Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: 2013 Predictions

Just a touch more housekeeping before I can officially close the book on the 2013 season. Time for a quick spin through my pre-season prognostications to see, for better or worse, just how I fared.

I made two types of predictions prior to the season: 1) breakout candidates and 2) awards and playoff teams. The former went a bit better than the latter, so let's start there.

Breakout Candidates

I picked two players I thought were lining up for breakout seasons in 2013: Tigers RHP Rick Porcello and Brewers CF Carlos Gomez.

Starting with Rick:

Porcello was a player whose peripheral stats over the past few years were trending towards a breakout. He didn't breakout quite as much as I expected, but it was definitely a big step forward for Rick and I wonder if a better team defense would have taken him the rest of the way. In light of the Tigers restructuring their team defense for 2014, including wizard Jose Iglesias at short, Miguel Cabrera shifting back over to first, and prospect Nick Castellanos sliding in at third, I would probably double-down on another step forward for Porcello next year.

But, the important part is that the strong peripherals began to emerge in his overall performance level. He tossed 177.0 innings in which he logged an improving 4.32 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Again, not quite the breakthrough I expected and again the peripherals (3.53 FIP and 3.19 xFIP) are kinder to him than the overall production, but it's another step in the right direction. And, he provided yet another data point on his impressive trend lines:

2009: 2.74
2010: 2.10
2011: 2.27
2012: 2.25
2013: 2.14

2009: 55.4%
2010: 57.0%
2011: 61.4%
2012: 62.8%
2013: 60.6%

2009: 7.0%
2010: 5.9%
2011: 6.3%
2012: 7.5%
2013: 8.6%

2009: 4.69
2010: 4.65
2011: 5.14
2012: 5.46
2013: 7.22

2009: 4.9%
2010: 7.7%
2011: 10.5%
2012: 15.8%
2013: 5.5%

2009: 1.89
2010: 1.57
2011: 1.73
2012: 2.36
2013: 2.34

Keep an eye on Porcello for 2014. The peripherals are still there and, in some cases, stronger. Add in a vastly improved infield defense and it could be a significant breakthrough. It's also interesting to see the Tigers trade Doug Fister instead of Rick Porcello, so maybe they are expecting a breakout, too. But, for now I'll settle for another step forward, instead of a true breakout, from his 2013 season. 

And, over to Carlos Gomez:

My Gomez prediction was based less on stats and peripherals than Porcello, and more on tools, swing mechanics, and bat-speed, but I was confident that there was a breakout season coming. Here's what I wrote: 

For 2013, most projections have Gomez hitting fewer than 20 homers. If healthy, I'm actually expecting him to hit 25 bombs and steal at least 35 bases. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't hit at least 20 homers. And, I think there's a non-zero chance that there's a very big season on the horizon for Gomez (30/50?, 40/40?) in the next couple of seasons.

If I was a bettin' man (which I'm not) or the Brewer GM (which I'm not), I'd be comfortable betting on the future of Carlos Gomez.

Gomez ended up hitting .284 with 24 homers and 40 stolen bases. So, he hit one fewer homer than I expected and stole 5 more bases. It was a massively valuable season and he flashed glimpses of the "very big season" that might be on the horizon. He's just an electric ballplayer and fun to watch. 

Overall, I think it's fair to say that 2013 was indeed a breakout season for Carlos Gomez. 

Awards and Postseason Standings

So, I'd say it's reasonable to say that I was 1.5 for 2 on my breakout prognostications. I didn't fair quite as well on my off-the-cuff award and postseason predictions. 

In the NL, I missed entirely on the awards, overvaluing the Nats and the Reds and failing to foresee Taveras' season long injury issues: 

NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg
NL ROY: Oscar Taveras
NL MOY: Dusty Baker

In the AL, I nailed the ROY winner and had, at the very least, worthy candidates for MVP and Cy Young:

AL MVP: Mike Trout
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale
AL ROY: Wil Myers
AL MOY: Joe Madden

As for postseason predictions, well, those really aren't worth mentioning, but I obviously overvalued those teams that tried to buy their way to a title. You can check those out and give me any grief that I deserve.

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