So, Opening Day is finally here and with the return of baseball comes Jared’s brutal predictions that he will cringe at after the season is over. Here goes.
NL Central Predictions
The Cubs are not as good as they’re being portrayed (mainly because they have a ridiculous amount of potential issues that could crop up and some of them undoubtedly will) and the Brewers are better than they’re portrayed (mainly because people can’t get past the loss of Sheets and Sabathia).
- The Cubs will win the division, but they won’t lock it up until the final week
- The Brewers will finish with a record of 86-76
- The Cubs will finish with a record of 91-71
- The Cardinals will finish with a record of 82-80
- The Reds will finish at .500
- The Astros will finish at 78-84
- The Pirates will finish at 72-90
- Rickie Weeks will have a “breakout” year and will have a 20/20 season
- Prince Fielder will hit at least 40 home runs
- Ryan Braun will lead the team in batting average
- Mike Cameron will hit 25 home runs
- Corey Hart will have another 20/20 season
- Yovani Gallardo will finish with 15 or more wins
- Manny Parra will have an ERA just over 4.0
- David Bush will have 14 wins
- Braden Looper and Jeff Suppan will be .500 pitchers with ERAs in the mid to high 4's
- Trevor Hoffman will get 30 saves
- Wes Littleton will be the first call-up
- Mat Gamel will be called up to take over third base in June
- Alcides Escobar won’t join the team until September
- Jeremy Jeffress will be called up in September to be used as a reliever
- Joe Koshansky will put up big power numbers in Nashville and force the Brewers to call him up at some point (much like Russell Branyan last year)
- Ken Macha will be a noticeable improvement over Ned Yost, especially in bullpen management
- The Brewers will not quite top three million in attendance again this season
- Milwaukee’s 86 wins will keep them in contention for the division and Wild Card late into the season, but they will fall short of the playoffs
In the end, I think the Brewers have enough talent, especially on offense and in minor leaguers on the cusp of the bigs, for anything to happen.
There’s no reason to not be excited for ’09 despite what radio talk show hosts and sports columnists might tell you. This team is as talented as last year’s team was in April and the young players have another year of experience.
If things go right for the Brewers, they could easily make a repeat appearance in the playoffs.