Bret’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014

In what’s now becoming a yearly tradition at The Dynasty Guru, the writers here have been (and will be) putting their boldest predictions out there as they relate both to the major leagues and minors. And for completeness, here were my predictions from last year, and then my review of these same predictions from the end of the season. They’re fun pieces and at this point you know exactly what to get out of them. They also don’t need any longer of an intro than this. Let’s have some fun–and yes, these go to eleven.

1) Albert Pujols will be a top-3 fantasy first baseman in 2014, only behind Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt.

The blessing and the curse about writing a lot during the off-season is that you already know who my guys are–and Pujols is clearly one of my guys heading into 2014. He’s healthy and ready to remind people that it wasn’t too long ago that he was considered one of the best hitters in the game. I believe that Spring Training stats mean as little as anyone else, but one thing I did notice this weekend was that Pujols hit a triple on Sunday and just the fact that he felt good enough to stretch it in a meaningless game is noteworthy.

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Nick Doran’s Eleven Bold Predictions

Its time to have fun with some predictions. Some of my predictions are bold and some are BOLD but none of them are crazy. All of these things have a decent chance of actually happening, at least in my mind anyway. I can’t wait to brag about my psychic prognostication skills come October.

I am stepping out on a thin limb here with my first bold prediction because this rare feat has been done only one time in the history of baseball…

1. Billy Hamilton will steal 100 bases while scoring less than 100 Runs.

Take a look at Vince Coleman’s strange 1986 batting line:

PA — 670
R  – 94
H — 139
2B – 13
3B – 8
HR – 0
RBI – 29
SB – 107
CS – 14
BA – 0.232
OBP – 0.301
SLG – 0.280
OPS – 0.581
OPS+ – 62

That is all sorts of ugly. Coleman got a lot of fanfare that season because of his antics on the basepaths, but he was just plain terrible batting in front of Tom Herr, Jack Clark, Andy Van Slyke, Terry Pendleton, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith. The two are often compared, but Billy Hamilton is likely to be a much better all-around player than Vince Coleman both offensively and defensively. Hamilton won’t hit many home runs but he will get a lot more doubles and will hit for a much better slash line than Coleman, who finished his career with a very poor .668 OPS. My bold prediction is Hamilton will match Coleman’s dubious feat his rookie year but will get much better as time goes by.

2. Joey Votto will be the National League MVP. Continue reading

#TDGX Recap — Team Kantecki’s First 10

By now, you are well aware that my TDG mates and I have been participating in an intense 40-round, first-year dynasty league draft called The Dynasty Guru Experts League. We’re already 34 rounds deep and the pickings are slim — we’ve recently entered the part of the draft where the CBS player universe doesn’t house all of the players we’d like to draft on our respective teams. I entered the draft with a plan to stick strictly to value, but, as you’ll see, sometimes you need to re-adjust your plan on the fly.

The first ten picks from Team Kantecki:

1.03 — Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers

After Mike Trout and Bryce Harper went first and second, respectively, there wasn’t much debate at No 3. Miggy is a top-three dynasty selection no matter how you slice it. While he’s on the wrong side of 30 and will likely lose third-base eligibility after this year, Cabrera should still provide elite numbers for at least the next three seasons. Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen entered my thoughts briefly, but I couldn’t pass up the back-to-back American League MVP.

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen, Nos. 1-20

From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.

So we hope you enjoy the rankings package that we’ve put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru. You can do that through this link, or by clicking the “Donate” button on the top-right corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.

Third base, like last year, has some heavy hitters at the top. In fact, the top-five at the position may be as strong as any other position on the diamond (including first base). However, once you get beyond that, it’s a number of players who either haven’t proven anything or have been breakout stars without the requisite prospect status to give that extra layer of comfort. Then you have the aging third basemen who are still hanging on to their value despite being one year closer to retirement. It’s a position of power, and that’s only going to get stronger as the two prospects who clock in highest on this list both have at least 70 power potential.

Now the 20 best third baseman in dynasty leagues, starting with one of the best hitters in the game today:

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Jay Bruce: On the Verge of 30, Again

After taking Clayton Kershaw deep not once, but twice (!) on Sunday Night Baseball, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce finds himself one moon shot away from registering his third consecutive 30-home run season. Unfortunately for me, that means my preseason prediction of 40 long balls is all but a certainty not to happen with 17 team games to go.

Oh well. You win some and you lose some.

On the happy side of the coin, three straight seasons of 30 home runs is nothing to sneeze at; only Miguel Cabrera has hit 30 or more in each of the last three seasons (from 2011-2013). In fact, Cabrera has done it in seven straight dating back to 2007. But who’s counting? A week and change into September, Bruce and Adrian Beltre are the only two players with an overwhelming chance of joining the Triple Crown winner by season’s end. (Prince Fielder would have to hit eight in Detroit’s final 18 games to make the cut.)

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Drafting a Dynasty League Roster: Major League Draft, Rounds 1-3

For those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while, you may remember the initial dynasty league I agreed to participate in at the beginning of the off-season for the purposes of writing up a full draft (and the thought process that went into it) on this site. We had the minor league draft through the boards back in November, and I wrote it up in a few different posts (Rounds 1-3, Rounds 4-6, Rounds 7-9, Rounds 10-12, Rounds 13-16, Rounds 17-25), but now this past Wednesday night was the marathon major league portion of the draft.

The draft started at 9:30pm ET, and by the time 1am rolled around, I still had a spot or two still left to fill. On top of this, I was running a fever the whole night and it ended up being the start of one of the worst viruses I’ve ever had in my life (that I’m just recovering from now). So by the end of the draft, I was mildly delirious and my gchat words were being used as internet fodder by a fellow TDG writer.

Over the course of the next week or two, I’m going to write up the entirety of the 25-round major league draft and then examine my full team at the very end. But from the outset, I will say that I’m very happy with how this whole draft turned out – and though my team certainly has some weaknesses, it’s a 20-team league, and that’s bound to happen. My strategy from the outset was that I was going to secure the offense first with firepower, and then build my pitching staff with depth. And in the end, I stuck to that plan exactly.

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The Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen

The theme continues as we make our way to the final infield position – the right side of the infield is getting weaker from a fantasy perspective, as the left side of the infield is getting stronger. With Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado joining the ranks, along with breakouts from Chase Headley, Will Middlebrooks, Todd Frazier and others, the third base position is primed for a run of quality and depth that hasn’t been seen in a long time. Even the top-10 only has three members over 30 years old (and David Wright just turned 30 last month).

The trend continues on the minor league side of the equation, as six out of my top 50 prospects are third basemen. This includes potential high-end talent in Rendon, Castellanos, Sano, Olt and more. In addition to that, there’s a whole wave of SS prospects that are unlikely to stick at the position long-term, and may end up at the hot corner. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that four to five more top-50 prospects have the potential to end up at the position.

I think we’re pretty close to a renaissance for the position, and the biggest difference between the growth at shortstop and third base is that the revolution isn’t just approaching on the horizon, it’s here now. The position is deep and getting deeper, although it’s still impossible to touch the guy at the top.

And now your top 50 dynasty league third basemen, with commentary:

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The Dynasty Guru’s Crystal Ball: 2017′s 5×5 Category Leaders

This is a fun exercise I’ve wanted to do for a while now. Right now, Opening Day 2017 is four and a half years away, but there’s absolutely no reason I can’t start speculating about who will lead the standard 5×5 rotisserie categories that season. Who knows if the 5×5 format we use now will still be the most commonplace scoring system that far into the future anyway? Maybe a standard ESPN league will be using OBP and QS instead of AVG and W. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to assume that the categories are remaining the same.

Now, this isn’t an all-prospect list – although there are some prospects on here. And if you think I’m understating the impact of prospects in this exercise, here’s a fun fact for you. If we did this exercise after the 2007 season, looking at the 2012 category leaders, guess how many of the categories would be led by players who had not played a game in the majors at the time? The answer is 5 out of 10. And if you expand out to the top-3 in each category (including ties), you get 13 out of 33, which is 39%. Of those 13 top-3 category finishes, 7 were from players that debuted in 2008, 2 were from players that debuted in 2009, 2 were from players that debuted in 2010 and 2 were from Mike Trout, who was a junior in high school when the 2007 season ended. In fact, Trout and Buster Posey were the only two players who finished in the top-3 of any 5×5 fantasy category in 2012 to be drafted AFTER the 2007 season.

Anyway, that’s enough of an introduction – let’s go to the Future Dynasty Guru for the breakdown of what happened in 2017:

Batting Average: Miguel Cabrera (.341)

It feels like Miguel Cabrera’s been around forever, but he only turned 33 on Opening Day 2017. While his power has started to wind down (this was his first season with under 30 HR in over a decade), Cabrera continues to maintain a high batting average. The two main reasons for this are: 1) he’s still a fantastic hitter to all fields and 2) by the laws of physics, it’s been impossible for him to get any slower than he was back in 2012. Runners up: Oscar Taveras (.334), Starlin Castro (.328)

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