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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BPro: 11 Horribly Wrong Predictions We Have Made

I bet we all have a few…

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

Repoz Posted: March 20, 2013 at 05:50 AM | 107 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   101. SoSH U at work Posted: March 21, 2013 at 01:52 AM (#4393329)
I don't know if he was actually canned or if he left, but that incident clearly broke the relationship between him and BPro to an irreparable extent. Particularly the way Kahrl went to bat for Will, the only way he was staying after that was if he 1) was right, or 2) outed his source and his source was someone he should have trusted.

The BP Rose story was written in 2003, the year Carroll joined the staff. He left in 2010. If that broke the relationship, they didn't get around to divorcing for quite some time. Maybe it was for the children.
   102. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: March 21, 2013 at 02:00 AM (#4393332)
he BP Rose story was written in 2003, the year Carroll joined the staff. He left in 2010. If that broke the relationship, they didn't get around to divorcing for quite some time. Maybe it was for the children.

And he was brought in on the strength of "Saving the Pitcher" which at the time was considered revolutionary and granted BPro a lot of access to ESPN and MLB that it hadn't enjoyed previously. He entered in 2003 as the Golden Child, by the end of 2003 he was just another writer. He covered BALCO and steroids and wrote another book but never had the same backing by BPro again. By the time he stopped publishing I think BPro was glad to be rid of him. His credentialing was probably the only thing that stopped them from parting ways even earlier.

Maybe I'm wrong, but after Rose I always got the impression he was thought of as the red-headed stepchild of BPro.
   103. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: March 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4393572)
Man, I practically did cartwheels when the Red Sox traded Bronson Arroyo for WMP. I can't think of a reaction to a trade/FA signing I've had that I was more wrong about than that one.

Funnily enough, yesterday was the 7th anniversary of that trade. I remember hearing about it on the way home from school. My friend and I (both Reds fans) thought that Theo had fleeced Krivsky.

   104. CFBF Rides The Zombie Ice Dragon Posted: March 21, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4393590)
The one that sticks out for me is the fit I had about the Andy Marte for Edgar Renteria trade. Marte was going to be our David Wright!

Man, I was homicidally angry about that trade. Renteria was coming off two crummy years, he was expensive and even though the Red Sox ate a lot of the salary it seemed utterly ridiculous to give up one of the best prospects in baseball just so you can have the privilege of betting on Renteria's bounce back.

As it turned out, Renteria gave the Braves two solid years and they flipped him for Jurrjens. And we all know how Marte flopped. Certainly a humbling experience.
   105. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 21, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4393695)
Through age 25, ARam was at 263/312/441, 92 OPS+ in 2500 PA, good for 1.1 WAR. From 23-25 he was 270/319/466, 100 OPS+ in 1900 PA, good for 4.1 WAR including just 1.7 at age 25. He was a generally poor baserunner but had wrestled his way up to average defensively. Obviously he still had growth potential but nobody at that point would have projected him to put up a 129 OPS+ and 27 WAR over the next 9 seasons. And the Pirates only had (I think) one year of control left anyway. There were a number of folks (probably including Vlad) who felt ARam had been jerked around by the Pirates, played hurt, etc. and they were right about that but at the end of the day he was below-average, disappointing and "expensive."

You're overlooking several fairly important things in that analysis. First, he was rushed to the majors before he was ready, jumping directly from A+ to the majors as a 20-year-old, only to put up a 68 OPS+ in 275 PA. Second, he played through a leg injury for nearly the entire 2002 season, which crippled his production, because even a barely-standing Ramirez was still better as a 3B than Mike Benjamin. Those two seasons combine for a little under 40% of his ML PAs at the time of the trade. It's a situation where the numbers really don't tell the whole story - any scout could have told you that Ramirez was a much better talent than his raw stat line indicated (as subsequent events proved). Pretty much everybody in baseball knew that the 2001 Ramirez was the player the Cubs were getting.

Also, he was under control through 2005, not 2004, so he wasn't a rental. The Cubs watched him play for a year and a half, saw him develop into a star as expected, then signed him to a four-year extension that bought out his final arb season. You brought up the Boone comp back in 2003, but it didn't really fit then, and it doesn't really fit now. Boone was much older, and under control for less time, and had never had a season even close to Ramirez's 2001, and wasn't nearly as well-regarded by scouts (Ramirez was a former top-five overall prospect, for pete's sake).

The really weird thing about that trade is that apparently the Pirates didn't actually want either player. They tried to sneak Bruback off the 40-man and failed and they buried Hill in the minors (perhaps partly because they ended up with Freddy Sanchez after the Gonzalez-Lyon debacle).

The sole reason the Pirates made the trade is that they were in violation of the debt-to-equity rule for finances, and the commissioner's office called in their marker on short notice. When a Kris Benson trade to the Braves fell through because he had an arm problem, Littlefield had only a few hours to cut millions of dollars off of the team's payroll. He basically accepted the first offer that he got for Ramirez from the first team that answered its phone. He didn't even really want Hill. The three guys on the PTBNL list were reported as Hill, Francis Beltran (Littlefield's primary target), and Steve Smyth. Beltran got hurt, so it was Hill or a soft-tossing lefty with nothing to recommend him, and they went with Hill.
   106. Rally Posted: March 21, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4393723)
Cashing out and then spending my entire 401k on hookers and blow last December 20 probably counts as a dumb prediction... but they were good hookers and it was quality blow.

If you live in Cyprus, that would qualify as a wise decision. Maybe elsewhere too, just a matter of time.
   107. Rally Posted: March 21, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4393730)
Speaking of Freeing Erubiel Durazo and predictions gone wrong, here is the email that started the whole thing:

Last I looked, Erubiel Durazo had more HR and RBI than Mark Grace, despite being the backup and being banished to the minors for a time. It'll be amusing to see how long the D'backs will stubbornly play Grace. They are unwilling to admit they made a mistake, no matter how much evidence exists to show playing Grace is costing them games.
--Sean Smith
(May 2, 2001)

If only the D-Backs had listened. They might have won something that year.
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