Dan Schwartz

I am in sales and my boss would be proud because here I am reviewing my forecast.

 

Prior to the season, I predicted the following in my Ballsy Forecast:
1) Albert Pujols finishes outside of the top 50

2) Madison Bumgarner is a top 4 fantasy starter

3) Anthony Rendon is the 2nd best fantasy hitter on the Nationals in the 2nd half – only behind Bryce Harper (Who goes 30/30).

4) Freddie Freeman goes 100-30-100-.285 and is top 5 1B

5) Joe Mauer hits less than 5 HR

6) Joey Votto (because of the 20+ BB% again) and Adrian Gonzalez (FB & HR/FB rates) don’t make it onto the top 20 NL HR list…again

7) Miguel Cabrera wins the Triple Crown again!

 

Time to review.

 

#1 is an easy win because of a lagging foot injury which has put Albert Pujols on the shelf indefinitely this season, but with this aside, his BABIP dropped almost 25 points from last year as did his contact rate and HR/FB ratio. Next year, the BABIP should regress positively, but he’s no longer top 36-48 talent with diminishing skills and health. I would consider him outside the top ten 1b as well (Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, Allen Craig, Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Trumbo, Buster Posey, Ortiz/Cuddyer/Morales/Rizzo/Butler/Santana as other options next year if eligible to push Pujols down the list).

 

#2 I would consider a win as well. I considered Bumgarner (entering only his age 23 season) a top 5 fantasy starter in San Fran. His contact rate and associated swing and miss stuff took a nice step forward, but his walk rate rose slightly. Thankfully he’s benefiting from a lucky BABIP (.238 vs. .276 last year even though his line drive rate remains almost identical and has only seen a 2% flyball increase). He’s currently 8th on Yahoo because of a surprise performance from Patrick Corbin and utter dominance from Matt Harvey, Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer otherwise Bumgarner would be ranked 4th (after Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainwright). I’ll consider this a win. He’ll only be 24 next year. If he remains healthy, he should continue to be a top 8 fantasy ace.

 

#3 continues to be a bit of a reach, but in the last 14 days Anthony Rendon has picked it up again (.818 OPS). And technically, over this time, he is the 3rd best performing National after Ian Desmond and catcher (who I am very high on), Wilson Ramos. In fact, in my unique dynasty league (where I of course own Rendon), I traded away highly regarded prospects Brian Goodwin and David Dahl for Wilson Ramos. Because the Nationals are close to being removed from playoff contention, I believe Rendon will continue to receive (and deserve) regular playing time. Zimmerman’s shoulder concerns could move him to 1b as soon as next year allowing Rendon to move to 3b full-time. I believe he can outperform Zimmerman offensively for good as soon as soon as 2015 if not next year – especially in OBP leagues.

 

#4 is another win internally. While he’s on pace for about 90-20-100-.305, he did miss significant time in April. He’s on fire again – #5 overall according to Yahoo in the last 2 weeks and #16 overall in the last 30 days (16 runs, 5 homeruns, 18 rbi and .318 avg). THIS GUY IS ONLY 23! His power has yet to fully develop. Another linedrive rate jump (and flyball drop) is causing the .369 BABIP. Along these lines, his homerun total is less impressive because of the flyball and homerun per flyball drop, but his average distance continues to climb (now 53rd at 292.19 feet according to Jeff Zimmerman’s baseball heat maps average distance leaderboard – JZ’s BHM’s ADL). I truly believe, after Paul Goldschmidt, he could be the #2 or #3 1b next year with a great supporting cast. As we stand this year, he’s number 8 and again missed significant time in April. At 24 next year, he should learn to lift the ball and take a big HR/FB jump. Bump him up your rankings.

 

#5 is a fail – mostly because he stayed healthy again, but Joe Mauer already has 9 HR due to a flyball and homerun per flyball increase. I wouldn’t count on all 3 of these factors next year. FYI, he only has one single homerun over the past 30 days. I’ll give myself a 2nd half win here.

 

#6 is also looking like a fail. I didn’t think Joey Votto or Adrian Gonzalez would pass 20 HR but both are on pace for about 23 HR. The main reason I said Votto wouldn’t pass the threshold is because I thought we might see another BB rate that approached 20% and slight contact-rate drop off, but his BB% dropped by 3% and his contact rate is an identical 80.5%. Adrian Gonzalez on the other hand has kept his flyball trend going (another 2.5% jump) and has slight HR/FB increase as well which is fair considering the 5+ feet jump according to JZ’s BHM’s ADL).

 

#7 The huge 14 feet jump and effortless looking swing that has driven a 33.3% HR/FB ratio (off 7% more fly balls) by Chris Davis is the only thing in the way of a 2nd Triple Crown for the greatest hitting ball player in this generation, Miguel Cabrera. He’s catching up to Davis quickly with 4 homeruns in the past 4 games and 5 in the last 6. Assuming he stays healthy for the rest of the season, he should reach new heights in runs, homeruns, rbis, avg/obp/slg/ops/etc/etc/etc and should win his 2nd Triple Crown and MVP in a row. The best linedrive rate of his career and a 28.5% HR/FB ratio has driven his best BABIP since 2006. He’s an absolute monster and GIF after GIF of his ridiculous plate coverage, I have no grasp how he can hit pitches outside of the zone like he does. The only way I can describe Miguel Cabrera is a combination of Albert Pujols and Vladimir Guerrero – both in their primes.

 

…all stats courtesy of FanGraphs or JZ’s BHM’s ADL

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