Back in March, while we were still under the tyrannical leadership of Lewie Pollis (I kid. He was great.) we completed a number of surveys and provided some predictions for the 2013 season. Now that the Indians have been eliminated from postseason competition, I figured it would be a blast to take a look back at these predictions in order to see how much we got right, how much we got wrong, and, most importantly, who should be embarrassed by their abilities to see into the future.
Naturally, the best place to start should be with the Indians’ record and standing in the AL Central. Surprisingly, we all did pretty well in this area. Out of everyone surveyed, about 71% felt that the Indians would finish in second place in the division. Not too shabby considering that’s exactly where the Indians ended up. Only Merritt Rohlfing, host of Wahoo’s on the Mic felt the team would finish in first. He was close considering they only finished a game back of the Tigers.
As for the record, we were all pretty cautious in terms of how many games we thought the Indians would win. This shouldn’t have been all that surprising. After the was 2012 ended, who could have possibly seen the Indians winning 92 games? That would have been an absurd prediction. The majority or responders to our survey felt that the Indians would win 85 games with only three, Lewie Pollis, Merritt Roglfing, and Geordy Boveroux predicting the team would win 87 games.
Perhaps the most discouraging prediction we made as a group had to do with the Indians and their playoff aspirations. Again, based on the end of the 2012 season and the acquisitions the Indians made in the offseason, not many of us felt they were a playoff team. Considering the Tigers would once again be loaded and the Royals were an up and coming team, there was reason to doubt the Indians could win enough games to get there. Shows what we know.
However, while we may have swung and missed on the team as a whole, we did manage to be pretty spot on in terms of our opinions on the Tribe’s acquisitions. For instance, nobody thought very highly of the Brett Meyers signing with a whopping 88.9% of responders believing he was the worst offseason move. Mark Reynolds finished a distant second and proved to be a halfway decent answer as well. At least the Indians managed to get two somewhat solid months out of him. The same can’t be said of Meyers.
Which low profile acquisition did we think would have the biggest impact? Before the season started we believed it would be Scott Kazmir and in all honesty, that probably was the best answer. Other possibilities we listed were Mike Aviles, Jason Giambi, and Drew Stubbs. Looking back on things now, we probably would have swapped Yan Gomes for Aviles and given him a few more votes.
Best hitter? As a group we decided on Carlos Santana in the top spot. Would we vote that same way now? Possibly, but odds are Michael Brantley would receive some serious votes after the way he performed in 2013.
Best pitcher? This one was easy at the beginning of the season and is probably just as easy now. Justin Masterson was the Indians best pitcher this season, by far. Looking back now, though, Vinnie Pestano probably isn’t on this list, Ubaldo Jimenez probably finishes higher, and either Scott Kazmir or Corey Kluber would make an appearance.
And the Indians breakout player in 2013? Well according to our brain trust, Lonnie Chisenhall should have become a star in 2013. That didn’t happen. Chisenhall struggled again and even took another demotion to Triple A Columbus. Michael Brantley had another solid year, but it probably wouldn’t be considered a breakout. If voting took place now, Yan Gomes would probably receive a decent share of the votes. Back in March, he wasn’t even in the conversation. Also worth noting, Jason Kipnis made the all-star team and had a June to remember.
And finally, what about our individual predictions? Well, it got pretty ugly. Here is what our staff members at the time had to say about the 2013 Cleveland Indians.
Nick Houghtaling (Wahoo’s on First):Scott Kazmir will have a decent year and remain in the Tribe’s rotation throughout. Michael Brantley will improve on his 2012 season and become one of the Indians’ best players.
Geordy Boveroux (Wahoo’s on First): The Indians draft Mark Appel fifth overall in the MLB Draft. They throw their entire bonus pool into signing him, and get him on the field by July 1. He kills it at Lake County, and storms through Kinston over the summer. As August nears, the Tribe needs a boost. Trevor Bauer has been great, with an ERA around 3.50 and a K/9 above 7.5 while limiting walks to a serviceable number, but they need just one more impact arm. When rosters expand, Antonetti surprises everyone and calls up Appel who has a David Price-like run through September and into the playoffs from the ‘pen.
Evan Vogel (Wahoo’s on First): Lonnie Chisenhall will hit 20 HR while posting a solid AVG and terrible OBP, but he will solidify third base for years to come. Ubaldo Jimenezpitches to contact and lowers his walk rate, re-establishing himself as a solid starting pitching option.
Jeff Mount (Wahoo’s on First): Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco will replace Brett Myers and Ubaldo Jimenez in the rotation at midseason and lead a second-half surge withZach McAllister and Justin Masterson that puts the Indians in contention and creates a wave of optimism for 2014.
Merritt Rohlfing (Wahoo’s on First): Lonnie Chisenhall wins a batting title, or is at least in the running for it.
Lewie Pollis (Wahoo’s on First): The Indians’ front office and coaching staff win more individual awards than the players.
Steve Kinsella (Wahoo’s on First): The Indians will draw well at Progressive Field. The starting pitching staff will be much better than anyone imagines (above league average).
Brian Heise (Wahoo’s on First): Scott Kazmir will usurp Ubaldo Jimenez as the #2 starter behind Justin Masterson. Michael Brantley will hit 20 home runs out of nowhere.
Katrina Putnam (Wahoo’s on First): Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez will shock everyone by winning 15 games each, Carlos Santana will have a breakout year and hit at least 30 home runs, and the Indians will narrowly win a wild card spot.