Yes, those predictions sure look stupid now…
Six months ago I made my annual win-loss predictions for all 30 MLB teams. As usual, I did get some things rights – and actually my predicted World Series Champion is still in play. But picking the Miami Marlins to win the NL?? Someone needed to remind me that it is not 2003 anymore.
And there were other disastrous projections as well, in particular having the Chicago Cubs as being almost respectable. Then again, I’m just a fat writer on a sports blog, and also I am not a role model. Kenneth Krause, feel free to lay into me anytime.
Still, I did have four of the six division winners nailed and got the exact win totals of two teams, including the franchise I follow the most.
Here are the final win totals for 2012 MLB regular season, along with the predicted win totals I had back in March.
New York Yankees: 95 wins, predicted 95 wins
So I had the Bombers correctly down with a 95-67 finish, which isn’t too hard to do. It’s around what everyone has the Yankees penciled down for every year.
In the Bronx the regular campaign serves as a 162-game exhibition schedule for what comes in October. Alex Rodriguez is slowing down immensely, but who had equally ancient Derek Jeter leading all of MLB with 216 hits??
Baltimore Orioles: 93 wins, predicted 67 (+26)
Then there is this debacle, as I wrote off the O’s as being perennially bad and noting them losing to a college team during the exhibition schedule.
I will throw this rain on the O’s parade, however. Their final run differential was a mere +7 compared to +136 for the Yankees. I see Baltimore falling back to around the .500 level in 2013.
Tampa Bay Rays: 90 wins, predicted 85 (+5)
I had the Rays down for a pretty healthy win total, and once again Joe Madden’s crew managed to out-do even that. If Evan Longoria can just perform like he does in the 162nd game of a season…
Toronto Blue Jays: 73 wins, predicted 86 (-13)
I would put the Jays down for a +.500 record again, injuries just simply had this team decimated by June, a promising pitching staff in particular.
Boston Red Sox: 69 wins, predicted 90 (-21)
ESPN’s top story tonight – Bobby Valentine’s managerial career is still dead…
Detroit Tigers: 88 wins, predicted 94 (-6)
If the Tigers are to follow through on my preseason world title prediction, they will do so despite having the seventh best record of the 14-team AL. But this team is built for the post-season.
Fun stat, Prince Fielder only struck out 84 times (85 walks) while again playing in all 162 games. He is way more durable than a Chevrolet.
And there are also rumors about Miguel Cabrera, something about winning the Triple Crown – something that hasn’t happened in a lot of people’s lifetimes.
Chicago White Sox: 83 wins, predicted 80 (+3)
Jerod Morris thought I was nuts putting the South Siders anywhere near the .500 level. Give Chris Sale’s breakout campaign (at just age 23) credit for making me look good here.
Kansas City Royals: 72 wins, predicted 75 (-3)
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas did not live up to their advance billings in their first full MLB seasons. If those two can take the next step post-hype, this team could possibly contend in ’13. There was also a lot of talent this year at the AAA level.
Cleveland Indians: 68 wins, predicted 70 (-2)
Chris Perez was wondering back in May why the Cleveland fan base wasn’t sold on the team to the point of showing up for the games. Because they knew not to invest. It was the best thing that could happen — now Terry Francona comes to town.
Minnesota Twins: 66 wins, predicted 82 (-16)
The only AL Central team I missed the mark on. For the last 25 years the Twins have kept things status quo, but will there be a leash on Ron Gardenhire after two awful years??
Oakland Athletics: 94 wins, predicted 68 (+26)
I guess Oakland had the 26 wins that I gave to the Red Sox pre-season. The beauty of the game is that Oakland had undisputed possession of first place in the AL West for all of one day this year – fortunately for them it was the only one that counts, after the 162nd.
Texas Rangers: 93 wins, predicted 89 (+4)
Josh Hamilton provides the biblical line of the day, quoting Matthew 10:14. Josh said in a post-game presser after the Wild Card play-in loss that if they don’t “accept” you in one town, then shake off the dust and move on to the next – for nine figures of course. I will translate that for Texas fans: He’s saying goodbye.
Los Angeles Angels: 89 wins, predicted 93 (-4)
Not a totally disappointing year. Mike Trout is a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year and will finish second in MVP voting. It will be interesting to see if Halos can re-sign Zack Greinke.
Seattle Mariners: 75 wins, predicted 77 (-2)
Felix Hernandez is sure worth the price of admission every fifth day.
Washington Nationals: 98 wins, predicted 82 (+16)
I was conservative in my preseason projection, as the Nats proved themselves as legit contenders to win it all this season.
The Strasburg shutdown will continue to be debated, especially if the Nats were go out early. My opinion – the organization made the right call, and are set up with a strong enough staff without SS to go deep into October.
Atlanta Braves: 94 wins, predicted 84 (+10)
Last year the Cardinals overhauled the Braves in the final weeks of the regular season. This year all the Cards needed to doom the A-T-L was MLB’s new Wild Card play-in gimmick and the “outfield fly rule.” Chipper Jones’ warning on the crazy things that could occur in a one-game play-in proved to be prophetic.
By the way, blame the three errors before the error made by blue.
Philadelphia Phillies: 81 wins, predicted 92 (-11)
This team has not aged gracefully, and putting in $200+ million on Ryan Howard is turning out to be a horrible investment. RH is actually (finally) starting to lose the patience of Phillies fans. Roy Halladay’s high odometer reading is another concern.
New York Mets: 74 wins, predicted 63 (+11)
The Mets were relevant during the first half of the season, and potential CY Young winner R.A. Dickey gets most of the credit for the team going the mere 11 games over my unflattering March projection.
RAD can’t be expected to continue to dominate long-term considering his age and the fact that knuckle-ballers are volatile stock.
Miami Marlins: 63 wins, predicted 89 (-20)
This was a train wreck from Day One, starting with Ozzie Guillen silliness and culminating with the franchise’s umpteenth fire sale. What the team does still have going for them is Giancarlo Stanton – even in a pitcher’s park he can easily hit 50 bombs if he stays healthy.
Cincinnati Reds: 97 wins, predicted 88 (+9)
I had the NL Central handicapped pretty well. Among other things, the late-season development of Homer Bailey helps what has already become a strong pitching staff.
And Cincy was able to pull away this season without Joey Votto for a couple months, which really bodes well for October. We’ll see how Johnny Cueto does healthwise going forward in October.
St. Louis Cardinals: 88 wins, predicted 87 (+1)
Unlike last year, the Cards kind of limped into the post-season party. Getting a Cy Young contending season out of Kyle Lohse helped them immensely, and Yadier Molina proved Tony LaRussa’s previous assertion of being the most valuable player on the team as being correct.
And letting Pujols go?? His slowly declining numbers out in Anaheim are proving that he is not going to be worth the monster contract late-career. This will prove to be another great organizational decision.
Milwaukee Brewers: 83 wins, predicted 83
The second team whose win total I had right. I had the Brewers pegged correctly as a team that would trend downward somewhat this season for a variety of reasons. A silver lining was that a devastating rash of early-season injuries got a number of young players an opportunity to prove themselves at the MLB level, which is going to help long-term.
The team will also have a few dollars to play with in the off-season. A return to the 90-win plateau next season very possible, especially for a team that is 106-56 at home the last two seasons.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 79 wins, predicted 69 (+10)
Pittsburgh is petitioning MLB to have the regular season shortened to about 110 games.
One glaring reason for the Bucs horrible late-season tailspin?? Let’s just say that Jerod Morris, Ari Kaufman, other members of the MSF staff, and myself had a decent chance of getting a stolen base out of the Pirates deplorable catching corps.
Chicago Cubs: 61 wins, predicted 77 (-16)
I predicted this garbage to go 77-85?? I guess I had faith in Dale Sveum with this team, but this has turned into an organization that’s a mess all the way around. Good luck Theo Epstein, who’s finding out that his current gig is the MLB version of being the Cleveland Browns GM.
Houston Astros: 55 wins, predicted 61 (-6)
Even outdoing my low projected win total, the entire Astros starting line-up from Opening Day 2011 found themselves gone by the trade deadline this year. All nine of them. And it’s going to take a while to get better moving to the very strong American League West.
San Francisco Giants: 94 wins, predicted 93 (+1)
The NL West is another division I basically did right. And the Giants ran away with the division despite an alarmingly declining Tim Lincecum and the Melky Cabrera suspension. Matt Cain and possible MVP Buster Posey helped pave the way for SF.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 86 wins, predicted 81 (+5)
Back in March, most felt I was nuts even pegging LA for .500. If Matt Kemp had been healthy all year, the Dodgers would have made post-season. But will investing in all the Boston Red Sox dead weight prove to be a wise move in the long run??
Arizona Diamondbacks: 81 wins, predicted 74 (+7)
The D-Backs are your prototypical average MLB team right now, although Kirk Gibson continues to prove himself as one hell of a manager.
Wade Miley (16-11/3.33 ERA) quietly established himself as a near ace-like pitcher. GM Kevin Towers is not satisfied and is talking about revamping things for 2013.
San Diego Padres: 76 wins, predicted 63 (+13)
Back in March I challenged you to name as many players as possible off Padres roster. Well, the only thing that kept RBI champ Chase Headley out of the MVP discussion was the Padres not contending. Ultimate question is whether new ownership will ultimately ink him to a contract to keep him in town long-term.
After June 10, the team went 56-45, a winning percentage that, if kept up over 162 games, would have put the Padres into the post-season.
Revised Post-Season Prediction
The Tigers are still doing their part to fulfill my prediction, although they need one win out of three in Oakland to advance to the ALCS, and that’s easier said than done (see ’81 Astros/Dodgers, ’82 Angels/Brewers, ’84 Cubs/Padres). Still, I’m going to continue to roll with them as my eventual Champs.