Fantasy baseball bold predictions: Spencer Torkelson’s power surge, Chase Silseth ‘shocks the fantasy world’ and more



Do we really need a flowery introduction here? I figured it might be fun to organize my thoughts after the bulk of draft season ended into a series of bold predictions. Enjoy, good luck, and may you own a shoebox full of Ceddanne Rafaela cards!

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prospect fatigue wakes up in a hurry with the new swing adjustment as non-linear growth blossoms in the desert — 23-year-old standout OF Alek Thomas is the last player by ADP to go 20/20.

Atlanta Braves

The best gets even better, adding effective depth to his arsenal on the way to being only the fifth SP in 25 years to post a +14K/9 — Spencer Strider strikes out +325 hitters.

Baltimore Orioles

Lack of in-zone aggression, too many grounders, and not nearly enough pulled fly balls create a confluence of suboptimal runouts in a disappointing sophomore campaign — Adley Rutschman finishes outside the top 8 fantasy catchers.

Boston Red Sox

Elite defensive versatility begets steady opportunities as a fantasy-centric skillset lights the fuse for Boston’s explosive rookie — Ceddanne Rafaela goes 25/30 in a top 20 OF finish.

Chicago Cubs

Too much tinkering exposes underwhelming power peripherals as Barrel/HR regression hits hard in a repeat of his 2022 season — Cody Bellinger doesn’t get to +20 HR or +20 SB.

Chicago White Sox

Some players *never* stay healthy… until they do. Chicago’s post-post-post hype prospect outfielder finally gets to show off his hulkish power over +600 PA in his age 27 season — Eloy Jiménez wallops +40 HR.

Cincinnati Reds

The injury bug already hit the beleaguered Reds, opening an unimpeded pathway to regular ABs in Great American Small Park for one of my favorite budding stars — Christian Encarnacion-Strand finishes as a top 15 hitter.

Cleveland Guardians

An ever-improving approach and elite contact skills converge with brute power in +145 games for the first time — Josh Naylor goes 30/10 for a top 3 1B finish.

Colorado Rockies

Great defense plus very little in-house competition leads to everyday playing time with a small (large) boost from Coors Field for a toolsy outfielder available outside pick 325 — Brenton Doyle goes 15/30 for the Rockies.

Detroit Tigers

The Motor City prophecy is fulfilled when everything comes together for 2020’s number one overall pick in a frenzy of pulled barrels — Spencer Torkelson hits +45 HR.

Houston Astros

Connecting the final piece of the puzzle by finally featuring that nasty Cutter over his Sinker, a new strikeout ceiling’s revealed for an already proven workhorse — Framber Valdez finishes as a top 3 SP.

Kansas City Royals

A not-so flash in the pan turns into a four-alarm blaze during a +30 GS campaign for Kansas City’s shiny, new ace — Cole Ragans wins +20 games.

Los Angeles Angels

The only thing missing was opportunity for one of only 14 SPs to boast multiple +30% whiff rate offerings in 2023, which he gets with the departure of Shohei Ohtani and return to a five-man rotation — Chase Silseth shocks the fantasy world and finishes as a top 30 SP.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Skill degradation continues through the wrong side of 30 as missed plate appearances at DH pile up in Hollywood, hurting the Dodgers’ latest OF free agent — Teoscar Hernández finishes outside the top 50 OF.

Miami Marlins

Cutting his strikeout rate over three full ticks for the fourth straight season adds enough balls in play to an already elite power profile in Miami — Jake Burger leads the National League in HR.

Milwaukee Brewers

The blistering second half of 2023 was just a prelude to his true masterpiece, in just the 13 +30% K-BB starting pitching season in the last quarter-century  — Freddy Peralta strikes out +275 batters and finishes as the overall SP2.

Minnesota Twins

Trading away Jorge Polanco not only solidifies the everyday 2B role in Minnesota but sparks a newfound aggression at the dish, elevating the elite combination of approach and pop he was known for throughout his MiLB career — Edouard Julien finishes as a top 3 2B.

New York Mets

After a rough 2023, the four-seamer’s fixed and it is showing this Spring Training, rekindling the deafening chants of “Ty-Lord” in the Twitter streets —  Tylor Megill wins +17 games and finishes as a top 30 SP.

New York Yankees

The best reliever in the Bronx no one talks about is off to a blazing start, sporting a 0.00 ERA and 0.36 WHIP with 13 strikeouts to only 2 walks this Spring — Ian Hamilton takes over the NYY closer job, gets +30 Saves.

Oakland Athletics

The fantasy hatred for Oakland has gone entirely too far when a leadoff hitter with a recent 25/20 season on his MiLB ledger goes after pick 400. Finally getting aggressive in the zone with all the PAs he can handle, a big-time breakout follows — Ryan Noda finishes as top 10 1B.

Philadelphia Phillies

MVPs do MVP things. With Tommy John fully in the rearview for 2024, the return to peak performance in the City of Brotherly Love is nothing short of glorious — Bryce Harper bats +.300 with +40HR.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The swing change we’ve all been waiting for finally happens, pairing elite contact and power skills with optimal pull plus lift — Ke’Bryan Hayes goes nuclear to finish as a top 3 3B.

San Diego Padres

Scratching his featured Sinker for more off-speed filth results in a +25% K-BB and continues to pay dividends for the Friars’ converted reliever — Michael King has a top 30 fantasy SP season.

Seattle Mariners

He went to Driveline! Ty France hits +30 homers.

San Francisco Giants

Having already shown the ability to limit baserunners despite skepticism regarding control, he shoves — delivering all those juicy strikeouts promised in the first place — Kyle Harrison finishes as a top 30 fantasy starter.

Saint Louis Cardinals

Injuries may have unlocked the door to opportunity but the elite disciplinary approach kicked it wide open, where excellent contact and on-base skills secure the everyday leadoff role for Saint Louis — Brendan Donovan is the last player by ADP to score +100 Runs.

Tampa Bay Rays

The analytical brain trust in Tampa’s pitching R&D war room does it again, unlocking a previously unknown swing-and-miss ability in the 28-year-old righty. Last year’s .370 BABIP and 69% LOB regress back to their norms, taking ERA and WHIP with them — Aaron Civale wins +20 games.

Texas Rangers

Continuing to transform a plummeting groundball rate into more barrels for the fifth straight season, he can no longer be kept out of the conversation surrounding the game’s best power bats — Adolis García hits +50 bombs.

Toronto Blue Jays

Off to a great start before an errant pitch to the hand derailed an overall disappointing season for Toronto, it just takes health and positive regression on barrel outcomes to reclaim his expected career trajectory — Bo Bichette posts a first-round fantasy finish.

Washington Nationals

Reminiscent of Robbie Ray or Lucas Giolito, out of nowhere the former third overall pick finds his control, cuts the ball rate, and the curveball/slider/changeup combo do the rest — MacKenzie Gore finishes as a top 20 SP.

Follow me on X @JohnLaghezza for up-to-the-minute baseball musings mixed with really bad dad jokes.

(Top photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports, Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK, Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)





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