This article is part of our Collette Calls series.
Last week, I reviewed the 30 preseason bold predictions for hitters; this week it is time to look at the pitching predictions. Like last week, I'll assign each prediction a grade on the 20-80 scouting scale and let you agree or disagree with me in the comments.
Lance McCullers Jr. finishes top 3 in AL Cy Young (grade = 60). It may happen? McCullers finished second in the AL in ERA, ninth in strikeouts, tied for third in wins and had the lowest opponents' batting average among AL starters. The 11 percent walk rate was the one blemish, but a 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 13 wins and 185 strikeouts was a solid return on investment even with the one stint on the injured list.
Jaime Barria finishes as a top-175 pitcher (grade = 20). Barria made 11 starts and appeared in 13 games with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in 56.2 innings. His strikeout rate cratered from 21 to 14 percent, and he was simply too hittable.
A.J. Puk finishes as a top-125 pitcher (grade = 20). Puk was not everlasting as he worked 13.1 innings at the big league-level allowing 25 baserunners around 16 strikeouts. He has pitched less than 90 innings the last four calendar years combined, so it is very tough to imagine he has a path forward as a big-league starter. It might be time to see just how durable he can be out of the bullpen.
Yusei Kikuchi finishes as a top