There it goes, another season going by much too quickly. It seems like just yesterday that I was making these preseason predictions. Speaking of those predictions, let’s take a look at the outcomes.
Overall, it was quite accurate (and when you’re building a readership, accuracy definitely helps in credibility), especially how many of these guesstimates usually turn out whether national media or small-time blog. At the beginning of the season, I developed and used a proprietary methodology to predict team outcomes. Seeing the positive results from it, expect more of the same going forward.
That said, while it may work for the regular season (although one year of positive results hardly proves it’s sure-fire), the postseason is a whole different animal with many different variables that are very hard to capture. But, I’ll certainly try.
First, let’s recap the preseason predictions.
In the National League, I correctly had the top two teams in each division. Oddly enough, however, each were opposite of how they finished 1st and 2nd. Beyond the first two in the central, I had the finishing order 3 through 5 correct with Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
I had four of the five – Cubs, Mets, Nationals, Giants – playoff teams correct.
Moving over to the American League, having Baltimore finish 2nd and Cleveland finish 1st were among the best predictions of the preseason as I did not see another outlet with either team finishing as high. In fact, Cleveland finished within two wins of the prediction. The Yankees, Rays and Mariners also ended the year within one game of the record I pegged them at and Detroit within two games. Houston finished with the identical record.
Speaking of Houston, they were among the teams I had finishing below their nationwide expectations along with Minnesota and LA. Remember, the Twins last year surprised many which led them into being widely predicted as a contender this year. I had them in last place at 68-94 according to my methodology.
Also, the Pirates were clearly not going to have their best season. Next year may be a whole different scenario, however, with the top three young arms they’ll have in the rotation.
The Angels, like the Twins, were thought to be in for a much better year than they had, but my results showed otherwise and proved correct as they completed the year with a poor 74-88 record. Other than the bottom two (where I had Oakland finishing fourth), my AL West was quite accurate.
I had three of the five – Indians, Blue Jays, Rangers – playoff teams in the AL, narrowly missing Detroit who were eliminated on the final day of the season.
Both of my World Series picks for 2016 have made the playoffs, but will they still be my picks now?
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to point out all the positives without also rehashing the forecasts that were missed including the Phillies. Sure, they were still fairly bad, but not nearly as bad as I had thought (101 losses). That said, I can see the next wave brewing and if not next season, then 2018 they should be back competing again.
I also missed on Oakland and Arizona. In Oakland, I had them at near the bottom of the division, however, in record as closer to a .500 team. They proved otherwise. Like many, I saw great things for Arizona (87-75), although still had them finishing third in the NL West and missing the playoffs.
Perhaps, though, my biggest oversight was the Boston Red Sox. They won the division while I had them at 80-82, good for a fourth place AL East finish. That came largely because of the offense (remember they had Hanley Ramirez coming off a bad year and Pable Sandoval at third when these predictions were made). Plus, who could have seen Big Papi having the single best year anyone his age has ever produced or Jackie Bradley’s impressive breakout. To be honest, I also didn’t believe in Mookie Betts. Call me nuts, but I’d still like to see him do it one more year before I’m totally on board. The Sox’s pitching was also a question mark beyond David Price heading into the year. Breakouts by Rick Porcello and Steven Wright helped guide them to the first place finish I didn’t see coming.
It’s time now to attempt to predict the wild-west that is baseball’s postseason. To start the year I had Cleveland defeating San Francisco in the World Series. Two major starting pitching injuries (Indians) and an imploding bullpen (Giants) make that seem difficult even with both of those teams in the playoffs.
Here’s how I see it playing out:
Wild Card Games:
Baltimore def. Toronto
San Francisco def. New York
Texas def. Baltimore
Boston def. Cleveland
Chicago def. San Francisco
Los Angeles def. Washington
Boston def. Texas
Chicago def. Los Angeles
Chicago def. Boston
So there it is. This is not only the World Series I think will happen based on the dominance of the teams but also the World Series I’d like to see happen. Fenway and Wrigley in the national spotlight of October baseball, not to mention the Cubs’ vast championship drought? Sign me up.
I almost wrote Texas to defeat Boston in the CS, but Boston’s offense is so strong. In this postseason I’m going against the norm and saying it’ll be the offenses (Boston, Chicago – even thought the Cubs’ pitching is also incredible) over the pitching (Texas, Los Angeles).
I also initially wrote the Red Sox beating the Cubs, but c’mon. Pitching AND hitting? The Cubs truly do have it all. As trendy as this pick is, it may also be the only logical one, too. But don’t sleep on the Giants, either, who may be getting hot at the right time.