Way back on April 1st I wrote an article published here at Dynasty Sports Empire titled “Fantasy Baseball 2017 Kings Of The Plate.” I led off the article stating “today I am looking into my crystal ball and seeing who I predict to be the best in each of the five traditional Roto fantasy baseball league hitting categories.”
In the article I made my pick for each category, and often, well, it was a player that if you thought for just a couple of seconds about it you saw the pick being a distinct possibility to end up being the right pick. Call them the safe picks if you like. I get it. But, these talents had proven themselves worthy of legitimate consideration and, ultimately, were the ones I felt best positioned to come through for me.
However, we play fantasy baseball for multiple reasons. We play it for the trophies. We play it for the money. We play it for bragging rights over our friends and co-workers and countless people on the Internet that we’ve never met in person nor will ever be in the same room with. However, we also play it for the fun of the game.
So, when I wrote the article I didn’t just want to make the safe, logical picks. I also wanted to make bold predictions. Not stupid bold predictions that were completely out of left field. That’s like throwing darts blindfolded. No point in doing so. However, bold predictions that at least had a small possibility of maybe…just maybe coming true.
Well…we’re past three weeks into July. It’s time to check up on how the safe…and the bold predictions are doing.
Home Run King:
The Pick: Giancarlo Stanton
As of Sunday morning Mr. Stanton is in 2nd place in MLB in home runs with 30 on the season. Of course, the top story in MLB has been Aaron Judge, and he leads the league with 32 home runs. Mike Moustakas is close behind at 28 home runs (in 37 less plate appearances than Mr. Stanton has) and there are three players with 27 home runs (George Springer, Justin Smoak and Khris Davis).
Once again this season Mr. Stanton has a beastly ISO of .311. It will be fun to watch Mr. Stanton and Mr. Judge battle it out going down the stretch of the season to the finish line. Do you think Mr. Stanton will finish the season as the Home Run King, or will it be Mr. Judge? Maybe it’s someone else. If you have an opinion, well, state it in a comment after reading this. Heck, state who you think will be the King in each and every traditional hitter Roto category now in a comment so you can puff out your chest and say how smart you are once the season is finished…if you get the pick right, of course! The field has narrowed, but there is still uncertainty in the air!
The Bold Prediction: Gary Sanchez
Well, this bold prediction has gone from bold to cold! Mr. Sanchez does have 14 home runs. However, he has only had 280 plate appearances, and the lack of plate appearances has really hurt his numbers. Heck, he isn’t even the catcher with the most home runs right now! Salvador Perez has 19 home runs in 348 plate appearances. Better luck next year Mr. Sanchez!
The Pick: Nolan Arenado
So, this was the safest of safe picks in my mind. I mean, each of the past two seasons Mr. Arenado led the major leagues in RBI’s with 133 and 130. The only thing standing in his way, in my eyes at least, was he just needed to continue to stay healthy and produce like he has the past couple of seasons.
Well, he currently is the leader with 83 RBI’s on the season. Right behind him is Jake Lamb at 79 and two other notable names (you may have heard of them…Bryce Harper and Nelson Cruz) have 75 RBI’s each.
Mr. Arenado isn’t letting me down and a three-peat is looking more and more likely by the day.
The Bold Prediction: Miguel Sano
I said Mr. Sano likely would be the number four hitter for the Minnesota Twins in 2017. Well, for 112 plate appearances this season he has been. However, he has batted 3rd in 254 plate appearances. I also figured Joe Mauer would hit in front of him. Well, he has 121 plate appearances batting 2nd and 113 batting 3rd. Mr. Mauer I argued would be a nice duck on the pond often for Mr. Sano to drive in. Well, he has had a .356 On Base Percentage (OBP) compared to his .363 OBP last season. I figured Jorge Polanco would hit in front of Mr. Mauer a bunch. Well, that hasn’t happened (can’t be right all of the time, right?).
What has happened is Mr. Sano has 68 RBI’s on the season and that has him tied with Joey Votto for 11th place in the MLB. That isn’t bad. Remember, in 495 plate appearances last season Mr. Sano had 66 RBI’s. He’s driven in 68 this season in only 381 plate appearances.
Entering the season I saw Max Kepler providing Mr. Sano protection in the lineup from the fifth spot in the batting order. He has provided some protection for Mr. Sano, mostly from the fifth (129 plate appearances) and fourth (112 plate appearances) in the batting order. I figured that Mr. Kepler would be a .260 hitter this season and could realistically hit 18 or more home runs. Right now he has a .258 batting average and 10 home runs. He’s on course to hit that projection and provide decent enough protection for Mr. Sano.
The Pick: Mike Trout
Again, I went with the safe logical pick in Mr. Trout. I mean, can you blame me? He was the Runs King in 2016 and is considered by most as the best fantasy baseball bat in the game! The problem is, well, he got injured and missed a bunch of time this season. He has 40 runs in 236 plate appearances this season. He’s tied with six other hitters for the 124th most runs currently. The safe pick isn’t going to pan out here!
The Bold Prediction: Andrew Benintendi
Well, Mr. Benintendi hasn’t come through for me this season and he only has 47 runs. Charlie Blackmon leads the league in runs with 85. You know what they say…better luck next year!
Stolen Base King:
The Pick: Billy Hamilton
Run Billy run! Sure, I wasn’t going out on a limb when I picked him to be my selection for the Stolen Base King of 2017. However, so far anyways, it’s looking like the right pick as he leads the league with 41 stolen bases! The next closest player (Trea Turner) has 35 on the season and then there is Dee Gordon with 34. I love my chances of being spot on in this selection!
The Bold Prediction: Manuel Margot
Yeah, this bold prediction was a complete bust as Mr. Margot only has 10 stolen bases on the season.
Batting Average King:
The Pick: Daniel Murphy
Mr. Murphy has a .341 batting average. Last season he finished .001 behind the MLB Batting Average King (DJ LeMahieu) with a .347 batting average. So, in short, he is continuing to produce. He also has 385 plate appearances on the season and should easily surpass the 502 needed to qualify for this as long as he stays healthy (knock on wood).
However, currently the guy in the lead is Justin Turner…and he has a .371 batting average! Now, Mr. Turner may only have 303 plate appearances, but the Los Angeles Dodgers also have 63 games left to play. Over his first 72 games this season he has averaged over 4 plate appearances a game, so as long as he stays healthy he’s going to finish with well over 502 plate appearances. The good news for me (and Mr. Murphy) is Mr. Turner is only hitting .283 in July. Mr. Murphy hit .343 in March / April, .356 in June and is hitting .368 in July!
Another lock (barring major injury) to have at least 502 plate appearances is Jose Altuve. In 418 plate appearances he has a .352 batting average. Mr. Altuve has proven himself, by his track record, to be a legitimate threat here.
I’ll finish this section up by talking about the guy that is right behind Mr. Murphy. It’s his teammate Bryce Harper. In 399 plate appearances Mr. Harper has a .338 batting average. He started the season off on fire in March / April with a .374 batting average. Then in May he cooled off with only a .256 batting average. He warmed up a little bit in June, but only produced a .287 batting average. July has been when he has been making up serious ground with a scorching hot .458 batting average.
This should be interesting to see how this all pans out. That said, I’m still confident in my selection of Mr. Murphy!
The Bold Prediction: Ender Inciarte
The .302 batting average in 445 plate appearances just isn’t going to get it done. This bold prediction has gone ice cold!
So, all-in-all I’m quite pleased with where my preseason selections stand. Oh sure, four of my five bold predictions have gone cold and the only one that isn’t completely cold (Mr. Sano for The RBI King) is a long shot and 15 RBI’s behind the league leader. However, four of my five safe and logical picks are still very much in the race to end up as Kings, and I’ll take that all day long!