Opening Day has finally arrived, meaning not only is it time for baseball but it’s also time for us to write our pre-season predictions down in digital stone mostly so that others can look back and laugh at how wrong we were when the year is through. Along with the standard prediction fare — MVPs, World Series champs, etc. — we’ve thrown in some more quirky baseball stuff as well as a few non-baseball things. If you want to make predictions of your own, please do so in the comments!
How many games will the Angels win this season?
Nate: Let’s say… 91. The core of the roster is still strong, but I’m not sure it’ll be best-in-baseball strong again. Good enough for at least a Wild Card spot, for sure.
Justin: I’ll be slightly more pessimistic than Nate and go with 90, though I think that will be good enough to net them the division crown. On paper, it’s a fairly stellar roster, however, one or two significant injuries could seriously cripple this team due to its lack of depth.
Jeff: If David Freese has a significantly better year than he did last season, I can see the Angels reaching the 90 win plateau again.
Andrew: 85, contending all season but coming up just short of a playoff berth. I’m more bearish on their chances this year. Some regression from the offense, bullpen, and Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker, with a bad defense for good measure, adds up to 13 fewer wins.
Will that be more or less than the Dodgers’ win total?
Justin: I’ll say it will be less than the Dodgers’ total, and probably by 4-8 wins. The Dodgers seem to just be better talent-wise, and unlike the Angels, they have quite a bit of depth. I also see their total being boosted by a division without another serious contender, unless you’re optimistic about San Diego’s chances (I peg them a tier below LA).
Nate: Less. The Dodgers could lose Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, and Hyun-Jin Ryu for a majority of the year and I’d still have them coming out ahead of the Angels. That powerful offense combined with the one-two punch of Kershaw and Greinke seems bound to run away with the division.
Andrew: Much less, possibly by as many as 15 games. The Dodgers are better and NL contenders have more cupcakes on their schedule.
The max velocity of a Jered Weaver fastball will be…
Justin: There’s gotta be a 91 in there somewhere.
Nate: Weaver had one flukey start in September last year where he averaged nearly 90 mph and topped out a smidge below 92. He’ll ever sustain that kind of fastball again over a full season, but I wouldn’t rule out a Hale-Bopp scenario where a start like that crops up once in a blue moon. When/if that happens this year, I’ll say 93. If not, 91.4.
How many starts will Andrew Heaney make in Anaheim?
Justin: ZiPS has Heaney slated to start 27 games, while Steamer sees a more limited role of 10 starts. I’m inclined to lean towards the former projection based on likely inevitable attrition.
Nate: I think Heaney’s rough spring has given the front office the justification it needed to keep him down in Triple-A until they can get that extra year of service time a la Kris Bryant. So I’ll say he comes up after June 3 and makes 18 starts over the season’s final four months.
Number of games until Dipoto gets fed up and trades for Chase Utley?
Justin: I just don’t see it happening, as I see the club probably pursuing a lesser option such as Aaron Hill.
Nate: However many games it is until the All-Star break. If Giavotella and friends can’t hold things together at the keystone, I can’t imagine they’d get too far into the second half before making a change. Not convinced it’ll be Utley, but it’ll be something. Maybe Baloquin will be ready?
Andrew: There’s no way Dipoto gets THAT desperate. Right? RIGHT?!