Ray’s bold predictions inspired me to write some of my own. Although not quite as “bold” as his list, I think most shy away from the majority opinion and have a somewhat reasonable chance at coming to fruition. Maybe not? I was bored.
The Upton Bros each post 25/25 seasons while Freddie Freeman hits .285 and emerges as a Top 5 1B with 31 HR and 120 RBI en route to another NL Wild Card appearance for the Atlanta Braves.
Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton sees very few pitches to hit which (among other things) results in regression in his BA, R and RBI totals. He still manages to clobber 39 HR but is shut down for all of September with an ankle injury, leaving all his H2H owners up a creek during their playoff run.
Ike Davis avoids a first-half meltdown and wins the NL Home Run Crown after smashing 43 HR over the course of the 2013 season. Johan Santana misses the entire season, leading to an early promotion for Zack Wheeler and NL ROY considerations.
After a scorching performance in the Grapefruit League, Domonic Brown earns the trust of Charlie Manuel and becomes the Phillies #5 hitter where he finishes with a .280 BA, 17 SB and 26 HR. Delmon Young is released on July 14th to the pleasure of all Philadelphians.
Stephen Strasburg easily wins the NL Cy Young Award with 22 W, 2.55 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 262 K. Bryce Harper finishes the season as the #2 rated fantasy OF behind only Ryan Braun. The Nationals win a ridiculous amount of baseball games.
Kyuji Fujikawa takes over the closer role after Carlos Marmol blows five of his first seven save opportunities. Fujikawa straight up dominates with 36 SV and 90 K in 68 IP and is inexplicably given the nickname “The Killer Whale” so that vendors can sell foam whale hats at Wrigley Field memorabilia stores. Anthony Rizzo has a Hosmerian collapse, causing many fantasy owners to wish they had drafted Ike Davis instead.
Joey Votto wins his second NL MVP as he leads the NL in OBP and wins two thirds of the NL Triple Crown with a .340 BA and 128 RBI. Jonathon Broxton plummets to his 2010-2011 production which prompts the Reds to return Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen where he should have been all along. Billy Hamilton steals 16 bases in September in a part-time role.
Jean Segura struggles batting in front of the pitcher and is a complete and total butcher in the field which leads to his demotion to AAA and Alex Gonzalez taking over the starting SS job for the remainder of the year. Gonzalez becomes an unexpected power source at SS with 17 HR and 68 RBI. Johnny Hellweg takes over the closer role in August after John Axford continues his Derek Turnbow-esque spiral into irrelevancy.
Starling Marte finishes the year with 17 HR and 32 SB, despite being moved up and down the batting order due to a rather ugly .295 OBP. Russel Martin hits 23 HR, good for second amongst NL catchers behind only Wilin Rosario. The Pirates finish below .500 for the 77th consecutive season.
Shelby Miller not only wins the fifth rotation spot, but emerges as the Cardinals second best pitcher with 17 W, 3.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 182 K in 162 IP. His performance narrowly earns him the NL ROY Award over teammate Oscar Taveras who hits .311 and 16 HR from July through September thanks to a Carlos Beltran knee injury that sidelines the veteran for most of the second half.
Paul Goldschmidt hits 27 HR but finishes the year with a .260 BA and 11 SB, making many owners wonder why they used a fifth round pick on a 1B that can’t hit RHP. David Hernandez takes over the closer role in May after a JJ Putz injury, finishes with 33 SV and becomes a consensus Top 5 closer entering next year’s drafts.
Josh Rutledge comes nowhere close to his offseason hype as he bats just .255 with 12 HR and 14 SB and splits time at 2B with Chris Nelson throughout the second half after Nolan Arenado is promoted to the majors in late June. No Colorado pitcher finishes with more than 12 W or 150 K.
Luis Cruz gets off to an abysmal start in April which prompts the LAD front office to shift Hanley Ramirez to 3B and Dee Gordon to start at SS for the remainder of the season. Gordon steals 58 bases in the season which leads the MLB in 2013. Carl Crawford spends most of the year on the DL, resulting in the Dodgers once again trading with the Red Sox at the deadline, this time for Jacoby Ellsbury.
Andrew Cashner avoids the DL and becomes the Padres staff ace with a 3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 175 K in 155 IP. Chase Headley returns from a thumb injury in May but never hits more than 3 HR in a month and finishes outside the Top 15 3B in 2013.
Pablo Sandoval goes kosher in 2013 and avoids all ham-related injuries (hammates, hamstrings) which leads to a .310 BA, 29 HR and 95 RBI and a finish within the Top 3 3B in 2013. Brandon Belt reaches 20 HR and steals more bases than Paul Goldschmidt. He eventually moves to LF after the Giants acquire Corey Hart from the Brewers to play 1B down the stretch.
Dylan Bundy is promoted in July and goes on a Kris Medlen type run in the second half with 9 W, 1.75 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 111 K. Adam Jones and Chris Davis both regress in terms of power with neither hitting over 30 HR in 2013 and the Orioles finish third in the division behind Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Joel Hanrahan fails miserably in the AL East and finds himself pitching in the 6th and 7th innings of blowouts by the All-Star break. Junichi Tazawa leapfrogs Andrew Bailey for the closer role and strives with 22 SV and a Kimbrel-esque WHIP and ERA. David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster spend a combined 162 games on the DL and the Red Sox finish last in the AL East.
Derek Jeter has over 200 hits again to keep on pace with Pete Rose’s record and Brett Gardner falls just short of 50 SB with 49. Neither Mark Teixeira nor Alex Rodriguez appears in a single game and Mariano Rivera retires midseason after he aggravates his knee injury. Michael Pineda makes six starts for the Yankees down the stretch to earn sleeper status entering 2014.
David Price, Matt Moore and Chris Archer combine for 50 W and 575 K en route to a division championship for the Rays. Wil Myers receives the call on June 15th and proceeds to hit 17 HR over the final three months of the season, earning him the AL ROY Award in the process.
Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and RA Dickey all struggle in the AL East and Brandon Morrow finds himself on the DL once again, leaving the Blue Jays with the third worst rotation in the AL in front of only Chicago and Houston. The offense is elite, however, as Melky Cabrera silences doubters with a .310 BA, 18 HR and 15 SB and 110 R and Jose Bautista reaches 40 HR again for the third time in four seasons.
Chris Sale undergoes Tommy John surgery on May 22nd, leaving the White Sox with Jake Peavy and little else in their rotation. Father time finally catches up to Paul Konerko who hits below .270 for only the third time in his career and manages only 21 HR. Alex Rios rewards his owners with a repeat of his 2012 season and finishes the year as the #5 rated OF in 2013.
Jason Kipnis enters his prime on a tear and finishes the season with 22 HR, 26 SB and a .275 BA that makes him the consensus #2 2B in drafts next season behind only Robinson Cano. Trevor Bauer makes Arizona look foolish as he posts a 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 180 K in 162 IP. Ubaldo Jimenez is released shortly after the All-Star Break and is immediately claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals where he comes close to returning to his 2010 form.
After two straight seasons as a bridesmaid in the MVP race, Prince Fielder wins the AL MVP with a .302 BA, 42 HR and 130 RBI. Bruce Rondon, Joaquin Benoit and Al Alburquerque combine for over 255 K in the Tigers bullpen. Justin Verlander signs a 7-year, $200 million extension just prior to starting the All-Star Game for the AL.
Eric Hosmer improves from his dismal 2012 season, but not by much as he still has no answer for the shift and Kauffman Stadium destroys his HR potential. In the end he finishes with a .265 BA, 17 HR and 13 SB. Lorenzo Cain completes his first full season with the team with a .290 BA, 16 HR and 26 SB, which ranks him ahead of Austin Jackson, Shin-Soo Choo and teammate Alex Gordon at the end of the year.
Joe Mauer finishes the season as the #1 ranked catcher ahead of Buster Posey after hitting .330 with 16 HR, 8 SB and 180 R/RBI. Vance Worley makes a smooth transition to the AL and posts 14 W, 3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 140 K for the Twins as the staff ace and a solid #4 starter for fantasy owners. Trevor Plouffe continues his impressive power display and finishes fourth among all 3B with 29 HR in 2013.
Justin Maxwell and Tyler Greene decimate their owners BA but provide 15/15 seasons for those willing to sacrifice the category. The Crawford Boxes are renamed The Carter Boxes after Chris Carter hits 22 HR over the short porch in LF at Minute Maid Park and another 12 HR on the road.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Peter Bourjos scores over 80 runs from the ninth spot in the order and finishes with 16 HR and 33 SB much to the delight of his owners. Josh Hamilton has a miserable season for the Angels and finishes second in strikeouts behind only Adam Dunn while failing to hit 30 HR, yet the team still manages to win the AL West. Ryan Madson finishes the season with 3 SV due to injury, leaving Ernesto Frieri to finish with 38 SV and 102 K.
None of Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone or Bartolo Colon is able to repeat their 2012 magic, which results in a third place finish in the AL West, despite a full season of health from Brett Anderson. Yoenis Cespedes (just barely) beats out Justin Upton in all five roto categories with a .295 BA, 33 HR and 27 SB while Jed Lowrie leads all SS with 26 HR.
Jason Bay, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse each spend significant time on the DL leaving the Seattle lineup looking similar to last season’s more often than not, although improvements from Dustin Ackley (.275 BA, 17 HR, 19 SB) and Jesus Montero (.285 BA, 22 HR) give fans optimism for 2014. Tom Wilhelmsen is traded to Toronto at the deadline, opening the door for Carter Capps to emerge as a frontline closer in 2014.
Yu Darvish reaches ace status with 19 W, 3.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 254 K and leads the Texas Rangers to their second consecutive Wild Card appearance. Lance Berkman strives in Arlington with a .305 BA, 25 HR and 90 RBI prompting the creation of the popular “Hamilton Who?” t-shirt seen everywhere at the stadium.