by A.J. Coltrane
The baseball regular season is over so it’s time to look at the really important outcomes: The results of my 2012 MLB futures bets!!
Jered Weaver Wins vs Cliff Lee Wins (Giving 1/2 win, picking Weaver)
This was an easy one. At CSE we’ve always had a higher opinion of Weaver than does the national media. The Angels also gained hitting talent over the winter in the form of Albert Pujols and young guys like MVP Candidate Mike Trout. The Phillies had problems with their position players coming into the season — Chase Utley didn’t wind up playing until June 27th, and Ryan Howard is becoming Late Career Mo Vaughan. In 2012 the Phillies only had one guy get enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, so Jimmy Rollins “led the team” in every statistical category.
Lee opened the season 0-5. He didn’t win his first game until the 4th of July. His second win was on July 31, at which point he was 2-6. He finished the season at 6-9.
Weaver went 20-5. The outcome of this bet was never really in doubt.
Felix Hernandez Strikeouts vs Tim Lincecum Strikeouts (Pick: Hernandez)
Another easy one, though I didn’t do any actual research on it (or any of these bets really). *Everyone* knew that Tim Lincecum wasn’t “right” (or effective) at the end of the 2011 season. His fastball velocity was way off. His problems continued into spring training of 2012 (which is when these bets were placed — during the 2nd weekend of March Madness.) Further supporting evidence which I would have used if I had actually done research: Lincecum’s strikeout totals had declined each of the last three years starting at 265, then 261, 231, 220. Felix’s three year strikeout history was 217, 232, 222.
Lincecum totalled 190 strikeouts in 2012. Quite honestly this is more than I thought he’d get. I thought he was basically cooked as an elite pitcher. His 5.18 ERA seems to validate this thinking.
Felix struck out 223 batters in 2012. It was an easy win for Felix.
I didn’t even look at this one over the course of the season. Lincecum started slowly, and Felix was Felix. It wound up closer than I thought it would, though Felix still had 17% more strikeouts than Lincecum.
Evan Longoria (Hits + HR + RBI) vs Adrian Beltre (Hits + HR + RBI) (Pick: Longoria)
This one was a non-starter because Longoria got hurt. And because Beltre nearly set a career high, hitting .321. That’s the main problem and the main attraction with these player’s futures bets: The outcomes are way more volatile. The M’s won 75 games this year, which is pretty much what the statheads and Vegas had them pegged at. Longoria played in 74 games. Beltre played in 156. Nobody was predicting that.
I picked Longoria because he’s at least 6-1/2 years younger than Beltre. Longoria is listed at 26. Beltre is listed at 33, and I’m of the feeling that Beltre is really at least a year or two older than that — I’m always suspicious of a non-US born player who’s productive at age 20, most guys mature a few years later. On a bet like this I’ll always take the guy who’s closer to his prime, younger players tend to be healthier and the probability of a “career year” is higher.
Longoria (79 Hits + 17 HR + 55 RBI) = 151
Beltre (194 Hits + 36 HR + 102 RBI) = 332
But if we pro-rate Longoria to 156 games:
(164 Hits + 35 HR + 114 RBI) = 313
Now I just have to find those two winning slips. I don’t think I’ve seen them since March.