How prescient are we?
The 2023 MLB season is in the books, with the Texas Rangers taking down the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to win the World Series, marking the end of baseball season in the United States. This season was nothing short of a disaster for Kansas City as the Royals suffered one of the worst seasons in franchise history, finishing with a paltry 56 wins. The team has seen their winning percentage decline each year since 2020, with the ongoing rebuild struggling to bear fruit.
Way back in March, when the weather was slowly warming and optimism permeated the air, we at Royals Review joined the baseball media world in sharing our preseason predictions. Oftentimes, these predictions are made before the season and quickly lost to the sands of time, never to be revisited. But at Royals Review, we believe in accountability. Thus, let’s dive back in time to March 2023, when the writing staff as well as the readers shared their season predictions. To evaluate how well everybody did, I have developed an arbitrary scoring system that I will explain as we go. For the readers, I created a composite using the most popular responses. Feel free to score yourself in the comments if you remember your particular predictions. Let’s now find out who wins the 2023 title of Most Correctest, starting with…
There were only two different answers for best Royals position player and most of us nailed it. Witt won this in a landslide, with nobody else on the roster even within shouting distance. Apologies to the Pasquantino-stans out there, who could have anticipated his injury? One point for those that predicted Witt.
It comes as no surprise that everybody whiffed on the best pitcher, given Ragans was not in the organization until July. Even only being with the team for less than half the season, Ragans still easily wins this one. The next best was either Greinke (if you like bWAR) or Singer (fWAR), so I will credit a half point to either of those.
We all whiffed spectacularly on the team’s record. Even the most pessimistic among us was still off by 11 wins. The most common reader answer was “70-74 wins”, so I split the difference and called it 72. I’ll award Jacob a point for being the closest, while giving myself a half point for second place. Next year I am predicting somewhere in the low 60s. Overall, Jacob earned the most points in the Royals predictions section with 2.5.
American League Postseason
Our postseason predictions were messy, to say the least. Only one of us had one of Baltimore and Texas in the postseason, while all of us whiffed on New York and Seattle. For this section, I’ll award a point for correctly prognosticating a team as a division winner or wild card, and a half point if the team made the postseason but in a different position than predicted. The order of wild cards is irrelevant in this case. Shaun is the big winner in this section, nailing two division winners and two wild cards.
National League Postseason
Our National League predictions were even more disastrous, largely thanks to San Diego, St. Louis, and New York all producing disappointing seasons. On the flip side, none of us had Miami or Arizona in the postseason at all. Jeremy set the high score in this round with two division winners and a wild card correct.
Most of our World Series picks tanked before the postseason even started. The last hopes for anybody were Philadelphia and Houston, who were both one game away from a pennant but faltered in Game Sevens. These picks were a comprehensive disaster so I’ll just give half-points for those that have Houston and/or Philly playing in their league’s championship series.
American League Awards
This is the section where the answers are the most varied. I will award one point for correctly picking the winner and a half point for a picking a top-3 finalist that did not win. Most of us correctly picked Ohtani as the AL MVP, not much of a surprise there. Our Cy Young picks, however, were remarkably poor. All of our picks either got hurt (deGrom, Ohtani), regressed (Cease, Manoah), or did a bit of both (McClanahan). Amazing that nobody picked Cole given his track record and the relative dearth of true aces in this league. As far as rookies, Henderson and Yoshida were the top picks. Yoshida had a disappointing campaign, while Henderson left the rest of the AL rookie class in the dust. The winners in this section are all of us that had the Shohei-Gunnar combo.
National League Awards
Aside from Turner and Jeremy’s interesting Harper prediction, all of these MVP picks lived up to the billing. Acuña, Betts, Soto, and Riley all finished in the top 10 in the NL in fWAR and the top seven in voting. Acuña and Betts provided equally compelling cases, finishing neck and neck atop both the fWAR and bWAR leaderboards. Ultimately, the hardware went to Acuña. Our Cy Young picks didn’t go as well. Burnes had a solid season but was not Cy Young caliber. Nola and Alcantara were disappointing, while Verlander and Scherzer switched leagues midseason. At least Strider had a strong campaign, though not enough to finish top three in the voting. There were only three answers for rookies and the chalk pick, Carroll, ran away with it. Senga had a solid season in his own right and earned down-ballot Cy Young support for it, while Walker gave back most of the runs he produced offensively with his abysmal glovework in the outfield.
The Final Leaderboard
And the winner of Royals Review’s 2023 most correctest is…..
Congratulations to myself and Alex Duvall on a tie. I promise that I devised the scoring methodology well before all of the results were actually out, so I didn’t just make it up to benefit myself. There’s no tiebreaker procedure so we’ll have to settle for a draw. In third place is you, the (composite) reader. Well done reader! The maximum points possible here was 24, so this just illustrates how difficult it is to predict this sport. Did any of you manage to beat Alex and I’s 10.5 points? Sound off below!
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Title: Reflecting on our 2023 season predictions
Author: Greg Walker