In what has become a tradition at YCPB, we make bold predictions before the season begins every year – because what’s more unpredictable than a blog called You Can’t Predict Baseball trying to, well, predict baseball? You can find our original predictions from 2014 here and our All-Star Break update here, but here’s our final update.
Blue Jays: Three or more pitchers throw 200+ innings for them.
Only R.A. Dickey (215.2 IP) and Mark Buehrle (202 IP) threw 200+ innings for the Jays. Drew Hutchison was third, at 184.2 innings pitched. Of note: the remarkably durable Buehrle has thrown over 200 innings every season since 2001. This prediction is a bust, though.
Orioles: Tommy Hunter is a top-five closer in the AL.
Hunter lost his job as Baltimore’s closer after putting up a 6.60 ERA through mid-May. He was quite good after that, posting a 1.77 ERA (with no saves) for the rest of the season, but he was by no means a top-5 closer in the AL. Bust
Rays: Evan Longoria finally plays a full season with a .900+ OPS.
Not only is this a bust, but Longoria had by far his worst professional season this year. He hit only .252/.320/.404, for a .724 OPS that is his career low by 117 points.
Red Sox: Grady Sizemore plays at least 81 games.
He didn’t do it all with Boston – he played 52 games with the Red Sox and 59 games with the Phillies – but Sizemore did play in 111 games this year. We’ll count this one as a success.
Yankees: The infield (C not included) will hit more total home runs than the outfield.
Yankees outfielders (meaning anyone who hit a home run while playing the outfield; you can see the splits here) hit 47 homers, and infielders hit 58. Success
Indians: Justin Masterson doesn’t have the lowest ERA among starters.
Masterson’s ERA was a terrible 5.51 before he was traded to the Cardinals in July (where he was even worse). Every other member of the Indians’ rotation ended up with a better ERA than that. We hope Masterson pitches well again in the future, but for us, this is a success.
Royals: Both Hosmer and Moustakas exceed an .800 OPS.
Hosmer hit .270/.318/.398/.716. Moustakas was even worse, at .212/.271/.361/.632. Well, hey, they’re going to the playoffs anyway. That’s better than we did on this prediction, which is a bust twice over.
Tigers: Max Scherzer is better than he was in 2013, but he doesn’t win more than 15 games.
While Scherzer was very good this season, he was, comparatively speaking, not as good as he was in 2013. He also won 18 games, making this prediction a bust on both levels.
Twins: For the second year in a row, no Twins starter strikes out 8 or more in one game.
This happened 12 times. That’s still on the low end – they were tied with the Marlins for 27th in the majors, and ahead of only Colorado and dead-last Baltimore (!!!), while Cleveland led the majors with 47 such games – but enough to make this a bust. Of note: while the Marlins also had 12 such games, six of those were Jose Fernandez starts. Jose Fernandez only made eight starts.
White Sox: Adam Dunn bats over .240.
He hit .221 in 2014 – .220 with the White Sox, and .222 with the Athletics. Bust
Angels: Mike Trout has more runs scored than strikeouts.
Trout scored 115 runs, and struck out 184 times. Bust
Astros: They have more than one All-Star.
Their All-Star was Jose Altuve and only Jose Altuve. Bust
Athletics: Yoenis Cespedes hits 40 home runs, with an OBP under .325.
His OBP, at .301, was under .325, but he only hit 22 home runs. And yes, it’s still weird that Cespedes isn’t on Oakland any more. Bust
Mariners: Robinson Cano doesn’t hit .300, hit 30 homers, or drive in 100.
He hit only 14 homers and drove in just 82 runs, but he did hit .314. Bust
Rangers: Prince Fielder has a lower OPS+ than last year.
Fielder played his last game on May 16, then had season-ending surgery on his spine. His OPS+ was 105, compared to last year’s 122 (interestingly, his OPS+ went up five points since we did our updated predictions at the Break despite Fielder’s numbers remaining the same. We miss offense). We hope Fielder is healthy and good next year, because baseball’s better when he’s one of the game’s fearsome sluggers, but for our purposes, this is a success.
Braves: Despite losing half the staff to Tommy John surgery, their starters still finish top-5 in the NL in ERA.
Atlanta’s starters were indeed fourth in the NL in ERA at 3.42, trailing only the Nationals (3.04), Dodgers (3.20), and Reds (3.37). If only they scored any runs at all. We miss offense. Success
Marlins: Jose Fernandez leads the NL in wins.
Fernandez won four games but made just eight starts before going down with season-ending surgery. Clayton Kershaw led the NL with 21 wins. Bust
Mets: Matt Harvey wins at least two games.
He didn’t pitch at all. Bust
Nationals: Strasburg strikes out 250.
League-leading 242. Close, but Bust.
Brewers: Ryan Braun has his best season by OPS+.
Braun hit .266/.324/.453/.777 for a 114 OPS+. All five of those are career lows, by a decent amount. Bust.
Cardinals: Matt Carpenter wins the batting title.
Your NL batting champion is Justin Morneau, at .319. That is the lowest batting average for a league leader since Terry Pendleton in 1991, and he also hit .319. You have to go back to Tony Gwynn’s .313 in 1988 to find a NL batting champion with a lower average; in the AL, you have to go all the way back to Rod Carew’s .318 in 1972. We miss offense. Anyway, Matt Carpenter hit only .272, and ended up tied for 31st out of 64 qualified players. Bust
Cubs: Jeff Samardzija remains a Cub all year.
This one was a bust by the time we did the first update on our bold predictions.
Pirates: The Pirates win no more than 85 games.
They won 88. Bust
Reds: Billy Hamilton doesn’t steal 50 bases.
He stole 56. Bust
Diamondbacks: Bronson Arroyo gives up more home runs than Mark Trumbo hits.
Both of these players had injury-plagued 2014s. Trumbo played in only 88 games and Arroyo made just 14 starts; Trumbo hit 14 home runs, and Arroyo gave up 10 homers. Relatively close, but bust.
Dodgers: Matt Kemp leads their position players in WAR.
While Kemp hit a very good .287/.346/.506/.852, 14o OPS+, including a downright scalding .971 OPS in the second half, WAR really does not like Kemp’s defense. His 1.1 WAR was 3rd-worst among Dodgers with 90 games played. Bust
Giants: Their team ERA+ is over 100.
Despite a team ERA of 3.50, their ERA+ was… 99. In 2000, a team ERA of 3.50 would have been the best in baseball by more than half a run. We miss offense. Bust
Padres: Huston Street gives up more home runs than at least one regular starter.
Street gave up four home runs all year – three with the Padres, then one with the Angels – which wasn’t more than any qualified starter on either of his teams, or any other team, this year. Bust
Rockies: Michael Cuddyer bats .330 or better again.
Cuddyer hit .332, but he only played in 49 games this season, so he didn’t qualify. We’ll still call this a tentative success.
With seven successes out of thirty, we had a “batting average” of about .233 this year. Considering the state of the game when it comes to offense, that’s still somewhat respectable, and it’s better than the batting averages of (among others) Carlos Santana, Chris Davis, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce, Mark Teixeira, Allen Craig, and BJ Upton. We miss offense.
Stay tuned for the playoffs here at YCPB!