With the start of the 2021 MLB regular season set for April 1, now is a great time to throw out some fun-filled bold predictions for the upcoming campaign. To that end, I’ve got five bold predictions that are sure to please as we continue to pass time until spring training and the start of the regular season. Let’s get right to it so you can keep planning your bets against their MLB odds for the upcoming season.
MLB 2021 Season: Five Bold Predictions
- Ozuna Leads NL Again
The Atlanta Braves wisely re-signed veteran outfielder Marcell Ozuna after he ‘showed out’ in his first season with the franchise last year. In 60 games last season, the 29-year-old hit an incendiary .338 while leading the National League in home runs (18) and RBI (56). Ozuna smacked 37 home runs and drove in 124 runs in his final season with Miami in 2017 and belted 52 home runs over two seasons while driving in at least 88 runs each season with St. Louis in 2018 and 2019. Ozuna signed a 4-year, $65 million deal with the Braves this offseason and should be highly motivated to prove his worth moving forward. I like Ozuna to lead the National League in home runs and RBI for the second straight season.
- Ronald Acuna Jr. Wins NL MVP
Acuna Jr. never found his rhythm last year, batting a tepid .250 in 46 games while hitting 14 home runs and driving in 29 runs. In 156 games in 2019, Acuna Jr. hit .280 with 41 home runs and 101 RBI. Simply put, I’m expecting the supremely gifted 23-year-old to have a campaign for the ages in 2021 then ends with him hoisting the NL MVP award. In three seasons (two really), Acuna Jr. has a 162-game average of 42 home runs and 100 RBI with a .281 batting average. I’m expecting to see the five-tool outfielder post those kinds of numbers in 2021 while leading Atlanta to a deep playoff run.
- Ian Anderson – Most Wins In NL
If you didn’t see Atlanta Braves right-hander Ian Anderson last season, then you missed seeing a guy that looks like a sure-fire future Cy Young winner. The third overall pick in the 2016 draft made a modest six regular starts for the Braves last season. Anderson went what looks like a modest 3-2 in those outings, but finished the short stint with a stellar 1.95 ERA. The hard-throwing hurler struck out 41 batters in 32.1 innings pitched while walking 14. In four playoff starts, Anderson was even better by posting a 2-0 record with a mind-boggling 0.96 ERA. In the postseason, Anderson limited the opposition to two runs in those four outings spanning 18.2 innings. I think it’s completely and utterly possible Anderson finishes with the most victories of any starter in the NL in 2021 and that’s exactly what I’m predicting!
- Padres Win NL West
The defending World Series champion Dodgers are completely loaded with talent, but San Diego has made some serious moves to get better the last two years and I believe we could see San Diego’s hard work pay off with a division title in 2021. The Padres went 37-23 last season to finish six games behind the Dodgers in the NL West last season. However, San Diego made a series f nice moves this offseason by adding 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell in a stunning trade with Tampa Bay while also acquiring veteran right-hander Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini in another trade with the Cubs.
The Padres also managed to snag 25-year-old Korean all-star Ha-seong Kim. While Kim played shortstop in the KBO, that’s not where he’ll play for San Diego with Fernando Tatis manning the position. Kim also won’t play third base with Manny Machado entrenched there. I expect Kim will either start at second base on in the outfield, but wherever he plays, he’s a great addition after hitting .306/.397/.523 with 30 homers and 23 steals last season with the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes. 24-year-old right-hander Dinelson Lamet (3-1, 2.09 ERA) has Cy Young potential on the mound and San Diego is hungry with a capital H. The Padres beat out LA for the NL West title!
- Randy Arozarena Wins AL ROY and MVP
In 23 regular season games, Arozarena batted .281 with seven home runs and 11 RBI. However, the supremely gifted 24-year-old was even more impressive once the postseason got underway. In two wild card games against Toronto, the young right-fielder hit .500 (4-for-8). Then, in the ALDS against the Yankees, Arozarena repeatedly burned New York by batting .421 ((8-for-19) with three home runs and three RBI and five runs scored. In the ALCS against Houston, the outfielder hit .321 (9-for-28) with four home runs, six RBI and six runs scored.
In the World Series against the Dodgers, Arozarena hit .364 (8-fr-22) with three more homers, four RBI and five runs scored. Regular season and postseason combined, Arozarena finished with a .333 batting average, .745 slugging percentage and 17 home runs. My biggest and boldest prediction has Arozarena winning the AL Rookie of the Year award – and the AL MVP. Arozarena looks like a guy that has no holes in his game. He got the best of some of baseball’s most elite hurlers like Cole Gerrit and Clayton Kershaw. Yeah…both awards could actually happen for the gifted ‘sudden star’.
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