This article was made at the beginning of the year and some of the predictions are looking like they may come true. Which ones do you think will happen?
Bautista and Granderson were the only players to reach this feat last year. Granderson's track record shows that he will regress, and I think pitchers are still figuring out how to pitch to and around Bautista. Other contenders: Prince loses his generous ballpark, Pujols loses Holliday's protection, Texiera will continue to get hurt, and Ryan Howard will miss most, if not all, of the season.
2) David Wright will be the number one third baseman
Yes, I am including all eligible and potentially eligible third basemen (Cabrera, Bautista, Hanley, etc.). This is a very bold pick, but everything points to a career year for David. The fences have moved in, he is in a contract year, he is still on the right side of 30, and has much to prove after an injury plagued 2011. I also like his protection this year, with the likes of up-and-comers Ike Davis and Lucas Duda serving as his protection. A .300-30-115-30 season is not unrealistic (I hate you noah).
3) Matt Cain will win the NL Cy Young
The past three seasons, Cain has averaged a sub-3 ERA, 175 Ks, and 13 Wins, establishing himself as one of the most consistent starters in the game. He remains in one of the most hitter friendly parks, and the Giant's offense has been rejuvenated with the return of Buster Posey and offseason additions Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera. At only 27 years old, I don't think Cain hasn't recorded his best season yet, and what a better time than his last year before free agency. Cain will be playing for a big contract and another playoff birth.
4) BJ Upton will hit 30 HRs and steal 40 bases
As you can tell, I'm high on contract-year players. Its ridiculous and a little saddening that players produce better numbers when money is on the line, but these are the facts. And if I could think of one player's stats that would fluctuate the most with money incentives, it would be BJ Upton (with Hanley being a close second). He has always been scrutinized for being selfish, lazy, and not caring. Well this year he will still be selfish, but care a whole lot more. Last year, technically a contract year, he put up 23 and 42. At age 27, there is still room to improve, and will working for a contract similar to his big brother's.
5) Ryan Zimmerman will be better than Evan Longoria
Who's to say that Longo has more upside than Zimm? They are 11 months apart in age. Both were drafted as a top 5 overall pick out of college. Ryan is a career .288 hitter; Longo .274. Both players have the same season high of 33 home runs. Both are in young and explosive offenses. Yes, Zimmerman is coming of an injury-plagued season, but is apparently good to go. Maybe this isn't such a bold pick, but Zimmerman is going 20 picks after Longoria.
6) Andre Ethier will be a top-10 outfielder
In 2009, Ethier showed off his potential, hitting 31 bombs and driving in 106 runs. Most of this production came within the first half of the season, putting up MVP-type numbers. Unfortunately, Ethier is a very streaky and injury-prone player, and he will be turning 30 this season. However, Ethier has claimed that he will be leaving LA next year as his contract is set to expire. If he can stay healthy and Kemp can stay God-like, we could be in for an 09' repeat, if not better.
7) Ryan Howard dosn't get more than 50 at-bats
Howard's expected comeback in May is already in jeopardy as his rehab is behind schedule. Recently written about in a Yahoo! article, former left-handed Phillies first basemen, Bill White, suffered the same injury at the same age of 32. His career ended when he tried to return too early. I don't think the Phillies organization will be willing to relive this story again, especially with their best batter being the subject. When Howard is ready to return, I suspect the playoff brackets will be close to set and the Phillies will have already clinched a spot. There will be no need to rush Howard into the lineup.