Back on May 1st, I wrote a post of ten bold predictions based on some of the more interesting things we'd seen in April. I thought now would be a fun time to check back in on how those predictions are holding up. We're all heading into a very serious time of fantasy season, so some levity is in order. The funny thing is that when I looked at this piece again earlier today, some of these predictions really do not look bold. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 -- which is why some of these ten predictions seem obvious and some seem a little insane. I'll let you decide which is which.
Prediction #1: Yu Darvish will not only be a top-10 starter, but he'll finish in the top-3 in the AL Cy Young voting
This one I got wrong, but I still believe that this prediction will come true in the future. Darvish right now is the 66th ranked SP on the ESPN Player Rater, but that's almost all ratio-driven. Darvish's 12 wins and 172 K's are very close being in line with my pre-season prediction of 16 wins and 204 K's, but unfortunately I also had him pegged for a 3.17 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. With his stuff and the experience of his first season in the States, I'm sure I'll be back on him again next year.
Back pat time. Right now, Encarnacion continues to be in the middle of an absolute monster of a season -- hitting .293 with 34 HR, 88 RBI, 78 R and even 13 SB. Not only is he the #2 3B on the ESPN Player Rater (behind only Miggy), but he is 6th overall among all MLB players. Meanwhile, Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie (11th and 15th, respectively, among 3B) have struggled with injuries -- but even if they were healthy the entire season, they would still not have been able to touch Encarnacion.
Eight more after the jump...Prediction #3: Derek Jeter will win the AL batting title
Yes, Jeter was hitting .389 at the time I wrote this predictions post, but almost no one thought he would continue this. However, his strikeout rate is STILL the lowest of his career (12.0%) and his BABIP is just below his career average (.352 vs .355) -- so this makes a lot more sense than people thought it would objectively. Subjectively, he just looks rejuvenated and has ever since he got his 3,000th hit in 2011. Right now, his .323 average is behind only Mike Trout (.337) and Miguel Cabrera (.324) -- so he's still got a chance..
Prediction #4: Edwin Jackson will be a top-30 pitcher
If E-Jax had gotten a little luckier with his run support (his 3.75 runs/start of support ranks 19th worst in baseball), he could have been close to this. Unfortunately, an 8-run shellacking at Coors Field didn't help his case either. He's still been a solid value based on his draft position regardless of how he ends the season.
Prediction #5: Fernando Rodney will record 30 saves
Remember when Kyle Farnsworth was going to come back in June and take the closer's job back from Rodney? And when there was no way Rodney could keep this up because he's, well, Fernando Rodney? Oh what short memories we all have. He not only has 39 saves and counting, but he's done it with a 0.77 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. Insane.
Prediction #6: Matt Kemp will not hit 60 HR
Yea, this was a cheap prediction, but he was on pace for over 80.
Prediction #7: Starlin Castro will steal 40 bases
I was certainly wrong on this one. After Castro finished April with 10 SB, he's only had 11 since. I was thinking it might be a decision to be more aggressive in general due to the fact that they were likely to struggle to put up a ton of runs. But he also could have gotten his green light taken away from him, as after going 10-for-13 in April, he went 6-for-13 from May to July.
Prediction #8: Jason Hammel will be a top-50 pitcher
Hammel was the 14th ranked SP on the ESPN Player Rater at the end of April, but I was buying his development, mostly due to his increased ground ball and strike out tendencies. Turns out, that was for real as his 53.6% GB rate and 8.7 K/9 are both the highest of his career. Unfortunately for Hammel, he was sidelined with a knee injury in mid-July and hasn't pitched since -- though even with that statistical stagnation, he's still the 59th ranked SP on the ESPN Player Rater.
Prediction #9: Albert Pujols will be fine
Albert Pujols from May 1st to August 27th: .299/.362/.588 with 28 HR, 82 RBI, 62 R and 8 SB.
Prediction #10: Ubaldo Jimenez will finish outside the top-75 SP
This one may not have been bold enough. Jimemez now checks in as the 236th most valuable SP on the ESPN Player Rater, behind such studs as Kip Wells, Faux-sto Carmona, Brett Cecil and Hector Noesi. And that's without missing a single start. It's really difficult to be that bad. And for context, ESPN had Jimenez ranked as the 28th SP coming into the season, accompanied by this quote "Assuming the drop in velocity is not injury-related, the move to pitcher-friendly Progressive Field should outweigh the move out of the NL, meaning a low-to-mid 3s ERA is not at all out of the question." Apparently, it was pretty far out of the question.
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