(Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)
2018 was my worst performance as a fantasy owner in a decade. While my home league juggernaut added another trophy to the metaphorical mantle, none of my other teams came anywhere close to contention. Let’s see how my bold predictions fared.
1. Delino DeShields scores 100 runs and leads the American League in stolen bases
This is the second time in three years I’ve predicted a breakout fantasy season for The Dentist, and he face-planted both times. DeShields didn’t last long in the leadoff spot, hitting just .216/.310/.281. As a result of that poor showing, he only scored 52 runs and swiped 20 bags in 106 games. I’ve learned my lesson. 0-for-1.
2. Arizona Zacks: Godley > Greinke
Greinke, as usual, was one of the best and most reliable pitchers in baseball, both real and fantasy. Godley was, uh…not. He struggled with his command all season, leading to ugly ratios (4.74 ERA, 1.45 WHIP). Godley did manage to rack up 15 wins and more than a strikeout per inning, but this prediction didn’t come anywhere close to fruition. 0-for-2.
3. Luis Castillo fails to crack the top 50 starting pitchers…
Nailed it. Everyone’s favorite “sleeper” limped out to an awful first half and, though he improved considerably after the All-Star break, finished well outside the top 50 SP according to all three major platforms’ rankings. There may well be profit potential here in 2019, though he’ll need to do a better job limiting home runs to become the ace so many expected to emerge this year. 1-for-3.
4. But Nick Pivetta does
This one looked fantastic for a while, but like pretty much every other player on his team, Pivetta fell apart down the stretch. The numbers suggest he was victimized by a truly awful defense, but Nicky P still has to improve his work from the stretch and cut down on the long balls for his results to catch up to his peripherals. 1-for-4.
5. Chris Iannetta is a top 10 catcher
To be fair, as I said back in March, I only went with Iannetta because multiple other writers beat me to the punch on touting Robinson Chirinos, who was in fact top 10 by Yahoo’s scoring (he finished 12th on ESPN’s Player Rater). As usual, Iannetta hit a few homers and drew walks, but a poor batting average and lack of volume kept him from fantasy relevance. 1-for-5.
6. Elvis Andrus is not a top 10 shortstop
This one got an injury assist, but even when he played, Andrus looked nothing like the stud he was in 2017. The power dried up and he only went 5-for-8 on stolen base attempts. We’ll never really know how much of those struggles we can attribute to the broken elbow Andrus suffered in April, but either way, this prediction proved accurate. 2-for-6.
7. Fernando Rodney leads the American League in saves
I’m watching the AL Wild Card Game as I write this, and Rodney just allowed the Yankees to take a 3-0 lead. He only pitched in the game because he was traded from Minnesota to Oakland at the deadline, which wrecked any chance he had of fulfilling this prediction. Of course, nobody besides Edwin Diaz had a prayer of leading the American League in saves this year anyway. Pretty sure Diaz had 30 of ’em by the first week of May. Rodney notched 25 with the Twins before being relegated to middle relief with the A’s. 2-for-7.
8. Ozzie Albies is a top 40 overall player
Close, but not quite. Albies dominated early but faded as the year went on, enough that he finished “only” 45th in Yahoo and 73rd in ESPN by standard scoring. He got there in unexpected fashion as well, hitting more for power than average and stealing fewer bases than anticipated. Still a hugely impressive performance from a 21-year-old, just not enough to make a winner of this prediction. 2-for-8.
9. Eugenio Suarez is a top 10 third baseman
Well, I had Cincinnati pegged at least. Suarez exceeded even my lofty expectations, setting career bests in batting average (.284), home runs (34), and RBI (104). That was only enough to finish eighth among third basemen on both Yahoo and ESPN, because the hot corner is absolutely stacked with elite fantasy options. But eighth is enough for our purposes. 3-for-9.
Inciarte ran wild in April, stealing 13 bases and making this one look like a possibility. Then he only went 15-for-27 on the bases the rest of the year and was a below-average hitter to boot. Meanwhile, Marte mostly stayed healthy, rediscovered his power, and ended up with 33 steals himself en route to a top-30 overall season. Whoops. 3-for-10.