Freedom from shame at least. They were supposed to be bold. So let’s revisit those predictions.
[Sorry no chat today, gotta get my stuff done before heading to the city for the Bay Area meetup. And sorry for abrupt ending last week, got an important call.]
1) No player will hit 40 home runs this year. Yeah, no ONE player. Just six of em: Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Edwin Encarnacion, Ryan Braun and Adam Dunn. And there was more than a homer per nine innings (1.02) again for the first time since 2009. That two-year ‘drought’ was just one of those blips and not a real trend. 0-1
2) Lucas Duda will outproduce Logan Morrison in every 5×5 roto category. Hahahahahahahahahahha. I got this one right. Oh that’s rich. Well, they both stole a base, but I’m taking this one just because it’s funny. (I even have one team with both of these guys on it that ended up fourth anyway.) 1-2.
3) Dee Gordon will steal 60 bases — and won’t hit a single home run. He hit a home run. It was his first since 2010, when he hit two in Double-A. He only stole 32 and lost his shortstop job to an inferior defensive player, so yeah. That’s a miss. 1-3.
4) Brandon Belt is finally freed (to the tune of a .280 average and 25 home runs, seven stolen bags) when Bruce Bochy sees Aubrey Huff for the piece of toast that he is. Yay I was right. Well, some of the ideas in that sentence were correct. A little rough on Huff, but the word was an apt description if you saw him lumber around the bases this year. Belt just didn’t show the power. And I’m wondering if he will at this point. He could be a Travis Lee (or James Loney?) kinda guy who’s real-life useful when he’s cost-controlled and good with the glove, and not so useful after. That’s not a great fantasy player. The asterisk is that if he keeps playing in the outfield a little bit every year, he’s deep-league useful. But! Belt deserves more attention than this later in the offseason. 1.5-4
5) Ryan Hanigan will get twice as many PAs as Devin Mesoraco. 371 to 184, booyah. Maybe this doesn’t seem so bold, given how hard it is to be good at the plate as a young catcher. There’s still a lot to like about Mesoraco, and he’ll probably take over behind the plate some time next year, but this wasn’t the year. Maybe it doesn’t seem so bold now that the rookie has been meh, but there was a ton of excitement about Mes going into the season. 2.5-5.
6) Jarrod Parker will be the Athletics’ best pitcher this year. There’s Jarrod Parker, sitting atop the Oakland staff in almost every metric. It may not be the most sustainable beginning — he’s benefiting from a low home run rate and has a low strikeout rate. On the other hand, his strikeout rate doesn’t seem to match his stuff (9.9% swinging strikes), or his decent gas (92.4 mph). There’s a lot to like about him, not the least of which is the fact that he made me correct again. 3.5-6.
7) This year, the role of Brandon Beachy will be played by Juan Nicasio. Gah. Given his 94 mph gas, strong slider, and minor league strikeout and walk rates, I went a little overboard on Nicasio. With average luck, Nicasio now looks like he can be an average guy. The changeup seemed to regress and with it his best chances at being a great sleeper pitcher. He’s more Nathan Eovaldi then healthy Michael Pineda“>Nate Eovaldi then healthy Michael Pineda, though all three are flying in the face on convention as fastball/slider starters. Deep league sleeper at best now. (Oh and did I curse both of these guys somehow? Not even 150 combined innings from these two pitchers in 2012.) 3.5-7.
8) Jimmy Paredes will outproduce Emilio Bonifacio relative to cost. They both were so terrible. Really, the lesson here is to stay away from players that are obviously flawed. Paredes doesn’t even look good when he’s hitting jacks and Bonifacio still strikes out too much for a guy with no power and still isn’t showing good glove, even in the outfield. Might as well stay away from players whose profiles you don’t like, this is what Bonifacio, Paredes and Gordon are teaching me, right? 3.5-8.
9) Gio Gonzalez will miss significant time this year. Hmmm. Just came in two outs short of 200 innings for the third straight year. Might as well double down on him, considering he was sixth in the bigs in curveball percentage again. But Wandy Rodriguez was number one on that list and six years older, so maybe he’s my pick for significant injury next year. 3.5-9.
10) Vinnie Pestano will lead a smaller group of ‘new’ closers. I did mention Addison Reed but took the longer shot. Stupid thing, I still bet this will happen, just next year. If the Indians can find a trade partner for their excitable, over-rated closer. 3.5-10.
Even if you take away the Belt prediction, three outta ten is good enough for that excellent yet fetishized number: .300.