Well, it’s that time of the year again. With the regular season in the books, we look back on our preseason bold predictions and hope against hope that we didn’t completely embarrass ourselves.
Baltimore Orioles: Brian Roberts plays at least 75 games.
Roberts played in just 17 games in the first half, and we noted that he needed to play at least 58 of Baltimore’s final 66 games and that he was unlikely to do so. Well, he played in 60, starting 57 of them to play in 77 games total. Success
Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia is not their most valuable position player.
Pedroia had a terrific season, playing 160 games and hitting .301/.372/.415 while playing his usual excellent second base. He wasn’t the team’s best hitter, though. Those were David Ortiz and Mike Napoli – but Pedroia had 124 more PAs than Ortiz, and nearly 150 more than Napoli. For what it’s worth, Pedroia led the team in bWAR (by 0.3) and came in third in fWAR (0.4 off the leader Ellsbury). That’s well within the error bars for those stats. We aren’t really comfortable calling this a success or a bust, so let’s leave it at Too Close to Call.
New York Yankees: Despite missing April, Curtis Granderson still leads the team in home runs.
Granderson hit seven homers in just 61 games played. He did not lead the Yankees in home runs. Bust
Tampa Bay Rays: At some point this season, Fernando Rodney loses the closer job.
Rodney was not nearly as effective as he was last year, finishing the season with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP that was nearly double his mark from 2012. Nonetheless, he never lost the closer job, finishing with 37 saves. Bust
Toronto Blue Jays: They use fewer than 10 starting pitchers this season.
Toronto used 13 starters, second only to Baltimore (14). This one was already busted by the All-Star Break. Bust
Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko hits 35 home runs.
Paul Konerko hit .244/.313/.355 with just 12 homers. He was one of the worst everyday players in the majors. Bust
Cleveland Indians: Michael Bourn steals fewer than 40 bases.
Cleveland’s success this year becomes even more unexpected when you consider that Bourn was rather mediocre. He only stole 23 bases. Success
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera has a better season than last year, but he doesn’t lead the AL in any Triple Crown categories.
He did have a better season (.330/.393/.606 in 2012, .348/.442/.636 in 2013), and despite that better season he did not lead the league in either home runs or RBIs. We were close, but he won his
second third straight batting title, making this a Bust.
Kansas City Royals: James Shields has an ERA+ under 100.
Shields led the AL in innings pitched and had a 3.15 ERA, good for an ERA+ of 131. Bust
Minnesota Twins: They don’t have the worst starting pitching in the AL.
Any way you slice up AL starting pitching, the Twins come out last. They were 15th out of 15 in ERA (5.26, nearly a half a run worse than anyone else), innings pitched, complete games (just one), hits allowed (despite 28 fewer innings than any other team), runs/ER allowed, WHIP, K/BB, and strikeouts. Their K/9 was 4.9, a full 1.7 worse than any other team, especially amazing considering how much strikeouts are up in general. No Twins starter struck out 8 batters in a game at any point in 2013; the last team to accomplish that feat was the 1983 Royals. This year, every other team did it at least eight times. The Tigers had 44 such games. Bust
Houston Astros: They won’t lose 100 games.
They lost 111, including 15 straight to end the year. Bust
Los Angeles Angels: Josh Hamilton hits 45 home runs.
21. Almost halfway there. Bust
Oakland Athletics: They win the division again.
Seattle Mariners: Jason Bay hits more home runs than he did with the Mets.
Bay hit 26 home runs with the Mets, and hit just 11 this year. Bust
Texas Rangers: Joakim Soria has more saves than Joe Nathan.
Soria had no saves all year; Nathan had 43. Bust
Atlanta Braves: Their regular third baseman will have an OPS+ within 10 points of Chipper Jones’ from last year.
Last year, Chipper Jones went out hitting .287/.377/.455, which was a 124 OPS+. This year, their regular third baseman was Chris Johnson, who hit .321/.358/.457, a 121 OPS+. Success
Miami Marlins: They have an All-Star other than Giancarlo Stanton.
Say hello to Jose Fernandez. Success
New York Mets: Ike Davis hits 40 home runs.
Davis was so awful that he got demoted for large portions of the season. He only hit nine home runs. Bust
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay’s ERA is over 4.
Halladay’s ERA was 8.65 before undergoing shoulder surgery after his start on May 5 (2.1 IP, 9 R/ER, against the Marlins). He came back on August 25, and started six games; he had a 4.55 ERA in those games. His final ERA for the year was 6.82. We would prefer to be right under different circumstances, but Success.
Washington Nationals: Their outfield leads the NL East in homers.
They were second – by only one home run! The regular National outfield of Bryce Harper, Denard Span, and Jayson Werth hit 20, 4, and 25 home runs respectively, giving them a total of 49. The Braves’ Justin Upton, BJ Upton, and Jason Heyward combined for 50 home runs. Bust, but a close one.
Side notes: If you’re wondering which outfielders we included for this prediction, we used the three regular outfielders on these teams. Atlanta’s Upton, Upton, and Heyward hit 50 home runs; Washington’s Harper, Span, and Werth hit 49; Philadelphia’s Brown, Revere, and Young hit 35; New York’s Duda, Lagares, and Byrd hit 40; and Miami’s Pierre, Ruggiano, and Stanton hit 43.
Furthermore, the Brown/Revere/Young combo already had hit 30 home runs at the time of the break. They combined to hit only five home runs after that, at least for the Phillies in the case of Delmon Young. Also, by the end of the year, Eric Young Jr. was the Mets’ full-time left fielder, not Lucas Duda, but he only hit one home run as opposed to Duda’s 15, so if you want to think of it that way, the Mets’ primary outfield hit just 26 home runs this season, despite having hit 27 at the break. Baseball is weird.
Chicago Cubs: Carlos Marmol’s K/BB is higher than 2.50.
It was 1.48 overall – 1.52 with the Cubs, and then an even worse 1.42 after he was traded to the Dodgers. Bust
Cincinnati Reds: Mat Latos has his best season yet.
Like the Red Sox prediction, this one kinda falls in a nebulous area. Latos was very good this year, pitching 210.2 innings with a 121 ERA+, 187 strikeouts, and a 3.22 K/BB. Only the innings was a new career high, and that was only by four outs. Via bWAR, it was his second best year, but via fWAR it was his best, largely because he gave up a career-low 14 homers. Once again, we are well within the error bars for those stats, and this is another Too Close to Call.
Milwaukee Brewers: Norichika Aoki hits more triples than home runs.
Three triples, eight homers. Bust
Pittsburgh Pirates: Neil Walker is the best second baseman in the NL.
With a .251/.339/.418 line, good for a 115 OPS+, Walker had a very good year. But the best second baseman in the NL was MVP candidate Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals and his .318/.392/.481, 143 OPS+, line. Bust
St Louis Cardinals: David Freese and Allen Craig outhomer Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.
Freese and Craig combined for 22 homers. Holliday hit 22 on his own, and Beltran added another 24. Both of them played more games than Freese or Craig as well. Bust
Arizona Diamondbacks: Gerardo Parra and Eric Hinske are regular outfielders by the end of the season.
Parra was, but Hinske only got 58 PAs all year. Bust
Colorado Rockies: Jhoulys Chacin qualifies for rate stats, and has an ERA under 4.
Chacin threw 197.1 innings with a 3.47 ERA. That’s good for third-lowest in franchise history. Success
Los Angeles Dodgers: Josh Beckett leads the team in wins.
Ouch. Beckett made just
13 8 starts, pitching to a 5.19 ERA with zero wins before undergoing season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He made his final start on May 13th. Bust
San Diego Padres: Chase Headley doesn’t lead the team in RBIs.
Headley finished with 50 RBIs, good for third on the team. Jedd Gyorko led the squad with 63. Only the Marlins (Stanton, 62) had a lower RBI total for their team leader. Success
San Francisco Giants: The three main outfielders (which we’re counting as Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Gregor Blanco) won’t combine to hit 40 home runs.
Pagan only played in 71 games this season, but these three did combine to have the most PAs from LF, CF, and RF. Blanco hit 3 home runs, Pagan 5, and Pence 27, for a total of 35 home runs. Even adding Andres Torres, who had the most PAs in LF for the Giants at the break, only adds two more home runs. Success
The final tally: 9 correct predictions, 19 incorrect predictions, and two that are too close to call. Not altogether different than we did last year. How did you fare?