Monday, October 1, 2018

2018 MLB Season Predictions in Review (plus Playoff Predictions)

I can say I sometimes neglect this blog in lieu of my other work, so I feel bad when there's a clear barren spell on this website I've had up and running for over eight years. So sometimes, that means I go for the easy way out and write up pieces like looking back on preseason predictions, which means as the pair of Game 163's in the NL just ended, that's what I'm going to do. I always enjoy seeing where I was right, wrong or in the wrong galaxy, so let's do that. And of course, playoff predictions follow too.

What I got Right: Not as much as I should have. I predicted three of the five NL playoff teams (LAD, CHC and MIL) and four of the five in the AL (NYY, BOS, CLE, HOU), but all of those seemed like givens. Everyone missed on the Nats implosion, and didn't quite see the rise of the Braves coming, but maybe I should have listened to myself a little more than I did when writing about the A's:

"Oakland signed Jonathan Lucroy, which allows this writer who needs to pay more attention to teams not named the Mets to name someone on this team. But the A's often find a way to surprise in spite of everything working against them, but their lineup seems balanced and they have a farm system worth mentioning. Someone is going to be like Milwaukee or Minnesota of last year and contend out of nowhere, and if it's not the Phillies, it'll be their AL equivalent."

Well, I was right, but didn't predict that they would be this good. In any other year, they'd be one of the best teams in all of the AL, and this year, they'd have the best record in the NL! But those super teams ruin fun sometimes, and the A's wonderful rise is stifled by geography and history when it comes to October fortunes. And the Phillies were contenders until mid-September too!

What I got wrong: Overhyping the Nats (as most everyone did), the Cardinals and Angels, but there weren't any predictions that were overtly awful, other than expecting the Rays to bring up the rear of the AL East when they ended up winning 90 games. Most of the wrong came in underestimating how bad certain teams would be, like Baltimore, the White Sox and Kansas City. And in awards predictions too. Speaking of...

NL MVP: I predicted Bryce Harper. Nope. Christian Yelich should be the favorite based on how he carried the Brewers to winning the NL Central, and he has some strong competition from Javy Baez, who

AL MVP: I predicted Carlos Correa, who was very good, but Mookie Betts was better, and his team was better than Mike Trout's, who is always the AL MVP, but his team never backs him up.

NL Cy Young: I said Noah Syndergaard, and at least I got the team right. Jacob DeGrom's season was historically good, and if he doesn't win the award based on wins and losses, it's an embarrassment to the sport of baseball.

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale was not a bad shout, but his slowdown in the latter half of the season should tip the award to Blake Snell of the Rays, who for a team that coined "the opener" ended up having the best ace of any staff in the Junior Circuit.

NL Rookie: Ronald Acuna was a pretty easy yet smart call, because he is the face of the Baby Braves renaissance. Juan Soto was also pretty dang good too as well Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler (who was great in Game 163) and Harrison Bader for the Cardinals.

AL Rookie: How could it not be Shohei Otani, even with the Tommy John surgery coming?

NL Manager: Craig Counsell did a dang good job with the Brewers, but Bud Black getting the Rockies to consecutive postseasons is one that probably gets some more value, as does Brian Snitker's season with the Braves.

AL Manager: Hey, Aaron Boone was great! But everyone expected the Yankees to be great, and they were. No one expected the A's to be good, or nearly as good as they were. Kevin Cash deserves a dap too.

With all that taken care of, here are some playoff predictions:

National League:

Wild Card Game: Cubs over Rockies
NLDS: Dodgers over Braves in 4, Cubs over Brewers in 5
NLCS: Dodgers over Cubs in 6

American League:

Wild Card Game: Yankees over A's
ALDS: Red Sox over Yankees in 5, Astros over Indians in 4
ALCS: Red Sox over Astros in 6

2018 World Series:

Red Sox over Dodgers in 5

It was Yankees over the Dodgers in the spring, but now it's the Red Sox. Go figure.

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