Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sizing up our predictions at the halfway point

It's the All-Star break, and you know what that means:

1) I'm bored out of my mind
2) The AL will have home field advantage in the World Series locked up shortly

But also, it's time to take stock of the preseason predictions that were made here at Wait 'til this Year, and to marvel at the incomprehensible foresight displayed by myself, Trevor Sierra and Andrew Kapral. Or maybe, just maybe, the exact opposite of that. I honestly haven't looked at these since they were posted in March, and still haven't glanced at them even as I type this. But I have a feeling it's about to get ugly. Children avert your eyes, Cardinals and Sox fans enjoy.

Cubs wins
Trevor 88
Andrew 87
Brandon 86

Actual pace: 71

[cracks knuckles and sighs with satisfaction] Yup, that's right. Who's got two thumbs and knows what he's talking about? [Points at self with thumbs] This guy.

Okay, so I'm probably going to be off by 10 or 15 games, but this isn't The Price is Right. A win's a win. And that's a phrase the Cubs have been able to use far too seldom this season. It's not like we went that overboard with our predictions. Eighty-eight wins seemed reasonable, right? Apparently not.

Randy Wells wins
Trevor 13
Brandon 11
Andrew 10

Actual pace: 7

Why do I get the feeling that the person with the lowest guess in each category is going to be in good shape this year?

Wells hasn't looked much like the '09 Wells--he's already allowed just two fewer earned runs than all of last season, mostly due to a significantly higher batting average on balls in play (.337 vs. .292) which is due in part to a decreased ground ball/fly ball ratio, never a good thing for a sinkerballer. His last three starts have been quality starts, though, so maybe he can have a strong second half and finish with, oh, I don't know, say, 11 wins.

Soto slugging percentage
Brandon .475
Andrew .445
Trevor .430

Actual: .480

Who's got two thumbs and ... what, I already used that one? Ah, yes, just a couple minutes ago. I remember now.

Soto's had a strange season. He was walking all the time early on (he has seven fewer walks than all of last season), but seemed to lack power and productivity. Piniella must have felt the same way because he started playing Koyie Hill consistently. But it turns out Soto's doing pretty well: he's in the top 10 among NL catchers in OBP (2), SLG (2), OPS (3), HR (5), RBI (7) and wOBA (3). His SLG is just 24 points lower than it was in his 2008 Rookie of the Year campaign.

And now, a comparison of Soto's stats to those of the NL's All-Star starting catcher, Yadier Molina:

Molina: .223 avg, 3 HR, 33 RBI, .301 OBP, .284 SLG, .595 OPS
Soto: .289 avg, 9 HR, 27 RBI, .412 OBP, .488 SLG, .900 OPS

That's a f**king joke. Reason #47 that the All-Star starters should be selected by players and coaches. And Soto shouldn't even be the starter--the Rockies' Miguel Olivo should be.

Zambrano wins
Trevor 20
Andrew 14
Brandon 14

Actual pace: 5

What's crazier: Carlos Zambrano when he thinks his defense isn't trying, or Trevor for predicting 20 wins for the staff joker?

Derrek Lee home runs
Brandon 33
Trevor 33
Andrew 27

Actual pace: 18

Since when does a player tank in his contract year? Does he not have an agent? I really believe in the Contract Year Phenomenon (that players really do play better in many cases when $$$$ is on the line), but leave it to the Cubs to have a key player with just 36 RBI and a .366 slugging percentage at the break despite having an expiring contract. Stupid Cubs.

Carlos Marmol walks per nine innings
Brandon 6.4
Andrew 5.8
Trevor 5.1

Actual: 6.0

It's not as bad as his horrendous 7.9 last year, but it's still bad. Of course he's made up for it with a ludicrous 16.85 K/9 and a miniscule .164 BAA. I went high on this one because I thought Marmol might be a disaster as the closer this season. Clearly I was wrong--he's been one of the Cubs' biggest highlights. Nevertheless, he can be wild, and this one might come down to the wire.

Theriot OBP
Andrew .380
Brandon .370
Trevor .365

Actual: .317

He had a solid .387 OBP back in 2008, but was under .345 in '07 and '09. This year has been even worse--he made news by walking just once in May. Given that he's already 30, it doesn't look like he'll ever be the leadoff man we all hoped he'd be.

And there you have it. Turns out I'm going to need the entire All-Star break to digest how terrible my predictions were.


  1. The break has been a nice relief from the awfulness that is Cubs baseball this year. Our predictions are atrocious. I'm not giving up hope on winning Big Z wins though.

  2. If that's not a humor vault prediction .. I think you should give it up.

  3. What I think is even funnier about Trevor's picks is that Z is not even on pace to get 20 starts this year. Counting on a lot of middle relief wins Trev?

    But seriously, since the Cubs suck, have you started studying up on sabermetrics with your free time? BABIP, GB/FB, wOBA!?!?!?! I'm loving it! Jim Henry should be fired soon and you should apply for his job.

  4. I don't actually think Z will get 20 wins. I'm not sure he'll get another 20 outs.