Well it's finally here. All the research, opinions and projections will actually be put to the test. As does every fantasy baseball season, 2011 starts off quite interesting with key injuries and trades in the offseason.
No Chase Utley at the top of the 2B lists this year. Johan Santana in many leagues is not even being drafted. Zack Greinke's short DL stint to start the season in his new home isn't exactly the way to start a relationship. With lesser injuries we watch Corey Hart and Mat Latos.
Long time Padre Adrian Gonzalez, seemed forever doomed to play on a mediocre team for the length of his career, but Boston finally brings hope in 2011. Cliff Lee pulls a "WHAT'D YOU SAY WILLIS?" and rejoins a Philly club, who everyone except apparently Lee thought slapped him in the face. Dan Uggla hops on over to Atlanta with hopes of bringing Atlanta back to the top of the NL East.
Yes indeed, it is an interesting way to start the season, but it is certainly no different than any other year. This is our male version of soap operas and we can't get enough.
I'd like to take a moment and make a few predictions, that undoubtedly will be proven wrong in some fashion over the course of the season, but nonetheless I want to make them.
Jose Bautista will have a great season. There I said it.
Everyone seems to be down on the guy in 2011. I do agree that it is highly unlikely he will repeat his 2010 numbers but even at a 25 percent decrease his totals will be better than the majority of the league.
To put things in perspective, in 2010 Bautista hit 22 more home runs than the next third baseman, Mark Reynolds, and even with Bautista's dismal average he still hit 62 points higher than Reynolds. Compared to A-Rod, Jose hit 24 more home runs, 35 more runs scored, walked 41 more times and only batted 10 points less.
I'm not out of my mind here. I am completely aware that Bautista's season was one for the ages and he could very well be the next Brady Anderson. But I'm betting that Jose will still have some of the magic left from last year and if you're a fantasy owner you drafted him 30-35 spots later than A-Rod.
My prediction for Bautista in 2011 would be .265 / 36 HR / 100 RBI / 95 R
Buster Posey will prove to the nay sayers that he is the real deal.
It seems there is a large community in the fantasy realm that don't see Posey ranked higher than the 5th or 6th catcher in the league. I personally think he has all the tools to be the No. 1 catcher by year's end.
Many say his power didn't fully appear until he got to the majors, and that it was a fluke. I'm sorry I just don't see how 18 home runs in a short season (406 AB) could be a fluke.
Posey is a mature kid playing on a youthful team and just having fun (especially riding the high of being world champs). He will have less pressure to prove himself and the hits will come naturally. No sophomore slump here.
My prediction for Posey in 2011 would be .315/ 25 HR / 95 RBI / 80 R
Someone will win the Triple Crown in 2011
The Triple Crown is one of baseball's highest awards. It's a feat that has only been accomplished 15 times since the beginning of baseball. No one has won the batting title crown in 43 years since Carl Yastremski did it in 1967.
Pujols has been extremely close to winning the triple crown for the last few years and in 2011 he may finally see victory. The only problem is that there are a handful of other guys who want it just as bad. Joey Votto seems to have rounded out to an absolute monster and Carlos Gonzalez was damn close all year.
On the AL side, a healthy Josh Hamilton could easily grab the title and of course the ever consistent Miguel Cabrera will be right there in the running.
As much as the numbers show that Pujols is the heir to the Triple Crown, something tells me that this is Joey Votto's year. It's just what my gut is telling me and usually my gut is telling me it wants a sandwich.
My prediction for Votto in 2011 would be .337/ 42 HR / 122 RBI / 113 R
So that's it folks, lets get this season started and good luck to all in their run for the fantasy gold. Make sure to check The Fantasy Fix daily during the season for great articles, injury updates, previews & so much more.
I'd love to hear some of your predictions for 2011, so leave a note below.
Written by Evan Marx exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com
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