Monday, February 21, 2011

As predicted, we predicted terribly

You might recall that Trevor Sierra, Andrew Kapral and I made our annual Cubs predictions last March. We predicted seven categories total; in five of them, all three predictions turned out to be higher than the actual result. So either the Cubs had a pathetic season in which they underperformed to an extreme degree, or all three of us are blindly optimistic fools with zero talent for predicting what will occur in a Cubs season. Or both. You know what, I think it's both.

Last year, Trevor and Andrew tied with three apiece while I had two.

*Actual result in parentheses

Cubs wins (75)
Trevor 88
Andrew 87
Brandon 86

Um ... yay? I don't feel good about benefiting from the Cubs' debacle of a season.

Had the Cubs won 86 games, the lowest of our three predictions, they would have lost the division by just three games and finished ahead of the Cardinals by two. Instead, they finished with the eighth-worst record in the majors. They were worse than teams such as the Astros, Brewers, Marlins and A's. They were even worse than the Mets. Not a great year.

Randy Wells wins (8)
Trevor 13
Brandon 11
Andrew 10

After winning 12 in his rookie season, Wells started five more games in 2010 but won only eight. His ERA went up by more than a point even though he actually gave up fewer hits/9 in 2010 compared to 2009. He was much less consistent this season--he had three starts of four innings or fewer.

Soto slugging percentage (.497)
Brandon .475
Andrew .445
Trevor .430

Here's the only category where we were all too pessimistic. Soto had a great bounce back season. While playing in only 105 games hurt his power numbers, his slash line was back to the level of his Rookie of the Year campaign. (Slash line is average/on-base/slugging.)

2008: .285/.364/.504
2010: .280/.393/.497

He also had a higher HR/AB ratio this season than in 2008. My win here puts me up 2-1 on Andrew.

Zambrano wins (11)
Trevor 20
Brandon 14
Andrew 14

Good guess, Trevor. No, really, I mean he averaged 11.5 wins over the previous two seasons and he's never won 20 in his life. As it turned out, Zambrano only started 20 games due to his time spent in the bullpen. 3-2 me over Andrew. (Trevor? You there?)

Derrek Lee HR (19)
Brandon 33
Trevor 33
Andrew 27

Ouch. If you don't count 2006 when he missed most of the season or 1999 when he only played 70 games, this was his lowest home run total since 1998. He also had his lowest average (.260) since 1998. His punishment? Being banished to the Orioles, where Cubs go to die.

By going low, Andrew's tied it at 3. This is dramatic ...

Carlos Marmol walks per 9 innings (6.0)
Brandon 6.4
Andrew 5.8
Trevor 5.1

This category was meant to be indicative of Marmol's season overall. As in: lots of walks per nine innings? He must be blowing lots of saves. Not many walks per nine innings? Wow, he must be doing well as the closer. Since I thought he was going to be a disaster as closer, I went high on this one. Turns out I lost to Andrew by just 0.2, yet Marmol had a great season. He was 38-for-43 in saves, had a 2.55 ERA and led the majors with a ridiculous 16 strikeouts per nine innings. He was in fact one of the few pieces of glitter on the turd that was the Cubs' season. And yet ... lots of walks. Oh well. You win this round, Andrew.

Theriot OBP (.321)
Andrew .380
Brandon .370
Trevor .365

And Trevor takes his first category despite being pretty far off on this one. A few players who had a higher OBP than Theriot in 2010:

Alfonso Soriano
Drew Stubbs
Ryan Ludwick
Yovani Gallardo
Dan Haren
Angel Pagan

Albert Pujols was walked intentionally 38 times in 2010. Theriot walked 41 times total. So anyways, Theriot is not good at getting on base. None of us realized that, but Trevor's guess sucked the least.

Final tally:

Andrew 4
Brandon 3
Trevor 1

Congratulations, Andrew! A tie for first last year and an outright victory this year. You are forcing me to slightly doubt my hypothesis that living in Texas for an extended period of time inevitably turns you into a babbling buffoon who wears spurs and eats your own poop. But only slightly.

Actual NL Central Standings




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