Nick Pollack’s 10 Bold Predictions For 2017

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We’re continuing Bold Predictions week at Pitcher List after featuring Ben Palmer’s and Ian Post’s ten predictions thus far and it’s time for me to get in the game. Some are silly, some are super bold, and others just make sense. Let’s do it.

1. Rick Porcello will not receive a single Cy Young Vote

It was a fun 2016 for Porcello, who barely edged Justin Verlander to earn the Cy Young award and he had so much go his way to get it. First was his 7.6 Runs Per Game, which was nearly ten percent higher than any other starter in the majors, which led to him going deeper into games (think sticking it out for the seventh in a 5-2 game instead of a 3-2 game) and earning Wins that he didn’t deserve. But it gets worse than that. Porcello held a 3.15 ERA with a poor 3.89 xFIP as he pitched in the AL Beast. He miraculously held a 9.3% HR/FB that should not stick around when called Fenway his home, especially when he allowed just 16.8% soft contact last season (14th worst in the majors among qualified pitchers) and 30.0% hard contact. What I see is a pitcher who gets 16 wins, holds a 3.40-3.50 ERA and doesn’t strikeout enough players to outclass ten other pitchers in the AL in a baseball writer’s view. Obviously predicting Porcello doesn’t win the Cy Young again is far from a bold prediction, but let’s go in the complete opposite direction, proclaiming Porcello will go from getting the most votes to tied for the fewest: None.

Ian Post’s 10 Bold Predictions for 2017

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We’re continuing our week of bold predictions after featuring Ben Palmer’s yesterday morning. What fun would fantasy sports be without the chance to officially document 10 bold predictions that you think have a shot at becoming a reality? Then to be able to look at them one month into the season and remember how dumb you are? By the way, I’m the only representative of the Pacific Northwest currently on staff here at Pitcher List, so forgive me if it seems like I talk about the Mariners too much. Someone has to talk about us…things like preseason bold predictions are what make the hobby of fantasy baseball so great – so what the hell, let’s do this. Here are my ten bold predictions for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.

1. Felix Hernandez returns to form and finishes as a top 10 SP

Everyone seems to have written off the once perennially beloved ace of the Mariners staff for 2017 – and admittedly for good reasons. The biggest issue being the dip in velocity he’s endured over the past 3 seasons with his 2-Seamer. 2016 was the first season since 2008 that Felix held a K/9 under 8 (7.16 – career low) as well as a BB/9 above 2.68 (3.82 – career high). I’m not saying Felix pulls a Verlander and magically finds another 3mph on his Fastball, but I am saying that he has the pitch mix to adapt his approach to remain successful. With a rebound in both strikeouts and walks allowed, an amazing defense behind him, a healthy season of 230+ innings, an above average offense to rack up some Wins, and the determination of a former Cy Young “King”, I’m all in on a surprising 2017 rebound for Felix Hernandez. To quote the man himself, “The last few years have not been Felix years. I am prepared for (the work). I am going to go there and show everybody in the world, if they don’t believe in me, that I am going to be King Felix again.”

2017 Ranking: Top 50 Dynasty Relief Pitchers

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After our recent Top 150 Dynasty Hitters and Top 100 Dynasty Starting Pitchers, we continue our rankings with our Top 50 Dynasty Relief Pitchers. But before we get to the meat and potatoes, a quick commentary about the rankings. In the world of fantasy baseball rankings, relief pitching is a hard category to rank. That all coveted “closer role” and a relief pitcher’s proximity and relationship to it has a large impact on their value in fantasy baseball. Circumstances also play a large role when placing value on a relief pitcher. Who’s ahead of whom in the bullpen horse race? Who just got injured? Is the team in many save situations? How is the current closer performing? All of these and more make discussing long term value difficult. And this is dynasty we’re talking about here. Long term is the name of the game! So just remember, a grain of salt should be taken with all website fantasy rankings, but with relief pitchers you might want to take the whole shaker. With that being said, enjoy Pitcher List’s 2017 Top 50 Dynasty Relief Pitchers.

Tier 1: Game enders (this ends now)

In the first tier you will find a common trait among pitchers: high K-rates, low ERAs, and belonging to teams that will win a lot of games, hence being in many save situations. Their jobs, for the most part, are relatively safe. They also have proven track records, so a rough beginning to the season won’t have them prematurely yanked from their role. Enjoy the strikeouts and boatload of saves with these flamethrowers.

1. Aroldis Chapman (29, New York Yankees)

2. Kenley Jansen (29, Los Angeles Dodgers)

3. Craig Kimbrel (29, Boston Red Sox)

4. Zach Britton (29, Baltimore Orioles)

5. Edwin Diaz (23, Seattle Mariners)

6. Ken Giles (26, Houston Astros

7. Wade Davis (31, Chicago Cubs)

8. Mark Melancon (32. San Francisco Giants)

9. Roberto Osuna (22, Toronto Blue Jays)

10. Cody Allen (28, Cleveland Indians)

11. Kelvin Herrera (27, Kansas City Royals)

12. Seung-Hwan Oh (34, St. Louis Cardinals)

13. Andrew Miller (31, Cleveland Indians)

Tier 2: saves and question marks

The second tier consists relief pitchers who either cannot completely dominate batters through strikeouts like their tier 1 counterparts, are closers whose grasp on the role is somewhat shaky, or very talented middle relief pitchers/set-up men who don’t have a clear path to the closers role (yet). There are also some very talented closers with somewhat firm grasps on the closer role, but belong to teams that will not ofter be up by a run or two in the 9th, and therefore will have very few actual save chances (I’m looking at you, Cincinnati!) But most of these guys will net you a decent amount of saves, just not with tier 1 accompanying stats.

14. Jeurys Familia (27, New York Mets)

15. Alex Colome (28, Tampa Bay Rays)

16 David Robertson (31, Chicago White Sox)

17. Raisel Iglesias (27, Cincinnati Reds)

18. Cam Bedrosian (25, Los Angeles Angels)

19. Dellin Betances (29, New York Yankees)

20. Tony Watson (32, Pittsburgh Pirates)

21. Koda Glover (23, Washington Nationals)

22. Adam Ottavino (31, Colorado Rockies)

23. Corey Knebel (25, Milwaukee Brewers)

24. Brandon Maurer (26, San Diego Padres

25. Sam Dyson (29, Texas Rangers)

26. A.J. Ramos (30, Miami Marlins)

27. Francisco Rodriguez (35, Detroit Tigers)

28. Arodys Vizcaino (26, Atlanta Braves)

29. Hector Rondon (29, Chicago Cubs)

30. Hector Neris (28, Philadelphia Phillies)

Tier 3: Congecture squad!

The final tier is a rag-tag group. Some of these pitchers will find a decent amount of saves just by being in the right place at the right time. Not necessarily overpowering, just…on the mount in the 9th. Others are extremely talented pitchers who are just blocked by a superstar closer on a gigantic contract. A lot of these guys are just stuck in a “close by committee” situation, which means the closing job changes game to game based on game circumstances and coach choice. I can guarantee that a few of these relief pitchers are going to rocket up the rankings during the season when a random domino falls in the bullpen. When that domino falls and what you do when it eventually does is where great fantasy owners separate themselves from good fantasy owners.

31. Tyler Thornburg (28, Boston Red Sox

32. Carl Edwards Jr. (25, Chicago Cubs)

33. Carter Capps (26, San Diego Padres

34. Nate Jones (31, Chicago White Sox

35. Jim Johnson (34, Atlanta Braves)

36. Addison Reed (28, New York Mets

37. Kyle Barraclough (26, Miami Marlins

38. Trevor Rosenthal (26, St. Louis Cardinals

39. Ryan Madson, (36 Oakland Athletics)

40. Brandon Kintzler (32, Minnesota Twins

41. Fernando Rodney (40, Arizona Diamondbacks

42. Sean Doolittle (30, Oakland Athletics)

43. Huston Street (33, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) 

44. Drew Storen (29, Cincinnati Reds)

45. Joaquin Benoit (39, Philadelphia Phillies)

46. Brad Brach (31, Baltimore Orioles)

47. Mauricio Cabrera (23, Atlanta Braves)

48. Jeremy Jeffress (29, Texas Rangers)

49. Joe Jimenez (22, Detroit Tigers)

50. Daniel Hudson (30, Pittsburgh Pirates)

Ben Palmer’s 10 Bold Predictions for 2017

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Across this week and next, the Pitcher List staff will be revealing their 10 bold predictions for 2017. We’ll be reviewing them through the year on our podcast as a beautiful custom bobblehead is at stake for the winner at the end of the season. We have some creative predictions and it’s going to be a fun two weeks as we gear up for the season ahead. To lead it off, we have Ben Palmer’s bold predictions for the upcoming season.

These are all predictions that, more than likely, will not happen, but they definitely could. Who knows? Maybe the season will end and I’ll look like a prescient genius, or maybe I’ll look like a total idiot. Actually that could go for any of my articles.

1. Hector Neris finishes the year with more saves than Craig Kimbrel

Jeanmar Gomez kind of came out of nowhere last season and saved 37 games for the Phillies. That alone was more than Craig Kimbrel saved, and Gomez isn’t exactly an incredible closer. In the time that Hector Neris pitched last season, he was fantastic, with an 11.43 K/9, a 2.58 ERA, and a 33.3% chase rate. As of now, the Phillies have a bit of a three-headed monster in the closer role between Gomez, Joaquin Benoit, and Neris, but Neris is far and away the best pitcher of the three. Kimbrel isn’t the Craig Kimbrel we all knew a few years ago. His fastball has declined a bit, and he had a seriously high walk rate last year (13.6%). If Gomez can get more saves than Kimbrel, then I think Neris definitely can. It will just take him taking the closer role in Philadelphia, and hopefully the Phillies are smart enough to recognize Neris’ talent.

Draft Prep: 10 Hitters To Target In OBP Leagues

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Man, remember when OBP leagues were hip? We’d all be smugly sipping our coffee while reading Fire Joe Morgan, right before making our daily sacrifice to our life-sized shrine of Billy Beane. Well, times have changed and everyone and their mother knows about OBP now, and everyone’s outbidding you on those players you were totally convinced would be sleepers. But hey, it’s still better than Batting Average, mere fodder for casual fans and Murray Chass. So let’s find some guys that might provide surplus value even in OBP leagues with savvy competition.

Bryce Harper (OF, Nationals) – I tend to shy away from listing stars when identifying targets, as there is often someone in the draft room willing to make you pay dearly. But this may be one case in which we really are underrating the young superstar. While his power and average took a big hit in 2016, he maintained his excellent walk rate and decreased his K rate. He had a .264 BABIP, which seems nearly 100 points too low when you look at his rates from  2015 and 2016. In OBP leagues, he’s a safer gamble at the end of the first round than in AVG. leagues, since he’ll get the walks no matter what.

2017 Rankings: Top 100 Dynasty Starting Pitchers

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After Tuesday’s Top 150 Dynasty Hitters we continue our dynasty rankings with our 2017 Top 100 Dynasty Starting Pitchers! I find dynasty pitching to be a much more difficult aspect of dynasty baseball than batting. The parity between an elite pitcher and an average pitcher isn’t nearly as wide as an elite batter compared to an average batter. A middle-of-the-road pitcher can still net you somewhat decent strike outs, wins, QSs, and even ERA if you choose matchups wisely, whereas your average batter won’t put up nearly the counting stats (HRs, RBIs, Runs etc…) that an elite batter in the cleanup spot will. This is why people usually draft bats first in drafts; there’s enough pitching talent later on to still have a good pitching rotation. The prospect game is also different for pitchers. Top pitching prospects fizzle out much more often that their batting counterparts. It takes years of getting knocked around for pitchers to hone their skills. That’s why you see a lot of Cy Young winners in their late 20s/early 30s. But enough of my dynasty tips! The following is a list of my top 100 pitchers for dynasty leagues (not to be confused with Nick’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2017).

Tier 1: The Elite

These are the guys who consistently give you great stats year after year. Athletic, smart, and with a diverse arsenal, you can basically start them for every matchup worry free. Low ERAs and WHIP, and high Ks and innings pitched are the primary characteristic of these pitchers.

1. Clayton Kershaw (28, Los Angeles Dodgers)

2. Noah Syndergaard (24, New York Mets)

3. Max Scherzer (32, Washington Nationals)

4. Chris Sale (27, Boston Red Sox)

5. Madison Bumgarner 27, San Francisco Giants)

6. Corey Kluber (30, Cleveland Indians)