Well, the 2013 fantasy baseball season has come to an end. I’ve raised a few flags (hope you did, too!), but now it’s time to go back to my preseason “bold predictions” and put my money where my mouth is (or was?).
Let’s see how I did:
10. Despite injury, Adam Eaton will still steal 40+ bases.
“Not exactly BOLD, I know. Trying to ease y’all into this. But if Eaton returns by mid-May or earlier as advertised, he’ll still have enough time to wreak havoc on the basepaths.”
Eaton’s injury held him out of Arizona’s lineup longer than most expected. He didn’t take the field for the first time until July 9th and only appeared in 66 games for the entire season. I’d like to call this a push since the speedster missed so much time, but the “despite injury” claim in my actual prediction was a bit too bold, leaving me no choice but taking a loss on this one. (0-for-1)
9. Andrelton Simmons will score 80 runs, swipe 25 bags.
“The Braves shortstop is more known for his leather, but with a full-season leading off in front of Heyward and the Upton brothers, Simmons should really flourish. In addition to the 80 runs and 25 swipes, Simmons could chip in a .275 or better batting average, making for a nice late-round target in your fantasy drafts.”
Not exactly. Simmons crossed the plate 76 times despite not leading off for the entire season, but rarely ran when on the paths. He successfully swiped six bags in 11 attempts, not even close to the 25 I predicted. Andrelton did, however, put on one of the most exciting seasons from a defensive standpoint. Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for that prediction. (uh oh-for-2)
8. Jordan Zimmermann to finish ‘13 as a top 15 fantasy starter.
“For the second year in a row the Nationals’ right-hander will increase his strikeout rate and keep his ERA under 3.00, but is the beneficiary of more run support which increases his win total to 16. The Nationals finish with two hurlers (Stephen Strasburg) in the top 15 and both names will show up on Cy Young ballots at the conclusion of the 2013 campaign.”
Zimmerman indeed collected 19 victories in 32 starts this season, but failed to keep his ERA under 3.00 (actual: 3.25). However, The Nationals’ hurler finished as a top 15 fantasy starter according to both Yahoo! and ESPN. Correct predictions will be hard to come by in the piece, so despite not keeping the ERA below 3.00 and failing to improve his K%, I’m taking credit for this one. I’m awesome. (1-for-3)
“Bruce’s home run and RBI totals have increased in each of the past four years. Now entering his age 26 season, the Reds’ outfielder is primed for his first 40 homer, 100 RBI campaign in the Majors. Oh, and he’ll outperform Giancarlo Stanton in fantasy who is being drafted about two rounds ahead of him.”
My Adam Eaton prediction above failed to come to fruition due to injury, however, this Jay Bruce guess proved true probably because of Giancarlo Stanton’s injury plagued year. Bruce clubbed just 30 long balls but improved knocked more than 100 runs in for the first time in his career to outperform Stanton. I’m awesome again. (2-for-4)
6. Mike Trout will not be a top 25 fantasy player in 2013
“Yes, I know our own Jeff Zimmerman noted Trout would not be a top 15 fantasy player this season, but I think he’ll “fall” even further. Trout is sure to be able to match his runs scored and stolen base totals in a full-season, but are the power numbers sustainable? I’m not so sure. A 21.5% HR/FB% will likely come back to earth and Trout will finish with 22 homers and 76 RBI, just outside of the top 25.”
In my defense, I was one of the last contributors here at RG to submit my bold predictions. This left me with no choice but to go above and beyond the definition of “bold,” entering the “definitely ridiculous” territory. Ridiculous this prediction was as Trout finished second and fourth overall in ESPN and Yahoo!’s games respectively. I shall hang my head in shame for doubting this Angel in the outfield. All hail Mike Trout. (2-for-5)
5. Wilton Lopez will lead the Rockies in saves.
“There are a few other names I like in the Rockies bullpen, such as Rex Brothers and Matt Belisle, but I went with the former Astro instead. When Rafael Betancourt gets traded before the deadline (another BOLD prediction!), Lopez’s worm burning skills (55% GB%) and 6.75 K/BB will leapfrog him into ninth-inning duties.”
The Rockies were unable to deal Rafael Betancourt due to a variety of in-season injuries. And even when Walt Weiss needed a ninth-inning arm in Rafa’s absence, he went against the grain and called on southpaw Rex Brothers instead of Lopez. Wilton finished with a 4.06 ERA and zero saves in twenty-thirteen. Negative awesomeness. (2-for-6)
4. Jose Fernandez is the most valuable fantasy starter in Miami, post All-Star Break.
“The 20-year-old Cuban defector went 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA (0.93 WHIP) and a 4.5 K/BB between two levels of A ball in 2012. He’s got an insane arsenal — an overpowering four-seamer (that touches 99 mph), a groundout inducing two-seamer, two breaking pitches and a plus change — that he commands well and isn’t afraid to throw. He’ll start the season on the farm polishing his offerings, but don’t be surprised if the confident youngster packs his bags for the Majors mid-summer and becomes the biggest fish in Miami.”
Arguably one of my better calls right here. Not only was Jose Fernandez the most valuable fantasy starter in Miami after the All-Star Break, he was the most valuable Marlins starter for the entire 2013 season. Fernandez finished 12-6 in 28 starts with a 2.19 ERA and a 27.5% K% in his rookie season. This kid is a genuine stud and I’m proud I predicted as much. (3-for-7)
3. Your National League strikeout leader will be: Jeff Samardzija
“The former Notre Dame football star is developing into a monster on the mound. In each of the last three seasons, he’s increased his strikeout percentage while reducing the amount of free passess allowed. In just 28 starts in twenty-twelve, Samardzija whiffed 180 batters — and with a full-season of starts on the docket, the right-hander should easily eclipse the 200 plateau and challenge for the National League lead.”
The Shark concluded his ‘13 campaign with 214 strikeouts, but couldn’t quite keep up with Clayton Kershaw and his 232 whiffs. Samardzija pitched in 23 less frames than the Dodger, but that’s more of a credit to Kershaw’s effectiveness and should not be discounted to try and improve my standing with this guess. (3-for-8)
2. Billy Hamilton to lead the Reds in stolen bases in ‘12.
“This isn’t saying much considering the team’s 2012 leader in swipes, Drew Stubbs (30), was shipped off to the Indians in the offseason leaving newly-acquired Shin-Soo Choo (21) and Brandon Phillips (15) as the team’s biggest base-stealing threats in the starting lineup. But with Hamilton getting a late-summer cup-of-coffee after ironing out some defensive wrinkles, he could potentially take over the team lead in swipes during a homestand against the Metropolitans in late-September.”
Close, but no cigar. Hamilton put on a truly amazing display of speed when in the game, but he failed to get enough opportunities. He swiped 13 bags in just 13 games and should be a terror on the basepaths for years to come. Hamilton fell just seven shy of the Reds team leader, Shin-Soo Choo’s 20 steals, which took him 154 games to do. (3-for-9)
“The three amigos went a combined 72/70 last year while missing just over 30 games. But in 2013 they come together like Voltron to reach the combined 100/70 plateau while yielding at least one MVP candidate. Oh, and they very well may combine for 500 strikeouts as well.”
This Bold Predictions piece was one of the most fun pieces to research, write and review this year. Next time, I vow to be a lot more vague, won’t bet against Mike Trout and will be sure to bet against B.J. Upton. And despite the fact I went just 3-for-10 in my predictions I look forward to this opportunity again next season. And hey, .300 should get me into the Hall-of-Fame, right?