Checking back on preseason prognostications: Nailed it.

Back in March we crunched the numbers to forecast who would be the league powerhouses this year. How did we do?

* We picked Applegate, Chatfield and Springfield to win their respective divisions. Check, check, check.

* We picked Wisconsin as the fourth seed, citing “way too much offense and a just-good-enough pitching staff.  #Fail. The Warhawks came in with a winning record at 81-79, but not good enough to make the playoffs.

* We liked Margaritaville as the fifth seed. Boom, roasted

* We saw Bismarck, Savannah and Superior in contention for the sixth seed. Bismarck indeed nabbed the sixth seed; Savannah surged into the fourth spot, and Superior earned the No. 1 overall draft pick by just missing the playoffs with the league’s seventh-best record. We put this one in the prognostication win column too. 

So how did we misfire on Wisconsin? Perhaps it’s just a balancing out of the Wilson Effect — last year we failed to project Hickory as a playoff team, but the Nuts claimed second in their division.

The difference really was Wisconsin’s underperformance as an offensive unit. We projected them as the third-most potent club in the league, but they checked in as a middle-of-the-pack .260 offense, finishing tied for eighth in runs scored, tied for seventh in on-base percentage and fifth in slugging percentage.

Where did the Warhawks come up short individually?

* Robinson Cano slugged 35 homers compared to 28 in real life, but also hit 48 points below his average (.254 compared to .302).

* Prince Fielder hit six fewer homers (32 vs. 38) than in real life, drove in just 97 runs vs. 120.

* Catcher Chris Iannetta (.192 in 271 at-bats) and outfielders David Murphy (.168 in 95 at-bats)  and Ichiro Suzuki (.210 in 233 at-bats) weren’t much help.

* Carlos Beltran was on target for HR production (22) and even exceeded his doubles output (48 vs. 39), but that didn’t translate into run production — only 51 RBIs off of a .273 batting average, vs. 84 off of a .300 average in real life. In 134 at-bats in the cleanup spot, Beltran produced just six RBIs.

* Paul Konerko, a key player upon whom the prognostications were based, was traded to Savannah just prior to the July trade deadline after hitting a disappointing .234.  (He finished at .237 for Savannah, a .300 hitter in real life.)

* And finally, Ryan Braun, who matched his real-life homer total at 33, but in 127 more I-75 at-bats produced 13 fewer RBIs (98 vs. 111) and a .297 average vs. 332 in real life.

And here, perhaps, is the most telling stat of all: Wisconsin had 193 ballpark HR chances this season, third-most in the league on a team of sluggers, but only converted 88 of those (46%).

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One Response

  1. Kudos to Gary for his fine pre-season predictions. He did indeed nail it.

    And thanks for his further analysis.

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