Alex Kantecki kicked off Bold Predictions week at Fake Teams yesterday, and today, I continue with my National League version of bold predictions. I like to offer up bold predictions as a way to show how unpredictable baseball can be from season to season.
And that is one of the reasons that the game is so great.
Onto my 2015 National League bold predictions:
National League East
Michael Taylor puts up a 20 home run, 20 stolen base season as starting center fielder Denard Span misses the first three months of the season, and can't stay healthy all season long.
Casey Janssen, who I own in the Tout Wars NL only league, saves more games than Drew Storen, as Storen loses the job in mid-May, and never gets it back.
Wilmer Flores makes the Mets front office look smart for not signing/trading for a shortstop this offseason, as he leads the team in home runs with 25 and RBI with 86.
The Mets battle the Nationals for the division title but fall 4 games short.
Marcell Ozuna hits more home runs (35) than Giancarlo Stanton (33), and steals 15 bases as well, and finishes as a top 5 outfielder in 2015.
Jose Fernandez fires a no-hitter in his seventh start back from the disabled list.
I have bashed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman all offseason, as I think he is being overvalued in drafts this season. He went for $31 in the NL-only Tout Wars draft on Sunday, and that is about $8-9 more than I would have paid. The Braves had trouble scoring runs last season, and now they are without Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis….and, oh yeah, Melvin Upton Jr. too.
The Braves will bring up the rear in runs scored in MLB this season…..and by a good margin.
Jason Grilli will lead the Braves in saves this season with 18 after the Braves finally deal closer Craig Kimbrel to the Cardinals in late May.
The Phillies deal Ryan Howard to the Orioles in June, and Darin Ruf takes over first base for him and hits 22 home runs and drives in 65 runs.
Maikel Franco takes over third base after Cody Asche is moved to left field on a full time basis. Franco proceeds to hit .265 with 20 home runs, 75 RBI and challenges Kris Bryant for the NL Rookie of the Year award.
National League Central
Gregory Polanco has a huge breakout season, hitting .290 with 24 home runs and 28 stolen bases, while putting up a better statistical season than teammates Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte.
The Pirates win the NL Central by 6 games…..over the Cubs.
Third base prospect Kris Bryant gets called up on Monday April 20th as the Cubs open up a 7 game road trip in Pittsburgh, and proceeds to lead the National League with 39 home runs and drives in 105, winning the NL Rookie of the Year award.
Utility hitter Arismendy Alcantara hits .265 with 17 home runs and 27 stolen bases and finishes the season as a top 5 player at second and third base.
I also like Alex's bold prediction on Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals struggle to score runs and finish in third place, 11 games out of first place after going through their roughest season in many years.
Third baseman Matt Carpenter hits more home runs (14) than left fielder Matt Holiday (11), as Holiday endures his worst season as a major leaguer.
Khris Davis leads the Brewers in home runs with 28 and RBI with 89, besting Ryan Braun who hits 26 home runs and drives in 84.
Corey Knebel leads the Brewers in saves with 21 after Francisco Rodriguez gives up 8 home runs by May 15th and loses his closer job.
Joey Votto returns to the old Joey Votto in 2015, the one with power, as he hits 28 home runs, drives in 90 runs while hitting .325 and finishes in the top 5 in NL MVP voting.
Tony Cingrani ends the season as the Reds closer after dominating in a set up role. The Reds are out of the wild card race in July and deal closer Aroldis Chapman and starter Johnny Cueto to the Cubs for Javier Baez.
National League West
New Dodgers starter Brett Anderson makes 28 starts, going 14-6 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, and finishes the season as a top 30 starter.
Shortstop prospect Corey Seager gets called up in June, after an injury to Jimmy Rollins, and finishes the season with 13 home runs, and a slash line of .270-.350-.450.
Outfielder Matt Kemp goes all 2011 on us, silencing his critics by winning the National League MVP award, hitting .295 with 33 home runs, 110 RBI and 25 stolen bases, as the Padres are in the division race through Labor Day, but finish five games behind the Dodgers.
The Padres solve their glut in the outfield by moving Kemp to first base after Yonder Alonso once again disappoints at the plate.
The Giants move Buster Posey to first base on a full time basis due to the play of catching prospect Andrew Susac, who hits .270 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI. Posey responds to the move by hitting .310 with 26 home runs and 90 RBI, and finishes in the top 3 in MVP voting.
The toll of all those high pressure innings last October catch up to ace Madison Bumgarner as he suffers a Tim Lincecum-like season, going 10-15 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.
Outfielder Yasmany Tomas spends more time in AAA than he does in the big leagues after hitting just .185 with 3 home runs and 20 RBI through Memorial Day.
Mark Trumbo benefits from the Tomas demotion, as he goes on to finish second in the National League in home runs with 37, while driving in 94 runs.
The Rockies finally clean house in 2015, trading off Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Wilin Rosario, and go into full rebuild mode. Tulowitzki is traded to the Pirates for pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows.
Outfielder Corey Dickerson improves upon his 2014 breakout, hitting .305 with 31 home runs and 95 RBI, and even steals 11 bags as well.
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