Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Crystal Ball tells all for 2012

For several years now, this site has featured a prediction post. Heck, everyone does that. But unlike most sites that base theirs on baseball smarts, spreadsheets, simulations and math skills, this one relies on the mysterious crystal ball that has long been a family heirloom. Legend has it that the dome came with this author's grandfather from Sicily and that he almost didn't get it by customs and only did so by stating through and interpreter that it was a paperweight. This post almost could not be written. The artifact had to be retrieved from the pawn shop. It's been that kind of year. Luckily, nobody wanted such a gaudy paperweight and it was available for repurchase.

Last year's post was long forgotten. And so a quick search for it this morning was successful and some of the findings were sort of amazing. Sure, there was some things that did not come to pass, but credit that to the gazer into that sphere and not the crystal ball itself. Human eyes can misinterpret, but that doesn't mean the thing is fallible. Some of the amazing readings:

  • Pablo Sandoval's resurgence was predicted correctly.
  • Predicted Ichiro Suzuki would not reach 200 hits and the team would still score more runs. He didn't. They did.
  • Albert Pujols would leave the Cardinals after the season. He did.
  • That Jose Bautista's 2010 season wasn't a fluke. It wasn't.
  • Jim Hendry would be fired. He was.
  • The Padres would sink back to last place. They did.
  • Scott Rolen wouldn't be a factor for the Reds. He wasn't.
  • Eric Hosmer would be the first big time rookie to get the call. He was.
  • Jose Reyes would outhit David Wright. He did. It seems a given now, but not before the 2011 season.
  • Jordan Zimmerman would have a breakout season. He did.
  • Elvis Andrus would hit a homer after going homer-less in 2010. He did.
  • John Mayberry Jr. would get more playing time than Ben Francisco. He did.
  • Roy Oswalt would get hurt. He did.
  • J.J. Hardy would be one of the best shortstops in the AL. He was.
  • Bartolo Colon would be the Yankees' fifth starter. He was. 
  • Defense would betray the Twins. Uh, yeah. Among other things.
  • Russell Martin would return to being one of the best catchers in baseball. He did.

So, yeah, there were some goodies in there. And so it is time to once again gaze into the crystal ball and see what it tells us. Breakfast was avoided so perhaps the gazer will interpret the signs a little more clearly. Here we go:

In 2012:

  • Matt Holliday will hit 30 homers and drive in over a hundred runs and make people forget all about the moth in his ear.
  • Carlos Zambrano will in 16 games for the Miami Marlins and will be nothing but happy.
  • The season will start and some time in May, Michael Pineda will make his first start and get the win and go on to win 12 games.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers will win the NL Central and ask, "Prince who?" But they will still get beat in the playoffs by the Cardinals who again get in as the wildcard.
  • Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy will again win more than 16 games each.
  • Joe Mauer has a nice comeback along with Buster Posey and both will be on the All Star squads.
  • Josh Johnson will pitch all season and contend for the Cy Young Award.
  • But the NL Cy Young again goes to Clayton Kershaw.
  • The AL Cy Young Award will be won by Yu Darvish who also wins the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
  • Despite Albert Pujols, the Texas Rangers win the AL West over the Angels.
  • Hanley Ramirez will win the NL MVP Award and the Marlins win the NL East.
  • Both Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis will play more than 130 games and put up good numbers.
  • Pitching will keep the Red Sox out of the playoffs again and the press will skewer Bobby Valentine.
  • The Astros and the Athletics will lose 100 games. The White Sox and Twins lose 90+.
  • Bryce Harper will be in the majors by the All Star Game.
  • Ichiro Suzuki will bat over .300 again after batting in the .270s last year.
  • Miguel Cabrera will be the AL starter at third base in the All Star game. Both he and Prince Fielder hit 30+ homers.
  • Brian Matusz will have a very good season. But the Orioles will still lose 90 games.
  • Troy Tulowitzki will win the NL MVP.
  • Albert Pujols will hit 40 homers and have a great season. But is beaten out for MVP by Miguel Cabrera.
  • Jered Weaver will have a disappointing season.
  • At least one umpire will ask Josh Beckett to pick up the pace of his pitching prompting Bobby Valentine to be tossed from the game.
  • A.J. Burnett has a nice season for the Pirates.
  • Tampa Bay's offense will keep them from the playoffs and finish behind the Toronto Blue Jays who gain a wild card berth.
  • Juan Pierre will get 400 at bats for the Phillies.
  • Jim Thome or Jason Giambi will be traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch for the Red Sox after the All Star break, will pitch well and still the Red Sox fans will hate him.
  • Mariano Rivera will have one last sparkling season and then retire.
  • Terry Francona will draw raves for his work on Sunday Night Baseball and Orel Hershiser won't be happy.
  • Jonathan Papelbon will save 40 games for the Phillies.
  • Chase Utley will run off to Europe to see A-Rod's doctor.
  • Brett Gardner will fail to hit above .255.
  • Alex Gordon will confirm that he is the next superstar and put up tasty numbers along with Eric Hosmer. The Royals don't have enough pitching though and it won't be enough.
  • Dee Gordon wins the NL Rookie of the Year and the Dodgers will be surprisingly good this season.
  • Zack Greinke finishes second in NL Cy Young Award voting.
  • C.J. Wilson will be the best pitcher for the Angels and have a better year than Weaver and Haren.
  • Madison Bumgarner will be the only Giants' pitcher on the All Star team and will be that team's best pitcher.
  • Francisco Liriano will have a good year. Rod Gardenhire will not.
  • Cory Luebke and Tim Stauffer have excellent seasons and push the Padres over .500.
  • The Diamondbacks repeat as NL West champions and will represent the NL in the World Series.
  • Kyle Weiland will be the next Astro after Jeff Bagwell for the Red Sox fans to say a good one got away.
  • This will be the year that Luke Hochevar puts it together.
  • Scott Feldman is in the Rangers' rotation by mid-season. Or perhaps in someone else's rotation by the trade deadline.
  • Johan Santana wins thirteen games and wins Comeback Player of the Year.
  • Russell Branyan will hit at least one homer as a Yankee.
  • Brandon Morrow wins at least seventeen games for the Blue Jays.
  • Justin Verlander will win eighteen games.
  • Yoenis Cespedes will finish with 20 homers, a .260 batting average and over a hundred strikeouts.
  • Curtis Granderson will hit 35 more homers for the Yankees.
  • And finally...yes...the Yankees will win the World Series.


Cowboy's Baseball said...

Great job! Fun article ...

Thomas Slocum said...

Such an early start to pissing off Red Sox fans! (though I think you're probably right with your CB interpretation there). Others:
- Yu Darvish ROY probably, maybe even likely, but Cy Young? My prediction is that will prove an overreach.
- Do tend to agree with your CB on Zambrano, assuming no health problems.
- One of my golfing buddies has Josh Johnson on his fantasy team; told him that's a roll of the dice as for health and still feel that way
- So which is it for NL MVP, Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki? Or are you suggesting a tie?
- I know you're sweet on the Blue Jays but just don't see them pushing the Rays aside.
- Ouch! Sure hope the swami has the Brett Gardner prediction wrong (though it's an easy choice as to Yanks winning WS or Gardner having a good BA)