Allow me to begin my 10 Bold Predictions Revisited with a bold statement. RotoGraphs bossman Eno Sarris must love embarrassing his employees*. The concept of the 10 Bold Predictions articles are great, as they allow us to talk about players we are more passionate about heading into the year, and give us an opportunity to go deeper than the standard league articles might allow.
The downside, of course, is that we have to revisit these predictions after the season. Making bold predictions is one thing, looking back on how terrible you are is another. And so, with another year behind us, let’s look at how misguided my thoughts were coming into the year.
1. Kolten Wong emerges as a top-9 fantasy second baseman.
I toyed with the idea of following what I called “team trends” coming into the season. Basically, I moved players up or down my draft board simply based on whether their team was competent. In Wong’s case, I liked that the Cardinals had turned around similar lower-ranked prospects like Allen Craig, Jon Jay, Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams. The idea was that they would do the same with Wong, and he would exceed his fantasy value. History did not repeat itself here. Wong was bad enough to get sent down to the minors for 18 games. At that point, he was droppable in pretty much every league. I still might buy his potential moving forward, but I was wrong here.
Result: F. We’re off to a good start.
2. Edinson Volquez works his way back to mixed-league relevance. (He’s picked up and used as more than just a streamer)
Speaking of team trends, I also thought the Pirates would turn Volquez into a useful option. This, actually, kind of worked. Volquez put up a solid 3.04 ERA over a full season. A though the peripherals think he should have been worse, those don’t always matter in fantasy leagues. I’m not sure I would bet on Volquez doing the same thing if he remains in Pittsburgh next season, but this was one of the few calls I got right coming into the year. Ray Searage might be a wizard. Having Russell Martin doesn’t hurt, either.
Result: A. Edinson Volquez posted a 3.04 ERA. You bet I’m giving that an A.
3. Danny Salazar emerges as the best of the second-year bunch.
This is Exhibit 1 in the “never fall in love with a fantasy player” file. I watched a couple of Salazar’s 2013 starts, was impressed with his stuff and started to think he was being way undervalued. This led me to ignore his high fly ball rate, and propensity to give up the long ball. I just assumed he would figure that stuff out as he developed as a pitcher. Sometimes, it takes a bit longer for pitchers to figure that out. Salazar got off to a terrible start, but actually finished pretty strong. I’m still a believer in his talent long-term, but 2014 was a big misstep.
Result: D. He probably helped in the second half. Too bad you cut him months earlier.
4. We see the first-half version of Patrick Corbin again.
Days after the article was posted, it was announced Corbin would need Tommy John. He didn’t pitch this season.
Result: Incomplete. He got hurt early enough that you probably didn’t draft him. I’m giving myself a pass here.
5. Yasmani Grandal finishes as a top-10 catcher.
So, here’s the good thing: we finally got a full season out of Yasmani Grandal. Here’s the bad thing: we got the 2013 version. I wanted to buy into Grandal because he looked good in 2012, and the only reasons he failed in 2013 was injuries and a steroid suspension. I bet on the talent coming back, and that wasn’t the right call. Grandal will give you some pop, and one wonders how many more home runs he would have had outside of Petco, but he doesn’t make enough contact to put up a good average. He’s not going to be a top-10 catcher next season.
Result: D. The homers were great, I guess. But his average was horrid.
6. Brandon Belt finishes in the top-10 at first base.
I was all aboard the Belt hype train entering the year. At first, things looked promising. Belt got off to a blazing start, hitting five home runs in his first eight games. He continued to show some solid pop, but it came with a drastically altered approach. For a while, Belt had stopped walking, and was striking out at a ridiculous clip. The walk rate started to rise, but the strikeouts remained. Then, the injuries came. Thumb surgery and a concussion limited Belt’s usage throughout most of the year. He still remains a player I might target next season, but he didn’t live up to expectations in 2014.
Result: D. Injuries are stupid and I hate them.
7. Nick Franklin gets a starting job by May 1.
Nope. This one is laughably wrong. In fairness, it was a gut call. I figured the Mariners would flip him early, realizing they couldn’t use him. Franklin was traded, but not until late July. He played 28 games in the majors. That’s not enough to qualify as a “starting job.”
Result: F. Not even close.
8. Matt Lindstrom finds a way to save 10 games.
The results weren’t pretty, but Lindstrom got more than halfway there. He saved six games early on, and then lost most of the year to an ankle injury. If he would have stayed healthy, I think he would have saved 10 games, but his numbers would have been ugly. I’m giving myself some credit for thinking he would get save opportunities.
Result: C-. Hey, I have to take what I can get.
The White Sox really pushed Don Cooper to his limit this season. Did you see the guys the team trotted out there? My thinking here was mainly that I had seen Cooper do more with less. (He made Hector Noesi into a viable starter for a couple weeks). Paulino was a guy who always had good stuff, and I thought Cooper would help him get it under control. I was wrong. Paulino made four starts in the majors, was terrible and was shut down for the rest of the year in late April.
Result: F-. I swear to you all that I’ve actually watched a baseball game before.
10. Cameron Maybin becomes mixed-league relevant again.
I think Cameron Maybin and I are done professionally. He headlined my Bold Predictions in 2013, and he brought up the rear in 2014. Both times, he didn’t live up to expectations. On top of his struggles, Maybin was hit with a 25-game suspension. I wish Maybin the best going forward, but he and I are done for now.
Result: F. Please don’t leave me here. It’s so cold.
To recap: I got one call right, one call half way right, one incomplete and seven fails. If you’ve made it this far let me give you some good advice…never listen to me again.
*This is a joke, obviously. Eno’s great, and I don’t actually hate him.
Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.