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Once the season starts, it won't be nearly as much fun to speculate on what could happen in Fantasy in 2015. After all, there will be real baseball on which to focus our attention, and before we know it, the storylines of the season will be unfolding.
It's as good an excuse an any to make a few bold predictions about the upcoming season right now. We've touted our favorite bargain players and discouraged owners from drafting our bust candidates, but what kind of shocking numbers might they put up?
I've decided to take the plunge with prognostications for four players who I think will surprise some Fantasy owners. I have a good feeling that these will hold up by season's end, though not such a good feeling that they don't also seem a little risky.
Here goes nothing...
Brad Boxberger will finish as a top five closer in Fantasy value.
Jake McGee (elbow) is a perfectly fine closer, but with Boxberger getting a shot at save chances early on, he will have an opportunity to show that he is actually the Rays' best reliever. He will pitch well enough to keep the job all season, and once installed as the full-time closer, he will fall just below the Holland-Kimbrel-Chapman range in reliever value.
Sonny Gray will finish with an ERA of 3.50 or higher.
On the surface, this prediction doesn't sound particularly bold, but bear in mind that in 2014, a 3.50 ERA was pretty ordinary for a starting pitcher in a 12-team mixed league. After Gray posted a 3.08 ERA last season, many owners see him as much better than ordinary and are probably thinking he falls below the 3.00 threshold this season. I think the 3.60 ERA he put up in home starts was more indicative of his future performance, and it wouldn't surprise me if his road ERA were higher than that.
Michael Morse will drive in 90 runs.
Morse has cracked the 90 RBI barrier only once, and that was four seasons ago. Last season with the Giants, he showed his power game was still intact, so he can be a potent run producer if he gets sufficient playing time. With a full season at first base (and not in the outfield), Morse has a better chance at avoiding injury in his first season with the Marlins and putting up great counting stats. Oh, and he will hit behind Giancarlo Stanton. Actually, with exceptionally good health, 100 RBI is not out of the question.
Jake Lamb will outearn Pablo Sandoval in Rotisserie value.
Lamb strikes out too much to be a useful starter in standard mixed points leagues, but his power bat makes him viable at third base or corner infield in the vast majority of Roto formats. The Diamondbacks have a third base logjam to be sure, but I like Lamb's chances to emerge as their regular, and as such, I expect him to outproduce the injury-prone Sandoval.