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Did The Baseball Writers Over-predict The Phillies' 2013 Performance As Much As Their Fans?

By Howard Wachtel - Posted: 09/21/13 09:53PM EDT

Phillies fans continue to brood over an unexpectedly poor 2013 season. What about the veteran baseball writers--did they predict the 2013 Phillies season to turn out anything close to how it did?

Most of you reading this article have probably read Bleacher Report, a sports web site claiming "At Bleacher Report, we've outperformed our competitors by turning a starry-eyed plan into a superior product..." Their baseball predictions for 2013, naturally, are all over the map, but quite a few of them predicted a better 2013 for the Phillies. So, let's look at some of their articles that predicted how the Phillies' 2013 season would turn out, and then you can decide if they have outperformed their competitors.

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1. Complete Philadelphia Phillies 2013 Season Preview

Generally a fairly good article. Note that only eight of the seventeen players listed as starting the season with the Phillies are healthy and playing for the team now, with 9 games left (Hamels, Lee, Halladay, Ruiz, Utley, Rollins, Brown, and Papelbon). The writer predicted a 92-70 finish, which is probably what most Phillies fans hoped for, but the actual record will be nearly the reverse of that.

2. Bold Phillies Predictions for the next Three Years

1. "Darin Ruf Will Win 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Award." (Oh sure, he will. Forget about Yasiel Puig, Shelby Miller, and Jose Fernandez.)

2. "The Bullpen Will Have the Lowest ERA in the Major Leagues." (Yes, it said "lowest", not "highest". Well, that really was a bold prediction!)

3. "New Television Deal Will Influence Major Free Agent Splash Next Offseason: 'Even if it means negotiating with Scott Boras, the Phillies will make a big splash on the free agent market next offseason.' " (That means the 2013-14 offseason. Because the Phillies' payroll is already high, I would not expect that to happen, but we'll have to wait and see if it does.)

4. "Ryne Sandberg Will Lead the Phillies Back to the World Series." (No comment necessary.)

3. 25 Bold Predictions for the Phillies in 2013

"Howard Hits 40 Home Runs"   (That's only off by 264%.)

"Ben Revere begins to develop into one of the best center fielders in the National League."  (Good!)

" 'Doc' Is Healthy and Productive"  (Not so good.)

"Lee Wins 20 Games"  (The most he could finish with would be 15. The Nats' Zimmermann is the only NL pitcher with any chance to win 20 games.)

"Cole Hamels wins 20 games en route to being named the National League's Cy Young Award winner."

(Can't be much further off than that. At mid-season it looked like Cole had a chance to lose 20 games. He is not going to win even half that many,)

"By numerous statistics, the Phillies will boast the National League's best bullpen in 2013."

(Two writers independently came to this conclusion?)

"Jonathan Papelbon saves at least 45 games for the Phillies in 2013." (As of this writing, he has 28 saves and 7 blown saves.)

"The Phillies, who finish within striking distance of the Washington Nationals, win the National League's first Wild Card." (No mention made of where the Braves would finish.)

"The Phillies advance to and win the National League Championship Series."

(Sounding more and more like fantasyland.)

"The Phillies do not make a big splash in next offseason's free agent market. The Phillies aren't going to have many holes to fill next offseason."

(I don't know about the first part, but the second part is way off. At least the first part shows that this writer is not the same as the writer of article #2.)

4. "San Francisco Giants: Why They Will Return to the World Series in 2013" (May 8, 2013)

(The Giants are one of the few teams with a record even worse than the Phillies at the moment.)

So there you have it, dear reader. You and I weren't the only ones expecting much better from the Phillies than what we got in 2013. Now let's see how the self-appointed experts do in predicting the 2013 post-season.

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