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2018 Bold MLB Predictions: A midseason review (Pitchers)

Heath checks in on the Fake Teams bold pitcher predictions for 2018.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we scoped out the lads’ MLB predictions for hitters. Apparently hitters were far more popular when it came to predictions, as we only have a handful of pitcher predictions to cover. However, we also had a few team predictions, so we’ll review those as well.

I included the writer’s name so you know who the genius behind the pick is...or the idiot. Let’s do this.

1 Blake Snell finishes the season inside the Top 10 in strikeouts. (Mark Abell)

Snell is 11th in the Majors at this time, with 134 strikeouts so far. Health will play a factor here, as James Paxton (155 strikeouts) and Corey Kluber (132 strikeouts) are both dealing with minor ailments. If Snell can stay healthy he definitely has a chance at this, though the competition is certainly steep.

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 85%

2 Luiz Gohara will be a Top 5 pitcher in the NL East. (Eddy Almaguer)

Gohara’s season has been hit-or-miss due to injury and inconsistency, but this prediction was sound at heart. Consider the upstart Atlanta Braves and their young corps of pitching arms—obviously the situation was ripe for a breakout performance. Instead of Gohara, we are getting Folty and Newcomb, as well as solid looks at Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Let’s try this again next year, eh?

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 0%

3 Joe Musgrove has a sub-4.00 ERA this year. (Mark Abell)

Musgrove has logged a mere 53 innings this year, and until his last start against Milwaukee this prediction was looking legit. As is, Musgrove’s five runs allowed over that 7 23 innings raised him to a 4.08 ERA. Still, Musgrove’s 50 strikeouts against 16 walks is pretty solid, and PNC Park has curbed his home runs allowed, much like Mark predicted in March. His 2017 HR/9 was 1.48, but so far this year he has a 0.85 HR/9 mark. I’m liking Musgrove’s chances in the second half.

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 40%

4 Brad Boxberger saves 40 games as the Diamondbacks closer. (Heath Capps)

If you’ll remember, Boxberger was a bit of an afterthought in drafts since everyone was anointing Archie Bradley the closer. Not your boy, though. Me, I was into some Boxberger, and so far it looks solid. Here’s the transcript for some proof:

The Diamondbacks opt to keep Archie Bradley in the multiple-inning, high-leverage role, which means Boxberger gets all the ninth-inning love. No stranger to the job (Boxberger topped the AL in saves in 2015), Boxberger runs away with the gig and we get to ride his cheap ADP to fantasy glory. Alongside the humidor and all that elite starting pitching, Boxberger racks up the saves in 2018. Snag him in the bleary-eyed rounds of your draft and laugh all the way to victory.

That’s what I’m talking about, Boxberger!

With 24 saves already in his pocket, Boxberger is on the downswing of this prediction. 40 saves is a large mark, though, so I’ll temper the percentage slightly.

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 78%

5 Atlanta finishes in the top three in stolen bases this year. (Mark Abell)

The Braves finished 18th in 2017, but the additions of Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies were expected to be a significant boost to this category. Unfortunately, Acuna spent time at Triple-A and missed time with a groin injury, while Albies has been a power threat instead of a basethief. Acuna’s two stolen bases and Albies’ nine swipes are both disappointments, but the Braves are up to 11th this year with 51 stolen bases at the break. Ender Inciarte’s 23 steals are literally carrying the team, but outside of a speedy free agent acquisition I don’t see the Braves finishing inside the top three. That said, a healthy and running Acuna could move Atlanta all the way up to sixth or so, as the gap between the No. 6 Rays and No. 11 Braves is only nine stolen bases. We shall see.

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 10%

6 The Milwaukee Brewers finish in the Top 12 in batting average. (Mark Abell)

Adding Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain was the impetus for this prediction, no doubt. Unfortunately the Brew Crew rank 15th in batting average at .245, alongside the Tigers. Travis Shaw (.245), Ryan Braun (.238), Orlando Arcia (.197), Hernan Perez (.248), and Manny Pina (.227) have logged the most at-bats with the lowest batting averages for Milwaukee. Perhaps the Brewers will do something before the deadline to address this area of need, either directly or indirectly.

In order to meet this prediction, the Brewers would need to rise to a .250 batting average. I don’t think it’s out of the question if they continue to try to address the middle infield positions. We shall see.

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 49%

7 Last year the Cincinnati Reds had no pitchers reach at least 10 wins. This year, two of their pitchers will reach double-digit wins. (Mark Abell)

Mark touted Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani as the most likely candidates. Even Tyler Mahle got a mention. Good stuff too, as Mahle’s seven wins are the most on the Reds roster so far. Trade candidate Matt Harvey (5 wins) and Luis Castillo (5 wins) are next on the team, as well as Sal Romano (5 wins). Weird, today I Iearned that Romano has as many wins as Harvey and Castillo. Anyway, seems to me that if Mahle can eek out three more wins, we are mainly dependent on Luis Castillo to get us over the hump (since Harvey may not be a Red and we really aren’t trusting Romano). I’m down with this prediction.

Extremely Mathematical and Very Scientific Probability of coming true: 51%

And that’s it for the pitcher/team version of bold predictions. I’m making a mental note to beat more pitcher predictions out of the staff next year. Big shouts to Mark for the team predictions, too. Those were neat.