The title explains this article pretty well, but let me make a few things clear before jumping into the predictions. 1) A prediction, per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “to declare or indicate in advance.” 2) Bold, again via Merriam Webster, is to be “fearless before danger.” 3) Incredibly means “too extraordinary and improbable to be believed,” again from Merriam Webster. Putting those three definitions together explains that the following 30 statements are predictions being made in advance that are too bold, or fearless, to be believed. In simpler terms, none of the following are expectations so much as dart’s being thrown at a dart board. Should any of them turn out to come true, I will be very, very pleased.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Taijuan Walker is Arizona’s starter in Game 1 of the NLCS. That’s right, I said the NLCS.
Baltimore Orioles – Dylan Bundy not only finishes the season as the Oriole pitcher with the highest fWAR, he finishes with a top-3 fWAR among all pitchers in the AL East.
Boston Red Sox – Chris Sale completes his first season in Boston without introducing his jersey to a single pair of scissors…
Mitch Moreland leads the Red Sox in homeruns; not the result of a breakout for Moreland so much as a down season by the Sox’s offense.
Chicago Cubs – After a nearly-perfect season for the Cubs in 2016, everything goes wrong in 2017 and Chicago fails to make the playoffs for the first time in, well, two years.
Chicago White Sox – Jose Quintana remains in Chicago and puts up the best half-season of his career, only to be dealt at the trade deadline for a return greater than the one they got for Chris Sale.
Cincinnati Reds – Homer Bailey returns to pitch a full-season, finishing in the top-10 in the NL Cy Young voting.
Cleveland Indians – Cleveland fails to make it past the ALDS in this year’s postseason, but shortstop Francisco Lindor wins an AL Silver Slugger, an AL Gold Glove, and an AL Batting Title.
Miami Marlins – Jeffrey Loria finally acknowledges the ineffectiveness of his micro-managing of the Marlins franchise and allows the Baseball Operations department to try their hand at putting together a contender.
Houston Astros – Yulieski Gurriel leads the entire Astros roster in fWAR, putting up a .300/.350/.525 batting line.
Kansas City Royals – The Royals go beyond their comfort zone to sign Eric Hosmer to multi-year contract extension, only for him to sustain a season-ending injury one week later.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Looking for anything that could jump-start LA’s pitching rotation, Mike Scioscia inserts Mike Trout into the rotation shortly after the All-star break.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Failing to get production from the 2B position, the Dodgers finally ante-up and trade for a second baseman. Their target, however, is Jason Kipnis of the Indians.
Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun makes his value known, putting up his first 40-home run season since 2012. He also passes all his drug tests.
Minnesota Twins – The Twins’ offense, which was 16th in MLB in runs scored last season, becomes a top-3 offense on the back of breakout performances by Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler, as well as a return to form by Joe Mauer.
New York Yankees – The Yankees re-establish themselves as a force in the AL East, earning a wild card spot thanks to an offense led by Matt Holliday and his 35 Home Run season.
Oakland Athletics – Despite the rumors of him being dealt, Sonny Gray signs a contract extension with Oakland, augmented by news that the Athletics will be getting playing in a new stadium by the year 2020.
Philadelphia Phillies – This Phillies’ roster is better than they are given credit for, and remain in the playoff race until the last week in September thanks to an ace-caliber season from newcomer Clay Buchholz.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Like the Phillies, the Pirates become a playoff-caliber team, only they manage to beat out the Cubs for the division crown (see bold prediction for Chicago Cubs) thanks to a superb, young pitching staff.
St. Louis Cardinals – Trevor Rosenthal quickly works his way into the Cardinals’ rotation, finishing the season with the teams highest fWAR for pitchers at 4.5.
San Diego Padres – AJ Preller’s rebuilding plan finally starts to take shape, as a seemingly awful pitching rotation presents some hidden gems by the names of Jared Cosart and Luis Perdomo, both of whom pitch to a sub-3.00 ERA.
San Francisco Giants – After solidifying the bullpen with the addition of Mark Melancon, the Giants miss the playoffs after the starting rotation finishes in the bottom five in the National League.
Seattle Mariners – The Mariners are the team to beat in the West, led by team ace… Yovani Gallardo.
Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays’ starter with the lowest qualifying ERA in 2017 is Matt Andriese.
Texas Rangers – Texas’s offense remains a force, finishing in the top-5 in the AL in runs scored; however, they miss the playoffs after their pitching rotation drops to 13th in the AL (only ahead of the Twins and Angels).
Toronto Blue Jays – J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada’s career breakouts come to an end, Jose Bautista continues his decline, and the offense cannot overcome the loss of Edwin Encarnacion. The Jays fall to the basement of the AL East.
Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg stays healthy and the Nationals finally reach, and win, the World Series.