It’s time to overly exaggerate some of my pre-season hunches and create some BOLD predictions.
Note: For the rankings, I will use our auction calculator. For ADP, I’m using the NFBC ADP from 12 Main Event leagues which drafted from March 22nd to March 25th.
1. Jung Ho Kang will be a top-10 starting third baseman by season’s end.
He is being drafted as the 26th third baseman off the board this past weekend. This prediction was easy. In 2015, he was the 15th overall third baseman in 467 PA. Why not the same production in 600 PA?
I’m not buying into the much of the 2nd half changes and lucky ERA numbers from this group. They are good but not as good as their ADP and I had them ranked as such.
According to ADP, Vlad is close to the threshold going 51st overall but Senzel isn’t close at 103rd. I believe both will be up in a couple of weeks and bat 600 times. If I push out their projections to 600 PA, I have them valued as top-40 hitters. I’m sure I could be wrong but with their draft day discounts, I gladly roster them.
4. Kris Bryant will not be a top-50 hitter.
As much as I like Vlad, I’m fading Kris Bryant hard. I just don’t see much difference between his production and that of Jose Abreau, Jesus Aguilar, and Travis Shaw. Bryant continues to disappoint (see Carlos Correa.
5. Ross Stripling will be the Dodgers most valuable starter.
Now that Stripling has a rotation spot, I am thinking he won’t let go of it. The only pitcher I think will provide more value is Walker Buehler and I’m fading him harder than everyone else.
As for Stripling, I think he may be the most talented of the group now and Dodgers are going to need him starting.
Closers are such a crap shoot and rarely do they stay talented or healthy enough to stay at the top.
7. Jose Altuve will be the top fantasy hitter.
He was having a near MVP season last year hitting .332/.394/.470 with nine homers and 14 stolen bases. Then he injured his knee and was never the same.
8. Shohei Ohtani will not steal a base.
I’m 100% the Angels will not have him try to steal and potentially re-injure his rehabbing arm. He barely attempted steals while pitching last season until he knew he needed elbow surgery (two attempts in the first four months). No stolen base is worth setting back his pitching rehab.
9. Whit Merrifield will lead the American League in steals.
Even though he led the lead in steals the past two seasons, he is projected to be 6th overall and 3rd on this own team. Simply Merrifield gets on base at an above-.300 clip and the other stolen base specialists don’t. I am worried that my choice for top fantasy hitter will pass him.
10. Danny Jansen will be a top-two catcher.
I like the 23-year-old’s chances to provide some much-needed talent to the barren catcher landscape. He can hit, hit for power, and even run a little. The previous description only applies to one other major league catcher. That’s the reason he’s not number one.
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.