For each player, I've included their preseason average draft position (ADP), where they were drafted amongst their positions, my personal preseason projection for the player, their actual 2015 stat line, and where they actually finished amongst their position (if applicable). I grabbed their end of season ratings from ESPN's player rater. If you want to check out my original B&B write up, just continue scrolling down my blog.
Yasmani Grandal (ADP 226, 16th C) – Projection: 475 PA, 65 R, 25 HR, 75 RBI, .245 BA
2015 Stat Line: 426 PA, 43 R, 47 RBI, .234 BA, 20th C
Coming into the season I felt more confident in Grandal that I felt about anyone else on this list, and through the first half of the season I felt like a genius. Yasmani had put up a .282 batting average with 14 homers, 35 runs and 36 RBI, and I was well on my way to being nicknamed Dr. Awesomepants for my extremely bold prediction. Well, that all crumbled like a sandcastle in a hurricane in the second half. Grandal played through nagging injuries and slumped his way to a .162 average, scoring only an astonishingly bad 8 runs and driving in 11 during his sparse playing time. As much as he carried your team in the first half, he was basically unplayable in the second half, and therefore I'm going to have to take a miss on this one. Obviously if he stays healthy his final line looks a lot better, and if you extrapolate his first half line over a full season he surpasses even what I thought he would do. Even with his horrendous second half, overall he still managed to add 2% to his walk rate from last year, boosting it to 15% (hello, OBP leauges) and also cut his strikeout rate by 4.5% to a respectable 21.6%. He overachieved in the batting average category over the first half, but I think his stock will be depressed again next year and I'll be drafting him all over the place. After all, he'll be 27, and that's when the magic season always happens, right?
Joey Votto (ADP 71, 15th 1B) – Projection: 650 PA, 95 R, 22 HR, 90 RBI, .320 BA
2015 Stat Line: 695 PA, 95 R, 29 HR, 80 RBI, 11 SB, .314 BA, 2nd 1B
Ah, we have a winner. I was really pumping Votto this spring and he rewarded his owners nicely, particularly in points and OBP leagues where he was invaluable, posting a .459 OBP (!!!) and an incredible 143/135 walk-to-strikeout ratio. The extra power was just pure gravy, as was the 11 stolen bases. The peculiar thing is having only 80 RBI in 695 PA with almost 30 bombs, but that's a product of a poor lineup and hitting second in the order most of the year. Mr. Votto and his tight pants made me very happy this year.
Marcus Semien (ADP 274, 24th 2B) – Projection: 625 PA, 65 R, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 12 SB, .240 BA
2015 Stat Line: 601 PA, 15 HR, 65 R, 45 RBI, 11 SB, .257 BA, 20th SS
Another one I couldn't have got much closer, apart from being optimistic on the RBI. Still, you made a profit on Semien if you drafted him in the endgame, and filled him in anywhere in your needy infield where you had a hole. Semien didn't walk as much as he did as a rookie, which is a bit troubling. However, he did manage to shave 5.5% off his strikeout rate, a very good sign for a kid just heading into his age 25 season. Unfortunately for Semien, it was his laughably poor defense that caused people to turn up their collective noses, much in the same way my friends do when meeting me after the annual fish wrestling competition. Still not sure why that event hasn't caught on. Anyway, 35 errors at shortstop is not going to buy him any playing time in the future. Should his bat grow cold, his defense will not be keeping him in any lineups, and frankly I'm not sure there's a lot of upside beyond this. Semien's never been a burner, his 79% contact rate doesn't scream batting average upside, and his mid-teens power doesn't come anywhere near separating himself from the pack at shortstop. Instead, I expect him to remain a typical middle infielder in deeper mixed leagues.
Ryan Zimmerman (ADP 112, 13th 3B selected)– Projection: 650 PA, 95 R, 25 HR, 105 RBI, .275 BA
2015 Stat Line: 390 PA, 43 R, 16 HR, 73 RBI, .249 BA, 33rd 3B
I was actually shocked upon seeing Ryan Wallace Zimmerman's final line, since I remembered him as being completely unusable all season. As it turns out, his 25 doubles fell only one shy of what he managed in all 633 plate appearances in 2013. Basically, this pick wound up a flop due to his plantar faciitis, which cramped his early production and sent him to the DL. He worked his way back and had a great August, hitting 7 homers and driving in 28 with a .277 average. He then suffered an oblique injury in September and missed the rest of the season. All told, he played only 95 games. He also played only 61 games last season, and for a player that's now 31 years old, a proven injury risk, and will be first base eligible only next season, he makes for a risky mid-to-late round pick next season. Count me out.
Verdict: Whiff (Injury)
Jean Segura (ADP 182, 13th SS selected)– Projection:675 PA, 85 R, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 30 SB, .290 BA
2015 Stat Line: 584 PA, 57 R, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 25 SB, .257 BA, 10th SS
Segura remained mired towards the bottom of the lineup in Milwaukee again this season, limiting his amount of plate appearances, and, in turn, his counting stats. I'm certainly not saying I blame (now former) manager Doug Melvin however; Segura posted a .281 OBP, which is so bad it would make Ron Jeremy flaccid. His plate discipline wilted like a nervous groom at the alter; his walk rate dipped 3%, from an already bad 5% in 2014 to an atrocious 2.2%, and his K% rose from 12.6% to 15.9%. That is truly troubling from a young player heading into his age 26 season that should be improving. He's even worse in points leagues than roto, with only 16 doubles. His whiff rate jumped and his contact rate dipped, completing the profile of a hitter that regressed in nearly every way this season. If there's any silver lining, it's that his stolen base total increased from 20 in '14 to 25, and his successful SB% rose from 69% in '14 where he was 20-26 to 81% this year where he was 25-31. That'll help buoy his fantasy value, especially since steals were way down this year. His 25 steals were actually tied for 10th best in baseball. Even as bad as he was outside of the stolen base department, he still managed to turn a profit. If he can manage to get on base even at an average clip around .320, he could be a very valuable base stealer in the coming years, but unless he's very cheap next year, I'm not taking a chance with Segura.
Jay Bruce (ADP 98, 26th OF selected) - Projection: 650 PA, 74 R, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 10 SB, .240 BA
2015 Stat Line: 649 PA, 72 R, 26 HR, 87 RBI, 9 SB, .226, 44th OF
It's pretty strange that I basically nailed every projection for Bruce and also pegged him to finish better than his 26th OF ADP, yet he finished as the 44th OF according to the Player Rater. The awful average was just that much of a detriment to your team. Bruce reverted back to his fly ball hitting ways after managing only 18 homers a year ago. He upped his FB% a whopping 10% from 2014, back up to 44%, which is much closer to his career norm. His pull-heavy fly ball approach led to more homers, but also killed his BABIP and led to his aforementioned .226 average, which was actually a slight improvement on his 2014 mark of .217. Bruce made some strides this year in terms of his plate discipline; he cut his whiff rate down to a career-best-yet-still-bad 11.1%, improved his contact rate to a career-best 77%, and that helped him cut an impressive 5% off his strikeout rate that dipped to 22%, a respectable rate for a power slugger. He suffered a low HR/FB rate of 13.3%, and with an uptick back to his 16% career rate, I'd say he'll be back around the 30 dongers I projected for this year. Still, with such an awful average, the manly man is certainly not a top 20 outfielder.
Kole Calhoun (ADP 100, 27th OF selected) - Projection: 675 PA, 110 R, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 7 SB, .280 BA
2015 Stat Line: 686 PA, 78 R, 26 HR, 83 RBI, 4 SB, .256 BA, 38th OF
Kole Calhoun is like a McDonald's cheeseburger: you pick him up, take a bite, and at first you're pretty happy. "This isn't too bad." You proclaim, and enjoy it for a while. Time ticks on and you chomp away, and eventually the metaphorical Happy Meal of a baseball season is over. And while you're full, you're left with a lot of empty calories and a slight feeling of regret. At the same time though, you know you're going back to the Cheeseburger Calhoun well again the next time you're hungry and want something cheap that will get the job done. It certainly looks like he sold out for the power; his whiff rate spiked, contact rate dropped and BA suffered all for the extra taters. It's not exactly what you expected from him, and the Player Rater didn't like his production this year much, but with the 100th pick the power isn't bad. He wasn't terrible by any means, but if you took him for runs and average you were pretty bummed.
Verdict: Foul Out (Not a total whiff, but yeah a "whiff")
Michael Wacha (ADP 144, 37th SP selected) – Projection: 200 IP, 16 W, 195 K, 3.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 181.1 IP,17 W, 153 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 24th SP
Wacha's underlying numbers actually say he was worse than last year; his strikeouts dipped, walks were slightly up, ERA slightly up, swinging strike rate was down. Fortunately for those drafting him, he was cheap enough to still turn a big profit, thanks in part to 17 wins (a product of pitching on a great team) and also threw over 180 innings, even though it was still short of the 200 I foolishly projected for him. I say it was foolish because there was little chance that a guy whose career high innings for a season was 150 (2013) and threw barely over 100 last year was going to be allowed to go 200 during the regular season. So that, along with a lack of improvement in strikeout rate, held him 42 K's short of where I projected him and depressed his value a bit. Overall, though, still a good pick, and a good young pitcher to own in dynasty and keeper leagues.
Collin McHugh (ADP 184, 52nd SP Selected) – Projection: 175 IP, 13 W, 175 K, 3.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 203.2 IP, 19 W, 171 K, 3.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 30th SP
McHugh was a McKey spoke in the surprising McAstros wheel this McSeason. Ok, I'll stop. 19 wins! Invaluable if you play in standard roto leauges, especially from the 52nd starter selected. He might have won you that category. It took him over 200 innings to approach my projected strikeout total, but points leaguers love that inning total, so we will take it. He only threw his fastball 33% of the time so his arm will fall off eventually, but you'll take the production while he's on the mound. His peripherals say he underperformed a bit, as his ERA was a good half run higher than I expected and his WHIP was pretty much, well, not good at 1.28, but he still returned you a big profit in all leagues if you took a McChance on him. Sorry, couldn't stifle that one.
Kevin Gausman (ADP 256, 75th SP selected) – Projection: 200 IP, 12 W, 175 K, 3.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 112.1 IP (17 starts), 4 W, 103 K, 4.25 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 125th SP
This one was over before the season even started, as it was announced that Buck-f***in Showalter and the Orioles decided their rotation didn't really need the 4th overall draft pick from 2012. No, they decided that 30 year-old Bud Norris, who posted a STERLING 6.72 ERA this year, was a better option. The O's then proceeded to bounce Gausman from the bullpen, to the rotation, to triple-A, and back and forth and to and fro many times. No one can screw up a young players' development like the Baltimore Orioles, and I'm not sure Gausman will ever reach his full potential until he finds himself on another team, much the same way Jake Arrieta did. I'm not saying he's ever going to have a season as good as Arrieta had this season, but he's still got #1/#2 upside in my mind. Hopefully you drafted after the announcement was made that he wouldn't be starting to open the season, but he was drafted so late that even if you did draft him it didn't kill you anyway.
Verdict: I hate Buck Showalter with all of my might (Whiff)
Deep League Bargains:
Jose Ramirez, 2B/SS, Indians (ADP 370, 30th SS selected) – Projection: 600 PA, 70 R, 3 HR, 45 RBI, 30 SB, .290 BA
2015 Stat Line: 355 PA, 50 R, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 10 SB, .219 BA
Well, Ramirez had an abysmal start to the season and was unfortunately demoted for some time. He did manage 355 plate appearances despite the predicted promotion of Francisco “The Truffle” Lindor, who had a terrific rookie season. When they were both on the Indians it was Lindor at shortstop and Ramirez either at second or third, when Ramirez was in the lineup anyway. With Urshela at third and Kipnis at second however, Ramirez will be stuck in a utility role unless something changes.
Ramirez' surface stats look laughably bad and irrelevant, and for standard leagues he's still not rosterable, but for deep leagues (which this segment is for, after all) and dynasty leagues, I still really like Jose. His horrible average was depressed by an absurdly low .232 BABIP, which I am going to humbly guarantee will be the lowest of his career. Even with his ground ball heavy batted ball profile, his speed is enough to beat out the throw to first a good chunk of the time. He did have a pop-up problem (just like my internet browser) of which about 0% go for hits, so that needs to be fixed in order to be a batting average asset, but for a guy who will be only 23 next year, he has plenty of time to alleviate that problem. Also, for such a young player, his strikeout to walk ratio is approaching even, and there are only a handful of MLB players that can say that about themselves. A switch hitter with that profile that has a little power and 30 steal potential WILL be fantasy relevant in standard leagues someday.
T.J. House (ADP 453, 134th SP selected) – Projection: 200 IP, 15 W, 145 K, 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 13 IP, 0 W, 7 K, 13.15 ERA, 2.54 WHIP
Something was clearly wrong with House from the jump. He threw only 40 innings all season, thankfully only 13 at the MLB level across 4 starts before hitting the DL. I don't think there's too much to take away from this season, aside from saying that at some point in April I wanted to burn the House down. Had to do it.
Yadier Molina (ADP 127, 8th C selected) – Projection: 450 PA, 40 R, 5 HR, 45 RBI, .275 BA
2015 Stat Line: 530 PA, 34 R, 4 HR, 61 RBI, .270 BA, 13th C
Yadi managed to play 136 games, which is more than I expected from him, yet he still managed to underproduce even MY low projections in runs, homers and batting average. Now listen, I like guys with neck tattoos as much as anyone, but there's a time and a place for drafting them on your fantasy team. I can't think of any at the moment, but I'm sure they're out there.
Freddie Freeman (ADP 33, 8th 1B selected) – Projection: 650 PA, 75 R, 24 HR, 75 RBI, .290 BA
2015 Stat Line: 62 R, 18 HR, 66 RBI, .276 BA, 23rd 1B
The preeminent Freddie of free men was nicked up this season, falling short of even my paltry projections. Even if he had been healthy, you had no business wasting a third round pick on Freeman this season. The Braves lineup was last in baseball in runs scored by a mile, and it's not looking up any time soon. He's a good player stuck in a bad situation. His average and OBP will always keep his floor high, but his lineup will cap his ceiling for the foreseeable future.
Dee Gordon (ADP 60, 5th 2B selected) – Projection: 675 PA, 90 R, 1 HR, 30 RBI, 45 SB, .270 BA
2015 Stat Line: 653 PA, 88 R, 4 HR, 46 RBI, 58 SB, .333 BA, 1st 2B
Alright, first let me defend myself ever so slightly. In the B&B article I did declare this to be my weakest of all calls, stating that I didn't feel strongly that any second baseman ADP was horrible. I deduced that Gordon's BABIP would fall and his BA would suffer, leading to less opportunities on base to steal bags. Well, his steals were down from 2014 when he stole 64 bags, but his BABIP actually ROSE from .346 to .383, which was third highest in baseball (behind Odubel Herrera and Miggy, if you're curious). That led to his .333 average, which was second in baseball (again, behind Miggy at .338). He finished first amongst second basemen according to ESPN's player rater, and was certainly a terrific pick for your fantasy team. In fact he may be even better next year if Yelich and Stanton can play a full season and drive him in more. So even though I was wishy washy on the pick, just like milk on a hot day - this was a bad choice.
Josh Harrison (ADP 109, 12th 3B selected) – Projection: 675 PA, 80 R, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 20 SB, .280 BA
2015 Stat Line: 449 PA, 57 R, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 10 SB, .281 BA, 28th 3B
Another player that somewhat bailed me out with injury, Harrison otherwise underperformed anyway. He's no burner and he doesn't have much power, so it's up to his batting average to provide value. What I'm saying is, don't draft Josh Harrison.
Alexei Ramirez (ADP 102, 5th SS selected) – Projection: 650 PA, 65 R, 10 HR, 70 RBI, 20 SB, .280 BA
2015 Stat Line: 622 PA, 54 R, 10 HR, 62 RBI, 17 SB, .249 BA, 17th SS
This was basically the easiest call of the year for me. I called him a 10/20 guy that would be stuck at the bottom of the lineup, and that's about what you got. He'll have his age 34 season next year, of which I want absolutely no part. Alexei no sexy.
George Springer (ADP 44, 14th OF selected) – Projection: 650 PA, 75 R, 28 HR, 80 RBI, 18 SB, .215 BA
2015 Stat Line: 451 PA, 59 R, 16 HR, 41 RBI, 16 SB, .276 BA, 41st OF
Springer is fun because he's a polarizing player in fantasy. You either loved him or hated him heading into the year, and clearly I was on the negative side of him. However, even though I was saved a little bit here by injury, his production while healthy has actually converted me into a Springer believer. A Springliever. A Bespringer. A Bespringliever. Yeah. In any case, what is impressive about Springer is his improvement in his plate discipline. He shaved a whopping NINE percentage points off his formerly awful strikeout rate, dropping it from 33% to 26%. He also cut his whiff rate down by 4.7%, to a better-but-still-terrible 13.9%, and increased his contact rate by 8.5%, to a better-but-still-bad 69.5%. His true average is still probably closer to .250 than .276, but with his power/speed combination, a .250 average (and plus OBP) makes for a valuable fantasy outfielder. If he can continue to make these huge adjustments, his ballpark and lineup could make for an eventual fantasy MVP...but for this season I'm calling hating him a win.
Verdict: Hit (injury)
Nelson Cruz (ADP 63, 20th OF selected) – Projection: 600 PA, 70 R, 20 HR, 80 RBI, .250 BA
2015 Stat Line: 655 PA, 90 R, 44 HR, 93 RBI, .302
I, like many fantasy analysts, hated on Cruz this preseason. We were very wrong. I figured he would find the DL at some point, having a moderate history of injuries and being 35 years old. He played 152 games. I also thought his power would die in Seattle, as it has with many other players. Again, I was very wrong. Perhaps the most surprising thing he did this year, though, is hit over .300. He hasn't done that since 2010 in Texas. So what can I say, kudos to Nelson Cruz.
Adam Wainwright (ADP 40, 12th SP selected) – Projection: 100 IP, 7 W, 70 K, 3.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 28 IP, 2 W, 20 K, 1.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
In hindsight it seems absurd to me that Wainwright was being taken as the 12th starter off the board, but that was indeed the case. You can't tell me I was bailed out by injury on this one, because I said in my write up that he would get injured, and in fact he already was injured in the preseason as well. I figured it would be arm related, not the freak Achilles injury that it was, but it's all the same on the stat sheet. For what it's worth he was amazing in the 28 innings he did pitch, despite his strikeout rate continuing its' decline. I'm a big Waino fan though, so I was glad to see him pitch in the playoffs, and hope he has a good season next year, although it will be on someone else's team.
Matt Harvey (ADP 64, 16th SP selected) – Projection: 180 IP, 13 W, 175 K, 3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 189.1 IP, 13 W, 188 K, 2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 10th SP
This one sorta ticks me off. I correctly predicted he would be up and down, hit the DL, and pitch around 180 regular season innings (a problem I saw coming apparently before even the Mets). So basically I was right, aside from the fact that he pitched a stellar sub-3 ERA and finished as the 10th best SP in fantasy, turning a profit for those who took him at his ADP of 64. He's just an elite pitcher, flat out. One thing I failed to take into account was that unlike most Tommy John pitchers, Harvey had a full year and a half to recover and regain his command before taking the mound this spring. I'm probably going to be too scared to draft Harvey next year, however. He threw 216 innings between the regular and post season this year, which is the most ever thrown in a season from a pitcher returning from Tommy John Surgery. That's just a little too much risk from a guy that will certainly be drafted as a top 10 starting pitcher.
Doug Fister (ADP 149, 39th Starter selected) – Projection: 200 IP, 13 W, 110 K, 3.40 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
2015 Stat Line: 103 IP, 5 W, 63 K, 4.19 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 173rd SP
Turns out I wasn't anywhere near negative enough on Mister Fister. I mentioned in the B&B that he was a detriment in the strikeout category. This year, he was a detriment in every category. That's right, he was a net negative this season. You would have been better off skipping your pick. I hate to be negative though, so let's remember all that Doug Fister has given us: great team name possibilities. Look 'em up in B&B if you didn't read it this spring.
Total: 11 Hits, 9 Whiffs (0-2 on Deep League Bargains)
Overall a decent season, and I'm looking forward to 2016 baseball already. So what do you think? Any hits that should be whiffs? Whiffs that should be hits? Baffoonery? Stupidity? Want more bad puns next time? Let me know!