Ah, the day has finally come! Baseball is back! Yesterday was an awesome opening day, and now we get to enjoy our first full day of baseball in what sure feels like forever.
With baseball back, it means the return of Fantasy Baseball. Everyone is past their drafts and are now hoping that they have put together a team that can win it all. One of the keys to winning your Fantasy Baseball league is to predict the unpredictable. I mean, have you ever seen someone win a league without making a lopsided trade or free agent steal? No! The winner usually has a few breakout studs that they acquire after the draft.
However, these steals of acquisitions aren’t the only unpredictable things that can end up determining your fate. Maybe it is a stud player having a bad season, or a good player rising to a new level. All of the unpredictable events can and will determine the outcome of your season. Sure, everyone loves a surprise. The only problem is that it is extremely difficult to predict which players will save or kill your Fantasy season.
That is where the So-Called Fantasy Experts come in. I have gone around asking many of the great members of our staff what their bold predictions are for the upcoming season and have compiled a list of these predictions. I have also added a small bit of commentary from myself for each prediction.
While a lot of these won’t end up coming true, maybe you will stumble upon a prediction in this article that seems reasonable to you and you end up using that information to win your league. Also, this type of article is a fun way to get back into baseball mode. So here we go: here are the 2017 SCFE Staff’s Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions.
Mookie Betts does not finish in the Top 30 overall. I feel like he has some major regression coming his way. As the consensus #2 overall player, he is being over-rated and will let down.
We start with a very bold one. Like Michael said, Betts is the consensus #2 overall player this year. I have been a bit skeptical on Betts myself, as in places where he has been available for me in both mock drafts and real drafts I found myself picking Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado or Jose Altuve over him. However, this has been more of a gut feeling thing. If you have Betts, don’t freak out about Michael and I not loving him. He still is a great player and will probably end up making us look like fools.
Bryce Harper will be the top player in Fantasy Baseball this year. I think he was more hurt last year than he led on. The guy thrives on doubters, and while he’s ranked around 10th, I think he has his best year yet.
I like this prediction from Michael as well. Harper has shown to be a stud in the past, and I agree that injuries held him back last year more than what was publicized. I think it might be hard for him to grab the top spot, but it certainly isn’t out of reach. Either way, I think he should be able to finish better than his ADP.
The Red Sox will finish below .500. The loss of Big Papi + pitching defections will finally be too much for a team that’s been out producing its win projections for years. Plus, isn’t it obvious that the Cubs stole Boston’s “tortured fan base finally celebrating success” mojo/karma?
This one isn’t exactly Fantasy related, but still is baseball related and very interesting, so I wanted to include it. I personally disagree with this one. I still think that the Sox will be a great team this year. Even though the loss of Ortiz is obviously a huge one, the addition of Chris Sale to an otherwise still very good team will still be a playoff contender in my mind.
Matt Harvey is the Mets’ second highest scoring SP.
Here we have a rapid fire round from Dylan, going progressively bolder as we go down. The first one is bold in a few ways. First off, Harvey has to stay healthy. Second, he has to be really good to outperform all but one member of the Mets stacked rotation. This is a very specific prediction, but one that is very likely to happen in my book if Harvey stays healthy.
Edwin Diaz is the top scoring RP in all of baseball.
This one is one that I really like. Edwin Diaz is one of my favorite young pitchers in baseball. I believe he has amazing talent, and I love watching young closers blossom into bullpen stalwarts for years to come. I think Diaz sure has the talent to live up to the prediction, and I think the only thing in his way would be if the Mariners aren’t good enough to supply Diaz with save opportunities.
Kendrys Morales is Toronto’s top scoring hitter.
Bolder and bolder we go, as we stumble upon another one that I really like. Morales had a great season last year, and I think he will repeat that success this year, now as a Blue Jay. With Edwin Encarnacion gone, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowtizki getting older and older, the only real threat to his throne would be Josh Donaldson. I don’t think that Morales will outperform Donaldson, but with an injury, it is sure possible.
Felix Hernandez is the highest scoring SP in the AL West.
I personally don’t think that this one is very likely. With King Felix getting older, I see more regression here. While the AL West isn’t flush with star pitchers, I expect at least Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish to beat Hernandez.
David Peralta as a late round pick wins a lot of Fantasy leagues.
I like this one. Peralta was a stud in 2015 before losing most of last season to injury. I think that he could surely be a late-round steal, but a possible league winner might be a stretch.
Joey Votto wins the NL MVP- despite being a Red.
I don’t see this one happening. The Reds just won’t be good enough for Votto to have any consideration. While this is bad news for Reds fans, this isn’t bad news for Fantasy owners of Votto. I still think that he will put up great stats, possibly even MVP stats, but he just won’t be on a good enough team to win the MVP. He still can be your Fantasy MVP though.
Kyle Schwarber becomes eligible at catcher before summer and finishes the season as the top Fantasy catcher.
This might be my favorite prediction on this list. If Joe Maddon is committed to having Schwarber leading off for the Cubs, then he could be a Fantasy darling this season. He will be able to score a whole lot of runs and should be able to be a great producer in home runs and average. He could even produce a fair amount RBI because the Cubs slot the pitcher eighth, so he will have a position player ahead of him. If he is able to gain catcher eligibility, he could easily be the top catcher this season.
Robert Gsellman wins NL Rookie of the Year, NOT proverbial favorite Dansby Swanson.
I won’t waste time on this one. I just don’t see it happening. There are plenty of great rookies in the NL this year (Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and of course Dansby Swanson, just to name a few) and the Mets rotation is too stacked for Gsellman to be able to crack. He has a fair amount of talent, but I don’t see him being given enough opportunities for this to happen. He would need an injury or trade, and even then I think it’s unlikely.
Noah Syndergaard will have the best Fantasy season of any pitcher. The Mets ace looked absolutely dominant this Spring, and is building off an incredible 2016 season. Thor finished 2016 as the 12th rated Fantasy pitcher on ESPN while only making 60% of his starts. Considering some minor health concerns with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, who knows how valuable Thor can be by staying healthy for a whole season.
This is a prediction that I like. I agree that the top starters have injury concerns, and Thor is a stud. Watch out, because this one could come true.
Yu Darvish will win 22 games if he stays healthy. It seems like the statement “if he stays healthy” is always important when it comes to Darvish. Over 17 starts last season, Darvish compiled a 3.41 ERA with a 132:31 K:BB ratio. These numbers are exceptional upon returning from Tommy John surgery, but Darvish needs to put up better numbers in order to live up to this prediction. If so, the dynamic Rangers lineup will put Darvish in position to win the vast majority of the games he pitches in, which is why I’m giving him such a ridiculous win total to work toward.
I agree with this prediction as well. The only bad part about it is that it includes a caveat: will Darvish stay healthy? Even if he doesn’t win 22 games, he should be a stud if he stays healthy, so it is up to you if you want to make that bet.
Dustin Pedroia will score 120 runs atop the Red Sox lineup. Even without Big Papi in this lineup, the Red Sox still have a top lineup in the league. Manager John Farrell has announced that Pedroia will bat first atop the order, which puts him in positions to earn the most runs in the MLB. Combine that with his high OPS and pitchers avoiding throwing to Betts or other batters behind him puts Pedroia in an opportunity to score 120 runs this season.
This is also a very good prediction. While it is less likely then the first two from John, I could also see this one happening in a very good Red Sox lineup. 120 runs is a hard number to reach, so this is bold, but even if he doesn’t reach that number, he should be a great player.
My prediction is that Keon Broxton will be a 20/40 player this season. His strikeout rate was awful last season, but he was a .295 hitter in the second half last year. He can continue that kind of hitting this season and become a superstar.
This bold prediction is another one that I like, and its commentary is very similar to many of the other ones: I like the prediction, but it may be slightly overboard, and either way, this player should have a solid year. This is true for Broxton as well.
Josh Hader and Mitch Haniger win ROY.
This prediction is quite the bold one. With many high profile rookies this year, Derek is betting on two lesser known players. They both are players to watch, but for now, this one is too bold for me.
Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon will not combine for 100 SB between them.
This one would be a nightmare to the stolen base category if true. If arguably the two best producers of this rare category falter, it could be tough to find stolen bases. I do believe this could happen, but it would likely be Hamilton’s fault, due to an injury or him being benched due to struggles at the plate.
Anthony Rizzo finally hits 40 bombs.
Anthony Rizzo had a career year last year, and Derek thinks that he will continue to build on these numbers in the 2017 season. I love Rizzo this year, and think this is a reach, but Maddon may want to rest his stars and that could effect their counting numbers and Rizzo’s run at 40 home runs. Nonetheless, I do like this prediction.
Carlos Martinez wins the Cy Young in the NL and Aaron Sanchez wins it in the AL.
Both of these picks are bold. Carlos Martinez is an absolute stud and in my opinion could very well win the Cy Young. He wouldn’t be my first choice, but these are bold predictions, and he fits the bill as one. Sanchez is way more unlikely, and I don’t see it happening, but the AL Cy Young has been subject to many dark horses recently, so you never know.
Nolan Arenado will win the triple crown.
I love this one. The home runs and RBI will be there, there is no doubt about it. If Arenado is able to build on his already amazing stats and lead the NL in batting average, then this is certainly doable. Also, Coors Field is always an advantage over your competition.
Jae Gyun Hwang finishes the year as a starter in the Giants infield and finishes third in ROY voting for the NL.
This is one that is more of a sleeper pick as a bold prediction, and one that I truly love. As a Giants fan, I am unsure if Eduardo Nunez will be able to replicate his numbers from last year, and if he doesn’t work out, then I think Hwang could be a stud. He was awesome in the preseason, and if given the chance, he could be a stud for the Giants.
Khris Davis and Chris Davis combine for 90 bombs.
To finish off the list, we have Josh Carlson coming with a very interesting prediction. I think this one isn’t too far fetched, as both of them will likely top or come very close to 40 home runs and they also both have the potential for 50. I think 90 is surely a reachable number between these two players.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out all of our great articles from our excellent pool of Fantasy Baseball Writers.