One would expect that a fantasy writer’s success on something like bold predictions would correlate nicely with their success overall that year. After all, if you pay the low, low price to try out your bold predictions and you hit big, your teams should be excellent, right?
Well, maybe not. I had probably my least successful fantasy season in the last few years in 2016, yet easily my personal best performance on these here bold predictions. And looking back, I still think these were bold, but perhaps you disagree?
1. Billy Hamilton steals less than 25 fantasy relevant bases. The concept here was that Hamilton would struggle so much at the plate that he would lose his job and might steal 30 or more as a PH/PR, but not as a starter, which means you would never have him in your lineup. Uh…wrong. Hamilton was still not a good hitter, but his numbers bounced back from “atrociously abysmal” in 2015 to “not very good” in 2016…and that might be fine. He posted a 3.1 fWAR season, and that will keep him in the lineup daily. I realized my mistake midyear and acquired him in a 5×5 league where I needed steals. Think I’ll hold him for 2017, too.
0 for 1
2. Zack Greinke ends up outside the top 30 SP. In my mid-year recap, I said I thought this would work out well (Greinke was #30 at CBS at the time) and got crushed in the comments by folks who said he was already bouncing back from a rough start. Well, his first half wasn’t good but his second was atrocious and he finished up 61st on CBS and 60th on ESPN’s Player Rater. Nailed this one.
1 for 2
3. Jordan Zimmermann ends up outside the top 50 SP. Like Greinke, this was close at the break (52nd) but he was hurt and threw less than 10 2nd half pitches, falling way, way outside the top 50 (137 on Player Rater). I know my (disappointing) pitchers!
2 for 3
4. Santiago Casilla finishes third in Saves – on the Giants. Very, very wrong. He held the job much longer than I would have guessed and threw down 31 saves. The rest of the team had 12 combined. He wasn’t half-bad, either, finishing 3rd on the team in SIERA among RP.
2 for 4
5. Francisco Lindor is not a top 12 SS. Lindor was #5 at the break and I was touting him as an MVP candidate. He lost steam down the stretch and a rough September left him 7th at the position, but that still easily beats out my prediction. He wasn’t an MVP candidate, at the end of the day, but he was an excellent fantasy SS.
2 for 5
6. Eugenio Suarez is one of the SS to surpass Lindor, going 15/10 with 70+ R and RBI, and solid rates. Depending who you ask, Suarez fell anywhere from 15th to 18th this year, which is a) not top 12 and b) not better than Lindor. And yet, he went 21/11 with 78 R, 70 RBI and a .248 AVG. That average killed him. Had he hit .260-.270 instead of .248, he might have made the top 12. Too bad he won’t be SS eligible next year.
2 for 6
7. Carlos Santana returns great value, ESPECIALLY in OBP leagues. Very happy with this. Not only did I nail it, but I am a big time Indians fan, so this was especially sweet. I expected a bounceback and he definitely delivered. On Player Rater he was 13th among 1B, but multiple players above him (Wil Myers, Daniel Murphy, Hanley Ramirez, Mark Trumbo) were not used as fantasy 1B. If you drafted him at his ADP, you came out way, way ahead.
3 for 7
8. Freddie Freeman is a top-6 1B. Freeman finished 8th on CBS and 6th on Player Rater, but again behind guys who are not fantasy 1B (Murphy, Myers, and Kris Bryant at CBS; Murphy and Myers at ESPN). He put up a huge, huge year and was especially good down the stretch, creating extra value for those of you in H2H leagues.
4 for 8
9. Wilson Ramos his .270 with 20 HR. .307 average, 22 HR. Ramos was a stud and was the #3 C on Player Rater.
5 for 9
10. Pedro Alvarez leads the AL in HR. Blergh. I saw the O’s adding Alvarez and Trumbo and thought, “someone here is going to be a massively undervalued fantasy asset.” Then I a) made this prediction and b) bought like four shares of Alvarez and only one of Trumbo. Alvarez was done in by a bad, bad start to the year, showing no power at all in April and May and losing playing time. By the time he found his stroke with a .208/.356/.641 August and a .250/.324/.549 second half, it was too late. He managed 22 HR in roughly half a season of PA (376, so maybe more like 60% of a season), so the power is still there, but the prediction was leading the AL and he was tied for 43rd in the league in HR, less than halfway to the 47 bombs by Trumbo.
5 for 10
At the end of my season opening article, I also threw down eight predictions I wanted to make but that other writers either beat me to or made more boldly. Just for fun, how those turned out, with no commentary:
- Marcus Semien goes 20/20 – 27 HR, only 10 SB – 0 for 1
- Carlos Carrasco is the #1 SP in fantasy – 35th on Player Rater – 0 for 2
- Marcell Ozuna hits 25 HR – 23 in a year when everyone and their mother hit 20 – 0 for 3
- So does Jonathan Schoop – 25! but again, everyone and their mother hit 20 – .5 out of 4
- Clay Buchholz cracks the top 30 SP – I am not even looking this up – .5 out of 5
- Bradley Zimmer cracks the top-50 OF – He didn’t crack the MLB roster – .5 out of 6
- Jose Ramirez goes 10/20 – 11/22 – 1.5 out of 7
- Leonys Martin steals 30 bases – 24 (though he had a great year for fantasy) – 1.5 out of 8
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Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.