The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

My Baseball Predictions: A Look Back

Now that the final pitch of the 2013 World Series has been thrown (and congratulations to the Red Sox), it’s time to revisit the predictions I made for the season way back in March.  As to be expected, I got some things quite right, and some other predictions very much wrong.

Let’s start with the good news, or, at any rate, those predictions that I got right.  It gives me no pleasure to tell you that I picked the Mets to win 74 games this year, which is exactly how many games they ended up winning.  I had predicted them to finish in 4th place behind what I thought would be a 3rd place Phillies team.  But somehow, the Mets edged the Phillies for 3rd place.

I predicted that Matt Harvey could have a very big year, and he did, up until he suffered his season-ending injury.

I predicted that Rangers pitcher Scott Harrison, who won 18 games in 2012 while posting a 3.29 ERA, would be a bust in 2013.  Harrison got hurt early on, and pitched just 10 highly ineffective innings all year.  I didn’t predict the injury, but I still think he was on his way to a poor season anyway.

This is what I wrote about the Braves off-season acquisition of outfielder B.J. Upton:

Cue Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” because Upton does like to run, but also because it’s what you should do when his name comes up in your Draft… his plate discipline has all but disappeared, and that he is one of baseball’s most prolific out-machines.  Last year, he batted .246 with a pathetic .298 on-base percentage.  In fact, he hasn’t batted above .250 in any of the past four years.  Upton might get off to a quick start, but at some point during the season, his lack of plate discipline will catch up to him.

B.J. Upton finished the year with a triple slash line of .184 /.268/.289.  Ouch.

I stated that the Yankees acquisition of Kevin Youkilis would be a non-factor in 2013 because he’d probably spend about half the season on the D.L.  Youkilis ended up playing just 28 games for the Yankees.

I predicted that the Cubs starting pitcher, Edwin Jackson, was the best bet to be baseball’s next 20-game loser.  Jackson led the N.L. with 18 losses.  Oh, so close.

As for Kyle Lohse, I wrote:

Lohse led the N.L. in win-loss percentage last season (.842) by losing just three of 33 starts.  You want to bet the farm that this veteran pitcher can do that again?  His relatively low K rate, his fly ball tendencies, his low BABIP and his career history point to a correction in the offing.  Don’t be the last man standing when the music stops on this song.

While Lohse didn’t have a terrible year, he finished with a record of 11-10, with a 3.35 ERA.  Compared to 16-3, 2.86, a correction certainly did take place.

On the Nationals’ pitcher, Jordan Zimmerman, I wrote:

Zimmerman averaged over 3 1/2 K’s per walk last year, and is entering his age 27 season.  Likely to receive plenty of run support, while probably reaching the 200 inning pitched level for the first time in his career, Zimmerman could be primed for a very impressive season.  He won 12 games last year, but could win half a dozen more this time around.

Zimmerman posted a record of 19-9, leading the N.L. in wins, and posted a 3.25 ERA in 213 innings.

Of a potential breakout season for Arizona Diamondbacks First Baseman, Paul Goldschmidt, I wrote:

The 25-year old Goldshmidt started slowly last season, but hit 18 homers over the last four months of the season, including five homers in a seven-game span.  The right-handed batting first-baseman actually led the Majors in line-drive rate last year.  If just a few of his 43 doubles turn into home runs this year, Goldschmidt could be on his way to 30+ homers, along with about a .280 batting average.

A fly ball hitter (Goldschmidt led the league in Sac. Flies last year) who plays his home games in one of the best hitter’s parks in the league, is off to a fine start in spring training posting a .429 average to date.  Also, he’s not merely a slugger, but an athlete who stole 18 bases in 21 attempts last year.  Goldschmidt is one of this generation’s most promising young baseball talents.  He could become a right-handed swinging Jim Thome.

Goldschmidt should finish in the top five in N.L. MVP voting later this off-season.  His final stat line for 2013:

He led the league in both 36 homers, and RBI, 125, while batting .302.  He also led the league with an OPS+ of 160, in total bases with 332, and in slugging percentage at .551.  Truly a fantastic breakout season.

I predicted that the Tampa Bay Rays would win the A.L. East with about 95 victories.  The Rays won 92 games and ended up winning one of the two  Wild Card slots.  Not too far off.

I predicted that the Yanks would miss the playoffs, and were, at best, an 85-win team.  The Yanks finished tied with Baltimore for 3rd in their division with 85 victories.

I said that the Royals would finally finish over .500 this season, if only by a couple of games.  The Royals did a little better than I expected, posting a record of 86-76.

I stated that the Dodgers would win 95 games and the N.L. West title.  They won 92 games and the N.L. West title.

I predicted the Rockies would finish last in the N.L. West with 71 wins.  They finished last with 74 wins.

Moderately close to being correct, I predicted the Reds would win the N.L. East with 92 victories.  They did win 90 games, but that was good for just 3rd place, and one of the two Wild Card slots.

Now, how about all of my misses!

I predicted the Red Sox to finish in last place again in 2013.  Oops.

I stated that Mets first baseman, Ike Davis, would have a productive season, with around 30 homers, 80-90 RBI, and a .260-.270 batting average.  Davis, as every Mets fan knows, was a huge bust, posting a triple slash line of .205/.326/.334.  He hit just 9 homers, and drove in just 33 runs.  Unbelievably, it looks like there’s a chance the Mets might bring him back again in 2014.  Apparently, there is no bottom line at Citi Field.

I thought the Giants would win one of the two N.L. Wild card slots with around 87 wins.  They won just 76 games, tied for 4th in their division.

I predicted that the Nats would win between 95-100 games, and easily top the Braves in the N.L. East.  The Nats underachieved all year, and somehow won just 86 games, a full ten games behind the Braves.

I said the Pirates would finish under .500 again.  They finished with the 3rd best overall record in the entire N.L. with 94 victories, and a post-season appearance.  I’m glad I was wrong about this one.

I picked the Angels to win the A.L. West, and to represent the A.L. in the World Series.  They won just 78 games.  (Is Albert Pujols really finished?)

I suppose I’ll have another go at it next March for the 2014 baseball season.  Hopefully, I’ll get at least a few things right.

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33 thoughts on “My Baseball Predictions: A Look Back

  1. It says something good about you that you’re able to pare away your natural biases when you’re making predictions (i.e., 74 wins for the Mets). I’m pretty good about doing that with a lot of things (politics springs to mind), but with sports and baseball in particular, I tend to let my loyalties override sober analysis.

    • It probably also says something (though I’d rather not care to know what that is) that I’m still a Mets fan after all these years.
      Thanks for reading. Hope you’re doing well these days.

      • It probably also says something (though I’d rather not care to know what that is) that I’m still a Mets fan after all these years.

        That you’re not a fair-weather fan? That you believe in unconditional love? I’m not sure those are bad things.

      • You’re very kind. But I have to say that the current regime is certainly testing my patience.
        Cheers, Bill

  2. I predicted 81 wins, at best, for the Red Sox myself. Everything broke right for them, which can be the most important ingredient to a Championship.

    They will be interesting to watch in 2014.

    • It’s so hard to repeat these days, but they seem to have the management and the horses to do so. It’ll be interesting to see if they allow Ellsbury to walk (perhaps to Queens?) But you never know….
      Thanks for reading,

  3. I think you did respectably, my friend.

  4. hey Bill. I’m not a big fan of predictions other than what team is gonna win. Predictions remind too much of fantasy baseball, the stock market and all that, but if you could predict some winning lottery numbers, I’d gladly play the hypocrite.

    • Well, as someone who’s been involved in fantasy baseball since 1993, I resemble that remark. For better or worse, I don’t think I’ve bought a lottery ticket since the 1980’s. Just another way to pass the time, I suppose.
      Cheers, man

      • I hear you Bill. I’ve never bought a lottery ticket in my entire life. I look at it this way. Fantasy baseball is kinda like winning the lottery would be. There would be no need for hard work like there’s no need to watch a regular season game anymore. There’s condensed games or highlights or statistical breakdowns galore and that fantasy baseball destroying partsian homer rah rah home team. And all of that seems to result in living off other people’s research rather than our own perception and opinion while watching the game. I guess it’s the robot thing. But beyond all that, you made some bold and downright strange predictions like the next 20 game winner. That’s kind of incredible. Good job man, but you sure missed the Red Sox number. You do better predicting individual stats I guess.

      • Individual performance is much easier to predict that team performance (except for the Mets) because there are so many variables involved in how well, or poorly, a given team will perform in any given year. And luck is always part of the equation as well. As for individual performance, the indicators and past history of a player normally leads to reasonably accurate predictions, injuries aside. As for 20 game winner and 20 game losers, they are each becoming a rarity these days.
        Thanks again,

      • i made a cy youngian slip with that “predicting next 20 game winner” should have been predicting next 20 game loser, but who knows? maybe 20 win seasons will also get dusted soon. I don’t like casting too much judgment on anything, but fantasy is just one of those things.

      • My fantasy baseball league actually re-plays past seasons, (currently 1970), so I don’t have to “root” for a modern player on my fantasy team when he’s playing against the Mets, because that’s not an issue. I like the competition, and taking a poorly performing team and turning it into a real contender. Close as I’ll ever get to the real thing.
        Cheers again,

      • That retro fantasy league sounds cool. I don’t completely grasp how it’s played, but I would think what’s most important for you as a Met’s fans is that nothing messes with your partisan enthusiasm. I have great admiration for all fanatics of a particular team including Cardinal fans. There’s nothing more boring to me when fans say things like, “oh, i don’t like any particular team. i just like baseball.”

      • I own Wayne Garrett. I think he’s like the first Mets player I’ve actually owned on a fantasy team over the past 15 years. Next season, I’m shooting for Jon Matlack.

      • How have the player’s fantasy seasons compared to their actual end of the year statistics?

      • There’s been more variation from actual stats as far as pitching is concerned than with hitting. Overall, I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with the end-of-season stats we normally end up with. Bob Gibson’s 1.12 1968 season ended up being a little over a 2.00 ERA, but with fewer bad hitters on fantasy squads than in real life, pitchers pay a bit of a price. It’s the relief pitchers whose stats tend to vary the most because with so few innings to work with, the margin for error is much smaller. So an extra homer or two in fantasy ball compared to what they did in real life can skew ERA’s up more substantially with with starters. And we all have our own managerial styles, which can affect the outcome a little bit as well.

      • I’m a little confused. The thing with fantasy or its selling point I think is that owners-rather than managers-decide players on a roster, but there is no actual playing or dice rolling other than what the real players do over the course of a season. How can fantasy be played from a previous season? Is this a combo fantasy-simulation type of game? Is there a website I could read over to answer my questions? Gibson’s ERA is very close to the 1.12 and the balloon to 2.00 makes sense when considering the additional factors you mentioned. Sounds interesting.

  5. They paid you and me both the same amount to predict this season, bupkis.
    You done better, Bill, congrats.

  6. glenrussellslater on said:

    Incredible. Your “misses” were not as flagrantly bad as your predictions were uncannily accurate or pretty damn close to accurate!

    Obviously, you pay close attention to big league baseball!


  7. That’s a mighty impressive list of prediction that came true or nearly did. On balance, you were more right than wrong (although Red Sox fans may not give you quite so much credit). Bravo.

  8. It sounds like a good predicting performance, marred by a few bad misses. I expected a worse season for the Yankees, and given all the troubles they had with some players (not just Rodriguez) they did well. I think Cleveland was the most surprising good team in 2013. I don’t remember what the general feeling was about Boston.

    • I think most people predicted Boston to finish around 4th place. I actually thought at one point that the Yanks had a chance to finish below .500, but they actually didn’t do too badly, all things considered. Cleveland had a very decent season. It’ll be interesting to see if they can take another step forward in ’14.
      Thanks for reading,

      • Also, it is a mix of bleak courage and wisdom to mark the Mets down for 74 wins, and see it come true; not many fans can bring themselves to say in March that they don’t think their team’s going to do anything.

      • Ever seen the Klaus Kinski film, “Fitzcarraldo.”? Or “Hearts of Darkness,” which is a documentary about the making of “Apocalypse Now.”? That’s kind of what it’s like being a Mets fan.

  9. Good job! Please post your predictions early this year so I can “repost them”. I’d rather use yours ~ you’re much better at this than I am!

    One little note: Dodgers – NL West, though me being a Giants fan I’d much rather they’d been in the East this year :))

    • Thanks for catching that Dodgers mistake. I’ll blame it on all the NyQuil I’ve been taking lately. I probably won’t make any predictions until around late February / early March next year.
      Thanks for reading,

  10. I’m reasonably glad you were wrong about the Pirates, too.

    I’d say you can be reasonably proud of what you forecast for 2013; there are a whole lot of people who get paid a whole lot of money to be “experts” who did a whole lot worse in prognosticating than you did.

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