Prior to the season my esteemed colleagues and I put together a list of ten bold predictions, some of which actually came true. Here is a recap of Brandon Warne’s predictions and Howard Bender’s predictions, and now let’s look at mine…
1. A-Rod will hit 30 HR
Alex Rodriguez is sitting on 18 homers with three (maybe four if the Yankees have to play a Game 163 tie-breaker) games to play, so this one won’t happen. He did miss roughly six weeks with a broken bone in his left hand suffered on a Felix Hernandez hit-by-pitch, but even before the injury he had hit just 15 homers in 97 team games (25 HR per 162 games). A-Rod’s days of 30+ homers are over, as are his days of 600+ plate appearances it seems. This prediction was a bust.
2. Oswalt’s half season will be better than Wainwright’s full season
This prediction was based largely on concerns about Adam Wainwright‘s return from reconstructive elbow surgery, which often isn’t as routine as the surgery. He did struggle out of the gate, pitching to a 4.56 ERA (3.31 FIP) in the first half (102.2 IP) before posting a 3.28 ERA (2.71 FIP) in the second half (96 IP). The strikeout and walk numbers didn’t change, but Wainwright did a better job of keeping the ball in the park after the All-Star break and did receive a little more BABIP live.
Roy Oswalt has been a disaster for the Rangers, pitching so poorly as a starter than they had to stick him in the bullpen. He owns a 5.93 ERA (4.34 FIP) in 57.2 IP, probably what you’d expect from a 35-year-old with a bad back moving into a tough hitter’s park in the AL after being league average in the NL a year ago. This prediction might have looked not so hilarious if Oswalt had signed with say, the Dodgers or Braves. Another busted prediction.
3. Adam Dunn will hit 40 HR
Alright, now we’re talking. Dunn has already hit 41 homers this season despite missing time this month with an oblique issue. He still has three games remaining to add to that total. His HR/FB ratio jumped back over 20% (29.7%, to be exact) after falling to just 9.6% a year ago, one of the primary causes of his miserable season. This has been a pretty typical Adam Dunn season, though he is striking out more and hitting for even less average than usual. Still, this prediction was spot on.
4. Andrew Cashner will be this year’s Craig Kimbrel
Cashner never did get a chance to close, making 27 relief appearances in a setup role before being shifted into the rotation. He also missed a huge chunk of time due to an oblique injury, so his final season numbers are 4.37 ERA (3.57 FIP) with 10.32 K/9 (26.9 K%) and 3.77 BB/9 (9.8 BB%) in 45.1 IP. That’s pretty solid, but hardly 2011 Kimbrel-esque. Another bust.
5. Scott Downs will save at least ten games
This one is still possible! Downs is sitting on nine saves with three games to play, though it’ll be tough with Ernesto Frieri ahead of him. He might have already gotten that all-important tenth save if it wasn’t for a midseason trip to the DL, which essentially opened the ninth inning door for Frieri. Consider this prediction a pending bust, though not nearly as embarrassing a bust as the other predictions in the post.
6. Michael Bourn will steal 80 bases
Nope. Do I get half-credit because he “only” stole 40? No? Okay, I guess not. Bourn wouldn’t have gotten there even without the thumb injury that kept him on the shelf for the last week. After three straight years of 50+ steals (with two 60+ seasons in there), isn’t 40 kind of a let down? Anyway, another bust.
7. Ike Davis will emerge as the second best 1B in the NL
Just using WAR as a quick analysis, the second best fantasy first baseman in the NL this year was Paul Goldschmidt (3.7). Davis had a strong second half that took him out of the worst player in baseball conversation and will allow him to finish the year at 1.3 WAR or so. Fantasy baseball isn’t really about WAR though, so let’s look at his performances in the individual categories…
That’s out of 27 first baseman with at least 200 PA in the NL this year. The rate stats are awful, but Davis hit for power and otherwise perform fairly well in the run-production counting stats. I could see arguments for Goldschmidt, Adam LaRoche, and even Allen Craig for the second best first baseman in the NL this year, but it definitely wasn’t Davis.
8. Jamey Carroll will hit a homer
This one actually happened. Carroll hit his first homer since August 2009 earlier this month, ending a 437-game and 1,348 at-bat dry spell. Here’s the undoctored video if you don’t believe me. I didn’t get the bonus prediction right, that the homer would come against the Royals in late-July, but at least he went deep. Carroll’s batting average dipped from .290+ into the .260s this year, so his fantasy value was very limited. This prediction was a rare success.
9. Doug Fister will have an ERA over 4.00.
Fister is sitting on a 3.38 ERA with his final start scheduled for tomorrow, so unless he allows eleven runs without recording an out against the Royals, this will be another bust prediction. I figured that the Tigers’ shaky defense (particularly on the infield) would hurt the ground baller, but then Fister went out and learned how to strike people out (7.72 K/9 and 20.7 K%). Good for him, bad for me.
10. Noesi will best Cueto in every 5×5 category (including saves)
Best for last, eh? Johnny Cueto is a legitimate Cy Young contender while Hector Noesi was so bad that he was demoted to Triple-A for a big chunk of the season. I can’t believe I actually said this. I’m embarrassed.
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So the final tally is two correct, seven wrong, and one pending. For now let’s call the Downs prediction a bust and say I went 2-for-10. Hugging the Mendoza line is never a good thing, so I guess I’m just a replacement level bold prediction maker.