This is really the worst time of the year for teams that didn't make the playoffs. All the good teams are caught up in the euphoria of the playoffs while the bad teams are stuck at home with nothing to do but hang their head in shame, just quietly waiting for the playoffs to end so that they can start their post-season machinations to try and avoid reliving this cruel fate again next October. This is a dangerous time for fans of those teams because we are all just left alone with our thoughts. And we all know nothing good ever comes of that.
Alas, that is what I have been going through this week. Just sitting around reflecting on where this Angels season went wrong. It even prompted me to look back at my pre-season predictions just to twist the knife a little more. I have to say, they were even worse than I remember. So, in order to further my self-loathing, let's review those predictions and see what we can learn from my stupidity.
Mike Trout will win the sabermetric Triple Crown in the AL (SLG, OBP, SB) or if you prefer something with wOBA or wRC, he'll probably win that too.
Nope to a factor of five. Trout had an amazing season but didn't lead the league in any of those categories. Still, his season was so strong, I'm not exactly feeling too ashamed of this prediction. If anything, I feel somewhat vindicated because I was one of the few that thought Trout's power would hold up or even grow in 2013.
Trout, Hamilton, Pujols and Trumbo will all hit 30 or more homers.
Well, one out of four ain't bad. Oh, it is? Well, don't I feel like a fool. Pujols might've had a shot at 30 had he stayed healthy enough to finish the season as he did seem to find a little bit of a groove after he finally gave in to being a full-time DH. The really stupid one was Josh Hamilton. Even before he tanked, I knew him hitting 30 dingers was going to be a stretch quite simply because of the move from Arlington to Anaheim. My thought though was that even if he fell of in production, the raw power would always be there and he could hit .240, but would still run into 30 bombs. Ironically, the stark loss of power he suffered was a much bigger blow to the Angels than his swing-and-miss issues.
Trout, Aybar and Bourjos will all steal 30 or more bases.
I knew this was a gamble at the time, but I can't believe how badly I missed. Aybar only stole 12 and Bourjos swiped just 6. Injuries were certainly a factor, but the real issue here was Mike Scioscia's inexplicable reluctance to send the runners this year. I never thought Trout would steal less than 40, yet he only attempted 40 steals on the season. Out of all the ones I was wrong about, this one was certainly the most puzzling.
Jason Vargas will be the only rotation member not to make a trip to the DL this season but nobody will miss more than a month.
Well, my hunch about this rotation being injury-prone was on the right track, but I grossly underestimated the impact. Weaver, Hanson and Vargas each spent over a month on the DL. Wilson and Blanton avoided the DL, which was a real shame for the latter of those two. My big concern is that this fragility is still going to be an issue going forward for the Halos. Weaver started dropping MPHs down the stretch again and Wilson has that history of elbow problems constantly lurking.