Looking back at preseason predictions can be painful

Last winter, everyone thought the arrival of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson assured the L.A. Angles a trip to the postseason. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

We all know predictions at the beginning of a baseball season are absolutely meaningless. Yet year after year we continue to try and predict the winning formula.

As you’re about to see, we usually just end up making ourselves look stupid. I’ve seen numerous writers and so-called experts make predictions at the beginning of the season, but very rarely do they ever go back and asses those picks.

And now I know why.

Here is a look at the predictions I made at the beginning of the season for each team and division. It’s not pretty.

AL East

1. New York Yankees 98-64

2. Tampa Bay Rays* 94-68

3. Boston Red Sox 88-74

4. Toronto Blue Jays 83-79

5. Baltimore Orioles 71-91

I actually picked the correct winner of this division, but it’s not like I went out on a limb by choosing the Yankees. I was actually three games off from hitting their record right on the nose. While Tampa Bay had a great season winning 90 games, they fell a little short of my projections. Here is where it gets embarrassing. The Red Sox finished last in this division with almost 20 less wins than what I predicted. Meanwhile, the Orioles finished second in this division with 22 more wins than I thought they’d get. The Blue Jays were also 10 games worse than I thought.

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers 102-60

2. Kansas City Royals 85-77

3. Cleveland Indians 78-84

4. Minnesota Twins 72-90

5. Chicago White Sox 68-94

Again, not a bold prediction picking the Tigers winning this division, but I had them winning 14 more games than they actually did. Looking back, this was truly a disappointing regular season for the Tigers. I thought the Royals would make the jump this year, but they finished 13 games short of my predictions. The Indians were 10 games worse, while I only missed the Twins record by six games. The real clunker in this group was the White Sox finishing last and with 17 less wins than they actually had.

AL West

1. Anaheim Angels 96-66

2. Texas Rangers* 94-68

3. Seattle Mariners 73-89

4. Oakland Athletics 64-97

This is why baseball is so great and the A’s 2012 season was so magical. I, as many others, had them picked to finish dead last in the West. They outperformed my projection by 30 games! That’s just incredible. I only missed the Mariners record by two games. I was off on the Angels by seven and the Rangers by one. So other than the laughable projection of the A’s, I actually did pretty well in this division.

NL East

1. Philadelphia Phillies 97-65

2. Atlanta Braves* 91-71

3. Washington Nationals 87-75

4. Miami Marlins 82-80

5. New York Mets 71-91

As a Braves fan, part of me had to pick the Phillies (if for no other reason than to jinx them — and it worked!), but many thought the Phils would be better than 81-81 this season. The Braves finished with three more wins than I projected, the Nats had nine more, the Mets three more and the Marlins 13 less. Altogether, not a bad division for me. I thought the Nats would improve, and I knew the Marlins wouldn’t live up to expectations.

NL Central

1. Milwaukee Brewers 92-70

2. Cincinnati Reds 87-75

3. St. Louis Cardinals 85-77

4. Chicago Cubs 74-88

5. Pittsburg Pirates -72-80

6. Houston Astros 54-108

Went with a bold prediction in this division picking the Brewers. They finished with nine less wins than I thought. The Reds took the division, winning 10 more games than I predicted, and the Cardinals grabbed the second wild card spot winning three more games than I thought they would. The Pirates were seven games better, and the Cubs were actually 13 games worse. I almost nailed the Astros win total as I was one game off their 55-107 mark.

NL West

1. San Francisco Giants 94-68

2. Los Angeles Dodgers* 89-73

3. Arizona Diamondbacks 83-79

4. Colorado Rockies 79-83

5. San Diego Padres 65-97

My lone perfect score came from the NL West as the Giants did finish the regular season atop the division with 94 wins. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks also finished 2-3 as I predicted, but the Dodgers had three less wins and the Diamondbacks two less. If I had flip-flopped the Rockies and Padres I would have nearly pegged this entire division. The Rockies failed miserably this year with 15 less wins than I thought. Meanwhile, the Padres exceeded expectations winning 11 more games than I projected. This was probably my best division, and I must say, I feel pretty good about getting at least one right.

Playoff Projections

I can give my playoff projections now because they were all wrong. I did have the Rangers and Braves both losing in the Wild Card round; not too shabby. I had the Tigers and the Yankees both getting knocked out of the ALDS with the Angels beating the Rays in the ALCS (I was big on pitching going into the season).

In the National League I had the Phillies knocking out the Giants in the NLCS. And my World Series pick involved two teams that didn’t even make the playoffs as I had the Angels over the Phillies. It’s fair to say I bought into the Angels’ offseason hype.

So, while projections for baseball are meaningless, they are fun/embarrassing to go back and look at. This was the first time I ever predicted each team’s record, and I believe I’ll continue to do so as it was very interesting to see the results.

I also predicted awards, which you can see below. I may be getting two of those right, but I was way off on the others.


AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Moore

NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper

AL Cy Young: Dan Haren

NL Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera

NL MVP: Joey Votto

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