As is our tradition, the All-Star Break is a good time to look back at our preseason bold predictions. Most of them are still in the “too early to tell” phase as they were made with the whole season in mind, but there’s also a few that are already busted (sorry for doubting you, Robbie). We’ll catch up again at the end of the season.
Boston Red Sox–David Price doesn’t lead the team in wins or strikeouts.
Thanks to a slow start, Price’s nine wins are good for third on the Sox behind Steven Wright (10), and Rick Porcello (11). He very well may not lead the team in wins, but with 43 strikeouts more than anyone else on the team, none are likely to catch him there. Likely Bust.
New York Yankees–the bullpen strikes out fewer batters than last year’s did.
Yankee nonstarters struck out 596 batters in 530.2 innings (10.11 K/9) last season. This year, they have struck out 323 in 264 innings (11.01 K/9). This one is likely going to come down to the wire and may hinge on whether or not they trade any of Betances/Miller/Chapman. Wait and see.
Tampa Bay Rays–Players named Logan account for at least 25% of their home runs.
The Rays have hit 118 homers as a team and Morrison/Forsythe account for 18 of those, or 15.3%. Anything is possible, but this would require an extended hot streak. Likely bust.
Baltimore Orioles–They hit fewer home runs than last year’s club.
The 2015 Orioles hit 217 home runs. This year, through 87 games they have hit 137 home runs, the most in MLB, and well above last year’s pace. Still gonna call this one a wait and see.
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.
Donaldson has a 1.017 OPS, improving on his MVP season last year. Encarnacion has an .898 OPS and just needs a good game to bring him over. Bautista hit .230/.360/.455/.815 before landing on the DL with a foot injury. He would need to come back strong in the second half but it’s certainly possible.
As for the Jays themselves, they are 51-40, on pace to win 91, just below the 93 they won last year. This is still a wait and see.
Cleveland Indians–Francisco Lindor finishes top-5 in the AL in bWAR.
1. Mike Trout (5.7)
2. Josh Donaldson (5.5)
3. Jose Altuve (4.7)
4. Robinson Cano (4.6)
5. Manny Machado (4.2)
6. Mookie Betts (4.1)
7. Ian Desmond (3.9)
8. Jackie Bradley, Francisco Lindor, Kyle Seager (3.8)
Not quite, but not too far off, either. Wait and see.
Detroit Tigers–Justin Verlander posts a 5+ bWAR.
Verlander is at 2.2 bWAR, though he has a 3.05 ERA in his last 12 starts. A strong second half makes this one possible. Wait and see.
Minnesota Twins–They will have multiple hitters strike out 150 times.
The Twins are the only team to have never had a 150-K player. Coming into this year, Miguel Sano seemed an easy pick to break that barrier, having struck out 119 times in just 80 games last season. Sure enough, he has struck out 85 times in 60 games. But between Sano’s DL stint, Byung Ho Park’s demotion, and Brian Dozier reducing his K-rate by 6% from last season (Dozier set the Twins franchise record last year with 148 strikeouts), what seemed like an easy success is now in jeopardy. Wait and see.
Kansas City Royals–Chien-Ming Wang throws at least 100 innings.
Wang has thrown 36.2 innings. This one seems unlikely.
Chicago White Sox–They steal over 100 bases as a team.
The White Sox have stolen 41 bases, which is about league average. That said, this one is looking unlikely.
Houston Astros–Evan Gattis hits more than twice as many triples as Jose Altuve. Again.
Altuve has hit just two triples, but Gattis has hit a whole zero. It’s not impossible, but this one is looking like a bust.
Texas Rangers–Elvis Andrus puts up a .700 OPS.
Andrus is hitting .294/.349/.422/.771, all four of which are career highs, and he is topping .700 for the first time since 2012. A dropoff could put this in jeopardy, but this is a likely success.
Seattle Mariners–Robinson Cano hits fewer than 20 homers.
Whoops. Cano has already hit 21 homers. Bust.
Los Angeles Angels–Jered Weaver tosses 200 innings while allowing fewer homers than he did last year.
Weaver has thrown 100.2 innings and allowed 21 homers. Last year he allowed 24 home runs in 154 innings. He might well throw 200 this year, but if he does that, it sure is unlikely that he’ll only allow three dingers. Likely bust.
Oakland Athletics–Sonny Gray is the AL West’s best pitcher.
Ouch. Gray has been awful this year, pitching to a 5.16 ERA and leading the league in wild pitches. He’s allowed nearly as many runs and homers as he did all of last year in fewer than half the innings pitched. He’s not the worst pitcher in the AL West, but he certainly won’t be the best. Bust.
Philadelphia Phillies–They have a 12-game winner, twice what last year’s leader had.
The Phillies made history last year, as the first Modern Era team to not have a single player win as many as 7 games. One of the guys tied for the team lead with 6 was traded before the Break, so even though the Phillies were projected to be terrible this year, they should still have been able to field a 12-game winner. So far, Vincent Velasquez leads the team with 8 wins. Wait and see.
Atlanta Braves–Jeff Francoeur leads the team in homers and RBIs.
The Braves are bad, on pace to lose well over 100 games. That said, Francoeur is third on the team in homers, fourth in RBIs, and unlikely to take over either leader. Bust.
New York Mets–Their starters don’t lead the NL East in innings, wins, or strikeouts.
Mets starters have pitched 514 innings across 88 games, (17.5 outs per start), have won 33, and struck out 466. All three of those are second in the division to Washington starters, who have pitched 561 innings in 90 games (18.7 outs per start), have won 42, and struck out 588. It’s possible to dig out of those holes, but it’s not likely. Likely success.
Washington Nationals–Bryce Harper will top his HR and RBI totals from last year, but not his OPS or bWAR.
Last year, Harper hit 42 home runs and drove in 99, with an 1.109 OPS and 9.9 bWAR. So far this year, he has 19 homers and 52 RBIs, with an .891 OPS and 1.9 bWAR. Wait and see, but this one might well happen.
Miami Marlins–both Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton stay healthy all season.
So far, so good. Wait and see.
Cincinnati Reds–Joey Votto tops 150 walks.
Votto has walked 61 times. He will not top 150 walks. Bust.
St. Louis Cardinals–no pitcher wins more than 15 games, and they make the playoffs anyway.
Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright lead the way with 8 wins apiece, and the Cards are just one game back in the loss column behind the Mets/Marlins for the second wild card. This one is a wait and see.
Chicago Cubs–They fail to win 90 games as Jake Arrieta posts an ERA over 3.
Arrieta has a 2.68 ERA, not as good as his otherworldly 2015 but also not over 3. The Cubs themselves are 53-35, and despite their recent slide, they will very likely win 90. Almost certain bust here.
Pittsburgh Pirates–Andrew McCutchen doesn’t lead the team in average, home runs, or RBIs.
McCutchen is hitting .247/.319/.426/.745, all career lows. Of the 11 Pirates with 150+ PAs, his .247 average is dead last. He’s also tied for 3rd in RBIs, 12 behind leader Gregory Polanco. He does currently lead the team in homers with 14, though Polanco has 12. Wait and see on this one.
Milwaukee Brewers–They have an above average offense.
At 3.93 R/G and an 89 OPS+, the Brewers are well below average. Both those numbers are good for 12th in the league. Bust.
Colorado Rockies–They have a qualified starter with an ERA under 4.
Thank you Tyler Chatwood. His 3.29 ERA would be the third best in team history if the season ended today. He still pitches in Coors Field though, so wait and see.
Arizona Diamondbacks–Shelby Miller has his worst full season, but finishes with at least twice as many wins as he had last year.
Miller has been a disaster for Arizona, making 14 starts and going 2-9 with a 7.14 ERA, third worst in MLB this year (min. 60 IP), and landing on the DL. He won’t get to 12 wins, but he very well might top his six from last year. Bust.
San Francisco Giants–They have their worst even year since 2008.
The Giants currently have the best record in baseball, and are likely to win more than 88 games. Likely bust.
Los Angeles Dodgers–Clayton Kershaw tops his strikeout total from last year.
Kershaw has been amazing again, but his current DL stint makes it very unlikely that he will strike out 300. Likely bust.
San Diego Padres–They have a player hit 30 homers.
Since Petco Park opened in 2004, five Padres have hit 30 homers in a season. Chase Headley hit 31 in 2012, and Adrian Gonzalez did it in 2007 (30), 2008 (36), 2009 (40), and 2010 (31). That’s it. This year, Melvin Upton and Matt Kemp have hit 16, and Wil Myers leads the team with 19. Very possible for one or more of those guys to wind up with more than 30. Wait and see.