With the playoffs in full swing and another fantasy baseball season in the books, everyone here at Fake Teams has been reviewing their bold predictions from the preseason. Today, it’s my turn. Try not to laugh at how awful some of these look now. Or laugh, that’s ok. It turns out I did get some right, though.
Here is my original post from March. I’m just going to go through each prediction one at a time and check the score. I checked in back in July to see where I was at as well. I rely on the ESPN player rater (5x5) for player rankings for simplicity.
1. Greg Holland finishes as a top 10 closer
Holland was not a clear closer coming into the season, but he racked up 41 saves for a surprising Rockies team. He was dominant for the first few months, but struggled in August and September. He was 4th among closers (non-closing relievers removed from the RP ranks) at the All-Star break, but ended up at number 10. He just barely made me look smart for betting on him.
This is a win.
2. Jose Abreu finishes outside the top 12 at first base
I thought Jose Abreu showed some disturbing trends last year that would carry over into this year, leading to a disappointing season. It turns out I was wrong. He finished at #4 and made me look stupid for betting against him. I thought an awful lineup around him would hurt his numbers, but it didn’t. Oh well.
One for the loss column.
3. Jose Berrios is the most valuable Twins pitcher
I did not expect Ervin Santana to pitch like an ace (in terms of innings and ERA, at least) this year and expected growth from Berrios. Jose did get better this year, but Santana was simply too successful. Big Erv finished with a score of 8.23, way ahead of Berrios at 4.89. Jose was at least second, so that’s something.
4. Greg Bird finishes as a top 10 first baseman
An injury-marred season led to disappointment here. If he had been fully healthy all year, maybe he would have had a chance. Travis Shaw finished at #9, while an injured Freddie Freeman finished #10, so Bird could have been there. Sigh. Bird ended at 74.
Yet another loss.
5. Logan Forsythe finishes ahead of Jose Peraza, Jonathan Schoop, and Ben Zobrist on ESPN’s second base player rater
Forsythe’s injuries doomed this one all year. That, and Schoop suddenly being a talented second baseman. Schoop finished at #9 at his position, well ahead of Forsythe at 63. FYI, Peraza was 35 and Zobrist was 54. So Forsythe was clearly the worst of the group. Ouch.
Losses are piling up now.
6. Yoan Moncada disappoints and finishes behind Pablo Sandoval, Travis Shaw, and Danny Valencia on ESPN’s player rater at third base
At first, I thought, “wow this was a stupid one”, but it’s actually closer than you think. This prediction was based on Moncada’s lack of contact skills and the expectation that he wouldn’t debut until late in the season. Shaw did finish 5th, so that’s nice. Valencia finished at 42. Sandoval, of course, was awful and finished at 74. Moncada finished at...drumroll...66. I got two of the three right and Sandoval actually wasn’t that far behind Moncada. Moncada still has a fairly bright future ahead, but he comes with Byron Buxton level risk. Man, I should have stopped at Valencia and not included Pablo. I was so close.
A very close loss.
7. Justin Upton finishes outside the top 35 outfielders
This was just a bet on Upton’s history of long slumps finally hurting his season-long numbers and not just his first half stats. Unfortunately, he put up an excellent season, one of his best, and finished as the 11th best outfielder. This one looks terrible. I won’t make this mistake next year. He remains a solid option at the position with a great track record.
8. Jake Arrieta doesn’t bounce back and finishes outside the top 30 starting pitchers
Arrieta showed real control issues last year and that led me to believe that he would continue to struggle this year. He actually did improve on last year’s walk rate and put up a solid 3.53 ERA. His K%-BB% was a strong 15.3% as well. In short, he was an above average starter in 2017. He wasn’t elite, but he was ownable in all leagues. Where did he finish? Number 25. So close to falling outside the top 30.
I’m not doing so well this year.
9. Aaron Nola finishes as a top 15 starting pitcher
A month-long DL stint really torpedoed any chance of this happening. He was excellent once again and remains one of my favorite young pitchers. He had a 3.38 xFIP in 168 innings and a K%-BB% of 19.5%, good for 16th best in baseball among starters. I might use this prediction again next year. For this season however, he finished a disappointing 26th.
Is this over yet?
10. Jonathan Villar finishes outside the top 10 shortstops
Without a previous history of real power or crazy speed, I expected a whole lot of regression from Villar in 2017. Plus, he wasn’t going to maintain a 0.373 BABIP again. I was right about the regression. He ended up with only 11 HR and 23 steals. He was hurt by a 30% K% and a big drop in walk rate. He also played in only 122 games after suiting up for 156 in 2016. All-in-all, I feel pretty good about this one. Let’s check the Player Rater: 29th! Yes! I got another one right!
One last one for the win column
Let’s go to the scoreboard. Mo!
pausing for fellow Millenials to get my reference
hint: Mo is a British woman in a referee shirt. Check out this interesting 2013 podcast to learn more about her.
2 out of 10. This might be my worst season yet.
I could be generous and give myself credit for number 6 since I got two out of three, but I’ll be harsh and accept my dismal fate. Maybe next time will go better! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the season and check out the amazing real baseball playoff games as much as you can. Tschus!