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

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Ben’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014

This is my second year posting predictions at The Dynasty Guru, and this time I approach the task with even more dread than a year ago. Internet baseball predictions have a way of biting their creator in the ass more often than not, and that’s a fate I was fully willing to accept last season.

Then a funny thing happened: most of my 2013 predictions were correct. Sure, I had some real clunkers – feel free to skim over anything I wrote about Jesus Montero – but I went seven-for-11 in predictions last season, which is about five predictions better than I thought I’d do. Yes, that was a humblebrag on a fantasy baseball website. Get over it.

All this means, of course, that I’m destined to put up an oh-for this year, but such is life. Here goes nothing:

1. The former first-round starting pitcher with the most fantasy value this year won’t be Archie Bradley, Mark Appel or Kyle Zimmer: it will be Trevor Bauer, who will reclaim his rotation spot right out of Spring Training. Bauer may not be the dominant ace-level starter some projected out of college, but he’ll post a K/9 of 8.00 and an ERA south of 4.00 on his way toward becoming a mid-rotation starter for a long time. It’ll be a big victory for the Indians, who badly need rotation stability in the wake of losing Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez this offseason. Continue reading

Ten Burning Questions From the First Five Rounds of #TDGX

As you surely know by now, 20 of us are currently drafting teams in The Dynasty Guru Experts League. The festivities can be followed on Twitter at #TDGX. So in lieu of talking about my team today, which I will get to in due time, I reached out with ten specific questions to ten specific owners–getting them to talk about things that have helped shape the first five rounds of the draft. Whether it’s strategy or particular picks, there was no shortage of things that I wanted to know from the first 100 picks, and the answers did not disappoint. Thank you to all of the owners who provided the insight below.

1) Craig Glaser/Tom Trudeau, Bloomberg Sports & MLB AM

Q: Did you guys set out with the strategy of taking all very young players up top and would it have been different if you had not picked at the #2 spot? Did you have particular players in mind for each of those picks? When do you think your team can reasonably be contenders?

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Shortstops, 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.

Shortstop is a position very much in flux these days, as once you move past the obvious names, you get a lot of players who have pretty serious flaws. On the other hand, the shortstops coming up through the minor leagues right now are the strongest crop we’ve seen in almost twenty years (the famed A-Rod, Jeter, Garciaparra, Tejada class). There are four guys right now who slide into those spots, and you’ll notice that they are all in the top-11 here. And what else is slowly happening over time is that the position is moving back towards one where you can get power, instead of just speed-based players. And this is all with a couple of big name players who are off the position for right now (but may end up back there soon) in Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado. Incredible.

Now the 20 best shortstops in dynasty leagues, starting with the player who eked out a very close race for number one between two NL West stars:

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Up the Middle: Loading Up on Shortstops

I recently finished reading Joe Morgan’s autobiography A Life in Baseball. I really enjoyed it as he’s one of my favorite players and the book was written in a very honest, straightforward manner. One of my favorite parts of the book was when he discussed the “diamond within the diamond” and how important good defensive play is to building a winning team, especially at the positions of catcher, middle infield, and centerfield. That book was written two decades ago about a player who played four decades ago, and yet that principle still holds true. No matter how solid prospects start out at the shortstop position, there are many factors along the way, including the defensive ability mentioned above, that can determine whether that player will actually end up at shortstop in the major leagues.

Due to the fact that shortstop is still a very defensive position along with second base, the two positions can supply loads of value if you can find a player who is an offensive stud there as well. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to write about middle infield in the first place. But there is also the catch that the guy who you’ve projected as your dynasty league shortstop of the future ends up as a corner infielder. So what do I do as a dynasty owner? I load up on shortstop prospects and play the numbers game. Continue reading

I’ll Ask Again: Is Byron Buxton The Best Fantasy Prospect In Baseball?

On June 4, I took stock of Byron Buxton’s phenomenal campaign in Single-A and asked our readers a simple question: was the Twins’ outfielder the best fantasy prospect in the game, and if not, who was?

After examining the extraordinary numbers Buxton had posted to that point in the season, I concluded that Buxton was surely a Top 10 name, but was not yet ready to give him the top spot. After all, the likes of Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras and Xander Bogaerts all loomed large, and each was significantly closer to the majors.

That opinion came back when Buxton was hitting “a modest” .333/.435/.545 with a wRC+ of 174 through 240 PA. Of course, the 19-year-old would go on to finish with a .341/.431/.559 line in 321 PA in Single-A, before hitting .326/.415/.472 in 253 PA in High-A. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late For a Bold Predictions Review: Bret’s Turn

As I begin to write this, it’s still October, which means the statute of limitations on a HEY LET’S REVIEW MY BOLD PREDICTIONS FROM BEFORE THE SEASON piece has not yet come to pass. So, HEY LET’S REVIEW MY BOLD PREDICTIONS FROM BEFORE THE SEASON!

The week prior to Opening Day, each previously current member of the Dynasty Guru staff wrote eleven bold predictions for the upcoming season. The still current members of the team have already written their reviews, so it’s my turn. It’s going to be a roller coaster of emotion here, as some of these predictions not only came true, but look pretty great in hindsight. Of course, there are also predictions which make me want to erase all references to myself and this site on the internet.

So get out your smiting sticks (or whatever the kids are smiting with these days) and let’s dig in. Oh, and grades because everyone loves grades:

1. Alex Gordon blows the doors open and hits over .320 with 27 homers and 15 steals, finishing in the top-5 of MVP voting in the American League.

What I Said: I’m a big Alex Gordon believer, you guys know this already – and I think this is the year he takes that step forward into superstardom. Well, superstardom on a national level, as in reality, he’s been worth 12.4 wins above replacement over the last two seasons.

What Happened: Not exactly. Gordon ended up hitting 20 homers with 11 steals, but paired it with a .265 average. He will not get a single MVP vote.

Grade: D

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Ben’s 11 Bold Predictions: Blind Squirrel Gets Nut Edition

Let’s skip the formalities/well constructed introductions.

In my last post, I covered four of my preseason predictions that stunk. In this post, I will cover the other seven that didn’t stink. In this way, I’m able to abide by two Internet Baseball Writing rules at once: I’ve revisited a preseason column, and I get to stretch this into a two-part series.

And to sweeten the deal, while I won’t copy renowned colleague Craig Goldstein’s ploy and bring you GIFs, I will bring you each prediction headlined as though Scott Miller or someone of that ilk touched on the subject. Enjoy!

You can catch my original 11 Bold Predictions piece from March here.

Prediction No. 1: It’s Miller Time In Busch Stadium

What I wrote then:  Shelby Miller will win 15 games for the Cardinals this season, to go along with an ERA in the mid-3.00s and 190 strikeouts in 180 innings … He’s really good, even if he’s overshadowed by the likes of Oscar Taveras. In related news, I have Miller in all but one of my redraft leagues this season. Happyface.

What happened: 15 wins, an ERA of 3.06 and 169 strikeouts in 173.1 innings. Let’s call a spade a spade, folks. I nailed this one. Continue reading

Last Minute Pickups: Third Base

By coincidence or joke, Bret assigned me the third basemen in this week’s team effort to pinpoint players at each position who are worth picking up in your dynasty league before free agency closes on Sunday. I say joke because—since joining the TDG crew—I’ve already spent a large amount of time discussing the prospects of third basemen for 2014 and beyond, most notably Brett Lawrie and Nolan Arenado. (OK, so two out of my first six posts to be exact. But still, 33 percent!)

I wish it was as easy as finding the next Miguel Cabrera, but, sadly, Miggy’s don’t grow on trees. And they almost never jump from first base trees to third base trees.

With apologies to MVP underdog Josh Donaldson, third base was fairly predictable in 2013, with the usual suspects at or near the top. There were some busts (Chase Headley, Lawrie and Pablo Sandoval immediately come to mind), but overall it was a successful year for the gloved men at the hot corner. The names you are about to see are my favorite third base targets in dynasty formats. Each is owned in less than 25 percent of ESPN leagues and they are listed in order of ownership, from highest to lowest.

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