Saturday, 5 May 2012

A Month In: How'd we do?

We're a month(-ish?) in to the season, and since I made a whole whack of predictions and previews leading up to the season, I may as well go back and twist my own words and cherry-pick things I was right about to make myself sound smarter than I really am. Ready? Go.

First, I'll tackle some predictions I made about individuals. Most of these will be found in my fantasy piece from Nowhere Plans, but anything I can find from my 2012 Team Previews, I'll link to as well, and then I'll look through my team record predictions and cross-reference them with actual, year-to-date performance.

I’d personally take Kinsler over both Cano and Pedroia, especially in Arlington, and I've actually passed on both Cano and Pedroia with the intention of waiting to grab Kinsler with a later pick, using Ben Zobrist, Howie Kendrick, and Michael Cuddyer as backup options.
Small Sample Result: Jose Altuve leads 2B in WAR with 1.5, but right behind him is Kinsler, with 1.2 WAR.  Kinsler leads both Cano and Pedroia in almost all the major offensive categories.  Thumbs up.

[...] if you miss out on Pujols, Gonzalez, and Votto, you can wait a little while for guys like Ike Davis (assuming the Valley Fever scare doesn’t end his season) or Freddie Freeman.
Small Sample Result: Freeman leads Gonzalez, and Pujols in WAR, and is tied with Votto.  Votto's walkrate is outrageous (22.4%), while Freeman's is also outrageous but for a different reason (4.4%), but that's not really the point.  Freeman has been a pretty good fantasy option (.302 BA, 5HR, 21 RBI), and if you drafted him, you probably got him pretty late. Thumbs up.

[...]I’d rather take Bautista ahead of Cabrera[...]
Small Sample Result: *Whiff*.  Bautista looks like he might maybe kinda be coming around a bit, but has been worth 0.2 WAR so far.  Cabrera has been worth 0.7WAR, for the record.  Thumbs down.

Sleepers: Brennan Boesch, Jason Kubel
Small Sample Result: Boesch has been worth -0.8 WAR, thanks in part to his 1.9% walkrate, .243 OBP, and -5.5 runs from fielding, but he's hit 4 HR's with 13 runs scored and 13 RBI, so from a fantasy perspective, it could be a lot worse. Kubel has 3 HR's and is batting over .300, though he's striking out a lot so that's not sustainable (or he's going to strike out less and keep the average up).  Thumbs sideways.

David Ortiz doesn’t appear to age
Small Sample Result: Confirmed. 6 HR, 22 RBI, 17 R, .371 BA. Thumbs up.

Brandon Morrow, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Jordan Zimmermann are guys who might get passed on due to high ERA’s from last year.  All will give you good strikeout totals and should see improvements this year.  Look for Morrow and Zimmermann to break out this year, and for Ubaldo to get back on track. 
Small Sample Result: Morrow has been fucking nails and hasn't allowed a run like 15 innings or something, and Zimmermann's ERA is under 2, despite having 2 L's.  Ubaldo has been disgustingly bad, walking more than he's struck out through 5 starts.  2 out of 3?  Thumbs up

If you’re happy with your team and want to start going for closers, you should be able to find some value with lower-profile guys like Frank Francisco, Jim Johnson, Sergio Santos, Huston Street, and Jordan Walden.
Small Sample Result: Meh, amazing, hurt, hurt, and terrible, respectively.  Thumbs sideways.

[re: Texas] This is the best team in baseball
Small Sample Result: They're technically like 1 game behind Tampa for the best record in baseball, but the schedule should fix that eventually.  "best team" doesn't necessarily dictate that they should have the best record at all times, and can easily mean that they have the best roster (which they do).  Fuck you, I'm taking it; Thumbs up.

[re: Toronto] this team would probably win or contend in all 5 of the divisions that they aren't in.  I certainly think that they'd win the NL Central and West, and could contend for Wild Card or better in the other three divisions as is.
Small Sample Result: The Jays have 16 wins, which would be enough to lead two divisions, and be a single game back in the other three.  Thumbs up.

[re: Houston] This team might be the worst team we've seen since the Tigers of like 2003 or whichever year they lost 119 games. 
Small Sample Result: 
 [re: Baltimore] They're 12-14 overall, and have won 4 straight.  They're still going to be fucking horrible, but I'm not feeling very good about my prediction of them only winning 60 games, since they're on a pace to win something in the area of 75.  Obviously they can fall off that pace, but, without looking at their schedule, I doubt they can plausibly go 48-96 over the rest of the season. Thumbs down.
Ultimately, the Orioles are a total lock to come last in their division this season, and they don't even have a  tunnel to have any light at the end of.  The team is bad, the farm system is bad, and if I had to guess, I'd say their scouts and staff are terrible as well.
Small Sample Result: Well, I still think they're a total lock to finish last, but this team is a helluva lot better than I gave them credit for.  I had them slated to finish with 61 wins, and based on their 17-9 record, they're well on their way to blowing that out of the water.  I can't see them even threatening 80 wins, since that pitching staff's performance is in no way sustainable. Thumbs ever so slightly down.

 [re: Minnesota] Mauer and Morneau playing 140+ games each will go a long way towards getting this team away from the 100-loss mark
 Small Sample Result: They're 7-18 (tough schedule so far). Mauer has played 24 games, and Morneau 20.  That's on pace for about 140 from Morneau, and more from Mauer, but they're still winning less than 40% of their games.  The schedule should get easier, but the offense has been so disgustingly bad that they might still lose 90 games with 140 games from both. Thumbs down.

Between Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gio, and Edwin Jackson, this rotation is going to be incredibly solid, assuming they can all stay healthy and consistent.
They will definitely contend, and if they're close at the deadline, they've got the financial flexibility and prospects to make a trade and take on some salary if they need to.  Talent-wise, they're probably the third best team in the division, but they should be in the running for the wildcards, if not the division. 
Small Sample Result: Yay!  The Nats have slowed down from their hot start, but still lead the NL East. Their pitching has been completely retarded, and we can blame the offense for most of the downward trending that's occurred.  Sticking Bryce Harper in the 3-hole is really ambitious, but without Morse and Zimmerman, I don't really have many better suggestions. Thumbs up.

[re: Dodgers] 73-89, 5th place in the NL West
Small Sample Result: The Dodgers are 17-9, thanks in large part to Matt Kemp being 2.3 wins above replacement and a .400/.500/.900 area slash line.  That pace isn't going to continue, nor do the Dodgers get to play the Padres for a quarter of their games or whatever it's been, but they're still in first in the NL West.  That division is nothing special, so it won't be a huge surprise if the Dodgers are still towards the top of the division (or find themselves in a wild card race) a few months from now.  Thumbs down.

[re: Detroit] I meh at this team.
Small Sample Result: 13-12, perfectly meh.  They've probably had one of the easier schedules to this point, when looking at AL teams.  I'd certainly be shocked if they were really a true-talent 84-win team, as their current record would suggest (52% winning percentage), and I'm sure they'll get hot and win 10 in a row at some point when the schedule allows them to play Seattle, Oakland and Minnesota, and they're probably going to go get Matt Garza at the deadline to make a push for the playoffs, so everything will be alright.  Until then, Thumbs up.

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