Column: Time for predictions in the MLB

In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello works against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game, in Oakland, Calif. Tight races are expected for the Cy Young awards, with Corey Kluber, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello up for the American League honor.(Ben Margot/AP Photo)

Making predictions is hard. You can have all the statistics, sabermetrics and facts lying in front of you and there’s still a good chance your prediction is going to be as far from correct as possible. While I’ll inevitably do a player prediction write up for the 2017 season, now is the time to look back on my 2016 predictions, and see just how wrong I was. The 2016 season gave us some unpredictable superstars, as well as some unexpected disappointments on the Red Sox.

To make this timely, we’ll start with your 2016 AL Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello. Kate Upton if you’re reading this, bear with me. While I think most people, (minus the two writers who left him off their ballot) agree that Justin Verlander should have been the clear winner, Porcello’s win wasn’t entirely undeserving. In 2015 he posted a 4.92 ERA, giving up 103 runs, including 25 homeruns in 172 innings. Not the best. Red Sox fans prayed 2016 would be a turnaround season for pitching, with the expensive addition of David Price and hopefully a change of pace for Porcello.  We all wanted it to happen, but how many of us have complete confidence Pretty Ricky would prove himself? It would be easy for me to say I was completely sold, but I had my doubts. Luckily, he proved me wrong. Very wrong. Porcello finished the season with 22 wins, a 3.15 ERA and 18 fewer runs given up than last year. His season earned him his first Cy Young, and Boston’s first since Pedro Martinez won it in 2000.

In his first year with Boston, Hanley Ramirez had 59 runs, and exactly 100 hits.  Moving around the outfield, and third base for a game, I had my hesitations about Ramirez making the infield his permanent residence as the Sox’ first baseman. In his first season at first base, Hanley shocked us all. What began as a painful sight became a flurry of impressive defensive plays and offensive power.

Moving away from positive surprises, we’ll address the letdowns. If you’re a Sox fan you already know where this is headed. All offseason we got to hear about our third baseman’s weight loss, how low his body fat percentage was and then spring training came around, and the picture surfaced. The picture of Pablo Sandoval’s stomach popping out of his jersey at one of the first preseason practices. Sandoval played three games for the Sox, went 0-6, popped a belt and he was done. His shoulder gave him enough trouble to require surgery, putting him out for the season, and us out of misery. Now we have people speculating his return as a DH to replace David Ortiz. No comment.

The 2016 season proved me wrong in a lot of ways. Back in April, I was in no way predicting a first place finish and the best offense in the league. I was drastically wrong about Porcello and Ramirez, though my hesitations on Sandoval proved to be accurate. For now I’ll leave it at that, before I take a shot at the 2017 season and make predictions that will inevitably be proven wrong.


Molly Stadnicki is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.stadnicki@uconn.edu.