Revisiting Predictions from Last Season

During the regular season, Derek and I frequently provided in-depth player analysis and often included a prediction about how the player would perform going forward. I thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of these predictions and see how they turned out. This blog wasn’t up and running until late-July, so sample size is often an issue. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to look back and see how intelligent or silly some of our statements look in hindsight. I’ll start with my predictions:

7/25/12: In response to the Ichiro Suzuki trade:

“Ichiro makes the team better, but it doesn’t appear to be by all that much. Considering the Yankees didn’t give up anything of great value, this trade is acceptable, but replacing Dewayne Wise with a slightly better Dewayne Wise won’t change much.”

I was wrong about Ichiro. Based on his age and recent performance, I assumed he was just about toast as a major leaguer. However, he looked like the Ichiro of old in the second half. He posted a .342 wOBA and 0.8 WAR. Wise ended up catching on with the White Sox and was essentially replacement level over 171 PAs. I don’t believe for a second that Ichiro will continue to produce this way, but he definitely helped the team down the stretch in 2012.

Verdict: Incorrect

8/3/12: After preaching about Ivan Nova’s bad luck in 2012, I claim:

“I would certainly take the under on ZiPS’s projected 4.70 ERA over the rest of the season.”

Nova’s ERA after the article was 6.75. Nova was pretty terrible in 2012 and his struggles only got worse in August and September. I still think he was unlucky in 2012, but Nova’s August and September certainly made it harder to believe his sparkling SIERA.

Verdict: Incorrect

8/13/12: In response to David Phelps returning to the rotation:

“Phelps should at least be able to give the Yankees 4-5 solid innings of work per outing until Sabathia comes back”… “More than likely, Phelps will be used exclusively out of the bullpen in September and in the post season. However, given his minor league track record and what he’s done this year, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be strongly considered for a rotation spot next spring.”

Finally, one that doesn’t make me look like an idiot. He mostly pitched out of the rotation for the remainder of the season before shifting to the bullpen in the playoffs. In the regular season, never threw less than 4 innings and had a respectable 4.34 ERA. As of right now, he’s slated to battle Ivan Nova for the 5th rotation spot this season.

Verdict: Correct

9/5/12: About Curtis Granderson and his .259 wOBA and 33% K% in last 143 PAs:

“Given Granderson’s track record, he’s not going to keep scuffling like he has.”

Granderson wOBA’d .362 the rest of the way before stinking it up in the playoffs. Still, he had a .315 wOBA when you combine the regular season and the playoffs. That’s not great, but definitely more respectable than .259.

Verdict: More right than wrong

9/13/12: About Raul Ibanez after “hitting” .061/.132/.122 (.053 wOBA) in his previous 53 PAs:

“There’s nothing that indicates that Raul Ibanez has fallen off the cliff as a hitter. When a player as old as Ibanez (40) goes into a slump like he has, it’s easy to declare him done as a major leaguer. But all indicators show that Ibanez may still have something left in the tank.”

Wow. I didn’t even remember I had said this. Ibanez certainly made me look smart here: .349/.404/.465 (.480 wOBA) in 47 PAs the rest of the way.  He also posted a .486 wOBA in his remarkable playoff performance.

Verdict: Very Correct

9/25/12: About Robinson Cano hitting .204/.297/.386 in last 111 PAs:

There doesn’t seem to be anything fundamentally wrong with his approach as he’s not carelessly hacking any more frequently than he normally does. At this point, we just have to wait for the BABIP gods to stop frowning on Cano.”

In his remaining 43 PAs, Cano proceeded to mash .585/.605/.1.089 with a .718 wOBA. But then the playoffs happened and he could only wOBA .085 in 40 PAs. Still though, he had a combined .413 wOBA after 9/25.

Verdict: Correct

Now for Derek’s predictions:

7/25/12: In response to the Ichiro trade:

“Don’t be surprised if he approaches the .300 mark for the Bombers.  Plus, let’s not forget the elite defense and rifle of an arm he provides, something the Yankees sorely would have missed due to the loss of Brett Gardner.”

Ichiro proceeded to hit .322 and certainly helped the team carry on without Gardner.

Verdict: Correct

7/28/12: About Russell Martin’s struggles (he was hitting .184 with a .189 BABIP at the time):

“With some better luck and maybe some work on his stride, we may see Martin’s standard batting line return to respectability.”

At season’s end, Martin’s line was: .211/.311/.403 with a .222 BABIP and .316 wOBA. That line isn’t great, but it’s certainly respectable for a catcher. Luck certainly played a role as his BABIP improvement helped to prop up his offensive performance.

Verdict: Correct

8/6/12: About Freddy Garcia:

“Ultimately, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to Sweaty Freddy. His ERA estimators are all in line and he may even still be getting slightly unlucky on batted balls. He’s more than held his own since July, and should be able to continue through mid-September.”

He ended up struggling in 6 starts and posted a 5.64 ERA. This led to Phelps remaining in the rotation over Garcia when Sabathia came back from injury.

Verdict: Incorrect

8/8/12: On the Orioles cutting the Yankees’ lead from 10 to 5 games:

“No, the Yankees won’t collapse.” … “It’s pretty clear the O’s will fizzle out.”

The Yankees held on to the division, but it was much closer than anyone expected it to be. Since they ended up winning the division, I’m not sure I would say the Yankees “collapsed”, but the Orioles certainly didn’t fizzle out either.

Verdict: More wrong than right

8/14/12: Predicting Nick Swisher’s contract this offseason:

“Perhaps something like four years and 54 million would do the trick.”

Nick Swisher signed with the Indians for four years and $56 million. Pretty darn close.

Verdict: Correct

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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