Now that the 2017 Major League Baseball season has wrapped up it’s time to take a look back and see how close (read: wildly inaccurate) my predictions were. Let’s get started…
1 – Kawasaki to have a better year than Rosales
I wrote a piece a while back where I suggested that the A’s pick up Munenori Kawasaki as a utility infielder. While it’s a pretty safe bet that Billy Beane is a regular reader of mine, he must have missed that article because he instead decided to sign the perennial out-making-machine that is Adam Rosales. As a result of my subsequent outrage, I made the proclamation that Kawasaki would have a better season than Rosales, hands down. There was but one small flaw in my plan… no big league GM shared my admiration for Kawasaki and thus he was forced to return to Japan where he suited up for the Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. Sadly, he played just 42 games, slashing .241/.309/314. Since Rosales managed to play 105 games in the Show, we’ll go ahead and call this prediction a fail. Rosie did however live down to my expectations, slashing .234/.273/.346 with Oakland before being dealt to the D’backs. He didn’t fare much better in Arizona, posting a line of .202/.227/.369, something I still think Kawasaki could have done for less than half of what Rosales was paid. Either way, this prediction was a washout no matter how you look at it.
2 – Bird to be awesome
After a dominant spring in which he hit like .700 or something, Bird broke a bone in his ankle and was side-lined from May 2nd onwards. He did return in late August, playing 29 games and posting a slash line of .253/.316/.575. He also hit 8 potatoes and drove in 25 runs (that’s 44 bombs and 139 RBI’s using standard Little League math). He finished the season exceptionally well, going 11 for 31 over his last ten games and posting a line of .355/.432/.871 with 4 dingers and 11 RBI’s. Obviously, 2017 didn’t go as planned for the River Avenue Raven, but he remains one of the game’s best young hitters (just wait until he’s sandwiched in with Judge, Sanchez et al). Table this prediction for 2018 and do your best to grab this kid in your roto league before the rest of your buddies catch on to him (but let’s be honest, they obviously read this blog too, so you’re doomed).
Verdict: Push to 2018
3 – Sandoval to remain a fat, lazy bum
Since the 2014 season, Pudge-blo has essentially been useless. This season, he played 32 games with the Bosox (.212/.269/.354) before they finally cut bait and shipped him back to San Francisco. Upon his triumphant return to site of his former glory days, Kung-Food Panda “thanked” Giants fans by posting a slash line of .225/.263/.375. Although at $545k per year (the Sox are paying the remainder of his Hindenburg-esq salary), rolling the dice on Panda is actually a shrewd move by the Giants.
4 – Taillon to win 15 games
Much like the curse I inadvertently put on Greg Bird, my prediction that Taillon would win 15 games backfired when he was diagnosed with cancer. Taillon still managed to start 25 games, missing approximately eight starts. He posted respectable numbers up to his July 20th start against the Brewers, amassing a 7-6 record to go along with 76 hits, 72 K’s, a 3.08 ERA through 73 innings. On July 25th however, he was roughed up by the Giants for 10 runs on 9 hits in just 3 innings. From that point onward, he went 2-4 allowing 76 hits compared to 53 K’s through just 60 2/3 innings. He also posted an ERA of 6.08.
At 25, with only 43 career starts over two seasons, Taillon is still a just a pup in many respects. While not a power pitcher by any means, he’s shown that he can be effective, and even dominant at times, at the Major League level. Only a jerk would argue against giving him a mulligan for this campaign. The stats clearly show that he faded down the stretch, which is to be expected considering he was probably still a little tired from… BEATING CANCER. Keep an eye out for this same prediction in my 2018 edition.
Verdict: Push to 2018
5 – Coulombe to dominate in A’s pen
Danny C started well enough, posting a 1.98 ERA through the end of June. In 27 1/3 innings he allowed just 20 hits, 9 walks and struck out 21. From July to September however, Coulombe turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. In 24 1/3 innings he allowed 26 hits, 13 walks and K’d just 18. Not terrible numbers, but not great when you throw in his 5.18 ERA and a .370 OBP. He failed to dominate lefties the way he did last season, posting a 1.82 K/BB in 2017 compared to the 8.00 K/BB figure he posted in 2016.
Just one more thing… surprisingly, when Doolittle and Madsen were dealt to the Nats on July 16th, Coulombe’s workload actually decreased. Was he used less due to his struggles on the mound? Or did he struggle on the mound because he was being used less? Either way, this one is a dud.
6 – Guerra to regress
Guerra went 1-4 over 14 starts, amassing just 70 1/3 innings of work in 2017. He was eventually relegated to bullpen duty, making 7 appearances in relief. He appears to have just been trying to throw the ball as hard as he possibly could, his K/9 jumping from 7.4 in 2016 to 8.6 this past campaign. He struggled with his control however, handing out 43 free passes in just 70 1/3 innings, the same number he allowed in 121 2/3 innings last season.
Bonus – Trout to go 40/40
Trout missed nearly 50 games through injury and ended up going 33/22. Using that Little League math that I’m so fond of, we can estimate that Magic Mike would have posted numbers of 46/31 had he played a full season.
News & Notes:
My 2016 predictions had Giancarlo Stanton (pictured: right) hitting 60 home runs. Unfortunately, he battled injury through much of the season and appeared in just 119 games. He hit just 27 home runs. In 2017 however, a healthy Stanton captivated fans by mashing 59 potatoes in 159 games.
Verdict: A year early, but correct…ish (seriously, I’m struggling here, let me have this)