Reviewing Eno Sarris’ 10 Bold Predictions for the 2013 Season

A season in the books! Not a bad one for me, two wins, five podiums, four bottom-half finishes… if only my AL-LABR team (11th) hadn’t stung so bad.

In any case, we made some bold predictions in the pre-season and it’s time to see how badly we whiffed. Although, I do remember phrasing one fairly vaguely to try and guarantee at least one ‘hit’ in the bunch. That’s cheating, I’ll readily admit. But I didn’t want to go oh-fer.

So, let’s look back at my ten then.

1) Andrelton Simmons will be this year’s Jose Altuve.
Oops. Simmons hit .248 and stole six bases. What makes this one hurt more is that I was also interested in Jean Segura and often espoused the virtue of passing on the expensive shortstops and picking both Segura and Simmons last. I have a text message from a league-winning friend to prove it. And some mock drafts. But no, when it came to the bold prediction, I had to go Simmons. You know what’s weird? I’m sure he’ll return positive value on the season, and was better than a deep league shortstop. But it was for his 17 home runs, not for his six stolen bases. He’s obviously an athletic guy, and has some upside in batting average, considering his great contact and strikeout rates, and iffy 2013 batting average on balls in play (.247). Maybe I’ll try another bold prediction for him next season.

2) Mike Moustakas will hit more than 25 home runs this year.
Mike Moustakas hit 12 home runs this year. He was so bad that he made me decide to be very wary of people that hit more than 45% of their balls in the air. There are some crazy boom and bust guys in that group, and obviously Moustakas busted hard. We liked him because his batted ball distance took a leap forward and he played through pain, which can affect projections. Well, his batted ball distance wasn’t great last year (279 feet) and it was even worse this year (270). Perhaps we should not only pay attention to relative increases, but also increases that take batted ball distance closer to 300, which is where the real power hitters lie. As for his injuries last year? Well, he had some more this year. Who knows if they were relevant in either case. Moustakas was my personal LVP.

3) Injuries to Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday conspire to allow Oscar Taveras 350 excellent plate appearances this season. Wil Myers gets more plate appearances but does less with them.
You know what this one teaches me? To be less specific. If I had just said that Wil Myers got more plate appearances than Oscar Taveras this year, but did less with them, I could at least give myself a half point. In this case, I was so far off that I can’t even give myself a quarter point without feeling shameful. Oscar Taveras was the one that got hurt and Wil Myers deserves a full post of his own. What a great debut for him, even with some of the flaws that showed up later in the year.

4) The Mets and Astros outfields will each produce a usable fantasy player.
I’m going to call this a win. The Mets were more obvious about it. Marlon Byrd was the surprise guy, as he altered his batted ball profile drastically to hit .291 with a career-high 24 home runs at 35 years old. He was ownable in almost all leagues along the way. A real-life team even traded for him! And, really, with Eric Young Jr and his 38 stolen bases, you had two guys that were worth owning. The stretch here, if there is one, is declaring Chris Carter an outfielder. Okay, we’re not really concerned with defense. 29 homers, even with a .223 average, is useful in many leagues. And Robbie Grossman showed that he can hang in the major leagues, with a power/speed combo that registered — if only for a short while — in leagues of all sizes.

5) Billy Hamilton will be the Reds starting center fielder by September.
Missed it by a year. Oh well. Wanted to be bold. At least he was exciting down the stretch.

6) Zack Greinke will be fine. Clayton Kershaw or Josh Beckett won’t be.
You know what? I’m going to call this one a win. A broken collarbone from a charging hitter doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of this prediction. Greinke’s elbow showed more signs of trouble — switching from the slider to the cutter doesn’t seem like great news — but he survived. And Josh Beckett did not. His career might even be over. (Next year, by the way, I’m not as bullish about Greinke’s health.)

7) Shelby Miller & Julio Teheran should be good, but there will be a relatively unknown pitcher that takes the season by storm and outproduces each of them.

This was the one designed to get me a win no matter what. In my defense, I mentioned Alex Cobb in my paragraph. Oh, Alex Cobb. You, Miller and Matt Harvey were so awesome for me this year. Sighs.

8) Anthony Rizzo will outproduce Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
Yeah? He will? Cool story, bro. Instead, Rizzo took a step back (seemingly) and Adrian Gonzalez was his normal, .290+ hitting RBI machine. Of course, Rizzo hit more home runs, and actually cut his swinging strike rate even further. I like Rizzo to hit .275+ with a normal batting average on balls in play, and his healthier, younger shoulder should be able to produce more home runs than Gonzalez again. I may just make this prediction one more time.

9) Starlin Castro will hit .300+ with 15+ home runs and 30+ stolen bases.
Man, Castro didn’t even come close. What a year. We’ll have to dissect this one in more detail.

10) Yu Darvish finds the plate. With an average walk rate, more than a strikeout per inning, and a little bit of batted ball luck, he challenges for the Cy Young.

Well, I nailed that one. No Max Scherzer, and Yu Darvish might even be your Cy Young this year in the AL. Darvish cut his walk rate all the way down to almost league average, kept striking out more than a batter per inning, and added the strikeout crown to a sub-three ERA and 13 wins. Part of it was that he was squeezed a bit in his first year, and the other part was just figuring out how to sequence all of his pitches to best take advantage of hitters. I might be a little worried about Darvish’s elbow long term — he throws a ton of sliders and doesn’t have great control (see his bad walk rate creeping back in late in the season below) — but he’s a great own when healthy.

DarvishBB9

So that’s it. 4/10 but one was a cheat. And my misses were almost spectacular in nature. That’s what happens when you try to go bold.



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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.


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Brian
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Brian

Asking all y’all experts: Drop one: Machado, Puig, Myers, Billy Hamilton. I suspect you’ll say Machado, but….

Sgt Hulka
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Sgt Hulka

Man, if the O’s played Machado at SS…

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