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March 17, 2011

Fantasy Focus

Pre-season Fantasy Predictions

by Baseball Prospectus

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Since we're the fantasy crew here at Baseball Prospectus, we wanted to give you some more fantasy-focused predictions for the upcoming year. This is the perfect opportunity for us to claim that the things we predicted that came true make us brilliant, and also gives us adequate time to come up with excuses for the things that did not turn out the way we planned. It's a flawless plot, and we hope that you take part with your own predictions in the comments. Here we are, in alphabetical order, which means poor old Bill Baer will be the first to be christened a visionary or insane:

Bill Baer

Fantasy MVP (Hitter):Troy Tulowitzki
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher):Roy Halladay
Sleeper (Hitter): Jimmy Rollins
Sleeper (Pitcher): Mike Minor
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson Division:Freddie Freeman
Sophomore Slump: Jaime Garcia
Sophomore Breakout:Pedro Alvarez
Most likely to disappoint:Robinson Cano
Most Overrated: Ubaldo Jimenez
Best $1 Pitcher:Jordan Zimmermann
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be:Brandon Morrow
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Joe Blanton
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Michael Young

Craig Brown

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Hanley Ramirez
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Felix Hernandez
Sleeper (Hitter): Ryan Raburn
Sleeper (Pitcher): Gio Gonzalez
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson Division: Brandon Belt
Sophomore Slump: Austin Jackson
Sophomore Breakout: Jose Tabata
Most likely to disappoint: Matt Kemp
Most Overrated: Nelson Cruz
Best $1 PitcherJames McDonald
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Kila Ka'ahuie
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Prince Fielder
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Grady Sizemore

Jason Collette

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Carl Crawford
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Cole Hamels
Sleeper (Hitter): Edwin Encarnacion
Sleeper (Pitcher): Jason Hammel
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson Division: Michael Pineda
Sophomore Slump: Gaby Sanchez
Sophomore Breakout: Brian Matusz
Most likely to disappoint: Elvis Andrus
Most Overrated: Mike Stanton
Best $1 PitcherHomer Bailey
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Martin Prado
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Heath Bell
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Joakim Soria

Michael Jong

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Albert Pujols
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Roy Halladay
Sleeper (Hitter): Adam Jones
Sleeper (Pitcher): Edwin Jackson
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson Division: Mike Minor
Sophomore Slump: Logan Morrison
Sophomore Breakout: Mike Stanton
Most likely to disappoint: Ian Kinsler
Most Overrated: Andre Ethier
Best $1 Pitcher: Mike Minor
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Drew Stubbs
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Prince Fielder
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Michael Young

Rob McQuown

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Adrian Gonzalez
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Tim Lincecum
Sleeper (Hitter): Dexter Fowler
Sleeper (Pitcher): Scott Baker
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson: Freddie Freeman
Sophomore Slump:  Travis Wood
Sophomore Breakout: Mitch Moreland
Most likely to disappoint: Chase Utley
Most Overrated: Ryan Howard
Best $1 Pitcher:  Cory Luebke
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Starlin Castro
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Albert Pujols
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Michael Young

Marc Normandin

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Albert Pujols
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Felix Hernandez
Sleeper (Hitter): Ryan Raburn
Sleeper (Pitcher): Tim Stauffer
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson: Brandon Belt
Sophomore Slump: Chris Johnson
Sophomore Breakout: Jonathon Niese
Most likely to disappoint: Javier Vazquez
Most Overrated: Andre Ethier
Best $1 PitcherHomer Bailey
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Kila Ka'ahuie
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Carlos Beltran
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Michael Young

Mike Petriello

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Troy Tulowitzki
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Roy Halladay
Sleeper (Hitter): Mike Morse 
Sleeper (Pitcher): Homer Bailey
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson Division: Brandon Belt
Sophomore Slump: Chris Johnson
Sophomore Breakout: Madison Bumgarner
Most likely to disappoint: Chase Utley
Most Overrated: Carlos Gonzalez
Best $1 PitcherJames McDonald
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Jonathan Broxton
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Heath Bell
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Jonathan Papelbon

Michael Street

Fantasy MVP (Hitter): Albert Pujols
Fantasy MVP (Pitcher): Roy Halladay
Sleeper (Hitter): Alcides Escobar
Sleeper (Pitcher): Ian Kennedy
Impact Prospect, Non-Montero/Hellickson Division: Freddie Freeman
Sophomore Slump: Ike Davis
Sophomore Breakout: Brett Wallace
Most likely to disappoint: Austin Jackson
Most Overrated: Chris Johnson
Best $1 PitcherRandy Wolf
Player you won't give up on at any point during the season, no matter how irrational it may be: Pablo Sandoval
Most likely to be traded to AL, breaking hearts of NL-only owners: Prince Fielder
Most likely to be traded to NL, breaking hearts of AL-only owners: Michael Young

It's safe to say we think the Rangers are going to move Michael Young during the season, Chris Johnson is going to be bad, and that there are plenty of inexpensive pitchers who will be productive at drafts this year. Tell us where you disagree and give us your own thoughts in the comments.

Related Content:  Pitcher,  Overrated,  Fantasy Drafts

40 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

mblthd

I'd love to play in any league in which James McDonald, Mike Minor or Homer Bailey go for $1.

Mar 17, 2011 05:05 AM
rating: 3
 
Marc Normandin

Considering I got McDonald in an experts NL-only league for $4, I would say it isn't too far-fetched. Minor went for $5 and Bailey went for $2.

Mar 17, 2011 07:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Robotey

no kidding-- can we get a little more depth here? --- Minor will have so much press in the first week he'll go for $10 in my league--last year Latos went for $13

Mar 17, 2011 20:02 PM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

Matt Wieters is going into his third year, so technically he shouldn't be considered a candidate for a Sophomore Slump/Breakout.

Mar 17, 2011 06:27 AM
rating: 3
 
Marc Normandin

Good catch. I'll go see who else Michael Street had in mind.

Mar 17, 2011 07:53 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Street
BP staff

Thanks for the catch, NYY! I'll go with Brett Wallace here instead. He's lost weight and has been crushing the ball in ST (.350/.381/.600), if you believe in such things. Plus the path is cleared to a starting gig. Get him while he's cheap.

Mar 17, 2011 11:03 AM
 
NYYanks826

Michael, would you say Brett is in "the best shape of his life"?

Mar 17, 2011 11:27 AM
rating: 1
 
pobothecat

Brett Wallace's thighs: we feel great, ready for the season.

Mar 17, 2011 13:50 PM
rating: 0
 
Joe D.

I heard he was really dedicated to improving himself this offseason. He worked with Acclaimed Hitting Instructor X to fix a flaw in his approach. He lost 40 pounds of fat, gained 50 pounds of muscle, and did thirty minutes of flexibility exercises every hour for the entire month of January.

Mar 17, 2011 13:52 PM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

Brett Wallace...the caucasian Roger Bernadina.

Mar 17, 2011 13:54 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Street
BP staff

I'm in the best shape of my life--see what it's done for me? :)

If nothing else, Wallace is a lock for the Dead Cat Bounce: shouldn't be too hard to rebound from a .222/.296/.319 performance.

Seriously, however, I think he will be a good buy, whether or not he bought an Ab Cruncher in the offseason. There's a lot to be said for chucking a buck or two at players other owners won't touch. Which gives me a great idea for next week's VP column . . .

Mar 17, 2011 20:42 PM
 
Drew106

The real question is if you have the 1st pick, do you do with Hanley Ramirez entering his prime or Albert Pujols in a contract year?

Mar 17, 2011 06:46 AM
rating: 0
 
MHaywood1025

I've always thought since the drop-off between HanRam and a 1B drafted in rounds 2-4 and Pujols and a SS drafted in later rounds is significant. Sure, Pujols has better numbers, but you're trying to win by having the best team, not the best player.

Mar 17, 2011 09:26 AM
rating: 0
 
MHaywood1025

And that doesn't make grammatical sense. Such is life when posting from a phone.

It should read since the drop-off...is significant, draft HanRam with #1 pick.

Mar 17, 2011 09:29 AM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

That's not really a fair comparison, though, as there are very few shortstops that get taken in rounds 2-4. You are fine with 1B if you get someone up to about Morales, but there is a big drop off after that. I'm not sure that Hanley + a bargain 1B is better than Albert + a bargain SS.

Mar 17, 2011 09:39 AM
rating: 0
 
jaymoff

It's seems pretty clear that Mike Petriello plays in an NL only league . . . only 1 AL guy listed . . . and he's headed to the NL of all places!

Mar 17, 2011 07:42 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Petriello
BP staff

Ha. I hadn't even noticed that, but it turns out you're right. Totally unintentional. I almost went with Felix over Halladay, but figured that Roy's likely to get more wins and that's more important in fantasy than in real life.

Mar 17, 2011 07:50 AM
 
pikapp383

I guess Rob McQuown doesn't believe Albert Pujols or Cardinal management who have both said that there will be no trade during the final year of his contract.

Mar 17, 2011 08:09 AM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

They would say that, wouldn't they? Seriously, nobody is going to say that Albert could be traded in July if the Cardinals are out of the running, but, if he had a chance to go to a playoff team, and the Cards felt they had no chance of resigning him, why wouldn't he be traded?

Mar 17, 2011 09:41 AM
rating: 2
 
Sky Kalkman

I've participated in two sim drafts, a fantasy auction, and a fantasy draft. Here are the guys that have ended up on multiple rosters or that I tried to grab multiple times. Some are for rational reasons, some are... not.

Pablo Sandoval: 2009 stats + 40 pounds!
Chris Capuano: always been a crush, great park for FBs
James McDonald: smitten
Aaron Harang: return to mediocrity + PETCO = pretty stats
Jordan Zimmerman: man-crush should be full recovered by now
Chris Iannetta: ways to screw him out of a job seem to have run out
Carlos Pena: rebound + NL Central pitching + Wrigley = fun
Joel Peralta: if he retains half his 2010 ability to get out lefties, he's the closer
Brandon McCarthy: Oakland miracle
Matt Capps: something about a Joe Nathan surgery last year...
Lance Berkman: Dude can still crush righties, although I am worried he can't play OF
Kila Ka'aihue: BPro mandates that authors draft him in every league

Mar 17, 2011 09:05 AM
rating: 0
 
Marc Normandin

I have Kila in one league. I just took McCarthy in Kings for that very reason as my sixth starter. Pena, too, as you know.

Mar 17, 2011 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BarryR

Sandoval : wasn't it the 40 lbs that led to 2010? just askin'
Capuano: as a Met fan - from your keyboard to God's ears
McDonald: sounds reasonable
Harang: My fellow BPers - if there is one thing to take away from this post, do not acquire this man. Before you pick him based on Petco, check out his home/road splits the last four years. Hear me now and thank me later -- this way madness lies. (This does not apply if you are in either of my leagues).
Iannetta: He hit under .200, isn't hitting a lick in ST, and is a notoriously slow starter. If there is a way to screw him, it will be found. That said, I may keep him in one of my leagues.
Pena: What is the next number in this sequence: .247, .227,.196? If you think it's a number that won't kill your BA, I wish you luck.
Peralta: interesting
McCarthy: for $1 - why not
Capps: classic closer-in-waiting, maybe even a back-door one with him being traded at some point.
Berkman: Berkman + OF = injury waiting to happen
Kila: good upside

Mar 17, 2011 16:31 PM
rating: 1
 
Sky Kalkman

Good stuff, Barry. I guess I should note that I was targeting Pena in a sim league (well played, Marc) and actually took him in a linear weights league. So it's not like fantasy where AVG is valuable by definition. Also, regarding Capps, I like him to start the year as closer while Nathan figures things out after TJ. 50/50 he even ends up with more saves than Nathan, I think.

Mar 17, 2011 16:45 PM
rating: 0
 
Robotey

Barry -- funny sh*t. We Met fans are nothing if not imaginative in our spins on limited expectations--it's in our DNA. Even if Capuano or C Young pitch well for April they'll fall apart by Flag Day. Even Beltran playing well enough to merit a trade to the AL feels like a reach. Thanks for bursting my balloon on Harang--he burned me for $9 last year and like a trod-upon bar floozy--did I mention I was a Met fan?--I was ready to try him at Petco for a buck--of course that's where he blew his arm out in relief in the 14th inning, right? better than missing the playoffs due to a taxi cab crash near LGA.

Mar 17, 2011 20:30 PM
rating: 0
 
BarryR

Yes, hope springs eternal for us Mets fans -- although the news of Luis Hernandez as the starting 2B makes any optimism very difficult. I had hope that Young and Capuano could hold things to gether for a nice chunk of the year, but with Beltran still limping (I have him for $4 in a keeper league and will be passing on retaining him), and a gaping hole at 2B...well, it's gonna be a long year.
You had Harang last year and there is still air available for your balloon? For the record, I wish I had spent just $9 on Harang last year. And he didn't blow his arm out in the 14th, he blew it out two days later when Dusty decided that the 5 inning relief appearance didn't constitute a reason to push back his start.

Mar 17, 2011 21:26 PM
rating: 0
 
Robotey

you say potato, I say Felix Milan. at this point you've unsold me enough on Harang, I think I'll put him up early and watch as he clogs someone else's roster's SP spot for $5--but if his WHIP ends up anywhere under 1.30, so help me Pat Zachary!

Mar 18, 2011 19:16 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Brown
BP staff

Kila Monster!

I'm still depressed that he was poached one pick ahead of mine in my Scoresheet league.

Mar 17, 2011 20:28 PM
 
fairacres

I'd be interested in anyone's take on--

Seth Smith -- may see a career high in PAs; if he can hit LHP at ALL he could have a very good year (mashes RHP)

Aramis Ramirez -- not a Cub fan or ARam fan at all, but if he is healthy, could have a decent bounceback year (?)

Mar 17, 2011 10:23 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jason Collette
BP staff

I am very high on Seth Smith this year - he's the NL version of Matt Joyce as they share the same Achilles heel in that they both have struggles vs LHP. Smith's seem more extreme than Joyce since Joyce hasn't had most of a chance to prove otherwise.

Aramis can be a horse, the health my biggest fear with himn.

Mar 17, 2011 15:26 PM
 
Hoff

ike davis for a sophmore slump?

I have a hard time seeing how a guy whose basically just average has a sophmore slump. his first year wasn't slumpable. if he really slides off that, the mets have other replacement options, like carlos beltran.

Mar 17, 2011 13:13 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Street
BP staff

"Slump" is always a relative term, and I don't see Ike Davis being as marginally valuable in 2011 as he was in 2010. His .290 TAv and 3.1 WARP were off the charts from his PECOTA percentiles, and PECOTA sees him regressing significantly this year (.267 and 0.8, respectively).

That his comps include Votto (age 24 season: .297/.368/.506) and Travis Ishikawa (age 24 season: .274/.337/.432) speaks volumes about Davis' volatility, mostly due to his high K rate.

I could have picked a higher-performing player to slump, but Ike's on my VP CIF/DH beat, and his name sort of jumped out at me.

Mar 18, 2011 11:36 AM
 
Bellis

Probably wouldn't make for interesting reading to see everybody just pick Pujols as the offensive MVP, but for my money he's so far and away the choice it's not even close. Would love to see somebody defend another choice. 1st base is actually thinner than most fantasy players recognize. Look at the average value and the standard deviation in value from top to bottom at ss and 1b. Pujols and Hanley are actually about equal in terms of their value above the positional mean. Given that, you take Pujols everytime.

Also disagree with the choice of Kemp as a disappointment. He's too talented and with Lopes around he's going to run a lot. I'm actually betting on him to be a top 10 player this year.

Mar 17, 2011 13:38 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bill Baer
BP staff

That's a good point. I did consider Pujols, but I figured that he would be mentioned frequently, so I opted for Troy Tulowitzki. But, yeah, Pujols is the overwhelming favorite in the most valuable player department.

Mar 17, 2011 14:22 PM
 
BP staff member Michael Street
BP staff

I'd suggested to Marc that we make the top player a non-Pujols pick, as we do in the Impact Prospect category. But I play in saber-cat leagues where he stands out even more, and it's good to see other writers bucking the knee-jerk Pujols reaction. Pujols went third in our BP sim-league draft, but that's because of defensive differential.

Mar 17, 2011 20:50 PM
 
Marc Normandin

Pujols for life. Or until he starts to show his age, anyways.

Mar 17, 2011 22:28 PM
rating: 0
 
pobothecat

How about an article of Bold Predictions, where readers get to chip in theirs?

Mar 17, 2011 13:55 PM
rating: 0
 
ericmay2432

i just signed up with this site, and am using it strictly to aid me in my fantasy league. its a head to head points league with absolutely no salaries or anything like that. what is the best feature on this site to help aid me in my draft?

also is there anywhere on this site that i can look up the 2011 vorp projections between all hitters and pitchers (or even one or the other) is descending order?

Mar 17, 2011 14:55 PM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Michael Jong
BP staff

ericmay2432,

May I direct you to our wonderful Player Forecast Manager:

http://pfm.baseballprospectus.com/

Along with this handy quick guide on PFM's features, penned by Marc Normandin:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13122

Enjoy, it should be of great use to you in whatever draft in which you are involved.

Mar 17, 2011 20:22 PM
 
ericmay2432

checking it out right now, thank you very much buddy. you da man! lol

Mar 17, 2011 20:27 PM
rating: 0
 
pilamkl

and by Ryan Rayburn, you of course mean Ryan Raburn.

Mar 17, 2011 17:15 PM
rating: 1
 
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Value Pi... (03/17)
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