Call me crazy… 50 Bold Predictions

Posted: March 24, 2011 in Fantasy Baseball

Most of these won’t come true. But even the ones that don’t, you will see how high or low I am on people. So don’t get on and say “You predicted player X would get 30 Hr and 100 Rbi, and he only got 27 and 90.”

In no particular order…

1. Andrew McCtuchen bats .300, 23 HR, 40 SB- .286 his first two years in the league, from 12-16 HR and from 22-33 steals and he’s only 24.

2. Francisco Liriano wins 20- I saw him in person at the end of last season and he looked like 2006 version. No, if he’s in Minnesota he won’t win 20, more like 16-17, but if he gets traded to the Yankees, which looks possible, then he could win 20 or more.

3. Ian Kinsler plays 145+ and goes 30/30- He’s 28 years old and he’s played over 130 games just once. And that one year he hit 31 HR with 31 SB.

4. Brandon Morrow, Gio Gonzalez, Edinson Volquez combine for 45 wins and 600 strikeouts- If you aren’t the best at math, I think all three are around 15 wins and 200 K.

5. Leo Nunez records 40 saves– He has 56 saves over the last two seasons and is just entering his 27-year-old season. The Marlins are better than they’ve been in a while, and the starters will leave them in a lot of close games.

6. Andre Ethier bats .300 with 30 HR and 100 RBI- He’s a career .291 hitter. He hit .301 in 2008, and had over 30 HR and 100 RBI in 2009.

7. Curtis Granderson hits .280 with 30 HR and 20 SB- Granderson had exactly 30 and 20 in 2009. He hit .302 in 2007 and .280 in 2008.

8. Josh Johnson wins the NL Cy Young- He is healthy right now. When healthy, Johnson is a top-5 starting pitcher.

9. Carlos Santana and Jed Lowrie each hit .280, 20 HR- Can we just accept that I’m man-crushing on Lowrie? Read most of what I’ve written over the last month, I’ve tried to work him into everything. And remember Santana was projected better than Buster Posey not too long ago.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates win 70 games- It’s still a decidedly losing season, but a fan base that watched their Pirates win 57 games, and get humiliated by Stephen Strasburg. With Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata in the everyday lineup, this is a team with some possibility. The pitching is still pretty bad, but James McDonald has potential.

11. Florida Marlins make the playoffs– This team is young enough to believe in itself. They have a legitimate ace. With Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan, Mike Stanton… not to mention a legitimate ace and closer, they will shock some people.

12. Baltimore Orioles finish third in AL East- They have pieces to top .500. Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters could all erupt. And the new pieces only make this team even more scary on offense.

13. Stephen Strasburg throws ZERO innings- Why rush him at this point? They wont be in contention.

14. Adrian Beltre under .270, under 20 HR, under 80 RBI, under 80 runs- Take out 2004 and 2010 and Beltre is a career .263 hitter.

15. Carl Crawford, Ichiro Suzuki both under 40 steals- Suzuki has only been over 40 four times in 10 years, though people talk about him like a 40-steal lock. Crawford, meanwhile, had a constant green light in Tampa, where he had to get himself into scoring position. In Boston, he will be held down because of the thunder behind him.

16. Jose Reyes bats .300, 15 HR, 40 SB- He’s only 27 years old, career .286 hitter, 13 HR and 58 steals per 162 games. These numbers aren’t even that farfetched.

17. Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz combine for less than 400 games, Rangers struggle to reach .500- Combined they have three individual seasons over 130 games in 15 seasons.

18. Craig Kimbrel, Johnny Venters combine for 40 saves, neither tops 25- I think this will be more of a matchups decision that anyone expects. Give Kimbrel an ERA edge, and Venters a WHIP edge. Kimbrel more K/9, for those of you in bigger category leagues.

19. Clay Buchholz, Jaime Garcia over 3.50 ERA, under 15 wins- Look at past starting pitcher breakouts and the following season. Look at Rick Porcello and Jair Jurrjens.

20. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Porcello combine for 50 wins- Verlander is a top Cy Young contender. Scherzer had a 2.47 ERA in 102 innings after the All Star Break last year. Porcello was good when he came back from AAA last season, and should continue to grow. He is still only 23.

21. The Upton Brothers continue to disappoint, BJ .245, 15 HR, 40 SB and Justin .275, 20, 18- BJ will run, but its hard to see his average suddenly jump over .250, and his home stadium hurts power. Justin swings for the fences constantly, which aggravates his shoulder injury and leads to ugly strikeouts. No real reason to expect sudden change, except raw talent.

22. Tampa Bay Rays slip to fourth in the AL East- Boston and New York are the top two teams by far. Then what? I say Baltimore. The Rays lost their former All Star shortstop, former All Star first baseman, and one of the best outfielder/leadoff men in baseball. They also don’t have a reliable pitcher after David Price.

23. San Diego Padres finish worst in baseball- This offense might be worse than the 2010 Seattle Mariners. No reason to resist trading Heath Bell at this point. They could pass 100 losses by the end of August.

24. Tyler Colvin hits .270 with 25 HR- They will find places for him in the lineup. He hit 20 HR last year in just 358 at bats.

25. Will Venable hits .265, 15 HR, 40 SB– Unfortunately, he won’t have any runs or RBI because there is no one to knock in and no one to knock him in.

26. Domonic Brown, Desmond Jennings less than 100 games combined- With the injury to Brown’s hand, Ben Francisco has a chance to earn the spot for the duration of the season. And if Jennings was close to ready, the Rays wouldn’t have signed two old left fielders.

27. One of the Phillies Phab Phour wins less than 12- I would choose Roy Oswalt as the likely ugly duckling, but Hamels is the only one under 21 years old, and they have all been worked pretty hard in the last few seasons. Also, the odds are simply against them all winning that many.

28. Jimmy Rollins under 140 games, under .260, under 12 HR, under 25 SB- He managed 88 ugly games last year. He has aged really fast. Things will continue to go downhill without Jayson Werth, Chase Utley.

29. JJ Hardy hits over 20 HR- He had 26 and 24 in 2007 and 2008. Now he is in the perfect home run park, and in a loaded lineup. There should be RBI opportunities aplenty.

30. Gordon Beckham, Ian Stewart, Brian Matusz breakout- Think .315, 23 HR, 95 RBI for Beckham, .270, 33 HR, 110 RBI for Stewart, 17 wins and 3.20 ERA for Matusz.

31. Prince Fielder wins NL MVP- This is a guy who hit 50 home runs at 23 years old. He hit .299 with 46 and 141 RBI in 2009. He is only 26 years old, and the time has come. With power on a severe decline, the truly beastly will rise to the surface.

32. Ike Davis hits .280, 30 HR- This also isn’t too farfetched. He hit 19 HR as a rookie last year. Citi Field is the only thing that could keep him under 30 HR, but solid average, RBI and runs scored should make up for that.

33. Kila Ka’aihue hits 30 HR- I just traded him away in an 18-team keeper league because, even though he has mammoth power, the Royals have first baseman Eric Hosmer waiting in AAA and with him and Billy Butler, Ka’aihue might be squeezed out of playing time.

34. Zack Greinke repeats his 2008- 13 wins, 3.47 ERA, 1.275 WHIP, 183 K. The Brewers wouldn’t complain, but his fantasy owners might.

35. Albert Pujols is not the top fantasy performer- Who else? Well Fielder, McCutchen, HanRam, Miguel Cabrera… there are others who have that kind of potential.

36. Matt Kemp bats under .270, under 30 HR, under 20 SB- Worst case scenario eh? .249, 28, 19 last year. So not only has he done it, but he JUST did it. And yet he is being drafted as a .300, 30, 30 type guy.

37. St. Louis Cardinals finish third in NL Central- The Brewers lineup is stacked, and their pitching is infinitely better with a top-3 of Yovanni Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. The Reds are coming off a division title, and are still young.

38. Manny Ramirez over .300, 20 HR, 80 RBI– As the full-tim DH, Manny has nothing to do but hit, and he is one of the best pure hitters of this generation.

39. Mark Reynolds under 200 strikeouts, over 30 HR and over 15 SB- He had 44 and 24 in 2009. The power and speed is there. It becomes a matter of putting bat on ball. If he dropped under 200 K, his average might even climb to .250.

40. Pablo Sandoval will hit .300, 30, 100- Last year was a down year, but in 2009, he went .330, 25, 90, so there’s no reason to think his upside isn’t north of these numbers. Now, at 24 years old, he has Buster Posey and Brandon Belt establishing themselves and the three of them could bring in a new offensive era to San Francisco. Imagine a team with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, Brian Wilson, Sandoval, Belt and Posey together for the next decade?

41. Wandy Rodriguez will be in the top-5 in NL Cy Young voting- He was 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA and 1.036 WHIP in 93.2 innings after the All Star Break last season, with 9.7 K/9.

42. Jacoby Ellsbury will have a higher batting average and more steals than Carl Crawford- Ellsbury has 63 steals per 162 games in his career, and a .291 average. Crawford has only 54 steals per 162 and a .296 average. But in his last healthy season, Ellsbury hit .301. Also, batting ninth, Ellsbury will have more opportunities to run than Crawford at the top.

43. Joe Nathan and Jon Rauch will both record 25 saves- The Twins will be cautious will Nathan early on, not wanting to work him three or four times in a week, so he likely won’t reach 30 saves, though his ratios should be solid. Rauch, meanwhile, has a chance while Frank Francisco recovers from injury to establish himself as the team’s closer.

44. Matt Capps, Kenley Jansen, Jordan Walden, Aroldis Chapman, Rafael Soriano, and Daniel Bard will each have 10-15 saves- Capps will fill in when Nathan needs a night off. Jansen is behind the questionable Jonathan Broxton, Walden is behind the putrid Fernando Rodney, Chapman is behind the solid, but aging Francisco Cordero. Soriano will fill in for Mariano Rivera when history’s best closer needs a night off, and Bard is behind the less-than-rock-solid Jonathan Papelbon.

45. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout combine for ZERO major league at bats- Sorry to you who have fantasies about Harper coming up in the summer, at 18 years old, and dominating. Not yet.

46. Franklin Gutierrez will hit .275 with 20 HR and 20 SB– This is a fairly simple explanation why.

47. Carlos Quentin over 25 HR, under 130 games played- With Adam Dunn in town, and Paul Konerko at first base, Quentin will have to play the outfield everyday. That means he will be on the DL at some point.

48. Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee keep tumbling- At 30 years old, Soriano hit 46 home runs and stole 41 bases. At 30 years old, Lee hit .300 with 37 home runs, and 19 steals. Last year, Soriano hit .258 with 24 home runs and five steals. Last year, Lee hit .246 with 24 HR and three steals. Expect the power to go next.

49. Brandon Wood bats .250 and hits 20 HR- This might be the most farfetched prediction of the list… but I’m giving him one more year to show us the guy who hit 43 home runs in 2005, and 101 home runs over the four years after that.

50. At least half of these will not come true.

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