Tim Finnegan and Rob Parker published their bold predictions for 2016 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 2016 National League bold predictions:
National League East
Offseason outfield acquisition, Ben Revere, leads the National League in stolen bases with 61, as new manager Dusty Baker and first base coach Davey Lopes give him the eternal green light, and Revere just beats out Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, who steals 59 bases.
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman has a bounce back year, hitting .293 with 31 home runs and 105 runs batted in.
Noah Syndergaard is the Mets best starter in 2016, winning 17 games, with a 2.29 ERA and 213 strikeouts.
Steven Matz can't stay healthy and pitches just 94 innings in 2016.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto hits .272 with 16 home runs and 15 stolen bases, leading all catchers in stolen bases by a wide margin.
Marcell Ozuna leads the Marlins in home runs with 33, while hitting .271 with 92 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Hector Olivera surprises everyone, as he hits .295 with 27 home runs and 86 RBI to lead the Braves in all three categories.
Shortstop Ozhaino Albies gets called up in late May and finishes in the top five in NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .280 with 27 stolen bases.
The Phillies cut ties with first baseman Ryan Howard in mid-May, and begin showing the fruits of their rebuild by calling up top shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford, and finishes in the top 5 in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .301 with 13 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
National League Central
In probably the BOLDEST prediction on this list, Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward hits 28 home runs and steal 25 bases, and the Cubs cruise to the Central division title.
Outfielder Kyle Schwarber disappoints fantasy owners, as he hits just ,225 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI, and loses playing time to Jorge Soler in left field.
Andrew McCutchen puts up an MVP-like season, hitting .320 with 34 home runs, 95 runs scored, 103 RBI and 22 stolen bases, and the Pirates just miss winning the division.
Outfielder Matt Holliday loses his starting job due to poor performance at the plate and in the field, losing time to Thomas Pham in left field.
Outfielder Billy Hamilton struggles to recover from his shoulder injury and loses his starting center field job to Jose Peraza, and eventually gets sent down to Triple A to work on hitting the ball on the ground more.
Outfielder Domingo Santana leads the Brewers in home runs with 26 and chips in with 17 stolen bases while hitting .261 and finishes in the top 5 in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
National League West
Corey Seager wins the NL Rookie of the Year award, not unexpected, by hitting .315 with 29 home runs, 80 runs scored and 92 RBI.
Starter Kenta Maeda surprises many, winning 14 games with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 190 innings of work.
First baseman Brandon Belt has a breakout season, hitting .287 with 30 home runs, 90 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Outfielder Hunter Pence starts to show his age, disappointing fantasy owners, hitting .261 with just 15 home runs and 67 RBI.
A.J. Pollock disappoints as he starts the season on the disabled list and plays in just 110 games, hitting .268 with 8 home runs and 17 stolen bases, a far cry from his 2015 breakout season.
Outfielder/third baseman Yasmany Tomas puts it all together in his second season in the big leagues, hitting 295 with 25 home runs and 87 runs batted in.
Starter Patrick Corbin is the best Diamondbacks pitcher in 2016, winning 15 games with a 3.14 ERA and 185 strikeouts.
Colin Rea surprises and is the Padres second best pitcher behind Tyson Ross this season, winning 12 games with a 3.40 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 170 innings.
Matt Kemp is the Padres best fantasy hitter once again, hitting .290 with 28 home runs, 80 runs scored, 90 RBI and 15 stolen bases.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado disappoints fantasy owners, hitting .265 with "just" 24 home runs, 80 runs scored and 80 RBI.
Jake McGee is traded at midseason, Jason Motte can't handle the role, and Carlos Estevez gets called up in late May and leads the team in saves with 18 in 2016.