Bold Predictions for Spring Training and the Regular Season!

Updated: February 14, 2017

Spring Training is here! Pitchers and catchers report today, and so, again, we prepare ourselves for baseball season; the glory, the triumph, the heartache, the pain, the good, the bad, the ugly, and hopefully, through it all, our team brings it home. Before all that, though, we have the exhibition games. Spring Training is the audition for many players, a chance to prove they’re ready to contribute, ready to bounce back, ready to build on a great season, or ready to get back to being great. Here are some bold predictions for what I think we might see this Spring and into the season. Feel free to bookmark this article so you can show it to me again later after I’m wrong about everything!

C.J. Cron Seizes a Starting Job – When the Angels signed Luis Valbuena, GM Billy Eppler was quick to say that he expects Valbuena to play a lot, particularly at first base. That seems to point to less time for Cron at first, since Albert Pujols will presumably be at designated hitter full time, even if he misses time. Cron, even though he was hurt, made some positive strides last season that pointed to a player ready to seize a full time spot and be that force in the middle of the lineup. Cron is going to follow that up with such a strong Spring that Scioscia will have no choice but to pencil Cron in the lineup most nights, and once that happens, Cron will not give it up. I predict great things from Cron this season, and it starts this Spring.

Escobar Will Lose Time at Third to Valbuena – Valbuena will play a lot this year, just as Eppler said, but it won’t be mostly at first. Escobar has put together a few decent seasons as far as his batting average and on-base percentage is concerned, but he offers little else. He’s horrible on the base paths, borderline unwatchable in the field, and offers no power. Valbuena’s batting average may not be up there with Escobar’s, but batting average is overrated. Valbuena gets on base more than Escobar, hits for more power, is a better baserunner, and a better defender. I can understand the desire for Escobar to play well; if the Angels want to trade Escobar at any point, he’ll need to have value, something he won’t have on the bench. The Angels also want to contend, though, and they’ll have a better chance with Valbuena at the hot corner. Expect to see him there more often than not.

Matt Shoemaker Establishes Himself as the Halos’ Best Pitcher – Garrett Richards is going to need to come back healthy and he’s going to need to pitch like an ace for the Angels to have a bounce back season. While I think Richards will have a good season, I think the Halos’ ace this year is going to be Shoemaker. Before suffering a horrendous injury near the end of last season, Shoemaker was making a case for being the Angels’ Non-Mike Trout MVP. Shoemaker posted a 3.51 FIP and was worth 2.0 WAR, which is impressive considering he had an ERA over nine in the middle of May before turning his season around. Shoemaker will come out of the gates this Spring and establish himself as the true ace of this staff, a title he won’t relinquish all season long.

Tyler Skaggs Loses his Spot in the Rotation – Skaggs has lots of potential, but he’s disappointed so far in his short career. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Skaggs finally put it together after a healthy, normal offseason and Spring Training, but I just don’t see what others see in Skaggs. Skaggs will get every opportunity to keep his spot in the rotation, so although I predict a poor Spring from him, he’ll still begin the season in the rotation, as he should. Ineffectiveness, injury, or both will conspire to cost Skaggs his spot in the rotation this season, though.

Cameron Maybin Will Make it Through Spring Training Without Getting Hurt – Considering how fragile Maybin has been throughout his career, this counts as a bold prediction. What!? It really does! Okay, well I’ll go a step further – Cameron Maybin Will Play More Games than He Misses – How’s that, better? Okay. Anyway, Maybin will play a lot this season, maybe something like 120-140 games, and he’ll be pretty good, too. Although I’ve been down on the Maybin addition, I have a feeling Maybin will be a valuable addition to the Halos this year. Hey, I’m a fan, too, so I can go with those gut feelings. I’ll hedge this bet by saying it wouldn’t shock me at all to see Maybin go down with a season ending injury on the bus to Tempe, but I’m going with my gut and saying to expect good things from Maybin this season.

Kole Calhoun Will Follow a Good Spring with an All Star Appearance – I wrote about Calhoun in length here, but I’m going to go even further and predict that Calhoun receives some down-ballot MVP votes this season. Calhoun is primed and ready to make the leap to superstar status, and while he may not make it that far, he’s going to have a great year.

Those are some bold predictions for you! It’s good to step out and make some bold predictions here and there, go big or go home! You could make your own bold predictions and see how many you get right. Since I’m sure most of my predictions will be wrong, you can forget this article as soon as you’re done reading it. Unless I am right, in which case you’ll be hearing about it from me all the time. The most important thing is that baseball is finally back, and it’s time to be excited about life again!




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