Shortstop (SS) Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2017

Obligatory: The positional eligibility of the players in this list was determined by using FantasyPros’ eligibility information, which was gathered from all the major fantasy sites.

Shortstop has traditionally been a fairly weak position, but that’s changed in the last couple of years. There has been an abundance of young SS talent called up to the majors recently, and these kids have taken over my rankings. I’m sure you’ll think I’m too high on a few of them, but I’ll do my best to justify the questionable rankings below.

corey seager fantasy baseball shortstop
  1. Manny Machado, Bal SS, 3B
  2. Carlos Correa, Hou SS
  3. Corey Seager, LAD SS
  4. Francisco Lindor, Cle SS
  5. Xander Bogaerts, Bos SS
  6. Addison Russell, ChC SS
  7. Trevor Story, Col SS
  8. Jean Segura, Sea SS, 2B
  9. Jonathan Villar, Mil SS, 3B
  10. Aledmys Diaz, StL SS
  11. Jose Peraza, Cin SS, OF
  12. Marcus Semien, Oak SS
  13. Elvis Andrus, Tex SS
  14. Troy Tulowitzki, Tor SS
  15. Brad Miller, TB SS, 1B
  16. Eduardo Nunez, SF SS, 3B
  17. Dansby Swanson, Atl SS
  18. Brandon Crawford, SF SS
  19. Javier Baez, ChC 2B, 3B, SS
  20. Tim Anderson, CWS SS
  21. Asdrubel Cabrera, NYM SS
  22. Jedd Gyorko, StL 2B, 3B, SS
  23. Jose Reyes, NYM 3B,SS
  24. Didi Gregorius, NYY SS
  25. Jurickson Profar, Tex 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF
  • Manny Machado is the best of the bunch. That is a fact. Do not try to argue with me here.
  • Carlos Correa and Corey Seager could be flipped. They’re near equals in my opinion, and you’d do well for yourself by drafting either of them.
  • I think the player inside this Top 5 who is most likely to fall out of the Top 10 this year is Francisco Lindor. He’s defense-heavy with about average hit skills (he and Jose Ramirez had basically the exact same offensive season last year). He could either take a step forward into that Correa/Seager group this year or he could regress out of the Top 10. I can’t decide whether Lindor or Trevor Story is the player I’m least confident in this season.
  • The pick I’ll catch the most flak for is probably slotting Addison Russell, who comes in at #6 ahead of Story, Jean Segura, Jonathan Villar, and Aledmys Diaz who all had better seasons than Russell last year (not to mention Marcus Semien, who had nearly identical numbers). There are 4 reasons that contribute to me being higher on Russell than most people. 1) I’m a Cubs fan. A big one. 2) More importantly, and bear with me, Addison Russell is about to turn the corner. He actually already started, but let me explain. As noted in the linked Bleacher Nation piece, Addison Russell’s .197 ISO (isolated power) was third on the team in the second half of 2017 (behind Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo). Only Corey Seager topped that at SS in the second half. 3) His K rate has been getting consistently better over time. He’s growing into his bat (he’s 23). 4) Addison Russell’s .277 BABIP was a touch unlucky. He’s due for some positive regression. All this is to say, if you get good value on Addison Russell in the draft you’re probably going to have a good time.
  • This has already been covered in this and previous rankings, but Story, Segura, and Villar are due for some pretty heavy regression this year. Hell, Villar is not a .376 BABIP hitter, so that alone should cause you to pause.
  • #12-#18 are all one in the same to me. Marcus Semien, Elvis Andrus, Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Miller, Eduardo Nunez, Dansby Swanson, and Brandon Crawford are all completely unspectacular players, but they won’t kill you, either.
  • Hello again, Javier Baez  ❤.
  • Rounding out the bottom of the list are a bunch of players I probably won’t own on any teams, except Jose Reyes and Jurickson Profar on very rare occasions. I love Profar’s flexibility, and I mean…he is only a few years removed from being an organizational top prospect. There’s some talent there to take a risk on.
  • Final note: If your league has a DL slot, and you don’t grab Ian Desmond, there’s no harm in drafting Didi Gregorius, who should be solid when he returns from his injury.

What do you think? Take issue with me or some of my choices? Tell me where I went wrong on twitter at @BaselineKory.  As always, please subscribe to the Rounding Third podcast on iTunes. 

Third Base (3B) Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2017

I’m not going to lie; Third Base is by far my favorite collection of fantasy players. There are leagues in which my starter at 3B is the 15th player on this list, and I’m comfortable with any of these players in my Utility (UTIL) or Corner Infield (CI) slot. I honestly wouldn’t argue with you too much if you rearranged large sections of my rankings, that’s how deep this position is. With that being said, I’m sure some of you are going to want to argue anyways, so scroll down to read the damn thing. Then let me know how bad I did.

alex bregman astros fantasy baseball
  1. Nolan Arenado, Col 3B
  2. Kris Bryant, ChC 3B, OF
  3. Manny Machado, Bal SS, 3B
  4. Josh Donaldson, Tor 3B
  5. Kyle Seager, Sea 3B
  6. Anthony Rendon, Wsh 3B
  7. Adrian Beltre, Tex 3B
  8. Matt Carpenter, StL 2B, 1B, 3B
  9. Alex Bregman, Hou 3B
  10. Evan Longoria, TB 3B
  11. Justin Turner, LAD 3B
  12. Todd Frazier, CWS 3B
  13. Jose Ramirez, Cle 3B, OF
  14. Jonathan Villar, Mil SS, 3B
  15. Maikel Franco, Phi 3B
  16. Miguel Sano, Min 3B, OF, DH
  17. Nick Castellanos, Det 3B
  18. Jake Lamb, Ari 3B
  19. Yulieski Gurriel, Hou 3B
  20. Ryon Healy, Oak 3B
  21. Mike Moustakas, KC 3B
  22. Eduardo Nunez, SF SS, 3B
  23. Javier Baez, ChC 2B, 3B, SS
  24. Travis Shaw, Mil 1B, 3B
  25. Jose Reyes, NYM 3B
  • Nolen Arenado is a picture of consistency, and it’s pretty hard to bet against him with Coors Field on his side.
  • You could shuffle around any of the Top 4 in Arenado, Kris Bryant, Manny Machado, and Josh Donaldson, and you’d be able to make a pretty good case for why each should be the #1 3B off the board. They’re all great, and they all have pretty high floors. It’s all personal preference here.
  • Adrian Beltre is ranked where? I know, I know. He’s so consistent. He’s a future Hall of Famer. He’s in a good lineup. He never disappoints. I know why you think he should be higher, but I’m not going to do it. Everybody falls off a cliff at some point. I love me some Beltre, but I think this is the year he slips out of the elite range of players.
  • If you’ve read my other rankings (you should), you’ll notice I like Matt Carpenter a lot. Still true.
  • Alex Bregman is going to be good. I’m a little higher on him than a lot of rankers, but that’s because #IBelieve. He’s going to be this year’s breakout young stud, and you can target him decently late in drafts.
  • Boring players are boring, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable in fantasy. Evan Longoria and Jose Ramirez lead the way as the most valuable boring players this season. Longoria reclaimed some of his early career spark last year, and Ramirez never strikes out. They’re safe bets to slot into your lineup for above-average, but not great, production.
  • Maikel Franco and Miguel Sano may very well sneak into the Top 10 by the end of the season. They both have their approach issues. But. They. Hit. Dongs.
  • At this point, I’m still comfortable with Nick Castellanos, Jake Lamb, Yuli Gurriel, and Ryon Healy as my starters. With that said, if they end up as your starters, the rest of your team better be damn good. There is obvious risk involved here, but they’re all solid and could produce well.
  • Hi Javier Baez. I love you.
  • I touched on Travis Shaw a bit in my 1B ranks, but I’d just like to quickly mention that he is tailor-made for Miller Park.
  • Whoa. Jose Reyes exists. He’s a terrible human, but a good baseball player, and David Wright is not going to start (or finish) the season healthy. There’s Top 20 upside here.
  • That’s it. That’s all you get.

How’d I do? Let me know on twitter @BaselineKory. You can also take your complaints straight to the top @Rounding3rdPod.

Second Base (2B) Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2017

Last week, I took a look at my Top 25 Fantasy First Basemen. Today, I’ll be debuting my lists for the other positions in rapid-fire succession, culminating with my Top 250 total players on Sunday. These position lists were creating using the combined positional eligibility on FantasyPros to ensure that if a player is eligible for the position on any major fantasy website, they’ll be ranked in my list.

14620717307_242513db73_b.jpg

Is it just me or is Second Base especially deep this season? There are 12 players I would legitimately be alright with as my fantasy team’s starter at the position, and, honestly, I think that list of 12 could easily expand to 15 or so by midseason. Listed below are my 2017 Fantasy Second Basemen rankings, with a few notes for the players who needed it.

  1. Jose Altuve, Hou 2B
  2. Robinson Cano, Sea 2B
  3. Trea Turner, Wsh 2B, OF
  4. Brian Dozier, Min 2B
  5. Rougned Odor, Tex 2B
  6. Daniel Murphy, Wsh 2B, 1B
  7. Dee Gordon, Mia 2B
  8. Ian Kinsler, Det 2B
  9. Matt Carpenter, StL 2B, 1B, 3B
  10. Jean Segura, Sea SS, 2B
  11. Jonathan Villar, Mil SS, 2B
  12. Dustin Pedroia, Bos 2B
  13. DJ LeMahieu, Col 2B
  14. Jose Peraza, Cin SS, OF, 2B
  15. Logan Forsythe, LAD 2B
  16. Devon Travis, Tor 2B
  17. Jonathan Schoop, Bal 2B
  18. Ben Zobrist, ChC 2B, OF
  19. Neil Walker, NYM 2B
  20. Starlin Castro, NYY 2B
  21. Jedd Gyorko, StL 2B, 3B, SS
  22. Javier Baez, ChC 2B, 3B, SS
  23. Jason Kipnis, Cle 2B
  24. Brandon Drury, Ari SS, 2B
  25. Kolten Wong, StL 2B

 

  • This list’s first possible disputed ranking comes in at #2 with Robinson Cano being ranked ahead of Trea Turner. Look, I’m on the Trea Train, but I’d like to temper expectations a bit. I think Cano is a more consistent (duh), well-rounded hitter, and he’s in a lineup that puts some pretty good hitters around him. Turner could very well end up being the #1 2B by the end of the season, but I think it’s equally likely that he falls out of the Top 5. I don’t see that happening with Cano.
  • I covered this a bit in my 1B ranks, but I’m just not that high on Daniel Murphy. I know about his swing changes, and I know he’s in a good lineup, but the track record just isn’t there. I’m not sure the talent is, either. I moved Rougned Odor above him because, even though I walked more than him last season, he has another year of development under him. He disappointed last year, relative to his ranking, but I don’t see that happening this time around.
  • It’s not a coincidence that I have Jean Segura and Jonathan Villar grouped together here. They’re clearly very talented players. They also very clearly outplayed their peripherals last season. I doubt either will finish in the Top 5 this season, but your fantasy team will be fine with them as your starter at second, assuming you get them in the 5th or 6th round, especially since they both have multiple position eligibility on most sites.
  • Dustin Pedroia marks the end of my “starters” tier for a standard, 12-team league. He’ll be good this year, especially at the top of that lineup.
  • DJ LeMahieu went from being one of the more meh prospects in the Cubs system to winning the NL Batting Title in, what, 3 seasons? He’ll still be solid, but I’m expecting a return to meh this season.
  • I want to talk about Jose Peraza, Devon Travis, and Javier Baez for one minute, here. These are the 3 players (in that order) who I think have the greatest chance of exploding onto the scene and finishing in the Top 10 by the end of the season. We’ve all seen what Baez can do in the field and on the bases. He is unquestionably one of the best defenders and baserunners in the game, but that doesn’t translate to fantasy success. This could be the year he brings his electric power back into his game. It’s a big “if”, but if he continues to improve his plate discipline, as he has each of the last 3 seasons, we may be talking about Javy Baez around the Odor range next season.
  • Travis is exciting. He’s in a good lineup, and he should finally have the job to himself this season. The kid has done nothing but perform in his limited opportunities, so it’s easy to project him into the Top 15 or so, as long as he stays healthy.
  • Peraza can steal 40+ base. Full stop. That alone could easily propel him into the Top 10. He won’t hit .324 with a .350 OBP again, but if he can hover around .285/.330 for the whole season, you’ll have a pretty special player. No power, but he won’t need it.
  • It’s interesting to note that the Cardinals have 3 players in my Top 25, with Kolten Wong and Jedd Gyorko slipping in at the end. One of them will be a decent player, but neither is guaranteed a starting spot for the full season. Matt Carpenter is good. You should draft him.
  • Last note: Jason Kipnis is a fine player. He’s not great. He’s hurt. You can do better.

 

That wraps up the 2B edition of my rankings. How’d I do? Let me know on twitter @BaselineKory. You can also take your complaints straight to the top @Rounding3rdPod.

A Message to Young Yankees Fans

Put down the digital pitchforks and let this baby marinate.

As we approach Opening Day, the Yankees of 2017 are creating a buzz the franchise has not had since the glory days in the mid-nineties. Millennials may not remember the brutal eighties and the first half of the 1990s. Just ask your dad what that was like. Those fans in their twenties and early thirties, like myself, do not remember the agony of knowing Don Mattingly would never win a World Series.  We were born into baseball’s equivalent of a silver spoon – a team with historic talent during an era when the bad teams remained bad for years, creating the perfect conditions for a dynasty.

Now that the franchise has been humbled the past few years as the Mona Lisa roster continued to age and deteriorate, the youth injection from the “Baby Bombers” is as promising as things have been in the Bronx in years.

But sometimes being born into privilege isn’t always an advantage, especially when adversity rears its ugly head. George Steinbrenner’s win at all cost (no matter the cost) mindset is no longer a viable guiding philosophy in today’s MLB.

So my plea to Yankees fans young and old (but mostly young) is:  if and when things go sour this season, remember this is part of the process.

Ugh, the dreaded sports phrase of the 2010s: “The Process” (See the 76er’s). The old way, the way of The Boss, was to retool, but never rebuild. Patch the holes with big free agent signings, stay relevant, often to the detriment of actually putting together a sustainable roster, and make sure the Mets do not steal the back page of the Post or Daily News.

The current regime of Hal Steinbrenner has signaled a different approach. An approach some disgruntled fans have viewed as too fiscally conservative, and a departure from George’s cult-like commitment to winning.  A commitment to winning that George, despite his flaws, never undermined.

I say this because there are early signs that Yankees fans will not be patient. Take the case of Gleyber Torres. The pot of gold at the end of the Aroldis Chapman-to-the-Cubs rainbow trade last season has been nothing short of fantastic this spring (.448, 9 RBI). It is likely we will see him sometime this season, but fans are already clamoring on social media for Torres to replace the recently injured Didi Gregorius. We should remember Torres has never played a game above A ball and has never (ever) played a game in cold weather. What’s the rush? Let him dominate AA and AAA before giving him a roster spot.

Judging by callers on New York sports radio and social media, waiting for Torres is not an option. We want him now goddamnit! Relax; even Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant rode the bus in the minors for a little while.

When Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Tyler Austin or even dare I say Gary Sanchez, fall into the inevitable mid-season malaise, will the social media, sports radio rabble call for Brian Cashman’s head for putting together another subpar product? Will you as a Yankees fan itch for the big trade of youth for veteran talent in hopes the team could win now? If yes, you are living in a different, bygone era of Yankees baseball.

Let this baby marinate. Let’s turn down the heat to a low simmer and allow it to cook. Making the playoffs just to get bounced in the first round has never sat well with Yankees fans. Be prepared for that to happen, with no blockbuster trades to rectify it. If we want to return to the glory days, patience is needed for that team to materialize.

If we as fans have to suffer growing pains with a young roster that doesn’t have the historic consciousness of the glory days, then so be it.  And it could get ugly this season. The Red Sox and Orioles are better positioned to win the division and Toronto, despite losing Encarnacion, can still pitch (see Long Island’s own Marcus Stroman’s WBC performance versus Puerto Rico) and hit (see Josh Donaldson). Of all the teams in the division, the Yankees have the widest win-loss spectrum of the bunch.  They could be an 85-win team or a 75-win team.  84 wins was enough to finish 4th in the division in 2016.

But, when things go south just look to the Cubs. Letting “The Process” marinate has lead to an immensely young and talented roster that is positioned to compete and win for the foreseeable future.

I know, to fans from less fortunate franchises (I’m being nice here), I sound like the typical whiney Yankees fan pleading with its fan base to stay positive through “tough times.” Well, George Steinbrenner whined and complained for over 30 years and it lead to 5 rings.  The only difference now is that you can’t throw money at the problem.

Charles J. Gaglio is the host of The Wisecast and a contributor to Baseline Times. Charles grew up on Long Island and currently resides in Seattle. Follow him on twitter.

For other baseball news, follow the Rounding Third podcast on twitter, and rate and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Episode 2: The NL Rose Ceremony

On this week’s Rounding Third Podcast, Dustin and Kory are joined by newcomer Neil to discuss all the latest in MLB news, and to make their predictions for all of the National League divisions and award winners. Where in the World is DeMario? Listen to find out.

First Base (1B) Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2017

I know I’m getting a late start here, and you might have already drafted, but this list is not for you. This list is for people who are in leagues that aren’t awful. I’ll be trying to drop these lists position-by-position every couple of days for the next two weeks, which should give you time to read my rankings and subsequently ignore them by March 28th. Note: These rankings are using FantasyPros combined position eligibility, so that’s why Kris Bryant, Buster Posey, and Jonathan Lucroy make an appearance, even though they’re not eligible for 1B on ESPN.  Without further ado, here’s the list. I even followed up with commentary for the picks I thought needed it. You’re welcome.

 

  1. Paul Goldschmidt, Ari 1B
  2. Kris Bryant, ChC 3B, OF, 1B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, ChC 1B
  4. Miguel Cabrera, Det 1B
  5. Joey Votto, Cin 1B
  6. Edwin Encarnacion, Cle 1B, DH
  7. Jose Abreu, CWS 1B
  8. Daniel Murphy, Wsh 2B, 1B
  9. Jonathan Lucroy, Tex C, 1B
  10. Freddie Freeman, Atl 1B
  11. Buster Posey, SF C, 1B
  12. Wil Myers, SD 1B
  13. Matt Carpenter, StL 2B, 1B, 3B
  14. Hanley Ramirez, Bos 1B
  15. Chris Davis, Bal 1B
  16. Eric Hosmer, KC 1B
  17. Carlos Santana, Cle 1B, DH
  18. Brandon Belt, SF 1B
  19. Albert Pujols, LAA 1B, DH
  20. Brad Miller, TB SS, 1B
  21. Travis Shaw, Mil 1B, 3B
  22. Justin Bour, Mia 1B
  23. Greg Bird, NYY 1B
  24. Josh Bell, Pit 1B
  25. Dan Vogelbach, Sea 1B

 

  • Honestly, I won’t argue with you if you wanted to say that Rizzo and Goldschmidt should be flipped. Rizzo is the new Miguel Cabrera, as far as consistency is concerned (he obviously has not put up a Miggy-in-his-prime season, yet, but you get what I mean). He plays in a better lineup, with more protection behind him and better hitters in front of him, but Goldy is just so damn good. I’m betting on Goldschmidt having a slightly better season, aided by steals and a better OBP.
  • I was tempted to go with Joey Votto at #3, but I couldn’t put Miggy any lower. I know what Miggy is, you know what Miggy is, so we don’t need to talk about him. Votto, on the other hand, could be one of two players. Do you believe he’s closer to his putrid 1st half numbers from a season go, or are you betting on his second half? As a betting man (and someone who has watched baseball for more than one year), I’d say Votto is as good as ever. Count me as a believer in a huge season from him.
  • I’m a little higher on Jose Abreu than quite a few experts out there, but I like him for the same reason I like Votto. I tend to buy in on big second halves *if* the hitter makes a noticeable adjustment in his game. Abreu did, and I’m predicting a return to form in a big way. I drop him 2 to 3 spots if Frazier is traded, however.
  • Daniel Murphy and Freddie Freeman…these are the two players in the top 10 who I’m least confident about. I don’t really have an actual, in-depth reason to not love Freddie Freeman, but I just don’t. He strikes out a lot, I don’t think he’s a .300 hitter, and I just don’t like him, okay? Daniel Murphy could certainly be legit, but we’ve almost certainly already seen his best season. What’s more likely? A guy who’s on the wrong side of 30 who only has one postseason+one regular season worth of good stats, or there was some magic in his bat that was boosted by a BABIP that was above his career average? There’s a decent chance he regresses to somewhere in between who he was last season, and who he has been the rest of his career.
  • I’m higher on Carpenter than FantasyPros Consensus. I think I’m right. I think they’re wrong. He’s a bit of an injury risk, but so is everyone who plays a professional sport, so whatever. He’s got great positional flexibility, and I this his bat is legit.
  • Hanley, Davis, Hosmer, and Santana. You’d be fine if you waited on a 1B until the later rounds to draft one of these guys. They all have question marks, but they’ve all good pretty solid floors. Hate strikeouts? Don’t draft Davis. Hate super boring players? Don’t draft Hosmer. Santana gets a boost because of Encarnacion, by the way. There’s some upside there.
  • I want to talk about Brandon Belt for one sentence. Brandon Belt is one of the 3 potential breakout players on this list, and I think he could finish in the top 10.
  • Pujols, Gonzalez, Miller, and Napoli. We’ll call this tier “Fine, but I’m not going to draft them.” Look, they’re fine. They’re not that good, but they’re also not that bad. Miller is boosted by SS eligibility, but shortstop is pretty deep itself. There is a 0% chance I will own any of these players on my fantasy teams this season because I won’t be taking them where their ADP (Average Draft Position) has them going.
  • The final 5: Shaw, Bour, Bell, Bird, and Vogelbach. This is honestly my favorite tier, and you’ll see me grab one of these players towards the end of almost every draft. Shaw is my absolutely favorite of the bunch. He’s my 2nd breakout pick. The dude has huge breakout potential because he’s absolutely built for Miller Park. I could see Shaw finishing in the top 10. He could also finish well below where I ranked him. That’s the nature of this tier of players. Bour just needs a full season’s worth of at-bats. He’s my third breakout pick, so the Marlins better let the man play. Josh Bell has some contact issues for sure, but he has a strong minor league pedigree, and he showed well at the Major League level last year. Technically still a rookie, I have Bell going toe-to-toe with Dansby Swanson for the Rookie of the Year. Greg Bird wasn’t on this list a week ago. Things changed, and now I believe. He’s going to be the best Bird since Tweety.
  • Finally. My man. Dan Vogelbach. He gets his own bullet. This 400-pound penguin in baseball pajamas can do one thing, and one thing only: hit. He has hit at every level. He makes good contact and has decent bat speed to go with excellent control of the plate. He is my super deep sleeper, and something tells me he’ll have a pretty strong showing if he doesn’t hurt himself waddling around first or sliding into the ocean.
  • Just missed: These players didn’t make the cut because I didn’t like them. In no particular order: Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Tommy Joseph, CJ Cron, Chris Carter, Lucas Duda, Steve Pearce. They all suck, okay? But if I have to draft one, it’d be Mauer. He’s Joe Mauer. He’s fine. He’s going so late (or never) in drafts, that I actually find myself taking him sometimes. I think he’s undervalued on a Twins team that should feature an improved lineup, and I actually swapped him out for Bird at the last second before posting this.

How’d I do? Got beef with some of my choices? Tell me how stupid I am in the comments or @KoryRoundsThird on Twitter. As always, please subscribe to the Rounding Third podcast on iTunes. 

Episode 1: The Intro

The Rounding Third Podcast is officially live!

In the inaugural episode the Rounding Third crew introduces themselves and the Podcast. DeMario, Dustin and Kory are the trio on this episode as they dive into the home plate. They discuss the World Baseball Classic and complete early predictions for the AL division champions, award winners, and who will take the pennant for the upcoming season.

Baseline Times MLB Predictions 2017

Who’s winning what: This year in baseball.

I’m not sure why we do this. The only thing that will come from this will be some embarrassingly wrong picks to look back on at the end of the season, but here we are. Continue reading for this year’s playoff and award predictions from the Baseline Times MLB staff.

NL East

Kory: Mets

Dustin: Nationals

Charles: Mets

Kyle: Nationals

It’s an even split (Neil breaks the tie, I’m sure, by picking the Mets), as each team has a few question marks. Ultimately, I think the Mets will take it. Their staff, even with its current question marks, will be tough to beat. Once Matz is healthy, look out.

 

NL Central

Kory: Cubs

Dustin: Cubs

Charles: Cubs

Kyle: Cubs

I’m glad to see that nobody here is insane. Sure, the Cardinals or Pirates could keep it interesting until August or so, but barring some very unforeseen setback, the Cubs should handle this mediocre division nicely.

 

NL West

Kory: Dodgers

Dustin: Dodgers

Charles: Dodgers

Kyle: Giants

My prediction is Kyle will be wrong.

 

NL Wild Cards

Kory: Nationals and Diamondbacks

Dustin: Mets and Rockies

Charles: Nationals and Giants

Kyle: Mets and Dodgers

It’s interesting to note that we essentially agreed on a core of teams who would make the playoffs in the NL, even though we chose different avenues for those teams to get there. Each one of us chose the Mets, Nationals, Cubs, and Dodgers to make the playoffs. Unlike Charles and Kyle, Dustin and I have no faith in the Giants. We chose to put our faith in the Rockies and the Diamondbacks to sneak in the second wild card, instead.

 

NL Pennant

Kory: Cubs

Dustin: Cubs

Charles: Cubs

Kyle: Cubs

As a Cubs fan, this scares me.

 

AL East

Kory: Red Sox

Dustin: Red Sox

Charles: Red Sox

Kyle: Red Sox

Kyle says: “The Bawston Killer B’s (Benintendi, Betts, Bradley) keep the mojo going, and a resurgent Panda (or resurgent enough) hold off the biggest threat…the Blue Jays?”

Charles says: “I think they will win the division, but we shouldn’t underestimate how big of a loss Big Papi is. It will come down to the wire for the division, I think, between Baltimore and the Yankees [competing with the Red Sox].”

 

AL Central

Kory: Cleveland

Dustin: Cleveland

Charles: Cleveland

Kyle: Cleveland

It’s a relatively easy clean sweep. They won’t have much of a challenge in this division.

 

AL West

Kory: Astros

Dustin: Mariners

Charles: Astros

Kyle: Astros

Kyle (he’s an Astros fan) says : “Accept it, boners. We finally avoid the Rangers voodoo.”

 

AL Wild Cards

Kory: Mariners and Rangers

Dustin: Astros and Blue Jays

Charles: Rangers and Orioles

Kyle: Blue Jays and Mariners

Charles says: “The Orioles underachieved relative to their talent level last year.” I say they overachieved.

 

AL Pennant

Kory: Astros

Dustin: Cleveland

Charles: Cleveland

Kyle: Astros

  

World Series Winner

Kory: Astros in 6

Dustin: Cleveland in 6

Charles: Cleveland in 7

Kyle: Cubs in 6

It’s hard to bet against the teams that made it to the final series last season, especially when neither of them got noticeably worse in the offseason. My money is on the Astros cashing in on their offseason investments.

Kyle says: “Bullpens, offense, and versatility wins championships. And so it goes. Astros grind out a few wins between McCullers and the offense throughout the playoffs, but are out of their element against the best team in baseball.”

Charles says: “The Chapman-less Cubs can’t close it out this time. And so ends the only remaining WS drought. With no “curses” remaining, MLB needs to figure out how to manufacture some good storylines. Otherwise, what do we have to root for/against? They better hope Harper signs with the Yankees and revives the Evil Empire otherwise we’re looking at a league with no driving storylines that struggles to promote its stars.”

 

NL Rookie of the Year

Kory: Josh Bell

Dustin: Dansby Swanson

Charles: Josh Bell

Kyle: Ozzie Albies

Dustin is the only one of us to go with the odds-on, industry-favorite Dansby Swanson.

 

AL Rookie of the Year

Kory: Jharel Cotton

Dustin: Andrew Benintendi

Charles: Andrew Benintendi

Kyle: Andrew Benintendi

Everybody is all-in on Benintendi (truthfully, so am I), but I needed to throw in a little bit of contrarianism here. Cotton will be fun to watch, but this is my least confident pick in this entire article.

 

NL Cy Young

Kory: Clayton Kershaw

Dustin: Clayton Kershaw

Charles: Noah Syndergaard

Kyle:  Clayton Kershaw

Charles, channeling his inner Neil, decided to go contrarian here and pick the Mets’ ace to overtake Kershaw this season.

 

AL Cy Young

Kory: Yu Darvish

Dustin: Corey Kluber

Charles: Masahiro Tanaka

Kyle:  Carlos Carrasco

Hopefully Charles didn’t watch the first game of the season today. Dustin is betting on Mr. Reliable, and Kyle and I are betting on some injury risks to stay healthy. Nice to see this much disagreement. Warms my heart.

 

NL MVP

Kory: Paul Goldschmidt

Dustin: Bryce Harper

Charles: Kris Bryant

Kyle: Nolan Arenado

Much like the AL Cy Young, we just can’t seem to agree on who will win the NL MVP. Dustin and Charles played it safe with Harper and Bryant. They’re the best players on two of the best teams in the league, so they’ll have the “playoff push.” Arenado and Goldschmidt will very likely continue to put up the MVP-type numbers we’ve been seeing from then, but winning the MVP will probably require their teams to stay in the hunt the entire season.  

 

AL MVP

Kory: Mike Trout

Dustin: Mike Trout

Charles: Manny Machado

Kyle: Mike Trout

Ever the contrarian, Charles chooses Manny Machado. I don’t hate it, but it’ll take quite the campaign to dethrone Trout atop the AL.

 

Bonus Pick: Winner of ABC’s The Bachelorette

Kory: DeMario

Dustin: DeMario

Charles: DeMario

Kyle: DeMario

Duh.

 

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