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The Turf Clubhouse Meeting: 2019 MLB Opening Day

Get in here, loser! We’re talking about baseball!

Opening Day 2017 by Bryce Edwards is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Turf Clubhouse Meeting: 2019 MLB Opening Day


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Welcome to The Turf’s Clubhouse Meeting for the 2019 MLB Season! A clubhouse meeting is 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 2019 MLB season.

This year we’re talking about the potential surprises, disappointments, heartfelt homer-isms, and the occasion BOLD CHOICE that we expect to see this season.

LET’S GET INTO IT.

Tyler Williams

Surprises

The Los Angeles Dodgers do not make the playoffs.

Chris Davis’ surprise comeback after very poor 2018 offensive performance. No surprise though… the Orioles still suck.

Disappointments

Jackie Bradley, Jr. will see his home runs drop even more since 2016.

Manny Machado will never recover his character, thus affecting his game.

Homerisms/Bold Choices

Clayton Kershaw wins the NL Cy Young despite lack of run support.

The Colorado Rockies Win NL West.

Andrew Mark Wilhelm

Surprises

A Decrease in Strikeouts – Every season since 2005 has seen an increase in strikeouts. But with the shift being such a large part of the game now, the focus out of most spring camps has been on a better two-strike approach and using the opposite field. Expect more bunting and choked-up swings in an effort to limit strikeouts.

More Trades Early and a Hectic Deadline – The whole August waiver trade is now a thing of the past. Teams are locked in July. Gone are the types of moves that allowed Justin Verlander to move to Houston and win a ring. I predict teams will start making significant moves to shore up holes around June instead of waiting a week or two before the deadline. 

The AL Central Will Be Won By a Team Other Than Cleveland –Minnesota is coming. Book it.

Disappointments

The Miami Marlins – Prepare for another futile season of full blown tanking. Sorry Miami. 

The London Games – These are going to suck. The Far East games don’t because there is a rabid baseball fan base in Japan. Does London have that? Not really. A ratings stunt that isn’t going to bring in ratings is a bad look for MLB. But here we are.

Nothing Is Going To Beat Ichiro’s Exit – This isn’t so much a disappointment as it is an extreme respect for Ichiro. The moment of him walking off the field for the last time, for the Mariners, in Japan had me in tears. And then when he hugged his countryman and teammate Yusei Kikuchi, who was making his MLB debut in his home country on the same field as his childhood idol, I became a blubbering mess. Nothing will top this moment this year and it happened in Game 2. 

Homerism 

Miggy Will Have A Renaissance Year – And maybe the Tigers will be a .500 Club because of it. 

The Development Of Casey Mize Will Be Slow and Methodical and We Won’t See Him In The Pros Until September at the Earliest – This is less a prediction and more of a profound hope. Because if the Tigers do this right, they will be formidable as early as next season. 

Another Key Piece Leaves In Trade –A couple weeks ago, I would’ve said Michael Fulmer but since he’s on the Injured List (I hate this MLB) all year due to Tommy John surgery, Castellanos seems the most likely to be moved. I certainly hope not, but I think it’s gonna happen. 

Joe Danbusky

Surprises

The Padres – they’ll be in the thick of the wild card hunt and win more than 80 games for the first time since 2010.

The White Sox – I don’t think it’ll be a surprise for them to progress over last season, but I think it’ll be a bigger leap than many expect.

Disappointments:     

Machado and Harper – given the otherworldly numbers attached to their names, can they ever meet or exceed the sky-high expectations?  Sure, they’ll probably both turn in good, or maybe even great seasons.  I just wonder how the reality will stack up against the expected return.   

Less “action” again – the percentage of “balls in play” has been increasing (as has the strikeout rate).  This trend will continue, and while I love a good pitchers duel it’s always great to see some balls off bats and some leather being flashed.

BOLD Predictions and Home Team Love

Jacob deGrom gets enough run support (and a shut down closer) to get him over the 20 win mark.

There will be 3,000 total stolen bases for the first time since 2012.

Andrew O’Neill

A few surprises:

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are both GREAT.

Masahiro Tanaka successfully grinds through another season without elbow surgery, keeping his chances alive to one day retire as the only pitcher in the league whose elbow remains untouched.

A few disappointments:

The Milwaukee Brewers will not make a return to the playoffs.

The trend continues and another record for Ks is set.

Some BOLD choices:

Ronald Acuna, Jr. wins the NL MVP.

Machado’s Padres win the NL West.

Meg Schneider

Surprises

The Rockies just may thwart the Dodgers in winning the NL West. 

The Phillies will make the playoffs.

Disappointments

Jacob deGrom’s immense talent will once again be rendered immaterial in the face of a team surrounding him that can’t score runs.

Personal disappointment: not getting to see Shohei Ohtani play for another few months. 

Homerisms and a Bold Choice

Jose Altuve will continue to be the most lovable player in baseball.

Astros will be AL Champs. I’m not even counting this as home team love. Just facts! But I do love those boys.

Harkening back to my hot take from last year: “Baseball still lacks the panache of when it truly was America’s pastime, and it all comes down to short pants. Outlaw long pants.” With lifted hemlines comes lifted spirits–something we could all use in these trying times.

Justin Colombo

Surprises

The Seattle Mariners, who seemingly threw in the towel this offseason, put up their best record in years, and make a solid playoff run.

Dallas Keuchel remains unsigned through April, eventually returning to the Houston Astros.

The Minnesota Twins take control of the wide-open AL Central and put up 90+ wins.

Keep your head on a swivel, y’all. The Padres are here. #TeamDads #HotDads

Khris Davis bats .246 #TeamFanGraphs

Disappointments

As much I love and appreciate Ellen Adair’s optimism for Bryce Harper’s future in a Phillies uniform, I think Bryce is going to leave many Phillies fans a bit underwhelmed.

The Cubs will face an identity crisis this season, and will undoubtedly shed some payroll at the deadline.

The Texas Rangers starting rotation will start off hot and then die a cold death in June.

Cleveland still uses Chief Wahoo.

Shohei Ohtani starts less than 10 games again.

Homerisms/Bold Choices

The Mets stay healthy and actually put up a competitive season. Seriously. All I want is for the Mets to be playing important baseball games throughout the season.

Christian Yelich BACK-TO-BACK MVPs.

Thanks for stopping by our Clubhouse Meeting!

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