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Kyle Bishop's 10 Bold Predictions for 2019: Midseason Review


This week is as good a time as any to pause and reflect on the 2019 baseball season thus far.

Fortunately, it's been a much less challenging year than last for yours truly. Other than a hapless squad in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (15-team industry leagues are tough, and weekly lineups and waivers are just not something I will ever like), my teams are all contenders.

The same can be said of my bold predictions for 2019. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but the majority of these fearless forecasts are looking pretty good at the season's slightly-more-than-halfway mark. Below, I'll review the calls made in March and assign a number from 1 - 10 that reflects how confident I am that they'll ultimately come to fruition.

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Domingo German is a top-40 starting pitcher.

Even having missed nearly a month due to a hip flexor strain, German sits comfortably inside the top 40 SP on both Yahoo and ESPN. A big part of that is his 10 victories, which put him one behind Lucas Giolito for the league lead. (Imagine if I'd tried to tell you back in March that those two would be leading the league in victories at the break.) The 26-year-old has continued to miss plenty of bats and is no longer missing the zone with as much frequency as before. He'll have to prove he can hold up under a full season's workload, and home runs have remained a bugaboo, but this is a strong start to the proceedings.

Confidence: 8/10

 

Adam Frazier is a top-12 second baseman.

Frazier isn't even the best 2B-eligible player on his own team - Colin Moran has been better overall, and Kevin Newman has been superior recently. He's hitting for average (.287) and has scored 49 runs, but doesn't add enough value in the other counting stats to come close to a viable starting second baseman in standard mixers. He also may lose his grip on the leadoff spot moving forward if Newman continues to excel.

Confidence: 1/10

 

Hunter Renfroe hits 40 home runs.

After hitting 26 homers in each of the previous two seasons, Renfroe already has 27 this year. That puts him on pace to easily clear 40, with an outside shot at 50 bombs. Playing time hasn't been much of an issue as the Padres have found plenty of at-bats for him as well as fellow slugger Franmil Reyes. Rumors have swirled about San Diego shopping Renfroe, which would make sense given their crowded outfield and the fact that he and Reyes are essentially the same player.

Confidence: 9/10

 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not a top-12 third baseman.

Vladito looked like the superstar we all expect him to be at the Home Run Derby on Monday, putting on an absolute clinic in the first two rounds before falling to Pete Alonso in the final. His actual production in games, however, has left fantasy owners wanting. He's barely in the top 50 at the position according to ESPN's Player Rater, and considering that his ADP was in the top 50 overall, that has to be considered a significant disappointment. Guerrero is just 20 years old, and it seems only a matter of time before he's a perennial stud. It just may not happen this year.

Confidence: 7/10

 

Blake Snell’s ERA more than doubles.

By many measures, Snell has actually pitched better this year than he did in 2018, when he took home the American League Cy Young honors. However, an increased home run rate and inflated BABIP have led to a 4.70 ERA nearly three runs higher than the previous year's mark. Based on his peripherals, he should be much better in the second half, but enough damage may already have been done for this prediction to hit.

Confidence: 5/10

 

Billy Hamilton and Adalberto Mondesi combine for 120 stolen bases…and a .280 OBP.

The Royals haven't run with as much reckless abandon as many expected, though they still lead the league with 84 steals (next best are the Rangers, with 72). Mondesi and Hamilton have combined for 44 of them, but that pace leaves them well short of making a winner of this prediction. It's Hamilton who's slacking here, as he has just 16 thefts in 21 tries. As for the OBP component, they're both under .300 but have combined for a .292 mark.

Confidence: 1/10

 

Madison Bumgarner finishes outside the top-60 starting pitchers.

Bumgarner hasn't been great with just five wins and decent ratios (4.03 ERA/1.20 WHIP), thanks to a crummy team around him and giving up a ton of hard contact. He has recovered what he lost in terms of strikeouts and walks last year, though, which has been enough to crack the top 50 starters thus far. Assuming he is traded this month to a contender, he'll have a better chance at logging more victories, but it's worth noting that he has struggled on the road this season and been generally homer-prone. If he winds up in, say, Yankee Stadium, that could be problematic.

Confidence: 3/10

 

Kirby Yates leads the league in saves.

Yates ended the first half with 30 saves. No one else has more than 24, and only eight other players even have 20. At least three of that group are likely to be traded before the deadline. There have been rumors around Yates himself being dealt as well, though that seems unlikely with the Padres still firmly in the playoff picture. Even if it were to happen, there aren't many places he could land where he wouldn't remain the primary option for saves. Barring injury or a change in role, this is looking like a good call.

Confidence: 9/10

 

The best hitter named Justin isn’t Justin Upton, Justin Turner, or Justin Smoak – it’s Justin Bour.

Even with Upton missing most of the first half and both Turner and Smoak underperforming, it hasn't panned out because Bour has been straight trash this season. In fairness, I knew this one was crazy when I wrote it.

Confidence: lmao/10

 

Kenta Maeda is the Dodgers’ most valuable starting pitcher.

Maeda has been pretty good, and he's managed to remain a mainstay in the Dodgers rotation after a couple of seasons where they shuttled him off the bullpen whenever they felt like it. It's just that Hyun-Jin Ryu has been outstanding, Walker Buehler has been even better than he was a rookie (never mind the ERA, which is inflated due to a low strand rate), and Clayton Kershaw's been healthy outside of an early-season shoulder scare.

Confidence: 1/10

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice