Every year on the night before Opening Day I scribble down a bunch of baseball predictions for the upcoming season and post them on social media.
It has been a thing for much of the past decade, akin to a kid writing out his Christmas list every winter except this is a collection of what I think will happen, not necessarily what I want to happen.
For a decent amount of them, I pour over numbers and data. There’s also a few where I just shoot from the hip and try to have a little fun. Unfortunately though, I usually forget about a lot of the more detailed ones once October rolls around. This year I told myself that I wasn’t going to let that happen, and in order to help prevent it, I figured I’d take a look at how things are holding up halfway through the season.
Some are almost spot on, and others are embarrassingly bad, but unlike pond scum hack Mike Freeman, I will hold myself accountable when I get something wrong.
Let’s dive into it starting with the division standings and team records:
*Current record in bold and parentheses next to prediction
Nationals (97-65) (51-42)
Braves (86-76) (52-43)
Phillies (76-86) (42-53)
Mets (74-88) (45-50)
Marlins (68-94) (44-50)
Overall, nothing jumps out as awful here. The Nationals would have to play .700 baseball to hit 97 wins, so that probably won’t happen, and the Marlins would really have to go south to only win 68 but no glaring errors here.
Cardinals (95-67) (52-44)
Reds (90-72) (51-44)
Pirates (85-77) (49-46)
Brewers (78-84) (53-43)
Cubs (64-98) (40-54)
The big mistake here is obviously the Brewers. Despite a recent tailspin, it would still be quite a shock for them to finish under .500 at this point. Still plausible that the standings finish in the order I predicted though.
Dodgers (96-66) (54-43)
Giants (88-74) (52-43)
Diamondbacks (83-79) (40-56)
Padres (81-81) (41-54)
Rockies (71-91) (40-55)
The NL West seems really hit or miss for me. Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies predictions all have a chance to be pretty close. It would take a lot for the Diamondbacks and Padres to reach .500.
For real though, the Phillies might be brutal, but I’m not sure how people in San Diego do it.
Red Sox (95-67) (43-52)
Rays (94-68) (44-53)
Yankees (87-75) (47-47)
Orioles (86-76) (52-42)
Blue Jays (69-93) (49-47)
Let’s just take this and throw it in the trash, kk? I still wouldn’t be shocked if the Red Sox or Rays make a run in the second half, but this was kinda bad. Okay, really bad.
Tigers (92-70) (53-38)
Royals (86-76) (48-46)
Indians (84-78) (47-47)
White Sox (70-92) (45-51)
Twins (62-100) (44-50)
The Twins will certainly eclipse 62 wins, but overall this looks pretty good. For the time being, I have the division order completely correct.
Rangers (90-72) (38-57)
A’s (89-73) (59-36)
Angels (86-76) (57-37)
Mariners (75-87) (51-44)
Astros (61-101) (40-56)
Yeesh. Perhaps I was a little too high on the Rangers, but I don’t think anyone anticipated them having the worst record in baseball heading into the All-Star break. The Mariners are on the way toward making me look stupid, and I welcome that because getting to watch Felix Hernandez in October for the first time ever would be awesome.
More predictions below:
NL Playoff Teams: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, Reds, Giants
If the playoffs started today, the Nationals, Dodgers, and Giants would all be in with the Cardinals and Reds knocking on the door. I have a chance to hit all five there, so things could be worse.
AL Playoff Teams: Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Rays, A’s
The American League is obviously less accurate. I’ll hold out hope that either the Red Sox or Rays make a run to get me three teams from that group.
World Series: Dodgers over Red Sox in six games
With a playoff rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu, the Dodgers certainly look capable of coming out of the National League. Red Sox, as already mentioned, are another story.
AL Cy Young: David Price
This is going to King Felix in all likelihood, but Price is 11th in the AL in WAR, 11th in FIP, and has the sixth best strikeout rate per nine innings in all of baseball. He may not win, but he’ll get some votes.
NL Cy Young: Madison Bumgarner
The popular thing here is to pick Kershaw or Adam Wainwright, and Kershaw will win it, but I decided to go a different route back in March. Bumgarner’s been good enough to make the All-Star game, so I’ll take that.
AL MVP: Mike Trout
Speaking of boring/safe predictions…I don’t think much else needs to be said here. Trout is going to win this time, and with the way the Angels are playing, none of the voters will be able to use them missing the playoffs as reason to vote for someone else.
NL MVP: Joey Votto
This was a shaky pick made worse by an injury plagued season for Votto. Oops.
AL Rookie of the Year: Xander Bogaerts
An awful June and July eliminated any chance of this. It’s Jose Abreu’s or Mashairo Tanaka’s (if he’s back by September) award to win.
NL Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton
This was a bit of an easy pick but for good reason. After a slow start, Hamilton has been everything I expected. Anyone who can swipe multiple bases off Yadier Molina in a single game deserves a medal.
First Manager to be Fired: John Gibbons
Turns out the Blue Jays are better than I expected. Despite a recent 2-8 stretch, Gibbons is likely safe so long as they’re in contention.
Ryan Braun bounces back and finishes in the Top five of NL MVP Voting
Braun’s battled injuries to put together a good first half, but this probably won’t end up happening.
Miguel Cabrera leads the league with 40 home runs
With only 14 on the season, Cabrera won’t get to 40 and certainly won’t lead the league. Hai Jose Abreu and Nelson Cruz.
Adam Wainwright leads league with 19 wins
This looks pretty good. Wainwright is currently tied for the league lead with 12, and one of the other pitchers with 12 is Tanaka who will be out at least six weeks.
Last but not least, the Phillies predictions:
The Phillies finish with a record of 76-86
In order to finish with this exact record, the Phillies would need to go 34-33 in the second half. Not likely but definitely not impossible.
Ben Revere will hit his first career home run on June 24th
I was 28 days late, but he did hit a home run which is more than some would have realistically expected.
Dom Brown hits .271 with 30 HR’s and 90 RBI’s
Go ahead and LOL. This is bad. It would take a monster second half for him to even sniff the same area code of that predicted average and home run totals. I know the negative 1.2 WAR is ugly as all hell, but the splits at least show that he’s been better lately at the plate. Hopefully that’s a sign of a bounce back second half.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez never throws a meaningful pitch for the Phillies
Accurate so far. I don’t hate on Ruben Amaro Jr. as much as a majority of the fanbase does, but this was a bad move, very bad.
Marlon Byrd, career high 26 home runs
With 18 already, this looks on its way to being accurate. The 26th likely won’t happen in a Phillies uniform though.
On July 26, Cliff Lee throws eight shutout innings and receives a standing ovation at Citizens Bank Park. Three days later, he is traded to the Rangers at the trade deadline.
In a weird/completely lucky coincidence, Lee is scheduled to pitch this exact game. The trade obviously won’t be to the Rangers who are out of the race though. This is going to be a hot topic for the next couple of weeks leading up to the deadline.
My take: Keep Cliff, move him in December. He’s only scheduled to make two starts before the deadline. I fully expect him to come back strong, but I have a feeling teams are going to try to shortchange the Phillies citing questions about Lee’s health. Amaro already messed this up in 2009, and the repercussions would be much worse this time. Show him off for two months and wait for teams to come calling in the winter.
That’s all, folks. Obviously there’s a mix of good, bad, and average here, so I look forward to seeing where things are at in another three months.
If you have any thoughts or predictions of your own, please share in the comments.