This article is part of our Collette Calls series.
I survived 2016 NL Bold Predictions. Barely. This week, I will look back at my AL Bold Predictions and beg for the same mercy I did last week. Like last week, I will grade each prediction on the 20-80 scouting scale. All dollar values are from 12-team standard mixed leagues.
No starter on Balitmore's staff earns at least $10 by season's end in AL-Only Leagues: In fact, both Chris Tillman ($13) and Kevin Gausman ($10) did so. This was not an egregious miss to the tune of many of my NL predictions, but a miss nonetheless. Tillman pitched better out of the gate while Gausman looked very good in the second half finally showing signs of putting it all together. It is also worth pointing out that Brad Brach earned more in middle relief ($13) than any other member of the starting staff. Grade: 40
Travis Shaw earns at least $15 in AL-Only Leagues: The reasoning behind this was that while he did not have a clear path to playing time, it was tough to imagine both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez getting to 500 plate appearances. One of those did come true and Shaw was about to nearly meet this prediction as he earned $12 in AL-Only leagues because his batting average and lack of steals held down his overall value. Grade: 40
Jose Quintana wins 15 games: This one really should have happened, but it did not. The fact Quintana won 13 games was cause for celebration given he had never won double-digit games in his career. That said, this prediction looked like a lock when Quintana went 5-1 over his first seven starts ...and then went 10 starts between wins five and six. All in all, it was another typical Quintana season with good skills, some bad luck, and some bad bullpen support behind him. Grade: 40
Michael Brantley doesn't earn $18 in AL-Only Leagues: This is what I said about this prediction before the season:
Perhaps this is my own bias from having two major shoulder surgeries, but they're not easy to come back from. I can't help but recall how Melvin Upton struggled to hit with power in 2009 after his own shoulder surgery on his front shoulder during the 2008 offseason. Brantley is still a great baseball player but I see him being drafted almost as if nothing major happened to him in the offseason (went $22 in AL Tout). Over the past three seasons, Brantley has earned $18, $40, and $26 in AL-Only formats.Brantley only played in 11 games all season and was shut down with more surgery. Shoulder surgeries are equally as scary for batters as they are for pitchers. Many folks were burned by the false promise of the player saying he was ahead of schedule and feeling better than ever reminding us that when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Grade: 70
Shane Greene earns at least $5 in AL-Only Leagues: In 2015, he tanked many seasons with the lowest value of any fantasy pitcher. In 2016, he didn't hurt nor help as he was a $0 player and was not good over 60 innings pitched. I still cannot quit him, but I also won't say $2 in an auction in 2017 either. Grade: 25
Tyler White leads all Astros in production at first base: Swing and a miss – like White often did. In all fairness, he earned as much as A.J. Reed did in 2016 and many people were chasing him like an autograph, but Marwin Gonzalez (who was also on my Tout Wars team) and Luis Valbuena both earned more money than the former 33rd round pick from Western Carolina. Grade: 20
Nick Tropeano is the third most valuable starting pitcher on this staff: This actually panned out, only because everyone else on the staff was so awful. Matt Shoemaker was the lone bright spot at $9, while the rest of the staff was all $0 or worse. Ricky Nolasco's combined value from the Twins and the Angels was $5, but nobody else had positive value. Thus, Tropeano's $0 did make him the third most valuable starter but he was not exactly keeping great company before his elbow blew out. The 9.0 K/9 was nice and the 3.56 ERA was doable, but he was always flirting with disaster with too many baserunners so even if the elbow didn't give out, this would have fallen apart eventually. Grade: 50
Lorenzo Cain finishes in the top five for AL MVP: I put my money where my mouth was and rostered him at $27 in Tout and dealt Edwin Encarnacion to get him and a pitcher in LABR early in the season. Surprise – I finished in the lower half of both leagues. Cain only played in 103 games; tough to win the MVP when you're hurt for too much of the season. Grade: 20
Trevor May leads the Twins in saves: Heading into the season, May had the best skills in the pen, but those skills did not carry over into 2016 and it was Brandon Kintzler who led this team in saves. His high BABIP came down a bit, but he did a poor job of stranding runners despite his 12.7 K/9 over 43 innings. We're 203 innings into a pro career where he has shown little ability to strand baserunners. He seems destined to a career of middle relief unless something changes as walks plus home runs = 66 percent LOB rate. Grade: 20
Aaron Hicks is the second-highest dollar earner in the Yankee outfield: Not even close. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner each remained healthy throughout the year playing in 148 games allowing Hicks little chance to play when Carlos Beltran was there. Even after Beltran was dealt, Aaron Judge got the playing time as Hicks was reduced to the short side of platoon situations. Grade: 20
Marcus Semien is the second-most valuable shortstop in the American League: This one is tough because Semien had an excellent year at the plate power-wide with 27 homers, 70-plus runs and RBI and even swiped 10 bags. However, every other shortstop in the American League did well too as Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Elvis Andrus, Brad Miller and Didi Gregorius finished ahead of him. He was good, but others were even more surprisingly improved in 2016. Grade: 40
Taijuan Walker is the second-most valuable starter on the staff: It was not a great year for starting pitching in Seattle. Hisashi Iwakuma was tops at $10, Felix Hernandez struggled to earn $7, and Walker came in at $5 thanks to a good WHIP and strikeout rate. He was demoted in-season and won eight of his 25 starts while striking out 119 in 134 innings. I want to say he is dead to me, but I've been burned too many times before writing guys off like this. I'm in for one more year in 2017 but not at the $12 I paid for him in Tout Wars this year. Grade: 35
Danny Farquhar leads the Rays in saves: The reasoning behind this was that Kevin Cash wanted multiple inning relievers, and I thought that Alex Colome was a better fit for that to give someone else the closer role while Brad Boxberger was out hurt. Farquhar was awful in the first half and was sent to Durham where he refined his stuff and pitched well down the stretch to earn a spot in the 2017 pen that is rather unsettled after Colome and certain-to-be-dealt Boxberger. Grade: 20
Robinson Chirinos is the third most productive catcher in the American League: Once hurt, always hurt. Chirinos missed a good chunk of the season injured and hit .224 with 9 homers, 20 RBIs and 21 runs when he did play in 57 games. Grade: 20
J.A. Happ finishes as the second-most valuable starting pitcher on the staff: I was wrong, but in a very good way. Happ led all Toronto starters earning $22 winning 20 games with a 3.18 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and striking out 163 in 195 innings of work. He was going for next to nothing in drafts, so this was a very profitable pick for many, including the guy who won my local AL league that drafted him for $5 when I was out of money. Ugh. Grade: 70
Overall, I did much better with my AL picks than I did with my NL picks, thus flipping the script from last year when I whiffed badly on many AL Bold Predictions.