Just before this season started, I posted these five bold predictions for the 2021 season.
As you can see, not one of them has happened (and none of them probably will happen).
Still, that’s not going to stop me from making these bold predictions for the rest of the year. In October, you can tell me how wrong I was!
1) The Cubs will go on a long winning streak out of the break and get back in contention
This isn’t as crazy as you might think. Six of the Cubs’ first 10 games out of the break are against the awful Diamondbacks and the other four are against the Cardinals. The Cubs are 6-2 against St. Louis so far this year.
The Brewers are playing the Reds this weekend. If the Reds sweep that series and the Cubs sweep the D-backs, Cincinnati will be one game out of first place and the Cubs will trail by five. I could easily see the Cubs going 8-2 or even 9-1 in these 10 games and possibly get closer to first place with only a few days to go before the trade deadline.
Would you consider that “contention”? I would.
2) The only other major Cubs player who will be traded will be Craig Kimbrel
The Cubs made their first trade of the deadline season Thursday, shipping Joc Pederson to Atlanta. But I’m going to say any other trades will be minor, except for Kimbrel.
The three “core” free agents, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, are all playing either somewhat below or way below their career norms. I just don’t think anyone’s going to give the Cubs what they would want in exchange for those three, given that they are all short-term rentals.
Kimbrel is a rental, too, but he’s having a magnificent season and there are teams that might overpay to have a lockdown closer.
On the other hand, if the Cubs do somehow get back into contention, maybe they don’t trade Kimbrel at all.
3) Kyle Hendricks will have a monster second half and become a 20-game winner
Not that individual pitcher wins mean that much anymore, but Kyle sits at 11 wins heading into the second half. There are 72 games remaining, which means he’s likely to have 14 more starts. Pitching the way he has, I can easily see him winning 20. It’s still a milestone to be celebrated. Just two Cubs have won 20+ games since 1992 — Jon Lieber (20 in 2001) and Jake Arrieta (22 in 2015).
4) Patrick Wisdom will wind up with 27 home runs, setting a Cubs rookie record
Wisdom currently leads all rookies with 12 home runs. The Cubs’ rookie home run record was 25 for many years, set by Billy Williams in 1961 and tied by Geovany Soto in 2008. The record was broken by Kris Bryant in 2015, when he hit 26. All three of those men won the NL Rookie of the Year award. If Wisdom plays enough and hits that many homers, he could be in the mix for this year’s RoY.
5) Jake Arrieta is 100 percent healthy in the second half and revives his career
Prediction for Jake’s possible 14 starts: 80 innings, 2.57 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, .214 opponents BA. And if you think those numbers are oddly specific, there’s a reason I chose them: Jake put up those exact numbers in his first five starts of 2021.
At 10 a.m. CT, Ashley MacLennan will have a FanPost Friday call for you to post your own bold predictions for the second half.
How many of Al’s second-half bold predictions will come true?
This poll is closed