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5 bold MLB predictions for 2019

5 12 216

A year ago this time, Juan Soto was preparing to play for the low-A Hagerstown Suns and Max Muncy was a relative unknown in Oakland’s minor-league system. The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays were considered non-factors in the American League playoff picture while the Minnesota Twins were looking to return to the post-season.

In baseball, a lot changes in the course of a year.

By this time in 2019, new stars and storylines will exist across MLB. As the coming season unfolds, keep these predictions in mind — and don’t be surprised when they come true…

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will immediately be one of baseball’s best hitters

In a way it feels unfair to place such high expectations on a teenager no matter how much he has succeeded already. Injuries and poor performances occur all the time, so there are never guarantees, even from a top prospect. Plus, the Blue Jays need way more than one player to maximize his potential if they’re going to build the sustained winner they want.

But with all that said, I believe Guerrero Jr. will be one of the best hitters in baseball in 2019. He won’t reach the big leagues right away, since the Blue Jays will manipulate his service time and delay his debut for at least a couple of weeks to ensure they get a seventh year of team control. Yet when he does arrive, he has a chance to establish himself as an elite bat right away.

That’s not something I say lightly, but I........

© Sportsnet