Cleat Geeks

On The Bump or In The Dump

Welcoming to 2018’s first edition of “On The Bump or In The Dump”! (Cue the dancing bears, cracker jacks and pop up band theme song).

This is the article that discusses the magical art of pitching. Last year’s edition we had Berrios, Severino, Sonny Gray and Brad Hand on. Then we trashed Wade Miley and he fell apart.

Hopefully you got on that Severino and Brad Hand train as they both worked some magic!

But on to 2018. 2017 is gone. In the garbage. Severino ain’t cheap and Hand is now a closer so you won’t be seeing either as an inexpensive option. So let’s take a look at what’s now and helpful.

On The Bump

Shohei Ohtani– As Christopher Walken would say “I got a fevor. And the only prescription, is more Ohtani.” Ohtani has lit the baseball world on fire, and I’m buying – for the most part. The stuff is real. There’s no denying it. He tosses 100 mph regularly and his off-speed is just filthy. I set him at #3 on my dynasty watch list last year and it’s looking like the only thing I might have gotten wrong was spelling his name (cringe, sorry Ohtani). I fully expect his talent to be there all year though. Some are skeptical because he wasn’t particularly good in spring training. What we saw in spring training is a number of things. He could have been working on stuff which many pitchers do. That’s why we always say “ignore spring training stats.” But I think another issue, and probably the larger part, was using a different baseball.

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In Japan, their baseballs are smaller than ours. During spring training a lot of Ohtani’s issues were due to command. In Japan, he didn’t struggle with command which is what made that so odd. It’s also why I assumed he’d eventually adjust and be a solid pitcher. So far, that’s looking to be paying off. The only question mark is health. Being a two-way player is a lot to ask, particularly for a guy who throws so hard, so the reality is that with Ohtani, you’re rolling the dice. He throws a splitter that can be very hard on a young pitcher’s ligaments, particularly since he’s not used to 200 innings (Japan is closer to 160 per season). I’m going to say what I said about J.D. Martinez last year. I believe in the skills but I don’t trust the health. So milk the value early but, particularly if you’re playing in a head to head league where playoffs count, don’t be afraid to sell later in the season closer to July or August. That being said, Ohtani is still only 23 years old, so a full season is not out of the question. The track record for starting pitchers who throw 100 is not good though, so enjoy Ohtani for awhile. If someone is selling him cheap, buy. But after a couple months of what will probably be some very good stats, I’d be looking to sell if I can get some good value for him.

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Photo by; Zimbio

Gerrit Cole– Cole has been quite good thus far. I believe I’d be safe to say the best start to a season he’s ever had. But I’ve been hearing some analysts caution Cole… whispering *sell high*… *He can’t be this good*… *He’s probably made some strides but this is too much*… *squeeze-its are an underrated kids juice drink that were destroyed by the Freemasons*… Well, I’m here to say don’t listen to those voices. He won’t return to Earth – err not enough that I’d sell at least. Cole has been with the Pirates for his entire career and it’s always been assumed that the pirates have a great pitching coach, so he couldn’t possibly be learning anything new with his new club, the Astros. Well, Houston also has a pretty good set of pitchers, and I’d be willing to bet he’s gaining some new insights. One particular subject up for dissection is his fastball. He used to rely on it more as it can blow by many hitters. The problem is it’s a fairly straight pitch. Now, further into his career, he’s developed his off-speed stuff more and it can get outs. When a pitcher has multiple pitches it makes that hitter off balance and guessing which, is important for that heater as they can’t guess fastball as much. Plus, let’s not forget who also had a resurgence last year. Justin Verlander. What kind of pitcher was Verlander when he was younger? A hard throwing fastball tosser who relied on his hard stuff. He’d retooled himself in Detroit, but since going to Houston he’s become… well otherworldly again. I’m sure some of what works for Verlander may just be helping out a hard throwing Cole.

In The Dump

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Photo by; San Diego Union Tribune

Joey Lucchesi- Lucchesi is an interesting pitcher as he’s got a nice little curve/change thinga-ma-jig (that’s the technical name) that is confusing players all over the place. The only thing is his fastball, which isn’t particularly good. For that reason, hitters are liable to sit fastball and let it fly when they get it rather than chase the off speed stuff. He’s having some success now but if you can sell for a legit pitcher or a decent bat, I’d do it. You might be able to sell the Petco Park aspects, but long term, I wouldn’t bet on him.

MLB Fantasy Forecast; Who Are The 25 Best Starting Pitchers?

This is a look at top 25 for Starting Pitchers(Ranks will change throughout the season, use this as a guide)


25) David Price(Bos)

Price had a good outing against the Rays. This could be the comeback player of the year if he is able to stay consistent. Remember last year Price was relegated to bullpen duties for the later part of the season. So far so good for Price if he’s first outing is any indication of what to expect.

24) Lance McCullers(Hou)

McCullers is a relatively young pitcher with dominant stuff. He really came into his own in the postseason for the Stros. He continues to be able to implement his curveball which is arguably turning into his best pitch. A full season could give numbers close to 20 wins, era around 3.00….

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23) Masahiro Tanaka(NYY)

Tannaka plays on the Yankees so a chance at a victory is always in his favor. Their were some struggles last season but he has the capability to be a dominant starter every time he toes the rubber.

22) Jon Lester(CHIC)

Lester is a very nice safe option. Playing on the Cubbies is helpful as well.

21) Shohei Ohtani(LAA)

This one is very difficult to rank because we haven’t seen much unless we count the limited spring training outings. Make sure to take notes as Ohtani is set to start for the Angels against the A’s this weekend. Expectations are very high as we have heard about comparisons to the great Babe Ruth already.

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Photo by; Houston Chronicle

20) Gerrit Cole(Hou)

The move to the World Champion Astros will certainly improve Cole from an environmental perspective. He was injured as well over a good portion of last season so I like a rebound type season out of cole.

19) Jose Quintana(CHIC)

Look for an era right around three. Quintana has a very deceiving repertoire of pitches, won’t overwhelm hitters with heaters but will use that rope a dope type stuff. He has a great way of outsmarting the opponent.

18) James Paxton(SEA)

Paxton is really showing that he can be a dominant pitcher. He has an explosive set of pitches that can be at time the best in the Majors. If he can learn to manage his heater for the duration of the season, this could be a really great selection.Image result for aaron nola phillies

17) Dallas Keuchel(HOU)

Keuchel is very similar to Jon Lester, not just because they are both lefties but because they are both students of the game who can both give you innings and stability. Nice safe pick here for sure.

16) Aaron Nola(PHI)

Nola really showed us last season that he is for real. The Phillies are a much better team and will give him run support and a chance at the very minimum a w every time he takes the mound.

15) Carlos Martinez(STL)

This is another pitcher who has a very high ceiling in terms of up-side. The question is, can he produce over a full season.


14) Robbie Ray(ARI)

Everyone is really high this year on Diamondback pitchers. With half of their starts at Chase field, how could you not like them. With the humidor being installed pitchers may have an edge so why not grab one or two or maybe even three starters from Arizona.

13) Chris Archer(TB)

It seems to be always an issue in regards to filling out the win column, having stated that Archer is always good for lots of strikeouts and other good preferable numbers.

12) Yu Darvish(CHIC)

A bounce back is in order after a less than stellar postseason. In terms of the last 10 seasons it has been stated that Darvish has arguably the best arsenal in all of baseball. Don’t let last years playoff deter you away from Darvish, this is still a really good pitcher.

11) Luis Severino(NYY)

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Photo by; Zimbio

The Yankees are finally confident in that they want the young stud used in the rotation rather than out of the pen.

10)Justin Verlander(HOU)

Verlander is showing us that he is still a very good pitcher that found another gear in the post season and could have played some of his best baseball of his career. Expect some drop off this season but nothing too substantial. He is aiding by the fact that he plays for a superior team and is driven to succeed and to compete for another title on a team that could be even better than last season. Verlander keeps evolving each season as he nears the end of his career. The move from Detroit to Houston has been so important in prolonging his greatness. An argument could be made that Verlander would be closer to 50 then ranked where he is now if it weren’t for the move to the state of Texas.

 9) Zach Greinke

A lot of great factors have Greinke ranked nicely here. He showed last year how great he can be. Coupled with the fact that the humidor( installed in Arizona) will decrease offensive production.

8) Jacob deGrom(NYM)

Make sure to keep an eye on deGroms’ injury status all year. We know the Mets are loaded with starting pitching but there are concerns on how management has dealt with players out of the lineup in the past.

7) Carlos Carrasco(CLEV)

Carrasco and Kluber are both really great options, Cleveland should be a power house once again this season, take these guys with confidence.

6) Madison Bumgarner(SF)

Mad-Bum is injured, he is expected to be out at least a month, so tread with caution

5) Noah Syndagaard(NYM)

Thor is probably the best pitcher on a really good Mets rotation. If you have to take one, Syndagaard is your best option.

4) Stephen Strasburg(WAS)

The stock keeps rising for Strasburg, if we get a full season with no injuries the stat line should be something in the neighbourhood of 20 wins, 2.75 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 200 k’s

3) Chris Sale(BOS)

Great first start out of the southpaw, expect more of the same going forward.

2) Corey Kluber(CLE)

Cleveland looks poised to be one of the better teams in all of baseball, this is a fairly safe selection.

1A) Max Scherzer(WAS)

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Photo by; Fox Sports 1340

No surprises here, a model of consistency, feel good if you own any of the top 5, just make sure to monitor which one has the better chance at staying healthy for the full season.

1B) Clayton Kershaw(LAD)

Arguably the best pitcher of our generation.




MLB Fantasy Forecast-Releif Pitchers

 Top 20 closing pitchers

Most leagues are 12 man, because the closer role is never set in stone  here are a list of 20 pitchers that you can feel comfortable in using.

20. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

19. Brandon Morrow/Carl Edwards jr/Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

18. Kelvin Herrera (K.C.Royals)

17. Blake Treinen (Oakland A’s)

16. Brad Hand (SanDiego Padres)

For closing pitchers, this is my favourite in terms of upside/sleeper potential. Because he plays for a team that is known to be average at best, we tend to overlook the crafty lefty. Last years 5-1 strikeout to walk ratio is outstanding. Another factor that may come into play is the possibility that he could be dealt at the trade deadline, which then could relegate him into a set up role.

15. Mark Melanson/Sam Dyson (San Francisco Giants)

14. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

Neris established himself as the primary closer for the Phillies last year. Only concern would be if Manger Gabe Kapler decides to sprinkle in Pat Neshek for closing situations. Career numbers are very good for the 4 year pro. 230 K in 196.1 innings/ 28 saves in 35 opportunities/ 2.98 ERA/ 1.18 WHIP


13. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Pirates losing McCutchen in the off season is more of a blow to the psyche to the fan base then anything else heading into the 2018 campaign. This could be the surprise team of 2018, still lots to like on this squad, Polanco, Marte, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, the addition of Corey Dickerson to offset the loss of McCutchen. They are in the midst of a mini rebuild. Rivero has shown to be very reliable in the closer role with a breakout type season-1.67 ERA, 21 Saves, 88 Strikeouts in 75.1 innings spitched, 0.89 WHIP all amassed in 2017.


12. Fernando Rodney (Minnesota Twins)

11. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

10. Luke Gregerson (St.Louis Cardinals)

9. Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)

8. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

Roberto Osuna is more then capable of being in the top 5. We can flip flop with Diaz at the 7 spot in the rankings, the Mariners are forecasted to have a better season so the chance is more likely for higher save totals for Diaz rather then Osuna. You can make an argument for either side, even with less save opportunities Osuna could capitalize at a higher rate.

7. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

If Diaz can cut down on walks, this has the potential to be a breakout campaign. He opened his career in 2016, after some time in non-closing situations he was able to put together a nice rookie year. Last year was even better, nearly doubling his save totals, along with keeping the whip under 1.20.


6.Aroldis Chapman (NY Yankees)

In terms of a dominant pitching arsenal, is their anyone any better then Chapman? The Yankees are smart to give the closer role to the former Cub. He is best used in the 9th inning for three outs, where as it was a little more of a complicating situation in Chicago, he and Wade Davis seemed to share closing duties along with other great arms that manger Joe Madden had access to.

5.Wade Davis (Colorado Rockies)

(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Davis gets a fresh new start with the Rockies this season. This could turn into a monster year. The Rockies had a great season in 2017, the closer role has now been handed to the former World Series winner.


4. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

3. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)

A fantastic season last year, it looks like more great years await the 8 year pro. A career high 3.6 wins above replacement suggests that Kimbrel has fit in very nicely since he was brought over in 2016. Kimbrel has had seasons of 46, 42, 50, 47, 39, 31, and last years’ total of 35 saves.

1. Kenley Jansen (LA Dodgers)

Jansen has turned into a dominant closing pitcher. Playing for the Dodgers is an added bonus. Lots of save opportunities await.

Make sure to check all other position rankings as we near closer to draft day for the upcoming Major League Baseball Season.

You can also follow me on twiter- @Joel_Dorcas6


MLB Fantasy Forecast-Outfield; Part 2

25. Billy Hamilton

Hamilton has yet to show more to his game other than the blazing speed. Over 55 stolen bases in the last three seasons. If you need stolen bases, this is your guy, but you’re not getting much else.

24. Yasiel Puig

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Photo by; Baseball Hot Corner

Somehow Puig was able to put a good season together after being almost forgotten in a somewhat crowded outfield. Career highs in homers and rbi’s in 2017 bode well for him to be an everyday outfielder again in 2018.

23. Andrew McCutchen

Another player who returned to form. Gone are the mvp type seasons, but .280/20hr/80rbi/80runs/10steals is a nice benchmark.

22. Ryan Braun

Braun’s numbers were down last season because of injury. The Brewers are gonna use him at first base as well as the outfield. This could be helpful in keeping him healthy for the length of the season. He may even have a few more games off to allow Domingo Santana and others get a few at bats.

21. Lorenzo Cain

Park factors might show most telling story here and for teammate Christian Yellich. For Cain, going from Kaufman to Milwaukee could add another 5-10 big flies. If he hits .300 and steals 20 plus bags, this is a great selection.

20. Nelson Cruz

Power hitting machine still hasn’t hit the decline. The move to full-time DH is only gonna help the 37-year-old slugger. All stat columns will fill up very nicely except of course stolen bases.

19. Yoenis Cespedes

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Photo by; WABC_TV

Another power beast very similar to Cruz, some injury concern here though, make sure to monitor his health.

18. Byron Buxton

Another season or two and it could be breakout time for the young speedster. The strikeout rate is too high so adjustments need to be made, but you can’t ignore the steady progress being made, especially in the second half of last year.

17. Khris Davis

Over 40 hrs the last 2 seasons. A safe bet for over 30 homers, 90 rbi, and 80 runs.

16. A.J. Pollock

After the very impressive 2015 campaign injury has come into play the last two seasons. He still managed 14 homers and 20 steals in 112 games last year. This can be a really good value if he can stay healthy.

15. Rhys Hoskins

Huge potential and upside but remember last year was a very small sample size. Some risk involved, but power numbers and run production should be very good.

14.Tommy Pham

This could be fantasy baseball’s most talked about player. Came out of nowhere to have a breakout year. Experts are saying it is legit, so it’s worth taking even if you have to reach because you’re getting a player that does everything well.

13. Marcell Ozuna

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A monster year with career numbers across the board for Ozuna last year. The move to St. Louis shouldn’t change much as he joins a fairly good lineup. A very high BABIP leads you to believe the average will go down to the more usual .270 range, but 30 plus homers and 100 plus rbi is well within reach.

12. Andrew Benintendi

I’m always a little bias when it comes to ranking pure hitters as a pose to power hitters, I like the fact that they are usually a little more safe in terms of reaching base which leads to more opportunities for counting stats. At .271 for the year, last years batting average was considered a disappointment, he can easily get to .300 while contributing to all other stats as well, lots of potential here.

11. Christian Yellich

Another one of my favorites, Yellich also gives you some stolen bases(15-20). What’s really to like for this year is the move to Milwaukee, this is likely going to increase the power numbers. We could be looking at .300, 20 hr, 90rbi, 90runs, 20steals.

10. Justin Upton

Seems like Upton’s been around forever, but still in his prime at age 30, coming off a very impressive 35hr/109 rbi, and has been very durable playing over 149 games in the last 7 years. This is a very smart and safe play, along with power the average will be mediocre at best(.250ish), but should produce double-digit steals.

9. Starling Marte

Stock seems to have fallen a bit since the ped suspension last year, still a very valuable player, double-digit homers with a good bating average and at least 30 steals.

8. Aaron Judge

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I think it is way more likely that Judge will hit closer to .250 then .280 this year. A full season’s worth of footage will give pitchers a better understanding of how to pitch the 25 year-old slugger. Even still 40-50 homers and 100 plus rbi is probably on its way.

7. J.D.Martinez

An incredible 45 homers in 119 games last season. The move to Boston is only gonna help. Could he reach 50, even 60 homers? All power and run producing stats will be filled, along with a possible plus .300 average.

6. George Springer

Springer is really coming into his own as a hitter. His strikeout rate improved by 6% last season which led to a career high .283 bating average. Hitting a top of probably the best lineup in baseball has led to over 110 runs scored in the past 2 seasons, that should continue, along with 30 homer potential.

5. Giancarlo Stanton

How in the world are you gonna be able to deal with Stanton/Judge back to back. There is bound to be some mistake pitches and the short porch at Yankee stadium is only gonna help. The possibility for lots of homers and runs is very likely.

4. Charlie Blackmon

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An absolute massive breakout year led to Blackmon being the number one player in all of fantasy last year. The numbers are outstanding, most notably, 137 runs scores, over 100 rbi and a sparkling .331 average.

3. Mookie Betts

I’m really high on Betts this year. The BABIP was very unlucky(.268). This is .300 hitter with good power, and great run production, especially now that Martinez has been added to the lineup. If we get over 20 steals, this has breakout potential for sure.

2. Bryce Harper

We always tend to think injury concern here, it is warranted, but you can’t ignore that this is a triple crown threat.

1. Mike Trout

Best player in the majors, don’t even think about who to take number one overall.

MLB Fantasy Forecast; Outfield Part 1

The outfield will be broken down into two parts, ranks 50-25, and 25-1. Not all players will have write ups.

50. Corey Dickerson

49. Bradley Zimmer

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Photo by; The San Diego Union Tribune

Exciting player with power and speed, is an injury concern, bating average could be a weak spot

48. Randall Grichuk

Big time power threat at the Rogers Center/big time sleeper potential

47. Avisail Garcia

46. Michael Conforto

45. Kyle Shwarber

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A cheap gamble, lots of power, lots of k’s

44. Michael Brantley

This guy will hit .310 in his sleep, double-digit steals and homers, huge knock here is the almost certain injury

43. Kevin Keirmaier

If he stays healthy he can get around 20 steals, double-digit homers and hit around .260

42. Odubel Herrera

41. Manuel Margot

He was projected to be better than the 17 steals and 13 homers of last season. Could be a good value play.

40. Ian Happ

39. Steven Souza

38. Adam Duvall

37. Joey Gallo

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You just can’t ignore the power, 41 homers last year, but that bating average is destined to hurt ya pretty bad.

36. Brett Gardiner

Always around the 90 run mark, with decent power and speed, this year should see an increase in those numbers, especially if he hits at the top of the very powerful Yankee lineup.

35. Jay Bruce

34. Nick Castellanos

It seems like this guy is always on the breakout or sleeper potential list. Keeps trending up, but more people know about this guy, a mini breakout last season could lead to an even better 2018.

33. Adam Eaton

32. Gregory Polanco

Somewhat disappointing so far, the upside is still their, this could be a telling year, we know he has power and can run, we just haven’t seen enough of it

31. Nomar Mazara

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Photo by; WCCO

Already two seasons in the books for the 23-year-old. In almost the same amount of at bats as his rookie season, Mazara put up 101 RBIs compared to the 64 he had in 2016. This year has breakout potential written all over it.

30. Eddie Rosario

29. Ian Desmond

28. Domingo Santana

Playing time is the biggest issue here, all outfield spots seem to be taken, if he can DH and platoon to get to 400 plus at bats he’ll provide power and a decent average.

27. Ender Inciarte

26. Adam Jones

25. Billy Hamilton

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Because steals are so scarce Hamilton gets a major boost in the rankings. Don’t expect much else though.




MLB Fantasy Forecast-3rd Base

A lot to like in the top 12. After that it starts to get a little murky. No shortage of power in this list.

12. Rafael Devers

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Hopefully Devers has shown the Sox enough to keep him up with the big club. He has an abundance of potential, but if he struggles at all they will be quick to send him down for more seasoning in the minors. Now that JD Martinez is slotted in the lineup there will be less pressure for guys like Devers to perform. Still a .280, 25 homer season is well within reach.

11. Travis Shaw

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Photo by; Journal Times

The move to Milwaukee increased power production in a big way. If he can eclipse 500 plate appearances, 30 homers and 100 rbi isn’t out of the question.

10. Kyle Seager

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Photo by Zimbio

This is as close to automatic as it gets. Over the last 4 seasons, Seager is at or above these numbers: 154 games,25 hrs,74 rbi. The bating average took an unusual hit which led to the .249 mark. A career average of .264 suggests that it will bounce back to more respectable levels.

9. Miguel Sano

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Photo by; Last Word On Baseball

In 3 separate seasons, Sano has yet to reach 120 games played. At only 25 years of age we have yet to see what he can do in a full slate. If he could play more, he has the capability to hit 40 homers and drive in over 100 runs.

8. Adrian Beltre

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Beltre is creeping up on 40, but has only regressed slightly. The power has dropped a little but the soon to be hall of famer is still a nice option at third. He will be around .300 with 20 hrs and close to 90 runs and rbi if he can avoid injury.

7. Anthony Rendon

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Photo by; DistrictonDeck

A big time cut down in strikeouts(117-82) led to a career year for Rendon, .403 on base, 301 avg, with 25 homers and 100 rbi. If he continues the great approach at the plate he could even better those numbers for his age 28 season.

6. Justin Turner

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Photo by; Dodgers Way

A career .300 hitter with a great eye at the plate. Reduced to just 130 games led to lower totals in homers(21) and rbi(70). Hitting in a very potent lineup should see the run production go up providing he can stay on the field.

5. Alex Bregman

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Photo by; NY Daily News

We could have a very exciting player on our hands here. The breakout potential is high, as Bregman turned it on in the second half, and then went on to have a great post season. He has a rare combination at the position of power and speed, along with a great strikeout to walk rate. He could be the complete player and you may have to overpay to get him.

4. Josh Donaldson

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Photo by; Jeff Fannell

The injury bug limited Donaldson to just 113 games last season. He still managed 33 homers. But the strikeouts rates went up, which led to the .267 bating average. Playing for a new contract could elevate his play closer to his MVP type level of just two seasons ago.

3. Manny Machado

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A really slow start contributed to the career low .259 bating avg. The other numbers were fairly consistent with what we are used to out of the 26-year-old. I can almost guarantee an uptick in bating average and good to great numbers across the board as he is in his prime years and playing for a new contract.

2. Kris Bryant

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Bryant had a better year last year then the 73 rbi suggests. All other counting stats were really good. He can get around 100 rbi along with every other stat category filled with the exception of stolen bases, which might get close to double digits.

1. Nolan Arenado

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A rbi and homer machine that hits around .300, this is far and away the best option at third.

MLB Fantasy Forecast-2nd Base

 Not as deep as other positions, if you aren’t getting a top 5-10 guy, it could be weak spot to your lineup. Even still there are  players that will help you with average, run production, speed and in some cases power.

12. Ozzie Albies

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Photo by; Tomahawktake

In limited action last year Albies put up very respectable numbers for a 20-year-old. Ian kinsler, Ian Happ, Jonathan Villar, and Scooter Gennett are perhaps safer options, but Albies upside for speed and some power with a good average is very enticing and could be the breakout player of the year.

11. Yoan Moncada

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It may be another year for Monchada to develop. The strikeout rate is a concern, but the potential here is so great that taking a chance may be worth it. The White Sox are a non-contender so they will give him a pretty long leash to figure things out.

10. Rougned Odor

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Lets hope we have seen the worst from Odur last season. A paltry .204 batting average isn’t going to help anyone. It wasn’t all bad as he managed to pop 30 long-flies, and steal 15 bases (great numbers for 2b). Even though Odur is a free swinger and doesn’t walk enough, the batting average should increase more towards respectability as he possessed the lowest bating average of balls in play at .224. A reduction in strikeouts would be welcome as well.

9. DJ LeMahieu

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Photo by; BSN Denver

We pretty much know what to expect here. Solid contributions in most categories. Not a whole lot of power but double digits in homers and steals isn’t out of the possibility. Almost a lock for a .300 avg, and 90 runs.

8. Whit Merrifield

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Photo by; Kings of Kaufman

Came out of nowhere to lead the American League in steals last season. Sealing may have been reached at .275/15hr/65rbi/34steals type of season. Having said this, this is very repeatable for the third year pro.

7. Daniel Murphy

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A career .304 hitter with good pop and good run production. Murphy profiles as one of the top pure hitters in all off baseball. The concern this year will be his health status heading into the new campaign. Knee surgery in the off-season has put his playing time in question.

6. Robinson Cano

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Photo by; CBS Ney York

We may not see the average hover around .320 anymore, but .290/25-30hr/90rbi/90runs is well within reach. For a second baseman that is really good production, you should feel safe with him.

5.Jonathan Schoop

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The Baltimore Wire

By next year I wouldn’t be surprised to see Schoop as top 3 option. Always blessed with lots of power we are now seeing Schoop be more selective at the plate. He went from a lowly .298 obp to a more respectable, .338. If he continues this trend we may have a new star at second.

4. Dee Gordon

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A new team shouldn’t affect Gordon too much, he’ll hit a top of a good lineup just like he did with the Marlins. No power but a nice 300 average with great run production and oh ya, he’ll probably steal you 50-60 bags.

3. Brian Dozier

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Photo by; Twins Daily

Lots of power and run production has been a constant to Dozier’s game for the last 4 years. An uptick in batting average has occurred over the last two seasons so it looks like .260 is more likely than .240. Dozier can even give you around 15 stolen bases.

2. Jose Ramirez

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CBS Cleveland

Perhaps the most underrated player, an all around great contributor across the board. We may not see close to 30 homers like last year, but .310, 15-20 hr, 90 runs, 80 rbi, 15 steals is nothing to sniff at.

1. Jose Altuve

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Photo by; The Sporting News

The number two overall best player in fantasy is in his prime years. The new-found power over the last two seasons has made him even more valuable.

MLB Fantasy Forecast-1st Base

 Lots of great hitters with plenty of power in this list. Just out of my top 12, there is still a lot to like. Matt Olson and Greg Bird could be diamonds in the rough if they continue on their trajectories.

12. Miguel Cabrera

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Cabrera is just too talented to leave off the list. Last season was pretty bad, but it was largely due to playing with two herniated discs in his back. He opted not to have surgery in the off-season, so far very early on in spring training it’s been reported that Cabrera is looking much better.

11. Justin Smoak

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Photo by; Bleacher Report

There is some risk here with Smoak, an absolute break out season last year with 38 bombs and a nice .270 average, his previous seasons were nowhere near this productive. If he can continue to cut down on strikeouts we are gonna get the version of Smoak that was envisioned when he first came on the scene as a top prospect 5 years ago.

10. Eric Hosmer

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Photo by; The San Diego Union Tribune

If you have power established at other positions, Hosmer is a great pick. He is gonna fill out all the stat categories, even a little bit in the speed column, the power won’t be that bad either, even with Petco as his home park, he can still give you around 20 dingers. Don’t forget Hosmer had career bests in batting avg, and ops last season.

9. Will Myers

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Photo by; Friars on Base

Strikeout rate was high resulting in a very low .243 avg. Homers were nice at 30. A little hit to the steels at 20 compared to the 28 the year prior. If Myers can stay healthy and strikeout less you get a very quality selection that provides a good source of speed.

8. Rhys Hoskins

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Photo by; USA Today

48 RBI in his first 50 games in the majors. An even more impressive on base percentage just under .400.

7. Edwin Encarnacion

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Photo by; The Toronto Star

34 or more homers and 98 plus rbi in the last 6 seasons is remarkable for the 35-year-old slugger. The average has remained solid as well. We may still have a couple more really good seasons until regression comes intro play.

6. Jose Abreu

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Abreu is becoming a very constant force to fill first base. Won’t have many surprises here: .300/30/100/90 is almost an automatic.

5. Cody Bellinger

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Photo by; Dodger’s Way

If it wasn’t for Aaron Judge’s monster rookie showing, we would be gushing over Bellinger even more. The strikeout rate is a concern, but if he can cut back, the upside here is extremely high.

4. Anthony Rizzo

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The model of consistency and durability. Closest thing to a lock for 30 plus homers, close to 100 rbi and runs. Might even throw in double-digit steels.

3. Freddie Freeman

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Left handed hitters do well at hitter friendly Sun Trust Park. Let’s not forget Freeman was on pace for a monster year before injury.

2. Joey Votto

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Power numbers were close to career bests for Votto. An on base machine, there is no one better in the business that has a grasp of the strike zone. Even if the power numbers go down a tad, Votto is an elite selection.

1. Paul Goldschmidt

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Photo by; FanRag Sports

Only a slight bit of concern for this year for the only 30-year-old superstar. The humidor installed in Arizona will have an effect on production. Still rated number one for the complete player you’re getting. 300 plus avg, around 30 hr, 100 rbi, 100 runs, and 15 to 20 steals.


MLB Fantasy Forecast-Shortstop

 This is a young and exciting group, the top 3-5 picks are very good and as your starter, baring injury, you will be set. Speaking of injury, let’s hope we can get a full season out of Trea Turner. He may be the most electric player out of the bunch, with so many elements to his game, this year will be more telling of what kind of potential he poses. Many Machado and Alex Bregman will be listed in the third base rankings.

12. Marwin Gonzalez

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Photo by MinorLeagueBall

It was close whether or not to include Gonzalez in the top 12. He had a breakout campaign last season. A high babip, and high hr to fly ball rate is likely to regress some to make a .275, 15 hr season more likely than .300, 20 hr type year. The position versatility is a nice boost, and run production should be prevalent again if he can get into this loaded lineup on a fairly consistent basis.

11. Javier Baez

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Photo by Yahoo Sports

I really want to rate Baez higher, but the approach at the plate needs to be adjusted. Strikeout percentage was among the worst in the league, as well as being at the top of the chase rate leaderboard. Having saying this, if he can get in the lineup at either short or second for 500 plus at bats, 25-30 homers, 80-90 rbi, and maybe even double-digit steels is a possibility.

10. Trevor Story

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Photo by PurpleRow.

Another free swinger player with lots of pop. He can hit 25 bombs fairly easy, his approach at the dish needs improvement though. The league leader in strikeouts last season is set to hit fourth and man short stop for the heavy hitting Rockies. If he can cut back on strikeouts and tweak his approach, this could be a very nice pick, lots of power and run production with a little bit of speed.

9. Chris Taylor

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Photo by 247Sports

Similar to Gonzalez, Taylor can play all over the field. He will give you stats in every category, most notably a good 280-290 avg, and maybe even 90 runs if he hits at the top of a very good Dodger lineup.

8. Didi Gregorius

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The only knock compared to a lot of players on this list is that Didi can’t give you much for speed. It’s the consistency that puts him in the top ten. A 25 hr, 275 avg seems to be very attainable.

7. Jean Segura

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Photo by Fansided

300 avg, with 30 stolen bases, and 10-15  homers. That is a very possible stat line, these types of players are very hard to find and it appears that Segura is becoming this type of player.

6. Elvis Andrus

Image result for elvis andrus rangers

Photo by Zimbio.

This is a really safe play. We know what to expect, 9 straight seasons of at least 20 steals, will give you help at stolen bases. Always hovering around the .280 mark, and 80-90 runs. It’s not expected that Andrus will be the same source of power, 20+homers and close to 90 RBI is unlikely. If he can reach double digits in home runs and be around 65-70 rbi, you have a nice player that can fall in later rounds.

5. Xander Bogearts

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There still might be some untapped potential here, but we can only be cautiously optimistic. Naturally Boegearts is a very talented player with a real good approach at the plate. The glaring factor to his game is the ground ball rate, it hovered just beneath 50%, which partly led to just a .273 .avg, a far cry to the .320 hit the year prior. This like Andrus is a fairly safe play with some more upside if he can figure out how to get the ball elevated more often.

4. Corey Seager

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Photo by Dodgers Way.

We may be finding out that Seager is gonna be like his brother in a sense that he is more of a complete ball player then someone who will give you eye-popping stats. Having said this, there is still a possibility that Seager could produce 30+homers/90-100 rbi. More of a sure thing is the run totals and on base percentage, they will hover around 100, and 370 respectively.

3. Francisco Lindor

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Last year Lindor made the shift to more of a power threat, especially over his torid second half. Another 30 homer season isn’t out of the question, but 20-25 taters is more likely. Close to a 300 avg, 80-90 rbi, 90-100 runs,  is very attainable for the twenty-four year old.

2. Carlos Correa

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Photo by Mens Fitness

Correa was on pace for an MVP type year. The thumb injury cost him 42 games yet he still managed a 24/84/.315 slash line. The on base and slugging were outstanding as well. If Correa showed an interest or was allowed to steal bases, he is an automatic number 1.

1. Trea Turner

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Photo by District on Deck.

The projections for a full season are quite impressive. Hampered by injury in his second season, and limited to a partial first season, Turner in a 162 game slate would steal 66 bags. You just can’t get that kind of production in stolen bases in the game today. Not just a one trick pony, Turner has the capability to pop 15-20 homers, hit around .300, and score 100 runs. If he’s allowed to run wild by new manager Dave Martinez this is a lock for an early first round pick.

My Baseball Predictions Report Card

As football comes into season, hopefully you’re still in the playoffs looking at a potential fantasy baseball title. Throughout the season I’ve given various advice and suggestions here on cleatgeeks, and on twitter @baseballalan where I have several #bbalanpredicts posts. But I always hate when writers make “bold” suggestions and keep it under the rug when they’re wrong. So today, we’re going to go over some of my predictions and see where I was right, and where I made myself look like a moron.

I’m going to keep it mostly to the bigger names, but if you’d like to check out the rest of my predictions, you can look through my articles here on cleatgeeks, or go through my twitter and search for #bbalanpredicts.

Polanco was being drafted at an absurd price; right around 50, where analysts were predicting he would turn into a 30hr/20 steal sort of guy hitting around .280. Polanco is a notoriously streaky player, so I wasn’t buying it. He’s currently nearing the end of his season at .255 10/8. He’s been limited to around 360 abs so far so he’s on pace to be fairly close to my prediction, so I’m counting this one as a win, as if anything, I may have been too gentle with my criticism.

Mookie Betts was being drafted as a top 3 player. With the loss off Ortiz, and the league adjustment to a new young star, I knew this wouldn’t last. As I predicted, he would still be very serviceable, but with a .262 18/23 line, it’s clear that if you took him in the top 5, your team was badly hurt, and missed on some great talent.

Alright, alright. As promised, I’m not just going to brag. I’m also going to rub my nose in the doo doo. So here’s some bad ones from a list I made of my top 10 late round picks. I gave some late round value players that I thought could really boost your team. Some worked out well, and some turned into steaming garbage. Who could I have missed?

Napster had a great history with Texas, and even though I didn’t actually expect him to repeat his glory days exactly, he’s having the worst season of his career. This one’s been one of those farts, you accidentally let out and then realize the whole room can smell it.

Liriano is my Stanley Kowalski. My abusive Marlon Brando who always calls to me. “STELLA!!” Except his performance won’t win you any awards. D$*N IT LIRIANO! Every time he seems to figure something out, he kicks you right where it hurts, and you have no idea why. After seeming to figure things out in Torronto last year, he goes right back to being his frustrating self.

And finally…

My number one suggestion on my “top 10 late round pickups”, and he blew it. BLEW IT! Had a great start to the majors last year but never carried it over this year. The location seemed to be a great place where nearly all their youngsters throw it nasty, and the only question is health. Gsellman from the very beginning of the year though never found his way to being one of the awesome guys who’d eventually get hurt.

Okay, back to some more wins…

He’s had troubles lately, but there’s no denying that Holland has been an elite closer most of the year.

Probably my best prediction of the batch and most. I wasn’t hearing anyone talk about Shaw despite being a lefty in a lefty heaven in Milwaukee. While the year isn’t finished, Shaw is currently at 29 hrs with a .276 ba. which even with a few more weeks, is a lock to be very close to the prediction I made. Despite all the unexpected breakouts from players around the league, it’s impossible to deny, Shaw has been one of the best value hitters for most of the year, and if you grabbed him in the late rounds or (quite possible) from free agency, he’s probably helped you get into playoff contention.

Other notable writeups have been Aaron Judge, Bellinger and Sonny Gray. I called for a resurgence of Gray, and so far he’s been just what I’d hoped for. After making some adjustments and getting healthy, he seems once again to be a very formidable arm.

Judge and Bellinger have been a mixed bag. I made criticisms of both of them. I also predicted Judge would slow down, but still hit for power, while Bellinger I assumed would stop hitting in the 2nd half. While Judge definitely has slowed down to an alarming degree, Bellinger has been fairly reliable. While he was initially cold, he did have a hot streak last month. So Bellinger’s been basically the same so we’ll call this two 1 win and 1 loss.



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