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Bold Predictions for 2021

Second Base

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It's that time of year again. Making predictions on the upcoming season. But these ones are BOLD predictions, specifically ones with a higher degree of unlikelihood of occurring. I used to do one every year, and surprisingly, around 40% of them actually came to fruition, only proving the adage that you can't predict ball. I wouldn't even expect that success rate from not-so-bold predictions.

So here they are.

1. Alex Cobb will rediscover his status as a mid rotation starter. I feel like the Angels knew something when they acquired Cobb, just like when they traded for Bundy. Maybe it came from Mickey Callaway shortly before the reports came out, maybe it's Joe Maddon, or maybe some front office exec. But I think Cobb is going to be the best off-season pitching acquisition and pitch 170 innings with an ERA of 3.65. 

2. Jose Iglesias is going to accomplish something quite rare. In fact, it's only happened four times in the last forty years. Ready for it? He's going to win the league batting title, with an OBP under .375! It's cool and not so cool at the same time. Few people put much value in BA anymore, but for those that do, he's going to hit .340 with a .370 OBP.

3. Shohei Ohtani will finish in the top 5 in MVP voting. 110 IP 130 K's and a 3.21 ERA. .290/.370 with 20 HR across 400 AB's. 

4. The Angels and Athletics will finish as the only two teams in the AL West with a winning record. The Astros pitching will fail them as their offense continues to flounder after the scandal. The Mariners show some flashes of promise but ultimately are still a sub .500 team. The Rangers clearly aren't in it to win it. It'll come down to the Angels and A's, two imperfect teams. The A's rotation and bullpen will be utterly dominant, but their offense won't score many runs at all, finishing at or near the bottom of the league in many categories. The Angels won't be great at any one thing, just competent at most things. The offense will be inconsistent, particularly in LF, 1B, RF and DH wherever Ohtani isn't hitting. But Ohtani, Rendon, Iglesias and that Trout fellow will be enough to keep them solid. Cobb, Ohtani and Bundy will all be solid mid rotation starters or better. But there will be some injuries and ineffectiveness from Canning, Heaney and Quintana, though not enough to derail the season. They'll get some help from Detmers and Rodriguez later in the year. The bullpen will be inconsistent in the middle innings, but will eventually develop into a decent group after Patrick Sandoval and a certain mid season acquisition stabilize things. 

5. Justin Upton will not finish the season in an Angels uniform. He's had some trouble getting it going for a couple years now, and with the new ball, what used to be HR's will now be deep outs. Adell, Marsh and Jordyn Adams are all going to be highly successful in AA/AAA, putting pressure on him to perform, and when he doesn't, there won't be a 4th OF spot available to him because he's defensively limited. Upton will be granted his release in July after refusing to waive his NTC, and will sit out the remainder of the 2021 season before looking to sign with an NL team in 2022 when they adopt a universal DH. 

6. Next off-season will be one of the strangest we've ever seen. Very few extensions will be signed because players and agents will wait on the new CBA. There will be a "work stoppage" until late January, when a new deal is adopted. The season will be pushed back, Spring training games won't start until the 3rd week in March, the games won't begin until nearly May and there will be a flurry of double headers to finish the season by mid-October. Speaking of flurries, free agent signings will be downright wacky next February. 


Edited by Second Base
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1. Gerardo Reyes breaks out and is one of the Angels best relievers.

2. Franklin Barreto emerges and forces himself into the Angels' future plans.

3. Jose Quintana is the Angels best and most consistent starting pitcher.

As a side note, I tried to come up with more than 3 bold predictions but I had a hard time doing so. I think it's because none of the players the Angels added have insane upside, as their acquisitions were "safer." However, I only tried to come up with positive bold predictions. I could've come up with more negative bold predictions, which would seem to show that despite the "safer" acquisitions, there is still room for plenty of busts.

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Juan Lagares wins the 4th OF spot and ends up playing more than Fowler, securing the RF slot for most of the year.

Bundy regresses slightly from last year's heights, but Quintana ends up being staff ace after improving substantially over the last couple of years.

Stassi gets injured and misses half the season. 

Ohtani is, surprisingly, healthy for the first time as an Angel and puts up a solid, if unspectacular full season. 

Trout and Rendon both wind up in the top five MVP vote, but lose to Bregman (🤮) who puts up a stunning season on a surprisingly sub-par Astros club.

Angels lose out on the division in the final week to the A's, but win the WC game off an Andrew Heaney gem against the Chi Sox. 

The Angels bounce the Yankees from the playoffs in the first round but lose to the A's who themselves lose to the Padres in the WS. 

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First, to reply to Scotty.

1. Maybe. I guess.

2. No way.

3. He's got the talent, so it is possible. Maybe.

4. Calls for the demise of the Astros are premature. They won't be the powerhouse they were in 2017-19, but they'll win 85+ games.

5. You know, I almost started a fearless predictions thread and this was going to be one of mine. Hope its true.

6. Vague, but yeah, I could see it.


1. Andrew Heaney has his best season as an Angel and is their best starter. The Angels sign him to an extension mid-season, and then he goes back to the Heaney we know and love in 2022 and beyond; well, somewhat better, but never as good as 2021, which ends up being his career year. 15-8, 3.57 ERA, 4.5 WAR.

2. The Angels Rotation is surprisingly good. Something like: Heaney 3.57 ERA, 4.3 WAR; Bundy 3.74, 4.1; Quintana 3.93, 3.7, Canning 3.97, 2.8; Cobb 4.32, 1.3; Ohtani 3.37, 2.4.

3. The year ends with a starting OF of Adell-Trout-Marsh. Brandon Marsh ends up with more PA than any outfielder other than Trout. Upton spends time in LF, DH, on the IL, and on the bench. Fowler is Fowler - OK, I guess, but not good enough to block Marsh/Adell. Final Marsh stats: .281/.347/.452, 14 HR, 2.8 WAR in 92 games. Final Adell stats: .252/.307/.490, 14 HR, 1.2 WAR in 58 games.

4. David Fletcher wins the Batting Title. Take that, Iglesuckas. .327/.402/.441, just edging out DJ LeMahieu.

5. Mike Trout hits 50 HR. Finally. .292/.437/.640, 50 HR, 9 WAR = 3rd MVP.

6. Angels win 91 games and AL West. Fearless, right?

Edited by Angelsjunky
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I’m actually having a difficult time coming up with anything that really constitutes as a bold prediction...boldest may be that I think most of the team will actually perform about as expected and that in itself will wind up being a surprisingly solid and competitive club. Cobb isn’t terrible, Fowler isn’t terrible, Bundy and Heaney don’t break out but instead just play well, and the team as a whole winds up being really balanced. But, I’ll give it a whirl.

  1. Luis Rengifo breaks out in a big way...I’m not sure who will get injured for him to get playing time, or if it’ll even happen with the Angels, but I think he’s going to open some eyes.
  2. Patrick Sandoval and Chris Rodriguez exceed expectations, but out of the bullpen.
  3. The Angels will trade for Willson Contreras.
  4. Four starters will make 20+ starts, and Ohtani will be one of them. Barria another (but like Rengifo, will it be with the Angels?)
  5. RF will be a relative mess all season.
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1. I agree with the person who said that Heaney will have a good year and with those who said Quintana will be our best starter.

2. Also agree with the person who said that Stassi will miss a big chunk of the season.

3. Ohtani is a force with the bat giving the Angels a quadruple threat in the lineup along with Trout and Rendon. (see 4)

4. Finally, I think Upton will bounce back greatly.


Conclusion: If 1, 3, and 4 come through, Angels go to the playoffs if Canning and Cobb can get 10 wins each.

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You said bold predictions for 2021 so here we go with 10:

1- Ohtani wins comeback player of the year. I actually don't think this is too bold of a prediction. He just needs to stay healthy. Let's say his final hitting/pitching lines look like this: Finished batting line .280-.285 with 25-30hr and around 80RBIs. Pitching he finishes with an ERA at 3.50. This takes me to the bolder #2 prediction.

2- Ohtani Joins the MVP AND Cy Young discussions. Yup, you heard that right. If he posts the numbers above then he should be heavily considered for the MVP. The last time there was a player who destroyed the game both hitting and pitching was Babe Ruth back in 1919 (and kinda 2018 Ohtani). All Ohtani has to do is stay healthy and perform like he did in 2018 and he'll likely find his way into MVP/Cy Young discussions. 

3- MVP race includes Trout, Rendon and Ohtani with David Fletcher also getting looks. David Fletcher actually received some MVP votes for the 2020 season so this isn't that far off. We already know what Mike Tout and Anthony Rendon can do but with a previously mentioned healthy Ohtani season and David Fletcher being Mr. Consistent, we could see these 4 Angels finish in the top 10 for votes if all goes to plan.

4- Angels starters ALL finish with a 4.10ERA or less. I'll admit, I think out of everyone on the AW thread I think i'm one of the most pessimistic of them all when it comes to the rotation. But, you said BOLD predictions and this is bold, but if all play to their best abilities (and stay healthy), then maybe this isn't too far off. 

5- David Fletcher wins Gold Glove at 2B. We've known for a few years now that David fletcher plays defense VERY well. Now that he's likely to play 2B all year it's time for his first Gold Glove award. Incredible arm, extremely fast and athletic. Time for the hardware to go with it. 

6- David Fletcher becomes one of the most valuable players on the Angels. With a Gold Glove and MVP consideration Mr. 5' 9" David Fletcher, Aside from Trout, will become one of the most valuable players on the Angels' roster. He will hit leadoff this year, bat around .295, WAR of around 5-6 and win a Gold Glove. This is the year of David Fletcher. 

7- Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh are in the majors by end of June. It's only a matter of time. The Angels added Lagares, Jay and Fowler to help give time for Marsh and Adell to develop and be ready at a slower pace, but let's be real. At some point those two are going to tear it up in AAA. I agree on the lines of what @Second Base mentions about Upton. It will only be a few months in for him to continue his decline and eventually he will be given no other option but to go. They will call up Jay to help out but none are doing well. The Angels see Marsh and Adell tearing AAA up and call them up to permanently stay.

8- The farm helps deepen the Angels for the final stretch of the season. Marsh, Adell, Detmers, Rodriguez, Rivera, and Naughton will produce success for the Angels in some form. On the field, starting or out of the bullpen to help the Angels get to the playoffs and finish with a solid winning record. 

9- Angels finish with 90 wins or more. We know the Angels will heavily rely on the offense.... Again, but if #1-4 go to plan then a 90+ win season would actually be very possible. BOLD prediction Angels finish at 91-71. First place. *GASP*

10- Angels get eliminated in first round of playoffs BUT.......... They go into the offseason with a much better outlook for 2022 and payroll flexibility. Minasian found gold in 2021 while taking a huge (one year) risk. Pujols will be off the books, Upton (likely gone) will be off the books and the Angels have a completely reset payroll. The Angels have the first offseason in nearly 10 years to start from scratch.


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16 hours ago, Second Base said:

. Jose Iglesias is going to accomplish something quite rare. In fact, it's only happened four times in the last forty years. Ready for it? He's going to win the league batting title, with an OBP under .375!

this is an oddly random yet specific prediction.

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Here are three offensive predictions:

Upton has an OPS over .825

Walsh establishes himself as an above average first basemen in the mold of Mark Trumbo

Right field is a huge issue, we see some acceptable production from Fowler against righties until an injury leaves us with a struggling Taylor Ward and a not ready Brandon Marsh performing around replacement level

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