Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I previously looked at each of the divisions in the American League, and I move now to the NL East.
Predicted Record: 83-79 Actual Record: 91-71
At the start of the season, I just didn’t see where the Braves were going to find enough of anything to perform this well. But they got enough out of people like Troy Glaus, Martin Prado, and Jason Heyward to help carry them to the NL Wild Card. I had really hoped that the Braves would have a long postseason run to send off retiring manager Bobby Cox, but the Giants took care of them pretty quickly.
Predicated Record: 85-77 Actual Record: 80-82
If there was any team where their season went entirely in a different direction than my prediction, yet still managed to come close to it, that was the Marlins. The little team that could had recently spent money to sign both Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson to contract extensions, and it looked like the team would improve again this season. That never materialized, and the ownership decided to fire manager Fredi Gonzalez midseason, despite solid performance to date. Honestly, I’m not sure who they are going to get to take that job after having both managers perform and get fired anyway.
New York Mets
Predicted Record: 75-87 Actual Record: 79-83
They actually managed to perform better than I had anticipated, but the team was still a pretty big mess. Thankfully for the team All-Star 3B David Wright managed to find his power stroke again, and the team got a completely unexpected performance out of starting pitcher R.A. Dickey. But when the ownership spends as much on players as the Mets did, heads will roll when the team does not perform to expectations. And this team most certainly did not, and it cost Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel both their jobs.
Predicted Record: 96-66 Actual Record: 97-65
This performance was in spite of losing Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins at times to injuries. The team went on an insane hot streak after the All Star break, and came back from 3 games down at the start of September to finish 6 up in the division. The midseason acquisition of starting pitcher Roy Oswalt helped immensely, as Oswalt went 7-1 with the Phils. They managed to advance past the Reds on the amazing pitching that had gotten them there, but it wasn’t enough against the Giants as they were eliminated in the NLCS.
Predicted Record: 62-100 Actual Record: 69-93
Their performance was better than predicted, and actually appeared a lot better at times. The biggest story of the year had to be the rise, and fall (to injury) of top prospect Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals will look for him to return in 2012, at which point top draft pick Bryce Harper could very well be up in the outfield as well.