TDG Roundtable: 2023 Bold Predictions
The Roundtable is back, baby! Back with a bang. To get that bang for your buck.
Peruse at your leisure the boldest bold predictions we could conjure to help you politely crush your dynasty leagues this year. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow your favorite Guru’s on Twitter!
Taylor Case (@TCasesLoaded)
What’s up, Dynastopians. It’s me, your #FNDD, running it back with some boldies for the 2023 season. What could go wrong, right?
Well, anything really. Have you seen the world these days? It’s nuts out there.
But here? Here you’re safe. At least you should be.
Let’s say 80%.
Anyway, let’s talk some shop. Here are my bold predictions for the 2023 fantasy season:
- Jack Suwinski pops 35 homers in a phenomenal campaign for the surprisingly feisty Pirates. Platoon splits be damned!
- Triston Casas is a top-6 first basemen in 15-teamers. Right now, Steamer has him projected for a .241/.344/.428 slash with 20 homers, 78 runs, 58 RBI and 5 steals. If he sticks in the upper third of the Red Sox lineup, I’d be willing to take the over on all of those. Projections be damned!
- Jake McCarthy hits 10 homers but steals 50 bags and I forever regret not taking him a round earlier in my TGFBI draft this year. I’m a little worried about his hitting in general, but dude is just fast. Like, a cheetah riding a motorcycle shooting BB’s at a rocket ship fast. FAST fast. Hit tool and BABIP regression be damned!
Aaron Cumming (@SABRtoothTigers)
Aaron Judge finishes 4th in home runs… on the Yankees
At first blush, it seems extremely bold to say that the AL single season home run record holder will have 3 teammates eclipse him in that stat this year, but I’m actually not sure it takes all that much imagination to see how this could play out. Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, and Gleyber Torres are all power hitters of some acclaim. Each of them is fully capable of hitting a ton of home runs, with Stanton and Torres posting career highs of 59 and 38, respectively. Rizzo has maxed out at 32 home runs, but he’s done that four times, including last season. An underrated aspect of the shift ban could be improved power numbers for lefties; if he has the ability to swing all out to the pull side without risking a groundout, Rizzo could send a few more balls out to the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. If those three flirt with 30-35 home runs, all it takes is a combination of regression and an IL stint or two for a formerly injury-prone Judge, and this prediction becomes reality.
The Giants have 3 pitchers get Cy Young votes
San Francisco ace Logan Webb received a couple of Cy Young votes last year, and by all accounts is locked and loaded for another successful season. The other two get a little iffy, though. Both Alex Cobb and Sean Manaea have had success in the past, although neither has really been considered one of the best pitchers in the league. But this spring, Cobb added a cutter that should help him get called strikes and set up his wicked splitter. And Manaea has added a couple of ticks of velocity that has all of his pitches playing up. With that stadium and an organizational focus on defense, all 3 guys could put up All-Star pitching lines that warrant consideration during awards season come October.
Ronald Acuña Jr. and Trea Turner steal 40+ bases each, and nobody else even reaches 30
The bigger bases, pickoff move rules, and pitch clock will all have a positive impact on stolen bases league wide. But that doesn’t mean the top end base stealers will steal more. Those guys are likely all stealing every opportunity they can already. It’s likely going to have more of an impact on guys going from single digit steals to double digits, not from 20-something to 30-something. There have been at least 6 players reaching the 30 steal plateau every season since 1968 (excluding 2020), but each of the last two seasons, it was only exactly 6. And of last year’s 6 players to reach that mark, the highest on-base percentage among them was Randy Arozarena’s .327, with two of them failing to even reach base at a .300 clip. If they struggle to get on base, they’ll struggle to repeat those SB numbers.
Manager Brian Snitker and the Braves couldn’t stop Acuña from running if they wanted to. And the Phillies finished 5th in MLB in steals last season despite their catcher being the only player on the team to have over 13, so they want everyone to run. Turner’s new team will give him the green light constantly. Beyond that, it’s possible nobody else wows us with their thievery.
Colin Coulahan (@cjc07)
My favorite part of making bold predictions is that I look like a genius when they’re right, and if they’re wrong I can defend them by saying I was just trying to be bold.
It’s like having my cake and eating it.
Spoiler alert, one of my predictions will be Vinnie Pasquantino-based. Obviously,
- Vinnie Pasquantino is a top-5 first baseman in most formats. I’ve been banging the Vinnie P drum longer than most so needless to say I am excited for his first full year. The surface numbers from 2022 may not wow you, but the underlying stats and quality of contact numbers are elite.
- Nolan Gorman hits 30 home runs. I know the Cardinals infield is overflowing with talent, but Gorman’s bat is too good to keep out of the lineup. Especially when he’s one of the few lefties on the team. He’s another player with excellent batted ball data, and he’s reportedly improved his swing to cut down on the strikeouts. Just a reminder, he struck out over 30% of the time last year and still put up 107 wRC+. At 22 years old. Just throw him in the DH spot and let him mash.
- Tyler O’Neil puts up a 30/30 season. I am so happy that O’Neill had a bad 2022 because it drove down the price on him. O’Neill was limited to 96 games last year, but he improved the strikeout rate, walked more, and still hit 14 home runs and stole 14 bags. Fully healthy and the new rules are clearing the way for a monster fantasy season.
- Rodolfo Castro goes 20/20. Castro has some tools. He has power and there is some speed. And the strikeouts out might be a bit high, 27% isn’t even that bad. A launch angle change could help him reach his potential. Plus he plays on the Pirates, there’s no competition for playing time.
- Christopher Morel is a top 50 fantasy player. Morel is 23 years old and had a max exit velocity of 113 MPH. That’s almost in the 90th percentile. It takes a particular player to hit the ball like that. Combine that with his 88th-percentile sprint speed and the foundation for a monster season. Don’t let the strikeouts scare you. Morel doesn’t have a history of the high strikeout in the minors and his plate discipline should improve with more playing time.
Keaton DeRocher (@TheSpokenKeats)
2023: The Joey Bart breakout season. We’ve all been waiting for it (ok, maybe just me) and now its poised to happen. When Bart makes contact he hammers the ball to the tune of a 43% hard hit rate, 10.1% barrel rate and a 114.3 max exit velo which was top 5% in the league last year. Now I know what you’re saying, the emphasis is on the when he makes contact.I admit, the 38.5% strikeout rate last season was not great, however he made really great strides in the second half of the season compiling a strikeout rate that was 10% lower than the first half the season. Seems to me he was still just finding his footing. As a cherry on top, he’s also only struck out once so far this spring. More contact is going to equal more positive results for Bart and the prince that was promised will have finally arrived in 2023. All together now! *to the tune of baby shark* JOEY BART BART BART BART BART BART BART – JOEY BART BART BART BART BART BART BART – JOEY BART BART BART BART BART BART BART- JOEY BART
Roto Red (@TheRotoRed)
“First time, long time” here and excited to give my inaugural bold predictions! Without further ado:
Maikel García hits .260 over 400 ABs with 10 HR, 120+ R+RBI, and 20 SB, and enters next season with eligibility at 2B, SS, 3B, and OF
García made his debut last year at 22 years old, but is not guaranteed a roster spot coming out of Spring Training. He is likely a better bet than Hunter Dozier to bring positive value to the Royals (Dozier has earned -2.0 WAR over the past two seasons) and should fit right in with the Royals’ other young starters. The bold parts of this prediction are (1) the 10 homers over 400 ABs since it took him 555 ABs to hit 11 home runs last season and (2) the increased positional eligibility after playing only shortstop since 2018 (García has played some outfield this Spring after Drew Waters’s oblique injury).
Anthony Santander leads the AL in RBI.
Santander is currently slated to bat cleanup for the Baltimore Orioles. While last year’s top three of Mullins-Mountcastle-Mancini was credible, this year’s top three of Mullins-Rutschman-Henderson has a chance to be special. After blasting 33 home runs in 2022, we can anticipate similar power numbers for Santander, but hopefully with more traffic on the basepaths. Importantly, Santander hit well from the cleanup spot last year (122 wRC+) and had a wRC+ of over 115 in four separate months. Santander had positive trends for both strikeout rate and walk rate, showing a more refined approach at the plate. If Santander can bring up his production over those two months where his offense was a touch below average, he can end up atop the RBI leaderboard.
Lucas Giolito will be Top 5 in the AL Cy Young voting
From 2019 through 2021, Giolito started 72 games, pitching a total of 427.2 innings with an ERA of 3.48 and a 1.08 WHIP. 2022 was a different story; from his very first start, he dealt with an abdominal strain and could not get on track. His fastball lost 1.2 MPH and he threw his changeup less. Going into 2023, he is healthy, has allegedly dropped 35 pounds, and also claims to like the pitch clock. If Giolito can regain his lost velocity and bring his strikeout rate back to 30%+, then he can garner some serious Cy Young consideration.
Ryan Epperson (@ppenayr)
ONeil Cruz will hit 30 home runs this season before Wander Franco hits 20
Hooo boy, The Friendly Neighborhood Dynasty Dad is restricting me to only three to four hundred words for this bold prediction so I`ll sum it up in the first few in case I ramble on. ONeil Cruz is going to send a lot of balls over the outfield wall, at least thirty. And while Wander Franco is a very good talent with lots of skills, hitting the ball in the air hard isn’t one of them. I famously (I believe the MLB Network covered this) bet Ross Jensen of Scout the Statline fame and a member of TDG as well 25$ to a charity of the winners choosing that ONeil Cruz would hit 30 home runs before Wander reaches 20 *Please don’t fact check me on the MLB Network thing. *
Cruz`s numbers speak for themselves, and I`m guessing most fantasy players know he destroys baseball’s souls when he contacts them. He only lagged behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in 90 percent exit velocity to go along with a 96th percentile barrel rate. He also cut down on his chase rate at the tail end of the year and as of this writing has only struck out three times in Spring Training yes, Spring Training doesn’t mean much but it was important to see him not up there hacking away and showing a solid approach.
As for Franco, I really do love the talent and think he is one of the top shortstops in the game, in real life. But his game doesn’t lend itself well to fantasy, I think. He makes lots of contact with a 92.5% zone contact rate. Still, he rarely barrels the ball and when he does lift it, generates poor power with an 87.7 average exit velocity which puts him below such iconic power hitters as Josh Harrison, Owen Miller, and Victor Robles. Franco`s 90 percent exit velocity of 102.76 also ranked 245th last year, again grouping him around such power stalwarts as Andrew Knizner and Austin Nola.
*Seriously, please don’t fact-check me about the bet being famous, there’s no need* (Ryan Epperson)
Ken Balderston (@KenInToronto)
Wander Franco finishes second in the AL MVP race
With very little logical or statistical data to back up this claim, I boldly predict Wander Franco to hit .360 with 28 home runs, 25 SB, 120 runs scored and 105 RBI, finishing second to Shohei Ohtani in the AL MVP race. He makes so much contact, and despite not having elite average EV’s, he does hit a high percentage of line drives (24.6%). Through the minors he had impressive ISOs, very similar to Vladdy who also didn’t show much game power at the Major League level until his third full season.
Clayton Kershaw pitches a full season.
Not only does he pitch a full season, but he finishes top 5 in the NL Cy Young race and signs a 6 year contract to remain a Dodger for the rest of his career. The Cy Young prediction is not bold given he had 3.8 WAR last year in only 22 starts, but he hasn’t started 30 games since 2015, with a IP high of 178.1 since then. There’s a good chance the Dodgers need Kershaw this year, more than the last few anyway, and as he enters his age 35 season Kershaw has to be thinking about his legacy and how he’ll be remembered.
Bo Naylor wins the AL rookie of the year.
Coming off a 20/20 season in only 118 games between AA and AAA, maybe this doesn’t come across as that bold of a prediction for the former first-round pick. He is ranked outside the top 50 on our TDG Top 200 prospects list, and also outside the top 50 on several other industry lists. Mike Zunino is blocking him in Cleveland and it’s become debatable who has more defensive potential but more obvious Naylor is the better offensive player and the future for the team. Many of the major league ready prospects are headed to the National League, but Naylor is my pick to click in the AL.
Chris Knock (@notnotcknock)
- Daulton Varsho will maintain C eligibility entering ‘24. The fantasy consensus feels that the Toronto/Arizona trade meant game over for Varsho’s dual eligibility. Fortunately for our fantasy teams, real life happens and he’ll appear behind the plate enough to qualify at catcher entering 2024.
- The Cardinals will have 6 players hit 20+ home runs though none will hit over 30. In no particular order, those names are Juan Yepez, Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill.
- Yeah, that means Lars Nootbar won’t figure out the launch angle swing yet. His Savant page will again be red, though it will only lead to 19 home runs this year.
- Trevor Rogers will finish as a top-15 starting pitcher. His solid spring underlines my thoughts on him all along: prospect development isn’t linear, especially true with pitchers.
- Jacob DeGrom and Andrew Heaney will combine to throw 300 innings and strike out over 380 total batters. Predicting an injury-free 2023 for DeGrom only doesn’t feel bold enough. Although honestly it probably would have been.
- Baltimore’s Rookie of the Year is Connor Norby. Gunnar’s breezy spring (9 K’s in 24 PA) has resulted in a .095 AVG. Grayson’s spring stats aren’t awesome either (5 ER in 7.2 IP) and he’ll be treated with gloves this season. While neither big name will fully struggle this year, they also won’t dominate. Norby will be a early-summer call-up and better than advertised at the keystone. Hitting a homer in the final regular season game, he’ll finish with 10 homers and 11 stolen bases in 300+ PA.
- Speaking of prospects, after graduations the consensus TDG top prospect entering 2024 will be Elijah Green. Keeping his K-rate under 30% at three levels this year, Green will produce a 180+ wRC+ at every stop. Jackson Chourio won’t fizzle but Green’s speed (swiping a combined 50 bases in ‘23) will give him the nod.
- Patrick Sandoval will be the only Angels pitcher to strike out 200 batters. Hey, this is printing on St Patrick’s Day, so the Irish Panda needs some love!
Drew Klein (@aok_fan)
- CJ Abrams will win the “Amed Rosario Post-Hype Award” and finish the year as a top 10 shortstop. There’s a reason that the Padres were willing to move FT Jr. to the outfield to make room for Abrams before “The Trade,” and we’re about to see why.
- The manager who wins your league will have two Nationals’ hitters on the roster: K. Ruiz and J. Meneses.
- The “Cy Old” pitcher awarded to a pitcher old enough that every dynasty manager forgets about him yet he provides valuable innings and ratios that put your team over the top will go to… Alex Cobb. (And yes, one day this award will be named the Verlander, but since we can’t prove JV isn’t an android, I’ll give it to a human this year).
- Since Cobb isn’t exactly an extra-spicy hot take, I’ll let you know the runner-up will be Zack Greinke.
- My third and final projection comes from my fan side because, in spite of the need to be analytical, we shouldn’t stop being fans too. Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Matt Manning will all show us why they were first-round picks and highly rated prospects. The Tigers rushed them, and as much as I want the Motor City to “restore the roar,” at least Manning and Tork would have benefitted from another year in the minors. Now they’re healthy, relaxed, and have a year under their respective belts, we could see the beginning of something special.
Bob Cyphers (@FZX_cyph21)
The home run problem is real for Gerrit Cole and it shows, even more, this year as he posts an ERA over 3.70, which will be the second-highest mark of his career. I do not doubt his ability to continue posting elite strikeout rates, but I do doubt his ability to keep the ball in the yard. The projection systems are being too kind with HR/9 numbers around 1.17 on average, but he has averaged closer to 1.50 HR/9 over the past three years. I am not sure why positive regression is being built here, but I don’t think that stuff will stick.
The Cincinnati Reds will have three outfielders that put up double-digit home runs and double-digit stolen bases in 2023. The currently projected outfield of TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, and Will Benson offers sneaky late-round power and speed combos to slot in as your OF-5. Friedl was pushing a 20/20 pace last season in 72 games, and Fraley’s numbers in 68 games project out to 25/10 over a full season. Will Benson did not show either power or speed in 28 games in the majors last season, but he did hit 17 HR with 16 stolen bags in 89 minor league games. Most importantly for this group, they play in a great ballpark for offense and there is no one behind them pushing for playing time.
Nolan Jones breaks camp with the Colorado Rockies as their starting third baseman and puts up a season with a 120 wRC+. Jones will finally get his chance to start and show off his 60/70 grade raw power in the friendly mile-high ambient conditions of Coors Field. He has always been an above-average hitter in the minors with power and a double-digit walk rate to help offset a slightly bloated strikeout rate. Given a full season of opportunity, I expect 20+ home runs, a decent batting average, and even a chance for 10+ stolen bases.