The Cubs won the World Series. That alone should make anyone think twice about trying to predict this game, but as with every year, we made some bold predictions prior to the season. We checked in on them at the Break, but now that it’s all over, let’s see how we did.
Boston Red Sox–David Price doesn’t lead the team in wins or strikeouts.
Price won 17 games, second on the club to Rick Porcello, who became Boston’s first 22-game winner since Pedro Martinez won 23 in 1999. Price struck out 228, comfortably leading the team. Bust
New York Yankees–the bullpen strikes out fewer batters than last year’s did.
This one was close. At our midseason update, we noted that Yankee relievers had a K/9 of 11.01, which, had they kept it up, would have left them with more strikeouts than the 2015 squad, which had 596. However, due in no small part to the deadline trades of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, Yankee relievers ended the year with 578 strikeouts. Success
Tampa Bay Rays–Players named Logan account for at least 25% of their home runs.
The Rays hit 216 home runs in 2016, a new franchise record. Logans Forsythe and Morrison were responsible for just 34 of those, or 16%. Bust
Baltimore Orioles–They hit fewer home runs than last year’s club.
The Orioles his 253 home runs, most in the Majors and just four shy of their franchise record from 1996. The 2015 Orioles hit 215 home runs. Bust
Toronto Blue Jays–Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson all top .900 OPS again, and the Jays win fewer games than they did last year.
Almost. Donaldson delivered (.953 OPS), and the Jays did win fewer games (89 vs. 93), but Encarnacion finished with an .886 OPS and Bautista finished at .817 in 116 games. Bust
Cleveland Indians–Francisco Lindor finishes top-5 in the AL in bWAR.
Lindor finished with 5.7 bWAR. That’s good! It was also 13th in the AL. Bust
Detroit Tigers–Justin Verlander posts a 5+ bWAR.
He did! Verlander had a heck of a bounceback season, leading the AL in strikeouts and WHIP and putting himself in the Cy Young discussion. He also earned 6.6 bWAR. Success
Minnesota Twins–They will have multiple hitters strike out 150 times.
We had our eyes on Sano and Dozier with this prediction, and while Sano smashed Minnesota’s single-season strikeout record with 178, Dozier struck out just 138 times. Bust
Side note–Sano only played in 116 games, and didn’t even qualify for rate stats. The previous record for most strikeouts in a season in which the player played fewer than 120 games was 158, set by Bo Jackson in 1987.
Kansas City Royals–Chien-Ming Wang throws at least 100 innings.
Wang threw 53.1 innings. Bust
Chicago White Sox–They steal over 100 bases as a team.
They stole 77. Bust
Houston Astros–Evan Gattis hits more than twice as many triples as Jose Altuve. Again.
Altuve hit five triples, but that didn’t matter because Gattis hit zero. The guy has played four seasons and hit 12 triples, 11 of which came in one bizarre year. Bust
Texas Rangers–Elvis Andrus puts up a .700 OPS.
Andrus hit .302/.362/.439/.800! Success
Seattle Mariners–Robinson Cano hits fewer than 20 homers.
This was one busted by the Break. He finished with a career-high 39 homers. Bust
Los Angeles Angels–Jered Weaver tosses 200 innings while allowing fewer homers than he did last year.
Entering embarrassing territory here. Weaver threw 177 innings, and also gave up a career-high (and AL-high) 37 home runs. Bust
Oakland Athletics–Sonny Gray is the AL West’s best pitcher.
Speaking of embarrassing. Gray had a 5.69 ERA in 117 innings across 22 starts. His -0.5 bWAR was 6th worst in the AL among pitchers with 100 innings. It actually wasn’t the worst in the AL West (thanks, Weaver), but it was very, very far from the best. Bust
Philadelphia Phillies–They have a 12-game winner, twice what last year’s leader had.
They did! Jeremy Hellickson went 12-10. Success
Atlanta Braves–Jeff Francoeur leads the team in homers and RBIs.
Heh, whoops. Francoeur was traded to Miami in August, but even if he hadn’t been, Freddie Freeman hit 34 home runs (28% of the team’s total) and drove in 91. Bust
New York Mets–Their starters don’t lead the NL East in innings, wins, or strikeouts.
Washington starters led the NL East in all three of those categories, beating the Mets comfortably in innings (960 to 922), wins (72 to 58), and strikeouts (987 to 827). Success
Washington Nationals–Bryce Harper will top his HR and RBI totals from last year, but not his OPS or bWAR.
Harper topped none of those numbers from last year. Bust
Cincinnati Reds–Joey Votto tops 150 walks.
St. Louis Cardinals–no pitcher wins more than 15 games, and they make the playoffs anyway.
Carlos Martinez won 16, and while they made it close, the Cardinals did not make the playoffs. Bust on both ends
Chicago Cubs–They fail to win 90 games as Jake Arrieta posts an ERA over 3.
Arrieta actually did post an ERA over 3 (3.10), but the Cubs won 103 games and the World Series. Bust
Pittsburgh Pirates–Andrew McCutchen doesn’t lead the team in average, home runs, or RBIs.
McCutchen’s .256 average was among the worst on the team (min. 300 PAs), and Gregory Polanco led the team in RBIs. McCutchen led with 24 homers though. Bust
Milwaukee Brewers–They have an above average offense.
They scored 671 runs (NL average 718) with a 92 OPS+. Bust
Colorado Rockies–They have a qualified starter with an ERA under 4.
Tyler Chatwood and his 3.87 ERA fell just four innings short of qualifying. Bust
Arizona Diamondbacks–Shelby Miller has his worst full season, but finishes with at least twice as many wins as he had last year.
He only threw 101 innings, but Miller was awful, pitching to a 6.15 ERA across 20 starts. He won three games. Bust
San Francisco Giants–They have their worst even year since 2008.
On the heels of a 30-42 second half, the Giants won 87 games, their worst even year total since 2008. Success
Los Angeles Dodgers–Clayton Kershaw tops his strikeout total from last year.
Kershaw was amazing, but you can’t strike out 300 if you miss a third of the season with a back injury. Bust
San Diego Padres–They have a player hit 30 homers.
The Padres actually set a franchise record with 177 homers in 2016, but they did not have a player hit 30. Wil Myers led the way with 28, which is the sixth highest by a Padre since Petco Park opened its doors in 2004. Bust
You may have noticed we skipped our Marlins prediction. That’s because it concerned Jose Fernandez, and we didn’t think it was appropriate to put a grade on it. RIP Jose, an amazing pitcher who brought a kind of joy to the game we so rarely see.