Grading My 10 Bold Predictions

Prior to the season, we all made “10 Bold Predictions,” and now it’s time to see how great — or awful — those turned out. You can see mine right here from March; let’s see how I did.

Prediction 1: 70% of opening day closers won’t still have their jobs by the end of the year…

Okay, let’s sort through this and see how close this one came.

These teams kept the same guys in the ninth all year long, and I won’t nitpick about things like the few days where it seemed like Tommy Hunter would overtake Jim Johnson or a short 15 days on the disabled list. I will, however, claim Chris Perez on my side, despite the fact that he didn’t lose it until late September:

BAL (Johnson), NYY (Rivera), TB (Rodney), TOR (Janssen), KC (Holland), MIN (Perkins), CHW (Reed), OAK (Balfour), TEX (Nathan), LAA (Frieri), ATL (Kimbrel), PHI (Papelbon), WAS (Soriano), MIA (Cishek), CIN (Chapman), SD (Street), SF (Romo).

That’s 56% who kept their jobs all year, and only 44% who didn’t, and I guess that counts as a loss for me. I was reasonably confident about this one in the spring, and it feels like there’s been a little less turnover than usual. Off the top of my head, only one closer got traded — Jose Veras from Houston, not including Milwaukee since Jim Henderson already had the job when John Axford & Francisco Rodriguez were moved — which seems oddly low, since bottom-feeders usually offer up their closers quickly. The only serious injuries were to Bobby Parnell and Rafael Betancourt, which kept the turnover low, too. I would — and might — make the same prediction again next year. 0 for 1.

Prediction 2: …but Brandon League will.

Oh, lord. In retrospect, I suppose I probably never should have expected that League was going to hold off Kenley Jansen, who is only one of the three best closers in the game, but I have to admit it didn’t go down the way I expected it to. If it was simply “Jansen is better and took over the job,” that I could see. But it ended up being “League was so atrocious that he was going to lose his spot regardless of whether it was Kenley Jansen or Skip Schumaker taking over,” and that really was a surprise. League’s big contract was probably never one that made sense, but he was so good down the stretch last season that it seemed like he’d at least be adequate. Instead, he fell apart, stopped missing bats, and had an ERA north of 5 for most of the season. 0 for 2.

Prediction 3: Jake Arrieta will be the most valuable Baltimore starter.

This is going to get better. I promise. Arrieta lasted just four starts — one of which was very good, at least — before getting bounced from the rotation. He came back for one more in June, then was traded to the Cubs in July. There, he’s been… also not good. Which means I’ll probably set myself up for failure when I make the exact same prediction next year. 0 for 3.

Prediction 4: The National League leader in stolen bases will be someone who wasn’t in the top 10 in MLB last season.

Okay, now we’re talking. The top three NL stolen base guys were Eric Young (received nearly 400 more plate appearances than in 2012), Jean Segura (played only a partial 2012 as a rookie), and Starling Marte, who like Segura, was in his first full season. All three would count, though I got a bit lucky here, because Everth Cabrera was leading the league for much of the year before getting suspended. I’ll take the win anyway. Next year, I’ll predict that you shouldn’t draft Young for steals, because he’s really not that good. 1 for 4.

Prediction 5: Justin Smoak is going to put it together to be a top-15 mixed-league first baseman.

So here’s a fun one. At the time, Smoak had been a terribly disappointing prospect who seemed like he might be about to get lost in the Kendrys Morales / Raul Ibanez / Jason Bay / Michael Morse 1B/DH hole, though he’d tempted some by putting up a red-hot September 2012. That, along with a smoking hot spring, shorter fences in Seattle, and the switch to a lighter bat made me wonder if 2013 was finally the year.

Sadly, Smoak didn’t end up as a top-15 first baseman or anything close to it, though he did set career highs in home runs, ISO, and wOBA. That would be be something to build on, except that after four full seasons he’s been basically a replacement player. It’s time to give up. 1 for 5.

Prediction 6Justin Maxwell will put up a 20/15 season.

This is going to be another loss, but I can caveat this somewhat by saying that any chances Maxwell had to do this died in late April when he was hit by a Hisashi Iwakuma pitch and missed nearly two months. He’d been back for barely more than a week when he suffered a concussion diving for a ball, sidelining him for more than two weeks. When he returned in mid-July, he played only 12 more games for Houston before being traded to Kansas City, where he played well (.268/.351/.505 with five homers).

On the season, Maxwell received only 262 plate appearances and put up seven homers and six steals. If he’d managed to play a full season, he’d have come pretty close to my prediction, but he didn’t, so I’ll take the hit. 1 for 6.

Prediction 7: Cliff Lee will pitch almost exactly the same as he did in 2012, yet double his win total — or more.

This was in response to Lee pitching wonderfully in 2012, yet going just 6-9. Lee did end up pitching in 2013 relatively similarly to how he did in 2012, and in fact improved somewhat…


…and went 14-8 on another lousy Phillies team. That’s a win. 2 for 7.

Prediction 8: Yasiel Puig will be a fantasy disappointment.

Nope. Obviously. My rationale for this at the time is that Puig would end up spending so much of the season in the minors that his ability to impact fantasy seasons would be limited. Of course, when I said that I had no idea that Matt Kemp would be injured approximately 72 different times, including once when Carl Crawford was also injured, and the Dodgers would have no choice but to recall Puig in early June. (Counting Andre Ethier‘s late-season injuries as well, the Dodgers had all four of their outfielders healthy at the same time for something like 10 innings all season.)  2 for 8.

Prediction 9: Matt Harvey will be a top-20 NL starter.

I realize that this doesn’t sound bold at all now, not after he started the All-Star Game and led baseball with a 2.01 FIP and would have had a pretty solid case for the Cy Young if he hadn’t A) been injured and B) unfortunate enough to share a league with Clayton Kershaw.

But at the time, remember that he was a guy who was entering the season with only 10 major league starts under his belt, and that the NL is stacked with elite starters like Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg, Mat Latos, Lee, Cole Hamels, Madison Bumgarner, Adam Wainwright, etc. — and Jose Fernandez, who we didn’t really know about at that point — and so for as silly as this sounds now, it was hardly a guarantee in March.

The funny thing is, now that his elbow is a huge question mark, if I make this prediction again next year, it might be a lot bigger of a risk than it was this year. 3 for 9.

Prediction 10: Juan Uribe will at some point be owned in at least 5% of one of the three main fantasy sites — ESPN, Yahoo, or CBS.

I would like to say that this was my boldest and best prediction of all, that I saw something in the man who hit just .199/.262/.289 in his first two seasons as a Dodger that indicated he’d suddenly be productive. I didn’t; this was a joke, because “bold predictions” should be fun, and embedding a GIF of Uribe corkscrewing himself into the ground on a badly missed swing was fun.

Not only did Uribe end up sticking with the Dodgers all season long — notable because a DFA would have been my real prediction — he actually took over the third base job and was shockingly productive, finishing as one of just seven third basemen with at least 5 WAR. While that’s largely on the strength of his defense, his offensive numbers rebounded as well, making him fantasy-relevant.

But just how relevant? Five percent relevant?uribe_owned

Yes!  4 for 10.

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Mike Petriello lives in New York and writes about the Dodgers daily at Dodgers Digest, as well as contributing to ESPN Insider. He wrote two chapters in the 2014 Hardball Times Annual as well as building The Hardball Times and TechGraphs, and was an editorial producer at Sports on Earth. Find him at @mike_petriello.

11 Responses to “Grading My 10 Bold Predictions”

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  1. Turbo Sloth says:

    Well, you’ll always have Juan Uribe.

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  2. Eastern NC says:

    Thanks for the Puig tip. Um, wait. No, I picked him up in a keeper! Score! Now, can you help a brotha out? Pick one: Myers, Billy H., Starlin. Keeper. OR, should I keep Myers and Billy H, then get Bryce Harper in a trade? (I give up Goldie and Cano.)

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    • binqasim says:

      that seems a bit too much for harper, does it not?

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    • RT says:

      I wouldn’t trade either of those guys straight up for Harper… Especially Goldie.

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      • Dave Utah says:

        If the D-Backs made the playoffs I think Goldie would have won the MVP. I had him in my H2H league two years ago and didn’t keep him on my roster over the off season. Now I have Adam LaRoche and James Loney. That was my bold prediction. 0-1.

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  3. edwinblume says:

    “…recall Puig in early Puig.” He’s so awesome, they named a month after him!

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  4. Will says:

    Since Arrieta is with the Cubs now, you probably don’t want the EXACT same prediction.

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  5. Drew says:

    I thought the 5 was a typo and you’d meant .5 instead.


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  6. Lord BatCat says:

    you may want to heavily reconsider the Matt Harvey prediction for 2014, if you hadn’t heard about him going under the knife, which I’m sure you have, soooo….my reply is completely meaningless.

    oh yeah, PUIG!!

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