It’s a great time of year with spring training games officially starting and we’re less than one month away from the very first regular season game taking place over in Japan between the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. What happens between now and then in some cases won’t be a surprise. In other cases, we could see the unexpected and that may have a major impact come draft day for your fantasy team. With so many players and such little time keep up with everything, we’ve enlisted the help of the most accurate experts in fantasy baseball.
It’s time for bold predictions! Find out why our featured experts think the following surprises are more than just pipe dreams.
Q. Please give us one bold prediction that you believe will happen by the end of spring training
“Domingo Santana will see the biggest jump in ADP, going from often undrafted (366th overall, 90th outfielder) to the Top 200 and higher. How quickly people forget. Santana was a top 10, yes that’s a TEN, outfielder in 2017. His 2018 season derailed thanks to the Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain signings, plus some struggles and time in Triple-A. Santana woke up late in the year, and while .278/88/30/85/15 is a bit much to ask, .278/75/25/75/10 isn’t, as he has a full-time job again and could even hit as high as third against lefties.”
– Jake Ciely (The Athletic)
“Peter Alonso is going to force the Mets’s hand and play himself into the starting lineup. Many are expecting Alonso to return to the minors for a few months until one of their veterans suffers an injury. Between Todd Frazier, Jed Lowrie, and Robinson Cano, that might not take long, but Alonso’s bat is just too good to keep down. If it were the White Sox or Blue Jays, I could see Alonso getting more work in the minors, but the Mets are ready to compete and Alonso’s bat is one of the best on their team already. He batted .285 with 68 extra base hits and 119 RBIs in just 478 at-bats last year so be sure to scoop him up if he does make the roster.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)
“Peter Alonso will lead spring training in home runs. He lit up the minors last year with 36 bombs, including a .585 SLG and .326 ISO at AAA. The Mets want to put him through the paces to see what they have.”
– Dave McKay (The Fantasy Sports Brain)
“Last year, four players tied for the spring training lead in homers with seven. This year, Franmil Reyes will best that total and lead MLB in spring training dingers. His power output in the spring will get him the attention he deserves and some helium in the fantasy drafts held near the end of spring training. He currently has an ADP of just 272.3, but his ADP will approach his ECR of 196 thanks to a big spring.”
– Josh Shepardson (FantasyPros)
“For those fantasy owners that love upside and are willing to bet on the come, Nick Senzel is going to be a shining star this spring with his eyes on winning the centerfield job in Cincinnati. Senzel will enter this season with a second baseman qualification, which is a great bonus due to his expected skill set. He makes hard contact with the approach to seize the leadoff job. The Reds lack the right player to lead their team at the top of the lineup heading into March. Senzel has the feel of an early David Wright (corner infielder skill set with 20/20 upside). For drafters looking for value, Senzel is primed to make a push onto draft sheets with each game played in spring training.”
– Staff Rankings/Shawn Childs (ScoutFantasySports)
“Framber Valdez will win the competition for the fifth spot in the Astros’s rotation over up-and-comer Josh James and veteran Wade Miley. Valdez was positively electrifying down the stretch for the Astros last season, posting a 2.19 ERA across five starts and eight total appearances. While it’d be TOO bold to predict an ERA that stays under 3.00, Valdez relies on a heavy sinker and sweeping curveball that both generate a ton of weak contact. His fastball/sinker sit in the low-90s, and his 8.3 K% last year isn’t earth-shattering, but the 25-year-old has a ton of promise and will win the fifth spot in spring training this season.”
– Bill Dubiel (RotoBaller)
“Ryan O’Hearn will start to climb up the draft boards as he earns a full-time role with the Royals. O’Hearn hit .400 while blasting 5 HRs and 4 doubles last spring, yet he didn’t end up cracking the roster. When he finally got the call in August, he responded with a .262 AVG and 12 HRs over 170 PA. There’s concern that he may be platooned with Hunter Dozier due to his hitting splits but another hot spring should help him convince the rebuilding Royals to give the 25-year-old a chance to prove himself as an everyday player.”
– Luke Gloeckner (Mr. Cheatsheet)
“Bryce Harper will remain unsigned. Bryce is looking to top the 10-year, $300 million deal signed by Manny Machado, and while it seems likely to most that he will succeed, I can’t help but wonder if teams are finally starting to wise up and realize that one player may not be worth that much. Especially a player who is coming off a season where he hit just .249 to go with his 34 HRs and 100 RBIs.”
– KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
“The Padres expedited their road to contention by signing Manny Machado, so why not also grab Dallas Keuchel? While he won’t make them a formidable threat in 2019, the veteran southpaw could offer some necessary stability atop the rotation while they groom a promising crop of pitching prospects. Despite the team downgrade, San Diego would also represent one of the best landing spots for Keuchel, who should otherwise plummet down draft boards if still unsigned by March.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)
Thank you to the experts for making their bold predictions for spring training. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more advice all season and check out our latest podcast below.