Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Season Prediction

All right, let's do it.  This is a much more pleasant exercise than in previous years, because the Pirates actually...won.  It's a very weird feeling predicting that the Pirates are playoff contenders in 2014.  Is this the new reality or am I still being oddly optimistic?

Mark me down for 88 wins and the Pirates claiming a wild card spot in the NL.  I think the same seven teams that were in playoff contention (Cards, Pirates, Reds, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Braves) will be the same teams in contention this year.  Perhaps if the Giants' pitching staff rebounds they can get in the mix.

I think Travis Snider will have a nice rebound year now that his big toe injury has finally been resolved.  It won't be enough to hold off mega-prospect Gregory Polanco from coming up in mid-June and claiming RF, though.  Polanco will get some fine-tuning and avoid the Super 2 deadline so that the Pirates only have to go to arbitration with him three times instead of four.

Jameson Taillon had a little setback at the end of Spring Training with his elbow, so they're going to rest him and hope the elbow inflammation dies down.  Right now they're not seeing any tears in the ligament, so that's good news.  Hopefully it won't affect his mid-June arrival time, as he should require less fine-tuning in AAA.

It's almost impossible to think McCutchen can exceed, or even replicate, his 2013 MVP season.  I would be satisfied with a season that's 85% of his 2013 season.  I would like to see Marte improve on his BB rate and keep decreasing his K rate, while increasing his HR's and maintaining his SB total.  Ideally, once Polanco comes up, Polanco will leadoff and Marte will drop down to the 5th or 6th spot.


I don't know...I'm just getting such a Mark Reynolds vibe off of him, so I'm not going to be surprised by another .230 BA, with 35 HR's and 200 K's.

Quasi-bold prediction?  I think Gerrit Cole will garner some NL Cy Young votes this year.  Not really a contender, unless Kershaw gets hurt, but some down ballot votes.

I also don't think the 1B the Pirates will end the season with is on the roster yet.  There should be adequate money left in the budget for a mid-season trade acquisition, considering they had $19M to spend in the offseason and only spent $7M of it on Volquez (dumpster fire, will be out of the rotation by July) and Barmes.

So finally, here's my guess on the NL Central Standings:
Cardinals -- 96 wins
Pirates -- 88 wins
Reds -- 83 wins
Brewers -- 75 wins
Cubs -- 74 wins

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