#1 – Prince Fielder Will Hit 50 Home Runs
I truly will go out on a limb and predict that if he stays healthy, Prince Fielder will join his father as a Tiger that will jack 50 home runs this year. I have heard a lot of people say that Prince can not continue to produce at an elite level due to his size but what people forget is that his father, Cecil Fielder, was a late bloomer who was an elite home run hitter for many years.
Prince is more muscle than his father was and is also a better hitter. He has a keen eye and can hit for a higher average when he is “on” but I tell you that the guy is one of the most explosive hitters in the game. He is one of a handful of hitters that you know it is a home run as soon as the bat connects with the ball.
#2 – The Continued Decline Of Justin Morneau
Once he was the man who picked up the title of “Mr. Canadian Baseball” from Larry Walker. Morneau became the center piece of the Minnesota Twins line up and was easily a shoe in for 25 to 35 home runs, 100 to 130 RBI’s and a decent average of .275 to .310 every season. He then started to see various injuries start to mount one right after another and it has derailed a great career.
I honestly believe that Morneau will experience other various injuries this season that will further hinder his career. This seems to happen to some athletes as they start to experience injury after injury, some seeming to be because of bad luck which further demoralizes the player. I expect Morneau to maybe get in 90 games this season but I hope I am wrong.
#3 – Joey Votto Will Continue To Cement His Place As An All Star
What a perfect segway from one topic to another, as I will now talk about the new “Mr. Canadian Baseball” Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds. Already a former National League MVP, Votto has consistently been one of the elite hitters in the Major Leagues since 2008 and he is looking to continue his ascent into the upper echelon.
At his current pace we should see another season of around 35 to 40 home runs, 115 RBI’s and an average of around .315 that could easily earn him another NL MVP award. If the Cincinnati line up continues to evolve and mature, Votto could easily top those numbers and the Reds may surprise many people in the next few seasons.
#4 – Ricky Romero The Ace Has Arrived
One thing that former Blue Jay general manager J.P. Riccardi did right during his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays is that he deemed Ricky Romero as a future Ace of the franchise. He has quietly established himself as one of the best pitchers in the American league and it looks like he is now a future Cy Young winner.
Romero could win 18 games this season with an ERA below 3.00 and around 175 strikeouts. Over the past three seasons he has seen his wins increase from 13, 14 to 15. His ERA has dropped from 4.30, 3.73 to 2.92 and his strikeouts has increased from 141, 174 to 178. If you asked many people what numbers Romero put up last season, I am betting only Jays fans would know.
#5 – Miami Marlin Jose Reyes Play Over 150 Games
I do not know why I am thinking this as I am probably going to be wrong but I honestly think that Jose Reyes of the Miami Marlins will play in atleast 150 games this season. He has had 3 injury plagued seasons since 2009 in which he has averaged 98 games per season, with the high being 133 on 2010. Now remember that I did say that it was an average of 98 games.
Reyes should be motivated for two reasons this upcoming season. 1) he just signed a 6 year 108 million dollar contract with the newly made over Miami Marlins and 2) he is coming off of his first career batting title in which he hit a career high .337. When he is healthy, Reyes is the best lead off hitter in baseball and will hit around .300, score 120 runs and steal 50 to 65 bases. He will really add a spark to the Marlins line up.
What do you think will happen this upcoming season?