We’re continuing to review the Pitcher List Staff Bold Predictions this week, with Ben Palmer next up as he looks back at his predictions from March.
1. Hector Neris finishes the year with more saves than Craig Kimbrel
I, like a lot of people, really liked Hector Neris coming into the year. My logic was that Craig Kimbrel didn’t look all that great in 2016 and had fewer saves than Jeanmar Gomez, so why wouldn’t Neris, who’s a better pitcher, do something similar? Well that’s because Kimbrel decided to have a fantastic season, finishing the year with a 1.43 ERA and 67 saves. Neris, on the other hand, ended the year with a 3.01 ERA and 26 saves. He was usable, but not even remotely close to Kimbrel.
WRONG – 0 for 1
2. Kevin Gausman will finish the season as a top-20 starting pitcher
I really believed in the improvements Kevin Gausman had made in 2016, but then 2017 happened, he lost control of his fastball, and he was terrible. However, his first and second half splits were stark, as he had a 5.85 ERA in the first half and a 3.41 ERA in the second half. In fact, except for a slight rise in June, every single month of the year saw Gausman’s ERA improve. He finished the year as starting pitcher #84, but call me crazy, I’m still optimistic about next year.
WRONG – 0 for 2
3. Danny Duffy is in the Top 7 in the AL Cy Young vote
The Cy Young voting hasn’t happened yet, but I would say that it’s a fairly safe bet that Danny Duffy won’t be talked about as a potential Cy Young candidate. I loved the improvements that he made in 2016 and thought he’d take another step forward in 2017. Unfortunately, he was mostly the same if not slightly worse, and injury cut him short this year. The strikeouts were there though, which was nice, and I think next year will likely be more of the same from Duffy. He finished the year as starting pitcher #52, so I’d say there’s no way he’ll be in the Cy Young conversation.
WRONG – 0 for 3
4. Giancarlo Stanton will lead the NL in home runs
FINALLY, I got something right. Not only did Giancarlo Stanton lead the NL in home runs, he led the entire majors in home runs. Saying that Stanton could do this wasn’t particularly bold, I don’t think. But suggesting that he’d stay healthy enough to be able to lead the NL in home runs, that was the bold part. He had a career-high in games played this year, and with that came an absolute explosion of power. If he keeps staying healthy, he’s got the ability to do this just about every year.
CORRECT – 1 for 4
5. For the fourth straight year, the MLB leader in home runs is an Oriole, and that person is Manny Machado
Speaking of leading in home runs, this didn’t exactly happen. Unfortunately, Manny Machado had a rough start to the year, but it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Manny was slashing .230/.296/.445, mostly thanks to a miserable .239 BABIP. In the second half, he slashed .290/.326/.500 once his BABIP normalized. The power was there in both halves though, and he ended up tied for 22nd in the majors in home runs with 33. Not what I had hoped for, but still a good year. Watch him lead the league in home runs next year, that would totally figure.
WRONG – 1 for 5
6. Kyle Hendricks finishes the year with an ERA above 3.50
So close. So very close. I certainly thought that Kyle Hendricks‘ 2016 season was very lucky, and I thought he’d regress significantly. He did, to a point, but not as badly as I thought he would. He finished the year with a 3.03 ERA, still almost a full point higher than his 2016 ERA, and given that he had a 3.88 FIP, his ERA probably should’ve been higher, but it wasn’t, so I missed this one. I was that close though.
WRONG – 1 for 6
7. Welington Castillo leads all catchers in home runs
Honestly, Welington Castillo had an excellent year outside of the injuries. He finished the year slashing .282/.323/.490 with 20 home runs. He didn’t come up to Gary Sanchez’s 33 home runs, which led all catchers, but he came quite close. In fact, if you pace out Castillo’s numbers to have the same number of plate appearances as Sanchez, Castillo would’ve had the second-most home runs among all catchers. But he didn’t, which is a miss for me.
WRONG – 1 for 7
8. Robert Gsellman out-performs all Mets pitchers except Noah Syndergaard
Welp. I really believed in what Robert Gsellman showed us in 2016, but he took a major step back in 2017 with a 5.19 ERA. Still though, the Mets’ rotation wasn’t great, and oddly enough, the only pitchers that out-performed him (according to ESPN’s player rater) were Noah Syndergaard (when he was healthy), Jacob DeGrom, and Seth Lugo. If only DeGrom had out-performed him, I would’ve given myself half credit, but not with Lugo ahead of him.
WRONG – 1 for 8
9. Billy Hamilton steals 90 bases
Billy Hamilton had an excellent year stealing bases, with 59 steals, but it wasn’t 90. I thought perhaps he’d do even better than last year, and instead he did basically exactly what he did last year. Even if you paced him out to 162 games, he wouldn’t have made it to 90 steals. Still though, I don’t think 90 steals is out of the question in his future, the guy is absurdly fast.
WRONG – 1 for 9
10. Marcus Stroman becomes the ace of the Blue Jays and finishes the year as a top-20 starting pitcher
Marcus Stroman actually had a really solid year this year, and significantly improved over his 4.37 ERA in 2016 with a 3.09 ERA this year. While he finished as starting pitcher #33 rather than as a top-20 pitcher, he did become the ace of the Blue Jays’ pitching staff, as he out-performed every other member of that staff (only J.A. Happ came close at pitcher #46), so I’m giving myself half credit for that one.
KINDA – 1.5 for 10
FINAL SCORE – 1.5 out of 10 ¯_(ツ)_/¯