A Look at my 10 Bold Predictions for the Cubs at the Quarter Pole

A Look at my 10 Bold Predictions for the Cubs at the Quarter Pole
The video board was one of my failed predictions. How'd I do on the other 9?

Prior to the start of the season, I had posted my 10 Bold Predictions for the Chicago Cubs in 2014 and said that I'd be sure to revisit them and after the season. But you, loyal reader, deserve better, so now that we're nearing the quarter pole in the season-long race, I wanted to take a look at my predictions to see where I stand so far.

The Cubs will win 85 games (L, 0-1)

They call 'em "bold" for a reason, and it appears that this one can be crossed out already. Currently winning at a .342 clip, the Cubs are on pace for only 55 wins, which is good enough to secure a great draft pick, but not quite enough to support my prediction.

Dale Sveum will be replaced as manager (W, 1-1)

The original CI post was partially culled from predictions I had made in a Yahoo post prior to Sveum's firing, so this one was determined a long time ago. While it doesn't seem like a stretch now, this wasn't a slam dunk at the time I projected it.

Starlin Castro will bat .300 (Push, 1-1-1)

He's only hitting .279 right now, but it's still early and it's quite evident that his approach has improved a great deal over last year's pedestrian .245. Even many of Castro's outs have come on squarely-hit balls, leading me to believe that a resurgent season and a return to .300 are very possible.

Javier Baez will win Rookie of the Year (L, 1-2-1)

Given his struggles thus far, it's unlikely that Baez will even see the Bigs this season (but for a possible September call-up), let alone have a shot at the ROY award. Had I run this prediction during Spring Training, it would have looked pretty darn good. An ankle injury and a 40+% K-rate have served notice that the can't-miss prospect with the violent swing can indeed miss...a lot. He can still right the ship, but AAA looks like more than just a temporary layover at this point.

Scott Baker and Daniel Bard will be solid members of the bullpen (L, 1-3-1)

Not even gonna bother with this (Cue sad trombone noise).

Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood will combine for 35 wins (Push, 1-3-2)

Well, if the offense could get moving behind Shark, this prediction might look at least somewhat plausible. However, a 3-7 combined record in 16 starts isn't necessarily a great indicator. Samardzija has allowed only 9 earned runs all season, 3 of which came in one game.

Opponents have scored a TOTAL of 25 runs in games Jeff has started, yet the Cubs have scratched out only 15, including 3 shutouts. That's not even 2 runs/game of offensive support for a team that averages just over 4 (still pretty weak, but enough to win more games). Had the Cubs simply reached their average runs scored in each of Shark's starts, he'd likely be 6-2 (opponents have scored 4 or more only twice in his 8 starts).

The Cubs will stand pat at the trading deadline (Push, 1-3-3)

Well, this could still come true, but only if they've already moved their pieces by then. It's likely that Jason Hammel will be gone, along with (fingers crossed) Darwin Barney and Nate Schierholtz, and probably even the aforementioned Jeff Samardzija.

Wrigley purists will enjoy the video board (L, 1-4-3)

As with seemingly everything else in the sprawling business plan, this addition is behind schedule. Due to the semantics of the sentence though, this will likely never be true. Purists are, by nature, resistant to change and may never accept something they feel will ruin Wrigley's ambiance.

If they wanted to watch a giant TV, they reason, they'd just stay home with their big-screen set. And if they wanted something to blare distracting rock music, they'd just go for a drive with their teenaged kid or grandchild. Never mind that these are myopic and jaded opinions, they're going to be held steadfastly.

Anthony Rizzo will be an All-Star (Push, 1-4-4)

With a .275 average, 7 HRs, and 21 RBI, this one is looking like a darn good possibility. Since the Cubs will likely end up with only one representative in the game, it's looking right now like either Rizz-OH! or Shark will make the trip to Target Field.

The Cubs will win both the first and last games of the season (L, 1-5-4)

A season-opening 0-1 shutout doomed this prediction pretty quickly and a matchup with the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers (it hurts to type that) at season's end could tank it completely.

Well, it's not really looking too good for me at this point, is it? I gave myself the benefit of the doubt on a couple of these, thus giving me a chance, albeit a slim one, to break even. Luck is in short supply on the North Side, but I may just be able to find enough to pull me through.

My not-so-bold prediction at this point is that I'm going to end at 2-8, but we'll see what happens. I'll continue to monitor this and check back a couple more times, as I do want to hold myself accountable and to let you all know that I am indeed as big an idiot as you think I am.

Seriously though, I do think today's world of blogs and social media has made it a little too easy to sort of forget about what we write or to hide behind revisionist work as time passes. But I want to own what I put out there, even when it's wrong or poorly-received (like this post, for instance).

Despite the fact that I might not like or agree with all the feedback I get, I appreciate the hell out of each and every one of you who will read this. You make it possible for me to do what I love, and for that I thank you.

Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman

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  • I'm giving you the Rizzo all-star and counting the Shark/Wood as an L since your prediction was for wins, not performance.

    2-6-2 :)

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    In reply to salty:

    Thanks. I have no doubt that Shark/Wood will end up under 35, but since it's still undetermined, I went with a push. Who knows, maybe they'll both win every one of their remaining starts. Riiiiiiiight.

  • I admire your courage! The only prediction I had the guts to make, and privately at that, was that if Castro and Rizzo could hit like they did a couple of years ago, the Cubs may only lose 90 games.

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    In reply to Floyd Sullivan:

    That was closer that most of mine, Floyd. I got upset at some people making predictions and then failing to own them, so I decided that I'd put myself out there and admit my mistakes.

  • The semantic one is also with regard to your "stand pat" one if you are implying in your current post that means the day of the deadline. As you indicated, the pieces will be gone by then.

    And, given the link to your You Suck column, the biggest suck prediction is Ricketts saying that this year's Cubs are playoff contenders.

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    In reply to jack:

    I took Ricketts to task on that statement. A lot of people took the "Well, what else is he supposed to say?" stance, but that's bogus. That assumes that the fans and players are incredibly naive. Had he said, "We've got a young team and we're doing what we can to improve on multiple levels, but there's still a ways to go." Easy. You don't need to say that the team sucks, but I felt it was silly to say the team could make the playoffs.

  • Nice to see someone follow up on their preseason predictions. I think you should chalk up the "Shark + Wood = 35 wins" prediction as a loss. It's so hard for pitchers to chalk up wins on terrible teams that it's unimaginable that they'd each win 17 games.
    Why do you consider not wanting a jumbotron myopic and jaded, but wanting a jumbotron to be perfectly reasonable? I've watched many games live with jumbotrons and for me they clearly detract more than they add to the live experience. It's nice to see the odd replay a couple times a game (although I can watch that on my phone in the ballpark, or after the game on my PC, if I really want a video reply), however the J'tron's main function is to bombard one with advertising, some of it flashing and blaring. I'd gladly trade the replay of a home run for not having the video advertising throughout the game.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to baseballet:

    I had just posted a really nice reply, but WordPress encountered and error and didn't like it. It had to do with complimenting you and explaining my point, but I suppose the error was a sign that I was either too wordy or too something else, so I'll shorten it.

    I understand your point, but I was speaking more to those who really are too myopic or jaded to look at reality. You make valid points, but many who have spoken out about changes have done so without a firm basis in fact. It's the folks who value Wrigley more than the team to whom I speak with my comments, though I could have made that more clear.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, I'm glad you did both.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Thanks Evan. My view FWIW: I understand that the Ricketts are using the debt load and financial limitations as an excuse to add the Jumbotron (and over 50,000 square feet of additional advertising overall). And if the Jumbotron truly was the only reasonable way to collect enough revenue to field a big money payroll, then I'd be in favor of it. But once the TV deal comes through the Cubs will make enough money from it to easily boost their payroll up to the luxury tax limit. I don't think they'll need the annual Jumbotron revenue, which will be a meager amount in proportion to the TV revenue. I think that the Jumbotron revenue will just be profits for the Ricketts and do not believe that it is necessary to field a huge payroll team. And since I don't think it's necessary to field a winner, then I don't see any reason to fundamentally change the aesthetics of Wrigley by adding a huge flashing advertising eyesore like a Jumbotron.

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    In reply to baseballet:

    Point taken. It's all a part of the big picture. At the end of the day, if they field a winner, I don't care if they change the name of the park and paint it pink while Ricketts sails the seven seas on his giant yacht with the profits.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I think the reason they went Jumbotron is because that TV deal is still pretty far away. They will get an influx of cash from the partial deal next year but the full one won't go into effect until 2020. So I think they were hoping a combination of the Jumbotron and the new partial TV deal would allow them to have moeny to spend.

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    That's a good point. But it is a short term cash flow that causes a permanent change to Wrigley. The Cubs are not popular because of the uniform. Wrigley Field is the engine of their success, precisely because it's not the same as going to other ballparks. The more they make the experience the same as attending any other stadium, the less valuable that experience becomes. I get that many fans don't care about the aesthetics, they just want a World Series win and would put up with anything aesthetically to get there. But I think that view is short sighted.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I have never been to Fenway, so I don't have a view on the place pre or post Jumbotron. Granted they've won three titles in the last 10 years. I fully agree on the aesthetic but also think that times change. The Jumbotron does seem a little too big for the stadium though. I realize parks have giant Jumbotrons, but those places are all huge. Wrigley is a tight, compact space, so putting a huge Jumbotron in will really make it stick out all the more.

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