With a week to go before the season starts, a hefty slew of player props have been released. Players that don’t deserve to have props even have props. That’s what I’m talking about.
There’s like…hundreds, perhaps even thousands of these (just hundreds, actually), so I’m not going to go over every one in detail, but I will drop a line about each of the ones I bet.
In my opinion, home run props are the “easiest” to predict. Everyone knew Logan Morrison, Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso, etc. would all have huge seasons last year. All right, maybe they aren’t easy to predict, but here are the ones I took:
Steven Souza under 24.5
Souza is due for regression in my mind. He hit 30 dongs last year, but was near the top of the league in HR/FB rate. This year, he’s headed to a newly-humidored Chase Field and probably won’t get the 600+ plate appearances he did last year due to outfield depth.
Ronald Acuna over 14.5
I’m not hopping on the Acuna for MVP train just yet, but I do believe this guy is the real deal. He’s not a massive fella, but certainly has the power for 15 bombs.
Jonathan Schoop under 30.5
Schoop posted a career high mark of 32 homers last year, following up a solid 2016 season in which he posted 25. Both seasons, however, required 160+ games worth of plate appearances to post those numbers. Maybe he can reach 31 with another 162-game season, but that’s not something you can bank on.
Andrew Benintedi over 19.5
Benny Biceps (pictured above) hit 20 homers in his first full season and I believe he’s only just begun. He went on multiple horrendous slumps last season and was still able to put up good numbers. He’s a bit bigger this season, taking a more aggressive approach, and will hit at least 20 again.
Javier Baez under 27.5
Baez is a nice little player. Good at a lot of things. However, his career high in home runs is just 23. I’m not entirely sure why the bar was set so high, especially considering that he still has to split playing time at multiple positions given the Cubs’ depth.
Kyle Schwarber over 29.5
Scwarber had a very promising half season when he was called up in 2015, a year lost to injury in 2016, and a rather disappointing season last year in which he had to be sent back to the minors for a stretch. Even so, he managed to hit 30 homers in fewer than 500 plate appearances.
Jorge Soler over 14.5
Soler did not do very well in the majors with the Royals last season, but homered at a 50-HR pace in AAA. The former Cub should have a chance to play a ton of games this year and if he plays, he’ll hit some homers. Fifteen isn’t all that much for a guy with his power.
Zack Cozart under 20.5
After a career season in which he hit 24 long balls, Cozart is now in Los Angeles. His 24 home runs were eight more than his previous mark and now he has to play on the west coast, which is a much worse hitter’s environment than Cincinnati.
Yoenis Cespedes under 28.5
As a whole, these are on the high side and I imagine the majority of them will go under. Batting average is one of the most random stats and toughest to predict, as hitters can have good or bad luck for extended periods of time. With that said, I bet on:
Giancarlo Stanton under .280
A career .268 hitter, Stanton may get a little wide-eyed with those short Yankee Stadium porches. He’ll hit his homers, but I think this average is a bit lofty for a guy with his approach.
Eric Hosmer under .290
Eric Hosmer posted a very high mark of .318 last year. He also had some help with a .351 BABIP, which is far too high to sustain. With his move to the pitcher’s paradise of PetCo Park, we should see some regression.
Nomar Mazara under .275
This is a random one, but it stuck out to me. Mazara has a .259 average in two full seasons of play with near average BABIP numbers. He’s a pretty high strikeout guy as well, which doesn’t help.
Much like batting average, RBI can be a hard number to predict. Who would’ve thought that Kris Bryant would go from 99 in 2015, to 102 in 2016, then down to just 73 last year despite an otherwise strong year at the plate? There is one that particularly caught my liking, though.
Nick Castellanos under 95.5
The Tigers are expected to suck this season. That’s just how it is. RBI totals can be sporadic and we saw that with Castellanos’s 101 last year, 28 more than his career high. With a lineup that is now missing Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton, he probably won’t have as many opportunities to drive in runs and we should see his RBI total drop.
None of these really stuck out in my mind enough to bet on them. Perhaps the overs for Altuve and Turner?
Trea Turner over 50.5
It is admittedly one of the riskier picks, but I think it’s a lock if he remains healthy. Over the past two seasons, he has 79 steals in 171 games, including 46 in just 98 games last year. Just don’t get hurt…