Sunday, February 19, 2017

Review of Last Year's Bold Baseball Predictions

Predictions for the upcoming baseball season sprout up about this time every year, an exercise that helps create excitement for yet another chapter of America's oldest pastime. It is almost certain that 2017 will be no different, so keep an eye out for those annual baseball magazines and almanacs that appear on shelves at grocery stores beginning in February.

One assumption that most baseball pundits and reporters agree will likely happen this season regards the ultimate achievement in the game. Although it has yet to happen in this century, most people foresee the same two clubs reaching the World Series for the second year in a row.

The Chicago Cubs, last year's champions, are loaded with young talent like reigning Most Valuable Player Kris Bryant. In the Junior Circuit, the Cleveland Indians added free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who led the American League in runs batted in last year while suiting up with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Many folks accurately predicted that the Cubs would win it all last year, but few picked the Indians to reach the fall classic. The more interesting predictions are those that do not necessarily center on the World Series, and are somewhat bolder.

Of all the predictions going into last season, The Sporting News had the only one that used the word "Bold" to describe its list.

The article, published by Jesse Spector at on January 4, 2016, was titled Bold Baseball Predictions For 2017, From Strasburg To Trout. Here are five of those supposedly bold predictions for 2016, along with how accurate each one turned out to be.

Bold Prediction 1: After Washington failed to reach the playoffs again, Stephen Strasburg signed free agent contract with the Dodgers to form right handed complement to Clayton Kershaw. Both halves of this statement proved false, for the Nationals clinched the National League East midway through September and Strasburg did not go to Los Angeles. Instead, Strasburg signed a seven year, $175 million contract that will keep him in Washington through 2023.

Bold Prediction 2: Mike Trout wins American League Most Valuable Player award for second time. In spite of playing for the Los Angeles Angels, who spent most of the season in last place in the American League West, Trout had such a tremendous year that he was the easy choice for M.V.P.

Bold Prediction 3: Dodgers and Yankees both miss out on the playoffs. This prognostication proved to be half right. New York came up just short in the Wild Card race, but Los Angeles earned the championship of the National League West and battled the Cubs for the pennant.

Bold Prediction 4: Jose Bautista will be traded to the Royals at the deadline after Blue Jays fall out of the race. The slugger, who became eligible for free agency after the season, was not traded. Also, it was Kansas City and not Toronto that fell out of the race. For a few months over the winter it looked as if Bautista might indeed leave Toronto, but a new contract has kept him with the Blue Jays.

Bold Prediction 5: The Reds will be worse than the Braves. After the first week of April, it appeared as if this prediction would indeed prove true. Atlanta opened the year with nine straight losses while Cincinnati won its first four games but, as predicted, the Braves finished with a better record than the Reds.

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