In what has become an annual tradition, today I will review how my preseason bold predictions fared. The bold predictions articles are a fun diversion from profiling and ranking players all season long.
I have copied and pasted my preseason bold predictions (in italics) for the National League teams below.
Now that I own him in the Tout Wars mixed auction league, Craig Kimbrel puts up his worst season as a big leaguer, blowing 8 saves and losing his job in July, and the Braves finish the season in third place, missing the playoffs.
Well, Kimbrel had another great season, so I was wrong on that, but the Braves did miss the playoffs and finished tied for second place with the Mets, with a sub-.500 record.
Jayson Werth is the best player on the Nationals once again, hitting .310 with 33 home runs, 98 RBI and 25 stolen bases, outperforming his draft day value, and the Nationals win the division by eight games.
Werth didn't come close to hitting 20 home runs, let alone 33 home runs. but the Nationals did win the division, by 17 games.
Wilmer Flores takes over the Mets shortstop position in early May, and hits .295 with 16 home runs and 70 RBI and helping fantasy teams win their league championship this season. Oh, the Mets finish in second place, as Zack Wheeler is the second coming of Zack Greinke.
Flores did eventually take over the Mets shortstop position, but he didn't come close to reaching my bold projection, but the Mets did finish tied for second place, and Zack Wheeler had a solid season on the mound, but he isn't close to Greinke.....yet.
Marlon Byrd surprises once again, hitting .285 with 26 home runs and 89 RBI, yet the Phillies end up with the worst record in baseball, after trading Cliff Lee to the Dodgers before the July 31st trade deadline. In return for Lee, the Dodgers give up Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, and Chris Withrow. Withrow becomes the Phillies closer after Jonathan Papelbon is dealt back to the Red Sox.
Byrd had a solid season at the plate, hitting .264 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI, so I almost nailed his stats. The Phillies didn't finish with the worst record in baseball, but they were bad. They didn't have a chance to deal Cliff Lee, as he injured his elbow mid-season.
Nathan Eovaldi is the best starter on the Marlins in 2014, winning 13 games with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 195 innings. After working on his secondary pitches in the offseason, he raises his strikeout rate to just over nine batters per nine.
Eovaldi didn't come close to reaching my bold projection and he might have been the worst starter on the Marlins, after pitching very well in April.
Matt Holliday experiences his worst season as a big leaguer, hitting just .245 with 14 home runs and 55 RBI in just 120 games. His performance is so bad he loses his starting left field job to outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty, who hits .290 with 8 home runs and 35 RBI in 55 games. The Cardinals lose the division to the Pirates on the last day of the season.
Holliday did have his worst season as a big leaguer, but he put up better stats than I projected, and he didn't lose his job either. The Pirates did compete for the division title but fell short.
Gerrit Cole is the right handed version of Clayton Kershaw, dominating the National League hitters, winning 16 games with a 2.50 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 215 innings, helping the Pirates win the NL Central.
Cole didn't come close to being the right-handed version of Clayton Kershaw, because, somehow, Kershaw got better.
Joey Votto finds his home run stroke, hitting .330 with 32 home runs and 114 RBI, finishing second in the NL MVP award race, but the Reds finish a distant third to the Pirates and Cardinals in the NL Central.
Votto actually had the worst season of his career, missing time due to a bad quad injury.and the Reds actually finished in fourth place, behind the Cardinals, Pirates and Brewers.
Wily Peralta has a breakout season on the mound, winning 14 games with a 3.25 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 187 innings of work.
Peralta did have a breakout season, winning 17 games, with a 3.53 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 198 innings.
Javier Baez is called up on April 20th after Starlin Castro goes down with another injury. Baez proceeds to win the National League Rookie of the Year award by hitting .275 with 28 home runs, 80 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 530 at bats.
Baez hit for power in his cup of coffee, but was abysmal at the plate, striking out a ton. There is a chance he starts the season in AAA if he continues to struggle in spring training.
Alexander Guerrero wrestles the second base job from Dee Gordon in May and ends up as a top 5 fantasy second baseman at the end of the season, hitting .285 with 19 home runs, 75 runs and 80 RBI.
Grade: Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon had a breakout season, and was an All Star, while Guerrero missed time after part of his ear was bitten off by AAA teammate Miguel Olivo.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is a huge bust, hitting just .265 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI, as his strikeout rate rises to over 27%. He ends the year outside the top 15 fantasy first baseman after being the #3 hitter off draft board in 2014.
Goldschmidt missed 50 games due to injury, but he was far from a bust.
Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton got all the offseason hype, but it's Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera who wins the National League stolen base title. Picking up where he left off last season before his suspension, ECab hits .283 with a .350 on base percentage and 65 stolen bases.
ECab was the not hitter we saw in 2013, stealing 18 bases in 90 games, and saw his batting average drop to .232.
Rockies pitching prospect Jonathan Gray makes his major league debut on May 1st. Gray makes 24 starts, winning 12 games with a 2.97 ERA and a 28% strikeout rate.
Gray struggled a bit in AA and didn't get a call up to the big league club.
Giants catcher Buster Posey disappoints Giants fans and fantasy owners, hitting just .260 with 10 home runs and 59 RBI. He fails to rebound from his horrible second half of 2013, causing some to wonder if playing catcher every day is affecting his performance at the plate.
Posey was one of the best fantasy catchers once again, and there has been talk of moving him off the catcher position and moving him to first base on a full time basis.
I fared better in my National League bold predictions than I did with my American League bold predictions, so maybe I should just focus on NL teams in 2015. Nah. That wouldn't be any fun.