Monday, November 17, 2014

Bold Predictions Busts

Where did we go wrong, Prince? (RangersBlog)
With the 2014 baseball season in the rearview mirror, I can finally take a look back at how my 14 bold predictions for the year panned out (I'll give you a hint: they didn't).

1. Prince Fielder hits 40 home runs: WRONG
I thought the move to Texas would help restore some of Fielder's lost power. Instead, he got hurt for the first time in his career and was shut down in late May after going deep just three times. Yep, three.

2. The Yankees finish last: WRONG
No way this was happening given the ungodly amount of money New York spent last winter. They disappointed with 84 wins, but that was still enough to place second in the AL East.

3. Miguel Cabrera spends time on the Disabled List: WRONG
Miggy did slip a bit from his monster 2012-2013 stretch, but not because of injury woes. He played all but three games. At 31 he was still as durable as ever.

4. The Nationals will win 100 games: WRONG
The Nats had a great season, winning 96 games and their second division title in three years, but 96 wins isn't 100. Close, but no cigar.

5. Alfonso Soriano hits less than 20 homers: CORRECT
Finally! Sori finally broke down at age 38 after slamming 66 dingers in 2012-2013 combined, managing just six homers in his final major league season.

6. The Pirates revert to their losing ways: WRONG
I'm always down on the Bucs, and lately they've been proving me wrong a lot. They slipped a bit from their 94-win 2013 but still won 88 games and made the playoffs as one of the Senior Circuit's two wild card entrants.

7. Ryan Braun returns to form: WRONG
Braun wasn't bad, but he also wasn't anything close to the guy who won the 2011 NL MVP award and finished runner-up the following year. 31 today, Braun has declined precipitously over the past two years and is in danger of becoming only an average player.

8/ The Phillies finish over .500: WRONG
The Phils were terrible in 2013, going 73-89, and they were just as terrible in 2014, going 73-89 again.

9. Curtis Granderson becomes the next Jason Bay: WRONG
Granderson was surprisingly okay in his first season with the Mets, clubbing 20 home runs and working 79 walks in 155 games. He might turn into a pumpkin next year, but at least the Mets got one solid season out of him, which is more than they can say about Bay.

10. Yasiel Puig will win the National League MVP: WRONG
Right team, wrong guy. Wasn't expecting Clayton Kershaw to become the first National League starting pitcher to be named MVP since Bob Gibson.

11. Nobody on the Tigers receives Cy Young votes: WRONG
Justin Verlander fell apart and Anibal Sanchez, the 2013 AL ERA champion, came back to earth. But Max Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young recipient, enjoyed another dominant season and finished fifth in the voting.

12. The Astros have a better record than the Marlins: WRONG
Houston improved a ton from its horrid 2013, climbing from a mere 51 wins to a more respectable (but still bad) 70. The 'Stros won seven fewer games than the Miami Marlins, however, who remained on the fringes of contention late into the season thanks to some surprise pitching performances and an MVP-caliber year from Giancarlo Stanton.

13. Jackie Bradley, Jr. has a better season than Xander Bogaerts: PUSH
Bogaerts was worth a measly 0.2 bWAR due to his atrocious hitting and poor fielding. Bradley was even worse at the plate (his .531 OPS fell a good 129 points shy of Bogaerts), but grated out 0.6 bWAR because of his slick glovework in center field. So Bogaerts was the better hitter, but technically Bradley was more valuable, so I'll call this one a wash.

14. The Blue Jays win the American League East: WRONG
Toronto did improve from its dismal last place finish in 2013, going from 74 wins to 83 wins and a third place finish. But they were not able to go from worst to first, as the Red Sox did in 2012-2013.

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