It's in the fantasy baseball writer's unwritten rules that if you write 10 bold predictions, you must review your horrible, no good picks after the season concludes. I couldn't resist the temptation to make foolish predictions, too, so here I am to review just how stupid I am or was.
1. Ian Kinsler finishes as the No. 1 second baseman.
Not a bad start. Even though Kinsler finished fourth at the keystone, according to the ESPN Player Rater, he made good in a bounce-back season, while also making the Rangers look even dumber for taking on Prince Fielder's contract. It took him until Game 162, but Kinsler hit the 100-run plateau while adding 17 home runs, 92 RBIs and 15 steals -- all with a solid .275 BA. I bought into Robinson Cano's fantasy decline in Seattle, and I stayed far away from Jason Kipnis. Of course, I didn't see Jose Altuve coming. But he's just so gosh darn small, can you blame me?
My preseason prediction for Kinsler:
Batting leadoff in a strong Tigers' lineup, 100-plus runs are attainable. He's only three years removed from 32 long balls, and I wouldn't put it past Detroit's new keystone to approach 25 home runs with 15-20 steals.
So, yeah, I was well off on the home runs, but everything else was pretty close.
Yay or Nay? Nay (0 for 1)
2. Junior Lake outperforms Khris Davis.
Hey, look! It's another stupid Cubs prediction. This was more about me not believing in Krush than being a fan of Lake. Still, Davis clearly was the superior fantasy play. The Brewers outfielder finished as a top-100 bat (and top-50 OF), but was inconsistent and finished with a .244 BA and 22 home runs. He hit only .239 against right-handed pitchers, however, and was pretty much what I thought he would be: a player who strikes out often and hits the occasional home run. Davis really tailed off in the second half, hitting .229 with seven home runs in 56 games. I'm not any more optimistic on Davis after seeing a full season.
Yay or Nay? Nay (0 for 2)
3. Fernando Rodney and John Axford combine for 70 saves.
I bought into Axford's strong finish to 2013, but once he left St. Louis I guess his throwing ability did, too. Never again. Rodney was just fine, however, never coming close to losing his gig in Seattle. He finished with a league-leading 48 saves and a sub-3.00 ERA, but his 1.34 WHIP dragged him down among the ranks of closers. Axford finished with 10 handshakes, so I was only 12 saves away.
Yay or Nay? Nay (0 for 3)
4. Wilson Ramos hits more home runs than Brian McCann.
When McCann signed with the Yankees, the love for the former Brave was deafening. The short porch made people say crazy things, like how McCann would absolutely hit 30 bombs in pinstripes. Well, he finished with 23 home runs -- one short of his career high -- in 140 games while hitting a career-worst .231. Ramos, however, only hit 11 taters and couldn't stay on the field (88 games). I remain confident that a full season of Ramos would bring 25ish home runs, but it's becoming harder and harder to see it happening. A strong showing in the postseason could really balloon his 2015 stock.
Yay or Nay? Nay (0 for 4)
5. Justin Morneau outperforms Brandon Belt.
This was perhaps the bold prediction I felt most confident in, and Morneau came through. Yes, Brandon Belt was injured most of the year, but I don't think he would have caught up to Morneau's fantastic year in Coors. He finished just outside the top-12 at first base with a .319 BA, 17 home runs, 62 runs and 82 RBIs. Belt, meanwhile, labored his way to .243 and 12 homers. Belt was overhyped, but he'll at least be a good value pick for next year.
Yay or Nay? Yay! (1 for 5)
6. Carlos Gomez goes 25/40 and scores 100 runs.
Gomez was a constant on my fake teams, but fell just short of my lofty expectations. The Brewers outfielder belted 23 home runs and added 34 steals and 95 runs while matching last year's total of 73 RBIs. It was another awesome year from Gomez, who finished No. 4 in the outfield. I think it's safe to say now: Gomez is for real.
Yay or Nay? Almost yay, but a nay (1 for 6)
7. Mike Olt outperforms Nick Castellanos.
Ha! A Cubs fan can dream, can't he? Next year, I'll have real Cubs prospects to make bold predictions on. As far as Castellanos goes, I was mildly disappointed. I expected much more in the batting average department (.259 BA), and his plate discipline in his rookie year wasn't encouraging (140 strikeouts and 36 walks in 148 games). Still, he's a rookie, and I have high hopes for him going forward. He'll never mash it like Miggy, but Castellanos still has appeal in long-term formats.
Yay or Nay? So much nay (1 for 7)
8. Homer Bailey is the NL Central's best starting pitcher.
Ugh. I jumped on the Bailey train a year too late. He just couldn't find any consistency, finishing with a 3.71 ERA across 23 starts. That doesn't mean I won't take a chance on a discounted Bailey in 2015. His control wasn't as sharp and his strikeouts were down, but it's not like he was horrible. Bailey finished with a 3.53 xFIP and 3.60 SIERA. Next year, look for Bailey to find a middle ground between his 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Yay or Nay? Nay (1 for 8)
9. Alexei Ramirez finishes outside the top-20 shortstops.
ALEXEI!!! finished the year as the No. 4 shortstop, doing it all with a .273 BA, 82 runs, 15 home runs, 74 RBIs and 21 steals. I didn't expect the 33-year-old to keep running, nor did I his power returning to the mid-teens level. I was just flat out wrong on this one and didn't give Ramirez enough respect.
Yay or Nay? Nay (1 for 9)
10. Matt Adams outperforms Matt Holliday.
I really thought this one would come true, but a strong second-half push from Holliday put him over the top. The veteran outfielder finished with 20 home runs for the ninth straight season, belting 14 in the second half. He also added 83 runs and 90 RBIs. Adams finished with a batter batting average (.288 to .272), but that was about it. With Allen Craig struggling, Adams found 563 plate appearances, but simply didn't do enough with them. He hit 15 long balls (compared to 17 in 34 fewer games in 2013), and struggled down the stretch. After hitting .329 and 11 home runs in the first half, the husky first baseman batted .235 with four home runs after the All-Star break. It will be interesting to see how Mike Matheny uses Adams next year, considering he only hit .190 against southpaws.
Yay or Nay? Nay (1 for 10)
So there you have it. I converted one bold prediction out of 10, which is one worse than my showing in 2013. But you better believe I'll be back next year, foot in mouth.