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Piping Hot Takes: Travis' Bold Predictions for 2016

Don't burn yourself, folks. Approach with caution: these takes are fire.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

We're so very close, my friends. The countdown clock to the first pitch of the Brewers 2016 season is under 100 hours. Once the season begins, there will be plenty of time for thoughtful, intelligent discussion about the team, but now isn't the time for reasoned analysis. While the scorebooks and stat sheets are still filled with zeroes, now is the time for wild speculation and scorching hot takes. Will the Brewers actually win 100 games in 2016? I don't know! Probably! NL Most Valuable Player Domingo Santana? Heck yeah, pal, you know it. Here are my predictions for the Brewers this season:

Chris Carter leads the National League in home runs

Y'all know how I feel about dingers, but for those who are new: I am pro-dingers. I am all in on Chris Carter, professional destroyer of baseballs, for 2016. Last season Miller Park boosted home runs more than any other ballpark despite having a rather punchless home team, and while Minute Maid Park isn't exactly a pitcher's paradise itself, Carter should see a bump in his power numbers with the move to Milwaukee. Only two years removed from a season in which he hit 37 bombs for the Astros, it's hardly a stretch to say that Carter could get 40+ homers with regular playing time in a souvenir factory. Bryce Harper led the league with 42 taters a season ago during one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. We'll say he regresses just a touch because you know, that was magical, and Carter's 41 round-trippers are enough to pace the Senior Circuit.

Chorizo finishes with the season's best record in the Sausage Race

Chorizo has historically struggled since joining the race full time in 2007. The large sombrero he refuses to doff is a drag on his aerodynamics and makes the costume significantly more unwieldy for runners, placing him at a competitive disadvange. Chorizo finished in the cellar last season, winning only 10 races -- 17 behind the front running Polish Sausage. Entering his ninth season, I say Chorizo is poised for a breakout.

The Cardinals miss the playoffs

Oh yeah, baby. The Cardinals very quietly had a bad offseason, losing both their top position player (Jason Heyward, 6.0) and top pitcher (John Lackey, 3.6) by fWAR and replacing them with Mike Leake  (1.7 fWAR in 2015) and Jedd Gyorko (0.7). Yes, they get Adam Wainwright, who missed the bulk of last season with an Achilles injury, back, but here's the thing: fuck Adam Wainwright. He'll be 35 before the season ends, is trying to come back from his second major injury in five years (Wainwright underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011) and also I just hate him a lot. The National League is extremely top heavy, and the Cardinals stayed stagnant while the Giants and Diamondbacks made major pushes to join the Cubs, Mets, Pirates and Dodgers in the playoff conversation. The Cardinals finish a distant third in the Central -- closer to the fourth place Brewers than they are to the second place Pirates -- and aren't a Wild Card threat down the stretch.

My first date with Taylor goes really well

Ah, crap. This isn't my LiveJournal Taylor Swift fan fiction account. Please disregard.

Scooter Gennett ends the season in another uniform

Something's got to give in the Brewers infield. With the general consensus being that Orlando Arcia's arrival is at nigh at hand, there will soon be a log jam up the middle. They won't bring Arcia up to ride pine, so when he gets the call it will likely be for good and he'll be installed as the starting shortstop. That'll leave Jonathan Villar displaced by a super-prospect for the second consecutive year, and I think he'll take over at second base for Gennett, who's inability to play every day hurts his case. Lefty-swinging infielders are in relatively short supply and Gennett would have value, so the Brewers move him to a contender looking for a lefty bench bat in July.

The Brewers play in October

The regular season actually ends on October 2nd, when the Brewers will play the Rockies, who are bad. So this is a lead pipe lock, folks. I do not mean that the Brewers will play in the postseason, they probably will not. This misdirection was intentional. If you feel that you have been wronged by this clever twist of phrase, please email me at to express your concerns and I will do what I can to make it right.

Matt Garza is Milwaukee's best pitcher

Look, let's talk about it. Garza was capital-b Bad last season. Garza's numbers were terrible: his 5.63 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.57 WHIP, 6.30 K/9 and 3.45 BB/9 were all career worsts excepting his cameo in 2006 as a 22-year-old. But he experienced a bit of rough luck as well -- his .319 BABIP allowed was well over his career norm of .289, and he had an inflated 14.5% HR/FB rate (league average is about 11.5%, and Garza's career average is 10%). Prior to 2015, Garza had eight consecutive seasons of sub-4.00 ERA, and I expect his numbers to return closer to his career norms. Garza didn't lose any velocity last season -- his average fastball was actually slightly faster than in 2014 -- and he's only 32, so while he's no spring chicken, he's not over the hill. Of course, a bounce back season in 2016 could very well mean the end of Garza's time in a Brewers uniform, so he may finish his renaissance elsewhere.