Sep 26, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Baltimore Orioles third basemanManny Machado
(13) walks off the field after the seventh inning of the game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox won 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
The Good (prediction accuracy)
J.J. Hardy – I have feared for quite some time that he has a proclivity for nagging injuries that take away from his play, writing in early April, “Starting the year on the DL is not what was needed for Hardy. Honestly, the injury does not sound terribly difficult, and Hardy may well bounce back from it rather quickly. But I fear that he has a proclivity for some nagging sorts of injuries that take away from his full abilities. I don’t expect Hardy’s power to come back to pre-2014 levels…” Hardy never really did bounce back with power or average — hitting only .219 with eight home runs in 114 games. The injury was a big deal. This pattern has to change.
Manny Machado – I was optimistic on Machado from the start, saying that “I anticipate an outstanding year from Manny. Some are suggesting he could be among the MVP vote-getters in 2015. I don’t know about that, but it is not a crazy idea. After a slow start in April, I will predict Machado to lay out his best season yet – hitting near .300 with more power than the past as well.” Manny did hang around .300 for much of the season, ending at .286. It was indeed his best season yet, and he will get some votes. He started moderately slow in April, and his power (35 homers) was beyond our wildest hopes.
Ryan Flaherty – Regular readers of my column know that I’m not big on the FlareDog. But EVEN I WAS TOO OPTIMISTIC!! I wrote, “It is what it is, and he is what he is: a very good utility man defensively with a .220 average. If he’s in a slump it will be .217, and when he gets hot it will approach .225.” He hit just .202, but he is a good utility defensive player.
Jimmy Paredes – After a great spring training and good first half of the season, he fulfilled my words, “I don’t expect a big final contribution from Paredes.” He can look so good for a while, but then he can look totally lost.
The Bad (prediction accuracy)
Chris Davis – There is no doubt that Davis had a better season than most anticipated, including me. But what was there to build hope upon with his .196 batting average? I wrote, “I do not expect him to return anything close to 2013 levels. He will have a better season than 2014, hitting maybe 32-34 home runs and batting possibly .230. But I think the league has figured out ways to pitch and defense against him that are very successful.” So he did have a better year than 2014, as predicted; but it was much better than anticipated as he hit 47 home runs and batted .262. This was great to see and I’m pleased to have underestimated him.
Jonathan Schoop – I am equally pleased to have underestimated Schoop’s progress. Before the first game I wrote, “I anticipate he will continue to grow and sharpen his skills by taking a step forward to a .235 average along with occasional power and excellent defense.” For 86 total games played he belted 15 home runs and batted .279. I’ll say right now that I believe he is ready for an even bigger breakout next year to become one of the premier players in the league before long.
The Ugly (prediction accuracy)
Evereth Cabrera – I was surprised to read my optimism about Cabrera, as I wrote a negative article when he was first secured. But in April I said, “Cabrera may prove to be the best offseason pickup by Dan Duquette.” Nope — never worked out, and after hitting only .208 in 29 games he was gone.
Next: Certainly I was not the only one to be disappointed in the outfield …