No Maikel Franco chatter here, people. Instead, I will attempt to be more subtle. Here is a review of 2015's bold predictions, where I batted a cool .300 on 10 prognostications. Shout-out to Jonathan Lucroy, Jose Altuve, and Josh Donaldson for making your boy look like a big-league All-Star.
Now for the good stuff. I have studied more baseball this preseason than ever before. Logically, one can assume that I will bat at least .500 on these 2016 picks. Good luck figuring out which ones, though. Also, due to time constraints (family life, etc) I am aiming to improve upon my numbers but I only have five at-bats. So I'm aiming for four correct out of five. Let's play a game: which of these predictions is most likely to not be true?
1. Logan Forsythe will be a Top 10 Second Baseman.
Our FakeTeams staff ranked Forsythe as the 17th-best two-bagger for this season, and I agreed with that consensus ranking. However, that was prior to Forsythe being named the permanent leadoff hitter for Tampa Bay, a move which should result in a higher number of runs and stolen bases for the 29-year-old. Forsythe managed 17 home runs in 2015, so we are looking at a guy who could go 15/15 with more than 80 runs atop that Rays lineup. He truly could be a cheaper version of Jason Kipnis in 2016--with a lower batting average but with more power. I am all-in with this guy at his current market value.
2. Mike Moustakas will out-slug Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria and be a Top 10 Third Baseman.
Okay, so maybe this one isn't too bold, but I have Beltre 12th and Longoria 13th in my own rankings. So maybe this blurb should be about one of them. I like to keep it positive, though, so I'm going with the guy who I feel is underrated. "Moose" set career highs with 22 HR, 73 R, 82 RBI, a .284 average, and an .817 OPS in 2015. His slugging mark was .470, higher than Beltre (.453) and Longoria (.435). He is still only 27 years old, and if you draft him you are benefiting from the lingering disappointment the fake populace has towards Moustakas for not being an All-Star at the exact moment he entered the MLB. I'll look past the declining players and take the guy with the arrow pointing upward, thank you very much.
3. Julio Teheran will finish as a Top 30 starting pitcher.
That's right, people. Last season Teheran wet the bed, in large part due to struggling mightily versus left-handed bats (I see you lurking around on Opening Day, Bryce Harper). Anyway, Teheran still finished with over 200 innings and 171 strikeouts, which is essentially his floor in those two spots. So all you really have to ask yourself is: was 2015's performance versus lefties a fluke? Sort of. Teheran has been vulnerable to lefties before, but without the loss of command like he displayed last season when he posted a 3.27 BB/9. Teheran's career mark is 2.53, and from 2013 to 2014 those numbers were 2.18 and 2.08 respectively. If he can limit the free pass and fare a little better against left-handed hitters (his entire focus coming into this season) you'll have a major bargain on your hands.
4. Mitch Moreland will be a Top 20 first baseman.
He was 19th among first basemen last season, so this isn't much of a stretch if Moreland can remain healthy. I have him slotted in the 18th spot, ahead of Lucas Duda, Carlos Santana, and Mark Teixeira. Moreland's key is health. If he is healthy, he will rake--especially in his home stadium and in hitter-friendly away parks. Mitch's talent isn't just in the park, though--he has a career .184 ISO but has been at .206 and .204 in his last two healthy seasons (excluding his injury-shortened 2014). So long as you don't pay an expectant price you will make a profit here. Moreland is currently the 29th-ranked first baseman over at FantasyPros, so it looks like most people are undervaluing him. Shout-out to my colleagues here at FakeTeams for keeping Moreland up as the 21st first baseman.
5. Christian Yelich will not finish as a Top 50 outfielder.
A guy with a career ground ball rate of 61.9% is somehow being drafted regularly as a Top 30 outfielder because...why? I"m supposed to get excited over a guy who might hit .280 and steal 20 bases? Give me a break. Yelich does not elevate the ball (career 16.0 FB%) and until he does so you are better off ignoring this guy as a Top 30 outfield play. This doesn't even feel bold to me. If you're having to use "moved the fences in" as part of your argument for someone, that someone is obviously flawed. I'll find my speed elsewhere.
And that's it for 2016. May I be crying at the end of the season for not selecting Fab Freddie Freeman--that will mean he posted an MVP-type of season and my Atlanta Braves weren't awful again. We shall see.