Prior to the season starting, the writers at Burning River Baseball made some bold predictions of what would happen during the Indians season. We also made predictions for all of baseball that will be reviewed after the World Series.
|Batting Average||Jason Kipnis||Asdrubal Cabrera||Michael Brantley – .288|
|Home Runs||Carlos Santana||Carlos Santana||Carlos Santana – 18|
|RBI||Travis Hafner||Shin-Soo Choo||Santana/Kipnis – 76|
|Wins||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson – 11|
|Strikeouts||Justin Masterson||Ubaldo Jimenez||Justin Masterson – 159|
|ERA||Josh Tomlin||Justin Masterson||Justin Masterson – 4.93|
|MVP||Shin-Soo Choo||Shin-Soo Choo||Jason Kipnis|
|Rookie of the Year||Nick Hagadone||Zach McAllister||Zach McAllister|
|Comeback Player||Trevor Crowe||Travis Hafner||Shin-Soo Choo|
The inaccuracy of the predictions has a lot more to do with Indians players not meeting expectations than bad guesses. Going line by line, Kipnis and Cabrera were two of the five players who qualified for the batting title and finished 3rd and 4th in that category among qualifiers. Santana performed as expected by leading the team in home runs for the second season in a row, but still underperformed. Hafner completely disappointed this year, but Choo came in fourth in RBI, just 9 behind the leaders and Cabrera.
Like Santana taking the home run title, Masterson took all three of the pitching triple crown stats, but was very unimpressive in doing so. Only two Tribe pitchers qualified for the ERA title and both were terrible. The Jimenez pick for strike out leader was not far off as he finished just 16 back from Masterson and was the only other pitcher to qualify with at least 162 innings pitched. Tomlin ended up with the highest ERA (6.36) of all starting pitchers despite leading the team in ERA in 2011.
The only correct prediction in the Burning River Awards section was Jen’s pick of McAllister for Rookie of the Year. The picks of Choo were as close as can be with Kipnis ending the season in a virtual tie with Kipnis for team MVP. Hagadone removed himself from the Rookie of the Year discussion by punching something and breaking his hand after blowing a game, but this was not a terrible pick. Both picks for Comeback player were based on players who underperformed in 2011, but the winner was a player who was actually above average compared to the rest of the team that year, he was just a lot better this year than last. Crowe was never given a chance on the Indians this year even though the Indians couldn’t find a decent left fielder through more than half the season.