Well, it’s finally here! Baseball season officially gets underway tomorrow! Over the next few months I will be discussing all things baseball on the West Coast. To get things started for week one I’m going to give my predictions on the AL West and NL West standings as well as detail specific players who I expect to have big years. Some of these guys are seasoned veterans, others are young players looking to establish themselves as everyday MLB players. You can also catch my 2 Radio shows on blog talk radio. Monday at 2pm EST I will be hosting “Sports Talk” on the “Sports Buffet Radio Network”, a new show that I am very excited to get off and running with. Thursday at 8pm EST I will be hosting “Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly” on the “Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Station”. Until then, here are my west coast notes.
2B: Robinson Cano- SEA:
Robby got off to a horrid start in 2015 and was a huge let down for fantasy owners and the Mariners. To his defense, he was dealing with a stomach ailment from mid April until after the all-star break. For anyone who stayed patient or bought low though, they were heavily rewarded by a huge second half in where they saw him hit close to .330 and 15 HR. He’s been falling relatively far in drafts and could be poised for an all-star caliber season. Of course, he is entering his mid 30’s now but there is still no better all around hitter at the position and minus the SB he will be the best 2B in all formats when all is said and done.
RF: Kole Calhoun: LAA:
Kole is coming off by far the most complete season of his career and will be looking to build of that success heading into 2016. At times he is overlooked in the Angels lineup because of guys like Pujols and Trout, however in my opinion he is the X-factor in the lineup. The Angels can only go so far on the backs of their two superstars, making it imperative that Calhoun duplicate his stats from last season at the very least. You should expect 25+ HR, 80+ RBI, 75 runs and solid defense in RF.
SS: Carlos Correa- HOU:
He may be the best fantasy player in all of MLB by seasons end in 2016. He is a once in a lifetime caliber talent who has the potential to hit .310, with 35 HR, 100 R, 100 RBI, 30 SB and play like a gold glover at SS. This kid is A-Rod 2.0 and plays in a home stadium in Houston that is tailor made for a right handed power hitter. He should be a top player for many years and has the opportunity to be part of something very special with the young Astros. He and his double play partner Altuve may may be the best SS/2B tandem in baseball entering the season. I’ve seen him go as early as 2nd overall in drafts and as late as 9th overall.
C: Yasmani Grandal- LAD:
You should consider 2015 to be a break out campaign for the Dodgers switch hitting catcher. He came over in a trade with the division rival Padres two off seasons ago and really seemed to find his stroke in Dodger blue. He is entering the prime of his career, especially as a power hitter and could even reach the 20 HR mark in 2016. You can draft him as the 10th-14th catcher in almost every format, making him a low risk, high reward option at a position that can be very hit and miss (pun intended). It’s also worth noting that he is a great defender behind the dish and does a stellar job managing the pitching staff. That only goes to his advantage when it comes to playing time so don’t pass him up on draft day if you’re in need of a catcher and his name is still on the board.
SS: Brandon Crawford- SFG:
Crawford has always been a quality MLB shortstop, however, after 2015 he has established himself as a fantastic option in fantasy as well. He displayed much more power last season than we have seen in years past and is arguably the 5th or 6th best shortstop available in drafts. Everyone seems to be enamored by all the young studs but with the exception of Correa, I believe that Crawford is a safer pick than guys like Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager. You will be able to get Crawford much later in the draft and he should put up very similar numbers to both players. There is no reason to believe that he can’t replicate his 2015 numbers and in my opinion he is still only still getting better.
CF: Charlie Blackmon- COL:
This guy has a great combination of power, speed and the ability to hit for a high batting average. He was a major steal for anyone who drafted him last season and so far in 2016 I’ve seen him go as early as the 2nd round. He has the ability to hit close to .300, with 20 HR, 90+ runs and 40 stolen bases. Hit doesn’t hurt that he also plays half of his home games in Coors Field, making it even more likely that he does reach that 20 HR mark. I had the tough decision this offseason to keep either him or Lorenzo Cain, both of which are very talented players and I went with Blackmon because he possess more speed and more power. I compare him to a guy like Jacoby Ellsbury, when Ellsbury was in his prime. Do not shy away from Blackmon and if you’re lucky enough to draft him, he will quickly become one of your favorite players in MLB.
SP: Scott Kazmir- LAD:
Kazmir has a big role to fill this season as the veteran MLB pitcher who needs to replace Zack Greinke in the Dodgers rotation. Of course, they are two completely different pitchers and Kazmir will not come close to replicating what Greinke did. It is worth noting though that Scott has been extremely productive over the last 3 seasons and a move to the NL should only help his cause. He should eat plenty of innings, have an ERA around 3.50 and could win 15 or more games, especially with a very talented Dodgers defense and bullpen to back him up. He’s falling late in drafts and could be a very good bargain on draft day.
SP: Jeff Samardzija-SFG:
Just last week I wrote an article about the Giants and I made it abundantly clear that I expect a huge bounce back season for Samardzija. There is no doubt that he has explosive stuff, can rack up a ton of strikeouts and is moving to a ball park that is much more pitcher friendly than the one on Chicago where the White Sox play. You can throw out his dreadful American League numbers and focus solely on his very solid National League career. He will be working as the 3rd starter behind two aces, will be pitching to hands down the best catcher in MLB and is going after pick 200 is every draft I have seen. In some formats he has even gone un drafted, so if he’s still floating around on your waiver wire I highly suggest that you snatch him up ASAP.
SP: Tyson Ross-SD:
Although he’s coming off what many would call a down season in 2015, Ross has plenty to offer any fantasy rotation. He pitches in one of, if not the best pitchers ball park in baseball and does not give up many HR. He has the potential to strike out more than a hitter per inning and has fallen in the rankings because of his lackluster performance last season and the emergence of many other young pitchers around the league. He is a guy that could find himself pitching in a new uniform come July, especially if the Padres play as poorly in 2016 as they did in 2015.
SP: Cole Hamels-TEX:
Hamels ended his career in Philly with one of the best pitching performances of his life. The next day he was shipped off to Texas where many people thought he would struggle due to their hitter friendly ballpark and the fact that he was moving to the American League. He silenced all those critics, putting up very solid numbers with the Rangers, helping them win the AL West and pitched very well in his two post season starts as well. He is still that same great pitcher from 6-7 years ago and now that he is with a winning organization again, I expect him to be a big game pitcher who will lead the Rangers staff and be a key cog in your fantasy rotation.
SP: Hisashi Iwakuma- SEA:
This guy is still very underrated by many, even though he has done nothing but impress in his time in MLB. Safeco Field is a great place to pitch and the Mariners made a lot of upgrades both offensively and defensively in the offseason. Although I only have them finishing 3rd in the division, if Iwakuma can pitch to the beat of his abilities, this Mariners squad should find themselves right in the post season mix come September. He dealt with some injury problems in 2015, so that is something to keep an eye on, so far this spring though, he looks more than ready to give it all he’s got and help the Mariners contend in the West and reach the playoffs.
AL West: 2015 + 2016 Predictions
1. Houston Astros (92-70)
2. Texas Rangers (89-73)
3. Seattle Mariners (87-75)
4. Los Angeles Angels (80-82)
5. Oakland Athletics (67-95)
NL West: 2015 + 2016 Predictions
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (91-71)
2. San Fransisco Giants (89-73)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (86-76)
4. San Diego Padres (73-89)
5. Colorado Rockies (66-96)
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday April 3rd, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss some surprises in our fantasy baseball drafts, and a quick preview of Monday through Thursday’s games.
Our guests this week are Joe Iannone, Lou Landers, and Kyle Amore. Joe, Lou, and Kyle are all writers with www.majorleaguefantasysports.com. Lou and Kyle are also the hosts of our Thursday night show called Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly which airs live from 8-10pm EST every week.
“You can find our show on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section.”
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 31st, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #7 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss everything fantasy and MLB related in the N.L. Central.
Our guest this week is Calvin Martin, Jr. Calvin is the commissioner of Major League Fantasy Baseball 3 and solid contender in our leagues.
Come join a lively debate!