By: Chandler Ragsdale
Spring training is heating up, and players are already starting to surprise us with their performances. Young phenom Miguel Andujar has been hitting some home runs already for the New York Yankees, and other players have hit their first home runs of the spring already also, such as Marcell Ozuna of the St. Louis Cardinals (mlb.com). With all of this excitement in the air about what is to come in 2018, here are my predictions for some of the biggest surprises you’ll see this season.
MANNY MACHADO WILL BE TRADED BY THE TRADE DEADLINE
All-star now shortstop Manny Machado is still wearing a Baltimore Orioles uniform for the start of the 2018 season. However, I do not see this being the case by the end of the first half of the season. There could be many contenders desiring Machado’s service by the trade deadline, and I think the Orioles will end up letting him go to one of these teams. Part of this prediction comes from my belief that the Orioles will not be a contender in 2018, and also the fact that he is not under a long-term contract any longer (si.com).
THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS MAKE THE NLCS
The Nationals have had their season ended in the NLDS 3 out of the last 4 seasons, including last year when they fell to the Chicago Cubs (mlb.com). With free agency right around the corner for Bryce Harper, and with all of the talent that they have in place, I believe that this is the year that they at least take their postseason run a step further. Younger players like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg have had time to mature and experience postseason play now, and you know that this team has to be hungry for a World Series run after making it so close in their recent team history. Watch out for this team in 2018.
THE HOUSTON ASTROS DO NOT REPEAT AS WORLD SERIES CHAMPS
The Astros had a great season last year and are poised for another World Series run in 2018. The LA Dodgers took them right down to the wire in 7 games in last year’s World Series, in what was an exhilarating and great series overall. They do have a great team, don’t get me wrong, and with the addition of Gerrit Cole, they seem even better off than last season. However, it is very hard to repeat as champion, and that is especially true in baseball. I see either the Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, or Yankees getting the best of them in 2018 and taking the World Series title.