We have begun the 2015 Major League Baseball season. It is too early to fully analyze what has happened, so here are five potential surprising story lines for 2015.
1 The Minnesota Twins trade Joe Mauer - On March 21, 2010, the Twins signed Joe Mauer to an eight year, 184 million dollar contract. The Twins thought they were getting a perennial MVP candidate. Instead, they have gotten a player of whom injuries have forced him to first base, a player who hits for contact, a player provides no power and RBI potential. We know that if Twins general manager Terry Ryan can find a taker for Joe Mauer's ridiculous contract, he will gladly take it and run. Don't be surprised if he finally finds that in 2015.
2. Cole Hamels gets traded to the Tigers - The Cole Hamels trade saga has been one of the most entertaining player transaction story lines ever. The Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox are all involved in this saga. This is like three great poker players in a stare down for the ages across the table from each other. Look for a dark horse team to come in late at the trade deadline and grab Hamels while the Cubs and Red Sox refuse to budge. 2015 is the Detroit Tigers last chance, and don't be surprised if they push the rest of their chips into the table for Hamels.
3. The Houston Astros win 80 games - The Houston Astros rebuilding project has been well publicized and in fact, there have been several feature articles written on it, including myself. The Astros are a young team on the rise, and it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Don't be stunned if the Astros make a huge jump in 2015.
4. Wily Peralta wins the Cy Young - I have been the conductor of the Wily Peralta train since before most Brewers fans knew who he was. Peralta has an ace's arm, and took a big step forward in 2014. Don't be stunned if Peralta takes another big jump, and wins the Cy Young.
5. The Miami Marlins win the World Series - Right now, the Washington Nationals are the heavy favorites to win the National League East, and many are predicting them to win the World Series. Don't be surprised if this young, hungry, and super talented Marlins squad stuns the world, wins the National League East, and then wins the World Series.