There’s bold, and then there is bold. These aren’t just obvious bold predictions, but they also aren’t guesses. These are bold predictions that may actually happen, or at the very least may make you say what the baseball are you thinking.
#1. Corey Seager will hit 40 home runs
How bold is this? Well Seager has yet to hit more than 26 home runs over his short career thus far, and he only had a fly ball percentage of 33.1%. BUT Seager has an elite hard hit rate at 44% and has held a fly ball percentage over 38% three different times in the minor leagues. He has shown the power before in the minors and it’s only a matter of time before we see it here. The juiced ball remains and this is the year we see him reach new heights.
#2 Byron Buxton leads the league with 60 stolen bases
We all know Buxton has the speed and the base running skills to acheive this. His only challenge – getting on base enough times to attempt it. In 278 games Buxton has stole 41 bases out of 46 attempts for a phenomenal 89% success rate. Do you know what the highest career stolen base percentage is for a minimum of 300 attempts? According to baseball-almanac it’s .857% by Tim Raines. Buxton is a stolen base expert and is beginning to turn his career around. In the second half of 2017 Buxton rose his OBP to .347 and lowered his strikeout rate to 27.6%.
#3 Miguel Cabrera returns to MVP form
Miguel Cabrera had the worst season of his career in 2017, so what the baseball happened? Well aside from a slight increase in his strikeout rate, it looks like a bunch of bad luck. His hard hit data was elite and he had the highest line drive rate of his career at 27%. He also had the lowest BABIP of his career and played through an injury. There is no reason to believe Cabrera is done, expect Miggy to rise again.
#4 Stephen Strasburg wins 20 games
Strasburg has long been a stud, but various ailments have allowed him to pitch 200+ innings only one. Well, this is his year. The Nationals are loaded and Strasburg is coming off the best season of his career. He will be backed by huge run support and with another sub ERA and 10 K/9 he should cruise to a 20 win season.
#5 Shohei Ohtani struggles as a hitter and becomes a full time pitcher
He is going to be trying to hit while pitching on 5 days rest and has never faced major league pitching. He is known more for his pitching, and he will be playing for a manager not really known to try new things. If he struggles, I would’t be surprised to see them pull the plug early and keep him focused on pitching to help the Angels finally reach the playoffs. Bring on Ohtani the pitcher.