As a fantasy baseball writer, I'm also a die-hard baseball fan at heart. And as spring training draws to a close, everyone loves taking a few moments to make his or her predictions for the upcoming season. Most of my opinions on players historically have been based on statistical analysis and trends, but even I'd admit that personal feeling does have an impact. Hunches do carry some weight, so as I do every spring, I'll share some of my strongest ones, with my "Bold Predictions" for the 2006 season:
SLEEPER MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: They're not necessarily the guys who will win, but they certainly could based on my expectations this year.
American League: Travis Hafner, DH, Indians. If not for a concussion he suffered as a result of being hit by a Mark Buehrle pitch, Hafner might have played a full 150-plus-game season in 2005, and managed .300-40-125 numbers, which aren't far off David Ortiz totals. Hafner is 28 years old, so he's in his prime, and with his combination of excellent plate discipline, power and quality lineup support, there's plenty of reason to believe he can top those numbers in 2006, which would indeed garner him some MVP votes.