Before we go any further - and we’ve haven’t even gone anywhere yet - allow me to point out that I don’t even run this post most years. I run the Five Dumb Predictions for the upcoming MLB season every year, of course, but the checking in on post? My god, doing that every year would be embarrassing.
Since my picks this year turned out to be slightly better than 100% inaccurate, though, you’re damn right I’m going to run back through them. This will be my personal gloatation device.
Back on March 31st, on the eve of the 2021 regular season, I made a handful of half-investigated prognostications about the direction the year would take. Not Reds-centric, as that’s always kept in a separate post (since they never impact the gist of the season anyway), but what the pertinent folks and clubs across the league will be up to based on the spaghetti and meatballs rolling around in my skull that particular day.
Atlanta just won the World Series last night, the 2021 season is over, and it’s time to check back on those Dumb Predictions.
Xander Bogaerts will hit 60 doubles, win AL MVP
Xander Bogaerts did not hit 60 doubles.
He hit an absurd 52 in his last full season in 2019, denting the green monster with aplomb, and I truly though this would be an epic year for him. Thing is, he was almost on that route for a time this year - through 87 games, he’d belted 29 two-baggers and owned a ridiculous .321/.386/.547 (.933) line while playing brilliant, high-profile shortstop for playoff-bound Boston.
Alas, a late July wrist injury sapped his swing a bit, he missed time down the stretch, and only played in 144 games, doubling just 5 more times all year. Still, he finished with a 127 OPS+ and 4.9 bWAR, and will get some down-ballot votes in the AL MVP race that will surely be dominated by Shohei Ohtani and Vlad Guerrero, Jr.
Zero powerball numbers awarded here.
The Milwaukee Brewers win the NL Central
Now we’re talking. The Milwaukee Brewers won the NL Central in 2021. It’s right there in the books.
I was not pristine here, however. I banked on Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Keston Hiura, among others, though I did plainly say “Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes form the best 1-2 pitching combo half of America has never heard of” and “might even be in the market to land a major shortstop rental at the trade deadline.”
If Nostradamus was that close, there’d have been two episodes about it on The History Channel in 2001, back before it became The American Pickers 24/7 Channel.
Powerball numbers: 7, 16
Trevor Story gets traded to the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline
The Brewers acquired shortstop Willy Adames in a blockbuster in May, and he debuted on May 22nd when they were just 22-23 in the standings. They went on to finish 95-67.
Willy Adames is not Trevor Story, though I mentioned at the time how oddly specific this particular prediction was. Point was, the Brewers needed shortstop help, and I didn’t think either Luis Urias or Orlando Arcia were going to be the answers - and, most importantly, the Brewers have an ownership and front office who seem committed to winning baseball games, and it just seemed inevitable they’d make the kind of over-the-top move to get better.
It came in Adames, not Story, and now gives them a cornerstone piece for not just 2021, but beyond. Imagine that.
Powerball number: 28
Juan Soto posts a .472 OBP
Today, this very day, Juan Soto is still younger than Joey Votto was when Joey Votto made his MLB debut. Younger by a ton, too - 350 days, two weeks shy of a full year.
He’s barely 23. Would you care to know what his OBP is since the start of the 2020 season?
In 198 games (850 PA) since then, he owns a .471 OBP.
Powerball numbers: 49, 61
The Atlanta Braves win the 2021 World Series
This post was originally going to run at about 9 AM ET today, but instead I stayed up a little later than planned after watching the Atlanta Braves win the 2021 World Series.
Admittedly, back in March I was sold on the future exploits of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mike Soroka, and neither played a part in their epic run to the title thanks to unfortunate, debilitating injuries. I wish them both all the best, because they’re the engine behind a club that seems poised for big, big things going forward (if they can just sign Freddie Freeman to an extension).
Jorge Soler won the World Series MVP, not Ozzie Albies, and the Braves bested Houston, not the Yankees. Albies did win the world a free taco, though, so there’s that.