A review of some bold(ish) predictions I made at the end of August.
1. Mike Trout will not win the AL MVP award: CORRECT (probably)
Trout and his 10.7 bWAR deserve it, but I think Miguel Cabrera will take home the trophy after becoming the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown.
2. Houston wins fewer than 50 games this year: WRONG
The Astros finished the season strong, playing .500 ball in September/October to end up with 55 victories. Have fun in the American League next year, Houston!
3. Baltimore is finally going to hit the skids: WRONG
Not only did the Orioles make the playoffs for the first time since 1997, but they nearly stole the division from the Yankees down the stretch and gave New York's offense fits during the ALDS. I'd be shocked if they finish above .500 next year, though.
4. Hanley Ramirez reaches 30 home runs for the first time since 2008: WRONG
HanRam launched his 24th and final long ball of the season on September 3rd, failing to go deep in the month of games that followed.
5. Justin Verlander repeats as AL Cy Young champion: CORRECT (probably)
I'm pretty confident that Verlander will win after posting near identical numbers to the ones he put up in 2011. David Price, Jered Weaver, Chris Sale, and Felix Hernandez all have strong cases, but Verlander is the guy.
6. The Red Sox avoid their first losing season since 1997: WRONG
7. Josh Beckett (5-12, 5.21 ERA at the time) is going to turn his season around with the Dodgers: CORRECT
This one was a no-brainer. In his seven starts with the Dodgers, Beckett posted a nifty 2.93 ERA and fanned 38 batters in 43 innings of work. Expect that success to continue in 2013.
8. Bryce Harper goes 20/20: WRONG
The 19 year-old phenom just missed, finishing his sensational rookie year with 22 home runs and 18 stolen bases.
9. Josh Hamilton bats .300: WRONG
The 2010 AL MVP batted a career low .285.
10. Buster Posey knocks in 100 runs: CORRECT
The likely NL MVP amassed 103 RBI in 2012.
11. Nobody on the Houston Astros finishes with 15 home runs: WRONG
Justin Maxwell slugged 18 and Jed Lowrie blasted 16.
12. Joe Mauer gets traded: WRONG
13. Adam Dunn won't break Mark Reynolds' single season strikeout record: CORRECT
Dunn's 222 whiffs paced the majors, but fell three short of the Reynolds' record of futility. The Big Donkey also managed to keep his batting average above the Mendoza line by finishing the year at .204.
14. David Ortiz will not play again in 2012: CORRECT
15. Nobody in the NL will strike out more than 200 times: CORRECT
Dunn was the only player to pile up more than 200 K's, though Curtis Granderson came dangerously close with 195. Danny Espinosa "led" the Senior Circuit with 189.
16. Both Los Angeles teams make the playoffs: WRONG
Neither LA baseball team made the playoffs, which blows my mind given how stacked both of those rosters are. The Halos have the best rotation in baseball with Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana, plus Trout, Albert Pujols, and Mark Trumbo. The Dodgers added HanRam, Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Shane Victorino, and Carl Crawford to a team that already had Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw. It's fair to call both clubs underachievers after the Angels finished third in their division and the second place Dodgers wound up eight games behind the Giants.
17. Detroit will catch Chicago in the AL Central: CORRECT
The Tigers ended the season on a tear by winning eight of their final ten games, passing the White Sox and winning the division by three games. Chicago collapsed, dropping eleven of fifteen to close the season.
18. Eric Hosmer (.240/.310/.369) will get hot: WRONG
Seeing as how Hosmer's three rate stats only got worse (ended up at .232/.304/.359), he clearly did not catch fire in September.
19. The Reds will win 100 games and have the best record in baseball: WRONG
Cincinatti won 97 games and Washington had the best record in baseball. Neither made it beyond the first round.
20. The Braves blow their postseason birth, again: WRONG
Atlanta cruised to the NL Wild Card by winning 94 games. Unfortunately, a blown infield fly call in the play-in game against St. Louis brought a premature end to the Chipper Jones era.
For reasons unknown, I did not make a 21st or 22nd prediction.
23. Ichiro Suzuki leads AL position players in games played for the third year in a row: CORRECT
Suzuki played in all 162 games this season, a feat he's achieved four times in his illustrious career.
24. 23 year-old Madison Bumgarner finishes higher than rotation-mate Matt Cain on the NL Cy Young ballot: WRONG
Cain posted a superior winning percentage, ERA and WHIP while completing more innings. Most of their stats are indistinguishable, but Cain clearly had the better season.
25. Chipper Jones will draw a walk in the last at-bat of his career: WRONG
The Cooperstown-bound third baseman legged out an infield single in his final plate appearance.
Overall: 9-for-23 (.391). I'll take it.