With the All-Star break upon us, this is as good a time as any to take a midseason look back at my 2015 bold predictions. My goal with these is to bat somewhere around .300, which is exactly what I did last year.
Get too many right, and the predictions probably weren’t bold enough for the nature of these columns. Swing and miss on all ten? Probably need to dial back the predictive aggressiveness next time. With that in mind, let’s see how I’ve done so far this year…
1. Jorge Soler is a top-ten outfielder.
Not a chance. Soler got off to a slow start, hitting just four homers before landing on the disabled list with an ankle injury in early June. The 23-year-old just returned last week, after more than a month on the DL. At this point, there’s no hot streak in the world that would make this prediction a reality.
2. Alex Wood is a top-ten starting pitcher.
Again, no way. Wood’s strikeout rate has taken a sharp downturn this season. After striking out nearly a batter per inning in both the majors and the minors, Wood’s K-rate sits at a pedestrian 6.68 per nine this year. His wipeout knuckle-curve isn’t close to the putaway pitch it was last year, which makes his 89-mph fastball that much easier to sit on.
3. Jay Bruce finishes outside the top 36 outfielders for the second straight year.
So far, so good on this one! Bruce is currently the No. 40 outfielder in standard leagues. He’s gotten better as the season progresses — and he’s addressed his deteriorating plate discipline — but a 25-homer pace with an average in the .240s just isn’t enough to crack the top 36.
4. George Springer is a top-ten outfielder.
This one had a chance, until Springer suffered a broken wrist on July 1. He was ranked 16th among outfielders when he went down, buoyed by his vaunted power/speed combo, which had already produced 13 homers and 14 steals. Unfortunately, we won’t see him again until sometime in August, and a top-ten finish is out of the question by that point.
5. All three of the Marlins’ regular outfielders are top-24 fantasy commodities at the position.
Yikes. Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t played since June 26, and he’s still the No. 6 outfielder on the year, so that part worked out. On the flip side, Christian Yelich has been merely okay. His five homers and eight steals aren’t exactly eye-popping, and he’s lost 20 points off his batting average.
As for Marcell Ozuna, his power breakout — which was one of my successful Bold Predictions last season — did not carry over to 2015. The 24-year-old hit just four homers in 79 games, before being demoted to Triple-A on July 5. You know you’re having a bad year when you lose your job to Cole Gillespie. Overall, this prediction was terrible.
6. Nolan Arenado is the top third baseman in fantasy.
This could still quite easily happen. Arenado is currently the No. 4 fantasy 3B, but the gap between him, Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier and Manny Machado is razor-thin. These four guys all have a roughly equal chance of finishing the season as the top player at the position.
The 24-year-old Arenado has been ridiculously good, launching 24 homers and hitting .293/.329/.598. Even more encouraging is the fact that he’s actually been slightly better away from Coors Field than he has been at home:
- Home – .305/.339/.581, .920 OPS, 9 HR
- Away – .280/.318/.615, .933 OPS, 15 HR
Nope. Mesoraco tried to play through a hip injury, but ended up requiring season-ending surgery. He hit a grand total of zero home runs in his 51 plate appearances this year.
8. For the fourth consecutive year, Juan Nicasio will make 10+ starts while maintaining an ERA over 5.00.
Fortunately for the team — and unfortunately for this prediction — the Dodgers haven’t needed to use Nicasio as a starter, outside of a two-inning spot start. The surprising emergence of Mike Bolsinger has been a tremendous boost for the rotation. So has the shockingly healthy Brett Anderson, who has already thrown more innings (108) this season than he has since 2010 (112.1).
Despite the fact that his walk rate is an absolutely hilarious 4.62 BB/9, Nicasio’s miniscule — and completely unsustainable — 2.9% HR/FB rate has kept his ERA in the mid-3.00s. The 28-year-old is certainly a bad enough pitcher that he could still cross the 5.00 ERA threshold by end-of-season, but he won’t likely get the ~10 starts I projected. Probably not going to happen.
9. No player will steal more than 50 bases.
This prediction was based on my lack of trust in the on-base abilities of Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon and Ben Revere. As it turns out, Hamilton has swiped 44 bags, despite a jaw-droppingly horrible .269 OBP. Gordon has 33 steals, and also has a solid shot at reaching 50 as long as his recent thumb injury isn’t too serious. This prediction was a swing and a miss, kind of like the vast majority of Billy Hamilton plate appearances.
The 36-year-old Santana tried once again to get back to the majors, but this time was derailed by a toe infection. He’ll try again next year, and I will therefore make this prediction again next year — just like I did last year, and will continue to do as long as Santana keeps making comeback attempts.
Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.