I joined the Army when I was seventeen years old. 9-11 had just happened and I was determined to serve my country in the same way as my father, during Vietnam, and my grandfather, during World War II. After scoring in the 99th percentile on the ASVAB, the military’s entrance exam, I had my pick of virtually any job I wanted. Being young and cocky, I decided I wanted to be an interrogator. To do so, I had to take and pass another test called the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB). The first problem was the DLAB is a very difficult test and there was no set test date. They would call the night before and tell you when and where to show up for your test. The second problem was I loved baseball and I also loved to drink while watching baseball. I was at a Giants/Diamondbacks game when I was called and told to show up at 05:00 in Sacramento to take the DLAB. I also may have been a bit inebriated. Figuring the game would end around 22:00, I thought I would be fine. 14 innings later, I arrived home about 03:00, just in time for my Sergeant to pick me up to head to Sacramento. Long story short, I failed the test. I tell you this story because it is an example of a time in which I made poor decisions that I later regretted. Which brings me to the midseason review of my Bold Predictions article. There were some obvious poor choices made during the writing of my original piece, however, I promise you I was not drunk when I wrote it. Just a reminder, like last year the odds are just for fun. Also like last year, I’ve added GIFs.
1) Carlos Carrasco will win the AL Cy Young. When I made this prediction there was some concern about Carrasco’s health. He has since proven healthy except for one minor pectoral issue that didn’t require a DL stint. However, a couple of blow up outings have prevented him from having really elite numbers. The skills are all still there, but he is behind a number of guys in the Cy Young race especially Chris Sale and Lance McCullers. via GIPHY Odds: 3%
2) Speed is last year’s Starting Pitching. This is where people might accuse me of having been drunk, but I swear I don’t drink anymore. I thought that people were overreacting to the speed shortage and power would take a step back. Well, I was wrong and while we may end up with a few more 20+ stolen base guys, I’ll take my loss here. via GIPHY Odds: .000000000001%
3) Dansby Swanson is not a top 27 shortstop. Hey, I didn’t say that this would be all bad. There was a silver lining in the above story. After failing the test to become an interrogator, I was able to go to the Defense Information School (DINFOS) to become a journalist, which I hope is serving me well. Here I bet against one of the popular rookie breakout picks and so far it is looking good. The Swanson hype coming into the season was based on his cup of coffee last season and the fact he is a former #1 pick that was traded in a highly criticized and talked about deal. Many people didn’t take into account that Swanson was never supposed to be a juggernaut offensive player. Most looked at him as a polished player that would play very good defense and advance quickly. He does a lot of those things, but that doesn’t make a fantasy stud. So far he is 34th on the player rater and he could prove me wrong, but I feel pretty good about this one so far. via GIPHY Odds: 75%
4) Andrew Toles is the NL ROY. While everyone was jumping on the Swanson and Gsellman bandwagon for Rookie of the Year, I took a darkhorse in Andrew Toles. Toles started out pretty decently hitting five home runs with a .271/.314/.458 triple slash and he hadn’t even started running which was his best asset until he ran into that wall. via GIPHY I also couldn’t have known Cody Bellinger would do his best Aaron Judge impersonation. Oh well. Odds: 0%
5) Bradley Zimmer is the AL ROY. Speaking of Aaron Judge… if it wasn’t for him, Andrew Benintendi would be the frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year, but Zimmer would be in the conversation. Zimmer has been pretty good since his call up hitting four home runs and stealing eight bases with a .279/.345/.434 triple slash. He isn’t going to win now, but I love this kid and his future for fantasy. via GIPHY Odds: .0000000001
6) Cory Spangenberg and Raul Mondesi Jr. will steal a combined 30+ bases. These were two of my really deep sleepers coming into the year. I had pegged them for this prior to either having jobs. Funnily enough, I was pretty stoked when Mondesi won his starting job and pretty bummed when Spangenberg got sent down to the minors to start the year. Since then Mondesi struggled so mightily that he was demoted and Spangenberg earned his way up at the same time that Ryan Schimpf found himself back in AAA. So far Spangenberg has six swipes and Mondesi chipped in five before being demoted. It is probably a longshot, but it is still possible as long as Spangenberg stays up. If Mondesi can get a role once/if the Royals sell, he could make this a bit closer. Mondesi is crushing it in AAA having hit eight home runs and stolen seventeen bases with a .317/.349/.537 line in 243 plate appearances. via GIPHY Odds: 20%
7) Eric Thames is more the old than the new. Thames has slowed down quite a bit since his hot April when he hit 11 home runs with a .345 average. Since then he has hit .202/.333/.461 with 12 total home runs. The average and strikeout rate have been poor, but it is nothing to sneeze at. I’m willing to take another loss on this one. Thames isn’t otherworldly like he showed early, but he isn’t “more old than new.” via GIPHY Odds: 0%
8) Orlando Arcia is more valuable than Aledmys Diaz. “You will eat your words on Diaz.” That was one of the many comments on my Bold Predictions article this spring. I believed that Diaz would take a step back and that competition on the team could force him to the bench. I didn’t think he’d be demoted especially considering he hasn’t been atrocious. Arcia on the other hand, was a classic case of overreaction to small samples and prospect fatigue. He was one of the hot prospects that people were targeting in 2016 and when he didn’t perform up to standards, people dismissed him. He is now hitting .295/.334/.439 with eight home runs and five stolen bases and has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last month. Currently Arcia is the twelfth shortstop on the player rater and Diaz is the 26th.
This fan’s ice cream had Orlando Arcia’s name written all over it. pic.twitter.com/aR8rcu8pDV
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) July 1, 2017
9) At least three of the following pitchers going outside the top 90 finish as top 45 starters: Michael Wacha, Luis Severino, Wei-Yin Chen, Brett Anderson, and Tyler Skaggs. Severino- 24th on the Player Rater Wacha- 85th Chen- 141st Skaggs- 144th Anderson- 284th At least I got Severino right. Wacha has been up or down, but a strong second half would propel him into the top 45. Chen, Skaggs, and Anderson have all been hurt and are unlikely to rebound enough even if they can get and stay healthy. via GIPHY Odds: 1% 10) At least one Minnesota starting pitcher not named Ervin Santana will be a top 50 starter. Jose Berrios is another of example of people looking at a poor short sample for a young prospect and overreacting. He is currently the 30th starting pitcher on the player rater and appears to be showing why people shouldn’t have ignored him on draft day. Last year in his cup of coffee he reportedly had issues with tipping pitches and his command. Now he is pitching well and is showing the stuff all prospect reports had previously had us swooning over. As long as he doesn’t fall apart I will be ok. via GIPHY Odds: 60%
Bonus: I will get someone drunk enough at Tout Wars that they miss their draft and I have to step in for them. I showed up at Tout Wars and was able to draft for Stephania Bell of ESPN when she ended up sick (though not from getting drunk.) You can read all about it here: https://www.friendswithfantasybenefits.com/crashing-tout-wars/ Odds: Accomplished!
Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as random topics that float into his juvenile brain. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and a fantasy football and baseball writer for Fantasy Alarm. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.