Fantasy Baseball 2012: Revisiting My Preseason Bold Predictions
Back on March 24, I came up with 10 bold predictions for the 2012 season.
The point of these "bold predictions" was to find scenarios that would most likely not happen, but still find enough evidence to prove that they could come true.
For example, saying Miguel Cabrera would be a top-five fantasy player would not qualify as a bold prediction.
With August rolling in, I thought it would be fun to look back at what I came up with. Here are my findings.
Cole Hamels Will Be the Best Pitcher on the Phillies' Staff
This one has been true so far.
With the team loaded with great starting pitching, Cole Hamels started the year as the Phillies' No. 4 starter. But he's been the ace of the staff for the entire season.
Roy Halladay went down early with an injury and Cliff Lee didn't get his first win of the year until July 4. In the meantime, Hamels went 11-6 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a 9.08 K/9 ratio.
Based off Yahoo! league averages, Hamels was the ninth SP selected, behind guys like Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia and Tim Lincecum. He's certainly pitched better than those three this season.
Dee Gordon Steals More Bases and Has a Better Average Than Jose Reyes
This one is half-right so far.
I was very high on Dee Gordon coming into the season (that's why I drafted him in two of my leagues). But, for the most part, he's been a disappointment.
Yes, he does have more stolen bases than Jose Reyes so far (30 to 25), but the kid was only hitting .229 when he hit the disabled list.
Many forgot that Gordon hit .304 in 56 games for the Dodgers last season, but he failed to find any consistency at the plate this season.
Meanwhile, Reyes hasn't ripped the cover off the baseball, but he's seen his average climb from .253 at the end of May to .279 currently.
Cory Luebke Outperforms James Shields
This one could have been true if Cory Luebke stayed healthy.
In five starts on the season, Luebke went 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Then, after winning three straight decisions, the southpaw felt soreness in his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery.
James Shields hasn't pitched like he did last season. After going 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA in 2011, Shields is 9-7 with a 4.24 ERA this year.
Obviously, it's impossible to expect that Luebke would have pitched at the same level the entire season, but I think he would have been better than Shields at this point.
Brett Lawrie Will Be 30/30 in His First Full Season
Okay, this one is wrong by a large margin.
I was high on Brett Lawrie as well, and he really hasn't lived up to high expectations. He's hitting .287 with nine homers and 13 steals.
Those numbers aren't bad, but he won't come close to that 30/30 season that I suggested. In fact, he probably won't even get to 20/20 this year.
He'll probably finish the year with a .280 average, 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Again, not bad for a 22-year-old, but way off my prediction.
Josh Johnson Has a Durable Rebound
This one has looked good so far.
After being shut down in 2011 after nine starts, Josh Johnson has 21 starts and 124.2 innings pitched in his 2012 campaign.
I expected Johnson to get a little more than 160 innings, and it looks like he'll get around 175 innings by season's end.
His numbers don't look very impressive (6-7 with a 4.04 ERA), but he's pitched better than those numbers. His FIP is 3.08 and that's ninth-best in the MLB.
Rafael Betancourt Will Be a Better Closer Than Drew Storen
This one is true because Drew Storen isn't even the Nats' closer any more.
Obviously, I wrote this article before it was clear that Drew Storen would miss the first three-and-a-half months of the season. And since Tyler Clippard has done such a good job filling in, he's now the permanent closer.
Rafael Betancourt, meanwhile, is putting together another solid season. The Rockies haven't given Betancourt tons of opportunities, but the veteran has converted 17 saves with a 2.84 ERA.
In Yahoo! leagues, Storen, on average, was the fifth closer taken, as opposed to Betancourt who was the 17th. Betancourt has clearly been more valuable.
Mat Gamel Will Outplay Freddie Freeman
This is another prediction that went awry.
Mat Gamel was trying to get rid of the Quad-A label that was placed on him, but he saw his season come to an abrupt end when he tore his right ACL on May 1.
Gamel started the year well, but by the time he was injured, Gamel was down to .246 with one home run, six RBI and 10 runs scored.
Freddie Freeman saw his average dip down to .247 on June 24, but he's been able to get it up all the way to .284 with 13 home runs.
I thought Freeman would have a sophomore slump, but he seems to be on the same path he was on last year. Expect Freeman to finish with a .280 average with 20 home runs and 95 RBI.
Matt Kemp Doesn't Reach 30/30
This one will come true, but I was rather lucky.
I made this prediction under the assumption that Matt Kemp would remain healthy, but he hasn't, and that's why he won't reach 30/30.
Kemp started the year on fire. After the first month of the season, Kemp was hitting .417 with 12 home runs. He was well on his way to hitting over 30 bombs.
Then injuries set in. Since his return on July 13, Kemp has only hit three home runs and stolen one base.
After proclaiming that he was going to be the first 50/50 player in MLB history, Kemp will fail to reach 30/30 in 2012.
Expect Kemp to finish with a .330 average with 25 home runs and 10 stolen bases.
Brandon Beachy Puts Up Better Numbers Than Ricky Romero
This one would have definitely come true.
Brandon Beachy was yet another one of my prediction breakouts to get injured. It's a shame too, because he was 5-5 with a 2.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP when he opted for Tommy John surgery.
Meanwhile, Ricky Romero is having a season to forget.
After going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA last year, Romero is 8-8 with a 5.69 ERA this season. It's easy to say it's been a stark contrast for the young Blue Jay pitcher.
Based on Yahoo! leagues, Romero, on average, was the 31st SP taken. He's been downright terrible this season, and it seems to be a wasted pick.
Matt Wieters Hits Fewer Than 15 Home Runs
This is one that will most likely be false.
At the moment, Matt Wieters has 13 home runs and there's no reason to think he won't hit at least three more homers the rest of the way.
I thought Wieters' HR/FB rate was way too high last year when he belted 22 long balls. I figured a regression was sure to come, but I was wrong.
He's been able to produce a similar HR/FB rate this season. He was at 13.6 percent last season and he's at 13.1 percent so far.
Wieters should finish with worse numbers than last season, but he should still get close to 20 home runs.