Pre-Season Predictions Revisited

It was only after I read Kevin McGuire’s piece on his blog about early- or pre-season predictions that I remembered I had made a similar post of my own.

A lot of these were made on no real basis of fact, and there weren’t many predictions of any substance whatsoever, but it’s only fair that I hold myself accountable – whatever value that holds for you, well, that’s not up to me.

  • NL East finish: 1) Phillies, 2) Mets, 3) Braves, 4) Marlins, 5) Nationals

In actuality: 1) Phillies, 2) Marlins, 3) Braves, 4) Mets, 5)Nationals. Three out of five ain’t bad, and I figure I might have been closer to getting all five if the Mets hadn’t been stricken by some ridiculous injury bug. The first one is all that matters, though, yeah? Of course.

  • Ryan Howard HRs: 52

In actuality: 45. It’s hard to call a 45-HR season a disappointment, and I won’t be doing that. Howard did see a 6.4 percent decreased in HR/FB rate, despite hitting fly balls at a greater clip than he did in 2008. Sometimes, them’s the breaks.

  • Ryan Howard Ks: 179

In actuality: 186. Pretty close on this one.

  • Chase Utley games played: 143

In actuality: 156. I expected Utley to miss some time with some lingering hip issues, but he barely missed any at all. Now, that brings up a very interesting point: with the hopeful retooling of the Phillies’ bench, Charlie Manuel needs to give his infield some days off once in a while. These guys can’t keep playing 155-plus games and racking up nearly 700 plate appearances every year into their 30s. Especially if they’re coming off hip surgery. It has to change; the infielders are too valuable to be played to death.

  • Chase Utley HRs: 22

In actuality: 31. Dude rules. End of story.

  • Cole Hamels starts: 29

In actuality: 32. He didn’t hit the DL mid-season like I thought he might, but he was still plagued by a high BABIP and, by proxy, short starts. He started plenty, just not for enough innings, in the end.

  • Cole Hamels ERA: 3.47

In actuality: 4.32. I’ve been over this ad nauseum. No need to re-hash.

  • Jimmy Rollins errors: 7

In actuality: 6. This was one of those predictions that was based purely on gut. A lucky guess, nothing more.

  • Lou Marson season debut: May 22

In actuality: April 16. Again, what basis? None. Now Marson is in Cleveland, and the karmic load is mine to bear. Or something.

  • Jayson Werth HRs: 33

In actuality: 36. Hmm, somebody knew this guy was going to have a good year.

  • Phils record vs. Mets: 9-7

In actuality: 12-6. I must have missed a series when I looked at the schedule. These things happen. Certainly doesn’t make it any less confusing, but hey, here we are.

  • Phillies win NL East by: 4 games

In actuality: 6 games. The Phils were behind by as much as 5.5 games on April 19, and yet managed to be in first place a combined 141 days, all told. Not only did they turn things around quickly, they held on, even though September got a bit tenuous at times.

  • Team runs scored: 836

In actuality: 820. Ah, if only a few more of those solo homers had a couple men on base.

  • Team runs allowed: 774

In actuality: 709. This part actually impresses me most. Not my prediction, but the fact that the Phillies had such improved pitching. They’d been able to hit with the best of teams for years, but pitching had left something to be desired. Now, we have Cliff Lee, have wispy talks about pursuing Roy Halladay, have a young, quality-potential starter in Kyle Drabek, and a great bullpen. All right, the last one is more of a wish, sure. But that’s what this offseason is for.

  • J.A. Happ starts: 22

In actuality: 23. It would only be a matter of time before he took over Park’s spot in the rotation. Plenty of people knew this. The only reason Park was given the spot – aside from having a pretty good spring, slightly better than J.A.’s – was that he signed with the Phillies with the promise of starting. I certainly didn’t expect Park to be as bad as he was in the rotation so fast, nor did I expect him to become such a dependable reliever. Both of those things made it easier for Happ to transition into and stay in the rotation, though, and that worked out for the benefit of the Phillies.

So that’s that. Nothing special or earth-moving here. Go read Mike’s post.

UPDATE: I’ve decided to reward you for actually reading this, if you did. Here:

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