Five bold predictions for this season
Zack Greinke wins 20 games
Many seem to think last year was sort of a fluke for Greinke. A 1.66 ERA with 19 wins was spectacular, but I think Greinke has just figured out who he exactly is as a pitcher. Greinke should keep the ERA in the low two’s this year, and the NL’s second-best offense in 2015 will have his back, even without A.J. Pollock. Some people believe the combination of the new hitters friendly park and a fluke statistical year will lead in a regression, but my bold prediction is that he will lead the staff with 20 wins.
Outfield remains stable with Pollock out
Someone is going to have to step up in centerfield if this team wants to make the playoffs. Chris Owings will have the first shot, and I assume Socrates Brito will be the next man up. Owings looked comfortable yesterday in the exhibition game where he played the game in center. He tracked down a fly ball in deep right center field that Brito looked a little lost on in right. Not to mention, he hit a home run to right-center later in the game. Anyways, this will allow Owings, Segura and Ahmed to get everyday at-bats while Pollock finally fully recovers from a broken elbow. This could solve the issue the D-Backs have with three middle infielders, or Brito will shine and prove that he deserves to be an everyday player. Pollock’s injury definitely hurts, but all hell hasn’t and shouldn’t break loose in the clubhouse and front office.
Goldschmidt wins MVP
“Goldy” has finished second in NL MVP voting twice in the last three years. He would’ve been in the conversation in 2014 as well if he weren’t hurt. Finally, Goldy has more proven hitters behind him with David Peralta, Welington Castillo, and Yasmany Tomas. I believe this is the year he finally crosses the threshold from runner-up to the face of the National League. He can field, run, hit for power and contact, and this is the year Paul Goldschmidt will rise as the top player in the National League.
Jean Segura is an All-Star
Segura surely looks like the everyday second baseman and leadoff hitter after the Pollock injury. Owings will spend most of his time in centerfield to start, and this leaves second all to Segura. After the hot spring, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he returned to his normal self like he did in 2013. The second base position in the National League is rather weak this year with the best overall player probably being Dee Gordon. Other All-Star type players in the league are Ben Zobrist, Anthony Rendon and Joe Panik. Segura can easily beat these guys to the starting spot in the NL if he stays hot in the first half of the season.
D-Backs win NL West
The offense looks better than last year, and the pitching rotation is immensely improved, so why not? The Dodgers still have a lot of unknowns heading into Opening Day with injuries, and the Giants’ pitching staff looked very bad in the Cactus League. Jake Peavy, Matt Cain, Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, and even Madison Bumgarner all had ERA’s above six. Giants fan shouldn’t worry about Bumgarner and Cueto, but the other three should concern fans. The D-Backs will carry the momentum from the Cactus League and win the NL West championship for the first time since 2011.