(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
Well, the regular season is done and while we all buckle up for an exciting postseason, I’m going to take a moment to review my bold predictions from this February.
1. Robinson Chirinos finishes as a Top 5 catcher
He had weeks here and there, where he flashed his upside, but Chirinos only played 113 games, fell short of 20 HRs, and hit just .222. Everything was underwhelming this season from Chirinos and he’ll turn 35 next year.
WRONG– 0 for 1
To a certain extent, it’s not my fault, as Correa dealt with a crippling back injury the second half of this season. As we all know, he limped to the finish line with a 45 wRC+ in the second half. However, his .268/.352/.480 line in the first half didn’t inspire much confidence either.
WRONG– 0 for 2
3. Yu Darvish finishes outside the Top 40 starters
Arguably, this is an unfair win, as injuries took Darvish’s season from him early- but Darvish never looked good this year. Only 3 of his 8 starts this season looked good and he finished with a 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and an 11.7% walk rate. Yikes. So he wasn’t even top 40 when he was pitching. Here’s hoping Darvish comes back healthy and dominant- his draft stock should be pretty low which makes for an interesting possible investment.
CORRECT– 1 for 3
4. Brandon Morrow finishes as a Top 5 closer
Morrow was performing very well until a bicep and elbow issue kept him out for all of August and September and he ends the year as the #52 RP on the ESPN Player Rater. That being said, he was pitching very well when he went down, sporting a 1.47 ERA and 22 SVs over 30.2 IP. The saves were 12th in baseball and the ERA was 3rd among closers. So maybe this is a 2019 prediction?
WRONG– 1 for 4
5. Greg Bird finishes as a Top 10 first baseman, hinting at Top 5
Injuries kept him from seeing the field until May 15th, but even when he played, Bird was straight up bad. He hit .199/.286/.386 in 311 PAs, eventually losing the job to Luke Voit. Bird’s days as the “1B of the future” for the Yankees seem to be about done, as he’ll enter his age 26 season with almost no legitimate MLB production to his name. There’s talk of moving Sanchez to 1B next season or even signing Harper as a 1B. Who knows? But it doesn’t look like Bird is in the long-term plans anymore.
WRONG– 1 for 5
6. The Giants fail to win 75 games again
Perhaps I should’ve gone bolder because this just seemed too easy to predict. The Giants failed to click early on and the patchwork rotation struggled without Madison Bumgarner, losing Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to injuries. Buster Posey ended up going down with a season-ending injury and the team entered selling mode, shipping off Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees. I expect this is the first year of what will be a long and painful rebuild for the Giants. No more even year dominance. Not for a long time.
CORRECT– 2 for 6
7. Fernando Tatis Jr. becomes the most talked about September call-up in 2018
Ugh, a broken bone in his thumb kept Tatis from playing the final two months of this season, and likely kept him from making his MLB debut, though he still hasn’t played above AA. He was slashing .286/.355/.507 with 16 HRs and 16 SBs in 88 games when he went down. The upside is still as juicy as almost anyone in the minors, and I’m still high on him entering 2019.
WRONG– 2 for 7
8. No Yankee hits 40 home runs in 2018
Nic Gardiner told me back in March that this wasn’t bold enough and I vehemently disagreed because they featured two guys who hit 50 in 2017 and two more with the potential to hit 40 this year. Welp, perhaps Nic was right, as the closest Yankee to 40 HRs this year was Stanton at 38. Judge likely would’ve done it if not for his injury shortened campaign. Sanchez looks completely lost this year as well, which makes me wonder if a Yankee will hit 40 next year.
CORRECT– 3 for 7
9. Byron Buxton finishes as a Top 5 fantasy OF
I’ve been in on Buxton’s skill set since early 2015, but he continues to fail in the majors, not even earning a call-up in September 2018, although there’s an argument that was for financial reasons, as the Twins earned an extra year of control over Buxton. He makes for a decent post-post-post hype sleeper next season in the hope that he can finally sustain success in the majors. He should come at a huge discount for it. Also, I’m seeing Adalberto Mondesi get similar hype to what Buxton had last year, pushing his early ADP into the 5th round. We’ll discuss that more this off-season.
WRONG– 3 for 9
10. The Mets will have at least 2, if not 3, pitchers throw 200 innings
SO CLOSE! deGrom easily cleared the barrier at 217 IP, but Zack Wheeler fell short at 182.1, plus 5 minor league innings, which I was totally willing to count. After that, nobody was close- Syndergaard was closest at 154.1 (Matz at 154.0). But at the end of the day, a loss is a loss.
WRONG– 3 for 10