Prior to the season starting, the staff of Burning River Baseball got together to make some bold predictions about what would happen by the end of the season, guessing the team award winners (handed out earlier this week), triple crown stat leaders and the final disposition of the AL Central. Being as bold as we are, we don't make these predictions then forget about them, we bask in the glory of their mistakes.
|Most Improved Player||Scott Kazmir||Justin Masterson||Carlos Carrasco||Ubaldo Jimenez|
|Rookie of the Year Award||Cody Allen||Trevor Bauer||C.C. Lee||Tim Fedroff|
|Best Reliever||Cody Allen||Vinnie Pestano||Vinnie Pestano||Joe Smith|
|Most Outstanding Defender||Michael Brantley||Michael Bourn||Drew Stubbs||Jason Kipnis|
|Most Outstanding Hitter||Jason Kipnis||Jason Kipnis||Lonnie Chisenhall||Nick Swisher|
|Best Overall Pitcher||Justin Masterson||Vinnie Pestano||Vinnie Pestano||Joe Smith|
|Best Overall Player||Jason Kipnis||Jason Kipnis||Lonnie Chisenhall||Asdrubal Cabrera|
Jen was the closest on the most improved player, but nothing could have beaten what Scott Kazmir did by coming back from the Independent leagues to be a force in the rotation. He will likely win comeback player of the year for the entire American League. Masterson was better than last year, but again, could not compare to Kazmir or Jimenez. Mike's wishful thinking didn't work out as Carrasco disappointed everyone in the world as the worst pitcher on the Indians staff.
Prior to the season, rookie of the year seemed hard to pick, more-so because there was a rule that Allen was ineligible because of his 2012 season. He technically just got under the innings limit, so he did win this year, but there was still another player that would have been a fair guess in Danny Salazar. Lee was the next best guess as he actually made the team and pitched fairly out of bullpen in a couple appearances while Bauer struggled in his few starts. Fedroff was released before ever making it to the parent club.
The best reliever picks were essentially just us picking the best player from last year to do it again, something there will be quite a bit of from here on out. Obviously, Pestano was dreadful, but the Smith pick was good as he was a very close number two to Allen.
The top defender picks were all solid defensive players and had strong consideration for the award, but this year it went to Brantley for going above and beyond the others with Yan Gomes taking runner up.
The first outright correct pick was my choice of Kipnis for top hitter (and top overall player later on). Chisenhall confounded everyone by not playing anywhere near expectations, although the pick was a long shot from the beginning. Swisher was the best of the new additions to the offense, but ended the season behind Carlos Santana and Brantley in overall offensive greatness.
The top pitcher voting again reflected last season, while this year, the top three pitchers were all starters; Masterson, Jimenez and Corey Kluber. The top overall player voting was similar to the top hitter, with Kipnis taking it easily while Chisenhall and Cabrera both under-performed.
|HR||Nick Swisher||Nick Swisher||Asdrubal Cabrera||Carlos Santana|
|RBI||Jason Kipnis||Carlos Santana||Nick Swisher||Jason Kipnis|
|AVG||Jason Kipnis||Michael Brantley||Asdrubal Cabrera||Michael Bourn|
|W||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson||Zach McAllister|
|K||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson||Ubaldo Jimenez|
|ERA||Ubaldo Jimenez||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson||Zach McAllister|
These picks worked out much better than award picks with at least one person guessing every leader except Kipnis for average and Jimenez for ERA (no one in the country could have guessed that). Of the incorrect picks, six were of the second place leader. McAllister's injury was the only thing keeping him from being a good pick, while again Cabrera's sub-par season comes back up.
|White Sox||Twins||Indians||White Sox|
This was a mess of homerism and idiocy (homerism on the outside, idiocy in the middle). The only two correct picks were my pick for the Royals in third and Jen's for the White Sox in last. Mike picked the second worst team in the AL to finish first in a division that featured three play-off caliber teams and picked the Wild Card Indians last, just because he likes to be difficult.