Official baseball starts in a few days, but it’s time to focus on what’s important: insane preseason predictions! Before we dive deep into countless hours rearranging lineups, FAAB bids, and making trade offers in order to win a couple hundred dollars in our friends and family league, which equates to roughly twenty-eight cents per hour, we here at Razzball want to take a moment and document some predictions for the upcoming season. These preseason predictions are a mix of real baseball (MVP, ROY, Cy Young, etc.) and fake baseball (who’s our infatuation; who will return the most value; who will flop). We do this every season, and we haven’t learned any lesson ever, so here it is again! Here is LAST YEAR‘s post if you’re interested. For every correct prediction, there are plenty who thought Seiya Suzuki and Jo Adell were going to matter.
Without further ado, here are the Razzball staff picks for the upcoming season along with a few blurbs from the staff on why they made the choices they did. Be sure to let us know your picks down in the comments, put your name on it so we can praise you in October, or look back next year and point and laugh.
Psyche! One further ado, this season’s first Buy/Sell is now available on our Patreon. It will be posted early on the Patreon all year, so sign up for that. Anyway II, the picks:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- American League: “Masataka Yoshida – It’s a bit contrary for a SAGNOF guy to pick a rookie with a projection of 3 SB, but that hit tool is MLB ready. Yoshida should spend the entire year in the heart of the Red Sox lineup and do three things…(1) Finally give fans what they thought they were getting when the Red Rox traded for Alex Verdugo, (2) Make those same fans feel better about spending money on him rather than on Xander Bogaerts, (3) Despite fielding a non-playoff team, give the fans a guy that will challenge for a batting title in his freshman year.” – MarmosDad
- National League: “I’m not just trying to be fancy and pick someone besides Corbin Carroll. Have you seen any clips of Hayden Wesneski (WesNASTY from here on out, okay?) The guy has sliders for days. The Twitter machine showed me 49 seconds of sliders and sweepers from a guy who had 22 K’s in 17 spring innings to go with a 1.12 WHIP. I think he’s the breakout pitcher we all have been waiting for.” – TheEducator
Kodai Senga: “American-style baseball is at a distinct disadvantage to a well-disguised splitter pitch, as was on display in the WBC title game against some of the best hitters MLB has to offer. Kodai Senga has the best splitter in all of Japan, better than all those that pitched in the final. And he won’t be throwing it against All-stars all season but includes teams like the Washington Nationals and league opponents like the Pirates while pitching for the 90+ win Mets. Throw in that the new schedule includes fewer rematches with division rivals like Atlanta, and you can see how very few hitters will “get used to” seeing him. For more –> Kodai Senga sleeper.” – Coolwhip
MOST VALUABLE FANTASY PITCHER
- Sonny Gray: “Why is everybody out in Sonny Gray? Guy is being drafted outside the top 60 pitchers after a season where he posted a low 3 ERA, low 1.1 WHIP and stuck out a batter per inning, what gives!? That is just free profit!” – Jeremey Brewer
- Corey Kluber: “All the guy has done is put up nearly 4.5 WAR over the past 1.5 seasons while maintaining a CSW% near 30%. And his ADP is like 500, so he’s literally free in even the deepest of leagues. Sure, the AL East can be a crucible, but we’re taking guys who haven’t pitched in 2 years or guys with negative fantasy value ahead of Kluber? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kluber finishing as a Top 60 Starter, rostered in all 12-team mixed formats, which would easily make him a Sleeper of the Year and Most Valuable Fantasy Pitcher.” – EWB
MOST VALUABLE FANTASY HITTER
Jeremy Pena: “The injury to Jose Altuve opens the door for Pena to lead off for at least the first two months of the season, earning him valuable extra plate appearances and protection from guys like Tucker, Bregman, and Alvarez that he would not have had in the sixth spot. Pena is a guy with an above-average barrel rate and an elite sprint speed for someone his size (6’0″, 205 pounds), and I think we see an uptick in stolen base attempts due to the new rules and his slot in the order. Pena played injured in the second half last year, causing his slugging percentage to fall 60 points. If he gets a fully healthy year, a 25/20 season is on the table.” – KirkseySports
Jonathan Inda: “I had high hopes for Jonathan India last season and he let me down. But with his value being so low this offseason, I have traded for him for pennies on the dollar and will now await for the payoff as India finds his stroke once again this season.” – Jakkers
Alex Lange: “Alex Lange is still getting slept on, with a Yahoo ADP around 195 in the last week or so. The Tigers got rid of Soto and Jimenez, so his path to saves is crystal clear as far as I’m concerned. Immense K upside, and I don’t see the walks keeping him from fantasy usefulness. He’s 2023’s Alexis Diaz. Book it.” – JKJ