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Reviewing JB's 2017 Bold Predictions

What’s even more fun than making bold predictions? Looking back at the end of the season to see how good (or so, so hilariously bad) they were.

As Michael Scott once said, "It takes a big man to admit his mistakes, and I am that big man."

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 JB's Rowdy (Bold) Predictions for 2017

1. Buster Posey has his best fantasy season since winning MVP in 2012, and hits 25 HR for first time in his career 

"In 2012, Buster Posey won the MVP award after hitting 24 HR and 103 RBI with a .336 BA. In 2016, he hit 14 HR and 80 RBI with a .288 BA. What was the difference? Not that much actually. He's still got the same great plate discipline, similar batted ball statistics, and now is even hitting the ball harder than ever. The one difference you can see is the percentage of his fly balls landing over the fence."

Well, Posey wasn't a bust this season, but this prediction was way off. His wRC+ and WAR increased from 2016 but they were minuscule and the Giants offense as a whole was a major disappointment which dropped his R and RBI totals. As for the HR.... he failed to reach half of 25. He belted a weak 12 dongs despite increasing his FB% and still maintaining a decent 32.7 Hard%. His .141 ISO is his lowest full season total of his career. It looks like the power is legitimately gone at this point in his impressive career. He did swipe six bases for the second year in a row though.


2. Justin Bour hits over 30 HR 

"His 21.4 PA/HR ratio was right up there with Anthony Rizzo, who hit 32 bombs in 2016. Based on his .258 first half ISO, there is no reason Bour can not belt 30 bombs in a full healthy season."

So close, but injury once again kept Bour from eclipsing the 30 HR mark. An oblique injury marred his second half of 2017 much like the ankle injury did in 2016. But he was well on his way to 30 bombs, hitting 25 in 420 AB, and managed an impressive .251 ISO and 82 RBI. He will once again be a great sleeper pick in 2018 fantasy drafts if he manages to slide under the radar. He will remain healthy for a full season eventually...


3. Jose Ramirez finishes the season as a top-seven fantasy Third Baseman 

"That pop mixed with his good speed makes him a double machine and will ensure the BA stays north of .300. He owned the fifth best strikeout rate and was top ten in contact percentage. He doesn't experience bad matchups, thanks to his ability to mash from both sides of the plate (.841 OPS vs LHP, .818 OPS vs RHP)."

I was JRam's biggest fan this off-season, and was thrilled to see the success from 2016 continue this year. His power exploded, more than doubling his 11 HR mark from last season, swatting 29 dongs. He scored 107 R, stole 17 bases, and hit .318. My prediction was selling the man short, as he finished the season as the 13th overall player in fantasy and the SECOND third baseman, trailing only Nolan Arenado. He was also third in WAR and second in wRC+ at the hot corner.


4. Trevor Story hits more HR than any other player not named Chris Davis 

"In 415 PA he smacked 27 HR, owning the second highest ISO and third highest SLG among all players with at least 400 PA. He hits a ton of fly balls, as evident by the third lowest GB/FB ratio in the league, and he hits them very, very hard. His 44.9 hard hit percentage also ranked second among hitters with 400 PA." 

I will now don the Cone of Shame. Both parts of this prediction....just putrid. In a season with more HR than any other in the history of the sport, players everywhere were setting personal bests in the HR category. But not these two! In 145 games Story hit fewer HR than he did in 97 as a rookie last year. I grossly underestimated the effects of his poor plate discipline, and his K% got even worse, rising to 34% in 2017. Only two other hitters had higher K% than Story, and Crush Davis was one of them. Let's move on PLEASE.


5. Andrew Benintendi wins A.L. ROY in a landslide, and finishes top 75 in fantasy

"We are looking at 15/15 potential, with an average that will play in any fantasy lineup......Aaron Judge or the plethora of options on the White Sox won't even come close in ROY voting, and Benintendi will see enough PA against southpaws to eclipse 100 R and 75 RBI in that high octane Beantown offense."

Benintendi is still my favorite player in baseball, and he had a spectacular season, but I have to apologize to Aaron Judge first off. In a normal season Benny Biceps probably would have won the AL ROY. He was the first rookie since Mike Trout in 2012 to have a 20/20 season, scored 84 R and knocked in 90 RBI. And for what it's worth, he finished the season as the 53rd ranked player in fantasy. So I got half of this right. But what Aaron Judge did is truly remarkable, and not only will he win ROY easily, he is also a serious threat to win the AL MVP award.


6. Stephen Strasburg doesn't go on the Disabled List..... and finishes the season as the second ranked starting pitcher

"In the past two years we have seen two halves of fully healthy Strasburg. For the second half of 2015, he earned a 1.90 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, and a 12.48 K/9. For the first half of 2016, he earned a 2.62 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and a 11.14 K/9. As you can see, when he is firing on all cylinders, Stras is one of the best in the game." 

Damn it Stras, so close! Of course right as I think the injury bug has finally alluded Strasburg, he scared the hell out of all of us after being placed on the DL twice with discomfort and tightness in his elbow. Thankfully it was just a nerve impingement and he was able to come back and finish exactly as I thought he would. In his last 10 starts, he went 6-1 with a 0.86 ERA. Strasburg finished 2017 with 15 wins, 2.52 ERA, and 204 K in just 175 IP. He finishes as the #5 SP in fantasy.


7. Jose Bautista is a Top 10 Outfielder and wins Comeback Player of the Year 

"He is 36 years old and struggled with two injuries last season, one to his toe and the other to his knee, leading to only 22 HR. But this is a guy that is one year removed from a 108-40-114 campaign, and he looks like he's in the best shape of his life." 

I am not even going to dignify this prediction with an excuse or reason. He hit .203 with 23 HR. He posted career low values against fastballs and sliders, as father time caught up to his bat-speed and eyes at the plate, and pitchers exploited it. Hell of a career Joey Bats, it has been a pleasure.


8. Marcus Stroman finally breaks out, finishes the season with the lowest ERA among American League Starting Pitchers 

"In 2016 Stroman suffered some awful luck. He pitched the 11th most innings in baseball, and out of the top 16 in IP only David Price had a higher BABIP. Out of the top 20, Stroman owned the lowest left on base percentage. Those both hurt, but they were actually right on par with his 2014 season. But out of the top 30, Stroman also owned the highest HR/FB%. This is the major blip on my radar. His 16.5 HR/FB% was ten points higher than in 2014. But even though he gave up far more long balls, he managed to increase his O-Swing% and SwStr%, while lowering his Cont% from the previous two years."

Out of the bad luck stats, only his LOB% improved this year, and his ERA went from 4.37 in 2016 all the way down to 3.09 in 2017. He obviously did not beat out Corey Kluber and Chris Sale for the lowest ERA in the AL. But Stro did finish fourth behind the two aces and Luis Severino. So this is somewhat of a moral victory for me, and I believe Stroman takes even one more big step forward in the future.


9. Sam Travis plays a large role for the Red Sox down the stretch, and hits over .300 

"Last year it was Andrew Benintendi who I made the bold prediction about, saying he would be in the starting lineup for the Red Sox in the playoffs. Nailed it. This year it will be Sam Travis." 

Yeah, my love for Travis blinded me. He's a good player, and I still think will be a great all-around hitter down the road. But it was Devers who stole the show this year, and I didn't see that happening until 2018. For what it's worth, I'll go ahead and say next year there will be the same prediction in my list for the third year in a row, but this time involving Michael Chavis. Get ready!


10. Kyle Barraclough, Nate Jones, Carter Capps, Matt Bush, and Cam Bedrosian all finish with more saves than the teams' current "Closers" 

I've had a flawless track record with predicting bullpen madness, until this year. Bear Claw had multiple chances to take over the reigns, but has less control than a fat kid in a free candy store. Nate Jones only pitched 11 innings due to injury. Matt Bush pitched great all season, then took over the closer role for Sam Dyson and imploded. Carter Capps' recovery took much longer than I anticipated and he was limited to only 12 innings, and is now undergoing yet another surgery. Cam Bedrock was cruising early, then went on the DL and allowed old man Bud Norris to take the job.

It's pretty rare to make five bold predictions inside one bold prediction and fail miserably on all five. But I'm a pretty rare dude.


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