Monday, November 17, 2008

Preseason picks revisited


New York Mets (97-65) 95-99 win range
Philadelphia Phillies* (91-71) 89-93 win range
Atlanta Braves (84-78) 82-86 win range
Washington Nationals (73-89) 71-75 win range
Florida Marlins (65-97) 63-67 win range
* -- denotes Wild Card

And here's what really happened (and how much I was off):

Philadelphia Phillies (92-70) +1 wins
New York Mets (89-73) -8 wins
Florida Marlins (84-77) +19 wins
Atlanta Braves (72-90) -12 wins
Washington Nationals (59-102) -14 wins

This was not one of my better predictions.
I got the Phillies almost exactly right, correctly predicting that they would win a postseason spot. But I overestimated the Mets, thinking surely they wouldn't screw it up two years in a row. But they did.

In the bottom of the division, though, I was way off. I didn't see the Marlins' surge coming, and I really should have, at least to recognize their breakout potential. I missed big on the Braves, but when you consider their Pythagorean record (79-83), I wasn't so off. As for the Nats, I just thought they had hit bottom last year and would rebound. Little did I know . . .

Chicago Cubs (95-67) 93-97 win range
Milwaukee Brewers (90-72) 88-92 win range
Cincinnati Reds (85-77) 83-87 win range
St. Louis Cardinals (78-84) 76-80 win range
Pittsburgh Pirates (74-88) 72-76 win range
Houston Astros (73-89) 71-75 win range

And here's how it really turned out:

Chicago Cubs (97-64) +2 wins
Milwaukee Brewers* (90-72) Exactly Right!
Houston Astros (86-75) +13 wins
St. Louis Cardinals (86-76) +8 wins
Cincinnati Reds (74-88) -11 wins
Pittsburgh Pirates (67-95) -7 wins

Yay for my first perfect prediction! Granted, I thought the Brewers would miss the postseason, but don't look Exactly Right in the mouth, or something like that. And hey, I got the Cubs within my win range, too.
I missed on the Astros, but I'm calling that one due to luck -- the Astros' Pythagorean record was 77-84, much closer to my win range.
I was way off on the Reds, and for once, that's because I was too optimistic about them. I thought that with the talent they had on the field, they'd be able to put together a winning season in '08. That didn't work out for a variety of reasons, and the Reds ended up right back at the bottom of the division. And it looks like I was also too early in predicting an improvement from Pittsburgh.

Colorado Rockies (92-70) 90-94 win range
Arizona Diamondbacks (90-72) 88-92 win range
Los Angeles Dodgers (88-74) 86-90 win range
San Diego Padres (83-79) 81-85 win range
San Francisco Giants (61-101) 59-63 win range

And the unfortunate reality:

Los Angeles Dodgers (84-78) -4 wins
Arizona Diamondbacks (82-80), -8 wins
Colorado Rockies (74-88) -18 wins
San Francisco Giants (72-90) +11 wins
San Diego Padres (63-99) -20 wins

I overrated basically the entire division. The Giants were the only team I underrated. As for the Rockies . . . well, I'll just admit I don't know everything and move on before it gets too embarassing.
I wasn't too far off on the Dodgers or the D-Backs, I just had them in the wrong place. As for the Padres, my only excuse is that I wasn't the only one who thought they'd be respectable. I think their collapse took a lot of people by surprise. So I'll just hide sheepishly in that crowd . . .

NLCS: Mets over Cubs
World Series: Indians over Mets
NL MVP: Jose Reyes, Mets
NL Cy Young: Johan Santana, Mets
NL Rookie of the Year: Colby Rasmus, Cardinals

Yeah, I had the Indians and Mets in the Series. And I know, that didn't work out too well for me. If the Mets made the series, I figured Reyes would be the one to get the credit for it, as would Santana. As it turned out, I wasn't too wrong about Santana; he finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting. As for Rasmus, I made a wild pick here on purpose, going with a guy who was a top prospect with a spot open in the majors for him. As it turned out, Rasmus didn't make it, and the Cardinal outfield filled up with solid players (Schumacker, Ankiel, Ludwick).

Boston Red Sox (98-64), 96-100 win range
New York Yankees (93-69) 91-95 win range
Toronto Blue Jays (83-79), 81-85 win range
Tampa Bay Rays (80-82), 78-82 win range
Baltimore Orioles (66-96), 64-68 win range

What really happened:

Tampa Bay Rays (97-65) +17 wins
Boston Red Sox* (95-67) -3 wins
New York Yankees (89-73) -4 wins
Toronto Blue Jays (86-76) +3 wins
Baltimore Orioles (68-93) +2 wins

This was my best-predicted division by far, and it would have been nearly perfect if not for those darn Rays. Understand that I felt like I was stretching it to predict 80 wins from them. That's how amazing their 2008 was. Other than that, I got four teams within four wins of their total. That's pretty darn good. It almost redeems my poor NL performance. Almost . . .


Cleveland Indians (96-66) 94-98 win range
Detroit Tigers* (96-66) 94-98 win range
Minnesota Twins (82-80) 80-84 win range
Kansas City Royals (78-84) 76-80 win range
Chicago White Sox (71-91) 69-73 win range

The awful truth:

Chicago White Sox (89-74) +18 wins
Minnesota Twins (88-75) +6 wins
Cleveland Indians (81-81) -15 wins
Kansas City Royals (75-87) -3 wins
Detroit Tigers (74-88) -22 wins

Let's never speak of this again.

Los Angeles Angels (97-65) 95-99 win range
Seattle Mariners (85-78) 83-87 win range
Texas Rangers (76-86) 74-78 win range

Oakland Athletics (72-90) 70-74 win range

And the real finish:

Los Angeles Angels (100-62) +3 wins
Texas Rangers (79-83) +3 wins
Oakland Athletics (75-86) +3 wins
Seattle Mariners (61-101) -24 wins

So this was a great prediction until you take into account my worst prediction of all, the Mariners. To be fair, I was more skeptical than many observers, who picked them to win the division.

ALCS: Indians over Red Sox
WS: Indians over Mets
AL MVP: David Ortiz, Red Sox
AL Cy Young: John Lackey, Angels
AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Rays

I had one part of this right; I had the Red Sox losing a close ALCS, I just had the wrong team winning. For the awards, I felt that one of these years, Ortiz would get the credit for the Sox' success and win an MVP. But it looks like he may never win one. Lackey was a solid pick for Cy Young, and he pitched well, but he missed too much time to injuries to be in the running. And while my Longoria pick was correct, it was also less than bold.

Here's hoping that I do a much, MUCH better job next year. I'm glad I don't do this for a living.

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