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Al Melchior

The Athletic
Featured Pros: Spring Training Bold Predictions
Tue, Feb 27
Featured Pros: Spring Training Bold Predictions
Please give us one bold fantasy prediction (player related) 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.

Regression Candidates
Tue, Feb 13
Regression Candidates
Which pitcher do you expect to negatively regress significantly in 2018?
Robbie Ray will be worth drafting for the strikeouts, but his ERA and WHIP will slide a long way towards his 2016 levels. Last season's 1.3 HR/9 and .267 BABIP defy belief, as hitters drove flyballs against him for an average of 327 feet (per Baseball Savant). He won't likely compensate with a lower walk rate. Ray threw in the strike zone less often last year, and yet he wasn't substantially better at getting batters to chase bad pitches.

Which hitter do you expect to negatively regress significantly in 2018?
The only thing Ozuna did clearly better last season was swing more often at pitches in the zone. That improved selectivity should continue to pay some dividends. However, his batted ball profile looked awfully similar to the one he compiled in 2016, so I would expect he will do no better than split the difference between his stats from the last two seasons.

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Al Melchior


Al Melchior is a fantasy sports expert at The Athletic.

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