Looking back at Pre-Season Sleepers and Busts

It has been a fun year here at Fantasy Assembly, and 2015 should be much better now that we have a clue (somewhat).  Since most teams are in playoff mode and almost everything that needs to be said has been, I figured it would be a good time to look back at some of my pre-season predictions and see how things worked out.  I know we still have some season left, but we are far enough along to determine who the winners and losers are.  Did all of my busts break?  Did my sleepers hit the snooze button?  For better or worse, lets take a trip down memory lane and revisit things.

The 2014 All Bust Team

 C – Jarrod Saltalamacchia:  A strong start as Salty Dog failed to live up to his 2013 numbers from Boston.

1B – Anthony Rizzo:  Oops.  I was skeptical of his batting average, specifically his ability to hit lefties.  I also wasn’t sure his PCL power would carry over into the majors right away.  I doubted his RBI potential, compared him to Mark Trumbo, called him the NL version of Chris Carter and said he wouldn’t come close to being in the top 15 for first baseman.   He still has to do what he did this year in 2015 for me to be a full believer, but I won’t go doubting him next season.

2B – Ian Kinsler:  Considering his home/road splits at Arlington and average at Comerica Park, I’m surprised Kinsler’s average is where it is.  While I was wrong on the average, his power is right where I said it would be and I was close on his stolen base count.  I stated “He won’t be a complete bust, but he will be for where People are taking him”.  That was said when Kinsler was being selected in the fourth round of mock drafts.  Fortunately owners were taking him in round 7 on average which is right around where he should have gone.  I’ll take a little credit for calling some of his numbers, but it is still a loss since this wasn’t a bust.

3B – Chase Headley:  Can all of you Please get off the 2012 Bandwagon now.  To quote “Headley should NOT be a starting third baseman  for your team and you can do much better for your CI slot.  Let someone else have him, and if that someone is the waiver wire then so be it.”  So it is written, so it shall come to pass (or something like that).

SS – Jurickson Profar: He missed the season so I’ll guess we’ll never know if I was correct or not about his numbers.  For 2014, he was a worthless draft pick so I’ll take the point here.

MI – Jed Lowrie:  “You can buy into Lowrie if you want and when he repeats you can come back here and tell me how wrong I was, but when he turns out to be nothing more than an injury risk guy who didn’t live up to the hype, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  I hate when people say I told you so….but I told you so (I’ll hate myself later).

CI – Brett Lawrie:  Again the injury bug bites him in the ass.  There is still talent here and maybe one day we will all see it.  He did have some value as a second baseman as I said he would, but that’s about it.  Man I’m on a roll here.

RF – Leonys Martin: He still can’t hit lefties, struggled on the road and still doesn’t walk enough for the type of player he is.  Martin still had some value in leagues thanks to his stolen bases, but if you take away his speed, the rest of his numbers say bust.

CF – Dexter Fowler:  “There’s not a lot to like here so don’t waste a draft pick.  The one good month he may have is not worth the five months of mediocrity and headaches.”  OK, he had 6 good weeks, but that still doesn’t justify the rest of his paltry numbers. 

LF – Adam Eaton:  If you’re in a keeper league he’s worthy of an investment, but for the 2014 season I would stay far away from this rising star and wouldn’t even waste a bench spot on him.”  My main concern here was that he wouldn’t hit for a good enough average to be fantasy relevant.  Eaton wasn’t a bust average wise, but the rest of his numbers didn’t live up to expectations.  I’ll take the loss on this one as he performed better than I gave him credit for and out performed his ADP.

SP – Jered Weaver:  Was he a bust, no.  Was he a bust for a 13th round draft pick, that’s debatable.  He performed as I said he would, but the 15 wins (plus whatever he gets from here on out) make him look better than he is.  We can debate this one back and forth, but I’m calling this one a draw and still wouldn’t draft Weaver next year.

SP – Francisco Liriano: With a career 1.33 WHIP and 4.18 ERA, the odds of him repeating or coming close to the numbers he showed us last year are….lets just say I shook my magic 8 ball and it told me to stop asking it stupid questions”.  A strong performance in July and mediocre August help pad the horrid numbers he put up the first three months.  You could have done better with your pick in the 13th round and gotten a better pitcher off waivers.

SP – Ricky Nolasco:  I said to let someone else have him, hopefully you did just that.  You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

SP – Bartolo Colon: He may still have some good games in him, but his overall value will be that of a waiver wire fill in”.  That quote about sums things up for Colon.  8 games giving up 4 or more earned runs, 7 games he failed to reach 6 innings and 3 months with an ERA of 4.50 or higher.  He was nowhere near last years numbers and enough above his 2012 totals that this year should be considered a failure (despite the good games he may have given you when you streamed him off waivers).

RP – Ernesto Frieri:  I said the only reason he was still the closer was because there was nobody else.  Apparently I was wrong.  The only reason he was the closer was because Mike Scioscia had a man crush on him.  Thankfully the Frieri experiment ended and now that he’s no longer in Los Angeles, we won’t have to worry about Frieri rearing his ugly head in the closer game again (yes, again, the dream is over Ernesto).

RP – Jim Johnson:  They don’t play in Oakland and it doesn’t matter how much money you’re slated to earn.  I gave him enough credit to last until August, but that was the only thing I was wrong about.  Thanks for paying Jimmy.

Not bad, 12 right, 3 wrong and 1 Jered Weaver.  It seems I can spot the losers (for the most part), but what about the winners?  We shall see as we move on to…….

The 2014 All Sleeper Team

C – Wilson Ramos:  If I’m going to take the win for Jurickson Profar as a bust because of an injury, I guess I have to take the loss here.  Ramos did well when he was in the lineup, but he was far from a top 5 catching option.

1B – Brandon Belt:  Another player that robbed me of a win because he couldn’t stay healthy.  I’d like to believe that  had Belt not been injured he would have had a very productive season.  Just like the question of how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop lollypop, I guess we will never know.

2B – Anthony Rendon:  Score one for me (it’s about time).  I never questioned his potential, only his ability to hit for average.  I said if he can hit for average he would be a top 10 second baseman come September, apparently Rendon thought that was too low.  As a Rendon owner, I’m not complaining one bit.

3B – Pablo Sandoval:  Well, Sandoval didn’t produce like we had hoped, but he produced well enough to finish inside the top 10 for third basemen on ESPN’s player rater.  Considering, on average, he was the 13th third baseman off the board, this one is a win (just not a big win).

SS – Brad Miller:  This is the first player on the list to outright fail due to his own merits and not because of injury.  Miller was a sleeper on many lists prior to the season so I can take comfort in the fact I’m not alone on this one.

RF – Cole Kalhoun:  An early injury derailed things a bit, but Kalhoun was quite useful from June onwards.  He didn’t quite make the 20 home run/10 stolen base mark I set for him, but he did exceed his value for an average 18th round pick.  Not all wins are pretty.

CF – B.J. Upton:  No need to harp on this one.  I blew it big time and ignored all the warning signs.  Lets move on and never speak of this again.

LF – Khris Davis:  He was a late round pick in most drafts (if he was drafted at all) and is currently sitting just inside the top 40 on ESPN’s player rater.  His average was just that, average, but owners were happy with the power and the rest of his numbers.

CI – Will Middlebrooks:  I have to admit, this was more of a heart pick.  I was hoping the average would come around some and he would hit for enough power to be useful.  The only thing Middlebrooks was good for was wasting a roster spot.

MI – Kolten Wong:  Wong wasn’t listed high in my seasonal rankings, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have higher expectations for him.  The batting average was lower than I expected, but all the other numbers were right were I thought they could be (even if he was streaky getting there).

SP – Rick Porcello:  I was dead on with this one, and owners who took a late round flyer on Porcello (or grabbed him off waivers early on) were rewarded with a top 40 pitcher.  This is one of the players that I sadly missed out on in every league.

SP – Taijuan Walker:  A shoulder injury sidelined him early on and he didn’t make it back to the bigs until September (minus 2 spot starts).  Just like Belt & Ramos, we’ll never know what might have been.

SP – Jeremy Hellickson:  Another injury, and like Walker it happened early on so it is unlikely Hellickson was even drafted.  He did produce some worthy games once he did return so Hellickson was a worthy waiver wire pickup down the stretch, but that’s about it.

SP – Cory Luebke:   This one stings twice as hard as I had Luebke listed in my bold predictions.  Not much you can do when Tommy John comes a calling, and Luebke had plenty of company this season.

RP – Jesse Crain:  He never made it off the DL to be relevant, but we all waited in anticipation. 

RP – David Robertson:  At least I get to go out on a high note with my last player.  Robertson finished (or will finish) in the top 10 as predicted, but with so many failed picks above, it’s hard to get excited.

Injuries decimated this list, but the final tally was 7 right, 3 wrong and 6 DL casualties.  Alright, technically it’s 9 wrong, but I’d like to believe that a few of those DL guys would have been right had they stayed healthy.   It looks like I’m better at spotting who not to draft as my sleeper fell short, but knowing who to avoid is just as important as who to reach for.  I did provide some very useful names during the season in my waiver wire report; while my sleepers may not have worked out well, I made up for it elsewhere.  I’m sure I made a fair number of mistakes in my rankings as well, but that’s a different story for another day.

Good luck to all of you who have made the playoffs.  We will be here until the very end trying to help you capture the gold.  For those of you in keeper leagues, stay tuned as we will begin our keeper rankings and prep work for 2015 on the 29th (just 3 short weeks away).

Jim Finch

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The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.

2 thoughts on “Looking back at Pre-Season Sleepers and Busts”

  1. Nice write up here Jim. I love looking back at projections and rankings when the season comes to an end. You got a jump on it here. I’ll be following you guys here at Fantasy Assembly again over the coming fall and winter months.

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