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  1. I’m a big Sox fan, so I’m glad to see so many good guys on this list!

    I have to disagree with you on Chris Sale though. That is a very bold prediction! Sale has been outstanding against lefties so far, but he is the owner of a 4.03 FIP and 3.98 BB/9 against righties in 2011 (38.2IP). I’d imagine his “success” against righties can be attributed to the lefty throwing 97mph with an unorthodox delivery. With the decrease in velocity, I don’t think Sale will be able to navigate through a big league lineup more than once or twice without issue (except against the Cleveland Indians – that should be fun to watch).

    I agree on Thornton and I’ll overlook your blasphemous statement about Paul Konerko.

    Comment by Chike — March 12, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  2. Shhhhh about Minor, Dammit!

    God work Pod.

    Comment by Frank Rizzo — March 12, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  3. “unless you believe he pees his pants in the ninth inning, there is no reason to think he can’t save games all season”

    Peeing your pants is the coolest!

    Comment by Frank Rizzo — March 12, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  4. As a another fellow sox fan, You know Ozzie Guillen is going to keep playing Bonifacio no matter how bad he does. So although he may only hit .260, he’ll keep getting the AB’s to steal 40+ bases and score 80-ish runs. And since I own him for a $1 in a points league, that’s fine by me.

    Comment by Ben G. — March 12, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  5. Good list – well supported! Given me some great food for thought…

    Comment by kid — March 12, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  6. this is everything a bold predictions article should be. they’re all bold but you didn’t just pick events to happen randomly. the others seemed mostly for entertainment but I got a lot out of this one.

    Comment by jsp2014 — March 12, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  7. I was actually watching the Marlins ST game over the weekend, and the broadcasters mentioned that apparently Bonifacio isn’t even guaranteed to be the every day CFer. They named some other guys in competition, so unless that’s just typical noise, then his job isn’t as locked up as we may have assumed.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 12, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  8. Thanks, and that’s exactly what my goal was here. Need to have some basis in reality and fact to go out on a limb, rather than just pulling predictions out of my ass.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 12, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  9. Totally with you on Sale. I see a reliever. And I love Thornton, who may well keep the closer’s job all year, but there’s no way he leads the league in saves.

    Comment by geo — March 12, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  10. I second this statement – at least the part about how this article was quite enjoyable. You managed to be bold, but reasoned at the same time, and I definitely got a kick out of the article.

    Comment by bgrosnick — March 12, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  11. Bonifacio is THE protypical Ozzie guy. He may not play center, but Ozzie will find him at bats somewhere. After their game against the U, Ozzie basically said he’s penciled Bonifacio to hit behind Reyes.

    that being said, this was a really good article.

    Comment by Ben G. — March 12, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  12. do you mind sharing your Ichiro! and Giancarlo Pod Projected(tm) stat lines? I’m curious to see that one, it was an eye opener…

    I actually agree with the Goldy projection except for the BA part. Konerko has a .282 career AVG and he’s kept his K% in line with career norms, it’s hard to see him hitting for a worse AVG than Goldy unless he has a horrendous BABIP year like 2003 or 2008.

    Comment by batpig — March 12, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  13. Bonifiacio does have a career .339 BABIP. And you’d think that hitting 2nd he’d see a lot of good pitches sandwiched between Reyes, Hanley, Giancarlo. More RBI chances too. Although if you’re down on all of them, I could see why you’d be anti-Bon here.

    Comment by Madoff Withurmoni — March 12, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  14. Ichiro: 600-.288-8-80-80-32
    Stanton: 575-.259-35-100-90-6

    You could argue that Ichiro has some significant batting average upside based on his history, while Stanton prob has a bit of HR/RBI upside.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 12, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  15. OK, that’s sort of what I expected. I’m surprised that your valuations have that Ichiro! line as more valuable.

    They are essentially equal in HR/SB (just swapped), although one could argue that in this day and age a 35+ HR hitter is more valuable… but let’s call that a wash and focus on the other 3 categories.

    I know you think BA is underrated by many analysts, but I still think Stanton’s projected edge of 30 R+RBI is more important than Ichiro’s edge in BA.

    Look at this way: take a hypothetical team with 6000 AB and a .275 team AVG. Now add Ichiro (600 AB of .288) and Stanton (575 AB of .259).

    Team Ichiro BA = .2762
    Team Stanton BA = .2736

    So the difference is not even worth 3 points of BA to the team aggregate. Now, that jump of 2.6 points of BA could lead to an extra point in the standings in many leagues, where rate stats are tightly bunched, but I feel like the 30 R+RBI is a bigger potential impact on the standings.

    Plus, let’s not forget where each guy is in their careers…

    Comment by batpig — March 12, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  16. This is the best one of these from RotoGraphs. The others were either ridiculous or not bold at all.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — March 12, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

  17. Agree here, too. Some of the other “10 Bold” predictions don’t actually back up their predictions with numbers/logic/trends. I wish they all read like this one.

    Comment by kid — March 12, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  18. I think we could probably all agree that there is a decent chance that Bonifacio ends up being worthless this year, but the real question is, what would you suggest we choose instead, if we miss out on Tulo, Hanley and Reyes? Should we waste a 4th or 5th round pick on Castro or Andrus? A middle round pick on Jeter or Rollins? Take someone else in his tier with little if any upside (Escobar, Aybar, etc)? Personally, in a league where only 12 SSs are drafted at most, I’d rather take my chances on Bonifacio and hope he puts of numbers like Andrus, only taken 10 rounds later. If he fails, well then I can always drop him and pick up whoever is left out of the rest of his tier.
    Or, put another way, if we need to get steals from somewhere, and it’s going to be from a drain on power, I’d rather have Jay Bruce and Bonifacio than Bourne and JJ Hardy. Am I wrong?

    Comment by KMen — March 12, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  19. Ehh… Minor has been plugged as a sleeper EVERYWHERE… which means he is a sleeper nowhere, unless you play with rubes.

    Comment by Sean — March 12, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  20. well Pods is the man who invented it! :) I hope he does the best job.

    you are right that the others were a mixed bag, some of them really didn’t understand the meaning of the word “bold” AFAICT

    Comment by batpig — March 12, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  21. I’d rather bet on Dee Gordon late if you just want cheap steals. I do think spending a high pick on Andrus is wasteful when you can get Gordon, Aybar or Bonifacio much later.

    Honestly, of the choices you provided a mid round pick on Rollins seems like the best value, he will get overlooked because of the age and injuries but not many SS can provide his power/speed combo and good counting stats leading off for the Phils. Last year he put up 16 HR, 30 SB, 87 R and 63 RBI (which is a lot for a SS).

    Comment by batpig — March 12, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  22. … and in only 142 games also… if you can have a competent multi-position backup like Bonifacio or Mike Aviles to fill in when Rollins gets dinged up, not a bad deal.

    Comment by batpig — March 12, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  23. Agree. This was far and away the best 10 bold predictions out of anyone.

    Comment by Adam — March 12, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  24. I am definitely with you on Thronton. He has been a stud reliever for several years now and even last year after April performed similar to his career norms. I don’t buy the psychological aspect of the 9th inning, so I think he just had a crappy month coupled with some terrible luck that happened to coincide with when he was the “closer.”

    Comment by Adam — March 12, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  25. 8 HRs + 32 SBs is worth more than 35 HRs + 6 SBs. Woah, nevermind! According to my values, the Stanton combo is actually more valuable, and it’s precisely because power is down. The difference is solely from the batting average, which is a surprise, but nearly 30 points over that many at-bats is huge. Remember also, I basically have them valued about equal, so it’s not like I think Ichiro is worth so much more.

    The standings change is very close. The batting average could equal 2 to 3 points, but when you’re getting up to 1,000 RBI and Runs, 20 RBI might only be a point, and same for runs.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 12, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  26. Agree on Rollins. But I’m going to give the answer I always do- just value the players and draft them when they appear at the top of your list. You never ever have to reach for anyone. Even if you end up with the last SS, you’re going to get him in the last round, which is exactly what his value is. So you paid fair value, what’s the harm in that? By getting the worst SS, you got a better player somewhere else.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 12, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  27. My main issue with the Ichiro prediction is that it is predicated on Ichiro holding down the #3 spot all year to really see an increase in RBI’s. That is something I am not completely sold on when you consider that means you are banking on Figgins not being a disaster.

    Comment by kozilla — March 12, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  28. Doesn’t really matter actually, since he’ll just move back to leadoff, which will increase his at-bat total, boosting his runs scored and steals. Overall it’ll likely be a wash to his value.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 12, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

  29. Great stuff here. I was really high on Bonifacio, but this article is a bit sobering. I really see Dee Gordon as essentially equal to Elvis Andrus and he can be had about 7 rounds later.

    Comment by aaronjw — March 12, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  30. Only there is like a 30% chance Gordon ends up back in the minors this year since he is horrible defensively and is likely to be terrible from an OBP standpoint. He most likely ends up in the minors or at least at the bottom of the order for part of the season. He has tons of upside for fantasy but from a real baseball standpoint there is almost no chance he is a top 20 SS.

    Comment by Ender — March 12, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

  31. if the cubs look to be out of contention by june (likely), what do the cubs gain by bringing rizzo up? as opposed to giving them another year before arbitration and bringing him up next year? I think the new cubs front office will realize this, and rizzo’s going to stay down. Furthermore, they have incentive to try and showcase lahair as having some value at the major league level to give him some trade value.

    Comment by slash12 — March 12, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  32. I love these. The Ichiro one is surprising, yet I wouldn’t be too shocked to see it happen.

    Comment by Congo Hammer — March 13, 2012 @ 1:49 am

  33. So far…your predictions are terrible. Nice job!

    Comment by John — April 24, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  34. first off, you totally missed the point as these are supposed to be BOLD predictions, i.e. highly unlikely to occur. I think Pods once stated that he “bold” would be something that has a 20% chance of happening, so he’d be happy if he could get 1-out-of-5 right. So instead of saying something easy like “Chris Sale will make a successful transition to the rotation” or “Mike Minor will finally settle in as a good major league pitcher”, you say something BOLD like Sale/Minor will be the best pitcher on their team.

    second, under that criteria, he’s actually doing pretty well:

    1. Jose Altuve is hitting .333 with 7 R, 6 RBI, 3 SB and has locked down a full-time gig in the Astros lineup. He’s well on his way to a .290+ AVG, 25+ SB type of season. May not crack the top 5 2B but he looks like a shoe-in for the top 10 and won’t be far away if he stays healthy and keeps his spot in the lineup.

    ZiPS(U) projects a final line of .299 / 78 / 8 / 65 / 32 … not too shabby.

    2. Mike Minor has arguably been the Braves’ best pitcher, Beachy has that absurd ERA right now but Minor’s periphs are better, he has the lowest WHIP, FIP, xFIP and SIERA among their starting pitchers.

    3. Chris Sale has been pretty dynamite, although Peavy (and Humber!) so far has ruined that projection. But if (when) Peavy gets injured…. Dan Hudson’s already down…. Kennedy’s regressing a bit….

    So right now 3-out-of-10 are looking good in the “spirit” of the prediction. Obviously looks like there will be some big whiffs on Hanley, Bonafacio, Thornton… but that’s not an indictment of the whole idea of these articles.

    Comment by batpig — April 24, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  35. Bryan LaHair would have to totally fall apart for that prediction to be right.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — May 6, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  36. Altuve is currently the 3rd ranked 2B in Yahoo and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him maintain something close to this pace.

    The rest are looking highly unlikely to happen. A bit of a tough break with Sale being moved to the closer role as he was looking very good before the move. Yet surprisingly, Peavy has been the best pitcher on that staff so far.

    Comment by SethBeno — May 6, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

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