TDG Roundtable: Bold Predictions
Every week on Fridays, our writers here at The Dynasty Guru will be bringing you some quick-hit musings about a particular topic so you, the reader, can get a blast of info from a bunch of different writers with some passionate opinions. This week, our staff members lay out their bold predictions heading into 2022.
Let’s be bold. Then be bolder! As is always the case with my bold predictions, these are about 60% stats-based, 30% based on the phase of the moon, and 10% because my gut says they will happen. Pretty standard stuff. Let’s go:
- Trent Grisham rebounds for a 30/20 season. He has the skills for this, and in my opinion, no competition for anyone to take centerfield or the leadoff spot from him. At least until Tatís is back.
- Gabriel Arias gets ROY votes even though he only plays in 80 games for the Guardians.
- Pierce Johnson gets 30 Saves for the Padres. Because why not? The skills are there, even if the role is uncertain. Yeah, yeah, I know it can be safer to buy the role and not the skills…but I’m doing it anyway.
- Bailey Ober gets the homers under control and becomes a top-40 pitcher. I believe!
Gleyber Torres hits 25+ home runs in 2022. It’s really as simple as this, the shift to full time second base is going to take an immense amount of pressure off of Gleyber and will let his bat shine through like we know it’s capable of. When the Yankees made the change late last season we started seeing a difference. Some people will take note of that and say 15-20 home runs is reasonable but I’m going to push for more.
Trey Mancini hits 30+ home runs in 2022. The nay-sayers will be quick to point out those new dimensions in left field at Camden Yards and thus increasing difficulty for right-handed batters to turn on one for a quick dinger. However, a quick look at Mancini’s 2021 hits spray chart will show that he does not exclusively live on pulling the ball for power; most of his home runs landed in left center or center field over left. He hit for 35 home runs in 2019 so he’s done it before and has recently come out saying he’s feeling way better than he did last year heading into the season.
Figure it’s best to go big or go home, so if any of these takes aren’t big enough, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to make them even bigger.
- Andy Ashby, Tanner Houck, and Drew Rasmussen all finish in the top 25 starting pitchers
- The AL Rookie of the Year is not Bobby Witt Jr. or Julio Rodriguez
- Kris Bryant finishes top three in the NL MVP race (the only reason he does not win is that the Rockies are bad)
- Yoan Moncada goes 100/30/100/10/.300 and finishes top five in the AL MVP race
- Jesus Sanchez and Bobby Dalbec both hit 40+ home runs
You want bold? I’ll give you bold.
- Gerrit Cole finishes with an ERA over 4.00
- Jordan Montgomery receives Cy Young votes
- Dustin Harris finishes the season as a top 10 prospect
- Max Kepler hits 30 home runs
- Cody Bellinger finishes with an OPS below .800
- Mitch Keller saves 20 games
- Bonus boldness – a majority of those saves are NOT with the Pirates
- AL Rookie of the Year – Vinnie “Italian Breakfast” Pasquantino
- NL Rookie of the Year – Bryson Stott
- Triston Casas proves to be the most underrated top prospect in baseball: This guy can really hit, and while he hasn’t put up gaudy power numbers in the minors, it’s still present in-game. The hit tool will eventually pull it all together and Casas will quickly become a perennial All-Star.
- Sonny Gray is a top 30 SP: Very much park-related, as Gray had a 4.89 home ERA last season, and 3.44 on the road. Now moving from one of the best hitters parks in baseball to a neutral park, where he could be allowed to pitch deeper into games. Has always had impressive K rates, and now the park should normalize his HR/FB rate.
- Most teams end up with a named closer: Managers and GM’s don’t like to name a closer until they have to, in case there’s poor performance or injury, but nothing sinks a clubhouse like blowing a game in the 9th. In earlier innings, the team can say ‘they came back and we didn’t, we’ll get ‘em tomorrow’. Blowing a lead in the 9th has a negative effect and any team with a shot to compete except the Rays will end up with a named closer by the end of April. Bolder prediction: 9 times out of 10 it’s the best arm in the pen if there is any competition.
- Josh Donaldson will receive MVP votes: Josh Donaldson, who’s thought of as injury prone, has averaged 145 games the last two full seasons. He hits the ball hard, has good plate discipline and is frankly one of the most under-rated hitters in the league. He hit 26 home runs last year, and Baseball Savant’s spray chart suggests 8 (yes EIGHT) more would have gone out of Yankee Stadium.
- Nick Gordon will be one of the biggest earners this season: Currently being drafted outside the top 500 per NFBC, Gordon has a good line drive swing that resulted in too many balls hitting the dirt last year. One area a hitter can improve significantly year to year is improving his ground ball rate, and Gordon also hit the ball hard just short of 48% of the time last year. Add in his speed and ability to play defense all over the field, he’s already dialed into a utility role, but an injury or even just strong performance could quickly make him an everyday starter. There’s very little risk here and big upside.
- Art Warren will close 20 games for Reds. He’s got the stuff and will get the opportunities early. I think largest wildcard is if the Reds will compete enough to get him the chances.
- Matt Brash will earn more AL ROY votes than Shane Baz/Grayson Rodriguez. With Shane starting the season on IL, Grayson starting in minors, and both battling the tougher AL East, Brash will show that his hot spring isn’t just a “hot spring”. He will outperform both higher profile rookie pitchers in 2022.
- Robert Hassell III will be the #1 fantasy prospect heading into 2023. Now this is spicy! The bat first prospect with wheels will continue the power trend he showed in his first full season. A 25/25 MiLB season for Bobby Barrels outperforms the assumed names of Abrams and Volpe.
Jorge Mateo is a (very) relevant fantasy player in 2022. It has been a long and bumpy road for the former top prospect, but he is finally in line for regular playing time on the non-contending Orioles. Checking the spring training game logs, he is consistently finding himself in lineups with the rest of the assumed starters. Oh, and most of those starts have been at shortstop! After joining the Orioles in early August of last season, he posted a very respectable .280 BA and .421 SLG with 10 extra-base hits and five steals in 116 PA. He has gotten off to a strong start this spring as well as he is 6-for-18 with one home run and one stolen base. WIth everyday at-bats, I think it’s easy to expect double-digit home runs and 25 stolen bases with the possibility for more from Mateo. He is a power-speed combo that will carry a reasonable batting average and is available late in drafts or even on the waiver wire. Keep in mind, Mateo broke out as a prospect at a very young age, so it may be surprising, but he is still only 27 years old. This could finally be the big season we have all been waiting for from Mateo.
Luke Voit settles into the middle of the Padres lineup and delivers 30-plus home runs. For some reason, the New York Yankees could not (or would not) find regular playing time for Voit in the second half of last season. They then proceeded to flat-out replaced him in the off-season before trading him out west. I understand he had some injury woes, but when he was on the field he was a formidable bat in the lineup. In case you forgot, he led the MLB in home runs in the shortened 2020 season while posting a 153 wRC+. In limited games last season he batted a career-low .239, but still posted a 111 wRC+ as he battled injuries and faced limited playing time down the stretch. His K% hit a career-high of almost 31%, but his underlying numbers remained strong. His barrel percentage, average exit velocity, and hard-hit rate actually increased in 2021 from the previous season. The batted ball skills are obviously still there, and I see him easily rebounding with a .260 average, 30-plus home runs, and a hefty number of counting stats hitting in the middle of the Padres lineup.
There will be at least four starting pitchers in the Tampa Bay rotation that will be ranked in the top 50 at the position entering 2023. Shane McClanahan broke out in 2021, and there are two more youngsters waiting to make their impact this year. Shane Baz and Luis Patino should either start the year in the rotation or find their way into it early in the season. It seriously seems like each of these guys is better than the previous one, and this is quickly becoming the best rotation in baseball. Oh, and you may have heard of the fourth player: Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and will miss most if not all of 2021, but he should be fully recovered and ready to resume his dominance next year. Also, do not sleep on Drew Rasmussen trying to push his way into this conversation as well, as I expect a strong sophomore campaign from him as well in 2021.