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A few more 2013 MLB Predictions of Boldness

The Big Week O'Predictions winds down as I try to find humor in a list of guesses.

Carlos Santana doesn't think I'm funny. :(
Carlos Santana doesn't think I'm funny. :(
Jason Miller

Gotta make this funny, right? I mean, I like to think I give good fantasy advice, but I've cultivated a rather goofy persona thus far. I can't just list some bold predictions like "Wilson Ramos seizes the Nationals starting job, gets 400-450 plate appearances and is a top-10 fantasy catcher" [1] without jokes, can I?

Anyway, this is the end of a long week of bold predictions. (Yesterday, Brian Creagh announced the end of Predictions Week, but he LIED! Or we changed our schedule. One of those, though.) And that's just on the Fake Teams site. Wouldn't jokes make it stand out? Like, instead of bold predictions, I could make italicized predictions: James Shields, no longer getting the Tropicana Field benefit, is only the second-best starter on the Royals, behind Ervin Santana, and in a clump with Wade Davis and Jeremy Guthrie.[2]

Which, I mean, I like that attempt, it's funny, but it's also kind of a one-trick pony. I could go stream of consciousness and just see how that works out: Jurickson Profar only get a few dozen plate appearances in the bigs [3] for the Rangers, as Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus are productive and healthy all year. People who draft Profar in non-keeper leagues regret it. I am in a keeper league, and I traded Mike Trout last year, which is sad, but not as sad as it could be, because he can't possibly match last year's highs. Good, yes. Great, no. Even more drastic with Angels teammate Josh Hamilton, who takes an enormous step back [4] as he continues his every-other-year career path. Also typically good every other year is the Dodgers' Josh Beckett, and he's a popular bounce-back call among the experts, but I think he goes the other way. Two straight years of bad for him, and by September there are genuine "when is he going to retire?" questions. [5]

Okay, I only worked in a few predictions there, and I was tired by the end. I don't think I could do that for a whole column. Ugh, what else? There's the real prediction/joke prediction tactic: Matt Harvey, with his crazy strikeout ability, is a top-25 starting pitcher. [6] Meanwhile, Bobby Bonilla, still one of the highest-paid Mets, is also one of their best outfield options. (Did you know MLB Depth Charts has Marlon Byrd projected as the Mets' #3 hitter to start the season? That's terrifying.)

Oh, hey, while I'm in New York, I want to make fun of the Yankees a little bit. Guys, *snicker*, your first baseman is Dan Johnson, *snicker*. That has nothing to do with fantasy, I just find it hilarious that Dan Johnson is the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees. Sort of like Keanu Reeves appearing in the next season of Downton Abbey, no?


Sigh, fine, fantasy stuff. Travis Hafner will hit really well in Yankee Stadium. He will do nothing away from there, but if you're in a daily-lineup league, he's worth a bench spot and all sorts of home-game starts. [7]

If you don't follow Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy on Twitter, do that thing. They're funnier than probably anything I've put in here. (See that "probably"? I think that makes this a Humblebrag.) But speaking of Anderson, he finally has a healthy season for the A's, and puts together a heck of a good one. I'm calling for 15-17 wins, a 2.90 ERA. [8] Seriously good season.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Domonic Brown is the new Ryan Howard. Something along the lines of 30 home runs and acceptable on-base skills for the Phillies, making up for the fact that dude might as well not own a glove. That happens while Howard fades further, and Darin Ruf eventually becomes Howard's platoon partner. [9]

I want to try a fantasy limerick now: "There once was a man named Upton/Who played with his brother named Upton/Justin was a fantasy beast/As the Braves won the East/Something something something lupton." Note regarding the Braves winning the East: I do not believe this will happen. But it rhymed with "beast," and my main point is that Justin Upton is going to be a top-FOUR outfielder. [10] Only one real prediction per limerick. Don't get greedy.

In rivalry news, the Cubs and the Cardinals hate each other! Let's lump them in the same paragraph and see if the entire column self-implodes: Michael Bowden is the best fantasy option in the Cubs bullpen. [11] Carlos Marmol will be dealt, and Kyuji Fujikawa will disappoint. Bowden will be the closer by June. Over in St. Louis, Oscar Taveras, unlike his spirit brother Profar, gets called up reasonably early, when Carlos Beltran inevitably has his annual ouchie. He lives up to the hype and runs away with the Rookie of the Year. [12]

Could I do an entire column of pun predictions? Because lord knows I love puns. Like...I don't know, Won'tin Rosario - Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario's terrible fielding and on-base skills outweigh his power numbers, which are artificially Coors-ified anyway, and he loses time to the Jordan Pacheco/Ramon Hernandez combo meal. [13] Or Middlin'brooks - Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who was only good his first time through the league last year, isn't worth owning in anything but the deepest of leagues. [14] He strikes out too much, doesn't walk enough, and his 2012 power was an illusion. Drop him if you got him.

Again, that was only two puns, and I'm exhausted. Damnit, maybe I'm not as funny as I thought. Maybe I should play this straight: The Tigers give Bruce Rondon the closer job out of the gate, and he's fine. He's no Craig Kimbrel, but he's also no end-of-2012 Jose Valverde. A lot of saves, a high-ish WHIP, a fine fantasy closer who doesn't hurt you. [15] A reliever who actually will hurt you, relative to his draft spot, is Jim Johnson. The Orioles bullpen simply cannot be as good as last year, and Johnson won't have the save opportunities he did last year. His saves drop off by at least 1/3, his ERA climbs by more than a run. [16] Drop him a few rounds.

SIDENOTE FROM ME (which is silly, because this whole thing is notes from me): This is the last paragraph I wrote in this whole thing. I was marking teams off as I made predictions, and realized I had left the White Sox out. So I am inserting this here. I so didn't want to make a Gordon Beckham prediction, as I am on record as being unable to think clearly about him. So I'll just say this: I like Gordon Beckham. I think he'll be good. [17] But he probably won't be. I have no idea what to do with that information.

Eh, that got boring. Lightning round! Boom: Yunel Escobar finally makes a leap to serious fantasy relevance (top-12 shortstop) with the Rays; [18] is still an awful human being. With the Blue Jays, Melky Cabrera is nearly as good as last year, casting doubts about the legitimacy of all the PED witch hunts. [19] He's probably not a great human, either. Aroldis Chapman seems to be a not-altogether-terrible person, so there's that, but he won't be nearly the same Reds closer he was last year. Definitely top 10 if healthy, but nowhere near top two. [20] Starters you want: The Brewers' Marco Estrada (15-7, 185 strikeouts, 3.70 ERA). [21] The Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma (12-11, 150, 3.60). [22] Starters you don't want: The Pirates' James McDonald (8-10, 140, 4.10). [23] The Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy (11-11, 160, 4.00). [24] Draft Cameron Maybin, with 40 steals and a .330 OBP. [25] Don't draft Pablo Sandoval, with 15 home runs, 65 RBI, and an injury or two. [26] Those numbers are all guesses, FYI. I'm no Miss Cleo.

Okay, that was a lot of info, but I've got to make some funnies. Oh, the crappy teams ought to be good for a laugh. How about predicting that Giancarlo Stanton proves the people who think lineup protection is a big deal wrong, as he leads the league in home runs and has as many RBI as that Marlins lineup will allow. [27] Unfortunately Jeffrey Loria pisses off even more fans, and Stanton performs in front of eight people at a time. Meanwhile, in Houston, the Astros' 2-3-4-5 hitters of Jose Altuve-Carlos Pena-Chris Carter-Brett Wallace are totally respectable, giving the team a not-embarrassing lineup. [28] On the flip side, though, their pitchers are awful. Still, though, there will be batting average (Altuve) and homers (the other guys) to be had cheaply. And, in our Third Terrible Team Talk, Joe Mauer is the only fantasy startable member of the Twins. That's not the insightiest of insights, but my point is that Josh Willingham is going to slide this year, and Justin Morneau is never going to Justin Morneau again. [29] Stay away.

Wait, those weren't very funny. Crap, have I lost it? Am I not as funny as I thought? Let me try this: Knock-knock. Who's there? Carlos Santana. Carlos Santana who? Carlos Santana will be the best catcher in fantasy in 2013, [30] and not just because he's so "Smooth."

Hilarious. I still got it.

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