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10 Bold MLB Predictions: End of Season Review


Now that we’ve reached the end of another fantasy season, it’s time to look back on my bold predictions from March and see how they panned out.

 

The Bold Predictions

Joey Votto is a top five first baseman.

Success! Votto bounced back in a big way from an injury-marred 2014, riding a huge second half to finish comfortably inside the top five at his position. Though he didn’t post a big RBI total, he hit for average and power, walked a ton, and scored a lot of runs. In other words, he had a typical Votto season. The double-digit steals were an unexpected bonus. 1 for 1.

 

Jose Altuve finishes outside the top 10…at second base.

My skepticism of Altuve’s breakout last season proved to be ill-founded, as he was arguably the No. 1 option at the keystone for the second straight year. His numbers were down across the board with the exception of homers, but that didn’t matter. If only I hadn’t chickened out on making this prediction for Robinson Cano. 1 for 2.

 

Jung-ho Kang hits 25 home runs.

Kang only managed four homers before the break, so despite 11 dingers and a fantastic .913 OPS in the second half, he fell well short of this mark. His rookie year was certainly a success, however, as he produced a .287/.355/.461 line and played solid defense at both third base and shortstop. The resurgent Pirates have themselves yet another bargain, and fantasy owners who took a flier on the Korean import have to be pleased with his output. Hopefully the MCL tear he suffered won’t have any lingering effects.  1 for 3.

 

Arismendy Alcantara produces more value than Javier Baez.

Neither player was much of a factor as they both spent most of the season in the minors, but Baez’s cup of coffee was more useful than Alcantara’s. I remain bearish on Baez long-term. 1 for 4.

 

Travis d’Arnaud is a top five catcher.

TDA was excellent when healthy, posting a .268/.340/.485 line with 12 homers and 72 R+RBI in his 66 games. Of course, that’s been the rub for him since his days as a prospect. His fragility raises serious questions about his long-term viability behind the plate, but d'Arnaud is a talented enough hitter to retain value if the Mets decide to move him elsewhere and give Kevin Plawecki the starting catcher gig. 1 for 5.

 

George Springer will have a 30/30 season.

Foiled again by injury here. Springer was close to a 30/30 pace before suffering a nasty wrist fracture that kept him out for over two months. He’s now missed significant time in each of his first two MLB seasons. This was the third straight season that no player reached the 30/30 mark. If he can avoid the disabled list in 2016, Springer remains a good bet to break that streak. 1 for 6.

 

Bryce Harper is the best player in the National League.

Nailed this one. Harper finally tapped into his tantalizing potential and posted one of the best offensive seasons in baseball history at the tender age of 22. Harper hit an ungodly .330/.460/.649 with 42 homers, 99 RBI, and 118 runs. He was one of the few Nationals players who didn't underachieve this season. His reward? Being choked in the dugout by Jonathan Papelbon - and maybe the MVP award. 2 for 7.

 

Julio Teheran finishes outside the top 60 starting pitchers.

Another hit. Teheran took a big step back in 2015, allowing more walks, homers, and hard contact despite gaining back a bit of the velocity he’d lost over the past couple of years. 3 for 8.

 

Taijuan Walker is a top 30 SP.

Walker was too inconsistent and too homer-prone to make a winner out of this prediction. That said, he occasionally looked dominant and made huge strides in both K% and BB% as the year wore on. Considering that he only just turned 23, Walker enters 2016 as a prime breakout candidate. 3 for 9.

 

Brad Boxberger nets more saves than Trevor Rosenthal, Huston Street, and Zach Britton…combined.

This one was always a long shot. I was betting on four discrete outcomes here: Boxberger would be the Rays’ closer all year, and the other three would lose their jobs fairly early on in the season. Street’s injury history, Rosenthal’s control issues, and Britton’s underwhelming peripherals were what led me to select them as potential candidates for removal from the ninth. None of those things ended up being a problem (though Street did suffer an injury in September that ended his season). Boxberger was one of just five pitchers to close out 40 games, but Rosenthal and Street were two of the others and Britton notched 36 of his own.  3 for 10.

30 percent is a pretty solid conversion rate, especially since a couple of the others weren’t all that far afield. The most spectacular misses were, not surprisingly, the most audacious predictions. Perhaps next season’s forecasts should be even bolder.

 

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