Andrew Todd-Smith’s 10 Bold Predictions in Review
We’re continuing to review the Pitcher List Staff Bold Predictions this week, with Andrew Todd-Smith next up as he looks back at his predictions from March.
1. Oakland’s bullpen is so mired in committee mediocrity that both closer candidates Ryan Madson and Santiago Casilla each blow seven saves and fail to amass 30 saves individually
This is a partial credit situation that is, to an extent, contextually bolstered by the fact that Madson ended up becoming a Washington National so that throws the Oakland depth chart slightly out of whack for this prediction. Furthermore, Dusty Baker used him more as a setup guy whose relief appearances instead afforded him the chance to secure holds during the second half, and he did amass 25. At the end of the day, however, he blew more saves than he ended up getting (three versus two). Casilla got only 16 saves under his belt and did in fact blow exactly seven for the Athletics this season.
KINDA – 0.5 for 1
2. Trea Turner will win the MLB steals title this year and eclipse 100 runs scored
I think it’s fair to say Turner’s hand injury was the only reason these exact accomplishments didn’t come to pass. Hear me out: his 46 steals in 98 games for the Nats amounted to 0.47 SB/G, which is a significantly better rate of production than Billy Hamilton‘s 0.42 in 139 games and steals crown winner Dee Gordon‘s 0.38. With regard to the runs, if he’d played in the same number of games as say, Jose Altuve with 153, Turner would have been on pace to cross the plate 117 times. While I accurately evaluated Turner’s top-flight speed and scoring ability with the work rates to back up extrapolations, Gordon won the speed title and Turner only got the chance to score 75 times.
KINDA – 1 for 2
3. Both Francisco Lindor and Adrian Beltre will repeat as the AL Gold Glove award winners at their respective positions
Beltre’s health limited his reps this year, but he was still excellent by defensive—and more specifically, Ultimate Zone Rating— standards. However, it’s exceedingly likely that Todd Frazier, Kyle Seager or Matt Chapman will snag the award over Beltre instead when you look at their work in the Defensive Runs Saved (Chapman/Frazier), Double Play Runs (all three) and Range Runs (Chapman/Frazier) areas. The latter two categories go into the UZR calculation, and it’s worth mentioning that only Chapman outdid Beltre in UZR/150, but that’s splitting hairs at this point. With regard to the award for SS, despite Lindor being awesome and a top-5 guy at the position in MLB, I think it would be an upset of massive proportions and a mistake if Andrelton Simmons didn’t win it this season.
WRONG – 1 for 3
4. The top three AL Cy Young vote-getters will be Corey Kluber, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale, in that order.
It’s looking like it’s going to be Kluber who wins it, with Sale close in tow. According to this predictor tool and its algorithm for viability to win the Cy Young, Verlander should place sixth in the voting. Half credit because I probably got the winner right while botching the specific occupants of the silver and bronze podiums.
KINDA – 1.5 for 4
5. David Price’s decline continues, but Zack Greinke rebounds
This was absolutely correct as a general prediction, but because I got specific with K/9, ERA, FIP and HR/9 predictions that only partially came true, I have to humbly accept half credit here. Price only appeared in 16 games, so my expectation that his health would be an issue was dead-on. His K/9 didn’t recede to sub-8.0 levels (9.16), and his ERA of 3.38 was a little better than the 3.80 floor I gave him. However, I was much closer with the prediction of a 3.80 FIP, as he registered a 3.64 on the year. In the case of Greinke, I succeeded in estimating he would clock an ERA no higher than 3.25 (3.20) and was damn close with the HR/9, as he achieved a mark of 1.11 when I had him at sub-1.00. Not too shabby.
KINDA – 2 for 5
6. No-hitters are due for a return to prominence and frequency after an underwhelming 2016, and we will see six of them this season
Rich Hill‘s near-perfect game on August 23 that ended with a Josh Harrison solo shot being perhaps the most gut-wrenching example of a bevy of close calls we had in the no-hitter department this year. No-hit bids are not good enough, however; Edinson Volquez notched the singular no-no of the 2017 season back in early June. Corey Kluber and Ervin Santana notably each pitched five complete games and three shutouts, but dominant pitching in the AL Central doesn’t change the fact that the NH count stayed at 1 for the year.
WRONG – 2 for 6
7. The Baltimore Orioles win the AL East outright
Nope. The Red Sox seemed to generally get better although they accomplished the same exact regular season record of 93-69 as they did last year, en route to another AL East title. The Yankees found themselves contending for the division down to the final days of the campaign with the help of rookies Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez alongside a healthy infield duo of Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius. Ultimately, though, Baltimore placed last in the division despite having a better record against AL East opponents than both Tampa Bay and Toronto. Kevin Gausman wasn’t anywhere close to being the ace we thought he’d be, and Dylan Bundy was inconsistent despite flashes of excellence. Jonathan Schoop was exceptional this year, but he and a late-blooming Manny Machado didn’t have enough firepower to spearhead team victories often enough. Overall, the Os just didn’t get it done. Even when I say Baltimore will be good, they can’t even come through and help out this Cleveland fan by making me look good for my leap of faith.
WRONG – 2 for 7
8. Colorado is still a year away from being a legitimate contender and will finish with the second-worst record in the NL
I really whiffed on this one. Credit is due to Bud Black for managing the daylights out of this team amid its injury woes. I thought that the delay on getting David Dahl back—which never happened—and the lack of both Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy for considerable stints of time would be significantly more detrimental. Instead, guys like Mark Reynolds and, to a lesser extent, Gerardo Parra really stepped up. Carlos Gonzalez had a rough start but ended up righting the ship to hit .314 with 35 RBI during the second half. In hindsight, it seems foolhardy to have doubted the extent to which studs Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon could singlehandedly carry this team, even with suspect starting pitching that plays in hitter-friendly Coors Field half the time. The fact of the matter is Colorado ended up being an opportunistic and resourceful squad that made it to the NL Wild Card game, so I was further off than Lloyd Christmas trying to recall Mary Swanson’s actual last name. The one iota of accuracy I accomplished here was that I said the Rockies would not finish worse than the Padres but I also expected San Diego to own the worst NL record period, and that dubious honor weirdly ended up going to San Francisco. The Rockies should be loaded for another dynamite season next year, in my opinion, so a bold prediction in five months’ time would be to say they will do poorly in 2018.
WRONG – 2 for 8
9. Brad Ausmus will not be the manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2018 if they fail to make the postseason
Nailed it. Effective September 22, the Tigers announced Ausmus would not be retained for the 2018 season. It took the franchise eight days to make my prediction come true, as Detroit was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on September 14. Regardless, I’m stoked that my apparently having a finger on the pulse of AL Central hot seat scuttlebutt paid off in this case.
CORRECT – 3 for 9
10. We will see the new intentional walk rule cause enough confusion and drama at least once when a dugout signal is misinterpreted that a manager will be ejected
I really did think this would, at least once during the season, be poorly adjudicated. Specifically, I expected a hitting coach to get frustrated with the officiating crew when an IBB was awarded to a player he actually wanted to get a proper chance to hit a ball in play, whereupon a manager comes out and argues on his behalf to get tossed. But, to my knowledge, after poring through this thorough database of 2017 ejections, it just plain didn’t happen. Looking back now, it was a pretty obscure thing I envisioned, given the apparent simplicity we now know the new procedure to have.
WRONG – 3 for 10