Most Common Predictions Revisited

Back in March, I compiled the bold predictions from all the RotoGraphs writers to figure out which were our most common. Now we can look back and see if we did any better as a group than we did as individuals.

We’ll start, as we did last time, with the eight players who had three predictions made about them.

Victor Martinez was projected for a big bounceback, specifically a .300/25/90 season. So close – .289, 27 HR and 86 RBI. In spirit, this was right on, and I think for our purposes, this is a win. If you saw these and bought Martinez, you were awfully happy with the outcome.

Marcus Semien was another debatable win – the 20/20 prediction did not come true, but 27 HR and 10 SB is nothing to sneeze at from your SS. But with a .238/.300 AVG/OBP, he wasn’t all that great a fantasy asset.

And Marcell Ozuna is another step down – top 30 OF with 30+ HR was our prediction, but top 50 OF with 23 HR was reality. When you add in the league-wide power outburst, the 30 HR prediction looks less bold and the 23 HR output looks less impressive.

The other five three-time predictees were clear losses. Hunter Strickland for closer? Not close. Domingo Santana with a 25/10 line? Injuries derailed that. Miguel Sano with 40 HR and Maikel Franco with 30+? Both took big steps backward. Aaron Hicks as Carlos Gomez 2.0? Ugh.

Next, we have 18 players with matching predictions from two writers.

  • Nomar Mazara – Top Rookie/Top Rangers OF – Based on ESPN’s Player Rater, Tyler Naquin beat him out for top rookie. As for top Rangers OF, that depends how you define Ian Desmond. By the end of the year, Carlos Beltran and Desmond were the only OF ranked ahead of Mazara, but most people played Desmond at SS or MI, and Beltran was not a Ranger all year. So…this was close, but probably not quite close enough.
  • John Jaso – Career high PA and legit #2 ottoneu OF – That career high PA came to pass (432 vs. 404 in 2010) but he was definitely not a solid #2 OF. He wasn’t worthless, but he was top 24 either.
  • Chris Bassitt – 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, top A’s SP – He threw 28 innings and they were not good.
  • Chris Heston – Repeats his 2015 first half and is owned in all leagues – Uh, no.
  • Raisel Iglesias – Top 30 SP with Cy Young votes – He was top 30 on the Red!
  • Joc Pederson – 30/25 season, Top 3 CF by fWAR – 25/6, and 8th among CF with 400+ PA.
  • Jonathan Schoop – 30+ HR and top 10 2B – 25 HR and #18 at 2B.
  • Justin Upton – 200+ R+RBI – 168 was much closer than anyone would have guessed a couple months ago.
  • Trea Turner – Leads Nats with 25+ SB – Nailed it! Even in half a season, stole 33 to lead the team.
  • Jose Berrios – Top 30 SP – Nope.
  • Clay Buchholz – Top 20 or at least top 40 SP – Top 140, right?
  • Pedro Alvarez – Leads team/league in HR – Not close.
  • Travis Shaw – 400 PA and 20+ HR, leading team in HR – 530 PA, but only 16 HR.
  • Jimmy Rollins – Top 12 SS, outperforming Corey Seager – None of the above.
  • Kevin Gausman – “Steps up” and is top 30 SP – His 2016 FIP equaled his 2015 FIP and did not get close to top 30.
  • Travis d’Arnaud – Elite C – Uh uh.
  • Kevin Pillar – Top 20 OF, out-earns Starling Marte – Just missed the top 60, Marte hit the top 5.
  • Eugenio Suarez – 15/10, out-homers Carlos Correa, out-earns Francisco Lindor – Yes. YES! Ye…no.

And then there were the four who spurred disagreement.

  • Jake Arrieta – Outside the top 15 or inside the top 2 – Nope, neither. Ended up 11th by Player Rater.
  • Nolan Arenado – No. 1 overall bat or 50 spots below Manny Machado – 19 spots above Machado, but “only” #8 overall.
  • Jose Quintana – Better than Chris Sale or ERA of 4.00+ – Put up a great year, but not quite Sale-great.
  • Dellin Betances – Outside top 12 in ottoneu FanGraphs Points, top 50 5×5 P even with 0 saves – Even with 12 Saves he was the #73 P in 5×5, but was top 10 in FanGraphs Points.

So – we did not do great when we agreed, and when we disagreed, we were both wrong. Not pretty.

I would have guessed that there would be a “wisdom of the crowds” thing going here, where if two or more of us agreed, we would do better than when we are flying solo, but that is not how this played out. Not at all.

Does this mean anything? Probably not. Maybe there is some groupthink at work in these cases, but this is likely just a case where a bold prediction is meant to be bold, and most of them will not pan out. Either way, we’ll try again in March.

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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As you mentioned, odds of bold predictions coming out are slim. If too many people thought the same thing about a player, he would be ranked higher and therefore not bold.

Each player has positive and negatives factors that mesh to form value. Each one does not contribute equally. For example, take Jake Arrieta. Two writers saw the facts in different ways.