The World Series winner will be a team you don’t expect

One quick thing before we get to the percentage guess: The public ballot element of next years vote probably will impact him more than any other first-ballot star. Does Chipper deserve to join the 98 percent club, a group that has just six members Ken Griffey, Jr., Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Ty Cobb and George Brett? No, because nobody thinks he is one of the seven greatest players ever, but will voters want to make a very public stand by not voting for him just for the sake of not voting for a first-year guy?

The World Series winner will be a team you don’t expect. We think we know the teams that will seriously compete for a title, but sometimes baseball has other plans. This will be one of those years. I’m not saying teams such as the Padres, Rockies or Rays will suddenly dominate the game, only that the World Series winner won’t be one of the usual suspects. Sorry, Boston and New York.

The NL MVP winner will be someone you are not thinking of. Just like the World Series race, the MVP race will end with a surprising (at the moment) face holding the award. We always think we know roughly how things will play out, but we’re often wrong. Most of the usual candidates will still have great seasons in 2017, but someone else is going to emerge with a stellar performance to take the honor. Maybe someone such as, I don’t know, Freddie Freeman (6.5 WAR in 2016).

The proposal to get rid of the four-pitch intentional walk will win approval, but have little effect. This idea has plenty of supporters and plenty of detractors. Not to mention plenty of people who are indifferent. But even its most ardent supporters acknowledge that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk won’t speed up or shorten games enough to make a real difference, but MLB will give it a shot anyway. (

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