Now that Atlanta’s World Series victory officially ended MLB’s season, it’s time to take a look back at our staff predictions from the end of March. All of our World Series predictions were wrong, unsurprisingly. This is a Yankees blog, after all, and not picking the team to win it all would have been sacrilegious. I’m sure we’ll do the same for 2022, provided that the team has a good offseason.
For today’s post, let’s evaluate all of our preseason bold predictions. I’m going to categorize everybody’s guesses in three groups: Good, Close Enough, and Whiffs. Keep in mind that these predictions were intended to be longshots in the first place. With that, let’s reflect on them:
Bobby: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will combine for 280 games played.
Judge (148) and Stanton (139) indeed combined to reach the 280 game threshold. This was a huge feat considering that in the three prior years as teammates, the duo played in 441 of 768 possible regular season games (57.4 percent). That mark was 88.5 percent this season. If we knew Bobby would be right about this back in March, we’d have figured the Yankees’ offense would cruise this season. Alas.
Randy: Tyler Wade will justify his backup role.
For all the disdain Wade gets (and we know he’s Randy’s favorite player), he actually recorded a pretty good stat line this year. While there was no power to speak of, he did hit .268/.354/.323 (92 wRC+) and stole 17 bases in 23 attempts. His bat and legs, along with his defensive versatility, garnered 1 WAR, per FanGraphs. Granted, Baseball Reference (0.5) and Baseball Prospectus (-0.1) gave Wade less credit, but the traditional statistics previously cited made him look like a fine backup.
Randy: Jameson Taillon will be the Yankees’ number two starter based on performance by the end of the season.
I originally categorized this in the Good section, but I’m going to place it in this grouping instead. Randy, feel free to quibble with me on this. I think I’m leaning toward Jordan Montgomery as the team’s #2 by the end of the year. My reasoning: Taillon, even before his ankle injury, started to stumble in August (5.52 ERA in 31 innings). Meanwhile, Monty allowed three or fewer runs in 23 of 29 starts this season and was pretty darn consistent. He also had Taillon beat in ERA, FIP, xERA, DRA, et. al.
Bobby: Jordan Montgomery will post a sub-3.50 ERA in 150+ innings.
Bobby could have been right if Montgomery didn’t have that disastrous start on his last outing of the year against Tampa. The lefty entered his October 2nd start with a 3.49 ERA, but exited with a 3.83 mark in 157.1 innings pitched.
Matt: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will combine to hit 90 home runs.
Ana: One of Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton will hit 50 home runs.
So Judge (39) and Stanton (35) hit 74 long balls altogether, but I want to give Matt and Ana credit for this one in spirit. I mean, I don’t think they were way off the mark here, right?
Ana: Luis Severino will be in the postseason rotation.
Like Matt’s above, I’m giving some credit to Ana for this one even though it’s not technically correct. Sevy wound up in the bullpen at season’s end, and had the team advanced to the ALDS, it was pretty clear he was going to play a pivotal role in relief. In any case, at the heart of Ana’s prediction, I think the point was that Severino would be important to the Yankees come October.
Rohan: Aaron Judge will stay healthy all season.
So close! If not for Judge’s stint on the COVID-19 injured list from July 16th to 27th, this would have come true. And given that Judge has spent time on the injured list with baseball-related injuries each year since 2018, this was indeed a bold prediction.
Me: Corey Kluber will win 20 games.
Lol. He won 5. Hey, these were bold predictions after all.
Me: Clint Frazier will hit 40 home runs.
Ana: Clint Frazier will hit 30 home runs.
Randy: Clint Frazier will lead the Yankees in home runs.
Oof, a bunch of us were expecting big things for Frazier in 2021. Instead, Clint only hit 5 this season and finished the season on the injured list with vertigo, potentially a scary recurrence of post-concussion symptoms. I was all-in on Frazier after his stellar 2020.
Me: Gleyber Torres will be a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop.
What was I thinking? Gleyber was not good at all defensively and was eventually moved back to second base before season’s end.
Bobby: Mike Tauchman will post a 115 wRC+.
Tauchman had a 53 wRC+ in pinstripes across 16 plate appearances before he was traded to San Francisco for Wandy Peralta. Post-trade, Tauchman had a 64 wRC+ for the Giants before he was designated for assignment.
Matt: Gerrit Cole will strike out 300 batters.
Cole fanned 243 batters in 181.1 innings this season. He missed time on the COVID-19 injured list and also dealt with hamstring trouble in September, both of which likely cost him an opportunity to get to 300. Even so, I’m not so sure he gets there at full strength. It may be a tad unfair to say this was a whiff, because it could have been close if he was healthy, but he did wind up falling short.
Matt: Gary Sánchez will lead the league in Caught Stealing percentage.
This was actually one of Gary’s worst season’s throwing-wise. His arm is typically a strength, but this year, he gunned down 10 of 60 base stealers (16.7%). Salvador Pérez led the majors with a 43.9 percent rate.
Rohan: Luis Medina will make his MLB debut.
Medina had a good but not great season in the minors and topped out with Double-A Somerset. I personally was curious to see the Yankees try him out in relief at the end of the season, but that never happened.
Rohan: Aaron Hicks will hit 35 home runs.
The center fielder hit just four homers in 126 plate appearances before wrist surgery ended his season early. Had Rohan been right, Hicks would have beaten his previous career high of 27 in 2018.
Jaime: Nick Nelson will be a top-4 reliever for the Yankees.
Nope. Nelson was pretty bad and had an 8.79 ERA in 14.1 major league frames. He looked pretty promising in his major league stints in 2020, but nothing went wright for him this year.
Jaime: The Yankees will win at least 105 games.
The Yankees won 92 games. Oh well.
Jaime: Gleyber Torres will have the highest wRC+ of the team’s infielders.
It’s OK Jaime, I also went 0-for-3 on my bold predictions. Anthony Rizzo (113 wRC+), Luke Voit (111 wRC+), DJ LeMahieu (100 wRC+), and Gio Urshela (96 wRC+) all beat Torres (94 wRC+).
There’s no clear cut winner here with Bobby and Randy as co-champions of in accuracy of their bold predictions. What do they win? Braggin rights, or an argument over my assessment of their predictions. Maybe next year we’ll have someone come out on top.