Fantasy Baseball 2014: 5 Bold Predictions

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5 Bold Predictions For 2014

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At this time one year ago, if you had told somebody that Chris Davis was going to lead baseball with 53 home runs in 2013, that Alfonso Soriano was going to finish the year as a top-25 fantasy player and that Francisco Liriano was going to revive his career and be a top-20 fantasy starting pitcher, they probably would've looked at you like you were crazy.

One of the things that I love most about baseball is that it's predictable and unpredictable at the same time.

For the most part, players usually regress to their career averages (with additional progression and regression factored in for age), and all players regress somewhat towards the overall league averages. Every year though, there are a group of players that break away from the typical trends, and they do something spectacular. Whether it's good, bad, a result of a particular adjustment or simply an anomaly, it happens every season.

There are often warning signs in a player's profile that suggest they may suddenly break out or experience a sharp decline, but those warning signs often exist throughout much of their careers. Many times, we know what a player should be capable of doing, but we don't know when they're going to maximize on their abilities; or in some cases, we don't know when the floor is going to fall out from underneath.

In the following slideshow, you'll find my five bold predictions for 2014. Now, to be clear, I don't necessarily expect any one of these five things to happen, but I would not be surprised at all if any (or all) of these five things did actually happen as all of them are within reason.

Billy Moy is a Fantasy Sports writer at RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @william_moy6, "like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

2 of 6

5. Pedro Alvarez Leads MLB In Home Runs

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Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Alvarez actually reminds me quite a bit of Chris Davis. Both guys are roughly the same size, they both bat left-handed, Alvarez is a little bit better at taking a walk but both guys have a 30.6 career strikeout percentage, and both of them are on very similar power trajectories. The biggest difference between the two is that Davis hits more fly balls than Alvarez, but Alvarez's fly ball percentage has been trending upwards for two seasons now. When he does hit one into the air, it generally travels really, really far (he was third in batted ball distance in 2013 and sixth in 2012). Alvarez lead the NL with 36 home runs, and he has hit 66 over his last two seasons. It won't surprise me at all if he leads MLB in home runs with a total north of 50 in 2014.

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4. Miguel Sano Gets Called Up At All-Star Break And Hits 15 Home Runs

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins desperately lack offense. The Twins were 25th in MLB in runs scored in 2013 and they only had two players hit 15 or more home runs. Miguel Sano hasn't even turned 21, yet and he hit 63 home runs in his last two seasons in the minors. Sano is dealing with an elbow issue and there's still a possibility that he'll require Tommy John surgery. If he remains healthy though and continues to mash the ball like he has for the past two years, I think we could see him in the majors after the All-Star break. He has the potential to provide fantasy owners with a major power boost late in the season.

4 of 6

3. Michael Pineda Finishes 2014 As A Top-50 Starting Pitcher

a
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Pineda's success in 2014 will live or die based on the health of his shoulder. Reports from the Yankees' camp suggest that his velocity is making its way back into the mid-90s, and Pineda did have an encouraging -- albeit brief -- rehab stint in the minors last season. I think he is a very strong bet to claim the fifth spot in the Yankees' rotation this spring and if his shoulder can hold up (that's a big if), I believe he has a legitimate shot at finishing the season as a top-50 starting pitcher.

5 of 6

2. Billy Hamilton Steals At Least 100 Bases

a
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Hamilton stole 155 bases in 132 games across high-A and double-A in 2012. He followed that up with 75 steals in 123 triple-A games in 2013. When he was called up to the majors in September, he stole 13 bases in 14 attempts in just 13 games. Hamilton is absolutely electric on the basepaths, and he's entering 2014 as the Cincinnati Reds' everyday leadoff hitter, giving him a very real shot at being the first player since Vince Coleman in 1987 to steal at least 100 bases.

6 of 6

1. Xander Bogaerts Finishes 2014 As A Top-Five Shortstop

a
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As of this moment, it looks like Xander Bogaerts is going to open the season as the Boston Red Sox' everyday shortstop. ESPN's Keith Law has Bogaerts listed as his no. 2 prospect entering 2014, comparing him with Troy Tulowitzki. If Bogaerts is anything like Tulo at the plate, he will be coveted in fantasy for years to come.

Related Articles

Fantasy Baseball 2014: What to Make of Clay Buchholz

Fantasy Baseball: Preseason Third Base Projections and Rankings

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Preseason Top 100 Starting Pitchers

1 of 6

5 Bold Predictions For 2014

a
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At this time one year ago, if you had told somebody that Chris Davis was going to lead baseball with 53 home runs in 2013, that Alfonso Soriano was going to finish the year as a top-25 fantasy player and that Francisco Liriano was going to revive his career and be a top-20 fantasy starting pitcher, they probably would've looked at you like you were crazy.

One of the things that I love most about baseball is that it's predictable and unpredictable at the same time.

For the most part, players usually regress to their career averages (with additional progression and regression factored in for age), and all players regress somewhat towards the overall league averages. Every year though, there are a group of players that break away from the typical trends, and they do something spectacular. Whether it's good, bad, a result of a particular adjustment or simply an anomaly, it happens every season.

There are often warning signs in a player's profile that suggest they may suddenly break out or experience a sharp decline, but those warning signs often exist throughout much of their careers. Many times, we know what a player should be capable of doing, but we don't know when they're going to maximize on their abilities; or in some cases, we don't know when the floor is going to fall out from underneath.

In the following slideshow, you'll find my five bold predictions for 2014. Now, to be clear, I don't necessarily expect any one of these five things to happen, but I would not be surprised at all if any (or all) of these five things did actually happen as all of them are within reason.

Billy Moy is a Fantasy Sports writer at RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @william_moy6, "like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

2 of 6

5. Pedro Alvarez Leads MLB In Home Runs

a
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Alvarez actually reminds me quite a bit of Chris Davis. Both guys are roughly the same size, they both bat left-handed, Alvarez is a little bit better at taking a walk but both guys have a 30.6 career strikeout percentage, and both of them are on very similar power trajectories. The biggest difference between the two is that Davis hits more fly balls than Alvarez, but Alvarez's fly ball percentage has been trending upwards for two seasons now. When he does hit one into the air, it generally travels really, really far (he was third in batted ball distance in 2013 and sixth in 2012). Alvarez lead the NL with 36 home runs, and he has hit 66 over his last two seasons. It won't surprise me at all if he leads MLB in home runs with a total north of 50 in 2014.

3 of 6

4. Miguel Sano Gets Called Up At All-Star Break And Hits 15 Home Runs

a
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins desperately lack offense. The Twins were 25th in MLB in runs scored in 2013 and they only had two players hit 15 or more home runs. Miguel Sano hasn't even turned 21, yet and he hit 63 home runs in his last two seasons in the minors. Sano is dealing with an elbow issue and there's still a possibility that he'll require Tommy John surgery. If he remains healthy though and continues to mash the ball like he has for the past two years, I think we could see him in the majors after the All-Star break. He has the potential to provide fantasy owners with a major power boost late in the season.

4 of 6

3. Michael Pineda Finishes 2014 As A Top-50 Starting Pitcher

a
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Pineda's success in 2014 will live or die based on the health of his shoulder. Reports from the Yankees' camp suggest that his velocity is making its way back into the mid-90s, and Pineda did have an encouraging -- albeit brief -- rehab stint in the minors last season. I think he is a very strong bet to claim the fifth spot in the Yankees' rotation this spring and if his shoulder can hold up (that's a big if), I believe he has a legitimate shot at finishing the season as a top-50 starting pitcher.

5 of 6

2. Billy Hamilton Steals At Least 100 Bases

a
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Hamilton stole 155 bases in 132 games across high-A and double-A in 2012. He followed that up with 75 steals in 123 triple-A games in 2013. When he was called up to the majors in September, he stole 13 bases in 14 attempts in just 13 games. Hamilton is absolutely electric on the basepaths, and he's entering 2014 as the Cincinnati Reds' everyday leadoff hitter, giving him a very real shot at being the first player since Vince Coleman in 1987 to steal at least 100 bases.

6 of 6

1. Xander Bogaerts Finishes 2014 As A Top-Five Shortstop

a
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As of this moment, it looks like Xander Bogaerts is going to open the season as the Boston Red Sox' everyday shortstop. ESPN's Keith Law has Bogaerts listed as his no. 2 prospect entering 2014, comparing him with Troy Tulowitzki. If Bogaerts is anything like Tulo at the plate, he will be coveted in fantasy for years to come.

Related Articles

Fantasy Baseball 2014: What to Make of Clay Buchholz

Fantasy Baseball: Preseason Third Base Projections and Rankings

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Preseason Top 100 Starting Pitchers


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