Ben’s 11 Bold Predictions: The Flops
I’m all about originality when it comes to column ideas.
For example, shortly after the Home Run Derby, I asked you which prospects you thought would some day win that exhibition.
After Dylan Bundy got hurt, I deftly explored what Dylan Bundy’s injury meant for fantasy owners.
And now, with the regular season in the proverbial rear view mirror, I boldly go where no Internet Baseball Writer has gone before: I’m going to revisit my preseason predictions.
Yes, that’s right. I will now analyze things I wrote before the season after the season has seen its final day come and go. What’s more, I’ll be following my “all posts must have sequels” rule, and will bring you only the flops today. That means you get to look forward to my self-congratulatory post next week!
Without further ado, here are the things I got horribly, terribly wrong in March.
You can catch my original 11 “insights” piece here.
Prediction No. 4: The Mike Montgomery Recovery Project
What I wrote then: “The Rays will “fix” Mike Montgomery, and while he’ll never live up to the No. 2 starter upside many saw a few seasons back he will contribute meaningfully to the team in 2013. We’ve seen Matt Moore and Chris Archer quell concerns over their command – or lack thereof – in recent seasons … I’m willing to bet that it works here.”
What happened: I guess Montgomery’s 2013 season was at least a step forward. The southpaw threw for an ERA of 4.72 and FIP of 4.35 in 108.2 Triple-A innings. He was able to lower his notoriously high walk rate to a comparatively modest 3.98 BB/9, but his strikeouts per nine fell as well, hitting just 6.38.
What I say now: This was a gamble more on an organization than on a player. There wasn’t much to suggest that Montgomery would improve, but I felt as though if any system could help him, it would be Tampa. You can’t categorize this as a complete flop of a pick, but it was also fairly inaccurate. Montgomery won’t be on any Top 200 lists headed into the season, and doubts about his durability and command remain. Sadface, I say. Sadface.
Prediction No. 5: All Praise Jesus
What I said then: “Jesus Montero will finish as the third-most productive Fantasy catcher in the AL, trailing only Joe Mauer and Mike Napoli … I can see Montero ending with a .270 average with 25 homers and 80 RBI pretty easily, and an uptick in average wouldn’t surprise me at all.”
What happened: A .208/.264/.327 line in 110 MLB PA, followed by an uninspired stretch in Triple-A, followed by suspension. Montero wasn’t the third most valuable catcher in the AL, but he was the third most valuable catcher on the Mariners!
What I say now: I covered Montero’s demise earlier in the season and so won’t do a full recap here, but needless to say, this is ugly. Montero is quickly joining Brandon Wood on the pantheon of prospects I was most wrong about, and it’s disappointing. I’ll probably put him on my watch lists next year because I have a problem, but he’s not even worth a late flier on most drafts.
Prediction No. 7: Mariners SP Prospect Parlay
What I said then: “Danny Hultzen will be promoted in June and see a sneaky-good three months in the MLB rotation. He’ll be a popular Fantasy sleeper headed into 2014. Taijuan Walker will struggle early and dominate late, causing some to underrate him a la Shelby Miller this season. He won’t see the majors until 2014, though. And the Mariners will finally bite the bullet on James Paxton, and will convert the talented but inconsistent arm into an erratic but effective set-up man.”
What happened: Hultzen pitched well in 35.2 innings this year but was shut down with shoulder soreness and his status is up in the air. Walker did not struggle early in the year. Rather pitched quite well in Double-A, progressed to Triple-A and then got his MLB cup of coffee, where he impressed. And finally, Paxton made 30 of his 32 appearances as a starter this season between Tacoma and Seattle.
What I say now: Like so many players who bat for Seattle, I went 0-3 with this one. I was farthest off on Hultzen, whose status as a prospect is in danger now: I don’t mess with shoulder injuries. I’m mad at myself for Walker, because he was one of my favorite pitching prospects headed into the year and I chose to doubt him. Should have banked on the pure talent there. And Paxton … well, I still believe he’s a reliever in the long run, but with Seattle unlikely to compete next year, there is no harm starting him in the MLB rotation. Hultzen wasn’t really my fault, but I whiffed on the other two. For shame.
Prediction No. 11: Roman Wasn’t Built In A Day
What I said then: “Roman Quinn will hit .290 and steal 90 bases. I will spend the offseason investing in avian genetic engineering labs, helping to create the world’s largest crow. This bird will then be prepared by me and served to Bret and Craig as I take their mothers out for nice seafood dinners and never call them back. “
What happened: I don’t want to talk about it. Quinn went just 32-for-41 in SB chances, and that was among the statistical high points of his season. The 20-year-old hit .238/.323/.346 in Single-A and missed half of the season with a writs injury.
What I say now: Welp, this is pretty much exactly the opposite of what you want to have happen when you go way out on a limb to hype a player up. Quinn didn’t just have a bad 2013 season: he’s really off the radar now, and while I’d probably stick him near the end of a Top 200 list to be stubborn, I understand why most wouldn’t. As the old saying goes, you can’t steal first base.
At least Tyler Thornburg was decent this year.