Before the season began, the Purple Row staff attempted to gaze into the crystal ball and make some predictions. Some were bad, some were good, and some of them were just ugly. At Purple Row, we believe in accountability, so we’re going to review all of those predictions and what actually happened.
Let’s start with division winners. As a staff, we correctly picked the Dodgers winning the NL West with San Francisco Giants placing second. However, we flipped the finishing order of the Diamondback and the Rockies, but were once again correct in predicting a last place finish for the hapless Padres.
In the rest of the divisions, the NL central was the only other one that we picked the first place team, the Chicago Cubs, correctly. Interestingly enough though, we picked all the winners of the other four divisions to place second in their respective divisions.
Now the fun part: our Rockies-specific bold predictions. Some of the bolder predictions ended up correct. While some of the safer picks ended up completely wrong. Get your mocking caps on. Let’s see what we said.
Bobby predicted that Tony Wolters would make the Opening Day roster. It was rather bold at the time, and he nailed it. But this ended up being his only correct prediction. If he would have predicted Wolters breaking out with the bat in the second half while being one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and that despite all that he would still be behind Nick Hundley on the depth chart for the entire season, then we could credit him more.
Ryan Freemyer predicted that Charlie Blackmon would have a higher adjusted offensive output than Nolan Arenado. And he did. Blackmon finished the season with a 130 wRC+ and Arenado with a 124 wRC+. On a related prediction, Bryan predicted that Blackmon would also lead the team in offense, and thanks to Walt Weiss’s shenanigans to lock up DJ LeMahieu’s batting title, this came true on the last day of the season. Blackmon entered game 162 two points behind LeMahieu for the team lead (126 wRC+ to 128 wRC+), and thanks to his four-hit day, Blackmon jumped to the top.
There were four home run total predictions for individual Rockies. Two were correct and two missed the mark by a very large margin. Isaac predicted that Trevor Story would hit more than 25 home runs, and despite playing only 97 games before injuring his thumb, Story hit 27. This one gets half-credit because he didn’t predict more than 25 home runs in fewer than 100 games.
The other correct prediction was Eric’s call that Mark Reynolds would hit fewer than 20 home runs with one or two surpassing 450 feet. Reynold only hit 14, but two of them were moon shots measuring 461 and 486 feet. However, Eric’s other semi-pessimistic prediction did not come true. He said that Arenado would hit fewer than 30 home runs, and he ended up with a cool 41; however, Eric also predicted that Arenado would improve his walk rate, and it jumped from 5.1 percent in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016.
The last home run prediction was Bobby’s and sadly and it missed the mark. By a lot. Bobby predicted that Reynolds would hit more than 35 home runs. He hit 14.
Speaking of ugly predictions, and also ugly seasons in general, Thomas predicted that Ryan Raburn and Gerardo Parra would combine to produce 3 WAR as a left-field combination. They ended up combining for more than -3. Maybe he just forgot the minus sign? Not nearly as bad, but still coming up short, was Ryan F’s forecast of at least 3 WAR from the Rockies’ SS position. That would have been easily accomplished if Story would have played more games; however, the negative production of Adames while filling in put that prediction on ice.
Charlie Drysdale thought that David Dahl would make the majors this year and accumulate 1.5 WAR while playing center field. While he was correct on the timeline, becuase Dahl played most of his games in left field as opposed to center, he came up just a bit short with 1.2 WAR.
Only one staff prediction about the Rockies pitchers was correct. Ryan F said that De La Rosa would finally show his age and post an ERA over five, and that’s exactly what he did.
Other than that though, we missed the pitching. We’re not good at playing clairvoyant.
Bobby misplaced skepticism and optimism when he said that Ottavino would have an ERA over 5.00 (actual ERA was 2.67) and that McGee would have an ERA under 2.50 (actual ERA was 4.73). Carolyn thought Matzek would return to the Rockies rotation in late July. That’s the type of missed prediction that’s more sad than anything else. Finally, Isaac predicted that Miguel Castro would become the Rockies new closer once Jake McGee was traded, which was wrong on both accounts.
My only two predictions centered on Trevor Story. First, I said that he would produce more fWAR than Troy Tulowitzki. The basis of this prediction was that Story would stay healthier than Tulo and accumulate more WAR over the length of a full season than Tulo would in an abbreviated season due to injury. But it was Story who suffered an injury shortened season, and it was Tulo who was around for 131 games. Story’s freak thumb injury shortened his season by two months. But, despite that he would still produce more fWAR than Tulo. If we turn to rWAR, Tulo managed to sneak by Story on the last two days of the season. Whether you consider this a correct or incorrect prediction, Story and his impressive rookie season shine.
And now to think about what sort of bold predictions to make before the 2017 Rockies season. It’s just six months away.