Over/Under: Gauging Gonzalez

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Going, going, Gonzo! (Getty)
Going, going, Gonzo! (Getty)

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez clubbed five home runs in the season's opening series. He hasn't reached 30 home runs since he hit 31 in '10 - Can he top his '10 mark - total A-Gon HRs O/U 31.5?

Brandon –  UNDER, but, oh, so close. A-Gon has only topped this number twice in his career, even finishing with 27 bombs last season despite hitting eight home runs in April. So we've already seen hot starts from him fall short of this number. I think he gets to the 30-HR mark, and I think he finishes as a top 30 fantasy player, but my money is on him falling a HR or two shy of this O/U target.

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Scott – UNDER for me. I'm going to trust the flow of the last four years and not get too jazzed about one terrific week (no matter how gorgeous that swing and follow through looks). As well as Gonzalez is swinging, he was also jumping on some obvious mistakes, too. 

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Andy – OVER, please. We're only asking him to hit 25 homers over the next five and a half months. It's not as if the man has ever struggled to reach the seats. He hit 27 bombs last year, his career high is 40 and he rarely ever misses a game. This is easy money.

Reds racer Billy Hamilton is off to a fast start, stealing seven bases and scoring seven runs in the first week of the season. Project the speedster's final Batting Average/Runs Scored/Stolen Bases line?

Scott – I'm assuming Monday's finger injury is not a long-term concern for Hams. I'm not convinced there's been growth here, other than in the base-stealing craft (expect a better percentage). Call it .255/82/65, with an OBP under .300.

Andy – Let's not pretend that Hamilton is anything other than a one-category asset. You certainly didn't draft him for batting average. I like him as a burner, but let's not get carried away. Put me down for .259, 88 and 88.

Dalton – .250-80-75. It's obviously been a tiny sample, but his early improvement in BB% has been encouraging. The BA remains a major concern, but there's potential for him to swipe 100 bags one of these years. 

Following last season's disappointing rookie campaign in which he hit just .240, Boston's Xander Bogaerts sits among the early '15 hit leaders - Final batting average for Boagaerts O/U .2799?

Brandon –  OVER. Though he's just 22 years old, he's already logged well over 600 MLB at bats, including 27 quality at bats (eight hits) in the Boston's '13 World Series postseason run. His prospect analysis always talked up how the game seems to come natural to him. He went through some growing pains last season, for sure, but I expected him to be a quick learner and made sure I bought plenty of Bogaerts shares in the spring. I'll peg him for a .284 final batting average line.

Andy – UNDER, but not by a ton. I liked Xander well enough to invest in a key A.L.-only league. Let's just please remember that he's still only 22 years old. It's impressive enough that he managed to tread water last season.

Dalton – UNDER. But I still really like him. I expect Bogaerts to approach 15 homers and 10 steals with good counting stats hitting in that Boston lineup, even if it's in the lower half of it.

Evan Gattis, Mike Napoli, Chris Carter have opened the season a combined 4-for-70 (.057) - Pick a struggling slugger for ROS fantasy value

Dalton – NAPOLI. I'm tempted to say Gattis even after such an ugly start since he's catcher eligible, but that K% is pretty astounding, and Napoli's in just such a better setup. 

Andy – Easy call for me. I'll take NAPOLI, a guy who's been plenty productive over multiple big league campaigns. He does his hitting in a terrific lineup, and it's tough not to love his on-base skills. Despite the 2-for-24 open to his season, he's still drawn five walks and crossed the plate five times. Please be patient.

Scott – You want to buy into the Houston air-conditioning offense, that's all you. Give me NAPOLI, for the lineup float, for the post-surgery upside, etc. His first week absence is partially excused, as he didn't play in the entire series at Philly (no DH, so Papi moves to 1B, at least some of the time). Gattis? I could see him DFAed at some point over the next 12 months. He's good at one thing (pop), doesn't have a position, can't be trusted to make regular contact. 

Through Monday, Ian Kinsler has a league-leading 18 combined Runs+RBI. He combined for 192 R/RBI last season. Can he reach 190-plus again in '15 - O/U 189.5 R+RBI?

Brandon –  OVER. If he stays healthy, I think he can cross the 200 line in combined Runs and RBI. Detroit's lineup may have more juice directly behind him (Miggy, both Martinez's and Cespedes) than any other MLB team can boast. And as far as the health goes, he's averaged 152.3 games played over the past four seasons.

Andy – This number seems kind of ridiculous for a 32-year-old second baseman with Kinsler's injury history. (Granted, he's been relatively healthy in recent seasons.) I like the player and the lineup, of course, but the UNDER seems like a safe bet.

Dalton – UNDER, The Detroit lineup looks lethal, and Kinsler has been durable the past few years after a checkered injury past, But that's an awfully high projection for anyone to reach, let alone a second baseman who's about to turn 33. 

Which young corner bat has the most fantasy staying power this season - Mark Canha or Jake Lamb?

Brandon – LAMB. I'll give the D-Back the slight edge here. His home is a much better hitting environment than Canha's. He also plays a position (3B) with a higher premium than Canha. And Lamb is backed by a better prospect pedigree (Canha was cast aside by both Miami and Colorado before landing in Oakland).

Scott – Oakland's pretty good at finding late-blooming offensive players, a card they seem to play every year or so. I wish I had a share of CANHA, but I guess this blog post counts for one. On the board! 

Andy – Slight edge to CANHA, who I think is better positioned to avoid an 0-fer or two. I'd shop both of these players, however, if I owned 'em in a mixer.

After a dominating spring, touted M's young gun Taijuan Walker was shelled for nine runs in his first start of the season, dropping his career ERA to 4.15 - Will he wind up above or below that mark in '15 - final Walker ERA O/U 4.149?

Brandon – UNDER. He owned a 2.87 ERA mark in 53 IP with the M's prior to his implosion. The nine-spot that Oakland hung on him is going to take a while to chip away at, but if he throws 140 more innings at a 3.67 ERA clip, he'll slide just under this number (I did the math). And I think that's definitely doable given his talent and the tough hitting environment of his home park.

Scott – He should be well UNDER that number. Trust the pedigree, trust the stuff, trust the build, and yes, Virginia, put some trust in the spring numbers, too. Go get Walker at a discount, if you can. Everyone has a messy turn now and again; as Gene McCaffrey would put it, "they all get hit." I won't get concerned unless it happens again this week. 

Dalton – OVER. To be clear, I would definitely hang on to Walker. But he could be in the high 3s in ERA from here on out and still finish well above that 4.15 mark thanks to the hole in which he's dug. 

Rank these less than 75%-owned relivers in terms of expected ROS saves - Miguel Castro, Jake McGee, Sean Doolittle, Adam Ottavino, Joakim Soria, Andrew Miller, Bobby Parnell?

Brandon1) Soria 2) Miller 3) McGee 4) Doolittle 5) Ottavino 6) Castro 7) Parnell

Dalton – 1) Miller 2) Soria 3) McGee 4) Ottavino 5) Doolittle 6) Castro 7) Parnell

Scott – Because I don't trust Dellin Betances's control or command (those are two different things) right now, I expect MILLER to run away with the Yankees closer role. He's the full package, power and finesse, the ability to get lefties and righties out. I wish I had him on all of my teams. He'll dominate in the ratios, too. Miller, Soria, McGee, Castro, Doolittle, Parnell, Ottavino. 

Rank these buzzy young starters in terms of expected ROS value - James Paxton, Drew Pomeranz, Trevor Bauer, Shane Greene, Archie Bradley, Jimmy Nelson?

Brandon – 1) Pomeranz 2) Bauer 3) Paxton 4) Greene 5) Nelson 6) Bradley

Dalton – 1) Bauer 2) Pomeranz 3) Nelson 4) Greene 5) Bradley 6) Paxton

Scott – As much as I love Nelson (I've been promoting him for 48-72 hours, nonstop), GREENE and POMERANZ have already given us a credible body of work in The Show. That counts for something. Greene basically is Doug Fister 2.0, and Pomeranz loves the expansive Oakland ballpark (and the defense behind him). Pomeranz, Greene, Bauer, Paxton, Nelson, Bradley. 

After a strong first half in '14, Oakland southpaw Scott Kazmir ran out of gas in the second half, with his K/9 rate falling from 8.3 to 6.9. Kazmir has raced out of the gate again in '15, fanning 18 in his first 13 IP. Can he reach 175 strikeouts for just the second time in his career - O/U 174.5 K?

Scott – OVER. The Astros give away strikeouts to everyone, and the Angels might be Top 10 in empty hacks, too. It's a nifty place to do your business, that AL West. 

Andy – UNDER. He couldn't reach this total last season, when he pitched 190-plus innings. Are we sure he's gonna toss 200-plus this year? I definitely think Kazmir is on the fantasy radar, but I'm not going to get too bullish with my rest-of-season expectations.

Dalton – OVER. I have him pegged for 175 Ks, so this one doesn't come with a ton of confidence. But he should be plenty valuable in all formats as long as he's healthy. 

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