Every baseball season defies prediction. And yet every year, blowhards like me stand up and try to tell you exactly where your favorite players and favorite teams will end up. Soon, Off The Bench will do a season wrap-up where we break down the predictions from our season previews and try to figure out what we got right and wrong. Now though, I’d like to briefly illustrate the inherent difficulty of prognostication. What follows are 10 statements that would have gotten me institutionalized if I’d said them on Opening Day, but were proved shockingly true come October.
Adrian Gonzalez will not be a Red Sox by season’s end. To be honest, I barely believe this now. The Red Sox put the final nail in 2012′s coffin and officially declared it a lost year when they dealt Gonzo to the Dodgers as part of the Mega Deal of the Century. For Boston, the nearly unfathomable move freed up more than a quarter billion dollars in payroll space, and for LA it made them an “immediate contender.” Of course, that part didn’t work out so well. The much ballyhooed tandem of Hanley Ramirez/Jose Reyes in Miami won’t last until the end of July. The signing of Reyes was supposed to give the Marlins the most dynamic infield in baseball. Instead, it gave them one of the most dysfunctional. HanRam hated third base, didn’t hit, and was a major disruption. The Marlins dealt him and his contract to the Dodgers a couple weeks before the trade deadline.
The Los Angeles Angels best player won’t be Albert Pujols. Ok, so nobody could have predicted this. And it has nothing to do with Prince Albert. Pujols struggled in the early goings but headed into the season’s last day with a characteristic line: .286/.344/.517, 30 bombs and 105 RBI. Thing is, some guy named Trout is ONE stolen base away from becoming the first hitter EVER to have 30 homers, 50 steals, and 125 runs. Amazing.
The Orioles will make the playoffs. Talk about statements that would have gotten me locked up, the O’s weren’t even for real when they were for real. In fact, just read this. And this.
Neither the Rangers nor the Angels will win the AL West. We’re one inning away from this being true. The A’s are incredible. And they’re doing it two years ahead of schedule with an ALL ROOKIE starting rotation.
Roy Halladay won’t get a single Cy Young vote. The Phillies were bad this year (another surprise) and Halladay was down there with them. Halladay went 11-8 with a 4.49 ERA, the first time since 2007 his ERA has been above 2.79.
Tim Lincecum will be a considerably below average major league pitcher. Lincecum made a league leading 33 starts this season, a prospect about which the Giants would have been thrilled had you told them about it in April. Thing is, he lead the league in losses (15), runs allowed (109), and wild pitches (17). Bad.
Teddy will win a race at National’s Park. After 534 consecutive losses, Teddy finally won a Presidential race. It just so happend to be the same day that the Washington Nationals (yeah, those Nationals) clinched the top seed and the best record in the NL. Wait, maybe that should have been the surprising statement. The Pirates will look like contenders and then fall apart, Josh Hamilton will have a freakish and stupid injury, Adam Dunn will hit under .210/over 40 HR, and Justin Verlander will be the front runner for the AL Cy Young. Oh wait, I totally could have said all those things.