Now that spring training has concluded and I have done interviews, read many scouting reports and examined some important numbers, and put my estimations to battle against the very best in the Tout Wars Mixed Auction, it’s time to put the big matzoh balls out there. Here are my boldest fantasy baseball predictions for the 2019 season.
The King’s Boldest Fantasy Baseball Predictions
Ender Inciarte will steal 40-plus bases: The Braves have re-installed him as their leadoff hitter, and should keep him there instead of bouncing him all over the lineup like they did last year. Inciarte had more than half of his steals out of the leadoff spot last year.
Khris Davis will hit .240 with 39 homers: He is not gonna hit .247 with 40 HRs, so that may be the boldest of all fantasy baseball predictions!
Ken Giles will return to near-top closer form: He converted all of his save chances last year, and the 3.08 FIP and 3.27 XFIP indicate better times in 2019. There will be less pressure on him not starting the season with Houston, too.
Greg Holland will survive as Arizona’s closer: He pitched much better with Washington last year and the Diamondbacks seemingly will never feel comfortable giving the job to Archie Bradley.
Alex Verdugo will hit 15 homers and steal 20 bases: He will push his way into some playing time this year. That may likely happen when A.J. Pollock inevitably gets hurt again. He will stay in the lineup for good.
Edwin Encarnacion will not hit more than 22 home runs: The bat speed is slowing down, and the plate discipline skills have been slowly fading, so it’s time for a true and considerable decline at age 36.
Brian Anderson will hit .285 with 15 homers: He will be one of the best one dollar investments you will make this season.
Amed Rosario will hit 15 homers and steal over 30 bases: He started to put it all together in the final two months of 2018, and now you will see exciting results over a full campaign.
Peter Alonso will hit .280 with 25-plus homers: He is already breaking camp with the team, and will soon seize firm hold of the starting job. The Mets will trade Dominic Smith at some point.
Zach Eflin will be locked in as Philadelphia’s third starter: He will be another great one-dollar play. Eflin will have a very impressive full season as he continues to benefit from watching and emulating key points from Aaron Nola.
Nomar Mazara will hit .290 with 30 homers: He has been described to me by baseball insiders as one of the smartest and most mature young hitters in the game. This will be remembered as Mazara’s true breakthrough campaign.
Tommy Pham will not hit above .260 and will finish with less than 20 homers: I have it on good word from a St. Louis insider that one of the reasons Pham was traded is that the Cardinals feared his degenerative eye condition will not get any better.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will have a career year: Look for a .270 BA with 20 homers and 25-plus steals. Bradley started to utilize J.D. Martinez’s hit guru last season and he won the ALCS MVP. He spent the offseason working with the batting wizard in person.
Eduardo Rodriguez will become an impressive fantasy force: He will put it all together in 2019, after showing flashes of what he can truly become in 2018. He will perform well enough to be considered a prime complement to your Top Two fantasy starting pitchers.
Matt Barnes will save more than 30 games: The Red Sox did not make a real play for any other closer on the market. That’s because they apparently believe that Barnes can be much more effective than anyone outside the organization seems to think.
Joey Votto will not hit more than 15 homers or reach 80 RBIs: The beginning of the end materialized in 2018 and will continue this year. Votto is 35 years old and some have whispered about lingering back issues.
Yasiel Puig will threaten to go 30-30. A change of scenery will do him well, he will like the home park and is also going to be motivated by playing on a one-year deal.
Byron Buxton will hit 20 homers and steal 35 bases: He is healthy, and now will finally start to truly tap into his considerable potential,
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will each hit 45 homers again: Stanton will now be more comfortable in New York after a season of experience in the much higher pressure atmosphere. Last year he went from playing in front of 10,000 fans to 30,000 on a regular basis. Judge is healthy and will reclaim his 2017 form.
Adam Engel will win a Gold Glove: I have to back my brother here in this column somewhere. I’m going to have to do one of those DNA tests to see if we truly are related. Considering the running one-handed catch I made in center field at Shea Stadium during a company picnic years ago, it could be that we are indeed from the same tree. It’s not really one of my true fantasy baseball predictions, but I had to tip my cap to the other prominent Engel around the MLB parts.
Scott Engel is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame and a four-time award winner. He was one of the driving content forces in the rise of RotoExperts.com and was the lead host on the RotoExperts in the Morning for six years on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He was also instrumental in the launch of the FNTSY Sports Network. Scott was the first-ever Senior Writer and Managing Editor at CBS SportsLine and won a company Hall of Fame Award. He was also an Associate Editor and Fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He has been the featured Fantasy Writer on Seahawks.com since 2012 and his work has been syndicated to the Associated Press, NFL.com, New York Daily News, New York Post, Yahoo Sports, Bloomberg Sports, Sports Illustrated and many others. He is a credentialed media member who won an FSWA award in 2016 for his Insider Fantasy Reporting. Known as “The King”, Scott is on Twitter @scottTheKing
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