Seven bold predictions for the National League West in 2018

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 29: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on September 29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 29: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on September 29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Note: This prediction was written before Madison Bumgarner’s injury that will cost him the start of the season. While it’s not impossible for this prediction to come true, it’s highly improbable.

Let’s stay with the Giants for my next bold prediction. After an injury-shortened season in 2017, I believe Madison Bumgarner will finish higher in the Cy Young balloting than Clayton Kershaw or any other pitcher in the division.

Two years ago, Bumgarner finished fourth in Cy Young balloting after going 15-9 with a 2.74 ERA. That tied for the highest he has ever placed in Cy Young voting. This season, the 28-year-old southpaw returns to the mound with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.

Last season was derailed by a motor bike accident in Colorado in April. That injury seemed to send the Giants into a freefall that lasted all season.

This year, however, as we discussed, San Francisco is improved at the plate and will have Bumgarner leading the way on the mound. If he returns to 2016 form and the Giants offense performs as it is capabale of doing, Bumgarner could be line for more than his career-high of 18 wins in season.

Will San Francisco be good enough to make the postseason? No. However, Bumgarner will be good enough on the mound (and also at the plate) to show Cy Young voters he is back and worthy of their votes.

He won’t win but he will finish higher than Kershaw. Let’s say they finish two and three behind Washington’s Max Scherzer.

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