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Reviewing Kyle Bishop's Bold Predictions for 2016

By Scott U (Sonny Gray (3)) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Just like with the preseason pieces in March, I’m kicking off the review of our RotoBaller staff’s 2016 bold predictions.

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Grading the Predictions

1. Miguel Sano and Byung Ho Park combine for 75 home runs.

Oof. The Twins’ not-so-dynamic duo didn’t even get halfway to hitting this many bombs, totaling 37 between them. Both players had serious contact issues, with strikeout rates well above 30 percent. Though he went deep seven times in his first 22 MLB games, Park earned a demotion to the minors in late June and then suffered a finger injury that ended his season in August. Sano got off to a slow start and dealt with various injuries of his own on his way to a disappointing season, albeit one that still saw him jack 25 homers in under 500 plate appearances. Grade: F

2. Marcus Semien outearns Francisco Lindor in standard leagues.

Semien did actually take the step forward that I expected of him in 2016, nearly doubling his home run total (from 15 to 27) and stealing 10 bags. Unfortunately, his low batting average and a pedestrian Athletics lineup kept him from coming anywhere near Lindor’s value. The Indians’ star shortstop proved his rookie breakout was no fluke, keeping his average above .300 and improving his plate approach despite some regression in the power department. Grade: C

3. Anthony DeSclafani is the Reds’ best starting pitcher.

And we’re on the board! Disco missed the first two months of the season with an oblique injury, but he was good enough when healthy – and the rest of the Reds’ staff was so horrible – that he easily claimed this title. Preseason darling Raisel Iglesias only ended up making five starts before being shifted to the bullpen after a shoulder injury, Brandon Finnegan was inconsistent, and Dan Straily was more lucky than good (peep that 4.88 FIP). DeSclafani should get some more love in 2017 drafts. Grade: A

4. Delino DeShields steals more bases than Billy Hamilton.

Deshields struggled early, got demoted to the minors, and ultimately stole eight bags all season long. The Hamburglar, meanwhile, swiped nine bags in a three-day stretch in early August and finished with 58 thefts despite being a lousy hitter and missing the final month of the season with injury. They don’t get much more laughable than this. Grade: F -

5. Noah Syndergaard is the best pitcher in the National League not named Clayton Kershaw.

That’s more like it. Thor built on his outstanding rookie year by cutting his home run rate by more than half, and by inducing more whiffs and grounders. You could make a compelling argument for Jose Fernandez or Max Scherzer here (and if I had a Cy Young vote, it would actually go to Fernandez) but Syndergaard’s 2.29 FIP was the best in all of baseball among qualified starters (which, due to injury, didn’t include Kershaw). I feel okay taking credit for this one. Grade: A -

6. Maikel Franco is a top-5 third baseman.

Franco wasn’t a top-5 third baseman. Per ESPN’s Player Rater, he was barely a top-25 third baseman. While he hit 25 home runs and had 88 RBI, Franco’s poor supporting cast and his own shortcomings as a player doomed this prediction. Grade: F

7. Jacoby Ellsbury finishes outside the top 50 outfielders.

While Ellsbury did finish outside the top 50 outfielders by Yahoo’s rankings, he was 43rd on CBS and 44th on ESPN, so we’ll call this one a near miss. The oft-injured veteran managed to stay pretty healthy, which helped his counting stats just enough to keep this one out of the win column. Ellsbury certainly didn’t justify his 94.6 ADP, however, and his best days are quite clearly behind him. Grade: B+

8. Joc Pederson has a 30/20 season.

Yung Joc had a successful sophomore season, improving his batting average by nearly 40 points and his OPS by more than twice that. However, he didn’t hit either of the benchmarks necessary to make this prediction a winner, cranking 25 homers and stealing only six bases. Grade: D

9. Jonathan Schoop is a top-8 second baseman.

More like Jonathan Nope. Though he had a perfectly useful season (.267-82-25-82), Schoop didn’t even finish in the top 15 at his position. The keystone has suddenly become quite deep for fantasy purposes. Most of the players who finished ahead of Schoop were top-50 hitters overall. Grade: C -

10. Sonny Gray finishes outside the top 40 starting pitchers.

This was perhaps the boldest of the lot, and it could have been even bolder and still been right. I can’t recall anyone in the analyst community being as low on Gray as I was this spring, but he was worse than even I anticipated. A year after finishing third in the American League Cy Young vote, Gray tossed 117 mostly awful innings, going 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Grade: A+++++



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