2006 Prediction Review Continues!
December 29, 2006
Just in time for the New Year, the staff at BaseballEvolution.com has completed its review of its league leaders predictions. Although looking back on our hits as well as our misses is something in which we take pride, this year the number of uglies overwhelms the number of pretties. But there are enough of each to keep things balanced.
Looking back, we noted some things predictable, and some things otherwise.
Everyone Realized that . . .
Johan Santana would lead the American League in strikeouts.
It Came as a Surprise to Everyone That . . .
David Ortiz led the American League in walks. While Asher and Scott picked Travis Hafner, everyone else picked second place finisher Jason Giambi.
Carlos Silva and Jason Marquis led their respective leagues in homeruns allowed. Between the six of them, the BaseballEvolution.com crew picked Eric Milton four times, Scott Elarton twice, and Javier Vazquez, Ryan Franklin, Kevin Millwood, Ramon Ortiz, Bartolo Colon, and Jamie Moyer once each.
Predictions Wrecked By Injuries
Travis Hafner was in the hunt for everything Asher predicted him to do when he suffered an injury in August and missed the last 30 games of the year.
Manny Ramirez was having one of his finest seasons and was exceeding even Keith’s expectations. Then he mysteriously stopped playing and missed the last 30 games of the season for the Red Sox.
Albert Pujols was picked by four out of six BaseballEvolution.com staffers to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award, and probably would have if not for missing 20 games with an early season injury.
Only a Fool Would Not Have Picked . . .
Jim Thome for American League Comeback Player of the Year. While five out of six BaseballEvolution.com staffers correctly picked Thome, Asher went with surefire pick Bobby Crosby.
Johan Santana to lead the American League in ERA. Scott picked Rich Harden, Tony picked Roy Halladay, and Richard picked Jon Garland.
Ichiro to lead the American League in hits. Scott picked Vlad Guerrero.
Adam Dunn to lead the National League in strikeouts. Keith, Scott, and Eric all went with Preston Wilson.
Carl Crawford to lead the American League in triples. Keith chose Chone Figgins, and Scott chose Ichiro.
You Had to Have Inside Information If You Picked . . .
Zach Duke as the Disappointing Player of the Year. While most prognosticators where hailing Duke as the next great thing, Tony accurately predicted his downfall.
Mark Teixeira to be such a disappointment in 2006. While Tony and Eric picked Tex to when the AL MVP, Asher picked him to be the second best player in the AL behind Travis Hafner, Richard had him leading the league in doubles and slugging percentage, and Scott had him leading the league in homeruns, slugging, and OPS, Keith quietly did not place the Rangers first baseman anywhere in his predictions, and Teixeira suffered a disappointing season.
Ryan Howard to lead the National League in homeruns. Only Tony managed that feat.
Okay, These Were Kind of Out There!
Tony thought that Troy Glaus would win the Dave Kingman award for 2006. Glaus's career OBP is over 100 points higher than his batting average, and 2006 was no different.
Eric had Jeremy Bonderman leading the American League in losses, apparently predicting a return to his 20-year old form.
Scott thought Odalis Perez would lead the National League in wins. He picked ODP to win 21 games, when in actuality he went 6-8 and finished with a 6.20 ERA in 126.3 innings.
Asher picked John Patterson to pace the National League in ERA. While we don't know exactly what kind of season Patterson would have had because of his injury, we do know that he would not have led the National League in ERA.
For the second time in three years, Keith predicted that Jae Wong Seo would lead the National League in ERA. What's up with that?
Drinking Too Much of Your Own Kool-Aid
Keith picked Derek Lowe to win the American League Cy Young Award with a 24-7 record and a 2.69 ERA. Lowe finished 16-8 with a 3.63 ERA, but he did actually tie for the league lead in wins in an odd National League season.
Asher picked Travis Hafner to lead the American League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, doubles, homeruns, RBI, and bases on balls in route to the American League Most Valuable Player with a .320/.447/.660 plus 50 homeruns and 145 RBI. Hafner had a very good season cut short by injury but still fell short of Asher’s expectations, finishing .308/.439/.659 plus 42 homeruns and 117 RBI.
Tony picked a New York Yankee to lead the American League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, runs, doubles, walks, strikeouts, wins, and saves. While a Yankee finished in the top ten in the league in each of those categories, none of those categories was led by a Yankee.
Eric essentially picked Mark Teixeira to do what Asher picked Travis Hafner to do – Eric had him leading the American League in average, slugging, OPS, doubles and homeruns en route to the AL MVP and a Triple Crown near miss. Teixeira’s down year did not come close to Eric’s expectation.
Scott saw Vlad Guerrero leading the American League in batting, hits, and RBI on his way to winning the AL MVP and joining the 100-plus club. Vlad had a decent if not slightly down year, and failed to meet any of Scott’s lofty expectations.
You Ugly, You Ugly, Yo Mama Say You Ugly!
Asher picked Juan Pierre to win the Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award for the National League, when in reality Juan Pierre ended up being the anti-AGotM as he slogged through a lowsy first half before improving across the board after the break.
Keith picked Ichiro to tie for the American League lead in caught stealing, while Eric picked him to lead the league outright, and Ichiro was caught only twice in 47 attempts.
Eric picked Travis Hafner as his American League Disappointing Player of the Year.
Richard picked Jon Garland and Jake Peavy to lead their respective leagues in ERA and win their respective leagues’ Cy Young Awards. Both players finished the season with ERAs over 4.00, and each had an ERA+ of 103.
Keith picked Jermaine Dye for the American League Dave Kingman Award, and Dye had the best season of his career, a nearly MVP-calibur one.
Asher picked Derek Lowe to lead the National League in losses, and he actually ended up tying for the league lead in wins.
Keith picked Brady Clark to win the National League batting title, and Scott picked him to lead the league in hits. Clark ended the season with a .269 average and 109 hits.
Asher picked Jose Valverde to lead the National League in saves. He finished with 18 saves, a 5.84 ERA, and did not finish the season as the Diamondbacks' closer.
Asher picked David Wright to lead the National League with a .590 slugging percentage, and he actually finished with a .531 slugging percentage, which did not make the Top Ten.
Scott, Asher, Tony, and Eric all picked Soriano to win the Dave Kingman, while Keith picked Soriano to be the National League disappointing player. Only Richard remained agnostic with respect to Alfonso Soriano. Soriano became the first player to go 40-40-40 (HR-SB-2B), led all outfielders in outfield assists, and enjoyed arguably his career best season.
Richard wrote that Brandon Webb would lead the majors in hits allowed with 253. While Webb finished second in innings pitched, he didn't even approach the National League's top ten in hits allowed in his Cy Young season (216).
Eric selected Adam Dunn as his National League Most Valuable Player Award. Dunn’s numbers were down across the board and he finished with a .234 average and a 110 OPS+ despite his 40 homeruns. Richard, Keith, and Asher all had Dunn leading the NL in homers as well, but he wound up 18 dingers shy of Ryan Howard's incredible pace.
It’s Pretty, It’s So Pretty!
Tony accurately predicted that Carl Crawford would lead the American League with exactly 16 triples.
Richard correctly selected Daniel Cabrera for the dubious distinction of leading the American League in walks allowed, and picked his total (103) within one of his actual final total (104). Which leaves open the question whether Richard knew Cabrera would accomplish this feat in only 148 innings.
Tony arguably had the best run of any of the BaseballEvolution.com staff in the Award Winners category. Though he did not get any of the traditional awards correct, he accurately foresaw Jim Thome’s comeback, Frank Thomas’ surprise season, and A.J. Burnett and Zach Duke’s disappointing seasons.
Tony successfully noted that although Scott Podsednik would finish with a low SB total – he picked Chone Figgins to lead the AL with 64 – Podsednik would lead the AL in caught stealing. Podsednik finished the year with only 40 steals but 19 caught stealings. Richard and Asher also had Podsednik leading the league in CS, but thought Podsednik would lead the league in stolen bases as well. Keith and Eric both saw Podsednik leading in stolen bases but not caught stealings.
Only Tony picked Frank Thomas for Surprise Player of the Year.
Tony correctly picked Nomar Garciaparra as the Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins winner for the National League, and the disparity was so bad, we may rename the award after Nomar.
Asher and Keith each predicted that Grady Sizemore would lead the American League in runs with 130 or more, and Asher was one off from Grady’s final total of 134.
Asher picked Travis Hafner’s slugging percentage with .001 of his actual final numbers - .660 vs. .659.
Tony missed Miguel Cabrera’s actual batting average by the same margin.
Think you can outpick us? Send us your 2007 picks and prove it! The staff of Baseball Evolution can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.