Photo: Jeffery Phelps/AP
It’s fair to say that this season hasn’t exactly worked out the way we all hoped it would. After the Brewers won 96 games and an NL Central title last year, there were high hopes for 2012, even with the loss of Prince Fielder – and the ugly specter of regression – hanging over the club. The most pessimistic of pundits predicted Milwaukee to win 80-85 games and have an outside shot at another playoff appearance. Alas, due to injuries on both sides of the ball and the spectacle of nearly every single member of the bullpen having the worst year of their career, the Brewers, after 124 games, are on pace to win 75.
In retrospect, the attitude of optimism that swept the Crew’s fan base last winter seems laughably wrong. As the Brewers went on to lose game after game in June and July, I began to think back at how ridiculous some of the things I wrote this offseason were, and that it might be funny if I dug up some of the most off-base ones. With nothing major going on today, I finally got around to it. So, without further ado, here are three actual articles from last offseason, all of which turned out horribly wrong:
(Note: All of these posts were written by me. If you go back through the archives, you can probably find things Jaymes and/or Andy missed on as well, but I don’t want to pick on them and really only remember my own failed predictions. Links are provided in case you have the stomach to go back and read them.)
Nyjer Morgan had a career year (.304/.357/.421) in 2011, providing above-average offense at a premium defensive position and becoming the face of the team with his “Beast Mode” antics. He was widely expected to decline in 2012, and while I agreed, I still felt that he would remain an above-average hitter for his position. Morgan has gone on to lose 170 points off his 2011 OPS and get benched in favor of Carlos Gomez.
Could the 2012 Brewers Bullpen be even Better? (link)
This is a real gem. In 2011, the Milwaukee bullpen was among the most effective units any Brewer fan had ever seen, with 4 of its 5 most-used members posting ERA’s under 3.00. Based on the recently-released ZiPS projections, I argued that the 2012 ‘pen could be even better. As of today, said bullpen has averaged a 4.79 ERA and blown 23 saves.
Back in spring training, the idea of signing closer John Axford to a long-term extension was gaining a lot of traction in Brewers circles. Axford was coming off one of the best reliever seasons in recent memory (46 saves and a 1.95 ERA with peripherals to match), and it was generally considered, despite the notorious volatility of reliever performance, that locking up Axford before he got too expensive would be an excellent move. I was on board with the idea, but suggested the Brewers proceed with caution. Looking back, the Brewers had a lot to lose – Axford’s command has seemingly disappeared, he has been removed from the closer role once already, and he only has his job back because most of his teammates have struggled just as much as him.
Most, if not all, of these ideas were unmitigated failures. However, as we’ve all learned at some point this season, sometimes you just have to approach the whole thing with a sense of humor.