Chad Young’s Ten Bold Predictions Recap

Writing my ten bold predictions is one of my favorite things to do each season. Be bold! Be wild! Stake a claim and go out on a limb!

But then, October rolls around, and you have to reap what you sow. Today, I reap.

When I wrote my bold predictions, I chose to focus on Ottoneu, making predictions that could be useful for any fantasy game but were focused on the best fantasy game. Given my solid, but tepid results in my Ottoneu leagues (I had finishes of 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd in my six leagues), you might expect that these predictions were useful enough to help but not entirely accurate. Let’s find out.

  1. Willy Adames is a top 105 SS in Ottoneu points leagues. I was high on Adames citing his career line outside Tropicana Field (.291/.363/.495 on the road with Tampa) as evidence that his blisteringly hot performance with the Brewers could continue. Adames’s OBP cratered thanks to a big decrease in BABIP and a near-career-low walk rate, but he did set a career-high in HR. So where did he finish? Well, his 5.22 P/G was ninth among SS-eligible players with 250+ PA. Clearly, I should have stuck to my original, less bold prediction and gotten this right. This is a good example of something that will repeat on this list – I was directionally right (buying Adames was a good decision) but not actually right. 0 for 1.
  2. Joe Ryan is a top 20 SP. Ryan didn’t flash the level of command I expected but still pitched well. As a result, he finished 56th in total points and 48th in P/IP starters with 125+ IP. That puts him much closer to where he was rated by others than my optimistic view. So while Ryan was solid this year, I don’t think I can even call this directionally right. 0 for 1.
  3. Only one $30+ pitcher will be worth it. The six pitchers going for $30+ at the time of the writing were Jacob DeGrom, Gerritt Cole, Max Scherzer, Shane Bieber, Walker Buehler, and Aaron Nola. How many of them were worth $30? Well, DeGrom was brilliant but in only 64.1 innings, he didn’t earn out $30. Cole finished 12th in total points, thanks to 200.2 IP, but his P/IP was 28th and far below expectations. I don’t think I would pay $30 for that if I knew that was what I was getting. Scherzer was the opposite – just 27th in total points but 5th in P/IP and I think that was worth $30. Bieber was 19th in P/IP but 6th in total points and I think that was worth $30. Buehler barely pitched and was not super effective, so he didn’t get close. Nola was 8th in P/IP and 2nd in total points. So that leaves us with three guys – Scherzer, Bieber, and Nola – who were worth the $30 salary. I could see arguments that Scherzer and Bieber didn’t quite get there. I could also see arguments that Cole did. Again, I think this was directionally right – betting on lower-priced guys was the right strategy this year – but it wasn’t actually right. 0 for 3.
  4. Seiya Suzuki will be cut at least once before the start of next season in 75% of leagues. It wasn’t until like three weeks ago that I realized that…uh…I have no idea how to measure this. He was cut just once in my six leagues, but in all six his price will be $27-$32 to keep. None of those are keepers, in my mind, and a recent conversation in the Ottoneu Slack community suggested this was true for others, as well. He has a median salary of $21 right now and given his up-and-down season, I think he gets pretty widely cut. He showed flashes of being a $30 player but had long stretches of being an obvious cut even at $10. The entire picture is maybe a $20 guy, but I think that is a bit optimistic. I am not sure I can count this, so I’ll take it as another directionally-but-not-actually correct prediction. 0 for 4.
  5. Jeff McNeil posts a .370+ OBP. Boom. .382. 1 for 5.
  6. Alex Cobb throws 150 innings with a sub 3.50 ERA and more than 5.5 FanGraphs Points Per IP. I thought the 150 innings might be the toughest part and he got soooooo close: 149.2! But his ERA was 3.78 and his P/IP was 5.12. Another third of an inning wouldn’t have made up for that. That said, he had a 2.80 FIP and 3.15 SIERA – he made the improvements I was counting on but the results didn’t quite follow, thanks in part to a .336 BABIP. But, if you picked him up at auction at his at his price, you’re very happy with this outcome. The advice was good, but the prediction was wrong. Again. 1 for 6.
  7. Art Warren leads the league in saves + holds. Things are about to go downhill, so hold on tight. This was a disaster. Warren had seven saves plus holds. That is it. He pitched only 36 innings and those innings were awful and this was just bad. 1 for 7.
  8. Frankie Montas leads all pitchers in FanGraphs Points. For four months, this was headed towards the directionally right but not actually right bucket, as Montas was very good but not nearly the top scorer. Then he got traded to New York, pitched poorly, and got hurt. Prior to the trade, he was on his way to the best season of his career. Alas. The actual leading pitcher was Sandy Alcantara with 1279.93. 1 for 8.
  9. Matt Olson leads all hitters in FanGraphs Points. Olson finished 20th in total points among hitters. He took a pretty sizable and (in my opinion) surprising step back. Getting out of Oakland didn’t provide the boost I anticipated. That said, if this season deflates his price for next year, I’ll be back in. The actual leading hitter was, not surprisingly, Aaron Judge, with 1458.2 points. 1 for 9.
  10. Shohei Ohtani does NOT lead all players in FanGraphs Points. Yeah…uh…maybe I shouldn’t doubt Shohei. You see the leading hitter and pitcher above – well, Ohtani had 1033.8 pitching points and 977.5 hitting points, for a whopping 2011.3 total points. I thought a combination of missed time (due to injury or load management) plus a bit of regression would hold him down a bit. Nope. He crushed all my projections. What will he do for an encore? 1 out of 10.

A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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3 months ago

Great write-up, Chad. And being directionally right so often reflects shrewd analysis. Keep up the good work in the off-season . . .