45 Bold Predictions, Revisited

November 4, 2012
Way back in March, I made forty-five bold predictions about the 2012 baseball season. As the year is now officially in the books, I figured it was time to see how those predictions turned out. Let’s go to the tape: 
1. Giancarlo Stanton will hit fifty homeruns. Injuries limited Stanton to just 123 games and 37 homers last year, but he played like an MVP when he was healthy. Had he played all 162 games last year, Stanton projected to hit 48 homeruns. (0-for-1)
2. Dustin Pedroia will have a batting average higher than .380 at some point past May 1. This did not happen. Pedroia's highest batting average after May 1st was .321. My batting average for this exercise is .000. (0-for-2)
3. Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo will win 40 games between them. Close, but no cigar. Gallardo won 16 games, while Greinke won 15. I’m not very good at this. (0-for-3)
4. Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson will win fewer than 25 games. Got this one right, though it took an injury to Daniel Hudson to pull it off. 18 combined wins. (1-for-4)
5. Yu Darvish will be moved to the bullpen for part of the season. Nope. Darvish made 29 appearances, all as a starter. (1-for-5)
6. C.J. Wilson will win the AL Cy Young Award. Again, no. I should’ve written ‘Jared Weaver.’ (1-for-6)
7. Dee Gordon will be shipped down to the minors at some point during the season. A second yes. I don’t know how ‘bold’ a prediction this was, considering Gordon’s career on-base percentage circled around .300. But…it counts. (2-for-7)
8. Jay Bruce, Michael Morse, JJ. Hardy, and Ian Kinsler will not hit 30 homers. I was right on Morse, Hardy, and Kinsler, but wrong on Jay Bruce….I’ll give myself half a point. 2.5-for-8)
 9. Michael Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, and Chris Davis will hit 30+ homers. Correct on Josh Willingham and Crash Davis….that’s five out of seven overall in the home run prediction game. Again, half-credit. (3-for-9)
10. Mark Reynolds will NOT lead the league in strikeouts in 2012. Reynolds finished a paltry seventh in the AL, with 159 strikeouts. This was a disappointment to the many owners who bid high on Reynolds in anti-fantasy-leagues. Adam Dunn blew away the league with 222 whiffs, and even Chris Davis outpaced the four-time defending champ. (4-for-10)
11. Danny Espinosa will have a 30/30 season. Espinosa posted 17 homers and 20 steals, a far cry from 30/30. His teammate Ian Desmond came a little close, at 25/21. (4-for-11)
12. Adam Dunn will retire in mid-season. I would’ve predicted a bounce-back, but a lot of pundits were predicting a comeback season, so I figured I’d go the other way. And Dunn did see his numbers crash in the second half (.859 OPS to .729), so maybe he did retire and just forgot to tell the White Sox. (4-for-12).
13. Ichiro Suzuki will hit 20 homeruns. This was a tad silly. (4-for-13).
14. The Marlins will have better starting pitching than the Phillies. It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘better’ is…(4-for14)
 15. No Yankee regular will hit .300 in 2012. Except Robinson Cano. And Derek Jeter. (4-for-15)
16. The Yankees will still lead the majors in Runs Scored. This was sooo close…the Rangers outscored the Yankees by four runs in 2012. (4-for-16)
17. Brett Gardner will lead all Yankee players in WAR. As you can tell, I know a lot about the Yankees. My blood runs pinstripes. (4-for-17)
18. Someone on the Diamondbacks will have a 30-30 season. And it won’t be Justin Upton. Both Aaron Hill (26/14) and Paul Goldschmidt (20/18) showed good speed/power combinations….but neither one came close to 30/30. For the record, I predicted that it’d be Chris Young who got to 30/30. (4-for18)
19. Justin Verlander’s ERA will be over 4.00. Just….no. Even with that defense behind him, Verlander was an ace. (4-for-19)
20. Matt Moore will outpitch Stephen Strasburg. This also didn’t happen. Notice a trend? (4-for-20)
21. The AL playoff teams will be the Red Sox, Angels, Royals, Rays, and Rangers. I got one playoff team right….one out of five. That’s terrible. I really have no business making predictions. (4-for-21)
22. Jamie Moyer will win 300 games. This was a longer-term prediction…I thought that Moyer would win a dozen games in 2012, and eventually get to 300. He won twice, and probably won’t pitch again in the majors. (4-for22)
23. Rajai Davis will lead the American League in stolen bases. This was close. Rajai finished three steals behind Mike Trout for the AL lead. Rajai Davis was abysmal in 2011, and wasn’t guaranteed a starting job in 2012…it’s impressive he challenged Trout. (4-for 23).
24. Eric Hosmer will have a better season than Albert Pujols. In fairness, I didn’t specify that 2012 would be that year. I still maintain that there will be a year when Eric Hosmer has a better season than Albert Pujols. Probably 2022 or 2023. (4-for-24)
25. Brandon McCarthy will lead the American League in ERA. Maybe we can re-run this one for 2013. (4-for-25)
26. Joe Mauer will play 150 games, and will be the Joe Mauer of old. Mauer played in a career-high 147 games, and contended for the AL batting title. This one counts. (5-for-26)
27. Jemile Weeks will outperform his brother Rickie Weeks in all five fantasy categories. This, too, was a fail. Week posted a fantasy line of 54-2-20-16-.224. Rickie was at 85-21-63-16-.230. They did tie in stolen bases… (5-for-27)
28. 2012 will be a lot like 2011 for Jason Heyward. While Heyward’s on-base percentage still hasn’t sniffed the .393 mark that had all us saber-minded people excited during his rookie year, Heyward was an elite player in 2012, one of the 20 best in the NL. (5-for-28)
29. Mike Trout will have a starting job by May. And he’ll win Player-of-the-Month trophy by the end of the year. My favorite ‘right’ on the year….Trout won the July Player-of-the-Month, and probably deserved to win in May, June, and August. (6-for-29)
30. Hunter Pence will have an MVP-level season. Pence’s bWAR was 0.8, which isn’t MVP-level. He did post a respectable Triple Crown line of .253-24-104. (6-for-30)
31. The Cardinals will have a historically great outfield for at least one game this season. The prediction was that the Cards would play Beltran, Berkman, and Holliday in the outfield at least once in 2012. It didn’t happen. (6-for-31)
32. The NL MVP will go to Hanley Ramirez. There’s still a chance I get this one….(6-for-32)
33. Johnny Cueto will get votes for the NL Cy Young Award. Cueto would be either first or second on my ballot. He’ll get votes. (7-for-33).  
34. Andrew McCutchen will out-WAR his teammates. McCutchen posted a bWAR of 7.0, while the rest of the Bucs tallied an 8.2 mark….damn you, Pedro Alvarez. (7-for-34)
35. Geovanny Soto will Cubs, NL catchers in homeruns, RBI’s. Six Cubs hit more homeruns than Geovanny Soto…thirteen Cubs drove in more runs. This was a terrible prediction. Not the worst prediction, mind you….(7-for 35)
36. Bobby Valentine will win Manager of the Year. This is the worst prediction. My god, he was terrible. I never thought I’d have a reason to miss Butch Hobson. (7-for-36).
37. Bryce Harper will have his first bad season of baseball in 2012. This was a clown prediction, bro. (7-for-37)
38. The NL playoff teams will be the Giants, Marlins, Brewers, Phillies, and Padres. One-for-five on the NL teams…two-for-ten overall. That is a terrible record. I should deduct points for that. (7-for-38)
39. San Diego will lead in the NL in runs scored in road games. The Giants scored 410 runs on the road, while the Padres scored 342. Another ‘no.’ (7-for-39)
40. The second most valuable 1B in the NL will be…James Loney. This also didn’t happen. While Joey Votto was obviously the best 1B in the NL, the second-best 1B was probably Paul Goldschmidt, though a case could be made for Adam LaRoche (seriously?), Allan Craig, Corey Hart, or Todd Frazier. About the only person you couldn’t make a case for was James Loney. (7-for-40).
41. Jose Altuve will hit .257 with 21 doubles, 13 homeruns, 21 steals, and 49 walks. Those are Biggio’s numbers from 1989…the prediction was that Altuve would have a Biggio-esque season in Houston. He did:
Altuve, 2012
Biggio, 1992
Of course, Biggio was 26 years old in 1992….Altuve was just 22. I’ll take this one. (8-for-41)
42. Mariano Rivera will lose his job as the closer for the New York Yankees. Okay…so he lost his job because of an injury, rather than any performance issues….I’m counting it anyway. (9-for-42).
43. Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval will be the best 3-4 hitters in the National League. Sandoval and Belt each posted an OPS+ of 124 last year, which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, Buster Posey was the cleanup hitter for the Giants, who did have the best 3-4 in the NL. I  just had the wrong #4 hitter. (9-for-43).  
44. Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Hamilton will play less than 360 games in 2012. Each player played at least 148 games last year. Another completely wrong prediction. (9-for-44)
45. Adrian Gonzalez will win the Triple Crown. I meant Miguel Cabrera! (9-for-45).
Dave Fleming is a writer living in Wellington, New Zealand. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions here and at dfleming1986@yahoo.com

COMMENTS (13 Comments, most recent shown first)

Steven Goldleaf
contrary to sprox, and as long you're getting murdered here, I suggest you DON'T get any credit for #s 8, 9, and 26. I mean, if you mean "Joe Mauer will play a shitload of games," then write that. 147 means something, and so does 150, and 150 is more than 147 no matter how you look at it. I assume that for 8 and 9, you get credit only if ALL of them meet your metric. It's easy enough to toss out the names of dozens of sluggers and add up partial points when some of them, you know, slug.
12:33 PM Nov 13th

The fun part about predictions, is the inevitable realization how far off base
we tend to be.
Eating your own crow, Dave was fun for us all, and I don't
think any of us would expect you would dodge the bullet. :)

Great Fun! Cant wait for next seasons predictions!

9:36 AM Nov 6th
Dave - I'd like to throw it open to the audience to credit you with a few more points.

#16 - Yankees leading in scoring is close enough - at least 1/2 point given how powerful the Angels, Tigers, and cough-cough Red Sox were supposed to be. 0.5 points

#23 - Davis leading the league in steals is close enough given what people were saying about him. Full Credit 1.0 points.

#24 - Hosmer over Pujols - when you include their salaries and their expectations I think you deserve at least 0.5 points for correctly predicting the awfulness of Pujols' first month.

#34 - McCutchen out-WARing his teammates is close enough for government work - at least 0.5 points.

That is 2.5 additional points bringing you to a total of 11.5 for 45

much more respectable - more Curtis Granderson than Mario Mendoza - especially with the few home run predictions!
7:25 PM Nov 5th
props for owning your predictions. they were fairly bold, so i think you did better than you .200 might indicate. you must not be a dodger fan, or you never would have made any predictions about loney being anything other than a bum. that was you worst prediction, in my mind, ted klu similarities not withstanding.
2:50 PM Nov 5th
The vast majority of these predictions, I would argue, involved people performing either way below or way above their normal level. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of sabermetrics knows that one cannot assume these kinds of Hurricane Sandy moments. They happen rarely--and unpredictably.

7:47 AM Nov 5th
You have the BEST batting average of any pundit: you went back and examined your record. You're better than everybody else in the sense that a .250 major league hitter is a better ballplayer than I am...

If anybody ELSE made any attempt to measure their predictions they'd be subject to eye-opening shocks like this one too.

+1 for guts, amigo. :- )
5:36 AM Nov 5th
I enjoyed this very much, Dave. Yes, there was some schadenfreude involved, but mostly it's your good hangdog cheer in the face of what are honestly some pretty bad predictions, but which just goes to show that predicting the future is hard (cf. Y. Berra) and also that you had some colossally bad luck on top of that. I hope this March/November dual article becomes a recurring feature.
12:58 AM Nov 5th
The success of your Mariano Rivera prediction suggests that you need to rely on greater vagueness next season, kinda like those crackpots who are always claiming that Nostradamus predicted everything. If your predictions say things like, "A man in pinstripes shall exceed expectations, producing a crucial late-season victory in a game that appears lost," you'll probably score 75% or better.
7:43 PM Nov 4th
Hmmm... 9 for 45 a solid .200 average. Somewhere, Mario Mendoza is smiling.
2:22 PM Nov 4th
Kudos, Dave, for revisiting your predictions, and being up front, and hilarious, about how you missed.

Still laughing over your Bobby Valentine and Mariano Rivera comments.
8:48 AM Nov 4th
Yes, thanks, those are fun, even when they're wrong.

James Loney did mess up my fantasy team though! (Mike Trout didn't, however!)

7:47 AM Nov 4th
My bold prediction for 2013: Andrelton Simmons NL Gold Glove SS.
6:07 AM Nov 4th
Well, they were *bold* predictions. Thanks for the recap. It cracked me up.
5:06 AM Nov 4th
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