Back in April, the RotoGraphs staff made some picks for the season. Vague, I know, but I assume you understand what kind of picks I’m talking about.
And because I like competitions, I’m going to turn this into one. As the moderator of these picks, I’m judging it by my own silly subjectivity.
The rules are simple:
- One point for the winner of each category
- Most points wins
- No touching of the hair or face
That’s it! Now let’s do this!!!
Review: I’ll be honest, I expected a little more from us. There are some admirable picks — Xander Bogaerts; Khris Davis, but not until August; Marcus Semien, in the first half — but the rest of the lot is otherwise underwhelming. Except for one.
Honorable mention: Xander Bogaerts (Chad Young)
Review: An wasteland more desolate than the last, very deep sleepers actually panned out. C.J. Cron made a little bit of noise.
Winner: Odubel Herrera (Brad Johnson). I legitimately didn’t know anything about Herrera prior to April, but that probably says more about me than Herrera. Still, if you asked 100 people if Herrera would have been worth almost 4 WAR this year, at least 99 of them would have said no.
Honorable mention: C.J. Cron (three)
Review: As a group, we did better here. There were some solid calls regarding starting pitchers — Jeff Samardzija, James Shields — but also some pretty big whiffs in the outfield — Michael Brantley, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones. There were a couple of huge busts, though, so this one’s a lot harder.
Winner: Anthony Rendon (Mike Podhorzer, Alan Harrison). You’d be misguided to blame the injury; he was horrible when healthy. Then again, the certainty of his current health is tenuous at best. Perhaps he’ll turn it around in 2016, but as Pod and Alan suggested, it may be unwise to expect 2014 production again.
Honorable mention: Adam Wainwright (Michael Barr). He was injured for 90 percent of the year. However, he produced as much WAR in 28 innings as Rendon did in more than 350 plate appearances.
Winner: Noah Syndergaard (Paul Sporer). Bryant produced twice as much WAR, but Paul earns the victory for singularity. Give Syndergaard a full season of innings and he scrapes together more than 4 WAR. An excellent season for the 23-year-old rookie.
Honorable mention: Kris Bryant (nine)
Review: The American League rookie landscape was barren. Bad picks all around. It’s a bitter duel to the end for a couple of players who, depending on how you viewed them, were either pleasant surprises or resounding busts.
Winner: Taijuan Walker (Dan Schwartz, Brad Johnson, Michael Barr, Alan Harrison). The ERA forsakes his improvements in control — he cut his 2014 walk rate (BB%) in half — but I’d like to see a better ground ball rate (GB%) before buying too heavily in Walker’s stock next year.
Honorable mention: Steven Souza (five). He was a four-category stud and a one-category dud. The batting average was a huge drag, and the injuries didn’t help.
Review: Next time, we should break this up into “comeback,” for the injury-plagued, and “bounceback,” for those due for regression. Anyway, there were a lot of Matt Harveys on this list, which is great, but I thought it was too easy.
Honorable mention: Carlos Gonzalez (three)
2nd Half Closer
Review: This one’s a gamble, but a couple of the picks were prescient. Unfortunately, one of them happened far sooner than it was supposed to.
Best Sophomore Pitcher
Review: Another no-brainer, Jacob deGrom laid waste to the National League once again. I want to reward a more obscure pick.
Winner: Carlos Martinez (Brad Johnson)
Honorable mention: Jake Odorizzi (Scott Spratt, Alan Harrison)… and deGrom, of course
Review: This one will be contentious again, based on your definition of a flyer. Late-round pick? Waiver wire addition? In the end, it doesn’t really matter (an unfortunate and inadvertent Linkin Park reference), as your winner was drafted 18th on average at his position with an average price tag of zero dollars and zero cents.
Winner: Alex Rodriguez (David Wiers). Thirty-three homers, 169 runs + RBI, almost all his offensive production negated by his horrible defense… all at 40 years old. You go, Glen Coco.
And the winner is…
Michael Barr! Technically, Michael and Brad tied, but I took some liberties and decided the tiebreaker should be most honorable mentions. Alas, Michael takes the cake. With all my RotoGraphsian authority (read: none), I grant you bragging rights! Brag away.