Monday, November 19, 2007

Further Evidence I Suck at Predictions

but in my defense, nobody really saw this magical year coming for Colorado. In fact, as late as September 16, it looked like the same old story and they'd be lucky to finish a few games above .500 (in my preseason predictions, I gave them an 81-81 split and that was about all I was hoping for before the late-season surge kicked into gear). Now it's time to review my individual player predictions, some of which I was close on and some of which I completely missed the boat on (Tulo and Jeff Baker coming to mind). Also note that I only compare predictions with those players who started and finished the year on the team, to spare us the pain of reliving the John Mabry/Steve Finley/Tom Martin experiments.


Jeff Francis, LHP
Projected: 15-10, 4.05 ERA, 201 IP, 135 K, 32 starts
Actual: 17-9, 4.22 ERA, 215.1 IP, 165 K, 34 starts
Result: My Nostradamus skills weren't too bad here. Jeff eked out two extra wins and got bailed out by the offense on the occasion of a few poor starts to keep the loss total south of double-digits, and discovered a strikeout knack to bump him about 30 K's north of the figure I estimated, but in general, this is a close prediction. Kudos to me. Hit.

Aaron Cook, RHP
Projected: 15-12, 4.12 ERA, 215 IP, 95 K, 32 starts
Actual: 8-7, 4.12 ERA, 166 IP, 61 K, 25 starts
Result: Cookie was sidelined by injury again, cutting back on his numbers quite a bit further than I estimated. He definitely didn't come close to the record total I envisioned (but I did hit the ERA nail on the head, go me). He also came 40 innings shy of 200, so I definitely got it wrong on the IP total and gave him too many K's. Miss.

Rodrigo Lopez, RHP
Projected: 8-14, 5.31 ERA, 170 IP, 101 K, 24 starts
Actual: 5-4, 4.42 ERA, 79.1 IP, 43 K, 14 starts
Result: Er, clearly, I miscalculated on this one. Lopez wasn't the 9-18 horror I'd been steeling myself for from the 2006 Orioles, and in the early going he even looked good, but then he made the ill-advised choice of trying to pitch through elbow problems and got blown up. Shut down in August and became a free-agent, may not pitch until August of next year. Miss.

Josh Fogg, RHP
Projected: 10-15, 5.24 ERA, 165 IP, 85 K, 30 starts
Actual: 10-9, 4.94 ERA, 165.2 IP, 94 K, 29 starts
Result: Fogg discovered a way to be good, or at least not bad, in select spots this year, earning the moniker "Dragon Slayer" for his tendency to beat other teams' aces. Still, a world-beater he isn't. I gave him too many losses and an ERA slightly higher than what he ended up with, but nailed win total and IP and came within 9 on the Ks and 1 on the starts. Hit.

Jason Hirsh, RHP
Projected: 7-4, 4.05 ERA, 93 IP, 56 K, 10 starts
Actual: 5-7, 4.81 ERA, 112.1 IP, 75 K, 19 starts
Result: I didn't foresee Hirsh earning a starting spot when I made my predictions (of course, a few weeks later, he got the #4 job). He had moments of brilliance, especially early in the season against the Padres and a six-inning shutout of the Mets in July, but at other times got completely bombed (especially by the Cards) and missed most of the second half of the season due to an assortment of freak injuries. Still projected to be a key contributor next year. Miss.

Taylor Buchholz, RHP
Projected: 3-4, 4.65 ERA, 75 IP, 32 K, 4 starts
Actual: 6-5, 4.23 ERA, 93.2 IP, 61 K, 8 starts
Result: Another one of the pitchers the Rox acquired in the Jennings deal, Bucky was supposed to be a starter, but didn't impress in that role and found a solid and reliable role as the pen's long man. I missed on the win/loss total (although got it right that there was one more than the other) came within the ballpark on the ERA, but muffed IP/K/starts. Miss.

Brian Fuentes, RHP
Projected: 4-2, 3.15 ERA, 31 SV/37 SVO
Actual: 3-5, 3.08 ERA, 20 SV/27 SVO
Result: Oh, Fuentes, I may never forgive you. You've etched yourself into the same unfortunate category as Jose Jimenez, Shawn Chacon, and Jose Mesa, first with your choke job in June and then almost single-handedly destroying the Rockies' prospects for a comeback in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series. Off on the win/loss, quite close on ERA, and predicted six blown saves; he blew seven, and each of them were agony. Hit.

Jeremy Affeldt, LHP
Projected: 1-1, 6.04 ERA, 1 SV/3 SVO
Actual: 4-3, 3.51 ERA, 0 SV/4 SVO
Result: So I underestimated Affeldt; for most of the season he was a decent seventh/eighth inning guy out of the pen before hitting a major wall in September. Still, he wasn't as shitaceous as I was grimly expecting him to be (come on, he's an ex-Royal like Mark "All Star" Redman). Miss.

Manny Corpas, RHP
Projected: 3-2, 3.34 ERA, 2 SV/3 SVO
Actual: 4-2, 2.08 ERA, 19 SV/22 SVO
Result: Clearly, I did not foresee Corpas becoming Studly McStudlerson at closer after Fuentes turned into Choky McChokerson, but so it happened. Manny became a legit flamethrower and a true ninth-inning guy with the mental toughness needed to make everyone feel really confident when he got the ball to close it out. I'll happily take a Miss on this one.

LaTroy Hawkins, RHP
Projected: 1-1, 4.77 ERA, 2 SV/ 5 SVO
Actual: 2-5, 3.42 ERA, 0 SV/5 SVO
Result: He's LaTroy Hawkins, what can you say? He comes to pieces if you attempt to use him as a closer or in any inning later than the eighth, but as a seventh-inning guy, he's generally useful. We can bring him back, maybe, if he takes a pay cut and is used in his proper role. Miss.

Note that I don't have any numbers to toss around for late-season studs Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, Ryan Speier, etc. They opened the season in Triple-A and weren't marked for promotion, and when Speier was first up, he sucked, so he was quickly sent back. Elmer Dessens, Mark Redman, Ramon Ortiz, et all, aside from being names that I hope I never have to hear in conjunction with the words Colorado Rockies again, were late-season additions. Tom Martin was FINALLY given his walking papers after being as bad as everyone, including me, predicted ( 2-3, 5.64 ERA were my choices, 0-0, 4.91 was the actual). But Jimenez and Morales figure to play a big role next year, and Speier will be back if they don't retain Affeldt/Hawkins et all, and may be back on his own merits as well. 2008 will definitely be an interesting season... as long as Dan O'Dowd does not shoot himself in the foot first by re-signing Shawn Chacon and/or signing Brett Tomko (seriously, I heard he was thinking about that). In what universe and under the influence of what drug is that improvement, Dealin' Dan?

Okay. Now for the hitters.

Todd Helton, 1B
Projected: .318 AVG, 21 HR, 90 RBI, .430 OBP, .490 SLG, .920 OPS
Actual: .321 AVG, 17 HR, 91 RBI, .434 OBP, .494 SLG, .928 OPS
Result: Man, did I nail this one. I called the resurge in average, maintained the crazy OBP, gave ol' Todd a few too many homers, but other than that, I came within a few decimals on everything. Hit.

Jamey Carroll, 2B
Projected: .301 AVG, 2 HR, 27 RBI, .363 OBP, .390 SLG, .753 OPS
Actual: .225 AVG, 2 HR, 22 RBI, .317 OBP, .300 SLG, .617 OPS
Result: Okay, so in case I was thinking I was getting good at this from the success of Todd, here's Carroll to bring me back to earth. He hit at a miserly rate, had a terrible OBP/SLG, but oddly enough, I did get the power numbers right. Fell back to earth after a flukey 2006. Do not let him be the starting 2B next year with the likely departure of Kaz (to the Chicago Muthafriggin Cubs, who I hate with a passion unmatched... except for the Yankees). Miss.

Kaz Matsui, 2B
Projected: .262 AVG, 3 HR, 30 RBI, .327 OBP, .436 SLG, .763 OPS
Actual: .288 AVG, 4 HR, 37 RBI, .342 OBP, .405 SLG, .778 OPS
Result: I'll say I came closer to a hit than a miss on this. I underestimated the strong season Kaz would put together on the rebound in terms of batting average, but HR total, RBI, OBP, SLG, and OPS were all fairly close to what I called, his higher OBP and lower SLG equaling out to quite close on the OPS. Hit.

Clint Barmes, "SS"
Projected: .237 AVG, 7 HR, 27 RBI, .270 OBP, .330 SLG, .600 OPS
Actual: .216 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .237 OBP, .297 SLG, .534 OPS
Result: Dear God, Clint Barmes. He makes me shudder. When I gave him these generous totals, I was assuming he might, due to Hurdle's maddening love for him, take away playing time from Tulo. Instead, he was even more nauseating than my underwhelming numbers, which says a lot about that Miss. Do not, in the name of all that is holy, make the Rockies brass think that he will be an even barely acceptable fill-in for Kaz next year.

Troy Tulowitzki, Zeus
Projected: .282 AVG, 8 HR, 45 RBI, .330 OBP, .340 SLG, .670 OPS
Actual: .291 AVG, 24 HR, 99 RBI, .359 OBP, .479 SLG, .838 OPS
Result: Erm... hem... HOO BOY. I was wow-really-sorry-Tulo-let-me-bear-your-children-in-apology off on this one... I have learned my lesson. Purple Baby Jesus is the truth. And no Team Jesus jokes. Thank you. Clint Barmes-esque Miss.

Garrett Atkins, 3B
Projected: .331 AVG, 33 HR, 130 RBI, .400 OBP, .567 SLG, .967 OPS
Actual: .301 AVG, 25 HR, 111 RBI, .367 SLG, .486 SLG, .853 OPS
Result: I overvalued Atkins, but he would have come quite a bit closer to my totals if he hadn't spent the first two months of the season in a horrid slump -- he got untracked after that and hit something like .340+ after the All-Star Break. Although not the MVP-caliber I thought, still a solid season. Miss, but only due to May.

Brad Hawpe, RF
Projected: .301 AVG, 27 HR, 95 RBI, .399 OBP, .530 SLG, .929 OPS
Actual: .291 AVG, 29 HR, 116 RBI, .387 OBP, .539 SLG, .926 OPS
Result: I actually came fairly close on dear ol' Brad. I clearly should have called that average for Atkins, and Hawpe didn't ever make it north of .300, but I was within 2 on the homers and extremely close on OBP/SLG/OPS, only undervaluing him on RBI. Hit.

Jeff Baker, RF
Projected: .312 AVG, 14 HR, 46 RBI, .385 OBP, .477 SLG, .862 OPS
Actual: .222 AVG, 4 HR, 12 RBI, .296 OBP, .347 SLG, .643 OPS
Result: Holy flying Batman underpants. I guess the fact that Baker hit .368 after his 2006 call-up blinded me to the fact that he is not, in fact, Dante Bichette reincarnated. Seeing as I was expecting him to play much more than he did, and to be a whole lot better than he is, it makes sense as to why I Missed fairly badly here.

Ryan Spilborghs, RF/CF
Projected: .270 AVG, 5 HR, 25 RBI, .330 OBP, .415 SLG, .745 OPS
Actual: .299 AVG, 11 HR, 51 RBI, .363 OBP, .485 SLG, .848 OPS
Result: Yet another case in which I'm perfectly happy to be wrong. Spilborghs arrived and provided an immediate spark, although he faded badly down the stretch when he had to play every day. Still, he's a very valued part to have-- good fourth outfielders are underrated, and I'll again be fine with taking a Miss here.

Cory Sullivan, CF
Projected: .272 AVG, 3 HR, 31 RBI, .317 OBP, .375 SLG, .692 OPS
Actual: .286 AVG, 2 HR, 14 RBI, .336 OBP, .386 SLG, .722 OPS
Result: Sullivan did slightly better than I gave him credit for in all categories, and provided singles-hitting skills off the bench if very minimal power. I really missed in RBI/OBP, but otherwise the projection is close enough that I'm going to call this a Hit, dammit.

Willy Taveras, CF
Projected: .260 AVG, 1 HR, 17 RBI, .314 OBP, .323 SLG, .637 OPS
Actual: .320 AVG, 2 HR, 24 RBI, .367 OBP, .382 SLG, .749 OPS
Result: I undervalued Willy T, but it didn't look like I had at first; he had an awful start to the season and couldn't get on base to save his life. Then came a 5-for-6 April 25 game against the Mets (which I happen to have attended) and he was off and running, literally, as his biggest impact came on the basepaths (33 stolen bases). Still, he needs to find a way to a) get on aside from beating out bunts, and b) stay healthy. His speed does us no good if he keeps getting something wrong with his legs. Miss.

Matt Holliday, LF
Projected: .339 AVG, 38 HR, 125 RBI, .390 OBP, .600 SLG, .990 OPS
Actual: .340 AVG, 36 HR, 137 RBI, .405 OBP, .607 SLG, 1.012 OPS
Result: Called it. Holliday's transformation from middling minor-league maybe-shoulda-played-quarterback prospect to legit MVP candidate (who won't get it, judging by the way the Rockies have been robbed blind this offseason) is complete. He was almost completely in line with what I called for him in February, and dear God, can Scott Boras just go away so we can re-sign him? (Yes, I also enjoy beating my head on brick walls). Hit.

Yorvit Torrealba, C
Projected: .250 AVG, 6 HR, 44 RBI, .299 OBP, .405 SLG, .704 OPS
Actual: .255 AVG, 8 HR, 47 RBI, .323 OBP, .376 SLG, .699 OPS
Result: Yeah, my prediction looks pretty similar to the actual production, and until the deal fell through at the eleventh hour, the Mets were actually prepared to pay 3 years/14.4 million for this. Also, he let 61 of 76 runners steal... good lord. Redeeming factor: Great with the pitchers, especially all the Latino youngsters. Still, time to move on. Hit.

Chris Iannetta, C
Projected: .270 AVG, 8 HR, 50 RBI, .375 OBP, .387 SLG, .762 OPS
Actual: .218 AVG, 4 HR, 27 RBI, .330 OBP, .350 SLG, .680 OPS
Result: Yeah, I missed it, but Iannetta was given only a minimum of playing time and seemed unready in the early going. However, he matured during the season and after a brief demotion in August, hit .348 the rest of the way down the stretch, proving that he is capable of learning at and playing at this level. Still only 24 and looked to as the Rockies' catcher of the future. Which means they'll sign some crappy veteran Kendall/Barrett/et al to take his place again. Poor Ian. Pretty face. Miss.

Overall: I came quite close on some, missed badly on others, and, like everyone else, didn't foresee the 21-of-22 surge or the fact that they actually won the NL Pennant before getting creamed by the Red Sox. Still, it was quite a thrilling and magical season that I'm extremely glad to have been a part of, and I eagerly await 2008. *

* Now if Chacon/Tomko/et all get signed, or Carroll/Barmes/Quintanilla is dubbed the starting second baseman, I reserve the right to change my opinion...

** Oh what the hell. If I wanted to jump off, I could have done so before now...

*** Although as everyone knows, being a Rockies fan is hard.

**** Shut up, Charlie/Dick Monfort.

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