Let me start off with a simple fact about myself: I don't like making bold predictions. I'm not the guy that makes crazy predictions based on feelings or what the extremes could be. However, I needed to come up with some bold predictions on the season. Since I'm pessimistic about my chances of getting any of these right, I decided to go with some pessimistic predictions for the season.
Jonathan Lucroy will not be traded during the regular season.
Let's lead off with a strong one. I'm sure the possibility of this happening is already upsetting many of you, but here are some of the facts. The Brewers want a king's ransom for Lucroy. They're not going to part with him for anything less. Plus, teams are naturally cautious about acquiring Lucroy after a down year last year. Because of that alone, teams won't want to trade for him in April or May so they can make sure he is in prime form. That still means a trade could happen in June or July, but so many factors have to come together for it to happen. Here's just a few items a team must have for a trade to be feasible:
- A glaring need at catcher
- A strong farm system
- A general manager willing to deal top talent
- Lucroy playing well enough to earn top talent return
Could all of that come together during the regular season? It's possible. However, I see the Brewers as too cautious to make this deal right now. If everything comes together and an overwhelming deal comes through, then it will happen. I'm just not optimistic about that happening during the regular season.
Orlando Arcia will not make his MLB debut until August or later.
We're all eagerly awaiting Arcia's major league debut. It's going to be talked about for a long time until the day finally comes. However, many people forget one key factor in Arcia's development: He hasn't played above Double-A yet. Proper development is the Brewers #1 priority right now, and Arcia has been on a very specific development plan (one year at Wisconsin, one year at Brevard County, one year at Biloxi). Why should that be accelerated in a year where they aren't expected to compete?
I do still expect Arcia will appear with the Brewers at some point this year. However, he needs time at Colorado Springs first. In fact, if proper development is the goal, he should get around 300 plate appearances down there before a call-up is considered. That would project to a July or August call-up. Arcia may be the shortstop of the future, but the future isn't here just yet.
The Brewers finish the season with the worst record in MLB.
Is this prediction really that bold? It doesn't seem like it considering where the Brewers are right now. FanGraphs projects them to finish with the third worst record in the majors. They're already getting hit with injuries, as the bullpen has already taken several hits. While the lineup they can put out there is ok, it also doesn't have much for threats. I don't think the Brewers have truly hit bottom yet, and that #1 pick is always appealing. I'm not saying that the Brewers will intentionally tank this season, but the team is built with a realistic shot at the #1 pick.
Season attendance falls below 2.2 million.
It may not be the worst in the league, but it will be the worst the Brewers have seen in a long time. The last time attendance was that low was 2004, when it barely broke 2 million. Many Brewers fans will continue to support this team through this year, and attendance won't disappear completely. However, I predict a lot of empty nights this year, and a lot of ticket promotions to get fans back. If you're a dedicated Brewers fan, this means better ticket prices this year. At least that's something to look forward to.
Jimmy Nelson earns his first All-Star appearance.
I should put something more positive in here to finish up the post, so let's look at a potential All-Star representative in July. By MLB rule, the Brewers must have at least one player selected to the All-Star team. I'm going to say Jimmy Nelson gets that honor, and it won't be just because the Brewers need an All-Star representative. Nelson has shown growth every year as he advanced through the Brewers system, and that's going to continue this year. He will end the season as the best pitcher on the staff, and it will be good enough to get an All-Star appearance.
Zach Davies finishes the season with the second highest fWAR among starting pitchers.
How about one more positive prediction? I did say that Jimmy Nelson would be the best pitcher on the staff, but what about the second best? How about Zach Davies? While he will start the season in the minors, he's going to be the first call-up when a starting pitcher is needed. He pitched well in limited time last September, and I think it will continue. He may not be the highest ranked pitching prospect the Brewers have, but he's more than good enough to step up this year.