Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders.
Dexter Fowler, out to a scorching start launching four homers in just under 40 at-bats, combined HRs/SBs on season 37.5
Scott – I have a handful of Fowler shares this year, so my heart wants to push this number up. But UNDER is the logical call; I don't want to bet on the come when it's not warranted. Road games are generally an issue for the Rockies (the ball simply doesn't break as much in the mile-high air), and Fowler's never learned the craft of base stealing (a shame given his raw physical gifts).
Andy – UNDER, but not by much. And I say this as a long-time Fowler fan, someone who owns him in multiple leagues. My projection for Dexter's power/speed contribution is something like 18/14, and that's assuming good health (which may not be a safe assumption with this player). For a fast dude, Fowler isn't actually much of a base-stealer; he's 38-for-60 on stolen base attempts since 2010.
Brad – OVER. Fowler was a split-brained personality a year ago (Home OPS: .984, Road: .720), struggling mightily away from the thin air of Coors Field. I realize the sample size is minute, but he's raking everywhere. Now 27, the former elite prospect should finally put all his tools to work. I'm banking on 23 homers and 16 stolen bases.
Matt Harvey, who’s whiffed 19 batters in two starts, season total strikeouts 199.5
Andy – OVER. If you drafted Harvey, you've basically struck gold. Or platinum. Or vibranium, or some other precious thing. Harvey is a beast, overpowering in his early starts. His swinging-strike percentage at the moment is 16.2, which is ridiculous. If Harvey manages to reach 180 innings this season, I think he'll most likely top 200 Ks. Not a player I'm interested in betting against.
Brad – OVER. Harvey's howitzer has obliterated hitters in the early going. Add that to his plus slider and change, and he's quickly emerged as one of the most coveted hurlers in the virtual game. Worrywarts will contest he's on an innings count, but Mets management insisted he wouldn't be prior to spring training. Assuming he eclipses 175 IP, he should easily surpass the 200 K threshold.
Brandon – UNDER. I'm guessing the the Mets will curb the 24-year-old Harvey's innings later in the season once the team is clearly out of postseason consideration, and I think that will be what ultimately keeps him just shy of this number.
Ignoring rocked Doc Halladay and now injured Jered Weaver, what struggling ‘ace’ has the best chance of finishing outside the SP top-50 this year: David Price, R.A. Dickey or Cole Hamels?
Brad – RA. Dickey's 'dancer' has looked like a mega-sized cantaloupe in hitters' eyes. He's already surrendered three long-balls in 10.2 innings. Equally worrisome, he's walked six during that span, an unsettling combination. Because he sports a limited track-record of success and given the division he pitches in, the knuckleballer is the most likely to experience year-long implosions.
Brandon – Has to be R.A. DICKEY, right? He's the one throwing living on the most unpredictable of pitches, the one without a strong track record of elite success outside of '12 and the one who is in the twilight of his career at 38 years of age. I like Dickey, am rooting for him, but I'm not putting my money on him when the other options are Price and Hamels.
Dalton – DICKEY. I expect all three options to bounce back and finish as top-15 fantasy starters, but Dickey is the most worrisome of the group thanks to his age and the major change he made during the offseason (from the NL to the AL East). He's also already had to deal with four passed balls over 10.2 innings with his new team.
Fill in the blanks. Much discussed top Rockies prospect, Nolan Arenado arrives in Colorado on ______ and finishes with a __________ line.
Brandon – "June 11th" and ".283/9/40/35/2" (I know at least some of you will appreciate my non-Mad Libs take here)
Dalton – "May 15th," "disappointing"
Scott – "Flintstone chewables," "mediocre" [for what it's worth, I loved the star-studded, big-money Match Game. More, please.]
Andy – "a horse," "conga."
Brad – "a T-Rex," "squiggly."
What setup man turned closer finishes with more saves by years end: Kyuji Fujikawa, Jim Henderson or Kelvin Herrera?
Dalton – FUJIKAWA. I wouldn't be surprised if Henderson is close behind, but Carlos Marmol looks like a total lost cause and entered the year without a future in the organization anyway. Fujikawa could easily finish with 30+ saves.
Scott – This is a slam dunk for FUJIKAWA. He has the experience, the music, the contract (when in doubt, follow the money) and the least amount of competiton.
Andy – FUJIKAWA. When signed, the idea was that he'd eventually close for Chicago, probably in 2013. He'll have a decent leash, he has plenty of ninth inning experience on the resume, and ... well, there's no way Carlos Marmol is gonna pitch his way back into the Dale Sveum Circle of Trust.
Current MLB pacesetter in long-balls, Justin Upton, total homers come year’s end 39.5
Scott – UNDER, simply because that's a big number. But Kid Upton has all the looks of an MVP contender. A change of scenery came at the right time, not to mention a healthy thumb.
Andy – UNDER. But I only say this because everything has to go right for a guy to reach 40. If J-Up deals with an injury at any point in 2013, then he's not going to reach this number. I do think, however, that we'll see a 40-bomb season from him at some point. And I won't be stunned if it's in the current season. This is a case where I think the player is capable of the achievement, but I wouldn't wager that he'll actually do it.
Brad – UNDER. No doubt, Upton is habanera hot to start the season. Last year's power outage, caused by an early thumb injury, has quickly become a distant memory. Though he'll likely establish a new career high in dingers (Think 33-35), I'm not buying he's a 40 HR contributor this year. Keep in mind four of his six homers were against the Cubs' and Marlins' sketchy pitching staffs.
Chris Davis, who has driven in 17 in just seven games, total RBIs come October 109.5
Andy – UNDER. Last year, only four American League hitters reached 110 RBIs. It ain't easy. Davis is a monster, certainly capable of 35-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs, but this forecast is way too aggressive for any hitter who isn't Miguel Cabrera.
Brad – OVER. Arguably the most underrated corner infielder in fantasy preseason, Davis has stormed out of the gates, slaughtering a plethora of innocent baseballs. Recall he clubbed 33 homers last year and drove in 85 batting primarily sixth or lower. Now entrenched in the five-spot and in the midst of his power prime, he will become an indispensable RBI machine in all formats. Pencil me in for 114.
Brandon – UNDER. I stated on a few occasions that Davis was a very nice draft value this spring because I felt Davis' '12 numbers were very repeatable, yet you weren't being asked to pay for his '12 numbers in '13 drafts. That said, he's playing above his head right now and I would expect him to settle back into his 12-15 RBIs per month, finishing with around 100 runs driven in when all is said and done.
What Rodney Dangerfield All-Star will be more coveted by year’s end: Chris Carter (9-percent owned), Brandon Moss (24-percent) or Justin Ruggiano (27-percent)?
Brad – CARTER. At first glance, Houston, outside Jose Altuve, is largely considered a desolate wasteland of fantasy value. But the big bopping first baseman could soon change that perception. The 26-year-old smacked a homer once every 13.6 at-bats with Oakland last year. Given his ripe age, everyday PT and favorable home hitting environment, he's a viable 35 HR candidate, though expect his BA to hover around .250.
Brandon – MOSS. He absolutely crushes right-handed pitchers. In daily leagues, you can make a big profit moving him in and out of the lineup.
Dalton – RUGGIANO. I agree all are underrated commodities, but the Marlin offers the most all-around scoring upside.
Hotshot rookie SP Jose Fernandez strikeouts in second start against Philadelphia 6.5
Brandon – OVER. The Phillies have logged the fifth-most strikeouts as an offense, thus far - averaging right at 9 Ks per game. If Fernandez lasts 6-plus innings, I see him reaching the 7 K mark.
Dalton – UNDER. There's no denying Fernandez's stuff, but even the best starters in all of baseball would have a hard time averaging seven strikeouts per start.
Scott – Going OVER here, because there are some serious hackers in the Philly lineup (79 whiffs). It's not a Houston giveaway, but you'll bring the K-cards when the Phils are in town.
OHHHH Dream Streamer! Pick one under-owned starter (under 20-percent) to plug ‘n play: Jon Garland (at SD), Patrick Corbin (vs. LAD) or John Lannan (at Mia)
Scott – LANNAN is backed by the strongest offense and is up against the weakest opponent. Let the soft rock play.
Andy –First of all, I wouldn't call any of these guys "under-owned." I don't really know that any of 'em deserve serious mixed league ownership. Secondly: "Dream streamer"? Really? No one needs to be reminded of that song, do they? We should probably retire that one, today.
Gimme LANNAN in this one — not because I like him, necessarily, but just because he's facing the Marlins.
Brad – LANNAN. Off a sensational first turn against KC (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 0 BB), the southpaw sizzles on South Beach. The Marlins will continue to welcome visitors with open arms, unless you're a journalist who dares to inquire about attendance. Never, ever question the mighty Marlins' selling power. Never.
Brandon – CORBIN owns a career 2.92 ERA at home and has a 1.88 ERA against the Dodgers in 14.1 IP. And the Dodgers are struggling at the plate right now, averaging just 3.0 runs per game.
Dalton – Ugly stuff. I guess give me GARLAND. When in doubt, I'll still bet on Petco.
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