Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been releasing our bold predictions, and I noticed some patterns emerging. Before I wrote mine, I made a number of edits to my list because I didn’t want to cover the same player as my fellow Rotographs writers, unless I was going to be more bold than they were.
To facilitate that, I was tracking the other writers’ predictions. Because of that, I now have a list of the players where we overlapped – the 30 players who were the focal point of more than one bold prediction.
This isn’t scientific analysis by any means, but it will give you an interesting list – players that multiple writers are all in on and a couple players with some serious disagreement.
Eight players were mentioned by three writers, and all of them received nothing but rave reviews. Victor Martinez was a favorite to bounce back, featuring a boldly predicted stat line of a .300+ AVG, 25+ HR and 90+ RBI, enough to make him an awfully valuable bat, even if he is util only in some formats. Hunter Strickland got three nods, noting him as at least having a shot at closing, up to being a top 7 NL closer with 20+ Saves.
The other six who got three nods are young players we see destined to break out. Miguel Sano was pegged as a 40+ HR hitter, with top 30 overall value, and a top 5 AL MVP finish. Maikel Franco is going to be right behind – he was mentioned as a potential #1 or #2 3B, and cracking 30 HR with solid stats across the board.
Two more players were picked up for their power potential – Marcell Ozuna, after a disastrous 2015, was identified as a potential top 30 OF with 30+ HR; Domingo Santana, with a shot at his first full season, got an even bolder ceiling (top 15 OF) with a slightly more well-rounded stat line – 25+ HR, leading the Brewers in that stat, and 10 SB.
The last two three-time predictees are seen as more well-rounded breakouts. Marcus Semien and Aaron Hicks both got a 20/20 prediction, with Semien being pegged for top 150 overall value, Hicks for top 24 OF value (and Hicks got a call out as Carlos Gomez 2.0, as well).
Among the 22 players who were featured by two writers, four caused disagreement – but we’ll save them for last. The 18 we agreed on fall can be divided into two groups: players projected to be fantasy stars and players projected to do more than expected, but maybe not be stars just yet.
The non-stars are:
- Nomar Mazara – Top rookie and top Rangers OF. Outpacing Choo (and fellow rookies Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson) would be impressive for the youngster. Next year this might not seem bold.
- John Jaso – Career high PA and a solid option as a OF2 in ottoneu leagues.
- Chris Bassitt – Top A’s SP with ERA and WHIP at or better than 3.50/1.20.
- Chris Heston – Matches 2015 first half and becomes a fixture in all leagues.
The guys who could become stars are:
- Raisel Iglesias – Top 30 SP, Top 5 in NL Cy Young voting.
- Joc Pederson – Top 3 CF by WAR, 30/25 season. 30/25 would make him an absolute fantasy monster.
- Jonathan Schoop – 30+ HR, top 10 2B. If he hits the first, he’ll easily hit the second.
- Justin Upton – Leads AL in R and posts 200+ R+RBI. Hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez (especially the Vic predicted above!) and J.D. Martinez will help a ton.
- Trea Turner – Leads Nationals with 25+ SB. Maybe 25+ SB without the rest of the line may not make him a star, but a starting SS with that much speed is awfully valuable.
- Jose Berrios – Top 30 SP, outearning Steven Matz. Another guy predicted to crack the top 30 among SP, which will be a hard fight this year.
- Clay Buchholz – he got one prediction that he would crack the top 40. And another that he would crack the top 20.
- Pedro Alvarez – Leads Orioles…and the AL in HR. He has the pop if he gets the PA and makes enough contact.
- Travis Shaw – 400 PA and 20 HR, with another prediction that he leads the team in HR. 20 won’t be enough to get there, but Pablo Sandoval may be playing his way into 500+ PA for Shaw.
- Jimmy Rollins – a top 12 SS outearning Corey Seager. Seager is going well within the top 12, so this would be quite a return to glory for Rollins.
- Kevin Gausman – top 30 SP, with another vote that he “steps up.” Gausman has ace potential, so if he really steps up, this could happen easily.
- Travis d’Arnaud – one person saw him as a top three catcher; another saw him as top two. Either way, we are talking about an elite C.
- Kevin Pillar – Top 20 OF outearning Starling Marte. Pillar looks like he is locked into the top spot in an incredibly potent lineup. If he can get on base, he’ll score plenty of runs. He’ll need to run a lot to hit this though.
- Eugenio Suarez – One prediction (mine, actually) called for a 15/10 season with 70+ R and RBI, which doesn’t seem star level, but I also saw him outearning Francisco Lindor and another prediction called for him to outhomer Correa. If he does both those things, he’ll be a top-tier SS.
The four players with disagreement are way more interesting. Jose Quintana was predicted to both outproduce Chris Sale and to finish with a 4+ ERA. This is what happens with a guy who has succeeded without many Ks and by keeping the ball in the yard, particularly in a tough park for avoiding HR – it is not hard to see the walks ticking up and the HR flying out and the ERA jumping; but you can also see a jump in strike outs that, coupled with what has made him successful in the past, pushes him up a tier.
Jake Arrieta got some disagreement, but it’s not what you think. One prediction called him top 2 – another called him outside the top 15. Even if the downside of this comes true, he could easily be a huge fantasy asset.
Nolan Arenado was called out as a potential #1 overall hitter in fantasy, but was also expected to fall below the #1 3B – in fact, he was predicted to fall FIFTY overall spots lower than Manny Machado. That 50-spots-lower projection is the most pessimistic I have seen anyone on Arenado, but it’s interesting to note that there is at least one fantasy expert who sees a step back for the Colorado 3B.
Last but not least, Dellin Betances got two different predictions that are actually not mutually exclusive. The “negative” prediction was that Betances would be outside the top 12 RP in ottoneu and, for those who know the format and the dominance Betances has brought in that format, this is definitely a big drop. The other prediction was that he would be a top 50 pitcher (not reliever – PITCHER) despite getting zero saves. That would require a top-12 ottoneu perfomance to happen.
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.