step forward and Sean Newcomb gets his control to both become a formidable 2-3 in the rotation.
- Julio Teheran bounces back as a top 50 pitcher.
- Ronald Acuna posts a 20/20 season.
- Ozzie Albies posts a 15 HR/30 SB season.
- Freddie Freeman posts (another) year of MVP production AND STAYS HEALTHY.
- The Braves win the 2nd Wild Card!
- Dansby Swanson takes a big step forward and serves as a competent shortstop offensively and defensively.