It seems like this is bold predictions week here at Razzball.  My first bold prediction is that using the Razzball tools will help you win.  Just sign up already, okay?

Bold Predictions:

Andrew Vaughn hits .290 with 40 HR:  Has anyone had a worse setup than Vaughn in the majors?  Top pick, missed 2020, then brought up with barely any minors experience, then thrown out in RF with Tony LaRussa as the manager?  Vaughn will be back at his normal, less taxing physical and emotional position, and ready to rake.  Never forget, this guy came up with an 80 power grade and is still young.  I’m all in on Vaughn finally breaking out.

Nathaniel Lowe hits .240 with 14 HR and 65 RBI.  This is purely a bet on his inflated BABIP from last year.  He is not the type of hitter to sustain a .363 in that category.  He’s not fast, and hits a lot of fly balls.  I think we saw the highwater mark of Lowe’s career.  The Rangers have dumpster fire potential also which tanks his counting stats.  I’m the Lowe man on Lowe (I know, I know)

Kyle Manzardo is Rookie of the Year, comes up and hits .320:  This is more a bet against all of the buzzy rookies coming up at other positions.  I know he’s not the top-rated prospect;  for defensive purposes, the prospect rankers always put first base lower than the others.  I do know the kid can rake. He destroyed the minors at a .330 clip last year after a .327 rookie season, with over a .400 OBP last season in A and AA combined.  I think this is a special bat and a great target for dynasty leagues, or as a last pick in a league with NA slots.

Anthony Rizzo hits .275 with 40 HR:  The shift is gone.  Apparently some are not happy about this.  Anthony Rizzo surely isn’t one of them.  Last year’s .224 AVG will be a distant memory, as will several baseballs that Rizzo will surely deposit over the right field wall in Yankee Stadium.  This is a bet on health;  the Yankees are deep enough to give Rizzo regular rest days and keep him healthy.  Let him fly and watch your numbers soar from a late round pick.

C.J. Cron is benched by the end of the season:  Cron is not a great real life baseball player.  That’s all.  I think he’s a placeholder for Michael Toglia as soon as Cron struggles.  Which he did the entire second half last year, Coors or no Coors.  He hit .219 from July on last year regardless of where he was playing.

Ke’Bryan Hayes is a top 5 3B:  I like the steals, and Pittsburgh will let their guys fly this year.  The Pirate lineup has sneakily improved also.  I think Hayes could flirt with .300 and 20 HR with 30 steals.  I know this would mean a lot of improvement but Hayes has the ability to do all of these things.  He’d be a great guy to draft late or pick up when your pick starts off slowly.

Luis Urias hits over .300:  Just look at his minor league numbers.  Look at them!  The guy was at or above .300 every single year coming up.  He tried the launch angle thing and failed.  Guy couldn’t hit HR and his average tanked.  I’m betting that with the new rules contact will be much more important and Urias taps back into that skill.  Think Arraez-like.

DJ LeMahieu loses his job by July:  DJLM is a .260 hitter without pop as he enters his age 34 year.  The Yankees aren’t playing around and are promoting their top prospects.  There’s enough depth that any slippage from DJLM would lead him to lose his spot and move into a bit-player role.  I’m not drafting him anywhere because I’m worried about that upcoming cliff.

Home League Draft:  14 team roto with OBP

I’m in a league with basically the same group of guys since the 90s.  Some of you weren’t even born then.  Back then, we had dial-up internet, desktop computers, and a cell phone was an expensive luxury.  Backstreet Boys and N’Sync were all the rage, and this weird music called rap rock was all over the radio.  There was a player who wouldn’t allow his name to be used as the number 1 pick and a .500 OBP.  It was a simpler time.

This league has my archrival, let’s call him Schmo.  He wins the league almost every year, and I’m almost always second.  7 out of 8 seasons second place, at one point.  My best friend growing up who’s now an AP sportswriter, brother, 70 year old dad, and some college friends are also original members. Out of the 14 members, I think 10 have been there the entire time.

Here’s how my draft happened last night.  I thought it might be interesting to look at a draft that isn’t NFBC, Tout Wars, LABR, or any other fancy acronym that I’m not famous enough (yet) to be allowed into:

I felt a little pressure as the corner infielders guy here to get a good draft of corner infielders.

I was going to take Rafael Devers, but he went one pick ahead.  Any the hoo, Bo Bichette is a steal at 28 so I was happy.

Matt Olson was my target in the third round, and was happy to get him where I did.

Loved my Anthony Rizzo, Ty France, and Matt Chapman run in the 140 range.  I’m looking to deal Chapman to the 3B needy ASAP, but he could have a great contract walk year.

Josh Bell was a bit of a panic pick as I looked at my roster and thought I needed power.  But he’ll be a good value at pick 195.

Overall, I love my pitching staff, and am going to have to put in some work to get batting average help.  I think I put myself in a great spot to make Schmo and his tired act go down again.

First Base Rankings

Rankings notes:

I had to move Nathaniel Lowe up to number 9 but I don’t feel good about it.  With the Hoskins injury, I felt like some safety was needed in the top ten.  I’m still not drafting Lowe where he’s going;  I’m waiting if I miss out on the studs from rounds 1-3.

I won’t really be changing these for the first week or two of the season.  Why would I do that?  I thought these things through for this year.  I really did, I promise.  The only thing that would change it is injury or playing time.  Trust the process!

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  2. Freddie Freeman
  3. Pete Alonso
  4. Paul Goldschmidt
  5. Matt Olson
  6. Jose Abreu
  7. Andrew Vaughn
  8. Anthony Rizzo
  9. Nathaniel Lowe
  10. Ryan Mountcastle
  11. Ty France
  12. Luis Arraez
  13. Trey Mancini
  14. Ty France
  15. Vinnie Pasquantino
  16. Rowdy Tellez
  17. Christian Walker
  18. Brandon Drury
  19. Miguel Vargas
  20. Josh Bell
  21. C.J. Cron
  22. Jose Miranda
  23. Triston Casas
  24. Spencer Torkelson

Third Base Rankings

  1. Jose Ramirez
  2. Rafael Devers
  3. Manny Machado
  4. Austin Riley
  5. Nolan Arenado
  6. Alex Bregman
  7. Bobby Witt Jr.
  8. Gunnar Henderson
  9. Jordan Walker
  10. Alec Bohm
  11. DJ LeMahieu
  12. Max Muncy
  13. Matt Chapman
  14. Brandon Drury
  15. Eugenio Suarez
  16. Luis Urias
  17. Ke’Bryan Hayes
  18. Jose Miranda
  19. Anthony Rendon
  20. Eduardo Escobar
  21. Luis Arraez
  22. Yandy Diaz
  23. Justin Turner
  24. Yoan Moncada
  25. Jon Berti
  26. Brendan Donovan