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Reviewing predictions: TCN Blog’s top five Cardinals stories of 2012

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
Wainwright’s comeback 1 NR
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”
Duncan’s future 5 NR
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

See above.

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.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of 2012 countdown

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12 Responses to “Reviewing predictions: TCN Blog’s top five Cardinals stories of 2012”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    The Cards are reported to be looking for a Nick Punto type in the free agent market. This could be a veteran middle infielder who can play SS and 2B both.

    Two possibilities: Freddy Sanchez; and the return of Ryan Theriot.

    • Nutlaw says:

      Theriot!? The Cards shooed him out of town a year ago and he only played worse since then! No way.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Oh goody, someone is alive. Theriot was on the World Champ Cards of 2011 and the World Champ Giants of 2012. Maybe Ryan is a good luck charm?
        Theriot is a vet middle infielder, who can play both positions. As such, he could give competition to Super Pete.
        Mo was quoted as seeking a Punto type, among remaining free agents. Theriot and Sanchez, who missed 2012 with a bad back, seem two plausible possibilities for a vet part time middle infielder. What Mo says about the future sometimes has a way of happening. Feel free to look at unsigned vet SSes and 2B and nominate others. Theriot is NOT the bottom of the barrel.

        • crdswmn says:

          No, he’s the microscopic amoeba underneath the dirt on the bottom of the barrel.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I think the organization is savvier than that.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Theriot has one big problem. One reason guys move between teams is to give fans someone new to boo. Because Theriot was a Card during 2011, some fans developed a distaste for him, though I am not one of these fans. It we could find someone about as good as Theriot, who has not played here before, then it can make sense to sign the other guy, because less known to Cards fans.

            • crdswmn says:

              Theriot’s big problem is he sucks. Finding someone “as good as Theriot” to play would be problematic, seeing as how it would violate Child Labor laws for him to play after 9 pm. But you are right, Cards fans would probably like him better.

        • Brian Walton says:

          The problem is that they don’t need competition to Kozma. They need someone who can compete with Descalso and play when Furcal is hurt.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Right now, status quo, Super Pete is platooning with Descalso and playing when Furcal is hurt. Pete is qualified to do this, because he swings from the right side and is a SS. Last year, it was Tyler Greene who served in this niche.

            Carpenter can compete with Descalso in terms of left swingers. Matt’s practicing for 2B has been well reported in the press and we know such reports are reliable.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              What does Mo mean when he says he is now looking for Nick Punto type among the veteran free agent unsigned?
              Does this mean a switch-hitter like Aaron Miles, who we had for 3 seasons, until little Miles became too good and got a bigger offer from the Cubs? Punto is a switch-hitter who did well and only had to spend one year with the Cards, before graduating to a two year deal with the Red Sox.

              “Mo speak” could mean not just a switch-hitter like Punto, but more broadly a vet infielder who will cost $1MM to $2MM. A “type” may mean a monetary class. We are looking for an infielder who has been a starter in the past, but who now, owing to injuries or an off-season, cannot command the salary of a starter at 2B or SS. He will need to swing right, to supplement Descalso/Carpenter at 2B.

              If we are truly serious about adding this guy, then the idea of trading to land Cabrera from the Indians is dead.

              Or, we are trying to chisel the Indians down on their price for Cabrera, by publicly saying we want to add a Punto type.

              Because we already have a Punto type, who helped our September surge into the playoffs, namely Super Pete.

        • Nutlaw says:

          Theriot can’t play SS any more. The Cards tried to force him there, but note that the Giants last season didn’t give him even one appearance at short.

  2. blingboy says:

    Wainwright looked a whole lot better in the second half. He may have worn down toward the end, understandable.

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