B: Caleb Luketic
- Gerrit Cole will be a top 10 fantasy pitcher
The Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Their bullpen is one of best bullpens in the National League, and they have a solid starting rotation coming into 2015. The headlining pitcher here is Gerrit Cole, the young flamethrower. Cole is entering his second full season in the Major Leagues, and he looks to improve on his numbers from last year. Cole went 11-5 last season with a 3.65 ERA. Cole whiffed 138 batters in 138 innings in 2014. I am predicting that Gerrit Cole will be a top 10 fantasy pitcher this season, and you need to try to draft him because his potential has yet to be fully unleashed.
- The Miami Marlins will make the playoffs in 2015
The Miami Marlins have made some key offseason additions to bolster their pitching staff. The Marlins also have one of the best offensive weapons in the game of baseball in Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton will most likely hit 30+ home runs this season. You need to have Stanton at the top of your fantasy draft board because of his offensive prowess.
Another reason I think that the Marlins will make the playoffs is because of the pitching of Jose Fernandez. Fernandez had an amazing rookie year in 2013 going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA. However, Fernandez had to have Tommy John surgery in 2014 after just 8 games. Fernandez needs to be on your draft board because I look for Hernandez to be a top 20 pitcher this season in fantasy.
- Pedro Alvarez leads the majors in home runs
Pedro Alvarez led the National League in home runs in 2013 with 36, but he hit a slump in 2014. Alvarez hit 18 homeruns and only had 56 RBI. Alvarez also led the National League in errors by a third baseman in 2014. Coming into 2015 Alvarez has switched corners on the diamond. He is making the transition from third base to first base fairly well. There are still things he needs to learn, but he will learn them in due time. I am predicting that Alvarez will have a new vote of confidence coming into 2015, and I look for Alvarez to regain his 2013 form and hit over 40 home runs.
- The San Diego Padres will win the NL West
The San Francisco Giants and LA Dodgers have controlled the NL West in recent years, but I think that the Padres are going to overtake the division crown in 2015. The Padres went out and made some huge trades this offseason. They traded for Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, Justin Upton from Atlanta, and Will Myers from Tampa Bay. These are just three of the multitudes of trades that they made in the offseason. The Padres are loaded with pitching, and they have vastly improved their 2014 league worst offense. I look for San Diego to take the NL West crown away from the Dodgers in 2015.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates will win the World Series
The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off of 2 consecutive postseason appearances after previously not having a winning season for more than 20 years. The Pirates are young and rejuvenated, and they have some of the best talent in the majors. Manager Clint Hurdle is embracing a new facet of baseball by using sabermetrics. Sabermetrics is the use of statistical analysis to try to predict where a batter will hit a ball or when to take pitchers out. The Pirates have embraced this by using shifts, and they are among the leaders in the use of shifts in the game of baseball.
Aside from strategy, a team has to have talent to win, and the Pirates aren’t short on talent. The Pirates have one of the best outfields in baseball, headlined by All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are the other outfielders alongside McCutchen, and I look for these two players to have their best season yet. Marte is ranked in the top 50 by FantasyPros, so he will be of higher value going into your league’s draft. But Polanco will be a lower pick, and he will be of great value going into 2015.
McCutchen should be the No. 2 overall pick in your fantasy draft behind Mike Trout. McCutchen is one of the most consistent players in baseball. I believe that McCutchen will lead the Pirates to their first World Series win since 1979.