Bold Predictions

By Fantasy Baseball Analysts Matthew Rosser and Curtis Bailey

Allow us to bring to you a tradition as old as fantasy sports themselves: Making an ass out of ourselves by making horrible predictions about the future that will almost certainly not come to pass.We have made our case for each of our predictions, but who knows what’s going to happen once games start being played. We will be keeping track of how these go, so please feel free to let us know @DraftIDBaseball on Twitter when they start imploding. 

Curtis’ Bold Predictions

  1. Dylan Moore will be the highest scoring Mariner
    • This is more about my hatred of Kyle Lewis than it is my love of Dylan Moore. Kyle Lewis finished last year as a top 30 player, which is neck and neck with Busta Rhymes being the dragon on the masked singer for the most shocking thing to occur in 2020. Kyle Lewis accomplished this feat the old fashioned way: High babip, well below average hard hit rate, and a hr/fb rate nearly double that of his minor league average. So to say I do not trust Lewis to repeat is an understatement. While he was accomplishing this, Dylan Moore was lurking in the shadows barreling balls as well as almost anyone in the entire league while whiffing 9% less often than Lewis. I’m not even sure this is that bold of a prediction because Moore had a higher wRC+ and averaged more points per game than Lewis last year, yet no one seems to believe that Moore is the better player except me.
  2. Jared Walsh will be highest scoring 2020 ROY finalist in 2021
    • Yes, I am aware that Luis Robert, Jake Cronenworth, Alec Bohm, and a slew of other studs were ROY finalists last year. I also know that you are wondering how this Jared Walsh guy, that you may not have even heard of, is going to outscore those superstars and Alec Bohm? The answer is by doing what he has always done which is hitting for average and power. Walsh in the minors batted .301 with a .913 OPS. Last year he batted .293 with a .971 OPS. Those numbers produced 153 wRC+ which was higher than any of the other ROY finalists last year. If you have trouble believing what you are seeing with Walsh, just stash away this juicy little McNugget: The Angels, according to Roster Resource, are going to bat him second and bat Mike Trout third. Get in on him while you still can.
  3. Alex Kiriloff will be the highest scoring rookie
    • 2021 seems to be the year we will finally see some of the ridiculously highly touted prospects we have been waiting on for years. The headliners for that, of course, being the trio of Wander Franco, Jared Kelenic, and Mackenzie Gore. As such those are the top 3 prospects (that haven’t seen major league regular season playing time) going in drafts. This is a mistake. Alex Kiriloff is going to out score all of them. First, and arguably most importantly, is the fact that Kiriloff is going to see the field well before any of the guys listed above. In the offseason, the Twins let go of the very fantasy relevant Eddie Rosario seemingly clearing the deck for Alex Kiriloff to start the season with the Twins. Secondly, Kiriloff by all accounts is major league ready now. Scouts describe him as a player who can hit for average and power who also has a great eye for balls and strikes. That sounds pretty freaking awesome to me.
  4. Tristan McKenzie will be the second highest scoring Indians pitcher
    • I don’t trust Civale or Plesac to repeat their magical half seasons from last year and McKenzie is a true ace in the making that prints K’s.
  5. Aaron Judge finishes as a top 10 overall player
    • Aaron Judge is easily a top 10 talent in the league if not higher but refuses to stay healthy. I think with an extra half year to heal up, he will finally get back to MVP caliber numbers
  6. Josh Donaldson will be the highest scoring Twin
    • Donaldson was a top 50 player in 2019 and then after an injury plagued covid season people seem ready to write him off. I refuse to write off a fellow 251 native.
  7. Keston Huira is not going to be a top 10 2B
    • As we all know, half the battle with a baseball prospect is how strong their name is. Keston defied logic when he came up and dominated MLB pitchers with his raw power, unbelievably bad whiff rate, and the name Keston in 2019. He then followed this up in the 2020 campaign with an almost identical whiff rate, but a steep decline in his power numbers. Keston was the 22nd 2B eligible player last season and yet is being drafted in top 75 overall in nearly every league. Unless Keston makes serious changes to his plate approach, or legally changes his name, it seems to me that he is destined to be much closer to the 2020 Keston than the 2019 Keston for the remainder of his career.
  8. Trey Mancini is going to be a top 75 player
    • Mancini was a top 50 player in 2019, but due to a very real and very scary cancer diagnosis he missed all of last season. He has been medically cleared to play for months, so I don’t understand why people don’t expect him to be ready to ball out.
  9. Travis d’Arnaud will be a top 2 catcher
    • d’Arnaud was a revelation last year for Braves as he finished the season as the 3rd catcher in fantasy and his underlying numbers say that it’s possible for him to put up similar stats again, yet he is going as catcher 6 in fantasy leagues. This is a mistake.
  10. Teoscar Hernandez will be the highest scoring Blue Jay
    • Teoscar strong. Teoscar hit ball hard. Ball go far. Teoscar score many points.
  11. Matt Olson leads the AL in home runs
    • In 2017 Matt Olson broke into the league and hit 24 home runs in 59 games. It was actually unbelievable as it was happening. Since then his career high is the 36 home runs he hit in 19. Olson has the raw power and the hit tool needed to lead the league. This is the year for it to happen.
  12. Giancarlo Stanton plays in more than 50 games
    • Stanton has played in 41 games since 2018. This might be the boldest of all my predictions, but hey, the dude has to start playing baseball again at some point, right?
  13. Colin Moran will be a top 100 player
    • Colin Moran was one of the key pieces the Pirates acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade back in 2018. As the Pirates traded away All Star after All Star, they are now left in a situation where Moran is their best and most experienced bat. He will now be batting in a top 3 spot in the lineup, where we should expect to see him set new career highs in runs and RBIs. Moran is already coming off his best season from a variety of perspectives, including but not limited to: hard hit rate, exit velocity, barrel rate, and walk rate. If Moran stays healthy, he should easily finish inside the top 100.
  14. Carlos Santana will be the highest scoring Royal
    • Santana is always severely underrated in points leagues because the man takes more walks than you do with your dog. The Royals lineup is filled with a lot of swing and miss, and Whit Merrifield. Merrifield’s numbers had been trending down until the shortened season. I believe that Santana bounces back in a big way, while the rest of the royals flounder.
  15. Jeff McNeil will lead the NL in batting average
    • McNeil has a great hit tool for a career .319 average. In his age 29 season, he is finally going to be part of a good team and should see better pitches than ever before. Look for him to have a career year in every department, including a league best batting average.

Rosser’s Bold Predictions

  1. David Fletcher leads the AL in batting average
    • Fletch not strong. Fletch not hit ball hard. Fletch do, however, hit ball often. All the man does is spray the ball all over the field. He has the lowest K rate in the MLB over the last two years, and knows how to “hit em where they ain’t.” He’s a true .300 hitter of yesteryear, and could hit .330 with some more experience.
  2. Casey Mize will be the best rookie pitcher of the 2nd half
    • Mize had a horrendous cup of coffee in the short season, but the former Auburn Tiger has legitimate stuff and the drive to hone it into elite pitching. I expect him to start down in the minors to get comfortably stretched out and polished, then come up around June. Once he settles in, he will be an instant high floor guy and solidify himself as the best of a stable of young tigers pitchers, as well as the league.
  3. Lucas Giolito is the highest scoring pitcher in baseball
    • The posterboy for post-hype sleepers, the White Sox ace has found himself since making a mechanical change in 2019 and isn’t looking back. He learned how to mix his fastball and change-up to maximize whiffs, and he now has a top ten K rate and WHIP over the past 2 seasons. I think Giolito can continue to develop as an ace during his age 27 season, go deep into games, miss bats, and limit enough baserunners behind his team’s stellar offense to elevate him to the top pitcher in baseball.
  4. Gleyber Torres finishes at best as the 6th highest scoring Yankee
    • Is this a vote against Gleyber, or a vote for a healthy Yankees squad? Probably both. I am a noted Gleyber hater, but I think there is a good chance he finishes behind most, if not all, of the following: Cole, Lamahieu, Judge, Chapman, Voit, and a healthy Stanton.
  5. The Royals make the wild card
    • The royals have a punchy top half of the lineup, and a good blend of youth and veteran leadership on their pitching staff. Hey, these are supposed to be bold right?
  6. Rafael Devers is the highest scoring player in the AL East
    • Coming off an up and down short season that could just be called a slow start any other year, Devers is going to be falling in drafts this year. My biased and unbiased opinion is to scoop him up. My large adult son Rafael only loves one thing in the world more than mashing leather potatoes: Chipotle. With fellow Spanish speaker and known players coach Alex Cora back in the driver seat in Boston, the Chipotle Rewards Program (real thing, look it up) is back in full swing (not really, but still worth mentioning), and Devers will be too. His division has some pretty stout bats this year but he’s a year removed from being a top 10 player behind only former teammate Mookie Betts for best in the division, and with another year under his belt to develop and with his guy in the dugout, I think Devers finds his mountaintop again.
  7. Buster Posey goes out on top as a top 5 catcher again
    • After sitting out what would’ve been his 11th season to help his family care for their adoptive premature twins, Posey returns in the final year of his contract looking to put a bow on his Hall of Fame career. After a down year in 2019, and with a boatload of good karma in the tank, I think Posey returns more to his 2018 self. First Ballot player, First Ballot guy, C5 in 2021.
  8. Mike Trout finishes outside the top 3 in WAR… in California
    • (Just gonna get out in front of this and say that Mike Trout is the best player that most of us will see in our adult lives.) While it may seem like I took a handful of crazy pills, the western border of our great (again) country has some of the best talent in baseball on both sides of the plate. I think that Tatis Jr, Mookie, and defensive stalwart Matt Chapman make the leaps they need individually, coupled with Trout not playing a full season in 4 years, makes this somewhat plausible.
  9. Sixto Sanchez finishes in the top 3 of the NL Cy Young voting
    • I was initially going to say that Sixto was going to finish as the best pitcher in the NL East, but Jacob DeGrom still exists, and even I’m not that bold. While it might be a bit of a cop out, I expect the top prospect to continue to take the league by storm in his first 162 game season.
  10. Alec Bohm is the highest scoring Philly batter
    • The Phillies have some dudes who can hit, that one flow bro from Las Vegas in particular, but I’m most excited about the head of lettuce from Omaha. Bohm came up last year and wasted no time proving he belonged, hitting .338 with an .881 OPS. I think he shows a little more power this year and, combined with his above average eye, shows similar slash lines to 2017 Harper with less pop.
  11. Kyle Tucker will have a 30/30 season
    • The question here is more about whether or not Dusty Baker lets the former top prospect run. If he does, I can see Tucker taking a giant leap in production and becoming the fantasy first rounder scouts have been projecting in his first full, “normal” MLB season.
  12. Dinelson Lamet has the highest K/9 among starters across both west divisions
    • Dinelson Lamet loves to strike people out. He absolutely loves it. It’s his favorite thing. Since he came into the league in 2017, his career K/9 of 11.83 would rank him as 4th in the MLB over the past 4 seasons, ahead of names like DeGrom, Verlander, and Cole. He missed 2018 with Tommy John so he doesn’t exactly qualify for those leaderboards traditionally, and he doesn’t go deep into games but there’s no denying the talent is there to make a lot of people miss a lot of pitches.
  13. Kenta Maeda wins the AL ERA title
    • After a great 2016 with the Dodgers, Maeda spent the next 3 years trapped in Dodgeritis Hell, getting moved in and out of the bullpen and saved for the postseason. It wasn’t until he signed with the Twins to play 2nd fiddle to Jose Berrios that he finally got another opportunity to show his stuff, and boy did he. In 11 starts, he never gave up more than three earned runs, and he only gave up 3 ER three times. He finished the season with a 2.7 ERA and I dont see any reason he can’t continue to build on that feasting on the largely anemic offenses of the AL Central.
  14. Trevor Larnach hits 20 home runs
    • The Minneapolis Moonshotters have yet another heavy artillery bat in the minors, but it’s not the one you’re thinking of. While Alex Kiriloff has dominated the prospect headlines, the 6’4, 23 year old Larnach is who I’m most excited about. He’s a former first round pick with legit light tower power, an even stronger name, and plenty of places to play in a very spotty Twins outfield. He is going to be Larnocking the piss out of baseballs for a long time, and I expect his reign to begin this year.
  15. Kris Bryant finishes as the highest scoring player to wear a Cubs jersey this year.
    • Kris Bryant recently went on a Barstool Chicago radio show and said that he was not having fun playing baseball last year, and honestly I find that a relief. The abnormal MLB season, weird team rumors, and nagging injuries would take its toll on anybody and the former MVP is no exception. That’s a lot less worrisome than someone of his caliber just forgetting how to play at a high level. KB is going past pick 100 and I think it’s likely that as the season regains some normalcy, so will he. It’s also likely he does get traded and the contender that takes him on could reignite some of the fire as well.