Ten Bold Predictions, Revisited

Eight embarrassing predictions, and two that are looking good!

With the all-star break marking the unofficial halfway point of the season, it’s time to revisit my preseason bold predictions. 

While obviously there’s a lot of season to go, both for our real and fake teams, taking a look at where we stood in the preseason can be a valuable exercise in identifying our biases and missteps in drafts and player acquisition. It also provides an opportunity to reflect upon what went right. Who were the players we were high on, and what thought processes led us there? Better knowing those things may help with playing time decisions or player bids during the home stretch.

As a reminder from my predictions in March, ADPs are based off NFBC’s February ADPs. I’m comparing player seasons (e.g., “more valuable” or “best catcher”) on Razzball’s 2021 player rating to evaluate my hits/misses.


James Hoyt Will Finish as Miami’s Most Valuable Reliever in Fantasy

Not a great start. I was high on James Hoyt because of a small-sample size elite slider CSW% from last year, and the fact that the Marlins bullpen was relatively unsettled. Weeks after this was published, Hoyt was traded to another good bullpen situation with the Angels, but has only pitched six innings in MLB so far. He’s still striking out better than 11 per nine, but the walks have been more than double his career average. Hoyt’s AAA numbers aren’t much better either, to the tune of an ERA over 11 and walking 14% of batters he’s facing.

Verdict: very wrong


Didi Gregorius Finishes as a Top-10 Shortstop

I previously said this one felt like cheating since Gregorius always finishes in the top 10 of shortstops by Razzball’s player rater. I was excited by Sir Didi’s highest-ever slugging percentage in the shortened 2020 season, his first in Philly.

Up to this point in the season, though, Gregorius has his lowest slugging percentage since 2015, and he’s struck out at a career-high 20% of plate appearances. 

Gregorius has been hurt for much of the season, though, with a somewhat unusual elbow injury. At this point, Razzball has him as the 45th-ranked shortstop up to this point in the season. I’m monitoring the elbow injury, and if it clears, Didi could be a nice buy-low for teams in need of some pop at the shortstop position or in next year’s drafts.

Verdict: wrong, but still monitoring for the rest of season


Joey Gallo Leads MLB in Homers

Admittedly, I did not expect Shohei Ohtani to go all Babe Ruth on us and lead MLB in home runs as of July 8. As of that date, however, Gallo was sixth in all of baseball. 

Gallo was being drafted as the 46th outfielder off the board in February, as a shortened 2020 depressed his value along with Gallo’s regular low batting average. Up to this point in the season, though, he’s walked at a career-high rate and posted the second-best batting average of his career. What’s more, more than half of Gallo’s round-trippers have come in the past three weeks. He’s powering up at the plate, and I’m optimistic he’ll be among the league leaders at season’s end.

Verdict: plausible, if not for Ohtani


Austin Nola Will Finish as a Top-Two Catcher in Fantasy in 2021

Playing time was Nola’s path forward to elite fantasy value, as he has appeared at just about every position on the field in his short MLB career. However, due to an early season injury, Nola has appeared in just 18 games through July 4, with one homer and a disappointing .217 batting average. 

It’s been a miniscule 50-some plate appearances, but Nola’s walk rate is up and strikeouts are way down, which may be worth monitoring moving forward if he can stay on the field.

Verdict: very wrong


No Pitcher Finishes With More Than 15 Wins

Thirteen pitchers are currently on pace to exceed the number, with three pitchers (Urias, Civale, Hendricks) already racking up 10 wins. 

Since, as I said in March, there’s never been a season where fewer than 11 pitchers finished with at least 15 wins, this one seems unlikely. Initially I was concerned about the impact the short 2020 would have on starters’ arms and the continued prevalence of the six-man rotation. Between those factors and the “sticky stuff” crackdown it’s difficult to know exactly what it all adds up to for pitchers the rest of the way.

Verdict: highly unlikely


Devin Williams Returns Top-20 Pitcher Value

The Airbender himself has returned top-150 value. His strikeouts are down, and walks are up from last year’s better-than-videogame numbers. 

A shoulder injury to start the year set Williams back, but his strikeout rate has trended in the right direction each month so far this season, reaching 42% in June. The lack of command is still an issue, and his fastball is down almost a tick and a half below last year– and is getting hit pretty hard.

Williams still has that changeup though, and if he can get the fastball back he’s likely to get back to mixed-league worthy even without the saves.

Verdict: no


Kris Bryant is a Top-3 Third Baseman

This is the prediction I’m most proud of (and that has paid off the most, as I own shares of Bryant all over the place). I simply couldn’t believe that Bryant was being drafted as the 16th third baseman off the board, and he’s rewarded that faith to the tune of 16 homers while slashing .268/.349/.498

Bryant slumped pretty significantly in June (just 3 homers and a .114 batting average), but even so has still been the fifth-best third baseman by the player rater. I’m betting his .120 BABIP in June won’t last, and he’ll finish near the top of the list at the hot corner once all is said and done, provided he can stay healthy.

Verdict: plausible


Giancarlo Stanton Outperforms his Yankee Teammate Aaron Judge

Judge has significantly outperformed Stanton up to this point, with 5 more home runs across approximately 70 more PA. That speaks more to the incredible (and healthy!) season Judge has had more than a disappointment on Stanton’s end, who has still delivered his best batting average since his 59-homer 2017 and is basically the statcast leader in exit velocity (average and max) and hard hit % again. 

As always with these two players, in the end it will come down to health.

Verdict: unlikely


Wil Myers Gets Back to 30/20

Myers is on pace for 20/10, which is clearly a far cry from this bold prediction. Myers has been an average-ish hitter, but his strikeout rate is about back in line with his career average after a rough 2019. Unfortunately for this prediction, though, his slugging percentage is also back down to around his career norms after a significant jump in the shortened 2020 season.

Verdict: unlikely


Berti For 30

I predicted Jon Berti would swipe 30 bags in 2021, mostly based on getting significant playing time in a weak Marlins lineup that was far from settled. The playing time has been there for Berti, but the steals haven’t. 

While he’s stolen 8 bases as of July 8, Berti has gotten on base at a .321 clip, below his .345 career average. There’s probably some natural regression coming, as someone with his speed probably won’t continue a .273 BABIP. If teams are looking for cheap and readily available speed on the wire, Berti could provide it but I’m not optimistic about him stealing 22 more bags in the second half.

Verdict: unlikely


Overall Prediction Results So Far:

  • 6 unlikely
  • 2 plausible (Gallo leads in homers and Kris Bryant as a top-3 3rd baseman
  • 2 reasons to never listen to me (James Hoyt as Miami’s most valuable reliever and Devin Williams as a top 20 pitcher)


Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@relderntisuj on Twitter)

Sean Roberts

Sean Roberts is a baseball columnist for Pitcher List. His work has been featured on Baseball Prospectus, the Hardball Times, and October. He's still getting used to the DH in the national league. @seanroberts.bsky.social

4 responses to “Ten Bold Predictions, Revisited”

  1. JB says:

    Owning up to the L’s. I respect it

  2. d says:

    So grateful I didn’t use your thoughts as guide in my drafts lmao

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