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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 2017 bold predictions.

Let's get to it.

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Grading the Predictions

1. Jose Peraza outperforms Billy Hamilton in standard leagues.

I’m officially done with the “throw shade at the Hamburglar” predictions, after whiffing on one for the second consecutive year. Peraza turned out to be even more hapless at the plate than his teammate. As a result, he didn’t siphon at-bats in the leadoff spot, and instead found himself in the bottom third of the order for most of the year. That suppressed his runs total and his stolen base attempts, neither of which came anywhere close to Hamilton’s efforts. Grade: F

2. Edwin Diaz finishes as the No.1 reliever.

Another swing and miss here. Speaking of swings and misses, Diaz got plenty of them, but not nearly as many as he did during his rookie season. He also had some bouts of wildness and gopheritis, including a stretch severe enough to get him deposed from the closer role, albeit only for a couple of days. Ultimately, he produced a perfectly cromulent season, but not one nearly good enough to fulfill this lofty expectation. Grade: C-

3. Jake Lamb is a top-5 third baseman.

This one was looking good at the All-Star break, as Lamb hit.279/.376/.546 with 20 home runs, 121 R+RBI, and four stolen bases in the first half. Unfortunately, his production fell off precipitously in the second half for the second year in a row, particularly in the final month. Much like Diaz, the results he did provide had plenty of value – just not enough to make this prediction a winner. Grade: C

4. Byron Buxton has a 20/40 season.

While Buxton didn’t hit these benchmarks, the fact that he even came close (16 HR, 29 SB) is impressive given how awful he looked in the early going. The former top prospect, still just 23 years old, bounced back from a horrendous first half with a virtuoso performance after the break. His emergence helped propel the Twins to an unlikely wild-card berth and ensured that fantasy owners will bet on him again in 2018. Grade: B

5. Wil Myers finishes outside the top 12 at first base.

Myers certainly wasn’t bad; in fact, he was the only first baseman to log a 30/20 season in 2017. That production wasn’t enough to crack the top-12, however. Along with the emergence of several other players at the position, Myers’ pedestrian batting average and unspectacular run production rendered him a high-end CI rather than a starting 1B in standard leagues. Grade: A-

6. Tom Murphy is a top-8 catcher.

If you’re faithfully executing in the spirit of this exercise, by necessity there are going to be a couple of embarrassing clunkers in the bunch. This one certainly qualifies. In justifying this prediction, I wrote that, “the biggest obstacle for this one might be playing time.” Nailed that part, at least. Murphy got hurt in spring training and only ended up starting seven games for the Rockies all year. Grade: F

7. Edwin Encarnacion is not a top-10 first baseman.

This one just barely qualifies as a success, as Encarnacion shook off a slow start to produce numbers not too far afield from his usual standard of excellence. As with Myers, however, other breakouts knocked him down in the ranks at his position. 40 bombs just don’t go as far as they used to. Grade: B+

8. Aaron Nola is a top-20 starting pitcher.

Despite a back injury that rendered him ineffective for a few starts and then inactive for a month, Nola very nearly made good on this one. Nola ranked 19th among qualified starters in ERA, 17th in WHIP, 13th in K%, and 15th in K-BB%.  Ultimately, however, he wound up just outside the top 20 on both Yahoo and ESPN. In addition to the time missed with injury, notching only 12 wins was enough to keep him from fulfilling this prediction. Given his bargain ADP, though, he certainly turned a tidy profit for fantasy owners in 2017. Grade: A-

9. All three starters in the Brewers’ outfield are top-25 outfielders.

I initially planned to just spotlight Domingo Santana here, but felt that didn’t qualify as bold enough. Perhaps that instinct was appropriate, as it turned out that only Santana finished in the top-25 among outfielders. Ryan Braun missed significant time with myriad injuries and wasn’t up to his usual standards when he did play, while Keon Broxton’s contact issues led to a midseason demotion and suppressed run production. At least Santana fulfilled his destiny as the next George Springer. Grade: D+

10. Aaron Sanchez finishes outside the top 40 starting pitchers.

Y’all should probably just not draft the pitcher I rag on for next season’s edition, because this is three straight times I’ve correctly predicted a wet fart of a season for an arm everyone else loves. Sanchez dealt with blister issues all season and never got on track, making only eight mostly-bad starts before his season ended in July. Obviously, you can’t predict injuries, but the underlying skills simply didn’t support his breakout 2016, and I’d caution against paying an expectant price for a rebound next year. Grade: A



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