In which I look back at my pre-season predictions with wonder and/or shame:
My NL East predictions:
Philadelphia Phillies (95-67)
Atlanta Braves* (89-73)
Florida Marlins (84-78)
New York Mets (79-83)
Washington Nationals (75-87)
The real 2011 NL East:
Philadelphia Phillies (102-60) +7 wins
Atlanta Braves (89-73) exactly right!
Washington Nationals (80-81) +5 wins
New York Mets (77-85) –2 wins
Florida Marlins (72-90) –12 wins
* – denotes Wild Card
I was exactly right about the Braves except that they tragically did NOT win the Wild Card. The Phillies and Nats were a little better than I expected; the Mets were slightly worse. The only team I missed big on were the Marlins, who really seemed like they were better than a 90-loss club.
My NL Central predictions:
Milwaukee Brewers (87-75)
Cincinnati Reds (86-76)
St. Louis Cardinals (84-78)
Chicago Cubs (81-81)
Houston Astros (72-90)
Pittsburgh Pirates (63-99)
The real 2011 NL Central:
Milwaukee Brewers (96-66) +9 wins
St. Louis Cardinals* (90-72) +6 wins
Cincinnati Reds (79-83) –7 wins
Pittsburgh Pirates (72-90) +9 wins
Chicago Cubs (71-91) –10 wins
Houston Astros (56-106) –16 wins
I picked the Brewers to win the division, but I wasn’t at all close to any of the win-loss records. I thought the Cubs would be decent, thought the Pirates still had a ways to go and didn’t think the Astros were ready to plummet yet. I was wrong all around.
My NL West predictions:
San Francisco Giants (86-76)
Colorado Rockies (85-77)
Los Angeles Dodgers (84-78)
San Diego Padres (76-86)
Arizona Diamondbacks (70-92)
The real 2011 NL West:
Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68) +24 wins
San Francisco Giants (86-76) exactly right!
Los Angeles Dodgers (82-79) –2 wins
Colorado Rockies (73-89) –12 wins
San Diego Padres (71-91) –5 wins
I did pretty well here (even getting the Giants’ decent record spot-on), but missed big on two teams. I’m still a bit shocked that everything came together for Arizona in 2011, especially the great improvement in their pitching. As for the Rockies, I’m puzzled by their return to mediocrity. And if their offseason behavior is any indication, they’ll be sticking with mediocrity for a few years to come.
My NL awards predictions:
NLCS: Phillies over Brewers
If the Phillies could have gotten past the Cardinals in the NLDS, this may well have happened.
World Series: Phillies over Red Sox
And Boston weeps.
NL MVP: Ryan Braun, Brewers
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Phillies
I think Halladay deserved it, but Kershaw had a darn good year. I picked Kershaw to win the Cy Young last year, so I was just a tad early there.
NL Rookie of the Year: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
The potential was there, but then he lost it completely for a few months in the summer.
My AL East predictions:
Boston Red Sox (96-66)
New York Yankees* (91-71)
Tampa Bay Rays (87-75)
Toronto Blue Jays (78-84)
Baltimore Orioles (78-84)
The real 2011 AL East:
New York Yankees (97-65) +6 wins
Tampa Bay Rays* (91-71) +4 wins
Boston Red Sox (90-72) -6 wins
Toronto Blue Jays (81-81) +3 wins
Baltimore Orioles (69-93) –9 wins
At various time over the past 6 years, I’ve said that “this” was the year the Orioles would finally take a big step forward. They had the talent to do it this year. And a fat lot of good it did them.
My AL Central predictions:
Minnesota Twins (90-72)
Chicago White Sox (87-75)
Detroit Tigers (83-79)
Cleveland Indians (69-73)
Kansas City Royals (65-97)
The real 2011 AL Central:
Detroit Tigers (95-67) +12 wins
Cleveland Indians (80-82) +11 wins
Chicago White Sox (79-83) –8 wins
Kansas City Royals (71-91) +6 wins
Minnesota Twins (63-99) –27 wins
My AL West predictions:
Texas Rangers (87-75)
Los Angeles Angels (82-80)
Oakland Athletics (80-82)
Seattle Mariners (73-89)
The real 2011 AL West:
Texas Rangers (96-66) +9 wins
Los Angeles Angels (86-66) +4 wins
Oakland Athletics (74-88) –6 wins
Seattle Mariners (67-95) –6 wins
Once again, this was NOT the year that the A’s won the division with a pathetic offense and unproven pitching. What a shock. /s
My AL Awards predictions:
ALCS: Red Sox over Yankees
And again, Boston weeps.
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
I was close.
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
A safe bet, at least.
AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays
Anybody who starts the year in the majors has an edge.
More to come, as I discuss MY picks for all the major awards.