Last January, I published my predictions of the topics I thought could evolve into the top five stories across the Cardinal Nation in 2012. With the benefit of full hindsight, including the top 20 stories of 2012 countdown now in the books, this is a look back at my initial forecast. After all, anyone can make predictions, but how many come back later to review how they fared?
The original top five projections follow, along with where the stories actually ended up, including links to the appropriate articles. I won’t be repeating my 2012 summaries here, so click on the links if you’d like to read those detailed stories.
My predictive powers were not very good. Only three of my top five guesses from one year ago made the top 20. And to be honest, none of the three were direct hits.
Because the Dave Duncan retirement news occurred during the unveiling, I did not remove that story, but improved my score by having included Mike Matheny’s first season as manager as my sixth, honorable mention, prediction.
As always, I also did not predict how the season would end up. As the Cardinals played deep into the post-season, that turned out to provide the subjects of the top three stories. That’s ok with me, though a fourth (another World Series) would have been even better.
|2012 prediction story||Prediction rank||Actual rank||2012 actual story|
|Molina’s contract||2||4||“Molina, team MVP”|
|Killer B’s reunion||3||8||“Berkman’s fade”|
|Young bullpen||4||12||“Motte logs every save”|
|Matheny’s maiden voyage||honorable mention||6||“Matheny’s managerial rookie year”|
Looking back at my original top five story predictions for 2012:
1. Wainwright’s comeback
Perhaps I expected too much from the Cardinals’ young ace coming off his Tommy John-scrubbed 2011 season. Then again, Adam Wainwright had logged third- and second-place finishes in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2009 and 2010.
Wainwright wasn’t bad in 2012 – logging a 14-13 record. Yet his hits and walks allowed were both up. So it was not surprising his 3.94 ERA was a career worst. Further, the 2006 post-season star had just one stellar outing in three 2012 playoff starts.
In reality, the Cardinals coming just one win away from the World Series despite Wainwright’s off-year for him (and Chris Carpenter missing almost the entire season) says a lot about the rest of the team. Yet, had Wainwright’s comeback had truly become a top story, the Cardinals might have gone all the way.
2. Molina’s contract
As I noted above, my taking credit for this one is a bit of a stretch. The Cardinals took the steam out of this developing story by making Molina a very aggressive contract offer before the season even began, which he accepted.
GM John Mozeliak took some heat around the game for Molina’s five-year, $75 million deal. Yet based on 2012 at least, the decision to keep Molina away from free agency is looking good.
Though any suspense over his contract was eliminated in March, Molina still had to live up to increased expectations during the long summer and fall. He met the challenge and was my clear choice as team MVP.
3. Killer B’s reunion (sort of)
Right here, one year ago, I wrote this:
“One must hope the Cardinals have not pushed their luck by showing faith (via a one-year, $12 million contract) that their (and Berkman’s) good fortune will continue in 2012.”
Sadly, Lance Berkman returned to being a broken-down shadow of his past self in 2012. That doesn’t take away from his many 2011 contributions in any way, but his ongoing unavailability hurt the 2012 club immeasurably.
The other part of the partial Houston Killer B’s reunion, outfielder Carlos Beltran, had a mixed 2012. For most of the first half, he looked re-born. Yet, in the second half, perhaps worn down, Beltran often seemed most ordinary.
Only one of the two, Beltran, will be back for 2013. We can only hope his second season as a Cardinal will go better than Berkman’s did.
4. Young bullpen
Again, I take some license by taking credit for the Jason Motte story here. Yet, the closer was the clear leader of a bullpen that really righted itself down the stretch and was a major positive story.
Still, I had no idea that Edward Mujica would join the club, let alone become such a factor and that the pen in the post-season would end up including rookies Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly.
Overall for the season, the Cardinals relievers finished in the middle of the National League pack. In 2013, they have the potential to be much better.
5. Duncan’s future
6. Matheny’s maiden voyage
The first season of the new manager, especially coming off a World Series win and in succeeding a surefire future Hall of Famer in Tony La Russa was about as much of a slam dunk top story selection as anyone can imagine.
Still, the fact it became a positive story seems an appropriate close to this article and the St. Louis Cardinals’ year of 2012.
Next up: In my final article of this series, I will outline my predictions for the top five Cardinals stories of 2013.