I thought with my last entry for the season I'd take a look back at my bold predictions from the beginning of the season to see how dumb I was. Or smart! Maybe both. Let's take a look
- Freddie Freeman will have more walks this year than he's ever had in his career - WRONG! Ok so the thought process here was that Freddie would lack protection and that he would get pitched around a ton due to Chris Johnson struggling. While that was true to a degree, Freddie also played the fewest games he's ever played in a season, and he was injured even when he was in the game, so this never happened. He finished with 56 walks, his career high is 90. Way off. Dumb prediction.
- The Braves offense will be better than 29th in the league - WRONG! They finished dead last. Why? Because Pre-All Star break the Braves were 22nd in the league and looking fine, then they traded away the team. I think this one deserves half a point, because I don't believe they would have finished dead last without absolutely fire-selling the entire roster. Still, wrong is wrong.
- This Braves team will strike out much less - CORRECT! Only 1107 K's on this season, almost 1350 K's in 2014. But you know what? It didn't lead to any more runs because the Braves quit trying to win mid-season yet again. The funny thing was, we finished with the exact same number of runs as last year, 573. That says a lot about last year given how much of an offensive dumpster fire this was after all the trades.
- Christian Bethancourt will struggle offensively - CORRECT! This was damn easy for me because I never thought C-Beth could hit well. He was so bad that he got demoted and AJ Pierzynski ended up becoming our full time catcher, and probably the MVP of the season.
- Chris Johnson will bounce back, and hit over .280 on the season - WRONG! Chris Johnson did his over .280 with his new club the Indians before getting hurt, but he never played enough to crest the .255 mark on the season. Again, this one was ruined by injury and the fact the Braves refused to let him be and every-day starter. Which was still dumb in my mind, even if the trade made sense.
- Eric Stults will be a surprise starter - WRONG! Who the hell was Eric Stults? Oh yeah some jerk we cut before we even got halfway through this mess. Next prediction diphead.
- The Braves bullpen will be an early problem for the first time in a long time - CORRECT! And more than an early problem, they were a mid-way problem, a late problem, and a current problem going into the offseason. I could see the bullpen would struggle, but I had no idea that it would NEVER get corrected all season, and that it would still concern me in winter meetings.
- The Braves will sign Fredi Gonzalez to an extension mid-year - CORRECT! They made the move mid-year just as I expected on July 17th to extend Fredi for another year. And why? Because the Braves love consistency as they head into the new building. Frankly, this one was probably the easiest to predict knowing how much they love him, even if the fans hate his guts.
- I think the Braves will be leading the division at the All-Star break - WRONG! The Braves were 42-47 at the break and in 3rd place, 6 wins behind the Nationals who were leading at that time. But the Mets would end up taking the whole thing.
- The Braves will win 88 games and get the Wild Card - WRONG! I'd love to blame this one on the booze, but I gave that up in 2010. In reality, I think the Braves if they'd gone for it at 42-42 probably could have won 80+ games. But they didn't. And this looks stupid now. Turns out all the nay-sayers were right, and we barely scraped by with 67 wins. I was only off by like 21 wins. Pretty close, give or take
This 2015 will be a year that you think you'll never talk about, but you will. It will be a mark of your fanhood and pride. It will be the story you tell those young 20-something kids 20 years from now when the Braves are winning division after division again, that you stuck it out in 2015 when they almost lost 100 games. And they'll roll their eyes at you and go on texting their friends with their eyeballs on their new-fangled brain implants while the cars self-drive them to the game. Those whipper-snappers and their technology.
So buck up Braves fans. It's not all over. It's just over for this year. And I think we can all thank God for that.