7. Taking Michael Saunders Over Mike Trout in a 2011 Minor-League Draft
No, I never predicted that Michael Saunders would have the better career than Mike Trout. It was the second round of my home league’s farm draft, and the two names at the top of my list were Saunders and Trout. I had already selected Martin Perez with my first pick and didn’t want to add to my risk profile with a prospect as far away as Trout. My initial rankings had Trout ahead of Saunders, but I looked at Trout’s age and blinked. Saunders isn’t a complete zero in fantasy baseball, but, obviously, I’d love to own Mike Trout for the next three years. —Mike Gianella
8. Roy Halladay was Going to Stink Again and Again and Again
Upon discovering Voros McCracken’s (now famous) piece explaining how pitchers had limited control on allowing hits on balls in play, I thought I’d stumbled onto the secret to my bar-gument dominance. Like anyone who only partially understood the underlying theory might do, I gripped onto strikeout rate (K/9 specifically) as a proxy for pitcher quality. A series of unfortunate events prevented me from being “right” about Chien-Ming Wang’s demise, but I was convinced that a declining strikeout rate was the beginning of the end for a young(er) Roy Halladay after 2004… and 2005, and 2006. Boy, is my face red. —Tim Collins
10. Shawn Chacon Turned a Corner with the Yankees
The Yankees were—as they often seem to be—desperate for starters leading up to the 2005 trade deadline. The team had munched its way through the likes of Darrell May and Tim Redding in one start apiece, and general manager Brian Cashman’s starting rotation resembled a badly-sewn patchwork quilt. But in July, lightning struck for the Bombers. Twice. First, Aaron Small emerged from journeyman obscurity to go 10-0 in 15 starts down the stretch, and Cashman dealt for the Rockies’ Shawn Chacon.
If Small was the Yankees’ walking miracle, Chacon was the second coming, hurling 79 innings down the stretch and going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA (though FIP gives him a much uglier 4.56 mark). As a 14-year-old, I didn’t pay much attention to sabermetrics. If I had, maybe I would have pointed to Chacon’s low strikeout rate and high walk rate as two major red flags that could prevent him from repeating his post-All-Star break performance. Whoops. Instead, I was more than happy to proclaim Cashman a genius and dub Chacon a superb starter who had definitely turned a corner once he was fitted for pinstripes. Sadly, that was not the case; Chacon was consistently bombed in 2006, a Pirate by the trade deadline, and later became more famous for beating up Astros then-general manager Ed Wade in a clubhouse confrontation. —Stephani Bee
11. Chris Carpenter for 2013 Comeback Player of the Year
You don’t have to look long to find one of my worst predictions. In January, I offered Chris Carpenter as a Comeback Player of the Year candidate. Given that Carp had effectively missed four full seasons with injuries (2003, 2007-08 and 2012), it was something of a leap to pencil him in for anything, even a comeback award. His 2013 PECOTA forecast wisely limited him to 50 innings.
So it’s no surprise that just two weeks later, before spring training had even begun, the Cardinals announced their longtime ace would not pitch in 2013. Carpenter had halted his off-season throwing program after the return of numbness in his shoulder, a condition that required surgery in 2012 and kept him out of action for most of the year. Carpenter made an appearance at the Cards’ Florida training complex this week, but as part of a family vacation. After 20 years as a pro, 2,171 major-league innings and nine surgeries, he has earned it. —Jeff Euston
Posted: March 20, 2013 at 04:50 AM | 107 comment(s)
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