MLB 2019 preview: Five bold predictions for the upcoming season

first_img MLB 2019 preview: AL East position battles to watch With that being said here are five bold predictions for the 2019 season:1. A new record will be set in the National League for the lowest average to win a batting titleThis almost happened last season as it took a monster September for Christian Yelich to pass up Tony Gwynn’s record (.313) in 1988, but no other player has yet to pass that number with Scooter Gennett finishing second at .310. This is less a statement about the state of hitting in the National League and more about the pitching. The rotations are stacked across the board especially in the East, and the West is no joke either. Hitters will be challenged night in and night out and that could easily lead to a serious down year in average in the league. Related News 2. The Braves will finish fourth in the NL EastAtlanta was a wonderful story last season but the East isn’t the same as it was then. The Phillies added Bryce Harper, the Nationals have Patrick Corbin and the Mets got Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. The division is much better and the Braves really didn’t add much. They have a little bit of time still as they could acquire Dallas Keuchel, but for now, this team is primed for sophomore slumps and getting picked off by other teams making improvements.3. A man not named Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge will lead the Yankees in home runsThis one is a bit of a stretch, but it’s more so based on our belief that Gary Sanchez will bounce back this season. He was hurt much of last year and never got going at the plate and was awful as a result. He’s just not that type of player. He is a prime candidate to bounce back with 40 home runs and could easily beat Judge or Stanton this season in long balls. Miguel Andujar could do it as well, but we’ll see how much his defense keeps him out of the lineup. 4. No team that won a division in the NL in 2018 will repeat in 2019We’ve already given you our outlook for the Braves so that one is self-explanatory, but the NL as a whole is positioned for a lot of turnover. The Dodgers’ lineup got better, but their rotation is getting older and Clayton Kershaw is already struggling with injuries. The Rockies are young and just extended their star so they have a great chance to win a division they could have won last year in a playoff. In the Central, the Cardinals or Cubs have a great chance to knock the Brewers off their perch as the division champion. This one isn’t that crazy to see happening.5. Manny Machado will not eclipse 30 home runs or 100 RBIsManny Machado is a great player, but two big things contribute to this: first off he isn’t playing at Camden Yards anymore. Camden is a notorious hitter’s haven and Petco Park completely destroys home run numbers. Secondly, Machado won’t be hitting in the Dodgers’ lineup this year so he won’t have nearly the protection he had in Los Angeles, or the same number of runners on base in front of him. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers have yet to show the consistency to protect other hitters in a lineup and Hunter Renfroe is still finding his way as a hitter, so Machado won’t have nearly as many RBI opportunities as he normally would.center_img There is going to be plenty of turnover for the 2019 season.The game is changing and that is driving much of our projections for the year. MLB 2019 preview: 5 prospect storylines to watch in spring traininglast_img