My 10 Bold Predictions from 2013 were 10 swings and 10 misses. Last season I posted the same 0-for-10 line, but this year? At long last, I broke through and got one right! Actually, I got more than one right, but I’m just gloating now. My full prediction piece can be found here. For style, I’m stealing Alex Chamberlain’s prediction-by-prediction commentary.
1. Josh Donaldson will score 120 runs (or post 130 RBI)
Originally this was written he’ll just score 120 runs, but the commenters thought Donaldson may hit behind the likes of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. While I certainly agreed that seemed like the best lineup construction, I wasn’t convinced the Blue Jays would do that, but I edited in the possibility for a huge RBI season. For the first month the comment section proved correct as Donaldson hit third or fifth a combined 14 times in April, but then the team moved him to the No. 2 spot for the majority of the season. He finished with 122 runs scored and 123 RBIs, barely edging my prediction, but hey, a win is a win.
1-for-1, the streak has been broken!
2. Jeff Samardzija finishes outside the top-3o of starting pitchers
Citing both ZiPS and Steamer being skeptical of The Shark, plus a declining strikeout rate, I stayed away from him this season. I definitely didn’t expect his poor 4.96 ERA/4.23 FIP/4.31 xFIP with a modest 6.86 K/9, but this prediction proved accurate. Via ESPN’s Player Rater, Samardzija wrapped up the season as the league’s 102nd ranked starting pitcher.
2-for-2, it’s officially a streak!
3. Jung-ho Kang finishes with more 5×5 value than Xander Bogaerts
Kang was enjoying a breakout season before a knee injury took him out of the final few weeks of action. Even without the injury, there isn’t a realistic way Kang would have overtaken Bogaerts’ value. The Red Sox — and fantasy owners enjoyed a .320 batting average with 84 runs and 81 RBIs from Bogaerts, on top of his 10 steals and seven homers. Kang’s edge in home runs wasn’t enough and here I am with my first miss of the season.
2-for-3, hey, even Mike Trout makes outs
4. Wilin Rosario hits 25+ home runs
If Coors made a kool-aid, I would drink it. No, just because Coors Light is basically water doesn’t count. Give me all of the power in that park, plus catcher eligibility? Yes please. Well, it didn’t work out for me…at all. Rosario was demoted to Triple-A at one point, but most worrying is he only caught two games, thus losing his C eligibility for next season. That he finished with just six home runs is kicking me while I’m down. Let’s move on.
2-for-4, hard to complain about .500
5. Ryan Zimmerman will have a higher 5×5 value than Freddie Freeman
Both got injured, both disappointed. Zimmerman finished with a 1.84 rating against Freeman’s 3.88. I’m getting colder. The spirit of this was close, as I correctly guessed the Nats offense would be solid while the Braves would struggle to score runs. Washington pushed 703 runs across the plate, third best in the National League, against Atlanta’s 573 runs, placing last in the senior circuit.
2-for-5, well, .400 is still awesome
6. Anthony Gose steals 40 bags
The decline of speed is something our own Paul Sporer has brought up before. I thought Gose, with his decent minor league steal totals, could break out and post a big season with his legs, but he ended up nabbing 23 steals against 11 times being caught. Even if he was perfect, Gose would have finished below my prediction.
2-for-6, uhh, .333 is nice
7. Ryan Braun continues to decline; finishes outside the top 60 overall
This one wasn’t even close. I thought injuries and age would take its toll on Braun, but he came out swinging — and running. The soon to be 32-year-old posted a .285/.356/.498 season with 25 dingers and 24 steals. Braun’s 9.60 rating put him as the 26th best player this year, making my prediction look awfully silly.
2-for-7, .285 ain’t bad
8. Gerrit Cole is more valuable in 5×5 than Cole Hamels
Even as Hamels helped push the Rangers into the playoffs, he couldn’t quite catch Cole’s numbers. The Pittsburgh hurler rated as the eighth best pitcher this season whereas Hamels ranked 37th. This one may not sound particularly bold now, but Hamels was coming off of a 2.46 ERA versus Cole’s 3.65 ERA last year (though both had similar FIPs at 3.07 and 3.23 respectively).
3-for-8, back up to .375
9. Rick Porcello posts another sub-3.50 ERA season
Oof. Maybe the less said about this one the better. I believed in his ground ball rate and improved defense behind him, but not even the best K/9 and second best BB/9 of his career was enough to keep his ERA below 4.50, let alone 3.50. A .332 BABIP certainly hurt Porcello (and this prediction), so maybe he can get back on track in 2016. Still, methinks this one was a bit too bold. Oh well, fortune favored me overall this year.
3-for-9, and once more we’re at .333
10. Andrew Cashner sets a career high in innings pitched
Pitcher health is a tough thing to predict. What’s been less tough is predicting Cashner’s health (or lack thereof) as he surpassed the 150 innings pitched mark just once before this year. From an IP standpoint — but not wins, ERA or WHIP — Cashner came through and set a personal best of 184 2/3 innings.
4-for-10, .400 and feeling fine!
Sure, I’m still just 4-for-30 lifetime, but the first two years were just small sample size noise. Everyone knows Bold Predictions don’t begin to stabilize until the third season. Just wait until next year where I’ll double my rate to eight correct predictions and then be a scorching 12-for-40! As always, I have a ton of fun with these and hopefully you, dear reader, did as well.
You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.