2005 Baseball Predictions: Revisited

Now that the 2005 regular season is in the books, I’ll take a look back at what I predicted in March and compare that to where we stand today. For each division, my prediction is on the left, and the actual result is on the right.

American League

East

Boston Red Sox
101
61
0.623

Boston Red Sox
95
67
0.586

New York Yankees
100
62
0.617
1

New York Yankees
95
67
0.586

Baltimore Orioles
79
83
0.488
22

Baltimore Orioles
74
88
0.457
22

Toronto Blue Jays
68
94
0.420
33

Toronto Blue Jays
80
82
0.494
33

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
62
100
0.383
39

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
67
95
0.414
39

Both the Red Sox and Yankees were a bit worse than I expected. I thought both pitching staffs would hold up better than they actually did, and they finished 5-6 games worse than I predicted. I actually said the Sox would win the division, but the Yanks won on a tiebreaker. As a result of this slightly lessened dominance, the rest of the division was a little better than I predicted. I thought the Blue Jays were worse than they turned out, and the Baltimore offense never picked up like I expected. Overall, I suppose I did fairly well, but this is the division that recently finished in the exact same order for seven consecutive years.

Central

Minnesota Twins
90
72
0.556

Chicago White Sox
99
63
0.611

Cleveland Indians
82
80
0.506
8

Cleveland Indians
93
69
0.574
6

Chicago White Sox
81
81
0.500
9

Minnesota Twins
83
79
0.512
16

Detroit Tigers
80
82
0.494
10

Detroit Tigers
71
91
0.438
28

Kansas City Royals
59
103
0.364
31

Kansas City Royals
56
106
0.346
43

In the Central, the White Sox were the surprise of the season, winning 99 games to take the top seed in the AL playoffs. Their pitching was unreal for the first part of the season, and they rode that success through the summer, but they sputtered at the end and nearly lost the division to the surging Indians. The Indians became a good team about a year earlier than I expected, and they ended up knocking my predicted division winner down to third. The Twins’ young players didn’t produce, and even though Johan Santana had another great year, the offense just couldn’t get him enough runs for them to win games. Detroit failed to improve this year, falling short of both my expectations and the GM’s, as evidenced by the firing of Alan Trammell as manager. Kansas City, as I predicted, was the worst team in either league.

West

Anaheim Angels
90
72
0.556

Anaheim Angels
95
67
0.586

Seattle Mariners
82
80
0.506
8

Oakland Athletics
88
74
0.543
7

Oakland Athletics
81
81
0.500
9

Texas Rangers
79
83
0.488
16

Texas Rangers
77
85
0.475
13

Seattle Mariners
69
93
0.426
26

The West was basically true to form, aside from my overly optimistic prediction for the Mariners. Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson failed to provide the punch the Mariners needed, and they improved just six games on 2004’s dismal record. They’re a great candidate for improvement in 2006, though, given a full year of Felix Hernandez and a little better luck (their Pythagorean record was a more-respectable 75-87). Thanks to the Mariners’ continued demise, all three remaining teams had slightly better records than I predicted. Many predicted a complete meltdown from Oakland, but I had them at .500 because of their great young talent. They rode a midseason win streak to 88 wins for the season, and they could make things more interesting for the Angels next season.

In the AL playoffs, I actually nailed one of the playoff matchups, the Yankees and Angels (although I had New York as the home team). I still think the Yankees and Red Sox will meet again in the ALCS, since the White Sox were terrible down the stretch. The Angels and Yankees should have a more interesting series, and if I had to re-pick, I’d probably give the Yankees the edge in five. I’ll stick to my preseason prediction of the Red Sox to win the AL once again.

National League

East

Atlanta Braves
89
73
0.549

Atlanta Braves
90
72
0.556

Florida Marlins
87
75
0.537
2

Philadelphia Phillies
88
74
0.543
2

Philadelphia Phillies
86
76
0.531
3

Florida Marlins
83
79
0.512
7

New York Mets
82
80
0.506
7

New York Mets
83
79
0.512
7

Washington Nationals
61
101
0.377
28

Washington Nationals
81
81
0.500
9

For four of the NL East teams, I predicted them within two wins of their actual total. The Nationals were the surprise of the NL, leading the division for some time with a large negative run differential. That caught up to them in the end, as I said it would all season, and they ended up finishing last in the division, as I predicted (only about 20 games better). The Braves won their 14th consecutive division title, and I’ll probably pick them for a 15th next March. Every year, other analysts predict their demise, and every year they have to eat those words. I’ll be wrong eventually, but this was not the year. I pegged the Marlins as the Wild Card, which almost turned out right until they tanked in the few weeks of the season. In the end, every team in the NL East finished at .500 or better, which to my knowledge has never occurred in the division play era.

Central

St. Louis Cardinals
98
64
0.605

St. Louis Cardinals
100
62
0.617

Houston Astros
87
75
0.537
11

Houston Astros
89
73
0.549
11

Chicago Cubs
87
75
0.537
11

Milwaukee Brewers
81
81
0.500
19

Milwaukee Brewers
77
85
0.475
21

Chicago Cubs
79
83
0.488
21

Cincinnati Reds
75
87
0.463
23

Cincinnati Reds
73
89
0.451
27

Pittsburgh Pirates
69
93
0.426
29

Pittsburgh Pirates
67
95
0.414
33

The Central turned out basically as planned, aside from the Cubs, whose season was derailed by countless injuries to key components. With a full season from Nomar and reasonably good contributions from Prior and Wood, they probably would have made a run at the Wild Card. St. Louis was clearly the team to beat, and they won 100 games despite not having regular production from guys like Scott Rolen. Milwaukee was a little better than I expected, and they would have been even better, had Ben Sheets not struggled to stay healthy. The Cardinals, Astros, Reds, and Pirates all came within two games of my predictions for them. Once again, the Astros came storming back down the stretch to win the Wild Card again, this time after everyone had written them off as one of the league’s worst teams in April and May.

West

Los Angeles Dodgers
95
67
0.586

San Diego Padres
82
80
0.506

San Francisco Giants
87
75
0.537
8

Arizona Diamondbacks
77
85
0.475
5

San Diego Padres
83
79
0.512
12

San Francisco Giants
75
87
0.463
7

Arizona Diamondbacks
70
92
0.432
24

Los Angeles Dodgers
71
91
0.438
11

Colorado Rockies
65
97
0.401
30

Colorado Rockies
67
95
0.414
15

The NL West was a disaster this year on the field, and the Padres nearly won the division with a losing record. I was actually only a game off on my prediction for them, but I had them in third place, behind the hugely disappointing Dodgers and Giants. I thought DePodesta had finally put together a good team, but the Dodgers limped in with just 71 wins. I thought Bonds would be back a lot sooner than he actually did come back, and I thought Jason Schmidt would be a Cy Young-caliber pitcher again, but neither of those predictions came through, and the Giants fell to 75 wins. I reached some kind of middle ground on the D-Backs, whose 77-85 record was actually 13 games than predicted based on run scoring (they were outscored by a run a game for the whole season), so I suppose my 70-win prediction was something of a compromise. People might be shocked at how bad they could be next year without some major contributions from young guys like Conor Jackson. The Rockies overcame a miserable first half to finish with 67 wins, two more than I predicted. They’re still years away from another winning season, if they ever have another one in Colorado. Had the rest of their division been better this year, they might have struggled to out-win the Royals.

My NL playoff matchups were off because I picked the wild card from the wrong division, but I’ll stand by the Braves and Cardinals to advance, with the Cardinals meeting the Red Sox in a rematch of last year’s World Series. I think the Cardinals are the most complete team in baseball right now, and they will be tough to beat, but anything can happen in a short series (which is a topic for another article), so I’m comfortable with my prediction for the Red Sox to repeat.

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