Jeff Zimmerman’s 2018 Bold Predictions

After an crushing last season’s BOLD predictions, it’s time to regress with some outlandish claims focusing on their average draft position (ADP).

#1 Dinelson Lamet will end the season as a top-30 pitcher.

Lamet has two factors pointing him having a great 2018 season. First, he posted a 10.9 K/9 in 114 major league innings. Additionally, he made 29 starts between Triple-A and the majors. If he has just a little bit of batted ball luck (and hopefully develop a third pitch), his production will soar.

#2 Gregory Bird will outproduce Aaron Judge.

I’m both high on Bird and low on Judge. With Bird, he’s finally healthy and will join Judge in the middle of the Yankees lineup. I don’t believe in Judge’s high BABIP and batting average. I think both will sink quite a bit dragging down both is RBI and Runs totals.

#3 Adrian Beltre will outperform his ADP (158) and be a top-75 player.

I have no idea how Beltre is going in the so late in drafts. While dealing with injuries last season, he hit 17 HR with a .312 AVG in 389 PA. I’d rather have Beltre over Shaw who is going around pick 90. I’ll wait four to five rounds and own Beltre.

#4 Luis Severino will outproduce all but one of the top-4 starters.

I’m making this prediction based on three of top four being over 30-years-old (Kluber, Kershaw, Scherzer). The same three spent time on the DL last season. I’ll hedge my bets on the productive 24-year-old staying healthy last season over those three.

#5 Luis Perdomo will out produce both Dallas Keuchel and Marcus Stroman.

I started this prediction with him outperforming just one of them but with injury concerns surrounding the pair, I went BOLD. Perdomo has an elite groundball rate 62% which was third in the league (min 100 IP) behind Keuchel (67%) and Stroman (62%). Normally, high groundball pitchers have an ERA lower than their FIP as they get weaker groundballs and turn more double plays. Last season Keuchel had a 2.90 ERA with a 3.27 FIP and Stroman had a 3.09 ERA and 3.90 FIP. Perdomo’s ERA was at 4.67 while his FIP was at 4.40 because the Padres had a horrible infield defense. Last season, it was -30 runs below average while this season, it’s projected to be league average. I expect Perdomo to take a major step forward this season.

#6 Masahiro Tanaka will outperform Shohei Ohtani.

Like with Judge and Bird, I’m just higher on Tanaka (98 NFBC ADP) than Ohtani (80 ADP). I hoped Ohtani would have looked better this spring. I think the talent exists but I have my doubts he puts it together this season. Tanaka’s had little luck last season especially giving up the long ball (1.8 HR/9). I expect the Yankees to give him plenty of run support to help boost the Wins.

#7 Yulieski Gurriel will outproduce Miguel Cabrera.

I’ve watched a ton of Cabrera (96 ADP) at-bats this spring and he has no power behind any of his batted balls. He’s making great contract though. I think pitchers will just attack him in the zone dropping his walks and helping his batting average. Gurriel is just getting no love (237 ADP) with a decent batting average and some power. I see them producing the same, so to go BOLD, I’m bumping up Gurriel

#8 Josh Bell and Xander Bogaerts will outperform their ADP by 20 spots.

I’m going to be a lazy and use a recent tweet of mine to help explain my decision.

Both have historically put the ball on the ground 50% of the time. It would be great to see that number drop to around 40%. For later reference, Bogaerts’s ADP is at 83 and Bell’s is at 186.

#9 Jason Kipnis will outperform Ronald Acuna.

Acuna is going way too high in drafts with a 110 ADP. The one aspect of Acuna’s profile I don’t like is that he never struggled during his ascension through the minors last season. I decided to double his ADP and look for a hitter I’d rather roster instead and Kipnis (243 ADP) gets the call. After struggling with injuries last season, he looks healthy and could do better than his 15 HR/10 SB projection.

#10 Ryan Braun will outproduce Corey Seager.

Here are the projections for the pair

  • Braun: 77/25/85/13/.281
  • Seager: 89/24/87/4/.291

While Braun is likely to score fewer runs and have a lower batting average, his extra nine steals easily make up for it. Since there is no position scarcity this season, Braun looks like a steal with a 117 ADP while Seager’s 41 ADP is way too rich.

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 four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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5 years ago

Definitely agree on #10 about Seager. He’s obviously a great player and will be for the rest of his career, but as far as fantasy goes he is very underwhelming. If he sold out for a bit more power I think he would be much more enticing.