Craig’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014
11 Bold Predictions
You’re not here for intros. Here’s last year’s. Here’s the review of last year’s. Here’s this year’s train wreck:
1) Michael Choice gets 400+ plate appearances
Mitch Moreland is playing through a might-be-tweaked oblique right now and I think Choice is good enough to hold on to the job if he can get a crack at it full time. Between his ability to rotate into the outfield corners and hit for power that would be functional in Oakland much less Texas, Choice should earn plenty of playing time. If he does, it’s fantasy gravy.
2) Jonathan Schoop will a top 15 second baseman
I know, I know, “slow down with the boldness” you’re saying. Top 15 isn’t an aggressive selection, but for those of us in deeper leagues, tabbing a guy with less than 300 plate appearances at Triple-A last year to be one of the better second baseman in the league isn’t nothing. Schoop has pop – more than he’s shown in the minors due to aggressive assignments and a back injury – and should eventually make his platoon gig to start the season into a full time one. There aren’t that many second sackers with his power right now.
3) Oscar Taveras will retain prospect eligibility
This is something of a double-down on my successful Taveras prediction from last year. There’s something going on with Taveras and St. Louis and I’m not at all confident that he gets the requisite ABs to surpass rookie eligibility. Between his ankle, the Cardinals outfield depth and the apparent skyrocketing opinion of Stephen Piscotty, it wouldn’t shock me to see Taveras get something of a full run at Triple-A, since he missed so much time last year.
4) Nomar Mazara will be the highest ranked Myrtle Beach/Hickory prospect in 2015 (non-Alfaro division)
Of the group that includes Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, Nick Williams, Ronald Guzman, and Mazara, I think it’s Nomar that walks away ranked highest. Gallo gets the headlines because he’s got the most raw power, Williams gets noticed because he’s got the best hit tool, Guzman is noticed because he’s a mountain of human with good plate discipline at a young age, Brinson gets accolades for his athleticism and defense (though he is rightfully questioned on his bat), but I think it’s Mazara that can most successfully combine these elements in game situations. He’s not the most anything of this group, but he might be the best when it’s all said and done.
It was announced late Wednesday that Mazara, Guzman, Brinson and Jairo Beras would be assigned to Hickory, with Alfaro, Williams and Gallo would go to Myrtle Beach.
5) Aaron Hicks will be a useful fantasy player
I know, I promised I’d stop with the nutso predictions but here we are again. Sure, “useful fantasy player” isn’t exactly setting the bar high, but Hicks was also atrocious last year and received little love early on this Spring. I snagged him in TDGX because he wasn’t that bad against lefties (713 OPS) and because he’s always been slow to adjust. He never should have been in the major leagues last year, and while he is on the wrong side of the passive vs. selective argument, his speed and moderate pop will still come in handy in deep dynasties.
6) Matt Kemp will hit 25 home runs and steal 15 bases
These aren’t exactly record breaking numbers by any means, but they are lofty totals for a player who has proven to be brittle over the past two years. He’s been especially brittle in the lower half, where power is generated, as well as speed (ankle, hamstring). Throw in the shoulder injury that sapped his power in the first place and I’m already rethinking this. No, my heart tells me to go on and so I will. Kemp could be ready as early as April 4th. If he is, that’s only a few games missed, and while he’s part of a crowded outfield situation and will assuredly get some extra rest at times, he’s got the raw talent to go 40/40, so 25/15 isn’t exactly insane. Merely bold.
7) Nick Castellanos is a top eight third baseman
I’ve had a crush on Castellanos since his draft day and not only do I think the power is coming, I think it’s coming this year. I think he can be Chris Johnson with power which might not sound like a compliment but Chris Johnson can straight up rake. He’s not in the best park for power, but it won’t matter. He can hit enough to let his power play up. Third baseman who can hit .300 don’t grow on trees, and while he might not meet that mark this season, he’ll come close enough that it won’t matter.
8) Jason Heyward puts up a .300/.400/.500 season
Yes this is a repeat from last year. Yes I still believe.
9) Carlos Martinez logs more starts than holds
I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be
10) Billy Hamilton hits .270+
He’s not as bad a hitter as you think and I think perhaps more than his speed helping him is the idea of his speed. Infields will have to play in, allowing what might be normal ground balls to slide through for hits. He’s not Dee Gordon because he doesn’t have Dee Gordon’s hair. Oh and also because he’s a more physical hitter and can barrel the ball a bit better. He’s never going to hit for power, but he’ll stay in the majors all year and win you that stolen base title you always wanted.
11) Yordano Ventura will grow three inches, put on 25 pounds, throw 112 and win the Cy Young Award
I had no prediction that was bold for Yordano but I needed to include him. He is my light. My love. My joy. I hope he becomes yours too.