Ben Palmer’s 2018 Bold Predictions In Review
Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire
We’re continuing to review the Pitcher List Staff Bold Predictions this week, with Ben Palmer next up as he looks back at his predictions from March.
1. Giancarlo Stanton becomes the first hitter since Alex Rodriguez to hit 50+ home runs in two consecutive seasons
After about the first month of the season, I really thought this was gonna bomb hard. Giancarlo Stanton was struggling big-time (.230/.313/.425 in March/April) and it wasn’t looking good. While he didn’t end up getting to 50 home runs, he came pretty darn close, finishing the year with 38 home runs. And it’s not like he missed time, he played in 158 games this year, nor did he lose power (he actually had an increase in hard-hit rate), but he just couldn’t quite make it to 50 home runs.
WRONG – 0 for 1
2. Adam Eaton scores more runs than anyone else in the National League
I knew this could happen on one condition—Adam Eaton stayed healthy. Unfortunately, he did not, playing in just 95 games this year and ending the season with 55 runs. But had he stayed healthy, would he have achieved this? Not even close. If you pace out his run total to a full season, we’re looking at him ending the year with about 90 runs. Certainly good, but nowhere near Charlie Blackmon‘s NL-leading 119 runs.
WRONG – 0 for 2
3. Kevin Gausman finishes the year as a top-30 starting pitcher
Ughhhhh Kevin Gausman you kill me. Gausman made some changes at the end of last season that I thought could result in some sustained success this year. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen. He flirted with being a really usable starting pitcher, but was inconsistent. However, things changed once the Baltimore Orioles sent him to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline. During his time with the Orioles this year, Gausman had a 4.43 ERA with a 4.58 FIP. With the Braves, Gausman sported a 2.87 ERA, albeit with a 3.78 FIP. Of course, moving to the NL East from the AL East is nothing but a good thing for a pitcher, so it’ll be interesting to see what Gausman does next year. Oh, and yea, he didn’t finish top 30, more like top 70. Oh well.
WRONG – 0 for 3
4. Luis Castillo finishes the year as a top-10 starting pitcher
If there is a tale of woe to be told this year on Pitcher List, it’s about Luis Castillo. We all loved him, and how could you not? With the way he finished last season with a killer fastball/changeup combo, he looked like a genuine stud. Cut to the end of this season and he’s got a 4.30 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP and 3.37 K/BB. It’s worth noting, however, that he had some serious first- and second-half splits. The first half of the year saw him with a 5.49 ERA, the second saw a 2.44 ERA. He also saw his K/9 increase from 8.36 to 9.36 from the first to the second half, and most importantly, his BB/9 decrease from 3.05 to 1.90. I still love him, there’s a stud in there somewhere if he can control his stuff, but a top 10 pitcher he was not this year.
WRONG – 0 for 4
5. Carlos Gonzalez bounces back and finishes the year as a top-25 outfielder
I gave up on Carlos Gonzalez after a couple months. He slashed .246/.274/.435 in March/April and .267/.328/.400 in May. He didn’t look good and I thought my eternal love for him was misplaced. But then, he turned things around in a huge way, finishing the first half slashing .280/.332/.479 and ultimately finishing the season with his best year in a while. But was he a top 25 outfielder? Sadly, no. He came in at outfielder #38, which to be fair, is a lot better than where some people thought he’d finish this season. But still, not top 25, but I give myself minor credit for at least saying CarGo would be usable this year.
WRONG – 0 for 5
6. Austin Hays is the next Trey Mancini and finishes the season as a top-25 outfielder
Oof, talking about a whiff. I loved what Austin Hays did in the minors last year, slashing .330/.367/.594 with 32 home runs between Single-A and Double-A, and I thought the Orioles might elect to bring him up and see what he can do in the majors. They didn’t, and this year was a bad one for Hays, mostly derailed by an ankle injury. In Double-A, he ended up slashing .242/.271/.432 in just 66 games. I still love Hays’ potential, and if healthy next year, I could see him playing consistently in the outfield next year as the Orioles have officially entered rebuild mode.
WRONG – 0 for 6
7. Aaron Judge bats worse than .250
When I published my bold predictions, someone commented and said “I think it’s bolder to say Aaron Judge batts better than .250.” And I agreed. I didn’t think Judge could maintain a batting average over .250 with a strikeout rate over 30% and a BABIP in the .350s. Well, guess what? He ended the year hitting .278 with a 30.5% strikeout rate and a .368 BABIP. Shows what I know.
WRONG – 0 for 7
8. Brad Brach finishes the year as a top-10 closer and on a team that isn’t the Orioles
Generally speaking, Brad Brach has been a pretty solid reliever. He had some control issues last year, but I figured he could fix those and end up being a solid closer for another team (as I assumed he’d be traded at the deadline). Well, I got part of that right, he was traded to the Braves, but he wasn’t the closer. He did close for the Orioles and logged a couple saves for the Braves, but he was far from a top 10 closer, especially because his control issues continued and he ended the year with a 3.59 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. I’ll take half credit though, because I got half the prediction right.
KINDA – 0.5 for 8
9. Lucas Giolito finishes the year as a top-25 starting pitcher
Hahahahahahahahahaha oh well. Lucas Giolito looked pretty good in the spring. He changed his arm slot, upped his fastball velocity, and was locating his curveball pretty well. But once the season started, that all collapsed and he was terrible once again, finishing the year with a 6.13 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Ouch.
WRONG – 0.5 for 9
10. Christian Yelich has the best season of his career and it’s not close
I got this one right at least. Christian Yelich absolutely tore it up this year, finishing the year slashing .326/.402/.598 with 36 home runs, 118 runs, 110 RBI, and 22 steals, career-highs all around with potential for an MVP award. I said he’d come close to a 30/30 season, and he did, so I’ll take credit for this one.
CORRECT – 1.5 for 10
FINAL SCORE – 1.5 out of 10 (oddly enough, exactly what I ended with last year)