Hyun Jin Ryu finishes as the most valuable starting pitcher on the Dodgers by years end. I think Grienke is overrated and I could see Kershaw having another setback. And I don’t see Dan Haren or Josh Becket being to much of a threat here. Jin Ryu is a solid pitcher hidden by the other players on his team. Sort of like how it was when Kuroda pitched for the Dodgers, and I’m not just saying that because they’re both Asian.
Nolan Arenado finishes as a top 5 3B. I think the rest of the 3B are surprisingly weak this year. He hits in Colorado and in a loaded line up when it’s healthy. His defense is spectacular so he’s not losing the gig anytime soon. His walk rate has never been spectacular, but his K rate has never eclipsed 15% so his batting batting average shouldn’t be terrible. And he hits in Colorado, did I mention that? Because that’s a huge plus.
Brandon Belt finishes as a top 50 player. Maybe his changes are legit, Barry Bonds has helped him with his swing. He seems to have made improvements and already seems locked in for 25 HRs. Management seems to have stopped yanking his tail and he can finally play like himself. The Giants have won the World Series on the past even years, so I think the Giants will be better than last year. Belt was much better after the All-Star break last year and I think he’s shown that he’s carried that over into this year. Sure why not.
Carlos Gomez is an unanimous top 5 pick next year. To be honest, I didn’t believe in this guy in the preseason, and I still don’t really believe him now. But if he can get another 20/40 season, which he’s pretty much done in the past 2 years, then he’s a top 5 pick. And he looks like he’ll be able to do that again this year. I may be annoyed that he never broke out with the Mets or the Twins, 2 of my favorite teams, and I’m not in love with his walk rate, but batting atop that seeming revamped Brewers offense, Gomez should see plenty of runs as well. 20/40 is well within his reach and I think people will finally acknowledge his skills.
Trevor Rosenthal will be the best closer in baseball. This doesn’t feel bold enough. How about 35+ HRs for Matt Adams? He’s so big, so he should have the power to hit that many HRs, but is he a good enough hitter? He has full playing time now and the Cardinals have a knack for bringing out the best of their players. Also I think Matt Carpenter finishes outside the top 15 2B. Does that look like the face of an All Star?! A little bit yeah…a special All Star. Still I can’t get behind Martin Prado like numbers as elite.
Desmond Jennings gives us a 20/30 year. He has the speed to get there and I could see him developing more power. Last year Jennings increased his walks while shaving off a few of his Ks, so at least his approach is heading in the right direction. This year he has a 14:9 K:BB ratio, which is an improvement if he can continue this. If he gets on base more, he’ll be a much more productive player. He seems to always be battling injuries, so if he’s healthy, getting 20 HRs isn’t outrageous. Plus in 2012 he had 31 SBs to 2 CS. If things land right for him 20/30 could be bench mark instead of a reach.
Miguel Cabrera doesn’t finish as a top 50 player. Blasphemy! He’s playing bad now, last September he looked mortal because of an injury, maybe he’s still suffering from one. Am I saying sell Miguel Cabrera at a discount? NO. But I wouldn’t be actively trying to buy him low either.
Mark Trumbo hits over 50 HRs. Well if you’re looking for the next Chris Davis, Trumbo sort of fits the profile. Trumbo always had the power capable of hitting 30 HRs, now he’s playing in a hitters park and new management could be good for him. If he can cut down the Ks and increase the BBs, the sky’s the limit for this guy, like most of the balls hit by Trumbo.
George Springer hits 20 HRs and 35 SBs. He had video game numbers in the minors last year and the Astros are willing to let their players run wild. He strikes out a bunch, but he still managed around a 15% walk rate, which is more than respectable. He also gets the benefit of batting high in the order because the rest of the Astros hitters are minor league level as well. But he’s also surrounded by minor league level talent as well.
Okay man! Because I can only really believe in so many players, so these are much more reasonable predictions.
Chris Tillman finishes the year with an ERA under 3.50 and over 185Ks…but won’t be drafted in the top 150 next year. It’s not that bold because he almost did that last year, he had a 3.71 ERA and 175 Ks in 206 innings. But he was ranked 267 overall on Yahoo! before the year started. So I’m saying he makes some improvements this year and pitches really well overall again, but because he pitches in the AL East no one wants him. Also JJ Hardy finishes above 20 HRs, again…and no one cares. Okay man! That sounds really reasonable. Why doesn’t anyone like these players?!
Dustin Pedroia finishes outside the top 15 2B. I really don’t want this one to happen, but I’m scared about the recent news about the injury in his wrist. This guy plays through everything, last year he had a finger injury and still managed to play the entire year, although his power suffered, only 9 HRs. I think a DL stint is possible, I think the Red Sox won’t be in the playoff race in the second half this year and the Sox tell Pedroia to rest up. I don’t think Pedroia plays the whole year.
It was really frustrating owning Billy Butler last year because as a team the Royals were good last year, which hasn’t happened in a long time. Now Country Breakfast is turing 27 and people are starting to lose faith in him. Don’t. The Royals have always been notoriously slow starters. Billy Butler has actually improved his walk rate by 3% and cut his K rate by 1%. Not huge improvements, but it’s not like he fell off a cliff last year. His ISO was a career low as well, I think the power numbers will come back this year, despite his slow start. The Royals will be competitive again this year and I think Butler will be closer to his 2012 numbers than his 2013 numbers. I think a 70/21/90/0/.300/.370 is a very real possibility, which is pretty boring yeah, but helpful, and certainly not droppable. Okay man way to go out on a limb here, Excuse me while I go get my breakfast on.
Kyle Seager finished the past 2 years with at least 20 HRs and this year he has…none. Don’t abandon the ship though. 1st off this Seattle offense is looking much better than last year, signing Cano certainly helps. 2nd off Seager’s BABIP and ISO are .100 points lower than his career averages. So he’s been a little bit unlucky. His K rate has been up, but so has his walk rate. So it’s not like he’s getting overmatched at the plate. Even with his slow start he’s still batting in the heart of the order, the Mariners still believe in him and so should you guys. Kyle is just 26 years old, he’ll bounce back.
Francisco Liriano is a top 20 SP. He finished in the top 25 last year and none of his numbers looked flunky. It’s just that he’s Francisco Liriano. I understand people have been burned by this man, trust me I know that feeling, but I think the coaches on the Pirates have made a huge difference in his delivery, throw more sliders!, and the Pirate defensive shifts really help a pitcher like Liriano. Moving to the NL after pitching his career in the AL can do wonders for any pitcher, see Ervin Santana so far or most pitchers. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if Ervin Santana finished in the top 25 SP this year. The NL does wonders for pitchers. Liriano is going to be good, again!
Corey Kluber finishes the year as Cleveland’s best pitcher. Salazar just doesn’t look that strong, good thing I have him in most of my leagues!, and the Kluber hype has been overshadowed by Salazar’s hype and Masterson’s hype…actually there wasn’t any hype for Masterson, but he has improved his K rate. Kluber broke out last year and he’s always been stingy with his BBs, something I’m a sucker for. Maybe the Indians don’t make the playoffs like last year, but I think Kluber has a lot less risk than his teammates and is just as talented. Kluber should be owned in all competitive leagues.
Brian Dozier is starting off really hot these 1st couple weeks, can’t really say season yet, but I think this guy can be legit. I think the power is a little bit of an illusion here though. His ISO is about .090 points higher than it was last year, which was also about .090 points higher than it was the previous year as well. His HR/FB ratio is at 20.8%, which is more than double what he did in previous years and higher than what Jay Bruce has ever managed in his career. Dozier is turing 27 this May, I think he’s around a 20 HR talent. He hasn’t been caught stealing once so far, which will change, but the increased rate is encouraging. Being fast is of course important to steal bases, but there’s a lot more to it than speed. If Dozier has the green light to steal then he could steal 20+ bases. His BABIP this year is pretty low, I know Dozier’s AVG hasn’t exactly been his strong suit, but it should be higher than .210. He’s walking a lot more, he sports a 13:15 K:BB ratio, so that’s another encouraging improvement. He crushed LHP’s last year with a slash line of .328/.408/.570 in 128 at bats. Unfortunately there are a ton more RHPs in the league than lefties, but if he can figure out RHPs just a little bit better then he’s pretty much Ian Kinsler. The Twins offense is actually producing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dozier finish as a top 5 2B.
The Cubs will never have a good closer! Okay man! Sorry Cubs…
Don’t give up on Homer Bailey. Hitters have a .429 BABIP against him and a 60% FB/HR rate. Which is just ridiculous and can’t continue. I wasn’t a fan of Bailey going into the season, I don’t like paying full price on a player’s career season, but you can get Bailey at a discount now. A pretty good discount depending on what league you’re in. Also I want no part of Mat Latos. Maybe you can get something with that name value, like Homer Bailey!, but I’m glad I don’t have Latos anywhere.
I feel like I’ve talked about Prince Fielder a lot on this site…well I guess it couldn’t hurt to talk about him again! Yay Prince. After reading this article from the always entertaining Rany Jazayerli, I started to lose faith in Fielder. I’ll admit it, I may have underestimated Dave Dombrowski’s trade ability. I mean look at what’s going on with Doug Fister! But then I thought about it some more and realized it’s a little . Dave Dombrowski makes some very good trades, maybe I just underestimated Ian Kinsler outside of Arlington coming into the season, but that doesn’t mean that Prince Fielder will suddenly become a bad player. Prince is switching divisions, something at always comes with some adjustment period, but it’s not as drastic as switching leagues, so the adjustment period shouldn’t be that drastic. He’s batting in a much better hitters park, his BABIP and ISO are very low right now and are sure to improve. He’s actually walking at a higher rate and actually walking more than he’s striking out. Maybe him and Cabrera just miss each other and are in a love sick funk, but I’m all in on Fielder this season. I’m betting against Dave against my own peril.