Well, that was the most painful baseball season on a personal level that I’ve had in quite some time, so get ready for a quick vent session. The Nats were teetering on the edge of being competitive right up until about two weeks before the trade deadline, so of course the cheapest owner in sports sent in the nuclear football and blew up the team. Trading Schwarber, Lester, Gomes, Harrison and even Scherzer I get. Aging guys on expiring contracts that could still get some value. But trading my sweet baby boy Trea Turner to the DODGERS was where they crossed the line. This team refuses to pay their hitters long term and it’s the most frustrating thing ever. You have a fan-favorite, versatile, ALL-STAR shortstop and leadoff hitter – a cornerstone position of a baseball team, and still won’t pay him. If this happens again with Soto (the best hitter in the sport) in a few years, I’m going full Buddhist monk and lighting myself on fire outside Nats Park in protest.
Anyways, now that that’s out of the way, time to check in on how my 2021 futures did with a little segment that I stole from the only good sports talk show host left on the television. Colin Cowherd. I said what I said. You can find these original picks from my blog before the season here.
Where Jake Was Right
Dodgers o103.5 wins (106-56)
Taking this bet kinda felt like selling my soul to the devil but it worked out in the end. Not very often do you see a 106-win team in the Wild Card game, but that’s where the Dodgers find themselves after the SF Giants shocked the baseball world this year and won the NL West. Walker Buehler and Julio Urias were a force to be reckoned with for the whole season on the bump, and after Trevor Bauer turned out to be a huge freak (shocking) and Kershaw found himself on the IL, my guy Mad Max came in at the deadline and helped elevate the staff to the next level. The pitching as a whole for the Dodgers had a league-best 3.01 ERA, a strong anchor for a team whose offense matched the pitchers to the tune of a combined .759 OPS, good for sixth-best in the majors. As much as I want to see Trea and Max get another ring, my rooting for the Dodgers stops tonight because I ultimately can’t stand that franchise.
Royals o72.5 wins (74-88)
Not a great season by any means for the boys down in Kauffman Stadium, but just as I hoped for in my initial pick, it was a step in the right direction. Sal Perez had the quietest MVP-caliber season ever as he had a league-leading 48 home runs and drove in 121 runs. As an aging catcher who was seemingly over the hill, it was really nice to see. Outside of him though, the offense left a lot to be desired. KC was 25th in the MLB with a .702 combined OPS and were 27th in home runs hit with just 163. The staff didn’t pick up any slack as they racked up a team 4.65 ERA which sat at 21st best in the league. No pitcher on the team really stood out as a top performer, but late in the year, reliever-turned-starter Carlos Hernandez showed some promise with a 3.68 ERA in 85.1 IP. Still a relatively young team with some solid pieces, I except another step forward in 2022.
Mets u90.5 wins (77-85)
Ah, my favorite play of the year every year. Any time the Mets get any momentum in the offseason, you can always expect it to blow up right in their face. A team that was viewed as having a dark horse World Series shot at the beginning of the season, injuries to significant offseason additions as well as the greatest ball-thrower to walk the Earth ended those views slowly but surely. The pitching staff had an awesome first half between deGrom, Stroman and Walker, Heading into the All-Star break, the Mets were first in the NL East at 47-40, but from then on, they finished a disappointing 30-45. deGrom having his season cut short, Walker falling off and a still shaky bullpen aside, the Mets’ staff still compiled a 3.90 ERA which ranked ninth in the league. The batting plain and simply was awful. The lineup was 24th in the MLB (below the Orioles) with a .705 team OPS and really just never found their stride. Here’s to many more years of misery for all Mets fans!
Orioles u63.5 wins (52-110)
I mean this was such a layup. The O’s flat out stink and this bet never really had a chance to miss. Rookie Ryan Mountcastle, All-Star Cedric Mullins, Try Mancini returning from beating cancer and a John Means no-hitter (foreign substance rumors begone) were really the only bright spots in a very forgettable 2021 campaign in Baltimore. The lineup itself honestly wasn’t as awful as they found themselves 23rd in the league (above the Mets lol) with a .705 team OPS. The pitching is where we really take a dark turn. The team 5.84 ERA ranked dead last league-wide and was .73 higher than the team in second to last. Truly remarkable. Only one of the team’s six guys who started over 10 games finished with an ERA under five. I’d like to say things are looking bright for the future, but until we see improvement from a staff that has been bad for a few years now, I can’t make that assumption just yet.
Where Jake Was Wrong
Padres o94.5 wins (79-83)
What a crazy disappointment this Padres team was this year. With the fifth-best record in baseball at the trade deadline, the Friars went into buy mode but tumbled mightily from there. The starting pitching could never seem to find health or consistency as Lamet, Snell, Darvish and Paddack all missed time. That lack of consistency led to a middle-of-the-road team ERA of 4.10, a major contributor to their huge second-half collapse. Superstar/terrible fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. put together an MVP-caliber season but also missed big stretches of the season with a shoulder injury. News broke this week that manager Jayce Tingler won’t be returning for a third season at Petco Park, so hopefully they can figure out a move to live up to their lofty expectations (with a lower 2022 win total), because I’m already ready to re-up on this one.
Rockies u63.5 wins (74-87)
One of the more interesting teams in the league this year, the Rockies were widely seen as a team needing to head into a deep rebuild. The Rox see probably the best home-field advantage from an offensive perspective, and really made the most of it in 2021 with a 48-33 home record, seventh-best in the majors. The road split was more of what I was expecting from our Colorado boys. A 26-54 record away from Coors Field was sixth-worst in the majors, and they scored nearly 180 less runs on the road as they did at home. Not a single starter posted an ERA under 4.33, which as expected was their weak point, as the team ERA ended up as 25th in the majors. Not getting anything for Trevor Story may be the worst thing the Rockies did this year, and watching him sign a mega-deal with the Yankees is gonna be even worse for everyone.
4-2 on the year isn’t so bad at all! Now it’s time for me to not watch baseball again until April because I just don’t care anymore. Fuck you Mark Lerner for taking away my childlike wonder.
P.S. – Brewers over the Rays in 6. Book it.