Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pre-Season Prediction Review

Less than 24 hours before the 2011 season began, I offered my predictions for how the upcoming year would play out across the major leagues. Since I'm sure everyone reading this readily recalls those offerings (Anyone? Bueller?), I thought it worthwhile to revisit that post to see how I'm doing.

Correct:  Giants leading the NL West, Brewers leading the NL Central (tied with STL), Rangers leading the AL West, Red Sox leading the AL East
Incorrect:  Braves leading the NL East (2nd place, 3.5 G back, WC lead), Phillies leading the Wild Card (leading NL East), Rays leading the Wild Card (5 G back), Tigers leading the AL Central (4th place, 6 G back)

NL East:
Atlanta - Prediction: 94-68 / On Pace: 95-67
Philadelphia - Prediction: 92-70 / On Pace: 101-61
Florida - Prediction: 82-80 / On Pace: 77-85
New York - Prediction: 75-87 / On Pace: 82-80
Washington - Prediction: 72-90 / On Pace: 81-81

AL MVP:  Evan Longoria isn't even on the MVP radar. At .239/.321/.456 with 11 HR and 42 RBI, his numbers are well below what most people (including myself) were expecting. His season has been limited to 61 games to due injury, but even a big second half will leave him well behind a number of players.

NL MVP:  At .268/.337/.488 with 17 HR and 57 RBI, my Troy Tulowitzki pick certainly looks better than my Longoria selection, but Tulo's also behind a stocked NL MVP candidate group. A production-charged second half (as Rockies are known for) could have him picking up some votes come the end of the season, but it's a pretty safe bet he'll be beat out.

AL Cy Young:  Jon Lester's having a solid season. His 10-4 record, 3.31 ERA and 110 K in 114.1 IP put him among the top-15 in a number of league-leader categories and his Boston Red Sox have the AL's best record. While a strong second half could have him finishing-up with a Cy Young caliber season, there are enough impressive arms in front of him right to likely keep him out of the race.

NL Cy Young:  After an impressive 2010 season, I was hoping 2011 would be Matt Cain's breakout year. While some of his number have slightly improved, they're not where I was predicting. A 8-5 record, with a 3.06 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 105 K in 126.1 IP is plenty enough to get you to the All-Star game when it's your own manager picking you, but likely not enough in a pitching-stocked National League.

AL Rookie of the Year:  Desmond Jennings' .275/.370/.457 line with 12 HR and 37 RBI would probably be enough to put him near the top of the ROY conversion...if he was in the major leagues. Whoops! This was admittedly a gamble pick, as I was thinking of a Posey type scenario. When Manny Ramirez retired in April instead of facing another PED-related suspension, I thought my Jennings choice was looking good. But, instead, the Rays seem happy to let the 24-year-old mash away at Triple A Durham.

NL Rookie of the Year:  Probably my best prediction so far, Freddie Freeman is likely top 3, definitely top 5 among NL ROY candidates. A .274/.347/.459 line with 13 HR and 43 RBI through the first three and a half months of the season might be enough in an average year, but the NK is stocked with rookie talent again this year. A June/July type second half (instead of the April/May variety) will make it tough for voters to avoid him.

While this represents how poorly my pre-season predictions seem to look so far, I should have my mid-season awards up within the next day or two. Surely they can't be as bad as these picks, right? Right???

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