Before the start of the MLB season, I wrote a column called “Predictions That Will Leave You Shaking Your Head.”
The purpose of this column was to make predictions that were bold and way outside the line of conventional thinking. Anyone can predict that Ichiro will hit .300 – so that kind of prediction is meaningless. These predictions were ones that most would say before the year were simply not going to happen.
I made 15 in total and I want to check in and see how I did. I also want to examine the thought process behind the original prediction. A prediction can fail to come through but still be a decent one if the logic behind it was sound or if players simply performed way beyond likely outcomes. Anyway, here they are and how they did. Dollar values come from the RotoTimes Player Rater.
1. Asdrubal Cabrera will out-earn Miguel Tejada.
Did it come true? No, Cabrera had a $12.33 value while Tejada finished at $14.83
Good Prediction? Yes, Cabrera was undervalued (available on last round of fantasy drafts) while Tejada was going in the middle of most drafts. Cabrera performed exactly like I expected him while Tejada reversed a declining trend as a 35-year old.
2. Barry Zito finishes the year as a top-75 fantasy SP.
Did it come true? Yes, Zito finished with a $3.07 value and was the 58th most valuable starting pitcher.
Good Prediction? Yes, Zito went undrafted in most leagues.
3. Carlos Delgado exceeds his 2008 fantasy value.
Did it come true? No, Delgado got hurt and missed most of the year?
Good Prediction? Eh, older players are always more of a risk to get hurt. But when healthy he was out-producing what he did in 2008.
4. Chien-Ming Wang out-earns Joba Chamberlain.
Did it come true? No, Wang missed most of the year with an injury and was terrible when he pitched.
Good Prediction? I got it half right. Chamberlain was definitely overvaled. He was going in the top half of most drafts and ended up with a negative dollar value. I thought Wang was undervalued but that was not right.
5. Justin Upton turns in a better fantasy season than his brother.
Did it come true? Yes, Justin finished with a $22.40 value while B.J. ended at $11.41
Good Prediction? Outstanding, perhaps the best one here. B.J. went in the top three rounds in most drafts while Justin lasted until the 15th round or later.
6. At least half of the Dirty Dozen Verducci pitchers make 30 starts.
Did it come true? Yes, 11 of the 12 (Billingsley, Danks, Garza, Hamels, Jurrjens, Kershaw, Lester, Lincecum, Morrow, Nolasco, Pelfrey and J. Sanchez) made at least 30 starts and the one who didn’t spent a good part of the year as a relief pitcher.
Good Prediction? Yes, while Verducci Effect pitchers were being downgraded by many, that meant there were bargains to be had.
7. Shin-Soo Choo turns in at least a $15 fantasy season.
Did it come true? Yes, Choo finished at $21.06
Good Prediction? Yes, Choo provided outstanding value at the end of most drafts.
8. Jamie Moyer out-earns Randy Johnson.
Did it come true? Yes, Moyer finished at -$0.96 while Johnson finished at -$1.55
Good Prediction? Probably the worst of the ones that came true. Johnson was coming into his own before getting injured and would have been more valuable than Moyer if he stayed healthy. But part of the prediction revolved around Johnson not being able to do what no power pitcher had ever done before in MLB – throw 200 IP at age 45. So, still a good one.
9. Howie Kendrick plays in 150 games and puts up a better year than Brandon Phillips.
Did it come true? No, Kendrick finished with 105 games due to a stint in the minors. He finished with a $5.58 dollar value while Phillips had an $18.67 value.
Good Prediction? No, it was between one-quarter and one-half right. Kendrick did stay injury-free but was not productive enough to stay in the lineup. Phillips was overvalued (he was generally ranked in the top 3 of 2B in the preseason) but his eighth-place finish among his position-mates was still more valuable than I anticipated him being.
10. Rich Harden makes 30 starts for the first time since 2004.
Did it come true? No, Harden finished with 26 starts.
Good Prediction? Yes, it was the second-most starts in Harden’s career and he was a very effective pitcher in the second half of the season with a 2.55 ERA.
11. Nate McLouth posts an OPS under .800 for the season.
Did it come true? Yes, McLouth finished with a .788 OPS.
Good Prediction? Yes, people were anticipating an OPS of .850 or above from McLouth and were greatly overrating him.
12. Cliff Lee makes his second straight All-Star game appearance.
Did it come true? No
Good Prediction? Yes, Lee was an effective pitcher this year but suffered from both some bad luck and lack of support from his teammates in Cleveland. People think he turned his season around once he was traded to the Phillies but he had a 3.53 FIP at the All-Star break and his first three starts in the second half for Cleveland he was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA before being dealt.
13. Chase Utley puts up a better fantasy season than higher-ranked teammates Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins.
Did it come true? No, Howard had a $30.38 value while Utley checked in at $26.75 and Rollins brought up the rear with a $16.34 mark.
Good Prediction? Yes, Utley probably moves ahead of Howard with the position adjustment. Rollins was going 10 picks ahead of Utley.
14. Gil Meche turns in a more valuable season than Derek Lowe.
Did it come true? No, Meche had a -$7.23 value while Lowe finished at -$0.95
Good Prediction? Half right. Lowe was being overvalued but Meche was not as good as he was previously.
15. Lastings Milledge out-earns Johnny Damon.
Did it come true? No, Milledge finished at -$8.73 while Damon finished at $18.00
Good Prediction? No, probably the worst one of the bunch. Damon was as good as expected while Milledge failed to keep his job. I was projecting Damon to fall off a cliff while expecting Milledge to make the great leap forward. I will probably still project Milledge to break out in 2010 but will be less likely to predict Damon to fall flat on his face. He is aging much better than I anticipated.
Overall, I got six of the 15 predictions completely right. I would have liked more but I believe 40 percent is an excellent ratio given the unlikely nature of these projections. Many of the ones I missed were dual projections where I was right on one of the players. There was only one that I would like a complete do-over on. Overall I am pretty happy with the results although I hope to do better next year.