Revisiting My 2009 Baseball Predictions: Did I Really Write That?

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Revisiting My 2009 Baseball Predictions: Did I Really Write That?
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

It's that time of year again for baseball fans to sit back and reflect on the year their favorite teams had, unless, of course, your favorite club is still alive in the playoffs.

For the rest of us, however, this time of year is the definition of hindsight being 20/20, as many of us look back at what went wrong for our teams.

For those of us who also write in various forms of "fan media," this time of year brings numerous articles and blog entries about what our teams could have done better, and where they should go from here to improve.

While many of my fellow writers and bloggers will post their share of articles critiquing their teams' seasons, very few, if any, of them will go back and look at their preseason predictions and see where they may have been wrong.

So that's what I've decided to do. I'm going back to look at what I wrote prior to, and during, the 2009 baseball season to see where I was blatantly wrong, and, occasionally, where I was correct.

Article: 2009 MLB Divisional Breakdown: AL Central

I was right:

In my American League Central breakdown I picked the Minnesota Twins to win it. While the Tigers were beginning to make me look foolish, I ended up correct, even if it didn't happen until game number 163. Win Twins!

I was wrong:

I was in love with the Twins, and not only did I pick them to win the division, I also picked them for best starting rotation. That was a gaffe on my part, as the Twins' rotation was decent, but the Detroit Tigers hands down had the best starting rotation in that division. Worse than that, I didn't even pick Detroit for honorable mention—I gave that honor to the Kansas City Royals. Yikes!

Article: 2009 MLB Divisional Breakdown: NL Central

I was right:

About the only thing I got right in this article was that I picked Albert Pujols for best hitter and best all-around player in the division. Not exactly a Nostradamus-like prediction.

I was wrong:

Where to begin. I picked the Chicago Cubs for best rotation, when clearly the St. Louis Cardinals, who have two Cy Young candidates in the starting staff, had the best rotation in the NL Central. In fact, one could argue that Houston's rotation was even better than the Cubs'.

I was really on the Chicago Cubs bandwagon, as I picked them, like many people did, to win the division. Well, the Cardinals won, and the Cubs rivaled the Mets and Indians for the title of most disappointing team in all of baseball.

Article: 2009 MLB Divisional Breakdown: NL West

I was right:

I picked Matt Kemp as the best all-around player in the NL West, and I was right—period. Kemp went from a very good player to a great player at the plate and in the field, and he's only getting better.

I was wrong:

Well, like with the Cubs, I was on the Diamondbacks' bandwagon prior to the 2009 season. I picked Arizona for best starting staff, and maybe it would have been the case if Brandon Webb didn't go down with an injury in his first start (in my defense, Dan Haren had a great season that got greatly overlooked).

The best rotation was in San Francisco, where both Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain had Cy Young-caliber seasons, and Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter. At least I gave the Giants an honorable mention.

I also gave the division crown to the Diamondbacks, who ended up being down-right terrible. They finished last with a record of 70-92.

Article: 2009 MLB Divisional Breakdown: Al East

I was right:

I was right and wrong about Mark Teixeira. I picked him for best hitter in the division, and I was wrong; I should have picked him for best all-around player. I'll admit I knew Teixeira was good, but until I got to see him play almost everyday, I didn't realize he was great at just about every aspect of the game.

Teixeira may be the third best player in baseball, behind Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer.

I was wrong:

I picked the Rays to repeat as division champs, and I was wrong. The bullpen was shaky early on, and because of that, the Rays dug themselves a bit of a hole. They came on strong in the second half, but still ended up finishing behind the Yankees and Red Sox in the division.

Article: 2009 MLB Divisional Breakdown: NL East

I was right:

Unfortunately, I was right about the Phillies, as I picked them to win the division again, and they did. Awesome!

I was wrong:

I was wrong about the Phillies as well, as I picked them for best starting rotation. While they were ok, especially after they added Cliff Lee, the best starting staff in the division belonged to the Atlanta Braves. If their bats had hit early on in the season, they probably would have made the playoffs.

I was also wrong about picking Brad Lidge and Francisco Rodriguez as co-best closers in the division. Neither really deserved that honor, but K-Rod at least had a very good first half, while Lidge was terrible all season. To be fair, Lidge hasn't blown a save in the playoffs.

Article: MLB Trade Deadline Report Cards

I was right:

About the Phillies and Cardinals, giving them trade deadline grades of A and B, respectively. Cliff Lee and Matt Holliday played terrifically for their new teams, and helped catapult them to the playoffs.

I was wrong:

About the Giants and Tigers, giving them trade deadline grades of A and B+, respectively. None of the players those two teams acquired at the trade deadline, including Ryan Garko, Freddy Sanchez, and Jarrod Washburn, performed down the stretch like his new team expected he would. It's probably a big part of why neither the Giants or Tigers ended up playing into October.

I was also wrong about the Twins' acquisition of Orlando Cabrera at the trade deadline, giving the move a C+. Cabrera surprised me by playing very well down the stretch, getting a few big hits for the Twins as they overtook the Tigers for the division crown late in the season.

Well, there it is. As with any of us who try to predict outcomes in sports, there are times when we'll be correct, looking like our keen knowledge of the sport we are discussing has led us to our terrific pick. There are also those times when we will be incorrect, sometimes so much so that we end up looking like we are complete idiots. It goes with the territory.

As with most fans, reflecting back on the season that was can be a fun or painful experience. It all depends on your point of view.

 

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