After crediting myself with 4, 5 and 5 correct bold predictions over the last three years, this years predictions are proving a bit too bold. We’re only half way through the year, and I can pretty easily write off almost all of my bold predictions. It’s not a good place to be.
1. Brandon Moss hits a career high 35 HR. I mean, he COULD hit 20 more, right? And the 16 more he needs to set a career high (though not quite reaching 35) are probably in play. 2015 has been ugly for Moss. His BABIP has dropped to .263 (about .030 below his career number) and with it his already bad average and his typically solid OBP have plummeted. He’s also looking at his lowest BB%, second lowest HR/FB rate, and highest K% since 2012. For a guy with his profile, none of those are good signs. That said, his HH% is up quite a bit from last year, so maybe there is still hope? I’ll call this, possible but not probable.
2. Brandon Belt will be a top 12 fantasy 1B. Not going to happen. Right now there are 15 pure 1B ranked higher than him (pure meaning not actually C or 3B or OF). And at this point, he is far more useful as an OF (where he has earned eligibility) than a 1B anyway. My prediction was that he would surpass five of Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer, Matt Adams, Mark Trumbo, Adam LaRoche, Lucas Duda, Joey Votto, David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez. Well, he did – Morneau, Adams, Trumbo, LaRoche, Duda, Ortiz and Martinez are all lower than him. But Mark Teixeira, Adam Lind, Kendrys Morales and Mitch Moreland all rank higher.
3. Brandon Phillips is being drafted WAY too high. Phillips is on his way to a solid double-double season, with 10-11 HR and a shot at his first 20-SB season since 2009. Which makes him a solid MI play. Which is exactly what I said he wasn’t.
4. Brandon McCarthy will outperform his projections. His K/9 and xFIP were both much, much better than projected, so that is something, right? But I was really focused on Steamer and ZiPS projecting about 165 innings for McCarthy. I thought he could repeat his 2014 200 IP performance. He stopped at 23. But had he thrown those other 177 innings AND somehow gotten his bout with gopheritis in check…this could have happened.
5. Brandon Maurer will earn double-digit saves and be a keeper closer. I still believe in Maurer. The peripherals are excellent. But even if the Padres sell Kimbrel, Maurer is not near the top of the pecking order. Maybe if Joaquin Benoit stumbles and maybe if the Padres decide to give a shot to a guy with a potential future, this could happen. But it is really not likely.
6. Dalton Pompey isn’t a good hitter, but is a fantasy stud. Do I get half credit? Cause the first half of that sentence is spot on.
7. James Paxton will be a top-30 SP. Paxton was mediocre then hurt.
8. Drew Pomeranz will be the A’s most valuable SP. Pomeranz got moved to the pen and there are still four A’s SP with better rates than he has. I should really send Sonny Gray a personal apology for this one.
9. Gregory Polanco goes 15/30. Pre-season, the 30 seemed like a bigger stretch, as he was projected for low-20s, while 15 HR was barely a stretch. Instead, he is well on pace for 30 SB (with 17) but has only 3 HR. 10/25 would be a stretch at this point, which will make him a disappointment based on projections. Not what I had in mind.
10. A.J. Pollock disappoints, then becomes a sneaky mid-season acquisition/pick-up. The disappoints part was key here. I expected a really good season from Pollock – something in the 10/15 with good rates range. Enough to be a solid backend OF, but not enough to appease the folks expecting more like 15/30. Well, with 11 HR and 19 SB to day, 15/30 should be relatively easy and something closer to 20/35 is definitely in play. Basically, I projected Pollock to do what Polanco is doing and Polanco to do what Pollock is doing. Great.
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.