One of my favorite things about following baseball writers over the years has always been seeing their predictions. Even better than that is recapping them at the end of the year to see how many were right. Now that I’ve got a platform to share my thoughts, I figured I’d get in on the action and share my own bold predictions for the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals.
1. Miguel Socolovich works his way into a late inning role.
Earlier in the offseason I wrote a piece on why Socolovich deserves a spot in the Cardinals bullpen. I’m going to take it one step further and say that by the end of the season he will work his way into being one of Matheny’s most trusted late inning relievers. Injuries to other relievers may play a part in him getting this opportunity, but his performance will be what earns it for him.
2. Adam Wainwright has an ERA over 4.50.
This one seems less bold than the rest to me simply because Wainwright did this last season. From what I’ve seen though, all projection systems think he’ll have somewhat of a bounce back season. I certainly hope he does, I just don’t see it. From watching his spring starts I still don’t see the life and crispness in his pitches that he used to have. As unfortunate as it is, I believe we’re seeing Wainwright’s career coming to an end.
3. Randal Grichuk hits 40 home runs.
When I first wrote down my ideas for these predictions I jotted down 30 home runs for Grichuk. As I looked into his numbers I realized that not only is 30 not a bold prediction, it should be the expectation. He hit 24 home runs in 136 games in the majors and added another 6 homers for Memphis. After he was called back up from Memphis in August he was given consistent playing time and hit 12 home runs in 48 games. That would be good for a 162 game average of just over 40 home runs. Grichuk will be a streaky hitter, but if he has a season with more ups than downs, 40 home runs is well within reach.
4. Lance Lynn gets traded.
This one might be the most unlikely of my predictions. However, when I look at this Cardinals team I see a definite need for an impact player if they’re going to step up and compete with the Cubs. I also see a very good farm system, but not one that is so stacked that they can trade for that impact player without really hurting their future. Thats where Lance Lynn comes in. John Mozeliak may try to get creative at the deadline and move Lynn to another contender in exchange for prospects. Those prospects can then be used to help land the impact player that they need. I mean, if Aroldis Chapman can fetch Gleyber Torres and 3 other players then surely Lynn can bring back some pretty solid prospects if he’s having a good year.
5. The Cardinals win the NLDS in 4 games over the Cubs.
I predict that the Cardinals will earn a wild card spot. Carlos Martinez will bring his A-game and send the Cards to the division series. I don’t expect the Cubs rotation to come anywhere close to what it did last season and it will let them down in the playoffs. Arrieta’s walk rate could easily have him pulled after five innings. Hendricks might realize that he’s not actually Greg Maddux. And let’s not forget that John Lackey is seemingly pushing 100 years old. I don’t expect the Cubs rotation to be bad, but something has got to give.
These were a lot of fun. In the end, if three of these come true it will be a huge success in my book. Any more than that would mean I probably didn’t go bold enough.
Thanks for reading!
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