This is the fifth annual installment of my "Guys I got wrong" piece (for past versions, see the links below). I'll look at players who have become much better big leaguers than I ever forecast them to be and try to explain where I made mistakes in evaluating them.
As with previous columns, I've included some players I didn't discuss much as prospects or young major leaguers -- errors of omission that are errors nonetheless. This allows me to talk about some guys who never received much praise or publicity anywhere, not just from me.
Could a guy I once wrote off as fifth-starter material win the National League Cy Young Award? Well, yes, obviously, since Hendricks is going to lead the National League in ERA (1.99), owns a 16-8 record (I had to look that up) and is even top 10 in fWAR, a metric that, for reasons I'll explain in a moment, does Hendricks no favors. I indeed had Hendricks as just a fifth starter -- a finesse guy with great control but lacking an out pitch. That last part turned out to be the key to the mistaken evaluation –- secondhand, I admit, as I didn't see Hendricks in the minors –- because his changeup was already pretty good when he reached the majors, and this year, it became one of the most valuable changeups in all of MLB.