What we got right ... and wrong
By Jesse Pantuosco, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As Brian Fantana from the Channel 4 news team once said, "Sixty percent of the time, it works every time."
It's a confusing sentiment but if you've ever tried to project fantasy stats for an entire baseball season, it kind of makes sense.
I don't have a crystal ball. Check my cubicle if you don't believe me.
We're all human and as much as we hate to admit it, we make mistakes. Even fantasy editors like myself.
And it's not just a few mistakes. We make lots of them.
It's not because we're bad at our job. When our preseason rankings are made, we're projecting what SHOULD happen based on trends and past performances. Basically our projections represent what would happen if the world made sense.
Of course if that were the case, we wouldn't have much to write about. Luckily, the fantasy universe gets turned on its head almost daily so we're rarely short on material.
And if you think about it, isn't that what draws us all to fantasy in the first place? None of us, not even the guys who are supposed to be really good at this, know exactly what's coming next.
Looking back on the projections we made seven months ago, we really knocked a few out of the park. But as you might expect, there were plenty of gaffes as well.
So for better or worse, here are our greatest hits (and misses) from the 2013 MLB season.
WHAT WE GOT RIGHT
Bronson Arroyo, SP, Cincinnati Reds TSN Preseason Projection: 14-11, 3.84 ERA, 1.22 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 14-12, 3.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
We didn't really have to think too hard about this one. Arroyo's ERA has been between 3.74 and 3.88 four out of the last five seasons. Arroyo, a master of consistency throughout his career, should be in that same range again in 2014.
Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees TSN Preseason Projection: .317, 30 HR, 113 RBI, .900 OPS Final 2013 stats: .314, 27 HR, 107 RBI, .899 OPS
Again, it's not rocket science. Cano has been posting numbers like this for the better part of a decade. We wouldn't expect Cano's stats to fluctuate all that much next season, even if he ends up leaving the Yankees.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers TSN Preseason Projection: .300, 21 HR, 99 RBI Final 2013 stats: .293, 22 HR, 100 RBI
It's becoming clearer and clearer that Gonzalez's 40-HR campaign in 2009 was a fluke. That's not to say Gonzalez isn't a great hitter. He is. He's just more of a doubles hitter than a "swing for the fences" guy.
Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis Cardinals TSN Preseason Projection: .297, 28 HR, 101 RBI Final 2013 stats: .300, 22 HR, 94 RBI
The power numbers were a little lighter than we expected but give Holliday credit. He overcame a dismal first half (.268 in 310 at bats) to finish at .300 for the seventh time in his career.
Jon Lester, SP, Boston Red Sox TSN Preseason Projection: 15-11, 3.69 ERA, 1.27 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 15-8, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Just as we suspected. We had a feeling Lester was in for a bounce-back season (9-14, 4.82 ERA in 2012) and boy did we hit it right on the money. He'll start Game 1 of the ALDS Friday night at Fenway Park.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH, Toronto Blue Jays TSN Preseason Projection: .266, 36 HR, 105 RBI, .896 OPS, 90 R Final 2013 stats: .272, 36 HR, 104 RBI, .904 OPS, 94 R
I'd like to think Encarnacion sat out the last two weeks of the season just to boost our credibility. Either way, our numbers for the talented Blue Jays slugger were spot-on.
Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies TSN Preseason Projection: 16-7, 2.90 ERA, 1.04 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 14-8, 2.87 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
He's an ageless wonder, isn't he? Even at age 35, the former Cy Young winner finished sixth in the league in ERA. Now if only the Phillies' offense could give him some darn run support (third-lowest run support in the National League this season).
Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants TSN Preseason Projection: .280, 26 HR, 96 RBI Final 2013 stats: .283, 27 HR, 99 RBI
Nailed it! Full disclosure, Pence actually stole 16 more bases than we were expecting (22 on the season). But that's nitpicking. And speaking of Pence, the Giants rewarded him with a five-year extension over the weekend. Missing the playoffs is never fun but the $90 million he's getting should ease the pain a little.
Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians TSN Preseason Projection: .268, 24 HR, 81 RBI, .835 OPS Final 2013 stats: .268, 20 HR, 74 RBI, .832 OPS
Santana might be my new favorite player. Why? Because he made us all look like GENIUSES. We projected his batting average to a tee! And if you hadn't noticed, we were pretty darn close on his OPS as well. Drinks are on me tonight, Carlos.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies TSN Preseason Projection: .299, 26 HR, 84 RBI Final 2013 stats: .312, 25 HR, 82 RBI
Well, we didn't get Tulowitzki's batting average EXACTLY right (13 point differential). But the power numbers were accurate and that's worth something.
WHAT WE GOT KINDA RIGHT
Chris Carter, 1B, Houston Astros TSN Preseason Projection: .245, 28 HR, 78 RBI, .840 OPS Final 2013 stats: .223, 29 HR, 82 RBI, .770 OPS
Power-wise, Carter did about what we thought he would. Batting average? Well, that's a bit of a gray area. We knew Carter wouldn't make a ton of contact this season but we definitely weren't thinking he'd hit in the .220s. Good grief.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cincinnati Reds TSN Preseason Projection: .287, 19 HR, 71 RBI, 22 SB, .822 OPS, 94 R Final 2013 stats: .285, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 20 SB, .885 OPS, 107 R
Average? Check. Home runs? Check. Stolen bases? Check. RBI? Not even close. His OPS was way better than we expected too. If Scott Boras has his way, Choo will become the first non-All-Star to earn a nine-figure contract when he hits the free agent market this winter.
John Lackey, SP, Boston Red Sox TSN Preseason Projection: 10-11, 5.10 ERA, 1.44 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 10-13, 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Truthfully, we totally misjudged Lackey. And how could you blame us after how he pitched in his first two seasons with Boston (5.26 ERA in 375 innings)? Lackey was great this year. Still, he only finished with ten victories, which is exactly what we predicted back in March.
Justin Morneau, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates TSN Preseason Projection: .278, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 61 R Final 2013 stats: .259, 17 HR, 77 RBI, 62 R
We got most of it. Morneau's power numbers and even his run production were almost identical to what we projected. The only thing we weren't prepared for was Morneau's steep decline in batting average (.277 lifetime hitter).
Alex Rios, OF, Texas Rangers TSN Preseason Projection: .279, 21 HR, 81 RBI, 15 SB Final 2013 stats: .278, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 42 SB
This would again fall under the "mostly right" category. We knew Rios wouldn't hit .300 again. What we didn't know was that Rios had the wheels to steal 40 bases. Turns out, he does.
WHAT WE GOT WRONG
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies TSN Preseason Projection: .256, 16 HR, 61 RBI, .763 OPS Final 2013 stats: .272, 27 HR, 83 RBI, .818 OPS
Brown's career-high in homers before the season was five so we thought we were being generous by saying he'd hit 16 round-trippers in 2013. Then Brown went ahead and hit 23 homers before the All-Star break. If Brown didn't get injured in the second half he could have really made us look stupid.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels TSN Preseason Projection: .278, 31 HR, 101 RBI, .919 OPS Final 2013 stats: .250, 21 HR, 79 RBI, .739 OPS
Well, you can't win 'em all. Hamilton's 2012 post-All-Star break slump continued throughout most of the first half, dashing any hopes he may have had for reaching 40 homers in back-to-back seasons. He played well in the second half (.287, 40 RBI) though, so maybe there's hope for next season.
Ian Kennedy, SP, San Diego Padres TSN Preseason Projection: 16-10, 3.75 ERA, 1.24 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 7-10, 4.91 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
ESPN's Jayson Stark listed Kennedy as one of his NL "Cy Yuk" candidates last week (he lost out to the slightly worse Barry Zito). Maybe we should have seen this coming after Kennedy's ERA rose from 2.88 in 2011 all the way to 4.02 last season.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs TSN Preseason Projection: .288, 28 HR, 102 RBI, .818 OPS Final 2013 stats: .233, 23 HR, 80 RBI, .742 OPS
We missed the mark. So did Rizzo, an up-and-comer who let down a lot of fantasy owners this season. He needs a strong bounce-back year in 2014 to restore his reputation.
CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees TSN Preseason Projection: 18-8, 3.22 ERA, 1.16 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 14-13, 4.78 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
We knew sooner or later all those innings would catch up to Sabathia. In 2013, they finally did.
WHAT WE GOT VERY WRONG
Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles TSN Preseason Projection: .258, 30 HR, 90 RBI, 71 R, .804 OPS Final 2013 stats: .286, 53 HR, 138 RBI, 103 R, 1.004 OPS
I'm not gonna get too bent out of shape over this one. I don't think anybody thought Davis was capable of this. What I can't get over is that even after hitting 37 first half homers, teams were still pitching to him (only 34 second half walks).
Chris Johnson, 3B, Atlanta Braves TSN Preseason Projection: .262, 8 HR, 48 RBI, .725 OPS Final 2013 stats: .321, 12 HR, 68 RBI, .816 OPS
Back in March when Juan Francisco was still in the mix, we weren't even sure Johnson would be the everyday third baseman. Seven months later, Johnson finished with the second-highest batting average in the National League. Shows what we know.
Francisco Liriano, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates TSN Preseason Projection: 7-10, 4.94 ERA, 1.43 WHIP Final 2013 stats: 16-8, 3.02 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
As Bob Uecker would say, just a BIT outside. Liriano had recorded an ERA higher than five in three of his previous four seasons so it's understandable why we were skeptical back in March.
James Loney, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays TSN Preseason Projection: .252, 8 HR, 46 RBI, .671 OPS Final 2013 stats: .300, 13 HR, 75 RBI, .781 OPS
When the Red Sox decided to trade half their team to the Dodgers last August, the Dodgers had one condition: you have to take James Loney. NOBODY wanted this guy. So of course he signed with Tampa Bay and finished with a batting average 48 points higher than what we projected. I give up.
Josh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins TSN Preseason Projection: .265, 31 HR, 97 RBI, .850 OPS Final 2013 stats: .208, 14 HR, 48 RBI, .709 OPS
Underachieve much? Willingham followed up his monster 2012 campaign (35 HR, 110 RBI) with one of the most disappointing fantasy seasons in recent memory. It's a year he'll want to forget. Actually, it's a year we all want to forget.
Well, we did our best. Here's to another great season.
09/30 19:22:22 ET