Spring training will soon be coming to an end, so it’s time to get to work on fantasy baseball! Of course, there are different levels of courage. For example, I think the Marlins could have a five-man rotation of top players, but I don’t think Jacob deGrom will be one of those players. That’s a big difference in the level of boldness!
Anyway, let’s move on, and after yesterday’s departure from the American League, let’s move on to the National League! Let’s be clear: Most, if not all, of these bold predictions will not come true. Still, I may be on the right track with some of them – and that may be as important as watching our final drafts before the regular season begins.
Arizona Diamond Return: Sorry, Ketel Marte fans, but no member of the Diamondbacks will hit more than 20 home runs. Instead, expect 15 home runs and 8 stolen runs from Marte. Catcher Dolton Varsho leads the team with 15 stolen bases. Caleb Smith found the strike zone and became the team’s best starting pitcher with 170 strikeouts. Pavin Smith replaces Christian Walker at first base.
Atlanta Brave: We’ll see seven different hitters from Atlanta hit 20 home runs – in fact, all starters except newcomer Christian Pace. Dansby Swanson also stole 16 bases and scored 100 runs. Austin Riley is hitting 30 home runs, but is hitting just .222. Charlie Morton has won 18 of his 27 starts. Mike Soroka returns in April and starts 27 games. Left-hander A.J. Minter led the team with 22 saves.
Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are tied with their 62 home runs, but neither helps fantasy managers with hitting or steals. Among them are five members of the Cubs who hit 30 home runs, including Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo and Joc Pederson. None of them are hitting .260. Kyle Hendricks finishes with an ERA of less than 3.50 for the sixth consecutive season. Zach Davies is doing it for the second season in a row. Jason Adam is estimated to make 17 saves, four more than Craig Kimbrel.
Cincinnati Reds: Nick Senzel is 20/20. Dee Strange-Gordon hit 300 PA (mostly at second base) and stole 21 bases, but with an OBP of .290. Nick Castellanos hits 30 home runs for the first time! Joey Votto scored 20 points in the final race. Sonny Gray, who is only two weeks into his career, is having as good a fantasy season as Luis Castillo. Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims and Sean Doolittle each reached double figures in saves. Tejay Anton makes 12 starts.
Colorado Rock: Trevor Story will remain with the Rockies all season, but the weight of the team’s incompetence falls on him. He’s hitting just .265 with 24 home runs and 14 stolen runs. However, he easily beat his teammates in the ESPN Player Rater. C.J. Cron is hitting .265 with 28 home runs. Brendan Rodgers is hitting .250 and has no power. German Marquez overcomes a mess to win 14 races, but nobody saves 14 races here.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Watch out for the World Series hangover! Mookie Betts and Corey Seager are still major contenders for the title of runner-up to the NL West, but Cody Bellinger is struggling with shoulder problems. He is hitting .250 with 25 home runs, surpassing Max Muncy in all categories. Gavin Lux goes back to the miners. Victor Gonzalez and Blake Treinen both saved 12 games. No Dodgers starter is older than 27, with the exception of Trevor Bauer, who loses both 14 games and his Twitter account.
Miami Marlins: I love this shoot! Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez both have 31 starts, with an ERA near 3.50. Eliecer Hernandez and Trevor Rogers are almost as good, though in fewer appearances. Sixto Sanchez is the ace, although the team is riding on its 120 innings. A felony is not so good. Adam Duvall hits 30 home runs. Nobody else makes it to 20. Levin Diaz becomes the first baseman and leadoff hitter to clean up until July.
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Milwaukee Breweries Keston Huera leads the team with 32 home runs, two more than Christian Yelich. Kolten Wong leads the team with 20 interceptions. Avisail Garcia has more PA than Lorenzo Cain, unfortunately. In June, Zack Green became a regular third baseman. On the mound, Freddy Peralta came on as the #3 starter and thrilled 150 fans in 125 innings. Josh Hader makes all the stops.
New York Mets: Dominic Smith plays left field regularly and has a better player rating than Pete Alonso for the second season in a row. (50 points above average.) Jeff McNeil wins the batting title, albeit with 11 home runs. J.D. Davis hit 10 home runs. James McCann had nine strikes. Noah Syndergaard has eight positions. Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman each pitched 188 innings. Stroman wins five more games.
Philadelphia Phillies: Left wing Jose Alvarado leads the team with 19 saves. Another revelation is the rotation of lefty Matt Moore, who has 160 innings and a 3.80 ERA, second best among Aaron Nola starters. Spencer Howard will only start four times due to injury. Valuable third baseman Alec Bohm keeps the hot corner occupied, hitting .310 with 98 RBI. Roman Quinn has a record of 355 PA’s and stole 29 bases. Archie Bradley’s first record starts in the Wild Card Game!
Pittsburgh Pirates: Freshman Ke’Bryan Hayes is hitting .305 with 22 home runs and wins the Gold Glove Award. Surprisingly, first baseman Colin Moran hit 31 home runs. The starters aren’t winning double-digit games on the mound, but David Bednar is striking out 15 and leading the team. Richard Rodriguez is the Yankees’ sixth option through mid-June.
San Diego Address: Four Padres go 20/20, with Wil Myers and Tommy Pham along with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trent Grisham on an aggressive team. Victor Caratini not only catches his buddy Austin Nola. In 31 starts, Yu Darvish has walked just 30, won 21 games and won the NL Cy Young Award. He also won the first game of the World Series, beating Jose Berrios. (Don’t worry, Twins fans, Berrios will bring him back for Game 5!) Prospect McKenzie Gore starts more than the injured Dinelson Lamet, but unfortunately neither starts 15 games.
San Francisco Giants: Mike Yastrzemski and Tommy La Stella are the only Giants to hit more than 20 home runs. Donovan Solano narrowly missed out on the win in the NL with a .322 score. Kevin Gausman is the real deal, with a 3.45 ERA and 176 strikeouts. Matt Wisler made 24 saves and the Phillies offered him a three-year, $1 billion contract in November.
St. Louis Cardinals: Outfielder Dylan Carlson averaged 282 runs, 32 home runs and 16 stolen runs. He was named Los Angeles Rookie of the Year. Nolan Arenado is proving he can hit anywhere, averaging 299 and 33 home runs. Yadier Molina left the duties to catcher Andrew Knizner, who hit .280 with 13 home runs and was fantastically relevant. Adam Wainwright led the team with 16 wins and an ERA of 3.24, passing Jack Flaherty in both departments. Matthew Liberatore started 16 times, including once in Game 3 of the playoffs.
Washington Nationals: There were 40 home runs in the two Nationals. One of them is clear: Vice President Juan Soto, who is still in office. The other is Kyle Schwarber. Trea Turner is having a fantastic season, but he’s only allowing 28 bases. Carter Kieboom is hitting .280 and running to third base. Patrick Corbin is throwing 25 more innings than any other Washington starter – and they are very good.
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