>We talked rather extensively last night about our predictions for the 2011 season, in terms of final standings, postseason awards, that sort of thing. Something I did last year, though (and it actually came out rather well), was rattle off a bunch of random things (eleven of them) I thought would happen and put them in a post to check back on in six months or so. So here are my 11 random things for ’11:
1. John Lackey will have a better season than Clay Buchholz.
2. This will be the year Justin Upton breaks out — 35 homers, 25 steals, something like 6.5 WAR.
3. Joe Mauer will hit more than 16 home runs, but fewer than 23.
4. The Yankees will have traded for or otherwise acquired another veteran starting pitcher by June 10.
5. Joba Chamberlain will post a sub-3.00 ERA.
6. Adrian Beltre will have a better season than Alex Rodriguez.
7. As in 2010, one pitcher from each league will win 20 games or more. This time, both will win the Cy Young Award.
8. Adam Dunn will fall short of the 50 homers some are predicting, but will hit 41 or more for the first time since 2004, leading the AL.
9. The following players will no longer be regular starters for their contending teams by the end of this season: Brewers shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt; Twins shortstop Alexi Casilla and/or third baseman Danny Valencia; Yankees catcher Russell Martin; Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia; and (gulp) Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
10. Max Scherzer will lead the majors in strikeouts.
11. Hate to say it (even though he’s on both of my fantasy teams), but: Derek Jeter will rebound nicely from his worst career season, batting over .290 with more than 15 home runs and a WAR close to 4.
Back to enjoying opening day…