Year-End Analysis: 5 Bold Predictions for 2016

contreras-catcherWay back on Jan. 1, I put together a story called “CUBS: 5 Bold Predictions for 2016” in which I made a handful of guesses about the season to come. I tried to stay away from the “easy” predictions – like, that the Cubs would make the playoffs – and focus on things that were a bit riskier.

Mid-way through the year, I posted a brief update story. At that time, I was on track for the majority of my predictions. But now that the regular season is at a close (and we’re all pretty obviously stalling, trying to pass time until Friday night’s NLDS Game 1), let’s take a look back and see how right (or wrong) those predictions were.

  1. The Cubs will win 100 games – CORRECT

Happily, I was right on this one. As I mentioned back on New Years Day, I wrote that it’s never a good bet to predict a 100-game winner. Too many things can go wrong. And for the Cubs, some things did. Like, for example, Kyle Schwarber going down with a serious injury in the third game of the season. But, nevertheless, the Cubs pulled off this monumental task, collecting 103 wins over the course of the regular season.

  1. Javier Baez will not finish the 2016 season in Chicago – WRONG

So, I was a little bit off on this one. At the time I wrote the story, I was pretty sure the Cubs were going to trade Baez at the deadline for some kind of help, likely in the starting rotation. Given that he didn’t have a clear route to the starting lineup on a day-to-day basis, it seemed logical. Turns out, he’s been invaluable all year long, and I’m damn sure glad I was wrong about this one.

  1. Kyle Hendricks wins 15+ games, has an ERA less than 3.50 – CORRECT

I’ve always been very high on Hendricks, and when I wrote this segment of the story I was thinking that Hendricks would probably end the year with an ERA around 3.10-3.20. But, for the sake of giving myself a bit of wiggle room, I decided to make my official guess anything south of 3.50. Turns out, I could’ve gone a lot lower. Because even as high as I was on Hendricks, I couldn’t have even begun to predict the type of season he actually had. The league-leader in ERA? Are you kidding me? Hendricks finished the year with a record of 16-8 and a 2.13 ERA. Not too shabby.

  1. Three (or more) Cubs will hit 30+ home runs – WRONG

Looks like I got a little ambitious on this one. When the season began, I suggested that Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber would all finish the year with 30+ long balls. I also suggested that guys like Jorge Soler and possibly even Jason Heyward (who had hit 27 once before) had an outside shot. Turns out, I was right on Rizzo and Bryant, who hit 32 and 39, respectively. But Schwarber’s injury really tanked this particular guess. Soler, who finished with 12 dingers in 83 games played, might’ve had a shot if he’d played every day, but a prolonged injury and a poor start to the season tanked his chances.

  1. The Cubs will advance to their first World Series since 1945 – ???

They’re still on track, but they’ll have to win seven of their next 12 games to make that happen.