There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen in 2011.
For evidence, look at 2010, and the 50 bold predictions I would have made for last season.
They would have been bold, entertaining and provocative in some way, but they would not have included Jose Bautista hitting 54 home runs (his previous high was 16), MLB pitchers throwing seven no-hitters (counting Armando Gallaraga’s near-perfect game), a player hitting a grand slam on the first major league pitch he saw (Boston’s Daniel Nava), Aroldis Chapman throwing a pitch 105 MPH in a major league game or the Padres racking up 90 wins with the league’s second-lowest payroll.
The topper was a World Series title by the Giants. The Giants were led by cast-offs from other teams and had one of the worst offenses in the league. Watching them try to squeeze across runs was like watching paint dry, while getting a root canal—on your testes.
They were led by blue-chip pitchers but also by an offense built around Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Juan Uribe, all players who were released or unwanted by other teams. The Giants’ amazing 2010 campaign offers hope for 2011 to every .500-level team in baseball...except maybe the Cubs.
So who are the unwanted or unsigned players that will lead someone to a championship this year? And which team will emerge from mediocrity to win (the 2011 version of the Giants)?
Anyone can predict who looks like the best team heading into spring training or who has assembled the best collection of talent. But no one can sincerely forecast who will be playing the best baseball 10 months from now. Predictions for the Fall Classic are like stock market forecasts—they’re somewhat baseless and arbitrary, but there’s no shortage of experts willing to offer them.
That said, here are 50 bold predictions for 2011…