This is just too easy. Can of corn. It’s like, some of this stuff, I can just pluck right out of last year’s column.
Here are some of the things that are almost certain to happen in the year 2013. Probably.
Major League Baseball standings will be listed alphabetically through April 1 at the latest.
American League Cy Young Award goes to David Price.
With the lifetime home run record now clearly out of reach, Alex Rodriguez gets two steps closer to retirement. A-Rod’s numbers: .260, 10 homers, 35 RBIs, in not an inning more than 50 games played.
As usual, the World Series will be a better, truer, more spontaneous event than the Super Bowl, with actual crowd shots of real fans, but the commercials won’t be nearly as good.
The debate over whether Joba Chamberlain should be a starter or reliever is forgotten, and replaced with a debate over whether Aroldis Chapman should be a starter or reliever.
Derek Jeter will appear on “Saturday Night Live” with Donald Trump (or Darrell Hammond).
The New York Yankees miss the postseason, at least one Steinbrenner goes berserk, with Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman exiting by mid-October.
Larry Lucchino will become part owner of a team working on a new stadium deal.
The Toronto Blue Jays improve by leaps and bounds, but with Jose Reyes injured at least once, settle for second place.
The American League East will finish this way: Rays, Blue Jays (Wild Card), Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees.
Detroit’s Tigers are baseball’s first team to clinch.
As the AL’s third or fourth best starting pitcher at the time, Justin Verlander doesn’t start the All-Star Game, and his team benefits, regaining home field advantage in the World Series.
AL team pegged most likely to improve greatly that doesn’t – Kansas City Royals.
A Gold Glove Award winner will lead his position in errors.
Several prominent major leaguers will miss action, delayed by visa problems.
AL Central: Tigers, White Sox, Indians, Royals, Twins.
Non-teammates Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are mentioned in the same breath more times than Henry Aaron and Willie Mays. Baseball savvy fans are reminded of Ben Grieve and Alvin Davis.
“Five-tool player” regains its rightful position as the most overused phrase in baseball, leaving “we all have to be on the same page” in the dust. “Flu-like symptoms,” “strained oblique,” “anything can happen in a short series,” “back in the day,” ”intestinal fortitude,” “chain of custody,” “there’s no crying in baseball” and “it’s only May” round out the top ten.
Countless players, play-by-play guys and color commentators will refer to a just completed contest using the word “tonight,” even though it was a day game.
Sinkerballer Derek Lowe leads baseball in comebackers not fielded.
Top-five MVP finisher Adrian Beltre, plus another Gold Glove.
Motivated in its first season as an AL club, Houston’s Astros surprise with a 68-94 record.
Astros are no-hit at least once before the All-Star break.
The Angels look outside the organization for an outfielder as Trout returns to center by June 1.
Angels fans concern about years seven, eight and nine of Albert Pujols’ contract is replaced with worries about years four, five and six.
AL MVP: Trout.
AL West: Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Astros.
Debate over Mike Rizzo’s 2012 innings limit for Stephen Strasburg continues, with neither supporters nor detractors being placated. Strasburg just goes out and pitches his way to a top three Cy Young finish.
Atlanta’s Braves get what they bargained for with Justin Upton, and then some. With brother B.J., not so much.
The Philadelphia Phillies are as old and broken down as the preseason consensus, but still manage to contend before finishing third, with 85 wins.
Baseball’s first manager to be fired will be Terry Collins. Additional managers cut loose include Ron Gardenhire, Girardi, Clint Hurdle, Charlie Manuel, Eric Wedge and whoever follows Collins.
NL East: Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins.
A prominent player will test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He’ll deny deny deny, come up with the most fantastic excuse known to man, and lose the obligatory appeal. America will celebrate.
These players will miss significant chunks of playing time due to injury: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Hamilton, Rich Harden, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Reyes, Pablo Sandoval, Huston Street, Troy Tulowitzski, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and David Wright.
These men will play through an array of injuries and ailments to appear in 155-plus games. Billy Butler, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Starlin Castro, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen, Hunter Pence, Alexei Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Dan Uggla and Ben Zobrist.
NL Central: Cardinals, Reds (Wild Card), Pirates, Brewers, Cubs.
NL team predicted most likely to contend that doesn’t – Arizona Diamondbacks.
Whenever and wherever Arizona sweeps a series, a newspaper in the losing team’s city will run the following headline: “Fill-in-the-blank Snake-bit by Diamondbacks.”
Buster Posey proves to be as close to contract-worthy as is humanly possible, and is a top five finisher in the NL MVP race. .315/.390, 25 and 100.
A ballpark in China Basin will be renamed for a telecommunications company.
Brian Wilson will spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to look clever…and fail.
Asdrubal Cabrera to Los Angeles.
To their detriment, critics will harp on Zack Greinke’s years-old anxiety disorder issues, but he will be just fine. Better than fine. 16-10, with a 3.25 ERA and 200 Ks in 200 innings.
Chad Billingsley succumbs to the inevitable and undergoes Tommy John surgery.
Benefitting from those extra three days off he’s afforded, A.J. Ellis proves to be anything but a flash in the pan. His numbers: .275/.395, 15 and 65.
Carl Crawford earns Comeback Player of the Year consideration with his 285/.350, 100 runs, 60 RBIs and 40 steals. L.A’s best leadoff man since Brett Butler.
Ending speculation about his being platooned for the time being, Andre Ethier hits .260 against left-handers, and .300 overall.
Millions hold their breath every time Matt Kemp chases a teammate after a game-winning hit.
NL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez.
Clayton Kershaw’s earned run average balloons to 2.65 as he wins his second Cy Young Award in three seasons. Leads NL pitchers in sacrifices; wins a Gold Glove too. Kershaw’s greatest mark is made in the postseason, however, as all comparisons to Sandy Koufax are deemed not just on the table, but welcome, fair and very much appropriate.
NL West: Dodgers, Giants, Dbacks, Padres, Rockies.
NL Pennant: Dodgers.
AL Pennant: Rays.
World Champion: Dodgers.
Remember, glove conquers all….
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