Collette Calls: Hitting Bold Predictions Reviews

Collette Calls: Hitting Bold Predictions Reviews

This article is part of our Collette Calls series.

I hope this installment finds you well and that your favorite team scored more than one run in 24 innings of playoff baseball and didn't choke away an 8-1 lead at home. "It is better to have loved and lost than to not love at all," isn't exactly comforting right now for a few fan bases who had high hopes for their clubs only to see them flop in the wild-card round and start the offseason off early.

Some of you are coming here still basking in the glow of winning one or more league titles. I am one of those, as I won a Draft and Hold league at NFBC after surging into first in September and hanging on over the final days of the season. I also finished second in my TGFBI league, and a team which I drafted for in a local NL auction also won the league, so I'm taking a partial credit for that. I need to in order to pull up my overall average, as most of my other teams were bottom-half finishers this year. I did particularly poorly in all three of my AL Only leagues (local, LABR and Tout) for a variety of reasons. The exercise this winter, as it should be for each of you, is to conduct a wins/lessons report on your fantasy teams and see what you did well and what you can learn from as you plan for the 2023 drafts. I am starting those exercises myself now since my playoff viewing schedule has quickly cleared up, so I want to go back and look at the hitting bold predictions I made to you all this past winter to celebrate the wins and look at lessons learned from those which never materialized into the wishcasted success.

*clicking the titles in each section will open a new tab with the original details to each prediction

NL East Bold Predictions

Adam Duvall's Runs+RBI total is below 140

Duvall's season was prematurely ended in late July, as he left a game with wrist soreness and was quickly determined to need season-ending surgery. Duvall had 75 runs+RBIs before the injury in 86 games played as his power reverted back to 2018 levels of disappointment. Duvall gave back his improvements in strikeout rate from 2021 and his StatCast measures of the previous two seasons backslid to their previous levels. At age 34, this skills profile is extremely risky moving forward.

Avisail Garcia is a top 100 player

Garcia, like most Marlins, flat out stank this season. He was entering the first year of a four-year deal with Miami and wound up adding exhibit 1982 into the Colton and the Wolfman axiom of avoiding first year free agents in new places on big contracts. I should have known better but I didn't, so I ended up paying for it dearly, as I rostered Garcia on several teams this season. He struck out at a career-worst level, stopped accepting walks and had a ton of blue ink on a StatCast page which is normally quite red. One area which leads me to believe he can rebound in year two is a 98th percentile Max Exit Velocity, as well as his top-quartile HardHit% and Sprint Speed. He's still aging gracefully, but 2022 was absolutely a stumble for him. Give me a Garcia rebound eight days a week over Duvall in 2023. He's a better hitter than what he showed in year one of this new deal.

Mark Canha is not a top 100 outfielder

Canha saw his homers dip by four, his RBIs dip by 22 and his steals fall by 9, but a 35-point improvement in his batting average allowed him to have enough value to finish 51st overall in the outfield rankings for 15-team mixed leagues. He made more contact than he did in Oakland, which certainly helped him in the batting average department, as did a 33-point BABIP rebound. The StatCast profile I was concerned about still is not an attractive one, but he shows strong old-man skills with a low chase rate despite a profile which is otherwise underwhelming. He must continue to hit for average in order to hold value moving forward as the power wanes.

Bryson Stott is a top 25 shortstop

Stott came in at 36th overall for all shortstop eligible players this season as the position saw a surprising resurgence in value with several players at this position exceeding expectations including fantasy zombie Elvis Andrus, Thairo Estrada, Nico Hoerner, Luis Rengifo and Kyle Farmer. Stott struggled in the batting average department but did hit double-digit totals in both homers and steals despite not becoming a full-time player until early summer. There's still room for growth here, but he must make more consistent contact to raise his batting average because much of his offensive profile this season was sub-par.

Cesar Hernandez is a top 20 second baseman

I took this guy everywhere in the mid-20s because he was freely available, with nobody believing he would repeat his 2021 success. I took him on the premise that his OBP skills would afford him a comfortable spot in the lineup and that he would score runs while being average across the board. He did cross the plate 64 times, but he drove in a career-worst 34 runs as his homer total went from 21 last season to just one in 2022, which didn't come until early September. I'm at a loss to explain how someone's power completely disappears like this, as the mush ball can't take all the blame for this. His 10 steals and 64 runs allowed him to finish at replacement value, but I don't know anyone who saw him completely losing his power:

I'm completely out here moving forward as he has played himself into a marginalized utility role in the league.

NL Central Bold Predictions

Clint Frazier is a top 75 outfielder

Frazier had a golden opportunity to finally play up to his potential, and he simply couldn't do it. He was quickly banished to Iowa where he asked to be called Jackson (his middle name) moving forward as he attempts to turn around his fortunes. His .190/.283/.302 line in Triple-A shows that maybe it just wasn't the issues of playing in New York that were bothering him so much as the fact that his skills simply aren't worthy of a major-league spot. It's tough to write off someone at age 27 who had so much promise coming out of the draft, but it wouldn't surprise me if Frazier has seen his last plate appearance in the big leagues.

Jose Barrero is a top 25 shortstop

This was a massive swing and a miss, much like most of Barrero's plate appearances this season. He struck out in 44 percent of his 174 plate appearances once he made his way to the big-league roster and hit a measly .152/.195/.206 with the Reds on the heels of a .209/.262/.377 line with Triple-A Louisville. Barrero has his defense in order, but his bat has been a major disappointment at the big league level and he must make more contact if he wants to avoid another season of shuffling down I-71.

Willy Adames is a top 10 shortstop

Finally, another win in what has been a rough recap so far. Adames was struggling to crack the top 20 at shortstop during the peak of draft season yet finished seventh at the position, ahead of the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Corey Seager and Carlos Correa thanks to a big power season and some good home cooking. This prediction was based on how poorly Adames hit at Tropicana Field and how he would do better in Milwaukee. He hit 18 of his 31 homers at home and fell two RBIs short of 100 overall, which was still 25 higher than in any previous season, while also setting a career high in steals. He has one more year to enjoy the park and the division while putting the final touches on his resume for free agency.

Anthony Alford is a top 100 outfielder

....and we're back to the misses. Alford could not hang on in either Pittsburgh or Cleveland and decided to take his talents over to the KBO because the former collegiate football player simply could not hit quality pitching stateside. The last bit of success he tasted was in Triple-A in the 2021 season, but major-league pitching simply overmatched him. Things have gone better for him at the KBO level, where he's hit 286/.362/.509.

Paul DeJong is a top 25 shortstop

Let this be a reminder that not all reworked swings fix everything. DeJong spent the winter reworking his swing with the same instructor which helped others turn their careers around, yet 2022 DeJong was a repeat of the 2021 version as he once again hit below .200 and made even less contact than he did during the previous season. His defensive talents are what keep him on a major-league roster, as he's now hit .182/.269/.352 over the last two seasons. His 19 homers in 2021 gave us some hope that the 30 he hit in 2019 were not all thanks to the bouncy baseball, but none of that matters if he can't make more consistent contact. 

NL West Bold Predictions

Josh Rojas is a top 150 player

Rojas exceeded my bold prediction by finishing as the 102nd most valuable fantasy player and the 76th most valuable hitter on the season despite only playing 125 games. Rojas's jump in value was due partially to a small jump in RBI but largely to his 23 steals, good for ninth-best in the league. Rojas did exactly what was expected otherwise, maintaining a strong OBP profile while being used around the diamond. Torey Lovullo did platoon him a bit and there were concerns about his infield defense at the end of the season, which bears watching as the club decides how to shape its roster for the coming season.

Elias Diaz is a top 7 catcher

I did very well with some catcher bold predictions this year, but this was not one of them. Diaz backslid offensively and defensively this season, disappointing in both areas. He hit .270/.312/.471 at home but an ugly .186/.251/.266 on the road, and his righty/lefty splits were just as large. If Diaz could have hit everyday against lefties in Coors, he would be amazing, but that isn't how the game is played. If you play DFS and need a cheap catcher when he's at home against a lefty starter, you use him. Otherwise, let the two-catcher NL Only leaguers mess with him and stay far away in mixed leagues.

Mookie Betts is not a top 60 player

Maybe he read this and taped it up in his locker as motivation all season? He finished 10th overall despite a very slow start which had me believing this bold prediction may actually hold up. Betts went out and set a career high in homers, scored 110+ runs for the fifth time in his career, drove in his most runners since 2017 and threw in his eighth career double-digit steals season. My concerns about the lack of surgery to correct the hip issue were unnecessary, as the quality of his contact trends rebounded to pre-injury levels. 

Luis Campusano is a top 24 catcher

This never materialized, as Campusano saw all of 50 plate appearances at the big league level. He did quite well at Triple-A El Paso and its cozy run environment, but this is the second consecutive season in which he's toiled in Triple-A for most of the year. A.J. Preller would trade anything that isn't nailed down, so perhaps Campusano needs a relocation in order to get a real shot at sticking at the major-league level. 

Evan Longoria is a top 15 third baseman

Longoria, like many Giants, had a disappointing season at the plate, as injuries and the loss of Donnie Ecker's instruction plus the mush ball helped accelerate Longo's aging curve. After showing swings of rebounding in 2021, he fell back to his previously disappointing efforts from before the pandemic, and there's no guarantee the Giants pick up his final club option this winter if Longoria wants to continue playing.

AL East Bold Predictions

Rougned Odor has another 30-homer season in 2022

He fell 60 percent short of the target, hitting 13 homers in 472 plate appearances. The new dimensions weren't a factor as much as the softer baseball and the fact that he hit too many harmless flyballs. It's still amazing to think where he once was as a fantasy option now that he could potentially be out of the league before his 29th birthday.

Bobby Dalbec is a top 10 first baseman

Dalbec had some moments, but they came around demotions to Triple-A in another year of too many empty swings. The club gave him time at both first and third base this season, so he has that dual-eligibility going for him if Chaim Bloom doesn't find him a new home this winter. 

Gary Sanchez is a top 5 catcher

This prediction was made before he was dealt to Minnesota late in the spring. A relocated Sanchez hit 16 homers while driving in 61 runs, but another terrible year of batting average with just 42 runs scored led him to finishing 15th overall at catcher.

Manuel Margot is a top 60 outfielder

This prediction was looking amazing until a nasty leg injury shelved him for over two months. Margot finished the year with 89 games played but had the second-best batting average of his career and was on pace to set career highs in both runs and RBI. 

Danny Jansen is a top 15 catcher

Jansen came in at 16th at the position despite playing just 72 games on the year. He had a terrific season when he did play, setting career highs in homers, average, RBIs, and strikeout rate. The Jays have three catchers on the roster in Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno and it will be interesting to see how they move forward with this trio or if Jansen is dealt away to add value at other positions.

AL Central Bold Predictions

Eloy Jimenez finishes in the top 30

Oh look, another prediction destroyed by injuries. When Jimenez did play, he rebounded quite nicely from a terrible 2021 season, but he was limited to just 84 games. I would make this prediction again next year as I believe in his potential, even if it all has to come out of his bat. His next stolen base will be the first one of his career. 

Andres Gimenez is a top 25 middle infielder

This one worked out extremely well, as Gimenez came in 15th at the middle infield position thanks to a fantastic fantasy season featuring contributions in all five categories. In a year in which many struggled to hit homers, Gimenez set his professional high with 17 home runs while increasing his stolen base total at the big-league level for a third consecutive season under the return of Terry Francona's aggressive ways. Gimenez has greatly improved his fantasy stock after posting a season this strong at age 23, going from an end-game pick to a top-150 option this winter. 

Riley Greene is a top 60 outfielder

Greene's season got off to a late start after he fouled a ball off his foot in spring training, breaking a bone in his foot just when he was on the precipice of being named to the Opening Day roster. Green quickly made it to Detroit roster over the summer, but, like most of the anemic Kitties, did little offensively in his rookie season.

Whit Merrifield is not a top 60 player

This was one of my more notable claims when I went through this exercise last winter, but even I did not believe Merrifield would be as bad as he was in 2022. Merrifield finished 130th overall in earned auction value in 15-team leagues as his production cratered across the board, and suddenly the everyday compiler found himself on the bench down the stretch in Toronto. He isn't a free agent until potentially after the coming season, but a $6.75M figure in 2023 and a $500K buyout of his mutual option makes him a rather movable asset. Merrifield is an odd fit for the Jays, but he certainly did hit better once he was traded. We have to view him in a new light now that he appears headed down the Dustin Pedroia path to eventual retirement. 

Luis Arraez is a top 20 second baseman

Arraez won the AL batting title and still finished just 13th overall for players with second base eligibility thanks to surprise seasons from Gimenez, Brandon Drury and Thairo Estrada among others. Arraez did what I had hoped he would do, utilizing his excellent OBP skills to score runs, although the issues behind him in the lineup limited him to 88. He also doesn't do himself many favors with his lack of speed and only stole four bases on the season while playing some troublesome defense. He now has a career batting average of .314 at the big-league level in nearly 1600 plate appearances. He was many fantasy player's safety net option if they took batting average risks earlier in the draft, but Arraez's stock grew immensely this year when he hit nearly 70 points above the league average. 

AL West Bold Predictions

Alex Bregman is once again a top 50 player

Bregman finished the year 44th on the overall rankings on the strength of a strong second half which saw him hit .287/.379/.515 with more walks than strikeouts. It wasn't a repeat of 2019, but he was one of just 16 players to hit 25 homers while driving in 90+ runs and scoring 90+ more. He no longer steals bases, but he also won't be available in the late 90s ADP range this winter after this bounceback season and with him being just one year away from free agency. 

Matt Thaiss is a top 30 catcher

Thaiss dealt with some injuries in Triple-A but hit well enough down there before eventually being promoted full-time late in the season. He went on to produce an OBP that was higher than his slugging percentage. This one was particularly painful for me as I took him as my first reserve pick (over some guy named Steven Kwan) in AL LABR to help fill a catching hole. 

Matt Chapman is a top 10 third baseman

Chapman indeed finished 10th at third base this season, and the trade out of Oakland certainly helped increase his fantasy value as predicted. The batting average problem appears to be the new norm for him, as this is the third consecutive season in which he's hit below .235, but he was able to mimic his 2021 line in the other categories almost to the exact number. He has one more year before free agency and should once again be part of an excellent lineup.

Cal Raleigh is a top 20 catcher

Raleigh was the one player I made a prediction about in consecutive years, and I was rewarded for my consistent beliefs in his abilities, as The Big Dumper finished ninth overall at the position with a Zunino-like season featuring a low batting average but big power. He entered the season third on the depth chart yet finished it as a key cog of the Seattle roster with a bright future if he can avoid the type of pitfall that saw the aforementioned Zunino hit .160 after his breakout season in Seattle years back.

Willie Calhoun is a top 300 player

I think I left off a zero in this prediction, and even then I'm not certain Calhoun finished in the top 3,000. He's likely off to an overseas league somewhere as he really hasn't been the same guy since taking that Julio Urias fastball off his face.

All in all, I'm thrilled for the hits with Raleigh, Arraez, Merrifield, Chapman, Gimenez, Adames, Jansen and Rojas while embarrassed by some of the other flops, most notably Betts. I aim to get at least a third of these correct every season, so I'll look to do better this winter. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast every Sunday. A ten-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls.
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