Bold PredictionsDynasty Baseball

TDG Roundtable: 2024 Bold Predictions

Peruse at your leisure some bold predictions 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!

Kyle Brown (@notoroto)

The Pittsburgh Pirates will win the NL Central – Oneil Cruz wins MVP 

Listen, folks, hear me out. The NL Central is weak across the board. Everyone expects the Cardinals to rebound on the strength of…Cardinal magic? Sonny Gray is already injured. The rest of the rotation is old and boring. The bullpen is iffy at best. The lineup looks good on paper, but will rely on massive output from either aging vets or youthful youngsters. The Cubbies are solid across the board, but lack star power and depth. The Brewers traded away their ace and just lost their world-class closer. The Reds…are a problem and might be primed to take over the top spot in the division this year. But the Reds’ success will also rely on a lot of youthful talent actualizing into season-long performances. In other words, every single team in the NL Central has massive question marks. We were all robbed of an Oneil Cruz season in 2023, but we have seen what kind of power he has this spring. I mean, he is already breaking MLB records (spring training records count, no sha-DAY). With a little bit of luck on the injury front, the Pirates can ride a breakout from Oneil Cruz (40/30, MVP, NBD), an above-average hitting season from Ke’Bryan Hayes, a second-half boost from Paul Skenes, and decent hitting seasons from Henry Davis, Jack Suwinski, and Bryan Reynolds to a division title. Maybe that division title is won with less than 90 wins, but those still count as division titles. Would the Pirates need every single bit of the weather gauge to be with them for this outcome to appear on the horizon and be realized? Yes. But there are no powerhouses in the NL Central. The booty is there for the taking. Y’all better hold fast.  

Phil Barrington (@barrington_phil)

Top Fantasy Hitter: Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami. I’m getting the feeling a big season is coming, and the Marlins finish in second place in the east, why not this season? (Or he’s injured most of the year and Marlins finish last).

Top Fantasy Pitcher: Joe Ryan, Minnesota. He had a rough second half so it is easy to fade him (and maybe acquire him cheaper).

A hitting prospect to go get now: Homer Bush Jr., San Diego. The 22-year-old got a spring training invite this year, and will start 2024 at Double-A; San Diego doesn’t have a ton of OF in his way to making his big-league debut later this season. He’s available in 92% of Fantrax leagues.

A pitching prospect to go get now: Josh Stephan, Texas. Been beating the drum on him for a while now; still, he’s only 8% rostered on Fantrax, a definite add for deep leagues.

Drew Klein (@aok_fan)    

Post-hype player of the Year:  My bold prediction here is Jo Adell.  There are a few factors that influence this decision for me.  Adell was picked 10th overall in 2017 and is an extremely gifted athlete.  He has the potential to provide the speed/power combination that is very valuable in the game we play.  The other factor is that although last season was shortened by injury, there were a few small improvements that could portend a breakout season.  (Note, bias confirmation statistics are allowed for bold predictions.) In that injury-shortened 2023, his walk rate ticked up, ISO was up by 100 points, his hard hit rate was a career-high 39%, and he doubled his HR/FB rate. He is swinging at fewer balls out of the strike zone and his contact rate in the zone went from bad to slightly below average, so if he can get off to a good start there should be opportunity for plate appearances in the Angels lineup. My not-so-bold prediction in this category is Curtis Mead.

Post-hype pitcher of the Year:  It may be tough to call this bold and I question whether the post-hype label may be premature, but my choice here is Landon Knack, Dodgers. A second-round pick in 2020, Knack has moved steadily up the organization and struggled after a mid-year promotion to Triple-A. He threw a career-high 100 innings last year, and after moving up his K% dropped from 27% to 20%, BB% went up from 5% to 9% and BA against from .200 to .260.  I predict that he’ll make the necessary adjustments and if he can avoid the injury bug that seems to plague the young LA pitchers, he will likely pitch significant innings in the majors this year. 

Fantasy pitcher of the year: Definitely Joe Ryan, Twins and I apologize for duplicating Phil’s response, but my flag is planted so firmly here that I couldn’t even fake it by coming up with someone else. If you take a look at Ryan’s strikeouts from last year and project it over a full season, your eyes will pop out of your head.  Going beyond fantasy, it’s a dogfight between Ryan and Jack Flaherty for the AL Cy Young.  

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 33 year old Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays. After a very erratic 2022 season, Kikuchi lowered his walk rate in 2023, maintained a 26% K-rate, and had the highest number of strikeouts in his career. He will be on the roster of the team that wins your fantasy league. 

Double R (@therotored)

Last season, I was 0/3 in my bold predictions.  While Maikel García had a nice season, my prediction of 400 ABs (right–515), 10 homers (wrong–4), 120 R + RBI (wrong–109), 20 SB (right–23) and eligibility at 2B, SS, 3B, and OF (wrong–likely SS and 3b) fell short in a couple of categories.  Anthony Santander’s bid to lead the AL in RBI fell short as he was 12th in the league with 95 RBI.  Lastly, my prediction of Lucas Giolito as a Top 5 in the Cy Young was way off.

So now that I have licked my wounds a little, here are my 2024 Bold Predictions!

Christian Encarnacion-Strand will lead the National League in home runs.  With the injuries piling up in Cincinnati, CES has a clear path to everyday at-bats.  In 2022, CES hit 32 homers across three levels and last year, CES hit 33 homers.  In 2024, he gets half of his home games at the Great American Ball Park and I am predicting that the adjustment period at the MLB is over… Bombs away!

I am predicting Spencer Strider will run away with the NL Cy Young, but that is not bold.  For the AL, I predict Shane Bieber will return to his award-winning form.  Bieber spent the offseason at Driveline and is showing returns with his velocity hitting 93-94 mph.  Bieber pitched very well in 2022 and pretty well in 2023 while averaging 91.3 mph, so if he is up to 94 mph, then Bieber may be in store for an elite 2024.

Austin Wells ends up not only the second most valuable catcher in his division, but is the second most valuable catcher in the league, on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year in the American League.  Wells played across 4 levels in 2023, ending the season in the Bronx.  Wells has filled the spring box scores and should force his way onto the Yankees 26-man roster.  Wells’ swing is tailor-made for Yankee Stadium and I predict that he will explode in 2024.

Bonus!  Assuming he does not lose time as a result of the gambling probe, Shohei Ohtani is the first 50/50 player in baseball history.  This season, Ohtani will be exclusively focusing on hitting in 2024 and he is going to try to make the league forget about Ronald Acuña, Jr.’s 40/70 season in 2023.

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Kyle Brown

Kyle Brown

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