Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins – Preseason prediction: 600 PA, 23 HR, 65 RBI, .270 AVG.
Final numbers: 410 PA, 20 HR, 57 RBI, .231 AVG. We'll call this one a win. Despite an awful start to the season and an injury that kept him out for a month, he still managed to almost meet my HR and RBI projections in 200 fewer plate appearances. The BA and OBP were completely miserable though, something I thought he'd improve on which instead regressed. He once again struck out 31% of the time, but on the bright side he upped his walk rate 1.5%. It still only ended up at 7.6% but at the tender age of 23 there's still a lot of time to keep improving and I think he could eventually be a very prolific hitter, knocking 25-30 homers a year with a .270 average.
Adam Eaton, OF, White Sox – Preseason prediction: 700 PA, 85 R, 5 HR, 35 SB, .290 AVG
Final numbers: 538 PA, 76 R, 1 HR, 15 SB, .300 AVG. I guess I'm not really sure if I can call this one a win or not. I think I will just so I can feel good about myself, I need all the help I can get! I was dead right on the average, but the other numbers ended up a bit low as Eaton missed a decent chunk of the season with injuries. The only thing that really surprised me was the low steals total. There was a point late in the season where Eaton was quoted as calling himself more of a 20 steal guy than a teens steal guy so he was going to try and run more. We'll see if that attitude carries on into 2015, but moving forward I'll be expecting more of a 20 steal guy than the 30+ I was envisioning a the beginning of the season.
Brad Miller, 2B/SS, Mariners – Preseason prediction: 650 PA, 16 HR, 85 R, 10 SB, .280 AVG
Final numbers: 411 PA, 10 HR, 47 R, 4 SB, .211 AVG. Woof. Total whiff on this one! What can I say except that Miller just fell flat on his face and disappointed in every way, eventually getting benched for Chris Taylor. Unless he can really improve his approach at the plate, he's irrelevant in fantasy.
Jason Heyward, OF, Braves – Preseason prediction: 675 PA, 100 R, 28 HR, 7 SB, .260 AVG
Final numbers: 649 PA, 74 R11 HR, 20 SB, .271 AVG. I guess you could call this one a miss. He hit 17 fewer bombs than I projected, yet stole 13 more bags than I thought he would. He didn't lead off for most of the year like I expected, and really the whole Braves lineup disappointed and led to a much lower run total than I projected. On the bright side he stayed healthy and cut his K% yet again, and his low HR total could be considered fluky given his low 6.5% HR/FB rate (his previous career low was 13%). He's still only 25 years old, so Heyward to me is a guy I'm going to keep going to the well on, and I think one of these years he's going to have a tasty 30/20 season.
Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox – Preseason prediction: 650 PA, 35 HR, 90 RBI, .260 AVG
Final numbers: 622 PA, 36 HR, 107 RBI, .317 AVG. I get to go out on a high note! I was all over Abreu this preseason, and managed to trade Allen Craig for him straight-up in the preseason in a dynasty league. On the negative side, I don't know if Abreu can continue to be a .300 hitter given his low contact rate, aggressive plate approach and swing-and-miss tendencies. He's clearly an elite power slugger though, capable of 40+ home runs annually especially given his homer-friendly home park. With an offseason to work on his approach and recuperate from his first full MLB season, perhaps he can come back next season and improve his BB/K rate and keep his BA and OBP up.
Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins – Preseason prediction: 200 IP, 225 K, 2.83 ERA, 0.99 WHIP
Final numbers: 51.2 IP, 70 K, 2.44 ERA, 0.95 WHIP. Sadly I have to take an incomplete on The Fern. He was surpassing even my lofty expectations before going down for the season with Tommy John surgery. There's not much else to say I guess, except he's a phenomenally talented very young pitcher, and it will be very interesting to see where he goes in drafts next year.
Justin Masterson, RHP, Indians – Preseason prediction: 200 IP, 210 K, 3.20 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
Final numbers: 128.2 IP, 116 K, 5.88 ERA, 1.63 WHIP. I mentioned in my preseason write-up that I shocked myself by being in on Masterson, and boy do I wish I never was. He was atrocious, then got traded, then got demoted to the bullpen, all while continuing to be atrocious. After making great strides a year ago, everything completely unraveled for him this year, and his days of starting may even be over if he can't regain his form. As a two-pitch pitcher he was treading on thin ice to begin with, and we may be looking at a reliever moving forward.
Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox – Preseason prediction: 165 IP, 150 K, 2.97 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Final numbers: 170.1 IP, 132 K, 5.33 ERA, 1.39 WHIP. Clay Buchholz, what an enigma. Last year he was Cy Young caliber before missing the second half with injury. I projected a mere 165 innings for him and he actually managed to play the over, yet if you started him all year you wanted to strangle him for destroying your ERA and WHIP. The weird thing is he had two complete game shutouts and still finished with an ERA higher than Cheech and Chong combined. He's already had offseason surgery to fix a bum knee, but can you really blame his struggles all year on that injury? I don't think so, but he's going to be insanely cheap next year, maybe even undrafted in 10 and 12 team leagues, and I may bite on him yet again next year if he indeed is cheap enough. We've seen that his upside is tremendous, and if he stinks he'll be an easy drop.
Rex Brothers, LHP, Rockies – Preseason prediction: 67 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 25 SV
Final numbers: 56.1 IP, 5.59 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 0 SV. Wow, did I suck on my sleepers. Even my reliever pick just blew the heck up. In my spring write-up for him I was right on him in principle, that he would outperform the likes of Jose Veras, Tommy Hunter and Neftali Feliz who were all going ahead of him in drafts. I sure didn't trust the elderly LaTroy Hawkins to hold down the closer gig all year like he did (despite mediocrity) but Brothers kept himself from ever being a relevant closer candidate. Credit the Rockies for seeing last season that Brothers wasn't going to be ready for the gig as his control issues got even worse. I mean holy beans, look at that WHIP. It's hard enough to see an MLB team throw a lefty in to close, and with Brothers regressing badly he's off my closer radar entirely heading into 2015.
Patrick Corbin, LHP, Diamondbacks – I won't even bother with the prediction, because before he ever threw a regular season pitch, he was cut down with Tommy John surgery and I didn't replace him with another sleeper pick (luckily for whomever I'd have picked, because apparently it's a “will-suck guarantee” for pitchers).
The Verdict: 3-6. I did alright with the hitters, but I couldn't have been any worse with my pitcher picks, whiffing on the only 3 that didn't have TJS. Back to the drawing board!
If you want to read what I said in the preseason in full, here's the link: http://nastycastpod.blogspot.com/2014/03/2014-sleepers.html