Calling All RotoBallers!
The MLB All-Star break has come to pass, which means it's time again to make some BOLD! fantasy baseball predictions for the second half of the season. Perhaps the loyal and long-time RotoBallers will remember performing this same exercise last year? I'll admit to making some unreasonable and fairly absurd predictions in 2013, but as your resident FantasyPros rankings guru, I'm making an effort to improve my accuracy after my final BOLD! Prediction Score last year was 12 correct out of 30.
For those unfamiliar with the rules, let's revisit them. I’ll make a fantasy relevant statement-- a BOLD! prediction, if you will-- about a player or players from all 30 MLB teams. In turn, I invite you, my fellow RotoBallers, to tweet me using the hashtag #RotoBallerBOLD or make use of the comments section below to come up with your own BOLD! predictions.
At the end of the season, we can all look back at this article and laugh at how ridiculous we sounded. Let’s get started, then, shall we?
30 Bold Predictions for the 2nd Half
1) Neftali Feliz will record seven or more saves.
The Texas Rangers recently dealt away veteran reliever Jason Frasor, acquiring minor league closer Spencer Patton from the Royals in return. With additional closing depth as a result of the move, I think there's a good chance the team parts with closer Joakim Soria prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
2) George Springer will finish the season with 30+ home runs and 15 steals.
The Houston Astros outfielder has certainly lived up to the hype, setting a team record for home runs (19) hit by a rookie prior to the All-Star break. It's fairly easy to predict Springer will reach or surpass 30 homers, but what about the steals? After attempting 53 stolen bases in the minors last season, Springer only has seven attempts for the Astros in 76 games. He was successful on five of those attempts, meaning he'll need 10 steals over Houston's final 63 games to hit the mark on this BOLD! prediction.
3) Mark Trumbo will fail to surpass 20 home runs.
Trumbo, who has hit no less than 29 home runs in each of the past three seasons, finally returned to the Arizona Dbacks lineup just before the All-Star break after missing nearly three months of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. With seven home runs in 24 games with the Snakes thus far, he's going yard once every 3.43 games on average. With 62 games remaining on Arizona's schedule, it seems like a safe bet that a powerful human like Trumbo could park 13 more homers during that time frame. Even still, I'll take the under, as I just don't trust Trumbo to stay healthy for the remainder of the season.
First, let's take a look at how the two Colorado Rockies outfielders stack up against one another:
Dickerson - .330/.398/.570, 38 R, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 8 SB in 74 games played.
Gonzalez - .250/.302/.442, 30 R, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 2 SB in 59 games played.
Sure, Dickerson has the advantage just a few games after the All-Star break, but he's not yet earned full-time player status for the Rox, while CarGo is a legitimate fantasy superstar when healthy. This will be an interesting BOLD! prediction to track during the second half.
Alcantara enjoyed a cup of coffee with the Chicago Cubs prior to the All-Star break, filling in at second base while Darwin Barney was on paternity leave. Alcantara was expected to head back to Triple-A upon Barney's return, but the 22-year-old made such an impression with his bat that the Cubs chose to keep him on the roster. Alcantara even drew a start in the outfield, which bodes well for his chances of sticking in the Cubs lineup during the second half of the season.
6) No Padres player will finish with more than 55 RBI.
One reason: the San Diego offense stinks.
7) Domonic Brown will fail to hit more than 12 home runs.
Oddly enough, that's the same number of homers the Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder hit during the month of May alone last year. The drop-off in power production has been surprising to say the least.
8) Jon Lester will finish the season as a top 10 starting pitcher.
Lester is having a career year for the defending champion Boston Red Sox, and while he's currently ranked as the #10 SP in CBS 5x5 leagues, the pitchers ranked ahead of him (King Felix, Wainwright, Cueto, Kershaw, Kazmir, Richards, Price, Sale) and directly behind him (Scherzer, Kluber, Gray, Darvish, Greinke, Teheran) will make fulfilling this BOLD! prediction a tall order.
9) Wil Myers, who suffered a stress fracture in his right wrist in late-May, will not return this season.
The Tampa Rays are not in playoff contention and have no reason to rush Myers back from an injury that can be tough to come back from anyway. While he's currently projected to return in mid-August, Myers has not yet been cleared to resume baseball activities. There's always a chance he could suffer a setback in his recovery as well.
10) Giancarlo Stanton will hit 40+ home runs for the first time in his career.
The Miami Marlins slugger is on pace to hit .294 with 105 runs scored, 36 home runs, 108 RBI and 13 steals. It's hard to believe he's only 24 years old.
11) Joe Mauer, who was projected to see a boost in fantasy value this season with the move from catcher to first base, will finish outside the top 15 at both positions.
The former All Star is batting .271 with two home runs and 28 RBI in 76 games with the Twins this season. He's currently dealing with an oblique injury and did not return for the start of the second half.
12) Jose Abreu will hit at least 53 home runs.
The Chicago White Sox first baseman currently leads MLB with 29 home runs. He'd need to swat at least 24 more over Chicago's remaining 62 games to surpass Chris Davis's MLB-leading home run total from last year.
13) No Mets pitcher will win more than 10 games.
Bartolo Colon currently has eight wins for the New York Mets, but I think he'll be pitching for a different team within the next week. Zach Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and Jenrry Mejia all have five wins apiece, but I think they'll fall just short of surpassing 10 wins for the season.
14) Danny Salazar will rejoin the Tribe rotation and post a strong second half for the second consecutive season.
Salazar was pretty bad for the Cleveland Indians to open 2014, but he's pitched much better lately for Triple-A Columbus and can blow away hitters with his elite strikeout potential.
With 12 first-half wins, Tanaka has a significant leg up on fellow starters Hiroki Kuroda (six wins) and Chase Whitley (four wins). Even if Tanaka doesn't throw a single pitch in the second half due to a torn UCL, he could still lead New York in the win column at season's end.
16) The Toronto Blue Jays will boast five players who hit at least 20 home runs.
Edwin Encarnacion is the only Blue Jay with more than 20 home runs at the moment (he has 27), but Melky Cabrera (12), Jose Bautista (17), Brett Lawrie (12), Juan Francisco (14) and Colby Rasmus (13) are all within striking distance of my BOLD! prediction. While Bautista is an easy bet to surpass 20 bombs, the others are toss-ups.
17) Greg Holland will be the MLB leader in saves at the end of the season.
Holland has been dominant ever since he took over the closer role for the Kansas City Royals in 2013, and while he currently ranks sixth in MLB with 25 saves-- four behind leader Craig Kimbrel-- I think the Royals will win enough close games that Holland will overtake Kimbrel and the others currently ranked ahead of him.
18) Gregory Polanco will rank as a top 20 outfielder for the second half.
Through 35 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Polanco is hitting .246 with three home runs, 14 RBI, six steals and 24 runs scored. He has struggled recently, but I'd bet he finishes strong.
Seager currently has 66 RBI for the Seattle Mariners, besting Cano (57 RBI) by nine. Cano is the far superior hitter, however, so this BOLD! prediction could legitimately go either way.
20) Billy Hamilton will swipe 75 bags.
Hamilton, who stole 38 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in the first half, is on pace to finish the season with 64.
Through 84 games with the Cardinals, Adams has 12 home runs and 43 RBI. Matt Holliday (50 RBI), Allen Craig (44) and Jhonny Peralta (44) currently sit ahead of him for the team's RBI lead. Only Peralta has more home runs (14).
Nelson replaced Marco Estrada in the Brewers rotation prior to the All-Star break, after going 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and a 114:32 K:BB over 111 innings for Triple-A Nashville.
23) Nelson Cruz will tail off in the second half and fail to surpass the 40 home run mark.
Cruz is on pace to finish the season with 48 HR and 127 RBI for the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles, but I think he will struggle and/or succumb to injury in the second half.
24) Dee Gordon will NOT lead MLB in stolen bases.
25) Matt Cain will fail to win more than five games.
Cain, who is 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 70:32 K:BB over 90.1 innings this season for the San Francisco Giants, just hit the DL with elbow inflammation.
27) Bryce Harper will go on power binge in the second half to finish with 18+ home runs.
Still just 21 years old, the Washington Nationals phenom is one of the most remarkable studies in all of fantasy baseball. However, we're all still waiting for him to show us a glimpse of his first-round upside. Will it happen in the second half?
The drop-off in production has been remarkable for the former elite fantasy ace, but the Detroit offense is good enough to bail out Verlander and reward him in the win column.
29) Josh Hamilton will turn the corner in the second half and post near-elite fantasy stats.
It's still too early to consider the 2013 free-agent signing of Josh Hamilton in 2013 a "bust," but the 33-year-old outfielder has mostly disappointed during his time with the Angels thus far. Now that he's well past the thumb injury that sidelined him for nearly two months, I could totally see Hamilton returning to "Fantasy MVP" form in the second half of 2014.
30) Sean Doolittle will not walk a batter in the second half.
The Oakland A's closer has issued only two free passes through 44.2 innings thus far. That's pretty freakin' insane! Last year, I predicted Greg Holland would be drafted as a top 5 closer in 2014 drafts, so I'll do the same here with Doolittle looking ahead to 2015.
Again, I invite you to make your own BOLD! predictions for the second half of the MLB season via Twitter (@RyanRufe) using the hashtag #RotoBallerBOLD, or via the comments section below.