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.