7 Bold Predictions for Spring Training
Baseball is being played, Russell Wilson is hitting home runs in batting practice for the Yankees, and more questions are being asked each and every day as we near the end of February and make our way into March. Over the next month, many things will change from team to team as players fine-tune their mechanics, get injured, or force their way into a starting job.
Each ball club and fantasy owner should use this time to see what they’re working with. As with every year, surprises are bound to happen during spring so we reached out to our featured experts below asking them to name one bold fantasy prediction that could happen by the end of March.
Q. Please give us one bold fantasy prediction that you believe could happen by the end of Spring Training
“While Red Sox manager Alex Cora has indicated that he views Hanley Ramirez as his No. 3 hitter in the lineup, my bold prediction is that Ramirez will begin the season as a platoon first baseman. Last season, Mitch Moreland was the far superior player, both offensively and defensively, and he will play his way into a close-to-regular role at first base with a strong spring. To be sure, strange things can happen in the span of the relatively short Grapefruit League schedule, but it should provide enough time for Moreland’s superior skill set to shine. He has stronger plate discipline than Ramirez, and last season, his .533 xSLG was 54 points higher than Ramirez’s.”
– Al Melchior (Fantrax)
“After a succession of poor outings in which he is hammered by the opposition, Shohei Ohtani admits that the ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his throwing elbow – for which he received a PRP injection last October – is flaring up and causing him pain. While his pitching has been awful, his hitting has been awesome all spring; he’s batting .350 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 36 at-bats. The Angels, looking to protect their sizable investment in Ohtani, decide to shut him down as a pitcher and make him a full-time outfielder/DH to minimize the strain on his elbow and maximize his plate appearances. No more two-way Ohtani.”
– Tim McCullough (RotoExperts)
“At this point, I don’t think it’ll surprise anyone if Jake Arrieta signs with Washington or Greg Holland signs with St. Louis, let alone something like Gleyber Torres forcing his way onto the Opening Day lineup. I’ll say that Michael Brantley’s ADP shoots way up as Spring Training plays out and we get used to seeing him healthy again, with the five-tool 30-year-old leaving many wondering how he was being taken behind guys like Mark Trumbo or Jose Peraza. Runner-up is Willie Calhoun winning the LF job in Texas and getting the usual rookie-buzz boost.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)
“The Padres make another major free-agent splash and sign one of the top available starting pitchers. I’m thinking Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, but maybe even Jake Arrieta if the market is terrified of his regression. After all, Eric Hosmer, Brad Hand ($7 million) and Wil Myers ($5.5 million) are the only players set to earn more than $3 million in 2019, so why not fortify their rotation while the checkbook is open? I’m not overly interested in any of these starters, but going to San Diego certainly beats other potential landing spots like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Texas from a fantasy perspective.”
– Andrew Gould (Bleacher Report)
“Drafters tend to overvalue middle infielders, citing position scarcity as a crutch argument. With that in mind, I predict Trevor Story will put together a nice preseason and shoot up draft boards by the end of March. He’s currently the tenth shortstop in FantasyPros’ ADP, behind Didi Gregorius Jean Segura, Xander Bogaerts, and Elvis Andrus. But with solid spring stats and the allure of half his games in Coors Field, Story will eventually merit top-6 consideration at the shortstop position.”
– Greg Smith (The Fake Baseball)
“Dominic Leone will earn himself the St. Louis Cardinals starting closer job. At the moment, most are expecting Luke Gregerson or even Bud Norris to take the job until Alex Reyes returns from the DL and is handed the role. The most likely scenario, however, is that the best man will be given the job and that is Leone who was quietly phenomenal last season in a smaller role. If you add on the 40 or so save opportunities a playoff contender like the Cardinals would supply to his 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 81 Ks, we’d be looking at a sure-fire top 10 closer.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)
“Frustrated with a tepid market, Mike Moustakas signs a one-year deal with the Yankees, shooting his ADP way up. New York remains relatively unset at third base and would love to counter Boston’s signing of J.D. Martinez, so they’ll happily take advantage of the market and grab a 29-year-old finally reaching his potential and coming off a career season. Moustakas hit 39 home runs despite calling Kauffman Stadium home, a park that’s decreased HR for LHB by 15 percent over the past three years (only three have been worse over that span), so when he goes from one extreme to another (Yankee Stadium has boosted HR for LHB by an MLB-high 42 percent over that stretch), Moustakas’ draft stock will skyrocket.”
– Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)
Thank you to the experts for making their bold predictions. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for all the latest discussions this season.