This is actually the fourth time I've run this list of 10 bold predictions in one version or another, the first being back with Yahoo in early September of 2013. I then posted an updated version here on Cubs Insider in February and revisited the topic again at the season's quarter pole. So why regurgitate the same information over and over?
Well, I'm glad you asked. First and foremost, I believe in holding myself accountable, so I don't want to allow these predictions to wither and die on the vine, even though some of them would probably be better left to do so. I also wanted an excuse to embed a bunch of Dr. Evil gifs.
But let's take a look at how I'm doing as we get closer to the Midsummer Classic.
The Cubs will win 85 games (L, 0-1)
A quarter of the way through the season, the Cubs were winning at only a .342 clip, putting them on pace for only 55 wins. They had been looking good through the latter half of May, all of June, and the first few days of July, but then the wheels started to come off again. Still, they're at least up to .430, which puts them on pace for 69 W's.
Dale Sveum will be replaced as manager (W, 1-1)
Hindsight is 20/20, but this wasn't necessarily an ironclad inevitability at the time I first made the prediction. Besides, I need as many correct guesses as I can get; gotta keep my swag up, you know.
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. He is, however, hitting .311 with RISP, so I'm keeping this as a push for now. But don't put it past me to chalk this up as a W if the current trends continue.
Javier Baez will win Rookie of the Year (L, 1-2-1)
Guh. Okay, so this was one of those overly-hopeful thoughts that just was never meant to be. And given the way the current MiLB season has gone, Javy wouldn't even be the top player among that group. However, after a rough start, he has rebounded and should end the season with a very nice line.
Scott Baker and Daniel Bard will be solid members of the bullpen (L, 1-3-1)
Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood will combine for 35 wins (Push, 1-3-2)
Wood has been nothing short of mediocre, but trading Samardzija to the A's might actually help this prediction; after all, Shark's new team has a slightly better winning % than his old one. So far on the season, these two have combined for 10 W's, and it's entirely possible that Samardzija could pull a Rick Sutcliffe and light the world on fire after the trade.
The Cubs will stand pat at the trading deadline (Push, 1-3-3)
From the last update:
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.
Boom. Still more time, but I'm sticking with a very literal interpretation on this one so as to give it the possibility of coming to pass.
Wrigley purists will enjoy the video board (L, 1-4-3)
As with seemingly everything else in the Cubs' 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.
However, given that this new feature will be fully equipped with Sparklevision©, I think some of those detractors might start changing their tune. But if Jason Parks is correct, the people in and around Wrigley will be subjected to an endless loop of stag films. Then again, depending on your particular proclivities and predilections, that might not be a bad thing.
Anthony Rizzo will be an All-Star (Push, 1-4-4)
Despite having a great opening half, Anthony Rizzo was left off the initial selection of the NL roster. He was, however, granted the opportunity to make the squad by way of the final vote, which fans could make online and via text. And then, during the final 6 hours of voting, MLB counted tweets of #VoteRizzo to count.
I love Twitter and I love the Cubs, but I had to put a moratorium on social media for the duration of the voting, lest my timeline be completely inundated with hastags. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I didn't throw a couple of my own out earlier in the day, but that was prior to the epidemic spread of the trend.
In the end, Rizz picked up 8.8 million votes (you can't see me, but I'm raising my pinky to my mouth right now), the highest overall total this year.
The Cubs will win both the first and last games of the season (L, 1-5-4)
They lost the first game of the season, and since this prediction is sort of a parlay, I lose regardless of the outcome of the last game.
Despite a losing record, my predictions are showing signs of life, not unlike the Cubs. Of course, whether I can say the same in a couple months remains to be seen. Have any bold predictions of your own for the second half? Share them in the comments or tweet me.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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