A review of the dozen bold predictions I made at the end of March for the 2012 baseball season.
1. Prince Fielder will hit fewer than 30 home runs: WRONG
Cecil Fielder's son finished with 30 dingers on the nose. For much of the season it looked like he would fall short of the benchmark for the first time since his rookie year in 2006, but he powered up with seven bombs in September to make my prediction incorrect.
2. The Red Sox will make the playoffs: WRONG
Not only did they miss the postseason, but they also lost 93 games and were out of contention by the middle of August. As a Sox fan, I'm still recovering. At least Bobby Valentine is gone.
3. Andrew Bailey will save more games than Jonathan Papelbon: WRONG
Bailey got hurt (surprise surprise), needed thumb surgery and didn't return until August 14th. He replaced Alfredo Aceves as Boston's closer shortly thereafter, but saved just six games. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Pap lived up to his new contract by making the All-Star team and totaling 38 saves.
4. Evan Longoria will win the American League MVP award: WRONG
The award will go to either Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera. Longoria probably won't appear on any ballots after missing more than three months with a torn hamstring, though he did play well in limited action (career high .896 OPS).
5. Ichiro Suzuki will eclipse ten home runs and a .310 batting average: WRONG
I had two predictions here, and was wrong on both counts. The 38 year-old Suzuki batted .283 and hit nine home runs while splitting time between Seattle and New York. Perhaps if he had spent the entire year in Pinstripes this prediction would have been correct, as Ichiro batted .322 with five homers after joining the Yankees on July 23rd.
6. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Francisco Liriano all return to form and bring the Twins back up over .500. WRONG
Minnesota lost 96 games to retain their title as the worst team in the American League. Mauer rebounded from his dismal 2011 season by batting .319 and leading the league in OBP with a stellar .416 mark. Morneau was decent, but nowhere near the MVP level he displayed from 2006-'10. And Francisco Liriano was, um, not good. 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA and 1.44 WHIP before getting traded to the Chicago White Sox for Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez three days before the deadline.
7. Josh Johnson will win the NL Cy Young award: WRONG
Not gonna happen. The trophy will go to R.A. Dickey, Clayton Kershaw or Johnny Cueto. Johnson's overall numbers weren't impressive, but at least he stayed healthy. Plus, a rough start inflated his stats. Starting on May 9th, he posted a 3.26 ERA over his final 25 starts while limiting opponents to a .229 batting average. Expect similar figures in 2013.
8. The Reds will win the NL Central: CORRECT
Cincinatti cruised to their second division title in three years by winning 97 games, nine more than the second place Cardinals. And then they blew a 2-0 lead in the NLDS...(cut to Buster Posey launching a back-breaking grand slam off Mat Latos).
9. Someone other than Michael Bourn will lead the Senior Circuit in stolen bases: CORRECT
Bourn swiped 42 bags, his lowest total since 2008 and two fewer than Everth Cabrera, the NL's top basestealer.
10. Ryan Braun wins the MVP award, again, in 2012: WRONG
There's no way he wins this year. He probably deserves it, but Posey will win it. Or Andrew McCutchen.
11. Huston Street will lead the league in saves: WRONG
Street got injured and finished with 23 saves, well short of the 42 saves notched by league leaders Jason Motte and Craig Kimbrel.
12. The Diamondbacks finish third in the NL West: CORRECT
Arizona fell to 81-81 after winning the division last year, slipping behind the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Red Sox (whoops, I mean Dodgers). Always good to end a high note.
Overall: 3-for-12 (.250)