The 2022-23 MLB season is here and there are bound to be some crazy outcomes and plays. The Atlanta Braves enter the year as the defending champions. The Los Angeles Dodgers will likely be a favorite again and there will definitely be a lot of home runs this year. These are all things that we have come to expect though. The real fun with the new season is the bold predictions that likely will not happen. That being said, let’s get into five bold predictions for the 2022-23 season.
5.) Albert Pujols reaches 700 home runs
I want to start this list off lightly here with a single player statistic. Pujols is back home in St. Louis after signing a one-year deal. He currently has 679 home runs in his career sitting 21 away from the 700 club. Will Pujols be knocking home runs like he used to? I highly doubt it as he will likely be a designated hitter most of the season. However, that means he can focus on hitting the ball more and might be able to do it.
Pujols will be making his 22nd straight Opening Day start as the DH. I am not saying Pujols has no power left in his swing but he is older and does not crush the ball like he used to. However, I think Pujols puts together a productive final season in baseball and reaches 700. A story book ending for an easy first ballot hall of fame player.
4.) Bobby Witt Jr. wins AL MVP
Here is where I start to get crazy with the predictions. As a Royals fan, I can confirm the buzz and excitement around Bobby Witt joining the opening day roster is real. Witt is one of the best prospects in all of baseball. In the minors, he crushed the ball with a .290/.361/.576 batting line. He also finished with 35 doubles and 33 home runs in 124 games split between Double-A and Triple-A.
It is unclear what position Witt will play for KC but I think he could make a huge splash in his rookie year. He has the bat speed, the defensive skills, the power and I see no reason he could not go after the award. Only Ichiro Suzuki and Fred Lynn have won the MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same year. I think Witt will shock the MLB and be the third name on that short list.
3.) Byron Buxton will break post-1900 single season stolen bases record
This one might not be possible for any player that will touch a baseball diamond until the end of time. The single season record for stolen bases (post 1900) is 130 by Ricky Henderson. Henderson set the record in 1982 when he stole the 130 bases on 172 attempts. That record has not come close to being beaten. The only player from the 2000s on the record board is Jose Reyes with 78 stolen bases in 2007.
Buxton’s career high in a season is only 29 set back in 2017. He has been plagued by injuries as of late and has not been able to show his full potential. He is arguably one of the best centerfielders in baseball right now. I think if he stays healthy that he could have a career year across all categories. One of those categories being his stolen bases numbers.
However, his health will be the biggest issue each year now with the problems he has had in consecutive seasons. Buxton is an elite baserunner and I think he can break that single season record with a full season. Is that crazy? Probably but yet Buxton stealing that many bases is not impossible right?
2.) Shohei Ohtani will win the AL MVP, AL Cy Young, Hank Aaron and Silver Slugger award
I made the bold prediction last season that Ohtani would win a Cy Young and MVP award. I got the MVP one right but not the Cy Young. This year I want to add on and bulk up the prediction even further. Ohtani won the AL MVP award as well as the Silver Slugger award in 2021. In 2022, I think he takes it a step further and wins a second MVP, Silver Slugger and adds on a Cy Young and Hank Aaron award.
Ohtani had what is considered a once in a lifetime season in 2021. He finished with a .257/.372/.592 batting line. He also ended the year with 26 doubles, eight triples, 46 homers, 100 RBI, 103 runs and 26 steals. His pitching stats were also worth noting. In 23 starts on the mound, he was 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA (141 ERA+), 1.09 WHIP and 156 strikeouts. He is a generational talent and I see no reason why he cannot continue to re-write baseball history. I think Ohtani’s trophy room is about to fill up even further.
1.) The Atlanta Braves will repeat as champions
We have not had a repeat champion in the MLB since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees. Only 14 teams in MLB history have won multiple World Series in a row. With such a long gap in this part of the history book, I think it is time to break that trend. The Atlanta Braves enter 2022 as the defending champs. The Braves have the pieces to become repeat champions if they can keep their roster together.
While they lost Freddie Freeman to the Dodgers, they did add Matt Olson to bring in a young first basemen. Olson brings power hitting and a younger version of what Freeman used to be. With a core group of Ronald Acuna, Ozzy Albies, and Matt Olson, the Braves are going to be a scary team. Why not have the number one bold prediction be one of the most elusive goals for any MLB team? Braves will win it all in 2022, book mark it.
What are some other bold predictions you have? Comment down below and join the discussion!
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