As we near the halfway mark of the season, there obviously have been some surprises in the way things have played out. Bryce Harper suddenly turning into the superstar everyone assumed he’d be but hadn’t matured into yet; Orioles games being postponed because it was deemed unsafe for fans to try to come out to the stadium; last year’s surprise Cy Young winner Corey Kluber having a shot at being a 20-game loser this year; A-Rod playing baseball like someone who cares… Of course the sad-sack Twins being not so sadsack is also a surprise, which got me thinking. How are the standings playing out compared to my spring training predictions? And how do my predictions compare to professional ones.
That in mind, I took the standings as of Friday afternoon, extrapolated those over the full 162 games to find out how many wins each team would finish with (if they keep playing as they have so far) and then compare those stats with the win totals I predicted, and that Sports Illustrated did too. The results:
|Team||Actual W||My Pred.||Diff.||SI prediction||Diff.|
Well, for what it’s worth, if you add up the total differences (whether plus or minus), my pre-season guesses were a tad closer than those from the experts at SI. Both of us had correctly picked the three NL division leaders and none of the AL ones (in fact, to see where the teams we predicted would win their AL divisions are, you generally need to look to the basements!). At least I pinpointed the Indians mediocrity while the magazine somehow expected this to be the Year of Chief Wahoo- SI picked Cleveland to win it all in ’15. I guess that’s why they actually take to the field and play the games instead of simply having us prognosticators decide the champions on paper.
A few trends stand out. The Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros are over-achieving in mammoth proportions, as are the Cardinals (even given the fact that they were the faves to win the NL Central.) Likewise, Boston, Seattle, Miami are all inexplicably bad. In the case of the Marlins, there’s little hope it’s going to get better now that Giancarlo Stanton, having a career year is out with a broken wrist.
Unfortunately for the Jays, the season’s playing out much like everybody expected. Lots of runs, not a lot of pitching and a team straddling .500, tantalizingly close to the post-season but a pitcher or two short.
Thankfully, the second half could be as surprising as the first. One has to wonder if Tampa can keep winning with the offense they sport or if the A-Rod and Mark Teixera can keep the clock turned back enough for the Yanks to stay in contention. As today’s game showed, right now the solution for the Jays pitching shortcomings don’t seem to lie in their minor league system, so pick up that phone Mr. Anthopoulos and put a name like “Cueto” or “Kazmir” on a Toronto jersey so the Blue Jays can be the Twins of the second half!