Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Kyle Bishop's 10 Bold Predictions for 2018

Every day from now until Opening Day, our writers will be offering their most audacious projections for the 2018 fantasy baseball season. This is my fourth go-round with this series.

I've had some great successes and some equally terrible calls in both previous attempts, and this year should be no different. Hopefully the former outweigh the failures, but even if not, it's always fun to look back and laugh.

Let's get to it.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Bold Predictions for 2018

1. Bradley Zimmer and Manny Margot both outearn Byron Buxton.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s kept up with my work this offseason, as I’ve made a point of hyping both Zimmer and Margot as the low-cost alternative to Buxton. You can get Margot around 100 picks later, and Zimmer 150. Having consistently been a Buxton defender in the past, this is more about my optimism toward the other two players, but owners shouldn’t overlook the fact that the Twins’ center fielder still has very real downside given his contact issues. Zimmer has problems in that area himself, but he’s got just as much upside in the power and speed departments and comes at a steep discount. Meanwhile, Margot will hit for a higher average than either and showed both improving pop and better instincts on the bases as he progressed through his rookie year.

2. Carlos Santana is a top-10 first baseman.

Santana has been quite consistent and durable since becoming a full-time player in 2011. Over those seven seasons, he’s averaged 153 games played, 24 HR, 79 R, 80 RBI, and 5 SB. While his career .249 batting average is mediocre, he’s bested that mark by at least 10 points in three of the last five seasons. Moving to Citizens Bank Park should provide a slight boost to the switch-hitter’s production, as it’s friendlier to hitting from the right side than Progressive Field. He’ll also hit near the top of what looks to be a pretty frisky Phillies lineup, likely between OBP machine Cesar Hernandez and serial baseball murderer Rhys Hoskins.

3. Giancarlo Stanton is not a top-25 outfielder.

Even granting that a couple of the injuries in Stanton’s extensive history were fluky, there are also a lot of soft tissue injuries sprinkled in there. Before last year, he’d played in more than 130 games just twice in seven seasons. We shouldn’t just hand-wave that away. But even if he stays healthy, regression is likely. Going back to 2003, there have been just seven 50 HR seasons, excluding Stanton and Aaron Judge last year. The average total for those players declined from 53 to 37 the following season. In a neat bit of coincidence, 37 was Stanton’s career high in homers before 2017. Point being, it’s extremely difficult to hit 50 bombs. Most of the game’s best hitters haven’t done it; only a few have managed to do it even once. And this would be far from the first time Stanton has let fantasy owners down.

4. Jorge Polanco finishes in the top 10 at shortstop.

Polanco was awful in the first half last season, but made tangible changes to his approach that clearly paid off. He hit .293/.359/.511 after the break, with 10 homers, seven stolen bases, and 74 R+RBI in just 63 games. Extrapolate that to a full season and it’s Francisco Lindor’s 2017 with bonus batting average and speed. Is Polanco going to pull that off? Almost certainly not, but he doesn’t need to do that to make a winner of this prediction.

5. Javier Baez falls outside the top 20 at second base.

The Cubs’ slick-fielding second baseman hit .273 with 23 homers, 10 steals, and both scored and drove in 75 runs. That performance and his brand recognition have his ADP just outside the top 100 players, but there are some serious red flags in his peripheral stats. In 2017, Baez lost all the gains he’d made in contact rate the prior year, and posted a higher SwStr% than any player in baseball who qualified for the batting title. He also benefited from a sharp uptick in HR/FB% despite pulling the ball less and putting it on the ground more often than in previous years. Roster Resource has Baez projected to hit eighth in the lineup, and he could see some at-bats siphoned away by Ian Happ or Ben Zobrist as well.

6. Jon Gray finishes in the top 25 starting pitchers.

Gray added a curveball last season to complement his high-90s fastball and wipeout slider. It was a plus pitch…away from home. Therein, of course, lies the rub; Gray must contend with Coors Field for half of his starts. He’s got the foundational skills he needs to succeed even in that tough environment, though – lots of strikeouts, solid command, and the ability to keep the ball in the yard. Despite missing a couple of months with a broken foot, Gray produced a respectable 3.67 ERA and his 17.7 K-BB% was 28th among pitchers who threw at least 100 innings. If the curve continues to develop, Gray will have the weapon he needs to truly break out.

7. Roberto Osuna is the No. 1 fantasy reliever.

Just three relievers finished with at least 3.0 fWAR in 2017 – Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, and Osuna. He’s not quite their equal in strikeouts, but Osuna has similarly elite control and does an even better job of suppressing home runs than either of his more lauded counterparts. The only reason his ERA started with a 3 last season instead of a 1 like Jansen or Kimbrel’s was that the latter each enjoyed a strand rate over 90 percent, while Osuna’s checked in under 60 percent. That number’s headed sharply upward, and taking Osuna’s fantasy value to its own lofty heights.

8. Jose Martinez hits 30 home runs.

The 29-year-old is intriguing for both his 6’7” frame and the overhaul of his swing last year, as he added loft and put up a .309/.379/.518 line with 14 home runs in just over 300 plate appearances. While Martinez doesn’t have a starting job locked up for the Cardinals, the market has priced in playing time concerns – to a fault. The roster has enough moving parts that he should see the field plenty, especially since one of those parts (Matt Carpenter, slotted in the first chair at first base) is already questionable for Opening Day. Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Pham, and Dexter Fowler can all play at any of the outfield positions, which means Martinez can be plugged in anytime one of them needs a day off. As they say, bet on skills rather than roles.

9. Joey Gallo gets his average above .250 and is a top-50 player overall.

Trey Baughn over at FanGraphs beat me to the punch on this one, but I definitely agree with the rationale here. The crux of the argument is that Gallo has consistently shown the ability to adjust as a pro. He improved considerably upon repeating both Double-A and Triple-A, and showed similar gains across the board between the first and second half in the majors last year. He’s never going to be Ichiro, but even a 30% strikeout rate would be acceptable with his mammoth power, and given his batted ball quality and surprising speed, he should be able to do better than a .250 BABIP.

10. Trevor Bauer finishes outside the top-60 starting pitchers.

In each of the three times I’ve written this column previously, the last of my 10 bold predictions has been regarding a starting pitcher that everyone else seems to love. Julio Teheran, Sonny Gray, and Aaron Sanchez all lived down to my wet blanket expectations, and this year it’s Trevor Bauer’s turn. There’s no doubt his performance down the stretch was impressive, but we’re talking about a guy who has never produced an ERA below 4.18 or a WHIP below 1.31. Even during last year’s hot streak, Bauer remained vulnerable to the long ball. And let’s not forget that we’ve seen flashes of dominance from him before, only to watch him tinker his way right back into resembling a batting practice pitcher.


More RotoBaller Predictions

More Recent Articles


Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Josh Gordon has officially been ruled out for Week 7. Todd Gurley was not on the final injury report and is expected to play. David Johnson (ankle)... Read More

Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 7

In Week 6, Julio Jones didn't score, but he came through with a decent fantasy day, going over 100-yards receiving. Brandin Cooks brutal Week 6 showing was a little bit of a surprise given his 2018 track record against the 49ers, but the Rams offensive line was overwhelmed which led to a rough day for... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 7

Welcome to our Week 7 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More

The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 7

Welcome to Week 7, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More

Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch - Darius Slayton, Jakobi Meyers, Josh Oliver

Week 7 is here RotoBallers, which means we're smack dab in the middle of the regular fantasy season! In case you are new to this column, each week we'll highlight a few first-year players who are worth keeping your eye on. Not all of the players listed below are must-starts, but all of them are... Read More

Fleaflicker's Most Added and Dropped: Week 7

Every year and in every sport, a few teams march effortlessly towards the ultimate prize as if it's been preordained. When seemingly invincible teams like these are beaten, it's not always by the quality of their opponent but instead by their own psychological mindset. They look past a lesser opponent and fall victim to the... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Josh Gordon has officially been ruled out for Week 7. Todd Gurley was not on the final injury... Read More

Week 7 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

Pass Rush vs QB Matchups to Watch - Week 7

It's Week 7 and the injuries just keep piling up. Heading into this week, six different teams will be starting quarterbacks that were not their opening-day starters, and that doesn't take into account teams like the Indianapolis Colts or Kansas City Chiefs, who just lost quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) for at least three weeks. To... Read More

Offensive Line Rankings Analysis: Week 7

In Week 6, we once again saw some great football, starting with the New England Patriots continuing their undefeated start to the season and ending with one of the most controversial games of the week as the Green Bay Packers overcame the Detroit Lions. The London games continued with Jameis Winston struggling once again, this... Read More

Is Stefon Diggs Really Back?

Weeks 1-5: 4.6 targets, 3.2 receptions, 50.6 yards per game, one touchdown. Week 6: 11 targets, eight receptions, 167 yards, three touchdowns. All of these numbers show a marked improvement on the season averages of Stefon Diggs in Minnesota. But, do they tell the whole story? Do they really signify that Diggs should be considered... Read More

Inside the Tent - Week 7 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues... Read More

Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More

Week 7 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions throughout the season could easily be the difference in winning a championship. Each week, I... Read More