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Reviewing Pierre Camus' Bold Predictions for 2017 MLB

Never have I looked forward to writing a season recap so much. I didn't do as well in my fantasy leagues this year, mainly due to lack of time attending to my lineups. Nor did half of these predictions come close to coming true. Sometimes it just takes one thing to make it all worthwhile.

I'll recap each of my preseason 2017 MLB predictions for fantasy baseball and, as usual, I'll save the best for last. This time, I'll just spoil it straight away. 59 HR - I NAILED IT!!!

To add a little extra sweetener to the sugary goodness of my homer pick gone right, I'll include some grandiose gifs and highlights of Mr. Stanton's prolific 2017 season for a little extra emphasis. Enjoy - I know I will!

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Reviewing Pierre's Bold Picks from 2017

1. Jake Arrieta takes home another Cy Young award.

Technically, I was half-right on this one! The first half made it look like Arrieta was done as an ace and maybe even as a starter for the defending World Champs. He pitched to a 4.35 ERA and failed to get out of the fifth inning in five different starts. Being a true competitor, he turned things around after the All-Star break. Once July hit, Arrieta wouldn't allow more than three earned runs in a start the rest of the way and posted a 2.28 second-half ERA. Clearly, his final numbers didn't end up as good as last year's and he was far from Cy Young candidacy, but he showed he still has something left in the tank.

2. The best fantasy player on Milwaukee will be Keon Broxton.

Did I say Keon Broxton? I meant Domingo Santana! Broxton's nickname should be Two Face, because he showed multiple batting profile personalities throughout the season. He started off as poorly as you could imagine, batting .191 with just one homer and 31 K in 68 at-bats in April. The next two months, things turned around with a .267 average, 12 HR, 29 RBI, and 34 R. Then there was July... oh July. Three hits in 15 games (45 AB). After a brief demotion, he came back, raked again for a while and then sucked in September. Bottom line, although he finished with a 20/20 season and scored a fair amount of runs, he batted .220 and was a nightmare to figure out for weekly lineups. Even if Ryan Braun isn't around next year, the Brew Crew has Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips waiting in the wings to take over. Broxton will need to show serious improvement in plate discipline if he wants to be a starter in that outfield.

3. Danny Duffy strikes out more batters than Chris Sale.

When I made this prediction, I had just finished writing up my article on "Predicting the Top 10 Finishers in Strikeouts" and maybe got a little overzealous. I didn't know how Sale would take to Fenway and the AL East in particular. Pretty good, I guess. Sale very well could be the AL Cy Young winner this season. As far as strikeouts, nobody surpassed him or even came close. Sale was the only pitcher in the majors to break 300 K (308) and finished 43 strikeouts ahead of his closest competitor for the Cy Young, Corey Kluber. Duffy spent some time on the DL, which naturally affected his K totals, but his strikeout rate actually fell this year from 25.7% to 21.4%, or 9.4 K/9 to 8.0 K/9. He's still a fine pitcher and solid mid-rotation fantasy arm when healthy, but he's just not a dominant ace on the mound.

4. Andrew McCutchen will be a top-10 fantasy outfielder.

Now we're talking! I was a bit skeptical of my own pick at the time, but all the peripherals suggested Cutch had the tools to be a fantasy stud still. Much like Arrieta, the first half was not kind and some fantasy owners were outright dropping him! He taught us all not to underestimate the heart of a champion! Yes, I know he's never technically won a championship, but you get the gist.

Cutch went crazy in June, as the switch certainly flipped for him. He won Player of the Month honors by hitting .411, driving in 23 runs, and posting a 17:12 BB:K. He kept the Bucs in the playoff hunt for a while, until the rest of the star-studded outfield fell flat in the second half. It's hard to say what next year will hold for him, but I'd like to think the Pirates know better than to dangle him in trade talks again.

5. Welington Castillo will be a top-five fantasy catcher.

Technically, this was correct as well. If you look at the total numbers, Castillo falls just outside the top 10 fantasy rankings for catchers. But that can largely be attributed to DL stints and the fact he was limited to 341 at-bats. In terms of average production for catchers who played at least half the season, Castillo was eighth overall. He slashed .282/20/53 in just over half a season's worth of playing time. If you paired him up with another decent backstop to fill in those injured periods, you should have easily gotten top-five production from the catcher position.

6. Zack Greinke falls off the map completely and out of the top 40 SP.

Dead wrong. It appears 2016 wasn't the start of a trend, but rather an outlier in a tremendous career. Ageism may have played a part in this, but I wasn't alone in thinking Greinke was on the way to a continued decline. In 2016, his K/BB dipped to 3.7, his WHIP jumped to 1.27 and his ERA to 4.37. Arizona's Chase Field is not the easiest place to pitch either. But Greinke proved us all wrong and enjoyed a Justin Verlander-esque resurgence at the age of 33. It's safe to say he'll be an SP1 going forward.

7. Eugenio Suarez outperforms Javier Baez. By a lot.

Half-right again. This one comes down to ADP value and by that count, Suarez was the better pick by far. I'm still surprised people were taking Baez so much earlier in fantasy drafts when Suarez was barely even drafted in 12-team leagues and produced even more in the power department. Suarez was one of the hottest third baseman in the season's first month and became a waiver wire wonder for a short while. Although he did taper off, he finished with a .260/26/82 season, which makes him a starter in all but the shallowest of leagues. Baez, on the other hand, finished .273/20/73 after a huge August boon. In the first half of the year, Suarez did outperform Baez by a decent amount. In the second half, they were practically even. Although the end results were similar, Suarez wound up being the far better draft-day value.

8. The Rockies will make the playoffs.

This one was easy for me. The Rockies put together a formidable bullpen, had a young stable of hard-throwing starters and already possessed one of the best lineups in the game. They faltered a bit down the stretch, but still managed to clinch a wild card spot. I explained the fantasy significance of this by advising readers to invest in Jon Gray and the bullpen, since drafting pitchers in Colorado is typically seen as counterproductive. Talent supersedes circumstances.

9. The Red Sox won't make the playoffs.

I have a much greater appreciation for the job John Farrell did this year. Although Terry Francona likely will and should win Manager of the Year, Farrell deserves to be the runner-up. Without David Price for much of the year and some struggling offensive stars in his lineup, Farrell still guided his club to 93 wins and an AL East pennant. I foresaw the precipitous declines by Rick Porcello and Steven Wright (who didn't?), but also the offensive shortcomings of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, and Jackie Bradley Jr. The front office brilliantly filled in the gaps by signing Eduardo Nunez, promoting Rafael Devers, and pulling Doug Fister off the street for some quality starts. Looking over their final stats, I'm still not sure how a team that finished ninth in the AL in batting average and sixth in runs managed to win the AL East, but their league-leading 88 quality starts led by Chris Sale might have something to do with it.

10. Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy, hits 50 homers and leads the league in slugging.

Yes, YES, and YESSS!!!! He actually made this prediction look tame in the end by nearly cracking the 60-homer mark. He would have been the first in the post-steroid era to reach the mark and with just two more he could have sparked massive conversation about who the real home run king is for a single season. Alas, he left us wanting more at just 59, but it still took the baseball world by storm when he went on his massive feat of baseball destruction, starting in June.

Here are some stats to show just how dominant Stanton was in 2017: 59 HR, 132 RBI, .631 SLG, 1.007 OPS, .350 ISO, 10.1 AB/HR, 156 wRC+. He also decided to set the record for fastest exit velocity on a batted ball at 122.2 MPH on the very last day of the regular season just for good measure. If you look at the leaderboard for exit velocity, you shouldn't be surprised to find that he dominates that category, appearing 13 times in the first 32 listings.

Now, let close out this season with a look at some of Stanton's finest moments. Enjoy the offseason and remember, it's never to soon to start prepping for 2018!


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