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Revisiting Royals Review’s preseason predictions

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So many things wrong with this.

MLB: All-Star Game
Salvy lifts Jose Altuve above Aaron Judge to predict the AL MVP race.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever reason we ended up having both a pre-season round table with a bunch of predictions and plain ol’ predictions thread. While the other was much more specific to the Royals, this one hit a lot of general baseball stuff, too, which gave the Kevins that many more opportunities to screw up.

Royals’ record, player WAR leader and pitcher WAR leader

Every single writer successfully picked Danny Duffy as the pitching WAR leader by fWAR, though Jason Vargas had more by bWAR. Good job, team! For the position player WAR leader the team was mostly split between Lorenzo Cain (who tied Eric Hosmer for the lead by fWAR and won it outright by bWAR) and Mike Moustakas. Mike might have been up there but his defense took a drastic nose-dive by most metrics.

As for the records even the the two most optimistic scribes, Hokius and sterlingice, predicted only 87 wins for the Royals. The most accurate writers were Shaun Newkirk and Max Rieper who figured the Royals would get 78 wins.

The really interesting bit here, though, are the comments and explanations that came with these predictions. Shaun thought that not much separated the Royals from the Twins - and he was right! The two teams were battling for the second wild card spot most of the season and had several hard-fought games. Ryan Heffernon thought they had one last gasp in them but would not replicated 2015. He was also right - they had a beautiful 10 wins in 11 games streak but were otherwise unable to repeat much of what made the 2015 squad so successful. He also thought the AL would be tough which was less accurate.

Timothy Webber guessed that things would never quite come together and the Royals would sputter down the stretch. There really isn’t a much more accurate description of what it felt like to watch this team than that. Finally, Farmhand suggested that the Royals would be around the Wild Card spot all year but unable to claim it. Extremely accurate prediction!

MLB Standings

There’s a lot going on here. For the East standings the person who was the closest was Matthew LaMar who correctly predicted Boston would win the division and that the Yankees would be the wild card. Actually, everyone correctly predicted the Red Sox would be in the playoffs, only Farmhand and Max were unconvinced that adding Chris Sale to their team would cause them to win the division.

In the central it was unanimously and correctly predicted that Cleveland would win the division and incorrectly that Chicago would be the worst team in the division. After that sterlingice and Hokius were both too optimistic and predicted a Royals’ wild card appearance. Webber was the only one to predict the wild card Twins as high as third place. Matthew went so far as to predict a Tigers wild card appearance - the only thing more laughable than the Royals predictions.

For the West only sterlingice and Webber were silly enough to not see the Astros domination coming but even they knew Houston would make it to the postseason. Duggan, Ryan, and Shaun all thought the Rangers would represent a wild card spot while Farmhand and Hokius thought the Mariners might make it. Only LaMar and Max correctly predicted no wild card team would come from the AL West.

The NL was a bit less varied. Absolutely no one saw the Diamondbacks or Rockies coming though Hokius was the lone crazy man who thought the Padres might finish as high as third. Max was the only one who thought both teams would finish second and third in the division. In contrast everyone saw the Cubs and Dodgers winning their divisions from miles away.

As for the Wildcard predictions that absolutely everyone whiffed on we have Farmhand, Ryan, Hokius, Shaun and Timothy all picking the Giants. Ryan, Matthew, Shaun, and Max all picked the Mets. Ryan, Hokius, Matthew and Max all picked the Cardinals. Duggan, Farmhand, and sterlingice all went with the Nationals - the only three who didn’t pick the team to win the division. Josh and sterlingice were brave enough to pick the Pirates and finally Timothy came out of left field with a Marlins wild card prediction. Such a large variety of astonishing whiffs and failures.

Max also correctly pointed out in his explanations that the Giants were going to be absolutely awful.

Awards

As far as AL MVP Farmhand managed to correctly predict Jose Altuve. The next most right were sterlingice, Newkirk, and Ryan who guessed fourth place finisher Mike Trout would earn the honor. After them came Hokius and and Matthew Lamar whose choice, Francisco Lindor, finished fifth. Mookie Betts, the choice of Mr. Webber, came in sixth. Finally Max and Duggan picked Carlos Correa who finished seventeenth - two spots behind the Royals’ own Eric Hosmer.

A few more people were right about the AL Cy Young Award Winner. Duggan, LaMar, and Webber all correctly guessed Corey Kluber would take home the honors. Silver medalist Chris Sale was the choice of Hokius and Newkirk. Max seemed to come out of left field with his Marcus Stroman pick but he actually did come in eighth. After that we have the big whiffs. sterlingice showed his Texas inclinations and picked Yu Darvish, who didn’t even finish the year with that team. Farmhand wanted Dallas Keuchel which seemed reasonable, though he didn’t get a vote. Lastly Heffernon came on strong with the home-town bias and picked Danny Duffy as this year’s AL MVP.

A lot of our writers picked various White Sox for the AL Rookie of the Year honors. None of them got any votes making Duggan and Hokius (Yoan Moncada) as well as LaMar (Lucas Giolito) look bad. But at least Moncada got in some games before the end of August. Heffernon, sterlingice, and Webber all guessed Boston’s Andrew Benintendi who came in second. But Max stunned us all by correctly guessing that the entirely over-matched outfielder from late 2016, Aaron Judge, would blossom into a superstar this year.

Over on the NL side every single writer who was willing to take a stab at it picked Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson. Poor Dansby looked overmatched all year with a .252/.330/.376 slash line which can only look good in comparison to Alex Gordon or Alcides Escobar. Cody Bellinger was on absolutely no one’s radar around here before he unanimously took home the award.

Likewise no one successfully guessed the NL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer. Almost everyone liked runner-up Clayton Kershaw far more. Hokius and Max both whiffed in choosing Noah Syndergaard while Farmhand went his own way in selecting Jake Arrieta - neither pitcher amassed any Cy Young votes at all.

Finally no one guessed eventual MVP winner Giancarlo Stanton, either. It’s almost like the Royals Review writers have no clue what’s happening in the NL. Hokius, Heffernon, and and Newkirk all agreed that eventual twelfth place winner Bryce Harper would be the guy. Duggan doubled down on his Kershaw Love but Kershaw came in eighteenth place, behind several of his teammates. One of those teammates was not Corey Seager who came in nineteenth despite being the preferred choice of both Max and Matt. sterlingice with the off-the-wall Andrew McCutchen pick didn’t make it on the board. The closest anyone got were Farmhand and Webber who both guessed Kris Bryant, our eventual seventh place winner with a single first place vote by the real voters.

Playoffs

In the ALCS people were all over the place with their predictions as to who would make it and who would win it. While Duggan, Farmhand, and Max all correctly chose the Astros as the winners none of them picked the team the Astros would play against. In fact absolutely no one thought the Yankees could make it to the ALCS at all from Royals Review. Perhaps a little bit of anti-New York bias slipped into the choices?

Despite the earlier NL inaccuracies three people actually correctly anticipated the Dodgers winning the pennant over the Cubs: Heffernon, LaMar, and Newkirk. Webber, Hokius, Duggan, and Farmhand all managed to choose the correct participants but the wrong winner. Max and sterlingice were living in a dream world where the Nationals and Pirates could make it that far - the Pirates missed the post-season entirely, of course. Only Max, however, correctly predicted the eventual world series victor even though he thought the Nationals would be their opponent. All three prognosticators who guessed the Dodgers could get that far figured they’d face off against Boston. Duggan, Farmhand, and Hokius all guessed the Cubs would be repeat as champs, while sterlingice figured Cleveland would have their revenge.

From the comments

  • Opie Curious correctly surmised that Farmhand was living in a dream world with his Jake Arrieta for NL Cy Young pick. Also that the Royals wouldn’t be bad enough to convince Moore to sell. In a feat of super-powered prediction prowess they predicted that the AL would have four great teams, not five, allowing the Royals to think they were in it until too late. Opie had a lot of other great predictions; too many to name here. Go check them out, though. Good job Opie.
  • ZWal93 gave a thorough breakdown of choices. He thought the Giants would be in the post season, but also correctly guessed the Dodgers would take out the Cubs in the NLCS. He thought the Mariners would make the playoffs but correctly guessed Cleveland wouldn’t make it out of the ALDS and that the Astros would go to the World Series. Despite getting the matchup right he figured the Dodgers would win in 5. Whoops!
  • Daloath asserted that even if the Royals sold in July there was no way they would finish below the Twins. The same Twins that the Royals finished behind despite the fact that the Twins sold and the Royals bought.
  • Shaun defended the Twins and everyone mocked him. You are vindicated, Newkirk!
  • Like Daloath, Seenely wanted to assure us all that the Royals wouldn’t finish last. They picked the White Sox as the team they could definitely beat. They were right! No one ever imagined Detroit would finish last in the division, though.
  • ArrowFan thought over/under on the AL Central was 90 Wins. Cleveland finished with 102. They also guessed over/under on the AL WC was 85. That was a much better guess, the very same number of wins the Twins finished with.
  • pete_clarf had some very detailed projections. Among them were that Cain and Duffy would be the most valuable Royals (yep), that the Cubs would beat the Astros in the World Series (nope), and the same terrible NL Rookie of the Year pick as the staff (hahaha no).
  • Several commenters guessed the Royals would finish with 86 wins and a Wild Card spot. 86 wins would have been enough, but the Royals only got 80. Sorry seamswind, Brandt34, mitchfreakingmaier!, Brett_390s, pete_clarf, aHorseWithNoName, and ArrowFan.
  • royals2017champs unsurprisingingly picked the Royals to go to the post-season. The depth of the team was incorrectly cited as a strength and that was the downfall of that prediction.
  • Roaryals guessed the world series matchup and conclusion successfully.
  • stram#1 guessed Joakim Soria would give them a heart attack. Probably true, even though Soria was not that bad.
  • William David Smith IV indicated that they felt like they had been smoking PCP but figured the team for 90 wins. Don’t do drugs, kids.
  • KHAZAD successfully guessed that we would all be wrong - particularly that at least on ROTY would make us look stupid and at least one team would make the playoffs despite no one picking them.

Time for one last prediction, this year. The Royals will re-sign none of their big five free agents (Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Jason Vargas). How many do you think they’ll bring back?

Poll

How many of the Royals’ big five will return in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    1
    (63 votes)
  • 16%
    2
    (29 votes)
  • 5%
    3
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    4
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    5
    (3 votes)
  • 39%
    0
    (69 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now