Every year we get all worked up about the success or failure of various MLB teams, based on what we perceive they’ve done (or haven’t done) during the off-season.
We think we know which teams have vastly improved and we’re convinced we know which teams are doomed from Opening Day.
Turns out, every season the baseball masses are more wrong about these MLB categories than a felony getaway car turning down a one-way street.
2019’s Biggest False Positive MLB Teams
This is a classic example of player recency recognition. It’s all about fan player-name identification, with little connection to quality player acquisition.
Last year the average baseball fan couldn’t name two starters in the Reds outfield. And if the Taliban put a gun to their heads they couldn’t name more than one Cincy starting pitcher.
But… bingo! This off-season the Reds made a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and now we know the names of “a bunch” of Cincinnati Reds starting players.
So now, the Cincinnati Reds, who were 67-95 in 2018 with a -123 run differential are suddenly going to be a .500 team! Or maybe even a playoff contender!!
Watch out, less-talented Milwaukee Brewers and lackluster St. Louis Cardinals. And it’s crystal clear to me the Chicago Cubs are obviously burnt toast.
Because now I finally know the names of a couple of Cincinnati Reds players not named “Joey Votto“. Which means they must be good.
No so fast, buckaroos.
Here’s my prediction: if the Cincinnati Reds approach .500 in 2019, the heavens will part and unlimited cream-filled tacos will free-fall from the heavens. And Mezcal-based craft cocktails will be declared the number one anti-cancer cure.
Yasiel that, master forecasters…
New York Mets
Former super-agent and new Mets Executive Vice President & General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has made numerous player moves this off-season.
And the flurry of movement and dollars spent all give the appearance of a team moving up in the standings and challenging for a National League East Division win.
This would be the 4th place 2018 Mets who went 77-85 with a -31 run differential. Who were 23rd out of 30 MLB teams with 676 runs scored, and 16th in pitching with a 4.07 team ERA.
My best wishes to the Mets as they boldly face down the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.
Should be an absolute cakewalk.
2019’s Biggest False Negative MLB Teams
We all know the story line. The American League Central is a tragically weak Division. Even little Bobbie’s middle school tee-ball team would have a legitimate shot at the AL Central Division title, so the Indians can’t really be all that good.
But take another look.
The 2018 Cleveland Indians went 91-71, the 7th best record in the Majors. They had a +170 run differential, 5th best in baseball.
They were also 3rd in the majors in runs scored with 818, and 6th with 532 extra base hits.
The Indians pitching staff finished the season tied for 3rd place (with Tampa Bay) among all MLB teams with a 1.20 WHIP.
Sure, this is a team lucky to be in the AL Central. But that has nothing to do with whether or not the Indians are among baseball’s “premier league” teams.
In reality, Cleveland is a team the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Houston Astros should keep a close eye on as October approaches…
That huge rumble they hear in the distance may just be the sound of the underestimated Cleveland Indians stampeding to the World Series.
Yes it’s the Rockies. And the tired cliche about the Rocks still hangs on: all hit, no pitch. But that was a very long time ago, mi amigos.
In 2018 the Rockies came in at 4th among all MLB team in runs scored with 780, and 7th with 523 extra base hits.
But now there’s pitching in the mile high stadium.
Colorado finished 15th in the Majors with a 1.31 team WHIP. They were 7th in the NL with a 1.31 K/BB (strikeouts to walks ratio).
And starting pitching, you ask?
LHP Kyle Freeland, 25, started 33 games last season with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 202.1 IP.
RHP German Marquez, 23, had a 3.77 ERA in 196.0 IP with 230 SO and a 1.20 WHIP.
LHP Tyler Anderson, 29, pitched 179.0 innings, with 164 SO and a 1.27 WHIP.
The Colorado Rockies may be missing in the usual listing of contending National League teams, but don’t be surprised if they jump up in 2019 and grab their second consecutive NL playoff spot.
Be aware of MLB teams with the biggest false positives and completely wrong negatives in 2019. Because one way or another they will surely bite you on the ass come this October.