Bold prediction time. Let the bashing begin.
1. Miguel Cabrera will not be one of the top two fantasy players. A couple of thoughts here. He is just an old, heavy player with a recent injury history. I don’t think he will have enough production to over come time lost to a possible disable list trip. Even though he is at 1B this season, he is still susceptible to injuries. Also, a full season from Carlos Gonzalez or Ryan Braun could be enough to take one of the top two spots.
2. Billy Hamilton will have more stolen bases than base hits. I don’t think his hit tool is good enough to make it at the major league level. While he has done decent in spring training, it is only spring training. He was sent back from Puerto Rico because he could not hit. I think he will have fantasy value, but not at all from his bat.
DL day history
Anna has a good chance to get some playing time.
Also, the three have similar ZIPS projections so the production drop off when Anna is in the game won’t be much.
4. Victor Martinez will be a top three catcher at the end of the season. Martinez will likely catch in some early inter-league games Detroit has on their schedule. Detroit plays five games at NL teams in early April and few more in July. It will be nice if he could get behind the plate for a game here and there. Additionally, my faith in Alex Avila being a decent full time catcher is evaporating.
Martinez should have no problems producing. He ended the 2013 season healthy and hit .367/.418/.519 from July 1st on. Some regression should be expected because of his .382 BABIP, but he was a beast once healthy. He will be mainly hitting DH in a decent lineup, so he will get plenty of Run and RBI opportunities.
5. R.A. Dickey will be a top five pitcher in AL-only leagues. Once he was able to throw his hard knuckle ball over the last 11 games of the 2013 season, he put up a 3.35 era, 1.13 WHIP and 7.6 K/9. Also, I like to root for the old guys.
2014 Projections (Steamer)
The projections are fairly close. Additionally, Tanaka is going to pitch half his games in a home run hitter’s paradise (home run stadium factor: 110) with most of his games against the loaded AL East. Santana on the other hand will pitch in great pitcher’s park in the weak NL East (home run park factor of 97).
7. Carlos Quentin will play in a career best 132 games in 2014. Here are the number of games he has played over the past 4 seasons.
Season: Games played, DL days.
He has to buck the tend at some point ….. right?
8. All three of Jose Fernandez (33), Michael Wacha (92), Gerrit Cole (91) will under-perform their average draft position. I just think this group is getting too much helium. Regression, inning limits, injuries, and the league adjusting to them will hamper their production.
9. Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Troy Tulowitzki, and Carlos Gonzalez will spend less than 50 days combined on the DL. No thought process here. I am going off my gut with this one. Since I have been living off a steady diet of burritos and beer the last few days, it is probably not one of my better gut feelings.
10. One RotoGraphs writer will get half of their BOLD predictions correct. Someone will breakout and have a career year.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.