Fearless Predictions Fearlessly Reviewed

November 8, 2015
 
Many is the times I’ve been in error,
And many times a fool.
Yes, and I once or twice need a forbearer,
For all I lack in cool.
Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right,
I’m just tired, now, my friend.
Don’t expect me to be so jubilant,
A-way down here in Zealand.
 
I don’t know if my prediction are accurate,
I don’t know if I got any of them right.
I don’t know why I keep doing these damned things,
I’ve failed to see the light.
Oh, but I’ll check on them at year’s end,
As we wait for spring training games.
Still, when I see all of the things I thought back then,
I can’t help but feel ashamed.  
 
 
1. The Royals won’t finish about .500. We’re off to a fine start, with the Royals winning the most games in the American League. And the pennant. And the World Series. At least I wasn’t the only one who got this one wrong. (0-for-1)
 
2. The Mets will get to the playoffs. Technically, this prediction was that the Mets would make the playoffs as a Wild Card: while I liked their chances, I (like everyone else) figured that the Nats were too good not to win the NL East. So the Mets exceeded the prediction. I think it’s fair to count it. (1-for-2)
 
3. The Padres finish under .500 this year. Maybe you’ve forgotten this, but the Padres had a busyoffseason prior to Opening Day, revamping their outfield with the likes of Matt Kemp and Justin Upton and signing James Shields. Quite a lot of folks expected them to at least content this year. They didn’t. (2-for-3)
 
4. The Cleveland Indians will win the Central, and at least 92 games. I’m just going to throw this back out there next season. I’m still confident this is a good team. (2-for-4)
 
5. The Cubs will have at least three players with 30+ homeruns this year. This didn’t happen, though Rizzo did crack 30 and Bryant is going to next year. (2-for-5)
 
6. The Orioles will finish out of the race in the AL East.  The O’s finished 3rd in the AL East, a dozen games out of first place and just a couple games ahead of the 4th and 5th place teams. Counting it. (3-for-6)
  
7. The Rockies will win at least 85 games this year. Or 68. The Rockies will win 68 games this year. But April was fun. (3-for-7)  
 
8. The A’s finish last in the AL West. Not only did this come true, but the A’s ended up losing the most games in the American League. I’m sad about this: I like the A’s. (4-for-8)
 
9. The Red Sox and Rays will finish 1st and 2nd in the AL East. How about 4th and 5th? (4-for-9)
 
10. The Giants will experience the biggest decline among NL teams. Nope. The defending champs won 84 games in 2015, just 4 fewer than they won in 2014. (4-for-10) 
  
11. Trout will be the first play in baseball history to lead his league in runs scored for four consecutive seasons. Josh Donaldson takes this, scoring 122 runs to Trout’s pitiful 104. (4-for-11)
 
12. Bryce Harper out-homers Mike Trout. Mike Trout hit 41 homeruns this year, a laughably poor tally for the once-great player. Harper comfortably outdistanced him by swatting 42 dingers in 2015. (5-for-12).  
 
13. Pablo Sandoval wins the AL batting title. He’d get past Miggy, if you added 100 points to his 2015 batting average. I should have said ‘Xander.’ (5-for-13)
 
14. Jon Lester will struggle in Wrigley, posting an ERA north of 3.50. While Lester wasn’t quite as brilliant in 2015 as he was in 2014, he managed to keep his ERA just under 3.50, so we’ll grade this a ‘no.’ (5-for-14)
 
15. Jesus Montero will post an OPS+ of at least 125 with at least 300 plate appearances. Montero crushed Triple-A pitching this year, to the tune of a .355/.398/.569 triple-slash line. But his 116 plate appearances in the majors weren’t nearly as successful: .223/.250/.411. I still think he’d be a top-5 DH if someone gave him a shot, but we might not see it. (5-for-15)  
 
16. Michael Pineda will get Cy Young votes this year. While Pineda led all starters not named Max Scherzer in strikeout-to-walk ratio, he isn’t getting any Cy Young votes this year. (5-for-16).  
 
17. Carlos Carassco will be one of the ten best pitchers in the AL, by at least one of the version of WAR. FanGraphs rates him as tied for 6th in the AL in WAR, so we can count this one. Carassco had some incredible performances this year, including two near-no-hitters. (6-for-17)   
 
18. Tampa Bay’s talented righty will make a similar leap this season, finishing in the Top-15 among AL starters. If this prediction had been about Chris Archer, I’d have a point. Unfortunately, I tabbed Alex Cobb, who promptly went down and had Tommy John surgery in May. (6-for-18)
 
19. Joey Votto will return to doing what he does best, and lead the majors in on-base percentage. Sooooooo close. Votto finished the season with a .459 on-base percentage, just .001 off Bryce Harper’s .460 tally. I want to count this one, but I’ll play it true and call it a near miss. (6-for-19)
 
20. Billy Hamilton steals 80 bases. While Hamilton continued to run like crazy, his hitting didn’t improve nearly enough for him to cross 80 swipes. I pray every night for the Reds to just let him bat right-handed next season. (6-for-20)
 
21. Oakland 3B Brett Lawrie will have a breakout year. I don’t need to go into how I defined ‘breakout’, because Lawrie’s 2015 season doesn’t cut it. He did stay healthy all year, which is great, but I think it’s safe to say that the A’s missed Josh Donaldson this year. (6-for-21)
 
22. David Ortiz will continue to defy Father Time, and finish with a top-ten in batting average in the AL. Nope. Though it’s worth noting that Papi did manage to hit a robust .325 during the second-half of the season. (6-for-22)
 
23. David Price will be the best pitcher in baseball this season. Although Price could win the AL Cy Young, it’s tough to argue that he’s had a better 2015 season than Greinke, Arrieta, or Kershaw. I went a little too bold on this one. (6-for-23)
 
24. Kershaw will pitch fewer than 140 innings this year. Again, no. We’re on a bad run. (6-for-24).
 
25. Ryan Braun will return to his pre-P.R. disaster levels of production, posting a Triple Crown line in the neighborhood of .310/30/110. Not quite: Braun finished with a .285/25/84 line. (6-for-25)
 
26. Mookie Betts will be the most valuable player on the Red Sox in 2015. And we’re back! While this seems not-too-bold in retrospect, folks were really excited about Hanley and Panda in March. Betts led the Red Sox in either version of WAR you prefer, and provided some of the most enjoyable highlights in a lost season. (7-for-26, and the high-water mark for these predictions).
 
27. George Springer will hit at least 40 homeruns this season, and strike out 200 times. Injuries prevented the New Britain Whaler from reaching these lofty totals. Maybe next year. (7-for-27)
 
28. This year’s Astros will have two hitters crossing the 200-strikeout mark. Nope. While the Astros had seven different players cross the 100 K mark in 2015, none of them came near the 200 mark. (7-for-28)
 
29. J.D. Martinez will continue his torrid hitting in 2015, and post the best OPS on the Tigers. While Martinez had a terrific year (38 HR’s), his OPS of .879 trailed Miggy’s .974 mark. (7-for-29)
 
30. Someone other than Rosenthal will be closing games for the Cards by the All-Star break. Ahhhh….no. Nope, nope, nope. (7-for-30)
 
And I dreamed I was flailing.
I dreamed these picks went southerly.
To somewhere in the Antarctic Sea.
Where they sank unseen-ly.
And I dreamed I was failing,
These predictions aren’t what they should be.
I don’t know why Bill keeps me.
Why the readers pay that three dollar fee.
‘Cause I dreamed I was failing.
 
31. Joe Nathan will turn in an impressively good season in 2015, holding on to the closer’s gig for the entire season. In the future, I’m going to avoid any predictions about closers. They’re unreliable. (7-for-31)
 
32. The Red Sox will see three pitchers collect at least ten saves apiece this season. While Koji missed a lot of the season, he was the only closer to notch more than six saves. The Red Sox had only 40 saves on the year, which seems like a low number. (7-for-32)
 
33. D’Backs slugger Mark Trumbo will lead the NL in homeruns this year. Trumbo didn’t even finish the year in the NL, so this is a no. (7-for-33)
 
34. Brandon Belt will be the best first baseman in the National League this year. Belt was pretty good, tallying a 3.9 rWAR over 137 games. Unfortunately, Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto still play in the NL. (7-for-34)
 
35. Wilin Rosario will manage to hit at least 30 homeruns this season. Or six. He will hit six homeruns in 2015. (7-for-35)
 
36. This is the year Tulo stays healthy, and finishes as the best player in the National League. Tulo was mostly healthy, avoiding any significant injury until the second-to-last week of the season. But he didn’t have a vintage Tulo season, and he spent half of the year in the AL. (7-for-36)
 
37. Joc Pederson is going to be a better player than Kris Bryant this year, winning the ROY easily. For a little while, this prediction was looking really good. Then Pederson hit a second-half tailspin, and saw both Bryant and Carlos Correa pass him in the race for the Jackie Robinson Award. (7-for-37)
 
38. Michael Morse will out-homer his Marlins teammate Giancarlo Stanton. Ahahahaha….no. Stanton did miss time, but he easily outdistanced Morse in the HR ally. (7-for-38) 
 
39. Dalton Pompey will lead all AL rookies in WAR, and win a flashy trophy at the end of the year. The results haven’t been announced, but I think we can safely say that Dalton Pompey’s .233 average in 34 games isn’t going to get the Jackie Robinson trophy. (7-for-39)
 
40. A middle infielder will lead one of the major leagues in stolen bases. And it won’t be either Dee Gordon or Jose Altuve. Actually, it will be Dee Gordon (NL) and Jose Altuve (AL). I’m on a dry run. (7-for-40)
  
41. Josh Hamilton will play less than 50 games this year, but he’ll hit at least 15 home runs over that time, with a batting average well over .300. None of this happened. Hamilton hit 8 homers, batting .253, and played exactly 50 games. Ugh. (7-for-41).
 
42. We’re predicting that not only will switch-pitcher Pat Venditte appear in the majors this year, he’ll be successful at it. I think he gets at least 30 innings this year, and posts an ERA under 3.00. While I was right that Venditte would get his shot, I was wrong about the results: the bi-throwial pitcher posted a 4.40 ERA in 28.2 IP. (7-for-42)
 
43. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez will throw a no-hitter this year. He’ll also homer during the game. Didn’t happen, though he looked great this year. A good pick for the NL Cy Young next year. (7-for-43)
 
44. Alex Rodriguez will hit 30 homeruns this year and drive in 100 RBI’s. Screw it, I’m counting this one. A-Rod fell short of the 100-RBI total, but he hit 33 homeruns this year, after consecutive seasons of 16, 18, 7, and ‘suspended.’ I need a win. (8-for-44).  
 
45. At some point during the season, it will be revealed that Albert Pujols is older than everyone thinks he is. When this happens, the Angels will look to get out from under their large contract with the slugger. This didn’t happen. But there’s six more years when it could happen. (8-for-45)
 
46. Coming out….someone. Baseball now has an openly gay umpire: here’s hoping a few active players follow Dale Scott’s lead. This didn’t happen either. Why hasn’t this happened yet? (8-for-46)
 
47. Curtis Granderson will hit at least 32 homeruns this year, and win Comeback Player of the Year. Granderson hit 29 homers this year, but the NL Comeback vote went to his teammate Matt Harvey. Seeing as I gave myself a point with A-Rod, I won’t count this one. (8-for-47)
 
48. Jedd Gyorko will lead his team in homeruns, outpacing Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers. Nope. Gyorko hit 16 bombs, which was fewer than Upton or Kemp. (8-for-48).
 
49. Brad Boxberger will post the best strikeout rate of any relief pitcher this year. The Box struck out a respectable 10.6 batters per nine innings, which about two-third of the way to what Chapman did (15.7). I should have said he’d lead the AL in saves, because he did that. (8-for-49)
 
50. Mike Trout hits .400. And I’ve hit .160. (8-for-50)
 
But it’s all done, it’s all done,
The baseball season’s now at ends.
And next year I’ll get another shot,
To make better on these predictions.  
To do better with these predictions.
 
 
Dave Fleming is a writer living in Wellington, New Zealand. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions here and at dfleming1986@yahoo.com.  
 
 

COMMENTS (15 Comments, most recent shown first)

DaveFleming
I don't think .160 is a high water mark. But if you adjust my batting average to the context of how bold the predictions were (my BAbpw), it wasn't too bad a year.

And I give a tip of the cap to to MauiMike, who suggested "American Tune" in the comments section of the original. Great idea from our Hawaiian representative!

8:47 PM Nov 12th
 
jimgus
Hi, Dave.
Don't get yourself down, my "friend!" This is a great article. I would pay the three dollars just for this article and the reader forum. :-)
Better "luck" next year, but is eight correct a high-water mark?
Cordially,
JimmyG
P.S. The "American Tune" stuff cracked me up HARD. I wonder if anyone who routinely reads this site is pals with Paul Simon? If so, forward the article!!!
8:35 AM Nov 12th
 
dstone
Super hilarious. Always good to laugh out loud. Thanks.
6:53 PM Nov 9th
 
tangotiger
For Bryce v Votto, because of the different number of PA, you should do "times on base above average", or in other words:

PA * (OBP - lgOBP)

If you do that, then Votto is ahead by about 5 times on base.
3:07 PM Nov 9th
 
Riceman1974
Well done as always. I would give yourself more credit, as these are in mnay ways longshot predictions. Hitting close to .200 on such a list is noteworthy and admirable.
9:53 AM Nov 9th
 
evanecurb
Totally screwed up that citation: The song is 4th of July, Asbury Park, NJ and the album is The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. The quotation isn't 100% verbatim either. At least I had the author correct.
9:14 AM Nov 9th
 
evanecurb
Dave:

Given the nature of the predictions (as Marisfan said, 'swinging for the fences'), I think you did pretty darn well. And you don't want to be too good at this. It can get you in trouble. To quote another songwriter:

The cops finally busted Madame Marie
For tellin' fortunes better than they do.

--Bruce Springsteen, "Sandy" (4th of July, Asbury Park album)
9:06 AM Nov 9th
 
chill
Always my favorite column of the year, and I look forward to next spring when you make your new bolder predictions. This one played out kind of like a baseball season (for a bad, bad team). We won two out of the first three - still above .500! Four of eight - climbed back to .500! This could be the year we...no, I guess not. Thanks.
9:04 AM Nov 9th
 
steve161
Yeah, I'd give you Votto as well, and at least half a point on 22, 23 and 47.

And Maris is right: a few of the predictions were so off the wall that they might have been right in spirit but had no chance in fact. You went for the fences, not for contact--the Cubs, not the Royals.

This is a fun column and I look forward to next season's edition. On the poetry, I remain silent.​
5:39 AM Nov 9th
 
chuck
I agree about #19 (Votto/Harper). Harper had way more PA's against sub-.500 teams while Votto was hitting a lot more against +.500 teams. Votto's splits against each were almost the same while Harper got on base about 90 points higher against sub-.500 teams.
2:00 AM Nov 9th
 
MarisFan61
(...........and with a big grin.)
1:09 AM Nov 9th
 
MarisFan61
I want you to count #19. :-)

And of course, it doesn't matter if the batting average on the predictions isn't real high. When someone makes predictions like that a particular pitcher will pitch a no-hitter and have a HR in that game, and that a guy is going to hit .400, we know that what he's doing is going for the fences.
12:20 AM Nov 9th
 
flyingfish
I don't know why you do this either, but it surely is fun, and reading your recap is icing on the cake. Nicely done and thank you. Here's my prediction for 2016: You will do this again and you'll bat between .160 and .200.
10:42 PM Nov 8th
 
DaveFleming
For those not familiar with Paul Simon's oeuvre, here's the original (and drastically better) version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE3kKUEY5WU
10:38 PM Nov 8th
 
Robinsong
Just the right spirit. I laughed out loud at several items. Better luck next year!
10:16 PM Nov 8th
 
 
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