Revisiting Brandon’s Warne’s 10 Bold Predictions for 2017

Why do we do this to ourselves?

We’re back again to savage my terrible preseason 10 Bold Predictions. Without further ado:

1. Robbie Ray finishes as a top-10 starter in the NL

I’m pretty proud of this one. ESPN’s player rater in 5×5 has him as the No. 10 pitcher overall, and No. 6 among NL starters behind Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. Ray has been terrific this season in 160.1 innings, as he’s fanned 217 batters with a 1.16 WHIP, 2.86 ERA and .200 BAA.

Batting: 1-for-1 (1.000)

2. Joe Panik bounces back, finishes as a top-15 second baseman

It’s been a disastrous season for the Giants, but Panik has done basically Panik things, hitting .285/.345/.420 with 10 homers and four steals. Among 2B-eligible player, however, that’s just 34th-best according to ESPN’s player rater. It’s possible he rates higher in some other formats — feel free to share below — but I have little doubt I have to take the L on this one.

Batting: 1-for-2 (.500)

3. The criminally under-drafted Troy Tulowitzki finishes as a top-five shortstop

Uh, more like not in the top-50, even. In a lot of ways, the Jays were the AL’s answer to the Giants — more so in the start to the season, I guess — but Tulo’s decline was probably just as pronounced as that of Jose Bautista. Tulo only got into 66 games as of this writing, and hit just .249/.300/.378 (78 wRC+). His previous two years were “down” years at 101 and 103. He’ll be someone’s dollar-bin bid next year, but he might be cooked at 33.

Batting: 1-for-3 (.333)

4. Blake Treinen ends up being the reliever to own in the Nationals bullpen

He got owned alright. Actually, after a rough start with the Nationals (5.37 ERA/3.77 FIP) in 37.2 innings, the A’s took a chance on him in the Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson deal, and he’s been good since: 2.25 ERA, 10 K/9 and a WHIP of 1.14. He also has 11 saves. I can’t take credit for this at all, but he’s got a fun repertoire and batted-ball mix. Keep an eye on him next spring.

Batting: 1-for-4 (.250)

5. The same for Ryan Buchter in the Padres bullpen

I mean he’s had a fine season between the Padres and the Royals — opposing batters have hit just .187/.279/.373 off him — but it’s like I forgot Brad Hand even existed. Sure, I was rightly skeptical that Carter Capps would stay healthy — he’s now having thoracic outlet syndrome surgery — but this was an epic failure.

Batting: 1-for-5 (.200)

6. Ryan Pressly and J.T. Chargois emerge as a formidable late-inning duo for the Twins

Chargois didn’t pitch at all this year due to an elbow issue, and still arguably had a better season than Pressly. Not great, Bob.

Batting: 1-for-6 (.167)

7. Sean Manaea finishes as a top-10 starter in the AL

He’s 92nd overall. I know pitching skews to the NL side, but probably not that much. I still believe in him though, and will probably make this prediction again next season if Paul Sporer doesn’t fire my ass.

Batting: 1-for-7 (math is hard)

8. Nicholas Castellanos finishes as a top-10 third baseman this season

ESPN player rater has him 16th, so I’m OK with this #take even if it didn’t exactly pan out. He’s hitting .272/.320/.489 as of this writing and leads the AL in 10 triples. Now that would have been a good bold prediction.

Batting: 1-for-8 (.125)

9. Nate Jones leads the White Sox in saves this season

Not only is this not true, but Jones has a big fat donut in the saves spot. Sure, he was hurt, but like predicted, David Robertson was traded. However, Robertson somehow still leads the team in saves (13) despite being moved like two months ago, while Juan Minaya (seven), Tyler Clippard (two) and Anthony Swarzak (one) all got saves instead of Jones. Minaya is the only one still on the team! Good grief.

Batting: 1-for-9 (.111)

10. Eddie Rosario finishes with more fantasy value than one of his outfield mates (Byron Buxton/Max Kepler)

Hey! I’m going to take credit for this one. ESPN’s player rater has Rosario as the No. 29 outfielder. Buxton is No. 37 and Kepler — who still doesn’t hit lefties — is 79th. I’ve written a ton of stuff on Rosario’s development this year — seriously, just google his name and mine and it’ll come up — but his work with hitting coach James Rowson has been tremendous. He’s hitting a solid .290/.329/.512 on the season with 27 homers, and while a K/BB ratio of 105-35 is nothing to get too excited about, that’s still more walks than his first two years in the MLB combined (27 in 214 games). I called him the poor-man’s David Peralta before the season, but right now he’s having the much better season.

Batting: 2-for-10 (.200)

Better hit the batting cages next spring, rook.

In addition to Rotographs, Warne writes about the Minnesota Twins for The Athletic and is a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

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OddBall Herrera
OddBall Herrera

Technically speaking, Treinen DID become the pitcher to own in the Washington bullpen, it’s just that he didn’t take very long to unbecome it.