It’s time to review the bold. Here’s the full list from March. Let’s see how it played out.
Vogelbach: .333 wOBA in 558 PA, 111 wRC+
Vlad, Jr.: .329 wOBA in 514 PA, 105 wRC+
Considering the level of hype that surrounded Vlad, Jr. this past spring, this prediction was equivalent to baseball heresy. And yet here we are, a win (just barely) right out of the gate. Vogelbach didn’t make it easy…he hit .310/.462/.732 in 25 April games and then just .189/.316/.386 (.304 wOBA) over his last 465 PA. There’s an argument Vogelbach isn’t a major league caliber bat based on that downward cycle, but in total he still somehow managed to outhit the most impressive rookie resume since Bryce Harper.
1 for 1
2 – Adam Frazier will win the National League batting title.
And the NL batting title goes to…Christian Yelich and Ketel Marte at .329 AVG.
Despite a .285 batting average against right hand pitching and a .301 mark at home, Frazier couldn’t carry forward his 2018 second half breakout (.375 wOBA), finishing with a lackluster .278 batting average.
1 for 2
3 – Dakota Hudson will finish inside the Top 5 of the National League ROY vote.
I loved Hudson’s elite ground ball tendencies (57%) coming into 2019 and thought he might be able to overcome the long ball tendencies of today’s game, but despite a healthy 174 innings, his abysmal walk rate (11.3%, worst among all SP with at least 150 innings) will send him much further down the ROY list than his raw stuff should.
1 for 3
4 – The Miami Marlins’ starting rotation will finish with an ERA lower than the rotation of the New York Yankees.
NYY: 4.51 ERA in 778 IP 10.6 WAR
MIA: 4.59 ERA in 888 IP 8.2 WAR
Another close one, but this is a miss. What the Yankees accomplished in 2019 despite never-ending injuries should be applauded, and it will be interesting to see how this middle of the road (15th of 30 teams in ERA) rotation performs in the playoffs. The Marlins had some nice young upside coming into the season, but the second half of the season (5.42 ERA) was not kind (3.92 first half ERA).
1 for 4
5 – Trevor Story will win the National League MVP.
Another great season for Story, landing at .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 23 stolen bases, and a 121 wRC+, but this is your NL Most Valuable Player.
1 for 5
This was my second season going bold on Soler, and he paid off again. Soler finally broke out, slugging 48 home runs, setting a new Royals team record. Acuna (41 HR) and Soto (34 HR) also had terrific years, but Soler has one of my favorite swings in baseball and I’m pulling for another 4o+ bombs next year.
2 for 6
Over the past four seasons, Paul Goldschmidt has averaged 32 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He’s now the new franchise player of the St. Louis Cardinals and primed for another big season. However, Tommy Pham is ready to give the perennial early rounder a run for his money…
This prediction also paid off, as Pham finished the 2019 as the more valuable player, no doubt helped by his first season eclipsing the 600 PA mark (654).
Tommy Pham (age 31): 21 HR + 25 SB (121 wRC+)
Paul Goldschmidt (age 31): 34 HR + 3 SB (116 wRC+)
Is Goldschmidt done running?
3 for 7
Last season I saw a few things I liked in Lynn’s profile and thought he might be a guy to take a chance on. Darvish was coming off an injury-shortened 2018 but was a decent bet to bounce back to normal, high performing levels. Maybe this would have been even more bold had I used Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer as the benchmark, but that’s exactly what Lynn did, eclipsing all three in WAR (6.8), finishing as the 3rd best pitcher in the game, behind only Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom in Wins Above Replacement value.
4 for 8
Thanks to a monster finish (1.093 OPS in 24 September games), Eloy made good (.828 OPS) on this prediction over Machado (.796 OPS), but fell shy of Harper’s solid but unspectacular .882 mark. I think both Machado and Harper improve upon their first year mega-contract seasons next year, but I’m still so bullish on Eloy that I’d take him again without hesitating.
4 for 9
10 – Stephen Piscotty finishes with a line of at least .300/.400/.500.
When healthy (393 PA), Piscotty hit .249/.309/.412 in 2019 for the Athletics. I’m not sure he was really ever healthy.
4 for 10 (.400)
Trey is a 20 year fantasy veteran and a five time Ottoneu champion, including the 2015 winner of the Ottoneu Champions League. He currently administers the Ottoneu community, a network of ~1,200 fantasy baseball and football fans talking trash daily. More resources here: http://community.ottoneu.com