Back in February I made 13 bold predictions for the 2013 baseball season. Let's see how they turned out:
1. The Boston Red Sox make the playoffs: CORRECT
Just six months ago, many experts were predicting Boston to finish last in the American League. The bearded Red Sox proved them wrong by winning 97 games and sailing into the postseason as AL East champions.
2. The New York Yankees miss the playoffs: CORRECT
Just one year removed from a 95-win season, the reigning division champs slumped to 85 wins. Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and Hiroki Kuroda did their best to keep the Yanks afloat, but in the end New York was unable to overcome injuries to Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, and Brett Gardner, among others.
3. B.J. Upton goes 30/30: WRONG
Upton smacked 28 home runs and stole 31 bases in 2012 but came nowhere close to matching those numbers this season, finishing with just 9 and 12 respectively. I tried to give myself an out by saying Justin Upton would be the one to go 30/30 instead, but he managed just 8 steals to go along with his 27 homers.
4. Mariano Rivera leads the American League in saves: WRONG
The greatest closer who ever lived netted 44 saves in his final season, placing him third in the AL behind Jim Johnson's 50 and Greg Holland's 47.
5. The Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians both have winning records: WRONG
I got this one half-right. Terry Francona's re-engineered Indians shocked everyone by winning 92 games and claiming the top Wild Card spot, but the Mariners' makeover didn't work out quite as well. Seattle actually got worse, going from 75 wins in 2012 to 71 this year despite beefing up their lineup with Mike Morse, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Kendrys Morales.
6. Dan Haren wins 20 games: WRONG
I thought Haren would bounce back for a Nationals team that was going to win more than 100 games. Instead, Washington disappointed and Haren (10-14, 4.67 ERA) was a big reason why.
7. Nick Swisher hits fewer than 20 home runs: WRONG
I figured I had this one in the bag when a slumping Swisher entered September with 15 home runs, but he cracked seven in the season's final month to close out the year with 22. That makes nine straight seasons with at least 21 big flies for Swish.
8. Michael Young bats over .300: WRONG
Seeing as how most 36 year-olds get worse, not better, I really should've seen this one coming after Young's average plummeted 61 points from 2011's .338 to 2012's .277. It did bounce back a bit this year, all the way up to .279 (though he did hit .314 after the Phillies traded him to the Dodgers).
9 Zack Greinke wins the NL Cy Young award: WRONG
Greinke had a great season with his 2.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and the best winning percentage in the National League, but nobody's taking this award away from Clayton Kershaw.
10. Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney combined have fewer saves than the AL saves leader: WRONG
Johnson was the AL saves leader and Rodney earned 37 saves. Both pitchers regressed, which was the point I was trying to make, but just not as much as I anticipated.
11. Bryce Harper is better than Mike Trout: WRONG
In April, yes. In every other month, no. Harper improved on his excellent rookie season but still has a long way to go to reach Trout.
12. Derek Jeter plays in fewer than 100 games: CORRECT
Injuries limited Jeter to just 17 games, the fewest since he played 15 in his 1995 debut.
13. The Toronto Blue Jays won't win the World Series: CORRECT
Everyone picked the bolstered Blue Jays to win the Fall Classic after a busy offseason in which Toronto added R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Melky Cabrera without giving up any of their established talent. So much for that; the Blue Jays finished dead-last in their division and didn't play a meaningful baseball game in the second half.
Overall: 4-for-13 (.308). Not great, but I can live with that.