Alright folks, it’s the All Star break so it’s time to check in on my predictions. Let’s get started…
Prediction #1 – Munenori Kawasaki to have a better year than Adam Rosales
Since no Major League team wanted to sign Kawasaki, he returned to Japan and promptly suited up for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Before we check in on Kawa, let’s take a quick look at our old pal Rosie.
Rosales, in classic Rosalian fashion, has been stinkin’ it up so far this season, slashing .233/.271/.347 with 4 homeruns and 27 RBI’s. But don’t count ol’ Rosie out just yet, in 55 games at shortstop he’s also chipped in with 8 errors for a dismal .965 fielding percentage.
Obviously I can’t do much of a comparison as Kawasaki isn’t in The Show anymore so in essence, this is a failed prediction. Just for fun though, I decided to work out Kawa’s Japanese stats and convert them to what he would be expected to hit were he to still ply his trade on the Senior Circuit.
Basically, I took his career MLB and NPB slash lines and compared them. His NPB numbers are such and such percent of his MLB slash line (80.88%/93.02%/76.86% to be exact). So, his 2017 NPB slash line of .254/.319/.331 translates into an expected MLB slash line of .205/.297/.254. This gives him an expected TOE (Total Offensive Effectiveness) of 0.281, not far off of Rosie’s TOE of .287. Both pretty terrible, even by the standards that utility infielders are held to, but I’m still going to give Kawa a slight edge here based solely on his slightly better defense, his lower salary (50% of what Rosales makes) and his clubhouse presence.
Verdict: All kinds of fail.
Prediction #2 – Greg Bird to be awesome
It’s the craziest thing, when I wrote these predictions, I mistakenly thought that Greg Bird was a 6’11”, 295 lb righty who wore #99 for the Yankees… No, seriously. Anyway, silly me, this guy is actually named Aaron Judge. So I guess we’ll call this one “On Track”.
The real Greg Bird has been on the DL much of the season, compiling just 72 plate appearances and slashing .100/.250/.200. Other than that he’s doing great, except for the fact that the Yankees just announced that he will need season-ending ankle surgery.
*I reserve the right to say ‘I told you so’ if Birdie goes on to dominate next season.
Prediction #3 – Pablo Sandoval to remain a bum.
Pudge-blo Sandoval has definitely lived down to my expectations so far this year, posting a slash line of .212/.269/.354 over 108 plate appearances. He was recently on the 10-day DL with an ear infection, before Boston finally wised up and designated him for assignment. In an unrelated incident, Cubs GM Theo Epstein pulled a muscle in his back while laughing hysterically.
Verdict – On track.
Prediction #4 – Jameson Taillon to win 15 games.
Like Bird, Taillon has struggled with health issues in 2017, namely… getting cancer (move over John Madden, there’s a new curse put-er on-er in town).
When he has been healthy he’s been effective, posting a 5-3 record and a 1.36 WHIP in 12 starts. Most starters will start 33-34 games, 15 wins being a 44% winning percentage. So, if Taillon wins 44% of his starts this year, I’m gonna call this one a success. Like my Bird prediction, I reserve the right to re-enter this prediction into the 2018 edition.
Verdict: On track-ish, kinda.
Prediction #5 – Coulombe to dominate out of the A’s bullpen.
The A’s have been their usual terrible selves in 2017, even going so far as to release veteran catcher and locker-room leader, Stephen Vogt. Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madsen were recently shipped to Washington in exchange for Blake Treinen and, (yup, you guessed it) a couple of prospects. Coulombe has been solid though, posting a 2.81 ERA, a 1.094 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.0 through 32 innings. As I envisioned, he is being used as more of a lefty specialist than he was last year – in 2016, just 41.9% of this batters Coulombe faced were lefties, compared to 48.4% so far this season. In 2016 he threw 47 2/3 innings over 35 games. Through 2017 however, he’s tossed just 32 innings over 38 games, which may help to explain why he has posted a better WHIP, lower HR/9, lower BB/9 despite his K/9 dropping from 10.2 to 7.0.
Look for Coulombe’s workload to increase however, given the recent departures of Madsen and Doolittle.
Verdict: On Track.
Prediction #6 – Junior Guerra to regress.
As I suspected, Guerra’s 2016 season seems to have been an outlier. He spent a considerable amount of time on the DL this year, and has posted dismal numbers when healthy. Through 10 starts he’s 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA, a 1.592 WHIP and a BB/9 of 5.7.
Verdict: On Track.
Bonus Prediction: Trout to go 40-40.
Trout was on track to realistically push for 40-40 before injuring his thumb while sliding into second. Through 50 games he’s mashed 16 potatoes and swiped 11 bags, being caught just once. Using some old-school, little league math, this puts Mini-Mantle on pace for 51 homeruns and 35 stolen bases. Unfortunately for me, and Trout I guess, he doesn’t have enough games remaining to approach Canseco’s magical number.
Verdict: While Trout may not do it this year I still firmly believe that the next person to go 40-40 will be named after a fish.