Friday, September 30, 2011

Reviewing 25 Bold Predictions

On August 3rd, I made 25 bold(ish) predictions for the final two months of the 2011 baseball season. Now that the regular season is over, I decided to look back and see how I did.  My one stipulation at the time was that any players involved had to enjoy a healthy final third of the season, so predictions involving players who were ultimately bitten by the injury bug will count as pushes.

1. The Red Sox and Phillies will both win 100 games. 
Looks like I was half right.  The Phillies set a franchise record with 102 wins, while the Red Sox limped to 90.  If they had gone 17-10 in September (a reasonable assumption at the time given how well they were playing), they would have reached the century mark as well.  I award myself half a point.

2. The Diamondbacks will overtake the pitching-rich Giants and win the NL West
Boy, did they ever.  At the time the Snakes were one game behind San Francisco, but after running away with the division in September they practically lapped the Giants and finished eight games in front of them.

3. Cleveland and Pittsburgh will finish below .500 despite their trade deadline efforts and hot starts
I knew the Pirates were doomed for a fall, and they made me a prophet by finishing up at 72-90.  Cleveland made it close but missed .500 by one game and ended the season at 80-82.  Ubaldo Jimenez couldn't refind his 2010 form in the AL Central and Pittsburgh needed more than Derrek Lee (who actually raked for them) and Ryan Ludwick.

4. Washington, Cincinatti, Colorado, and the White Sox will finish above .500 despite disappointing first halves.
Wrong on all four, but the Nats just missed (80-81) and the Sox were close (79-83).

5. Mike Stanton will hit 40 homers.
He finished with 34, and while he was dinged up in the first half of September he probably wouldn't have reached 40 big flies anyways.  Maybe next year.

6. Jose Bautista will surpass 50 homers again.
Finished with 43 and really slowed down during the second half.  All those walks didn't help, either.

7. The Giants will not have any players hit more than 15 home runs besides Carlos Beltran, but will still make the playoffs as the NL Wild Card.
(Shaking my fist at Pablo Sandoval and his 23 long balls).  Giants missed the Wild Card by four games, but my implicit prediction that the Braves would lose the Wild Card was spot on.  I just had a feeling that their pitching had overachieved and their offense was average at best.  I'll award myself half a point for being a genius.

8. Multiple teams will lose 90 games, none more than Houston's 100+
Nine teams lost at least 90 games, none more than Houston's 106.  Minnesota just missed the century mark with 99 defeats.

9. Ryan Howard's typically impressive production numbers will help mask his continued regression.
Don't let the 33 four-baggers and 116 RBI fool you, kids.  He set career lows with a .488 slugging percentage and .835 OPS this season, and he's clearly not the same hitter who won the 2006 NL MVP award.

10. Jim Thome will hit his 600th career blast before the end of August.
Big Jim joined the club on August 15th, with half the month to spare.

11. Jacoby Ellsbury will reach 30 bombs and 100 ribbies out of the leadoff spot for Boston.
32 homers and 105 RBI for Boston's tablesetter, who did all he could to drag his Red Sox into the playoffs.

12. Curtis Granderson will threaten to score 150 runs while batting in front of Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez.
Despite slowing down in September, Grandy man still crossed home plate a major-league leading 136 times in 2011.

13. Albert Pujols and Carlos Gonzalez will pull their averages over .300.
Phat Albert was hitting just .275 at the time and made quite the charge but missed the magical .300 mark (and 100 RBI) for the first time in his career by finishing at .299 (and 99), and CarGo (.289 and on the DL at the time) also fell short with a .295 average.

14. Todd Helton and Melky Cabrera will watch theirs slip below .300.
Helton barely held on to finish at .302, and the Melk Man was a touch better at .305.

15. Matt Kemp will become the fifth player in baseball history to reach 40/40.
39 homers and 40 thefts.  Not too shabby, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

16. Clayton Kershaw, not Roy Halladay, will win the NL Cy Young.
After winning the NL pitching triple crown, Kershaw should take home the trophy (and did).

17. C.C. Sabathia will win 24 games exactly.
Wrong pitcher with this one-Justin Verlander was the hurler who earned two dozen victories while CC (who couldn't lose at the time) ended up with 19.

18. None of Pittsburgh's starting pitchers will finish with 15 wins or a sub-three ERA
Correct on both counts.  Kevin Correia led the rotation in wins with 12 and Jeff Karstens had the lowest ERA at 3.38.

19. John Lackey will record as many or more wins than Josh Beckett from this point forward despite finishing with an ERA over five.
Lackey actually finished with an ERA over six and managed to win three more games.  Beckett won five games over the same stretch to pass his rotation-mate on the season (13 to 12).

20. The Red Sox will have three players eclipse 200 hits.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez did their part, but an early September slump kept Dustin Pedroia at 195.

21. Kyle Farnsworth will finish with more saves than Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria.
Farnsworth spent most of September on the shelf, so I declare a PUSH.

22. Alex Rodriguez will not be suspended for his poker antics, but will finish the season with a .300 average, 25 homers, 30 doubles and a .500 slugging percentage.
A-Rod did not get suspended (duh) but didn't reach any of those numbers either.  He hardly played (just 19 games in August and September combined) when he made it off the DL because he was plagued by assorted ailments and thumb injuries so I declare another PUSH.

23. Iron Man Prince Fielder will miss a game at some point
The burly slugger appeared in all 162 this year.  I suspect Nyjer Morgan gave him a cookie at the end of every game he played in.

24. Brett Gardner beats Derek Jeter in every significant offensive category.
DJ had more hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, and higher slash stats.  Turned out the Captain wasn't done after all.

25. There will be another no-hitter before season's end
I predicted this just a week after Ervin Santana tossed his.  I was wrong.

Even though I used 25 labels I actually made 39 predictions; 18 were right, 19 were wrong, and two were pushes, which sounds about right when every prediction has a 50/50 chance (it either comes true or it doesn't).  Guess I should have stopped after 22.

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