“It’s like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don’t know where your going to end up the next day. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. It’s like the throw of the dice.” Jim Morrison
When valuing players for the upcoming season it is always interesting to see how Las Vegas (Bovada) views them. Statistics from the last three years and trends give hints as to what player’s projections are, but Vegas helps hone in on those numbers. Some of the lines are really interesting. Tim King (@TKing978) and Matt Schwimmer (@Schwimingly) sent in some of their favorite picks and will be referenced below. I picked at least one individual bet from every team and will include a few team win bets. All of the numbers provided are courtesy of Bovada and represent over/under numbers for the 2014 season.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Addison Reed 35.5 Saves, Paul Goldschmidt 30.5 HR
- Arizona paid a steep price in Matt Davidson to acquire Addison Reed and with the recent injury of David Hernandez, their bullpen needs Reed even more. His leash may be short with Gibson but the front office will help push Reed above this number. Schwimmer sees the over for Goldschmidt and I agree. While Goldschmidt may see some regression in his batting average and stolen bases, his power in that ballpark should produce 31+ home runs.
Atlanta Braves (87.5 Wins) – Jason Heyward 21.5 HR, Freeman 25.5 HR, Uggla .220 Batting Average
- Tim chimed in two picks here, taking the over on Heyward and the under on the Braves team win total. Even though Heyward is not a prototypical leadoff hitter his power and a healthy season will take him past this number. Freeman is young as well and showed more power this spring, I am surprised but I will take the over. Same goes for Uggla who is much maligned but suffered a huge drop in his BABip and if he still has a job in August, will be hitting over .220.
Baltimore Orioles – Matt Wieters 23.5 HR, Nick Markakis .285 Batting Average
- The last three years Wieters has hit 22, 23 and 22 home runs respectively. I think this is a pass to bet on but having to take one, I go over as he is underappreciated and has a power surge left in him. Scout Bernie Pleskoff was raving about Markakis this spring and the forty pounds he added to his frame can only help him in 2014. He is a career .292 hitter coming off a career low .271 season, I am taking the over.
Boston Red Sox – Koji Uehara 35.5 Saves, Will Middlebrooks 25.5 HR
- You do not want to gamble on a 39 year old reliever coming off of a charmed season? Most in the fantasy community are shying away from Uehara who has struck out 144 the past two years against 12 walks. The disclaimer on his bet is that if the player goes on the DL the bet is void. I think the only way Uehara does not beat this number is an injury. Bet the over. Middlebrooks on the other hand is a wild card. He has power but as Tim said: “Kid needs to learn to take a walk and lay off the junk”. This advice could have helped Morrison as well but I think Boston grows impatient with him and I take the under as well.
Chicago Cubs (69.5 Wins) – Anthony Rizzo 26.5 HR
- Two years ago Rizzo hit 15 home runs in Chicago and had 23 last year. His improvement against left handed pitching and power potential puts him in the over category. I am going to go out on a limb here and say over on the Cubs team wins. Guess I believe in what Theo is doing.
Chicago White Sox (75.5 Wins) – Jose Abreu 28.5 HR, Chris Sale 225 K’s
- If the White Sox are going to have an improved season both may need to happen. Schwimmer took the under on Abreu and for this year I agree. It will be tough to adjust to the length of the season but in a keeper league, Abreu is a power bat to have. Sale has shown flashes and this year could take a step forward. However, I will take the under on the K’s though I would not be surprised to see him do it. As for the White Sox team number, I will take the over. This will be a wide open division and with players like Abreu, Semien and young arms on the way could surprise this year.
Cincinnati Reds – Billy Hamilton .262 Average, 63.5 SB
- While each of these bets are exclusive of each other I am willing to go over on the steals and under on the average. It feels like there is no middle ground with Billy, many feel he could be in the minors but I believe.
Cleveland Indians (80.5 Wins) – Carlos Santana 24.5 HR, Jason Kipnis 18.5 HR, John Axford 32.5 Saves
- The Indians are a hotbed for both Tim King and Matt Schwimmer. The voted on all of this and I will go with them. Both are taking the over on Santana’s and Kipnis’ HR totals with the under on Axford. I am most wary of the Axford bet as Cleveland’s pitching coach is talented and Axford fixed a glitch in St. Louis. Schwimmer also took the over on the wins and I agree. Francona is solid at manager and if he can get some pitching, they can win 81.
Colorado Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez 27.5 HR, Wilin Rosario 25.5 HR
- I think CarGo could win the MVP and see him hitting 30 or more if he plays 150 games. Rosario will see his average drop but his power is real. If he gets time at 1B like in the spring, he can hit 30.
Detroit Tigers – Ian Kinsler 15.5 HR
- This is such a good number, he struggles outside of Texas and I projected him for 14 this year, so I will take the under.
Houston Astros (62.5 Wins) – Jose Altuve 35.5 SB, Chris Carter 28.5 HR
- With Altuve slated to hit fourth at times he could see a dip in SB according to Tim. But he will hit in front of Carter who is prone to swings and misses. After Springer is promoted the lineup should stabilize in Houston but I will take the under on Altuve and in a surprise, the over on Carter. Look at his underlying numbers against Chris Davis’ from 2012.
Kansas City – Mike Moustakas 20.5 HR, Salvador Perez 69.5 RBI
- Moustakas went to Venezuela to work on his swing, has had a huge spring and even hit against lefties. But fantasy owners want to see it in the regular season. I will buy and say the over it is home runs, not average. Perez is moving up in the order and over a full season will drive in over 70 runs. Schwimmer is on board with the Perez selection as well.
Los Angeles Angels – Albert Pujols 30.5 HR, Ernesto Frieri 34.5 Saves
- Either you believe in Albert or you do not I am with Schwimmer and take the over here along with Frieri as well. Both are better than they showed last year.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Yasiel Puig 80.5 RBI, Dan Haren 10.5 Wins
- Puig may be more polarizing than Billy Hamilton, but as a leadoff hitter I think he will be hard pressed to drive in more than 81 even with the lineup that LA has. Haren really turned things around in the second half and I am willing to take the over as he can win 11 games.
Miami Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton 38.5 HR
- Think Stanton has power, Tim is calling 45 home runs and Stanton is capable of it. The better bet here could be how many will be solo home runs? Poor kid….
Milwaukee Brewers – Jean Segura 42.5 SB, Yovani Gallardo 175 K’s
- Finally a disagreement as Tim thinks that Gallardo’s underlying numbers hint at further decline whereas I think he can beat the number for strikeouts. Segura is more my gut, he is a speedster and can clear this number but something just doesn’t seem right early for him and I think the Brewers will be more cautious as a team on the bases this year, I say under.
Minnesota Twins – Joe Mauer 12.5 HR
- How boring is the Twins season going to be when this is the best prop bet? Under, the outlier season is over and Mauer is talented but not a power hitter.
New York Mets (73.5 Wins) – Curtis Granderson 27.5 HR, Bartolo Colon 10.5 Wins
- Schwimmer is betting twice on the Mets, over on Colon and the team wins. Tim is going under on Granderson noting that the move to Citi will reduce his power totals. Co-sign, but it will be fun to see how the Mets handle Harvey and the bevy of young pitching on the way.
New York Yankees – Jacoby Ellsbury 14.5 HR, Brian McCann 25.5 HR
- If the Yankees are going to have any success this year, both players have to go over the HR totals above. King is in McCann’s camp and Schwimmer is going with Ellsbury. I say both.
Oakland A’s – Sonny Gray 12 Wins, Yoenis Cespedes 26.5 HR
- Now the opening day pitcher Gray is a breakout candidate and could combine with Kazmir to surprise for the A’s again this year so take the over on Gray. Tim had a great point on Cespedes noting that in a down year he still hit 26 home runs. Despite tinkering with his leg lift in spring, Cespedes should see an increase in not only his BABip, but his power numbers as a whole, over.
Philadelphia Phillies – Ben Revere 27.5 SB
- His speed is for real and by season’s end, may be one of the few bright spots on an aging team that faces turmoil. I am taking the over as he could steal forty this year.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Jason Grilli 29.5 Saves, Gerrit Cole 12 Wins
- Many projections see a regression for the Pirates win totals and that is reflected above. Grilli has been healthy in the spring and despite Melancon stepping in for him last year, he can save 30 for Pitt. Cole is a talented young arm who will have a full season with Searage and should attain 13 or more wins even if the Pirates do fall short of last year’s win totals.
San Diego Padres (78.5 Wins) – Everth Cabrera 49.5 SB, Jedd Gyorko 25.5 HR
- Tim King has already boldly predicted the Padres to make the playoffs so of course he is taking the over on the wins. If their pitching can hold together and they get anything out of Josh Johnson, it is possible. Cabrera stole 44 bases in 115 games in 2012 and was well on his way to eclipsing that last year before his suspension. If he plays 130 or more games he will beat this number. Gyorko was last seen on the ESPN avoid list but why not have a power hitting second baseman with minor league pedigree? I will take the over and if I am wrong will be happy to admit it.
San Francisco Giants – Buster Posey 19.5 HR
- Posey is better than his second half collapse last year but like Mauer, may not be a great power hitting catcher. Unlike many picks on this list, I will take the under on this one.
St. Louis Cardinals – Matt Adams 29.5 HR, Allen Craig 22.5 HR
- To be honest, I am not comfortable with either of these totals. I am not the biggest Craig fan and I cannot see him beating this number so either Vegas knows something or this is a tease. If Adams is to beat 29.5 HR’s, no way Craig plays a full season. For now under but if Adams was guaranteed 150 games, I could be convinced to take the over.
Seattle Mariners – Robinson Cano 26.5 HR, Fernando Rodney 30.5 Saves
- Having Lord Farquhar stock in all my keeper leagues, the Rodney signing in Seattle killed me. His contract says he has the job but if he falters Seattle has options to replace him. Tim agrees and takes the under on both of these bets. I am intrigued by Cano’s number and think he can beat it but I am not touching that number.
Tampa Bay Rays – Chris Archer 11 Wins, Alex Cobb 12.5 Wins
- Matt Schwimmer is taking the over on both of the young pitchers and if all holds true with their numbers I agree. It appears Las Vegas is underestimating the Rays staff.
Texas Rangers – Prince Fielder 107.5 RBI, Shin-Soo Choo 19.5 HR
- King speculates that Prince can come close to this number but the injuries in Texas may hamper his overall numbers so he took the under. Choo is moving to another friendly hitting environment but things in Texas are rough right now, I think the under may be in line for both.
Toronto Blue Jays – Jose Bautista 35.5 HR
- Bautista has been strong this spring and is coming off of a down year but he can beat this number. The Blue Jays are built like a slow pitch softball team, lots of offense, decent defense and not much pitching.
Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg 205.5 K’s, Jayson Werth 19.5 HR
- I honestly think this may be the year that Strasburg puts it all together and more innings means more K’s and clearing 206 strikeouts. Werth according to Tim is worth taking the over for HR’s as his season last year was not a fluke and while a repeat will be tough, he can still hit 22+ this year.
I want to thank Tim and Matt for their contributions to the Bovada lines and good luck if you play some of the prop bets. Two days until baseball back on North American soil.
Greg Jewett is a staff writer for Roto Analysis and you can follow us on Twitter @RotoAnalysis and @gjewett9
Kipnis and Santana picture credit: http://didthetribewinlastnight.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Santana-and-Kipnis-Hannah-Foslien-Getty-420×215.jpg