MLB 2019 preview: Five bold predictions for the upcoming season

After an offseason that saw plenty of turnover, we make five bold predictions for the 2019 MLB campaign.
After an offseason that saw plenty of turnover, we make five bold predictions for the 2019 MLB campaign.

The MLB landscape has been altered greatly for the 2019 campaign after a tumultuous offseason.

There will be plenty of familiar faces in new places this season, with big names such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado having signed huge free agent contracts.

And the high amount of turnover has driven much of our projections for the year.

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Here we make five bold predictions for the new season.

1. A National League record will be set for lowest average to win a batting title

This almost happened last season as it took a monster September for batting champion Christian Yelich to surpass Tony Gwynn's record-low 1988 average of .313, Scooter Gennett finishing second behind Yelich with a .310 average. 

It is a prediction that says less about the state of hitting in the National League and more about the pitching. The rotations are stacked across the board. 

Hitters will be challenged night in and night out - and that could easily lead to a serious down year in average in the league.

2. The Braves will finish fourth in the NL East

Atlanta were a wonderful story last season, but the East is not the same as it was then. The Phillies added Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals have Patrick Corbin and the New York Mets got Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

The division is much better and the Braves really did not add much. Atlanta still have a little bit of time as they could acquire Dallas Keuchel, but, for now, this is a team primed for a slump as their division rivals improve.

3. A man not named Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge will lead the Yankees in home runs

This one is a bit of a stretch, but it is based on the belief Gary Sanchez will bounce back this season. He was hurt for much of last year and never got going at the plate as a result. 

He is a prime candidate to bounce back with 40 home runs and could easily beat Judge or Stanton this season in long balls. Miguel Andujar could do it as well, but that depends on how much his defense keeps him out of the lineup.

4. No team that won a division in the NL in 2018 will repeat in 2019

It is not just the Braves who may have trouble defending a division title. 

The Dodgers' lineup got better, but their rotation is getting older and Clayton Kershaw is already struggling with injuries. The Rockies are young and just extended star Nolan Arenado, giving Colorado a great chance to usurp Los Angeles and win the NL West after losing out to the Dodgers in a tiebreaker game last year.

In the Central, the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have a great chance to knock the Milwaukee Brewers off their perch as the division champion.

5. Manny Machado will not eclipse 30 home runs or 100 RBIs

Manny Machado is a great player who should greatly help the San Diego Padres. However, no longer hitting in the Dodgers' lineup, he will not have nearly the protection he had in Los Angeles, or the same number of runners on base in front of him.

Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers have yet to show the consistency to protect other hitters in a lineup and Hunter Renfroe is still finding his way as a hitter, meaning Machado will likely not have nearly as many RBI opportunities as he normally would.

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