2017 Bold Hitter League Leaders – A Review

Since I seemingly enjoy embarrassing myself at the end of the season, I go one step further from just the regular bold predictions. I also boldly predict the league leaders in each of the five fantasy hitting and pitching categories! Here are my picks and initial thought process. It’s a miracle if I even get one of these correct. Let’s see how I did.

American League

Batting AverageManny Machado

I keep choosing him thanks to his strong strikeout rate and massive power, with the hopes he could finally cure his pop-up problem and enjoy some good batted ball fortune for a change. Not this season! He actually posted a career low .265 BABIP that led to a weak .259 average. Not only did he fail to correct his pop-up issues, but he also forgot how to hit line drives. Since he finished strong, he probably won’t come at much of a discount next year.

0 for 1

Home RunsGregory Bird

LOL, my injury curse with the boldies continues! There is reason for optimism, however. After finally returning from injury, he posted a 24.2% HR/FB rate with eight homers over 87 at-bats. He even cut his strikeout rate down to just 20.4%. I’m a buyer again next year.

0 for 2

RBIKendrys Morales

Despite hitting 28 homers and batting fourth or fifth all season, Morales finished with just 85 RBI. Much of that was thanks to Jose Bautista’s worst OBP of his career.

0 for 3

RunsCarlos Santana

It’s pretty amazing that Santana posted his career high runs scored total of just 90, despite the fact he’s a power hitter most often hitting near the top of the lineup, and getting on base 36% of the time. Obviously speed plays a role, but he’s no turtle out there, even given his stout stature.

0 for 4

Stolen BasesDelino DeShields

He certainly rebounded off his horrid 2016, but still didn’t accumulate as many plate appearances as we may have expected given the talk during spring training. Yet, his 29 steals still tied for fourth most in the AL, just five fewer than the leader. A win in spirit.

0 for 5

National League

Batting AverageNolan Arenado

Finally Arenado breaks the .300 barrier! He was the National League version of Machado, with a strong strikeout rate and big power, but a batted ball profile that doesn’t lend itself to a high BABIP. But unlike Machado, Arenado has Coors Field helping him out. Arenado’s .309 average was good for ninth among qualified NL hitters, which makes for a second straight “spirit win”.

0 for 6

Home RunsRyan Schimpf

I went all out on my Schimpf predictions, also boldly predicting he would outhomer Bryce Haper (oops). After his demotion to Triple-A, he continued his extreme approach to hitting, doing the whole walk or strikeout or fly ball or pop-up or home run thing. He’s unlikely to receive another opportunity as a starter.

0 for 7

RBIMaikel Franco

Franco was essentially the same hitter as last year with only one difference — a BABIP collapse to just .234. Without a big power spike, that .230 average was too small to knock in a whole bunch of runs. And his weak hitting had the side effect of getting him dropped in the order, losing him plate appearances and moving him out of a prime RBI spot. I remain optimistic because of the good strikeout rate with that power, but he’s got work to do on that batted ball profile to get his BABIP straightened out.

0 for 8

RunsKyle Schwarber

Despite facing a surprising demotion to the minors for a couple of weeks, Schwarber still finished with nearly 500 plate appearances. But of course, that’s far too low to be have any shot at leading the league in runs scored. The power was there, as was the walk rate, but a .244 BABIP meant he hit just .211, leaving his OBP at a lowly .315. Unless you’re a speedster, that’s not high enough to climb up the runs scored leaderboard. He finished with 67 though, which extrapolated to 600 plate appearances is 83. A respectable enough number, but more should have been expected.

0 for 9

Stolen BasesManuel Margot

The Padres didn’t run like crazy this year, and Margot finished with just 17 steals. Of course, this was possibly the most unlikely prediction to come to fruition given that Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon are still in the league.

0 for 10





Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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JohnnyRockport
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JohnnyRockport

Manny Machado? Really? What does Jose Altuve have to do to gain people’s trust?

Blue Shoes
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Blue Shoes

Predicting a leader that has already been in the top ten in the majors in batting average for each of the past three seasons and has previously been first overall isn’t exactly a bold prediction.

MadPooper
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MadPooper

It’s literally, exactly, not a bold prediction.

JohnnyRockport
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JohnnyRockport

Ah! Got it now. Thanks.