Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball: Bold Predictions for 2014

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According to thefreedictionary.com, the word bold means fearless and daring; courageous. I am going out on a limb and “daring” myself to make very bold predictions for this year. Some may seem far-fetched where others are a little more reasonable. It takes a “courageous” motion to get my word out there. As you can see I will be “fearless” throughout the article and anxious to see if my predictions come true. So without further ado, here are my top-10 Bold Predictions for 2014.

1. Greg Holland will finish with more saves than Craig Kimbrel.
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Greg Holland had a phenomenal year in 2013. He certainly deserved MVP type congratulations for whoever picked him last year. In fact, in some points’ leagues, he outscored a lot of starting pitchers. I do not see this trend changing in 2014, but in fact getting better. In most drafts Craig Kimbrel will probably go around the fifth round, but Greg Holland will be drafted in more like the seventh. Kimbrel only ended up with three more saves than Holland in 2013 and in the same amount of games (68). Something that I am even surprised about is that Holland’s K/9 rate is better than Kimbrel’s (13.84 compared to 13.16). Holland walks less per nine innings (2.42 compared to 2.69). All these numbers and consistency lead me to my conclusion. I see Holland getting over 50 saves this year. The Royals will play in closer games; which gives him more chances than Kimbrel. Also, you may be nervous about Holland’s walk rate, but I do not see him ever looking back. Holland is a beast, plain and simple.

2. Billy Hamilton steals more than 70 bases this year.
As a coach, I know that speed cannot be taught. I just finished up picking our Varsity and JV baseball team last week and we had a guy that was on the bubble. To make a long story short, the main reason we kept him was because he was fast. A guy we can put in the game to pinch run, bunt to get on, or steal a base when we really need it. Billy Hamilton is the major league version of this player. In his short appearance last year, he stole 13 bases in just 22 plate attempts. This would be a 355 stolen base pace if it were the whole season. While that is unlikely, think about this; he swiped as many bases as games he played (13). So, I should really predict him to get 162 stolen bases, but I am being realistic. I do not think 70 bases is really going out on a limb. He will be the leadoff batter for the Cincinnati Reds and will be on base a lot. When he was called up, he still hit .368 and had an OBP of .429. Again I will say it, he will be on base a lot.

3. Mike Minor will win 18 or more games for the Braves.
If you look at the Braves rotation entering this year, you do not see the normal studs like Smoltz, Maddux or even Hudson anymore. More depth, is allowing newer, youngsters like Minor to emerge as the number one starter on the staff. In 2013, his 2.02 BB/9 rate was the best of his career. His velocity remained constant for the whole year as he was able to start 32 games. He was able to throw first-pitch strikes 64.5% (career best) of the time and as a left handed pitcher was able to hold righties to a .295 wOBA. To think this guy entering the season was talked about having platoon splits starts with other pitchers on the Braves staff. I know it is hard to base a starting pitcher off of wins, but on a team like the Atlanta Braves I do not see why he cannot win 18 games or more. According to ESPN rankings, Minor is the 15th best starting pitcher. Even though he had a urinary tract procedure in December, I think this is a solid value and do not see why he can’t have a repeat performance in 2014.

4. Troy Tulowitzki hits over 25 HRs for the Rockies, while Carlos Gonzalez does not.
I will have to admit this is one of my bolder predictions for this year. These guys are real life teammates, but foes in most fantasy leagues. Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are very comparable because of their inability to stay healthy for a full season. They both have tremendous power and have the joy of playing in Denver, CO. In most drafts Gonzalez is going within the first eight picks, while Tulowitzki is going somewhere in the second round. For power this year, I like Tulo better though. Tulowitzki’s offseason has been a little different than in the past. Normally, he would be repairing instead of preparing. He is accustomed to rehabbing constant leg injuries. This whole winter he worked on different things that will hopefully show up in the play of his game. Carlos Gonzalez I feel has been more injured on a consistent basis; whether it’s a finger, a hamstring, or a wrist. All these add up to only having one season (a career high) of 145 games in the last five years. I have a gut feeling that Gonzalez gets injured again somehow and I am avoiding him at all costs this year. I suggest if you do draft him and are looking for power to make sure you have a backup plan. I have a gut feeling Troy Tulowitzki hits the most HRs as an SS. My prediction is Tulowitzki 30 HRs and Gonzalez 22 HRs. I am excited to see how this plays out especially because I own Tulowitzki in a keeper league this year.

5. Matt Adams will drive in more runs than Joey Votto.
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Joey Votto saw a significant drop in his RBI production last year. He only drove in 73 runs in 162 games in 2013; while in 2010 and 2011 he drove in over 100 runs. In 2012, he only played 111 games in the big leagues because of having knee surgery. That year he drove in only 56 runs. I am sensing a theme here. While I do believe that Votto is worthy of a 2nd or 3rd round pick, I just believe in Matt Adams’ production this year. I am very high on Matt Adams. I see him as a great investment in later rounds if you wait on a first baseman. With the various different moves that the Cardinals made this offseason, I see Adams hitting in the four or five hole this year. Votto will probably hit in his normal three hole. I trust guys that are in front of Adams and get on base more. Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday for the Cardinals will get on base. Getting on base equals more opportunities for Adams to produce. Despite only hitting 51 RBIs in 108 games last year, I believe he is on set to drive in over 90 runs this year. The Cardinals score runs and a lot of them. He will be involved in driving them in. Also, with the make shift that is happening I see Matt Adams in the everyday lineup on a consistent basis.

6. For his final year, Derek Jeter will stay healthy for all of it.
As the final farewell tour takes place this year for Jeter, I believe he enjoys it without getting injured. As many good positional MLB players do at the end of their career, I see Jeter primarily taking over the DH role or a platoon set up. He will still see the field every once in a while at shortstop, but not every day. With the likes of Brendan Ryan and Eduardo Nunez, Joe Girardi has a lot of flexibility for Jeter this year. It is still up in the air where exactly Jeter is going to hit in the lineup because of the acquisition of Jacoby Ellsbury. I still see Jeter hitting either one or two. I do think Jeter is worth a really late flier in much deeper leagues. He is still a wily veteran with a lot to offer for his team. As a Red Sox fan, I have always given Jeter the utmost respect as a player. I enjoyed watching him play over the year and wish him a safe season for his last hoorah.


7. Zack Wheeler emerges as the ace for the Mets.
The Matt Harvey injury kills the Mets rotation for the start of this year. Although in the beginning it will more than likely be that Zack Wheeler will be the fourth starter, I believe he will have the best season out of who is left in the rotation (Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee). There is still a battle for the fifth starter. My major concern with Wheeler is his command. Wheeler commented by saying, “And also repeating my delivery. I think that’s the two biggest things. And I think if I repeat my delivery, command will come along with it.” It is great to see a young player admit his mistakes. Last season, he had a respectable 3.42 ERA, but a dreaded 4.14 BB/9 rate. It is amazing that he was able to keep this type of ERA especially with how many base runners he allows on base. This is a testimony to his determination and grit, which equal into a better performance in 2014. He most definitely has the talent to be the number one on the Mets, but not to start. Be careful where you draft Wheeler this year though. In some drafts, he will probably get drafted too soon. I see him as a good 4th starter on fantasy teams to start; draft accordingly. Zack Wheeler has wonderful pedigree to be the best Mets starter.

8. Andrelton Simmons will bat .300 or better for the year.
Andrelton Simmons is mostly known for his tremendous defense, but I see his bat coming around in 2014. While he did hit 17 HRs last year, Simmons is looking to trade speed for power in the upcoming season. He did hit .311 in Single-A ball for the Braves and .293 in 2012 for Double-AA ball. Simmons does have a great contact rate and plus the Braves relied too much on the HR last year. With Simmons getting on base and playing small ball with his speed the Braves as an organization will be better too. He really needs to just work on his pop up rate to be more consistent. Simmons has all the tools to make him a formidable .300 hitter this year.

9. Jose Fernandez finishes in the top 5 for starting pitchers.
The starting pitching class for this year in fantasy is so deep and I love it. I believe Fernandez will emerge as one of the top 5 pitchers, passing Sale, Price, Scherzer and even Hernandez in 2014. Fernandez was mostly a waiver wire gem last season. He made one minor league start and then was quickly called up to the majors. Among all rookies that have pitched since World War I, his WHIP (0.98) was seventh, WAR (6.3) was ninth and ERA (2.19) ranked fifth. What you may be saying to yourself is ok, this is the guy’s first year and not too many people have seen him. Well usually adjustments are made as the season goes on and then plenty of videotape ends up on starting pitchers. Even more impressive is he actually got better as the season went on. After July 1, he had 12 quality starts out of his 13 started, posted a 1.43 ERA, had 8 wins, a 0.84 WHIP and allowed only a .159 batting average. I hope you can finally see why I think the way I do this year about Fernandez. Even though he is on a weaker team, he can possibly win games with final scores of 2-1 or even 1-0.

10. And finally, Andrew McCutchen will be the #1 Fantasy Player for 2014.
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On Sportscenter not too long ago, Linda Cohn asked, in one of the most awkward interviews I have ever seen (Click to See the Interview), Ken Griffey, Jr. which young outfielder resembles him the most. “McCutchen”, he responded. She then went on to ask him who the best all-around player was in baseball. “McCutchen”, he said. As awkward as Griffey’s answers were, I have to agree with him. Andrew McCutchen is one of the best five-tool players of the game. He hits for Avg, HRs, Rs, RBIs and SB. As the reigning NL MVP, he hit .317 with 21HRs, 97 Rs, 84 RBIs and 27 SBs. His numbers are a little skewed when you normally think of MVP type numbers. His WAR was an impressive 8.2; which put him above the rest. He is one of the best overall athletes. And to think that in 2012, when he did not win MVP, he put up better numbers (31 HRs, 107 Rs, 96 RBIs, 20 SBs, .327 Avg). Over the last four years his health has been great and he had over 650 PAs. I had the pleasure of having McCutchen on my team last year. I choose him 6th overall and was handsomely rewarded. I was upset when the guy before me picked Matt Kemp. I look forward to great things out of Andrew McCutchen this year and hopefully a number one performance to boot.



Optimism or even craziness may come to mind when it comes to bold predictions, but most predictions are in the eye of the beholder. My favorite part of baseball is the unpredictability of the sport. If you told me that Chris Davis was going to hit 53 HRs and Francisco Liriano was going to be a top-20 pitcher at the end of last year, I would have probably thought you were crazy. The average player regresses as their playing career goes on, while others come out of nowhere. I enjoy being able to think of those “nowhere” type of acts in 2014. After the season is over, I will be writing a follow up article to see how my predications pained out.

You can follow me on Twitter @RedSox_SF49ers for more fantasy baseball news and advice. Also be sure to like us on Facebook and Google+ for all updates from FantasySixPack.

About Tyler Gettmann

You can follow me on Twitter @RedSox_SF49ers for more fantasy news and advice. Also be sure to like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram for all updates from Fantasy Six Pack.

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