National League fantasy season preview edition of Mostly MLB Notes

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8590/" data-ylk="slk:Madison Bumgarner">Madison Bumgarner</a> continues to be among the safest SP options (Getty Images)
Madison Bumgarner continues to be among the safest SP options (Getty Images)

National League East

Comments/Fantasy Predictions: Stephen Strasburg throws 200 innings for just the second time in his career, striking out 270 batters and finishes as runner-up in the Cy Young voting, while Bryce Harper slugs 45 homers and steals 15 bags en route to winning his second MVP over the last three seasons…The Nats leader in saves isn’t currently on the roster, while Trea Turner produces first round fantasy value…Max Scherzer spends at least one stint on the disabled list…Michael Conforto ends up being the Mets’ second most valuable fantasy hitter, while Yoenis Cespedes hits 40 homers and is a top-five outfielder…I’m beginning to think Steven Matz might be injury prone…Robert Gsellman goes down as one of the best late round starting pitchers drafted, as the Mets’ rotation leads them to a playoff berth.

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Dee Gordon swipes 60 bags, while Marcell Ozuna slugs 30 homers…Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Ozuna form an outfield that leads major league baseball in hitting WAR…Kyle Barraclough gets a chance to close at some point...Joaquin Benoit leads the Phillies in saves until he’s traded at the deadline, ceding the role to Hector NerisRoman Quinn steals 35+ bases, while Aaron Nola is a top-20 fantasy starter...Jim Johnson is a top-10 fantasy closer, while Freddie Freeman goes .300-100-40-100, as his new home park is more hitter friendly.

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Song of the Week: Cold War Kids – Can We Hang On? 

National League Central

  • Chicago Cubs

  • St. Louis Cardinals

  • Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Cincinnati Reds

  • Milwaukee Brewers

Comments/Fantasy Predictions: Javier Baez becomes a regular by May and is a top-10 2B/SS, finishing with more value than teammates Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell...Jason Heyward’s bat doesn’t bounce back as he continues to disappointment, while Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras both end up as top-five fantasy catchers…Kyle Hendricks posts a sub-3.00 ERA yet again, finishing ahead of Jon Lester in fantasy rankings…The fact Baez enters the season as a sub highlights just how ridiculously loaded this Cubs team is. Good luck to the rest of the league. They enter 2017 as 1/6 favorites to win the NL Central, which is pretty absurd…The season-ending loss of Alex Reyes is the difference between St. Louis making the playoffs and not, while Lance Lynn provides more fantasy value than Adam WainwrightRandal Grichuk reaches 90 RBI, while Aledmys Diaz finishes as a top-eight shortstop, ahead of Jean Segura, Addison Russell and Troy Tulowitzki.

Here’s our recent podcast previewing the N.L. Central.

Josh Bell wins Rookie of the Year, and Andrew McCutchen ends the year as the least valuable member of Pittsburgh’s outfield…Daniel Hudson records more saves than Tony Watson, while the Pirates rotation has sneaky high upside…Jameson Taillon is a top-20 fantasy starter, ahead of Gerrit Cole, while Ivan Nova is top-35…Jose Peraza steals 40+ bases, as he and Billy Hamilton combine for more than 100 bags…Devin Mesoraco finishes as a top-10 catcher, and no member of the Reds’ bullpen reaches 20 saves…Cincinnati’s starting rotation sports the worst ERA in all of baseball…Jonathan Villar doesn’t regress as much as many expect, as he’s a top-25 overall player…Ryan Braun isn’t a top-20 outfielder thanks to injuries, while Keon Broxton proves to be a steal…Zach Davies is the only Brewers starter who provides fantasy value, while Eric Thames surpasses 30 homers.

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Longread of the Week: Nigel Hayes Is Playing In March Madness, And Taking On NCAA Amateurism In Federal Court

National League West

  • Los Angeles Dodgers

  • San Francisco Giants (Wild Card)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Colorado Rockies

  • San Diego Padres

Comments/Fantasy Predictions: Clayton Kershaw finishes as the No. 1 fantasy player, wins the Cy Young and is top-three in MVP voting, while Rich Hill is a top-15 fantasy starter…Julio Urias joins the rotation in mid-May and is a top-25 starter from there on out, as the best pitch-framing catching tandem in baseball helps...Joc Pederson hits 35 homers and Logan Forsythe scores 100 runs…Corey Seager is the second most valuable shortstop behind only Manny Machado, while Justin Turner finishes as a top-five fantasy third baseman. The Dodgers go to the World Series…Matt Moore finishes as a top-30 starter, while both Ty Blach and Tyler Beede make more starts than Matt CainHunter Pence bounces back, while Jae-Gyun Hwang becomes a real threat to take over the starting third base job down the stretch…Buster Posey has another fine season but finishes behind Kyle Schwarber and Gary Sanchez among fantasy catchers, as AT&T Park continues to hinder Giants hitters’ value. The Giants recently traded away Adam Duvall (for six weeks of Mike Leake) and traded for Will Smith (who’s scheduled for TJ surgery).

Yasmany Tomas records 100 RBI, and Jake Lamb hits 35 homers…David Peralta is a top-40 outfielder, while Taijuan Walker is a top-40 starting pitcher…Chase Field continues to keep Zack Greinke out of the top-30, as the former Cy Young winner’s decreased velocity leads to a bunch of homers allowed…Greg Holland leads a sneaky good Colorado bullpen in saves, and Gerardo Parra becomes a fantasy factor thanks to injuries and/or a trade in the Rockies outfield...Jon Gray posts an impressive FIP, but it produces little consolation to fantasy owners, as Coors Field greatly hinders his fantasy value…Ryan Schimpf proves to be the cheapest source for 30 homers at middle infield, while Carter Capps takes over San Diego’s closer’s role after the All-Star break…The Padres threaten 100 losses and finish with the worst record in major league baseball.

MVP: Bryce Harper

Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

Rookie of the Year: Josh Bell

NLCS: Dodgers over Cubs 4-3

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