Now that the season is over, it’s time to look back at our preseason predictions to see how we made out. We took a look back at the All-Star break, and while we could make conclusions on some of them then, most of the predictions simply had to wait until the season ended before we could judge them. On top that, our original post’s introduction ended with “these predictions are supposed to be bold, but not insane — even we know the Orioles aren’t going to the playoffs in 2012.” With that in mind, here is a review of our bold predictions for 2012:
Angels: Kendrys Morales stays healthy all year.
Morales had no injuries other than a couple of day-to-day issues throughout the season, and he never returned to the DL. True
Astros: Bud Norris is top five in K/9 in the NL.
1. Gio Gonzalez, 9.35
2. Jeff Samardzija, 9.27
3. Lance Lynn, 9.20
4. Tim Lincecum, 9.19
5. Clayton Kershaw, 9.05
6. Cole Hamels, 9.03
7. Yovani Gallardo, 9.00
8. RA Dickey, 8.86
9. Cliff Lee, 8.83
10. Bud Norris, 8.82
Not that far off, but not true either. False
Athletics: Despite losing most of their rotation, the staff will have a lower ERA than it did last year.
Oakland starters, 2011: 3.70 ERA
Oakland starters, 2012: 3.80 ERA
So close, but False.
Blue Jays: Brandon Morrow makes the jump to elite starting pitcher.
Morrow posted an excellent 2.96 ERA pitching in the AL East, but his strikeouts dropped by quite a lot (10.5 over 2010 and 2011, and only 7.8 in 2012), and he only pitched 124.2 innings because he was a 2012 Blue Jay so of course he got injured. Not quite there yet. False
Braves: Julio Teheran has more wins than Tim Hudson.
Brewers: They score more runs than they did last year.
2011 Brewers: 721 runs (5th in NL)
2012 Brewers: 776 runs (1st in NL)
Cardinals: Carlos Beltran outproduces Albert Pujols from last year.
Albert Pujols, 2011: .299/.366/.541/.906, 5.1 bWAR
Carlos Beltran, 2012: .269/.346/.495/.842, 3.6 bWAR
False. Blame Beltran’s .236/.302/.440 second half.
Cubs: Matt Garza isn’t their best pitcher.
Betting on the field wasn’t very bold of us, but hey, we were right. Garza was not the Cubs’ best pitcher. Ryan Dempster certainly was for a while, but he got sent off to Texas, so… Samardzija? True
Diamondbacks: Aaron Hill will be good again.
With a .302/.360/.522 line, including a hitting for the cycle twice in less than two weeks back in June, he certainly was. True
Dodgers: James Loney will be a top-three first baseman in the National League.
Yikes. With Pujols and Fielder leaving for the AL and an otherwise generally uninspiring group of NL first basemen apart from Votto, you’ll forgive us for making this prediction, but it might’ve been the worst of all. Loney hit .254/.302/.344, before he got shipped up to Boston (where he was even worse) in the Nick Punto trade. Among NL first basemen with at least 300 PA, his OPS was 17th… of 17. Very False
Giants: Madison Bumgarner is their best pitcher.
No, because Matt Cain exists. “Madison Bumgarner will be (much!) better than Tim Lincecum” would’ve worked, though. False
Indians: They’ll have the best pitching in the American League Central.
Heh, no. This is the only competitor with the James Loney pick for “worst one we made”, and it might just be even worse. Cleveland’s team 4.79 ERA was dead last in the AL. Both their starting staff and relief corps placed 13th in the AL in ERA, second to the Twins and Blue Jays, respectively. Very False
Mariners: Jesus Montero catches 100-plus games.
Jesus Montero caught 56 games in 2012. False
Marlins: Despite all their new acquisitions and the hype, they still finish fourth in the NL East.
We actually overestimated them! They finished last, five games behind the Mets. New closer Heath Bell was terrible, and while Jose Reyes was just fine (and stayed healthy all season!), his numbers were more in line with the rest of his career and he dropped nearly 100 points of OPS between 2011 and 2012. Correct sentiment, but False.
Mets: Mike Pelfrey is the worst starter in the NL.
Mike Pelfrey made three good starts before he needed Tommy John surgery and was out for the rest of the year. False
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg has a 17-strikeout game.
Stephen Strasburg did not have a 17-strikeout game. Nor did anyone else. James Shields, Francisco Liriano, Chris Sale, and Max Scherzer all led the league with 15-K games. Interestingly, Shields and Liriano both lost theirs. False
Orioles: Matt Wieters is the best catcher in the AL.
Joe Mauer hit .319/.416/.446 for the quietest awesome year ever and easily outpaced Wieters’ .249/.329/.435, but Mauer only played 74 games at catcher to Wieters’ 133. AJ Pierzynski had a very solid offensive year as well, but Wieters gunned down just under 40% of would-be base stealers as well. Probably True
Padres: Luke Gregerson is a top-three closer in the NL.
Gregerson had a very good year, but he wasn’t a closer at all. False
Phillies: Cole Hamels is their best starter.
He had a slightly lower ERA than Cliff Lee in slightly more innings, with the same bWAR (he was 0.4 lower in fWAR). Though Cliff Lee had a K/BB of 7.39 (!!!), Hamels’ 4.15 is still excellent. I’m willing to say we got this one right. True
Pirates: Charlie Morton is their All-Star.
Charlie Morton made just 9 unimpressive starts for the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen made sure no one would snub him this year, and Joel Hanrahan made it as well. False
Rangers: Yu Darvish isn’t their best starter — but he’s still good.
More or less spot on. Darvish had his rough spots, but he ended the year with a 3.90 ERA playing in the Launchpad in Arlington, and his 10.4 K/9 was second in the league. Still, Texas’ best starter was Matt Harrison, who pitched 22 more innings with an ERA over half a run lower. True
Rays: James Shields will have no complete games.
James Shields tossed three complete games. Two were shutouts. The third was the above-mentioned 15-K game that he lost. False
Red Sox: No one hits 30 home runs.
With 22 homers at the All-Star Break, David Ortiz was well on his way to busting this one, but Big Papi managed just 21 plate appearances in the second half. Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended up leading the team with 25 homers. It was the lowest total for a Red Sox team leader since Tom Brunansky’s 15 in 1992. True
Reds: Brandon Phillips is the best second baseman in the NL.
He had a very solid year at .281/.321/.429, but Aaron Hill was probably the best second baseman in the NL. False
Rockies: Jamie Moyer will have the best HR/9 on the staff.
Moyer gave up four home runs in five innings in his last start with the team to give him a 1.8 HR/9, so no. False
Royals: They reach .500.
Tigers: They score fewer runs than they did in 2011.
2011 Tigers: 787 runs
2012 Tigers: 726 runs
Fielder was awesome and Austin Jackson was excellent as well, but that couldn’t make up for big drops by Avila, Peralta, and Boesch, plus Delmon Young as the DH most of the time instead of Victor Martinez. Though he was still fantastic, Miguel Cabrera dropped 55 points off his OBP from 2011. True
Twins: Joe Mauer hits 15 home runs.
Joe Mauer hit ten home runs. That said, this prediction was supposed to be in the context of a “Joe Mauer will have a resurgent year” which he definitely did, leading the AL in OBP. He also set new career highs in games played (147), plate appearances (641), and walks (90). Correct in sentiment, but False
White Sox: Robin Ventura gets ejected more times than Ozzie Guillen.
According to closecallsports.com, Ventura was ejected four times while Guillen was only ejected twice. A somewhat silly prediction, but a True one.
Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda leads the team in ERA.
Not only did Kuroda lead the team in ERA (3.32 to CC Sabathia’s 3.38), but he also led the team in innings pitched. The 37-year-old set new career highs in innings (219.2), strikeouts (167), wins (16), ERA+ (126), and bWAR (5.2). All in the AL East. True
11 true, 19 false, but only a couple of legitimately embarrassing ones. How did you do?