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Midseason Review of My Bold Predictions

Herein I evaluate my 10 preseason bold predictions. Spoiler alert: I got some way wrong!

Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks
This guy is one of my rare bold prediction wins so far this year.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Since we are at the traditional midpoint of the season (a little bit past the actual midpoint), it seems like an appropriate and cliche time to review my preseason bold predictions. Some of these are already lost causes, but I’m actually in better shape than last year at the midpoint. Let’s laugh, cry, complain, justify, defend, and make fun of my predictions together!

1. Neither Drew Smyly or Adam Wainwright throw more than 100 innings this season

Well, Smyly’s at 100.1 and Waino is at 110.1 so this one is already over. I’m still worried about their health in the second half and both have performance issues this year, so maybe they are playing through injuries or just not as good as they used to be. Either way, neither is worth much in mixed leagues this year. I have to mark this one in the loss column.

2. Carlos Correa will not finish as the #1 fantasy SS

Going into the season, I think this was fairly bold given what Correa did last year. It is looking pretty good at this point. Correa could explode in the second half, but it would have to be Trout-like to get him to #1 on ESPN’s player rater. He sits at #11! right now. The top 10 of the player rater is full of surprises: Ian Desmond sits at 1, Jonathan Villar at 2, Eduardo Nunez is 4, Jean Segura is 7, Aledmys Diaz and Trevor Story sit at 8 and 9. No one saw most of those guys coming and no one would have put them ahead of Correa in the preseason. In fact, only Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Corey Seager are in the top 10 right now after being on preseason top 10 SS lists. This one has a good chance of being right.

3. Jake Lamb will finish as a top 10 3B

I liked the changes Lamb made in the spring and it has translated very well to the summer. Perhaps I should have been bolder here and pushed him into the top 5. He is currently at #7 on the player rater, so barring an extended slump or injury, this is likely another one for the win column. I fully expect the power to come down a little, since he’s currently on pace for roughly 37 homers and he’s more of a 25-30 HR guy and he won’t finish with an absurd 0.317 ISO. That being said, this is a real breakout and he should be a good option in dynasty leagues for future seasons as well.

4. Tony Zych gets more than 10 saves

Injury derailed his chances before they even started. He had such promise. His 12 innings this year continued what he started last year. Edwin Diaz has taken his spot as the Mariners’ flame throwing reliever with great stuff that could move up in the ‘pen. Steve Cishek has been good enough to hold the job, so I don’t expect Diaz to get the job this year, but maybe next year. Zych will have a long road back from his shoulder injury next year.

5. Tyler White gets more than 400 ABs

This one was looking really good in April, when White was dominating the competition. He hit 0.298/0.369/0.632 from April 5 to April 22. That included 5 homers and 12 RBI. Since April 22, he hit 0.165/0.258/0.257 and was demoted on June 17. With AJ Reed’s promotion, the acquisition of Yulieski Gurriel, and the return of Evan Gattis (who was hurt in April), there is little to no chance we see White again this year until September, when he will hang around the bench. It was a great ride, but unfortunately, he returned to being a AAAA player. He made it to 166 ABs.

6. Ketel Marte is a top 10 SS

This one is just as doomed as the last one. He is currently sitting at #27 with the likes of Sean Rodriguez (who qualifies at short on ESPN), Alcides Escobar, and Troy Tulowitzki (!?). He missed time due to a thumb injury and is currently nursing a bum ankle. When he was healthy, he refused to take walks, limiting his chances for runs and steals. When combined with a mediocre 0.273 average, there just aren’t enough opportunities for him to take advantage of his skills. I was counting on a strong walk rate near 10% like last year to propel him into the top 10 by helping him get to 25+ steals. No chance on this one.

7. Byron Buxton finishes outside the top 50 outfielders

I think this guy will still be a great fantasy asset someday, but not this year. He is still overmatched against MLB pitching, despite dominating AAA pitching. His 0.209/0.255/0.359 line is one of the worst in baseball among non-pitchers. A 37% strikeout rate isn’t helping. He still might be the fastest player in baseball, but this 22-year-old isn’t quite ready to be usable in fantasy. For the record, he is #143 among OF on ESPN.

8. Byung Ho Park finishes outside the top 200 hitters

I had huge reservations about him when the Twins signed him. The recent successes of Korean and Cuban imports inflated his hype to the point where it wasn’t reasonable. He does possess power, but his contact skills aren’t very good. He should have been viewed more as Chris Carter than Jose Abreu (the good version). He’s now quarantined in AAA after his 79 wRC+ got him demoted. He will now have to compete with Kennys Vargas for ABs in Minnesota, whenever he gets back up to MLB. Since he is currently listed at #264 on the player rater among hitters, this one is also in good shape.

9. Carlos Carrasco is a top 5 starting pitcher

I fell in love with Carrasco’s elite peripherals last season (2.66 xFIP, for one) and thought he could make the leap to the best of the best this year. Unfortunately, his strikeouts have taken a big step back, making him just a good starter. His 2.49 ERA would put him with the best in baseball, but it is not supported by his FIP (4.12) or xFIP (3.6). His SwStr% is also down, although still very good. This version of him is just a top-30-ish pitcher. Lo and behold, he’s at #34 on the player rater. I don’t see this one happening. Maybe next year?

10. Taijuan Walker finishes outside the top 50 starting pitchers

Despite some injury issues, Walker has actually pitched pretty well this year. He’s had major home run issues, leading to a 4.77 FIP, but his strikeout and walk rates have been very good, keeping his ERA and xFIP under 4. His swinging strike rate is just above average for a starter, and with his velocity, there is still a lot to like. If he can get his home runs under control, he could keep his ERA in the 3.7 range. Since he is at #57 right now, he could easily crack the top 50 if he can get his foot healthy soon. This one is still up for grabs.

Final tally: four with great chances of being right, one with a decent chance, and then five wrong predictions. The fact that I even have a shot at batting 0.500 is remarkable. I don’t know if I will do this well again.

Unfortunately for me, I took my own advice on four of the wrong ones and only one of the right ones. I own Byron Buxton (dynasty), Tyler White (dropped), Carlos Carrasco, and Jake Lamb on my teams this year. Only Lamb has been a nice surprise. At least Carrasco has been pretty good, but not at the level I was hoping for. We’ll take another look at these at the end of the year, but it looks like only one or two will change. Tschus!