Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Before the season started, I created the 2005 Offseason Awards, as well as the 2006 MLB Season Preview and my 2006 Season Predictions, so let's have a look and see how I fared.

First, let's scan my 2006 Predictions.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ 18 HR and 28 RBI off -- A-Rod hasn't caught fire yet.
50 HR
140 RBI
15 HR
52 RBI
32 HR
112 RBI
ALBERT PUJOLS Despite an injury that saw him miss about three weeks, he's still on pace to exceed what I had predicted.
47 HR
135 RBI
26 HR
67 RBI
55 HR
142 RBI
AL Cy Young
RANDY JOHNSON That will teach me to pick a 42-year-old to win the Cy Young. He's on pace to match my wins prediction, but other than that, he's been very inconsistent.
3.50 ERA
275 K
50 BB
4.84 ERA
85 K
33 BB
4.84 ERA
183 K
71 BB
NL Cy Young
JOHN SMOLTZ He hasn't pitched terribly for the floundering Atlanta Braves, but he, like Johnson, is a longshot to win the Cy Young. His current strikeouts pace is very close to what I predicted, though.
2.90 ERA
175 K
70 BB
3.89 ERA
85 K
25 BB
3.89 ERA
177 K
52 BB
AL Rookie of the Year
DELMON YOUNG Thanks to his bat-throwing incident in a Minor League game, and a subsequent 50-game suspension, his path to the Major Leagues got a little bit longer. He'll be lucky if he even gets to the show when it's time for September callups.
50 SB
No MLB games played No MLB games played
NL Rookie of the Year
RYAN ZIMMERMAN His batting average is lower than what is expected of him, but he's on pace to have a fine season as the third baseman for the Washington Nationals -- his HR and RBI totals on pace to exceed my expectations.
15 HR
65 RBI
10 HR
47 RBI
20 HR
97 RBI
AL Manager of the Year
KEN MACHA The Oakland Athletics have won 17 games in the month of June, thanks in part to a ten-game winning streak that included three consecutive sweeps of the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
92-70 41-35 87-75
NL Manager of the Year
GRADY LITTLE I'm right on pace! The Dodgers are slipping, however, with a 10-14 record in the current month of June.
84-78 40-37 84-78
AL Homerun Champion
DAVID ORTIZ Big Papi is on pace for another great year, but just a little bit under my expectations.
51 HR 22 HR 48 HR
NL Homerun Champion
ALBERT PUJOLS Prince Albert is on pace for another MVP-caliber season, including what would be the most homeruns in the MLB since Alex Rodriguez's 57 HR in 2002.
47 HR 26 HR 55 HR
AL Batting Champion
DEREK JETER Close, but Jeter is going to have to turn up the heat a little bit to win the AL batting title, especially with Joe Mauer hitting near .390 currently.
.345 .333 .345
NL Batting Champion
ALBERT PUJOLS The lowest Pujols has hit in his six and a half-year career is .311 -- his current batting average for the 2006 season. His short history indicates he'll finish closer to .341 than to .311, both great batting averages regardless.
.341 .311 .341
AL Most Wins
ROY HALLADAY Right on target!
20 W 9 W 19 W
NL Most Wins
MARK MULDER Now on the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement, Mulder's shaky season is put on hold. He won't achieve this honor even if he remains healthy throughout the remainder of the season.
19 W 6 W 13 W
AL Comeback Player
ROY HALLADAY Halladay is having another great season, and is still a prime candidate to win this award; however, Jim Thome -- barring a slump or an injury -- will likely win it, as he is currently hitting .284 with 24 HR and 63 RBI.
2.75 ERA
190 K
50 BB
3.07 ERA
57 K
13 BB
3.07 ERA
122 K
28 BB
NL Comeback Player
BARRY BONDS Aside from batting average, Bonds is on pace to hit almost what I had predicted. His balky knees are still a warning flag and his season could take a hiatus, be it brief or long, at any point.
25 HR
70 RBI
11 HR
34 RBI
23 HR
72 RBI
AL Most Overrated
JOHNNY DAMON He's been everything the Yankees expected and more. He is on pace to have a great season, and it will most likely be overshadowed by the performances of teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
11 HR
65 RBI
11 HR
42 RBI
24 HR
91 RBI
NL Most Overrated
ANDRUW JONES It's tough to call someone who hits .280 with 18 HR and 64 RBI overrated, but he is certainly not the 50+ HR threat he became last year. He's on pace to succeed my prediction more so in RBI than in HR, of which I was relatively on the mark.
35 HR
100 RBI
18 HR
64 RBI
37 HR
133 RBI
AL Most Underrated
COCO CRISP Crisp missed a good amount of time between April 8 and May 28, but he's been hitting well as of late: 18 for his last 35 (.514) with 1 HR and 6 RBI.
18 HR
80 RBI
3 HR
13 RBI
6 HR
28 RBI
NL Most Underrated
JEFF SUPPAN He, like everyone else in the St. Louis starting rotation, is underperforming, and is in no way, shape or form underrated. I am right on track with his loss total, though.
3.55 ERA
120 K
65 BB
5.09 ERA
45 K
35 BB
5.09 ERA
96 K
75 BB
AL Breakout Player
ROBINSON CANO Cano is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, but his time off should not sorely affect his statistics. However, he is not on pace to become a "breakout player."
25 HR
95 RBI
4 HR
27 RBI
8 HR
58 RBI
NL Breakout Player
RYAN HOWARD Howard is on pace for not just a breakout year, but an MVP-caliber year (of course, overshadowed by arguably the best hitter of this generation next to Barry Bonds). He may be the only bright spot on a largely sour Philadelphia Phillies team.
45 HR
110 RBI
25 HR
66 RBI
54 HR
143 RBI
AL Surprise Team
OAKLAND ATHLETICS See: AL Manager of the Year.
92-70 41-35 87-75
NL Surprise Team
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS The NL West is tougher than expected, and Barry Bonds' questionable health, along with the age of the key players on the club, this team may not have the stamina to become the National League's surprising team.
89-73 38-38 81-81
AL Disappointing Team
TORONTO BLUE JAYS To Toronto's credit, they are hanging in with the big boys -- the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. They are only 5 games out of first place and do indeed have the moxie to hang around. However. they'll need A.J. Burnett to remain healthy and to pitch like he's worth $55 million to stay in contention.
84-78 42-34 89-73
NL Disappointing Team
SAN DIEGO PADRES The Padres, despite leading the NL West by a half-game, are in reality just mediocre. They're 12-11 in the month of June, and -- interesting statistic -- have lost every Saturday game in the month while winning every Friday game.
80-82 40-36 85-78

Now, let's look at my 2005 Offseason Awards.

Best Acquisition
BILLY WAGNER Wagner has blown four saves for the Mets, and there are plenty of viable candidates for this award -- Bronson Arroyo, namely, who was swapped with the Red Sox for Wily Mo Pena. Arroyo is 9-4 with a 2.58 ERA and could very well start the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh.
Worst Acquisition
A.J. BURNETT Despite pitching a complete game shutout against the Nationals on June 27, Burnett has missed considerable time while on the disabled list, and certainly hasn't been worth the $55 million contract the Blue Jays gave him in the offseason, having started only four games for the club.
Most Improved Team
KANSAS CITY ROYALS The Royals are on pace to go 54-108, which would be the worst record in franchise history. The veterans they added in the offseason have not shown the younger athletes on the team how to win, and they are still miring in the same muck they were in last year: poor fundamentals, an inconsistent offense, and a pitching staff stuck in reverse.
Least Improved Team
FLORIDA MARLINS Florida is only a half game out of second place, and their young corps of players are maturing much faster than expected. Dan Uggla is putting up Chase Utley-like numbers (even better, actually), and is deserving of an All-Star roster spot. Pitcher Josh Johnson has been incredible at 7-4 with a minuscule 2.20 ERA. Miguel Cabrera is having a great season with a .347 batting average and is one of the top vote-getters at third base behind David Wright. They may not make the playoffs, or even finish with a .500 record, but this Marlins team is built for next year and the next six or seven years down the road, as well.
Under the Radar
DANNY GRAVES Graves, in his limited action with the Indians, is 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA and has pitched only 14 innings (he hasn't pitched at the MLB level since May 9). He wasn't even a blip on the proverbial radar.
Over the Radar
A.J. Burnett See: Worst Acquisition.
Sleeper Team
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS If the Giants are the sleeper team, they still have not woken from their slumber, as they are only 38-38 and sit two games behind in fourth place in the NL West.
In the Spotlight
NEW YORK METS The Mets are the class of the NL East and have put on quite a show under the spotlight, with a NL-best 47-29 record. They have won 17 one-run games and no one -- not St. Louis, not Cincinatti, not Los Angeles -- can hold a candle to the Mets as it stands currently.
Best Front Office Move
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES While this deal cannot accurately be judged until the two young pitchers sent to the Phillies in the deal -- Daniel Haigwood and Gio Gonzalez -- pan out, it can be presumed that the White Sox got the better end of this deal, despite the fact that they want Aaron Rowand back. Jim Thome, in the DH role for the Sox, is having a great comeback season with 24 HR and 63 RBI.
Worst Front Office Move
BOSTON RED SOX They re-signed Theo Epstein, thus negating the sole reason I nominated the Red Sox for making the worst front office move in firing Epstein.
Bravery Award
KEN WILLIAMS The White Sox are once again the elite team in the American League thanks to some brilliant changes by GM Ken Williams. Jim Thome has been an outstanding DH, and Javier Vazquez has been a reliable stopgap at the back of the starting rotation.
Cowardice Award
WALT JOCKETTY The Cardinals are 8 games over .500 and lead the NL Central by 1.5 games over the Reds, but they are definitely seeking outfield help, which Jocketty failed to provide for the club. The starting rotation has faltered mightily, but their poor performances should not be blamed on Jocketty. He still deserves this award, though.

Feel free to re-read my 2006 MLB Season Preview and determine how much of a "preview" it really was!