With fantasy baseball drafts in full swing, here are 50 fearless fantasy predictions to consider for the 2011 season.
50. Derek Jeter is your number three fantasy shortstop after Hanley and Tulo —Look for a bounce back year aimed at proving he’s still earning his money.
49. Ubaldo Jiminez will undoubtedly be overvalued in your league—Remember his 2nd half?
48. Mike Stanton will finish in the top five in the NL in home runs—He’s also not going to win any batting titles.
47. Aroldis Chapman is this year’s Neftali Feliz—There’s no questioning the ability, it’s all about control and opportunity.
46. Billy Butler is really Mike Sweeney—The power just isn’t coming.
45. Roy Oswalt finishes with the best numbers of any Phillies starter—Call it a hunch.
44. Alex Rodriguez continues to regress—We aren’t going to see .300 with 35+ home runs from him again.
43. Matt Kemp finishes with better numbers than CarGo—We’ve seen the worst of the former and the best of the latter.
42. Cameron Maybin steals more than 30 bases and is fantasy relevant—He’s got the tools and he’s still just 24 years old.
41. Josh Johnson is not worth the risk-Back AND shoulder problems, no thanks.
40. Wandy Rodriguez will be overvalued during your draft—He is what he is.
39. Max Scherzer will be undervalued during your draft—Look at his second half stats.
38. Aaron Hill has a bounce back year—If I’m wrong, so is everyone else.
37. Delmon Young’s home run total rises again this year—Look at last season’s doubles. Despite four full major league seasons, he’s still only 25.
36. Jonathan Papelbon doesn’t finish the season the season as Boston’s closer—For the record, I also don’t think its Bobby Jenks.
35. Someone in your draft will reach for B.J. Upton—You don’t want to be that owner.
34. John Lackey will be significantly better than last season—He’s being undervalued by everyone.
33. Drew Stubbs will not be significantly different than Chris Young—It’s all about eating the batting average.
32. There won’t be much difference between Elvis Andrus and Starlin Castro—You’ll pay a lot less for Castro.
31. Someone will take a chance on Brian Roberts and his back—It shouldn’t be you.
30. Rafael Soriano saves double digit games—Hard to believe Mariano Rivera continues to be superhuman.
29. Francisco Liriano improves again this year—If he’s 85 percent of his 2006 self three years removed from Tommy John surgery he’s a steal on draft day.
28. Howie Kendrick becomes the player we’ve all projected he would be—Only because we’ve mostly all given up at this point.
27. Shortstop is so shallow that if Rafael Furcal gets 500 at bats he could challenge for top five at the position—That’s also a pretty big “if”.
26. Tsuyoshi Nishioka could hit .300, steal 25-30 bases and score 100 runs—He’ll be a cheaper source of steals than Chone Figgins.
25. Craig Kimbrel is this year’s Carlos Marmol—You can’t help but love the Ks.
24. Enough owners are hesitating on Miguel Cabrera that he’s falling in drafts—Until he takes to twitter and starts using the hashtag #winning, I’m not willing to be one of those owners.
23. Over three seasons in Texas, Josh Hamilton has averaged 126 games—I’ll take the under.
22. Josh Hamilton will still play more games for the Rangers than Nelson Cruz-Cruz is a highly productive player, but dealing with his day-to-day status and DL stints is just too frustrating.
21. Shin-Soo Choo may be as predictably safe a five category outfielder as there is—He lacks upside, but barring injury, .300-85-20-85-20 seems virtually guaranteed.
20. Hunter Pence may be the second most predictable outfielder—Three straight seasons of exactly 25 home runs, seriously? He’s also never driven in 100 runs.
19. Carlos Lee’s numbers will continue to trend downward—He’s not a player you should be willing to own anymore.
18. Josh Beckett rebounds to win 15 or better this season—He’ll give up runs, but the WHIP remains strong and he can still strike hitters out; plus, the Sox revamped offense will keep him in more games.
17. I expect Angel Pagan to be at least as valuable as last season-Beyond David Wright is there anyone in the Mets lineup to fear? They will need to manufacture runs.
16. Andre Ethier rebounds to finish around his 2009 numbers—You can probably apply that same logic to most of the Dodgers hitters. Last season was just odd.
15. Justin Upton stays healthy and gets to 30-30 without being a batting average liability—The same can’t be said for his brother.
14. Check out the even number year/odd number year split for Prince Fielder’s career—There’s no logic to it, but it is 2011. I’m just saying.
13. Vladimir Guerrero is the best late round chance out there for 30 home runs and 100 RBIs—He’ll hit ten of those home runs on balls no one else would even swing at.
12. Despite the Daniel Hudson hype, I think Madison Bumgarner is a much better value—We’ve even seen him do it in the post-season.
11. I don’t think we see 100 games out of Justin Morneau this season—I would love to see him come back and return to prior form but all the failed return attempts from last year give me pause.
10. Jimmy Rollins is no longer a top ten shortstop—The average has declined each of the last three years and the wear and tear is starting to show. Health will be a concern again.
9. Alex Rios is in for a big year—Expect the steals to fall off some, but the average and power will improve as he likely sees better pitches hitting third in front of Konerko and Dunn.
8. Kevin Youkilis has more value than is being projected—Remember he’ll be playing third base with Adrian Gonzalez now in Boston, and that’s a fairly shallow position.
7. Brandon Morrow is the most underrated starter in the American League going into the season—Pitching in the AL East is brutal, but he handled it well last year and has 200+ K ability.
6. Tommy Hanson disappoints anyone calling him a fantasy ace—This is purely another gut call.
5. In the battle of the “outfielders Ja(y)son”, Werth easily bests Heyward—This is purely a 2011 prediction.
4. Colby Rasmus disappoints the fantasy baseball world—It won’t be his fault and owners are going to curse Tony LaRussa when he winds up in a platoon situation.
3. Adam Dunn will hit 45 or more home runs—It’s been a long time since he’s seen the kind of lineup protection he’ll enjoy in Chicago.
2. Francisco Rodriguez doesn’t save 30 games—Not the pitcher he once was, and with the off-the-field issues and a club that could finish last in NL East, I just can’t see him keeping it together all season.
1. Andrew McCutchen is the young hitter most worth reaching for—He’s truly a five tool player and a .300 season with 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases is a definite possibility.