Back before the start of the season — Jan 3rd, to be exact — I made a series of predictions that I had thought were somewhat bold. My intent from the start was to look back at them after Game 162 to see how I’d done, so let’s get to it.
Jon Lester will win 20 games
I hate typos, but they’re usually pretty innocuous little mistakes. In this case, however, I completely butchered Jake Arrieta’s name and goofed up my prediction as a result. Assuming I had meant to name the new lefty starter as the big winner, his 11 wins didn’t help me much.
The good news is that Lester had a really nice campaign and finished strong, which is more important than his win total anyway.
Starlin Castro will hit .300
In keeping with the theme of my mistakes, I realized only too late that I’d neglected to add “over the last 2 months of the season” to this one. Oh well. Starlin was looking pretty poopy for a while there, but his surge down the stretch really helped to power the Cubs.
The starting infield will combine for 115 home runs
My actual prediction was: Rizzo – 36, Baez – 25, Castro – 20, Valbuena – 18, Montero – 16. As you can see, this was well before we knew how things were going to shake out. The actual results were: Rizzo – 31, Castro – 11, Russell – 13, Bryant – 26, Montero – 15.
Hey, I was pretty close on Montero! The total actually shook out to only 96, but I’m more than happy with that given the way this unit kind of moved around and came together.
Kris Bryant will win Rookie of the Year
They haven’t counted the votes yet, but it’ll be an absolute travesty if this isn’t unanimous. Bryant’s rookie season was the best in Cubs history and one of the best of all time.
Bryant will slash .285/.345/.550 with 24 home runs
The finals were .275/.369/.488 with 26, so I’m going to count this one as a big, fat win. I was thinking Bryant was going to make his debut a little later, thus the higher slugging, but the overall results were pretty flipping good.
Jason Motte will be a shut-down set-up man
Yeah, about that.
The Cubs will win 85 games and grab the 2nd Wild Card spot
Pay no attention to the win total, just look at the second part. I still can’t believe they won 97 games, let alone that that’s still only good for the 2nd WC. Actually, go ahead and check that total: 85 wins would still have been good for an NL playoff spot.
Hector Rondon will notch 40 saves
I was a little shy here, but Rondon’s journey was not always a smooth one. As a result, I think he’s been galvanized and is more ready to take on the potential pressure of the postseason.
Javier Baez will set the single-season K record
Kinda hard to set a record when you only play for a month, so this wasn’t really close. Baez looked a lot better at the plate when he did return though, so I’m really happy about being wrong here.
Edwin Jackson will be an effective member of the bullpen
Well this just makes me look like a dummy, doesn’t it. I had really believed E-Jax might be revived by a move, much the same way Castro appears to have been. Alas, it just wasn’t to be and Jackson was finally sent on his merry way.
So there you go, the results of my 10 Bold Predictions. I’d gladly have been way off on every one of them given the actual results of the season, so it’s hard to feel bad about even the worst calls you see above. This team has been defying expectations from the start, so here’s to hoping they’ve got a little bit more overachievement left.