Revisiting Bold Predictions: National League Central

Back in March, I penned some bold predictions about every Major League team. I’m revisiting them division by division to see how I did.

CHC – Junior Lake will hit 20 home runs and SLG .465.

He’s slashing .218/.245/.377 with 9 HR through the All Star break so this isn’t totally crazy. As this season wears on, the Cubs are going to give some of Lake’s at bats to their prospects like Arismendy Alcantara, who has already started 1 of his 5 Major League games in center. Lake will fall short, but it’s not because he’s not swinging (currently swinging at 57.3 % of the pitches he sees).

CIN – Jay Bruce will end the season as a top 5 fantasy outfielder.

No. Got this one wrong. Bruce has struggled mightily this season. It’s hard to be a top 5 anything when you’re batting .229. His strikeout rate (26.5%) matches up with last season, but he’s just not been as productive. I fully expect him to return to form in the second half, he just won’t come close to the top 5.

MIL – Khris Davis will hit more home runs than Ryan Braun.

Braun: 11 HR
Davis: 15 HR

Looking pretty good on this one. Braun (.515) is out-slugging Davis (.472) but Davis is ahead in HR%, 4.2% to Braun’s 3.4%.

PIT – Gerrit Cole strikes out over 200 batters and wins 18+ games.

Bold in both regards. While Cole was pitching very well before his injury, he wasn’t on pace to win 18+ games or strikeout over 200 guys.

STL – Lance Lynn will be the the 2nd best starter in the Cardinals rotation. Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha have a lot of helium, but Lynn is a solid and steady number 2.

Two words. Work. Horse. Lynn has been solid if not dazzling. He has a career low ERA (3.14) and WHIP (1.308) at the break to go along with his ERA+ of 117. Wacha has been better when he’s pitched, but he’s only made 15 starts to Lynn’s 19. Wacha is striking out more guys than Lynn, so at this point in the season I’d rank them Wacha, Lynn, Miller. I also would not be at all surprised if Wacha experienced some 2nd half bumps in the road, while I think Lynn will be very steady down the stretch.

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