(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
Time to throw my hat into the ring with my edition of the Bold Predictions. Some are Bold, others are BOLDER.
1) Nick Pollack wins the writers league
We now have three leagues between the Pitcher List staff writers. Relegation, like the English Premier League, has been implemented to make the leagues fun and so we can laugh as the bottom two move down from the “Premier League” to the “Prodigy League”. If you didn’t follow the pitchers league last season, Nick Pollack finished 10th and finished the year with an excellent pitching rotation but ranked in the bottom half in every category besides saves after plenty of injuries in April and May. Seems like Nick has focused on his pitching in this year’s draft, add in Charlie Blackmon and Manny Machado and Nick should do quite well. Is this bold? Of course, because he is in the league with the best fantasy managers in the game and will most likely finish in the relegation zone and be sent to the Pit of Misery, DILLY DILLY.
2) Delino Deshields Jr. ends the year with a higher player rater than Dee Gordon
As I am writing, Delino Deshields Jr. is being taken nearly 15 rounds after Dee Gordon. Delino has a very good eye and should bat leadoff for the Texas Rangers. He has a bit more pop than Dee Gordon, which could make up for the batting avg difference. I think it will come down to RBIs for who wins and I think Delino has a bit more line drive abilities and will beat out Dee Gordon.
Jeimer is currently the 23rd thirdbaseman off the board, Seager #12. Seager is owned in 95% of leagues, Jeimer only 8.9% on ESPN. I chose Kyle Seager because I wanted someone half Jeimer’s ADP and didn’t quite feel optimistic enough to say Jeimer finished top 10 considering Mike Moustakas was 10th in standard leagues last year and had a line of: .272, 75 R, 38 HRs, 85 RBIs, 0 SB. Jeimer Candelario could bat 2nd for the Tigers and with Nick Castellanos and Miggy Caberea behind him, he could have plenty of run scoring opportunities. I like his bat and can see a .270 AVG, with 15+ HRs and 80+ Runs and 70+ RBIs if he hits 500+ ABs.
4) Blue Jays Win the East
As I saw the highlight of the Vlad Jr’s walk off in Montreal, I could see the excitement the team has and the fun they are having. It reminds me of the Rangers in 2011.
5) Carlos Rodon puts up a sub 3.00 ERA with a 10 K/9 in the 2nd Half
I have followed Carlos Rodon since his NC State days, having owned him in a Dynasty League since he was a Sophomore in College. Carlos Rodon will be starting the year on the DL after having shoulder surgery. Carlos flashes brilliance at times but gives up plenty of homeruns and falls apart physically. He should be back in June and Im hoping for a strong 2nd half of the year from him.
6) TCU Wins the CWS
Currently TCU is 14-7 and is ranked 18th in the nation. They are powered by Luken Baker, a Joey Gallo-esque first baseman, and on the pitching side by Nick Lodolo, the 41st overall pick by the Pirates in 2016, the highest unsigned pick in the draft. TCU has been to the CWS four straight years but hasn’t secured a national championship yet. I think this year Jim Schlossnagle finally wins the ship.
7) Desmond Lindsay ends the year on a top 50 prospect list
The former 2nd rounder in the 2015 draft had a terrible year hitting .220/.327/.388 in A ball. He had a number of nagging injuries and finished the year with 65 games. Injuries have been an issue for Desmond Lindsay as he has only appeared in 137 games in two and a half years since going pro. He has a very good contact bat and some solid power for such a small frame. He flashes some speed but isn’t likely to steal 20+ bases a year. If he can remain healthy, he could move onto prospect lists quickly. I asked Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline about him last year and they are defiantly watching him.
8) Jurickson Profar hits 20 homeruns
The Super Utility player for the Rangers is out of options and will be in Arlington in 2018. The former #1 prospect is only 25, and still has time to put it together. I think the Rangers will find ways to play Jurickson, 2B, SS, 3B, OF are all fielding opportunities for him. He has some pop but only has 12 career homeruns through 206 career games.
9) Byron Buxton finishes the year with 25 HR and 40 SB while hitting .270+
I want to believe Buxton can finally put it together. I kept him a couple years ago in my keeper league, got burned. Traded for him last year and was rewarded. Traded him this offseason so I hope I didn’t get burned again. Hopefully Buxton can build off his 2nd half of 2017 where he hit .300/.347/.546 with 11 HRs and 13 SB.
10) Max Kepler is a top 30 OF
Max Kepler might be the rawest players in MLB. He is still learning the game after being signed out of Berlin Germany by the Minnesota Twins. Its unsurprising he will struggle but possibly no one in the majors leagues last year had as contrasting of splits as Max Kepler. He had a .152/.213/.240 split vs LHP with only 6 XBH in 125 Abs. Max Kepler vs RHP is another story, his line is .272/.343/.484 with 47 XBH, 17 of which were homeruns. He will likely be in platoon in 2018, which should help his avg but take away from his counting stats. If he continues to improve, and can hit LHP at a reasonable rate, then Kepler could really surge. If you got this far on my list and are reading this, add Max Kepler as a streaming option any time he is up against RHP. Look at that slash line, his 47 XBH placed him in the top 50 of bats.