Baseball is a very tough sport to play and an even tougher sport to predict. Every year, fantasy owners participate in the annual fantasy baseball draft (s) and try to predict who will have the best seasons based on who gets picked in the early rounds of drafts. How many times have you picked someone in the first round and that player turned out to be a bust who underperformed your expectations? It happens more than you think.
And every year, something happens during the baseball season that we have never seen before. So, based on that statement, I decided back in spring training to make some bold predictions, one for each major league team. Here are my 30 bold predictions, some were outrageous, and based on some of the feedback I received in the comments section of the original post, some people probably felt I was on some LSD trip when I made my predictions. Here is one such comment:
"I must say you’re hate of Pujols shines through brightly. I would list the one’s of these I think are shockingly far fetched and impossible but it is a bold predictions post, so you did it justice."
I was bold, but some of my bold predictions weren't as far fetched as some predicted. Let's have a look at how I made out with my predictions.
1. Yankees - Alex Rodriguez hits less than 20 home runs for the second consecutive season, and the Yankees finish in 3rd place behind the Rays and Blue Jays.
Well, the second prediction did not turn out so well, but the Rays and Orioles gave the Yankees a run for their money this season. But, Rodriguez has hit only 18 HRs so far, and it looks like he won't hit 20 again this season.
2. Red Sox - Adrian Gonzalez will come close to winning the triple crown, hitting 43 home runs, driving in 130 runs and hitting .347, but the Red Sox finish in 4th place behind a league worst pitching staff.
It appears that I picked the wrong guy to come closing to winning the triple crown, as Miguel Cabrera is one home run from being first in HRs, RBI and batting average. Gonzalez is a streaky hitter and hasn't really hit well since being traded to the Dodgers.
3. Rays - Desmond Jennings hits 15 home runs and steals 55 bases to lead the American League, and the Rays win the AL East.
The Rays won't win the AL East, I don't think, but Jennings came close to hitting 15 HRs as he has hit 13 thus far in 2012. He didn't come close to stealing 55 bases, mainly the result of .316 OBP, but he has stolen 31 bases this season. Maybe I was a year too early in my prediction for 55 stolen bases from him.
4. Blue Jays - Jose Bautista will hit less than 30 home runs this season, but Eric Thames more than makes up for the power drop with 27 home runs of his own.
Bautista has hit 27 home runs, but he did so in 92 games, as he missed a good part of the season due to a wrist injury. Had he not been hurt, he would have easily hit more than 30 home runs. Thames was sent to the minors, then traded to the Mariners and did not come close to hitting 27 home runs.
5. Orioles - Brian Matusz regains his old form and wins 14 games with a 3.40 ERA.
This prediction couldn't be further from the truth as Matusz has only won 6 games this season, was demoted to AAA, and is now pitching in the Orioles bullpen.
More on how my Bold Predictions worked out after the jump:
1. Tigers - Justin Verlander has a rough 2012 season, winning just 11 games with an ERA north of 4.00. Jacob Turnerwins 12 games with a 3.65 ERA.
Yeah, this one was way off and BOLD, huh?
2. Indians - Carlos Santana has a monster season hitting .303 with 34 homes runs and 112 RBI.
Santana's slow first half certainly derailed this prediction as he has hit 13 of his 18 home runs in the second half this season. I think he can approach a 30 HR season within the next few seasons.
3. Twins - Joe Mauer plays more games at first base than at catcher, but hits .325 with 15 home runs, but the Twins lose over 100 games.
The Twins won't lose 100 games, and Mauer caught more games than i thought, but he is hitting .322 with 10 home runs.
4. Royals - Alex Gordon quiets his critics by hitting .320 with 30 home runs, 105 RBI and 22 stolen bases to lead the Royals to a second place finish behind the Tigers.
i might have been one of the few writers who thought Gordon could duplicate his 2011 breakout season. He has put up a decent, but mot solid season, hitting .293-.363-.455 with 14 HRs, 93 runs, 72 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
5. White Sox - Gordon Beckham has a break out year, hitting 23 home runs, driving in 88 and hitting .285-.350-.490.
I don't know if Beckham will ever hit above .250-.260, but he has put up decent power numbers this season, just not quite the 23 home run, 88 RBI prediction I made back in January. His 16 HRs were good enough for 9th amongst second baseman, while his 60 RBI rank 13th.
1. Rangers - Yu Darvish leads the American League in strikeouts with 260, but loses out to Jesus Montero for AL Rookie of the Year.
Darvish's 214 strikeouts rank fourth amongst AL starting pitchers so my prediction was close, but not enough. And that AL Rookie of the Year prediction was made with the thought that some guy named Mike Trout would make it to the majors in June, and not be the best player in baseball in 2012.
2. Angels - Albert Pujols hits just .285-.350-.500 with 26 home runs in his first season in Los Angeles. The Angels finish in 3rd place in the AL West.
Well, I have been down on Pujols, probably one of the few, and I came pretty close with my triple slash line prediction as he is currently hitting .289-.347-.523 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI. And I hit the 3rd place finish prediction as well, as the A's held onto second place in the AL West to make the playoffs.
3. Mariners - Jesus Montero hits 30 home runs with a .300 batting average in his first full season in the big leagues, to win the AL Rookie of the Year.
Not. Even. Close. But, the Mariners are moving in their fences in 2013, so he could approach the 30 home run level next season.
4. Athletics - shortstop Cliff Pennington steals 38 bases and leads the team with a .279 batting average.
I guess I should have predicted that the A's would make the wild card instead of predicting that Cliff Pennington, of all people, would steal 38 bases.
1. Phillies -Ryan Howard misses the first four months of the season, and the Phillies win less than 90 games.
The Phillies not only haven't won 90 games, but there is a chance they don't win 80 games this season, and Howard did miss the first three months of the season returning in early July. He has been very productive with men on base as he has hit 14 home runs and driving in 56 in 68 games, but his triple slash line of .219-.295-.423 tells me the remaining four years on his contract could be ugly.
2. Braves - Tommy Hanson will make less than 10 starts this season and will go down with a season ending shoulder injury in late May. The Braves finish in 4th place in the NL East.
I was right about this one, as Hanson did make 10 starts this season. Actually, he has made 29 starts this season, but he is not the same pitcher he was a few seasons ago. He changed his arm slot and it has gotten him through the season, but he will fall in most starting pitcher rankings in 2013.
3. Nationals - Wilson Ramos hits .280 with 23 home runs and is one of the top 5 fantasy catchers in 2012. The Nationals win the NL East.
The Nationals did win the NL East, but Ramos has missed most of the season due to a knee injury, so he never came close to sniffing my 23 HR, .280 BA, top 5 fantasy catcher prediction.
4. Marlins - Mike Stanton hits 50 home runs to lead the majors, and will end the season with over 100 career home runs at the age of 22.
If Stanton played the whole season, he may have hit 50 home runs this season, as he has hit 37 in just 121 games.
5. Mets - Lucas Duda leads the Mets in home runs with 29 and hits .290 for season. The Mets deal David Wright at mid-season. The Wilpons announce they will file for bankruptcy and will put the team up for sale after seeing Frank McCourt sell the Dodgers for $1.75 billion.
Ike Davis leads the Mets with 31 home runs so far, and Lucas Duda was sent back to AAA in midseason, so he did get the chance to approach my 29 HR prediction. The Mets have not traded Wright. Yet. And the Wilpons still own the team, much to the chagrin of Mets fans.
1. Cardinals - Jason Motte loses the closer job in May and Lance Lynn saves 32 games for the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright struggles in the first half of the season, and wins just 8 games.
Motte never came close to losing the Cardinals closer job as he has saved 41 games thus far in 2012. Lynn did have a very successful season in 2012, just not as a closer. Lynn has won 18 games with a 3.78 ERA filling in for Chris Carpenter. Wainwright has struggled a bit this season, but has won 14 games with an ERA just a hair under 4.00.
2. Reds - Mat Latos wins 20 games with an ERA of 3.50 to help the Reds win the NL Central by 8 games.
Latos won't win 20 games for the Reds, but does own a 3.60 ERA as of this writing, and the Reds currently have a 9.5 game lead in the NL Central.
3. Brewers - Yovani Gallardo wins 18 games with an ERA of 2.85 and 236 strikeouts. Ryan Braun struggles after returning from his 50 game suspension, hitting just .270 with 13 home runs and driving in 60, leading many to question his 2011 NL MVP award again.
Gallardo currently has 16 wins with at least one more start remaining in the 2012 season, but his ERA and strikeout totals won't come close to my predictions. Braun was never suspended and would get my vote to repeat as the NL MVP this season.
4. Pirates - Pedro Alvarez reports to camp in great shape and hits 33 home runs, placing in the top 5 in home runs in the National League. The Pirates deal Andrew McCutchen after McCutchen tells the team he will not sign a long term deal with the team.
The Pirates never dealt McCutchen, as those rumors were probably fueled by the Pirates front office to aid in their contract negotiations in the offseason. I am not sure Alvarez reported to camp in good shape, but he has hit 31 home runs this season, so he has come close to my bold prediction of 33 home runs this season.
5. Cubs - Starlin Castro hits .315 with 22 home runs, 87 RBI and 25 stolen bases and is the #2 fantasy shortstop behind Troy Tulowitzki.
Troy Tulowitzki went out with a season ending injury early in the season, so he was not the No. 1 fantasy shortstop this season. Castro did not hit .315, but is hitting .284 with 14 home runs, 78 runs, 78 RBI and stole exactly 25 bases through October 1st, so I was pretty close with his projection.
6. Astros - Jose Altuve hits .325 and has a 38 game hitting streak for the longest hitting streak in MLB in 2012. The Astros lose 112 games.
The Astros didn't lose 112 games, but they did lose 106 games though Tuesday. Altuve had a solid first full season in the big leagues, hitting .291 with 33 stolen bases, but he did not have a 38 game hitting streak or hit .325.
1. Diamondbacks - Ian Kennedy wins just 13 games with an ERA of 4.50 and gives up 31 homes runs to lead the National League. The Diamondbacks finish in 3rd place in the NL West.
I came close with Kennedy's projection, as he has won 15 games with an ERA of 4.16, giving up 28 home runs on the season, which ranks third in the NL. The Diamondbacks finished in third place in the NL West, 13 games behind the division leading Giants.
2. Dodgers - Dee Gordon steals 70 bases, hits .299 while scoring 100 runs. The Dodgers are sold to the ownership group lead by Rick Caruso and Joe Torre, and the team wins the NL West by one game on the final day of the season after dealing for David Wright on July 15th.
Well, the Dodgers were sold to the group lead by Magic Johnson, but everything else about this prediction was way off. Gordon struggled mightily at the plate, but did steal 30 bases before landing on the disabled list. He has been used sparingly in the Dodgers wild card chase.
Young is nothing more than a backup utility player, so this was a bold prediction. The Rockies did manage to finish in last place, 30 games behind the Giants. Wasn't it two seasons ago that we heard how much talent was on this team?
4. Giants - Tim Lincecum pitches a no - hitter in April, but goes down with a season ending shoulder injury in June.
Lincecum did not pitch a no-hitter, but his teammate Matt Cain tossed a perfect game this season. Lincecum has struggled for most of the season, and has won just 10 games with an ERA north of 5.00. Maybe he is pitching injured?
5. Padres - Yonder Alonso hits .305 with 25 home runs and 90 RBI to win the National League Rookie of the Year.
Yeah right. What was I thinking? Alonso showed no power, and the Padres should follow what the Mets, and now Mariners, did, and move in their fences.