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2007 Prediction Review
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2007 Prediction Review
by BaseballEvolution.com Staff, BaseballEvolution.com
January 1, 2007
Division Winners/Wild Card:
More could certainly have been expected regarding the Baseball Evolution predictions for division winners and wild cards. No one managed to successfully pick more than half of the division winners correctly, and only Keith, Scott, and Tony even got half right.
Amongst the picks that went horribly wrong: Rich picked the Houston Astros, who finished 73-89, to win the NL Central. The fourth place Los Angeles Dodgers were picked to win the NL West by Keith, Tony, Rich, and Eric. Tony, Keith, and Eric each picked the St. Louis Cardinals to win their fourth straight division title, but the defending World Series Champions could only manage 78 wins. Eric also managed to pick both the Oakland A’s and the Chicago White Sox, who finished a combined 28 games under .500, to win their respective divisions at a combined 43 games over .500.
There were a few highlights, of course. Asher correctly picked the New York Yankees for the AL wild card, and Scott cashed in on a major roll of the dice by picking the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West division winners.
Keith: 3; Indians, Angels, Phillies
Scott: 3; Indians, Phillies, Diamondbacks
Asher: 3; Red Sox, Angels, Yankees wild card
Tony: 3; Indians, Angels, Phillies
Rich: 1; Angels
Eric: 2; Red Sox, Phillies
Overall Standings Predictions
Nailed It – Teams Whose Records Were Picked Correctly
Keith – 2 – Oakland Athletics (76-86); San Diego Padres (89-73)(before one game playoff)
Scott – 2 – Baltimore Orioles (69-93); St Louis Cardinals (78-84)
Asher – 1 – San Francisco Giants (71-91)
Tony – 0
Rich – 1 – Detroit Tigers (88-74)
Eric – 0
Props Go Out to . . .
The following Baseball Evolution writers deserve props for being the only prognosticator among us to correctly predict certain things:
Keith was the only one amongst us who predicted that the Seattle Mariners would finish second in the AL West, or that they would finish with a winning record for that matter.
Props again to Scott for being the only person to pick the Diamondbacks to win the NL West.
Only Asher correctly foresaw that the Chicago White Sox would finish with a losing record in 2007.
Asher was also the only Baseball Evolutioner to say that the Astros would win fewer than 79 games, though he did undershoot their total of 73 by six wins.
Two of a Kind
Asher and Eric were the only BE fortune tellers with enough balls to pick the Red Sox to win the AL East, each judging them for 93 victories.
These two prognosticators had the highest selected win totals for the Washington Nationals among our group at 64 and 63 wins.
The Marlins won 71 games in 2007. Asher and Eric surrounded that mark with 73 and 69 predicted wins, respectively.
What What You Thinking?
A wag of the finger goes out to the following swings and misses by the Baseball Evolution predictors:
Keith had those Marlins pegged for 81 wins, overshooting by 10. Rich had them for 82.
Keith was also the only one amongst us who did not see the Milwaukee Brewers as a winning team in 2007; he picked them to finish 75-87 while no one else picked them to have less than 84 wins. They finished with 83.
Eric missed the Rockies' actual win total by 25 games. Asher, Keith, and Tony all picked the Rockies to go .500, coming closest to their actual winning record among us.
We all blew it with regards to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Eric believed that LA would win 101 games, Richard had them at 98, Tony at 96, Keith at 94, Asher at 89, and Scott at 87. Keith and Richard predicted that the Dodgers would lose the World Series, while Tony claimed that they would win it all. Only Scott and Asher foresaw them missing the playoffs, but even they had the Dodgers finishing second in the West and fifth overall in the NL. In reality, Grady Little's crew finished fourth in the West and 9th in the NL with 82 victories.
Eric picked the Twins to win 93 games. Richard had them at 94. They really won 79.
Asher thought that the Rangers were good for 87 wins, but he overshot by a dozen. Keith wasn't much brighter, pegging them for 84.
Scott undershot the Detroit tigers' win total of 88 by 10 games the year after he so deftly predicted them to have a breakout season.
None of us picked the Washington Nationals to win more than 64 games, and they went on to win 73. Keith did the worst with his guess of 54, just one year removed from chastising everyone about similar predictions for the 2006 Marlins.
The mountain doesn't go up to 33
Scott decided that the Oakland A's were good for 90 wins and the AL West crown, but Eric really went nuts, pegging them to win 109 games en route to a World Championship. In doing so, Eric missed their actual win total by 33, making it easily the worst prediction of the season. Any time we see the yodeler fall off the mountain in The Price Is Right's Cliff Hangers game, we will think about Eric's baffling Oakland Athletics prediction of 2007.
Asher nearly fell off the other side of the mountain by pegging the A's for only 61 victories.
Major Award Winners
There was not a lot of success on the major award winner prediction front, and it is not hard to figure out why. This season, the Baseball Evolution staff truly put all of their eggs into one basket on several of the awards. Out of six predictors, five of us picked Travis Hafner for the AL MVP; only Rich bet against Hafner and correctly picked Alex Rodriguez (shame on you, Tony). Johan Santana also garnered five pre-season votes for AL CY Young, with only Keith going against the grain and picking actual winner C.C. Sabathia. Other players who were picked by more than one predictor for an award include Daisuke Matsuzaka (4 picks for AL ROY), Albert Pujols (3 picks for NL MVP), Kevin Kouzmanoff (3 picks for NL ROY), Alex Gordon (2 picks for AL ROY), and Ben Sheets (2 picks for NL Cy Young).
Keith: 1; C.C. Sabathia, AL Cy Young
Rich: 1; Alex Rodriguez, AL MVP
Humorously, in his Comments on the Upcoming Season, Keith said, “We all know that Johan Santana will win the Cy Young Award, but it's fun to pick against him for sport.”
Our worst picks here both came in the NL Cy Young Award category. Eric selected Dontrelle Willis as the winner, while Keith went with Jason Schmidt.
AL Dave Kingman Award
Juan Uribe won the AL Kingman, which no one correctly predicted. It should be noted that Rich was essentially robbed in the category by Craig Monroe who would have easily won the award except he was playing so poorly that he got cut by the Detroit Tigers after 99 games with 11 homeruns and a .222/.264/.373.
Eric gets the Shame-On-You Award for picking Manny Ramirez, who despite a career worst year, came no where near even qualifying for the Kingman Award and likely couldn’t finish with an OBP bordering around .300 if he was blind-folded.
NL Dave Kingman Award
Chris B. Young took the NL Award in an upset over Pedro Feliz, so kudos to Eric, Rich, and Tony for picking Feliz. Keith, Scott, and Asher were shutout in this category as they picked Prince Fielder, Jeff Francoeur, and Craig Biggio respectively. Fielder had a fantastic season, with 50 homeruns and 90 walks, and Francoeur apparently worked on taking walks in the offseason and raised his OBP to .338. Biggio’s meager offensive output was truly Kingman-esque, but he was so bad that he only managed 10 homeruns.
AL Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award
Several bad picks here. Scott (Juan Uribe .648/.706), Keith (Sammy Sosa .747/.851), Tony (Jorge Cantu .509/.860), and Eric (Julio Lugo .568/.728) each saw their selections improve as the season went along. Richard did the best here, with his choice of Craig Monroe doing nothing offensively outside the month of May.
NL Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award
Richard again nailed Johnny Estrada for this fall-flat-on-your face award.
Eric and Keith were rebuffed for picking Alex Gonzalez to win his own award when the legend actually put together an incredible April. Scott's selection of Dave Roberts also proved faulty, as the speedster endured an awful first three months before posting a .362 second half OPS.
AL Mark Redman Award
Eric somehow fingered Jeremy Bonderman correctly as the pitcher who would take the biggest nosedive as the summer wore on. Scott's pick of 2006 winner Jose Contreras to repeat proved solid (5.19/6.01). Keith's Kei Igawa (7.14/4.29) and Asher's Jake Westbrook (6.27/3.44) were simply not what we were looking for here.
NL Mark Redman Award
Eric and Asher, our dynamic duo, didn't do as well with their pick of Barry Zito, who displayed typical second half improvement (4.90/4.11). Scott's choice of Bronson Arroyo was even less appropriate (4.84/3.55). Richard did the best here, with Chris Capuano shouldering a large portion of the blame for the Brewers' 2007 collapse (4.78/5.45).
AL Comeback Player of the Year
Good - Keith picked Mark Buehrle in the AL, who dropped his ERA by more than a point, gave up 14 fewer homeruns, and got his strikeout total back up over 100. Asher picked Gary Sheffield, who hit 25 homeruns, scored 100 runs, and finished with more walks than strikeouts after missing almost all of 2006. Eric and Rich picked Sammy Sosa, who led the Rangers in homeruns and finished second in RBI. Scott picked Jose Vidro, who played over 145 games for the first since 2002 and went .314/.381/.394 for the Mariners.
Bad - Tony picked Jonny Gomes, who raised his average, but was essentially the same player in 2007 that he was in 2006.
Ugly - None.
NL Comeback Player of the Year
Good - While Keith, Eric, and Tony all went predictable with Derrek Lee, Tony estimated that Lee would finish .312/.400/.523, which was shockingly close to his actual finish of .317/.400/.513, while Keith predicted that he would hit 42 HR with 128 RBI, which way overshot his actual 22 and 82 in 150 games. Asher picked Oliver Perez, who set a career high with 15 wins while pitching over 170.0 innings for only the second time and cutting his ERA nearly in half (6.55 vs. 3.56) from the year before. Rich went way out on a limb by picking second year leftfielder turned second baseman Kelly Johnson, and Johnson rewarded him by finishing with a .375 OBP, raising his average by 35 points, and hitting 16 homeruns when Rich said he’d hit 15.
Bad - None.
Ugly - Scott picked Wade Miller to finish 14-10 with a 3.63 ERA, while Miller actually went 0-1 with a 10.54 ERA in 13.2 innings.
AL Surprise Player of the Year
Good - None.
Blah - Keith correctly saw Jose Vidro having a good year, though overestimated the power that he would display in spacious Safeco Field. Scott picked Shannon Stewart, who played the most games he’d played since 2001, but wasn't surprisingly good. Asher picked Brad Wilkerson, who did hit 20 homeruns in 'only' 119 games, but was quite Kingman-esque about it (.234/.319/.467).
Bad - Eric picked Nick Swisher, who struck out 21 fewer times and hit 12 more doubles than the year before, but saw his OPS, runs scored, homeruns, and RBI fall drastically.
Ugly - Going out on the furthest limb paid off for Rich in the NL Comeback category, but hurt him bad in the AL Surprise category. Rich said Sidney Ponson would go 14-7 with a 3.98 ERA, while he actually went 2-5 with a 6.93 ERA in 37.2 innings. Tony went with Rocco Baldelli, who managed to play only 35 games and went .204/.268/.358.
NL Surprise Player of the Year
Good - Keith picked Brad Hawpe to go .330/32/119, while he actually went .291/29/116. Hawpe had a good year, so we’ll give it to Keith here, but one does wonder how surprising this season was, especially since Hawpe’s OPS went up only 28 points, and his average stayed roughly the same.
Bad - It is hard to be “Ugly” is in the surprise player category, because if you pick someone who people expect to do well, it wouldn’t be a surprise. Thus, you have to go out on a limb somewhat with this category. Thus, a swing and a miss will be merely bad. Scott picked Orlando Hudson to go .321/19/100. While Hudson was having a fine year until he missed the last 30 games of the season, he was not on pace to meet this expectation. Asher picked Geoff Jenkins, who continued to decline. Rich picked Luke Scott, who had a decent year, but failed miserably to live up to the expectations he set in 2006. Eric picked Cesar Izturis, who did nothing to surprise anyone in 110 games with the Cubs and the Pirates.
Ugly - We said it’s hard to be Ugly; that doesn’t make it impossible. Tony picked Scott Thorman as his NL surprise player, and Thorman actually turned out to be completely worthless, and may have been the league's worst offensive player with a minimum of 120 games in 2007 (.216/.258/.394).
AL Disappointing Player of the Year
Good - Total and complete props go out to Scott for picking Vernon Wells as the AL Disappointing Player. In fact, Wells' ineptitude actually exceeded Scott’s expectations – Scott picked Wells to finish 26 HR, 89 RBI, and a .263 average, while Wells actually finished 16/80/.245. Somehow, only Tony managed to pick Gary Matthews, Jr., here, even though the whole BaseballEvolution.com staff assailed the Angels off-season signing of the questionably talented star. Matthews’ numbers were nearly identical to those he posted in 2005, the year before his shocking breakout 2006 season. If everyone expects a player to disappoint, is it really that much of a disappointment when he does?
Bad - Perhaps we need a subcategory here, for “merely bad.” Rich’s prediction of Gil Meche appears on its face to be Ugly, since he over-predicted his ERA by almost two whole points (5.37 vs. 3.67), but Rich only missed Meche’s won/loss record by three losses (9-16 vs. 9-13). Eric went with Roy Halladay whose season, while down, could hardly be considered disappointing.
Ugly - Asher and Keith both picked Chien-Ming Wang in the AL, who once again finished with 19 wins and lower his HR allowed from 12 to 9 while increasing his strikeouts from 76 to 104 in 18.2 fewer innings.
NL Disappointing Player of the Year
Good - Keith nailed Stephen Drew, correctly predicting minimal offense from the highly-touted shortstop, although Drew actually performed much worse than even Keith foresaw. Tony crystal-balled Bronson Arroyo’s decline from a career year. Eric picked Jose Reyes, and looked like he was going to pay dearly. But then Reyes simply disappeared as the Mets squandered their lead of the Phillies in August and September. Reyes’ season, while solid on its face, could only be considered a disappointment, if not Alex Gonzalean. Rich correctly predicted that Freddy Sanchez would not live up to the standard he set in 2006. While Sanchez still had a perfectly decent season, it was far more empty average than the year before.
Bad - Scott foresaw Trevor Hoffman’s ERA increase, but overstated it by over a point and mis-predicted his saves total by 13 (42 vs. 29).
Ugly - Asher’s vendetta against Alfonso Soriano continued in 2007, and Soriano burned Asher again by proving an agile outfielder, raising his batting average 22 points while maintaining his slugging percentage of .560, and largely replicating his 2006 pace despite missing almost 30 games due to injury while leading the Cubs into the playoffs.
Ryan Howard led NL in strikeouts – Keith (189), Rich (203)
Ichiro led the AL in hits – Keith, Scott, Asher, Tony, Rich, Eric. Hey hey! Ichiro has now finished either first or second in the AL in hits during all seven of his major league seaons.
Alex Rodriguez led the AL in Homeruns and/or RBI – Both: Keith (50/142); Homeruns: Scott (51), Eric (49); RBI: Rich (145)
Jose Reyes led the NL in stolen bases and caught stealing – Only Tony picked Reyes to lead the league in either category, and he picked him for both (65/19).
Carl Crawford led the AL in stolen base – Crawford actually tied Brian Roberts for the league lead with 50. No one predicted Roberts, but everyone except Eric predicted Carl Crawford.
Carlos Zambrano led the NL in walks – Scott, Tony, Eric. Keith and Rich both picked Doug Davis (who finished second), while Asher picked Paul Maholm, whose control is often compared to Tom Glavine's...
Daniel Cabrera led the AL in walks – Asher, Tony, Rich, Eric.
Jimmy Rollins led the NL in runs – Tony, Eric.
Only One Person Said
Matt Holliday would lead the NL in Doubles – Tony (49).
Bucking the Trend Pays Off
AL Leader in Triples – Only Asher picked Curtis Granderson to lead the AL in triples, while everyone else picked Carl Crawford. (Granderson led 23-9).
AL OPS Leader – Only Eric picked A-Rod to lead the AL in OPS, while everyone else picked Travis Hafner (1.067 compared to .836)
Adam Dunn would lead the NL in strikeouts – Asher, Scott, Tony
Johan Santana would lead the AL in something other than WHIP – Keith (ERA, K), Scott (IP, W, ERA, K), Asher (W, ERA, K), Tony (ERA, K), Rich (IP, ERA, W, K), Eric (IP, W, ERA, K).
Travis Hafner would lead the AL in something – Keith (AVG, OPS), Scott (OBP, SLG, OPS, BB), Asher (OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, BB), Tony (OBP, OPS, BB), Rich (OBP, OPS, HR), Eric (SLG, RBI).
We said that!
Keith – “The Angels have enough depth to squeak out a division title from the upstart Mariners.”
“The Marlins' lack of depth and buying power make them a couple of injuries away from disaster.”
“We all know that Johan Santana will win the Cy Young Award, but it's fun to pick against him for sport.” Keith subsequently picked C.C. Sabathia, the eventual winner.
Asher – “Just as 2005 was the year the White Sox did all the little things right, this will be the year that all the little things hurt the White Sox.”
"Despite the performances of the Twins, Tigers, and White Sox last season, the AL Central division may nevertheless be in a state of flux, and the Indians may find themselves atop the division at season’s end."
“NY Mets - David Wright improves, Jose Reyes regresses a little, and Carlos Beltran returns to his old self.”
Tony – “The Mets are going to flop. Their rotation is weak, and they don’t match up well position-wise against their division foes.”
On Tampa Bay - "When they can get a well-pitched game from their lacking starters, this team will be very fun to watch." The Rays went 35-30 when either Scott Kazmir or James Shields pitched and 31-66 otherwise.
Rich – “Among the things I think you can expect to see this year are: another MVP season from Alex Rodriguez (only to see his Yankees once again fall short in October)”
"Aside from 3B, the most obvious deficiency for the Giants is their bullpen."
Eric - "Lilly might benefit from the switch to the National League, and Marquis is familiar with every hitter in the NL Central, but I’m pessimistic about the pair. Together, they’ll put together a 4.45 ERA and 29 wins." They actually combined for a 4.20 ERA and 27 wins.
Did we say that?
Keith – “The Dodgers' combination of dominant pitching, a consistent offense, and incredible depth make them clearly the best in the NL.”
“The absolute most overblown team of all time is this year's Milwaukee Brewers.”
“The NL will feature a very disappointing class for its Rookie of the Year Award.”
03/24/07 - "The Pirates have finally committed to young players rather than rifling through other team's trash bins and signing any bum they find to an eight-figure contract."
07/31/07 - The Pirates trade for Matt Morris.
Asher – “The Tigers are the only team in the AL Central with pitching, and so they are the only team I can pick.”
“Alex Gordon looks for real, for real, for real for the Royals. He seems too good to be true.”
“Look for a good year from Brad Wilkerson - last season was a fluke, and the Rangers are good for one good outfielder season per year.”
“How can the Brewers not win the NL Central? No other team has half the talent of the Brewers.”
“Alfonso Soriano Prediction - 32 HR, 87 RBI, 93 runs, .270/.310/.470/.780.” Soriano actually went 33 HR, 70 RBI, 97 runs, .299/.337/.560/.897.
“Expect 22 homeruns, 75 RBI, and a .270 batting average” from Jay Gibbons. Gibbons hit six homeruns with a .230 average.
Rich – “make no mistake, 2007 is the Year of the Twins!”
“Among the things you can expect to see this year are: . . . a monster year from Carlos Lee.”
Tony – “I’ve come to my senses and realized that the Yankees aren’t going to win every year because, well, they haven’t. I do pick them to get to the WS, but in the end the Dodgers' deep pitching staff will prevail.”
“The A.L central should be a weird one since the 4th place team could very well end up with a better record then most 2nd place teams.” The fourth place AL Central team actually ended up with the second worst fourth place record in all of baseball.
On LA - "They also appear to be able to score 800+ runs again." They scored 735.
"The one thing that is going to cost Boston a shot at the division will be their bullpen."
Eric - "I don’t see the North Siders making it higher than 3rd place this year. If my prediction consistency is telling, the Cubs will win the division. I hope I’m wrong with my pick."
Questions? Concerns? Comments? The staff of Baseball Evolution can be reached at email@example.com.
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