2014 Season Over/Under Contest Results

The Braves’ season is now in the rear-view mirror.  But it doesn’t mean that we can’t still have some fun with it.

Back at the end of March, I proposed a contest of sorts to guess how the team would do in several categories.  That post can be seen at this link kind of.  It seems that the mechanisms that allowed us to make the slick menus are completely broken, so we’ll recap it all here.  But despite that hiccup, we do have a winner!  I never promised anything in the way of a prize other than bragging rights, but perhaps we could extend a lifetime membership to TomahawkTake.com and a subscription to our invisible newsletter.

 

To the Data!

THE TEAM PERFORMANCE QUESTIONS

  • Washington Nationals left fielder Kevin Frandsen (19). Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    REGULAR SEASON TOTAL WINS.  Ouch.  This one hurts.  The Over/Under standard was 90.5, which certainly seemed reasonable for a 96 win team from 2013 that now had pitching questions.  63.5% of you were optimistic and took the ‘Over’.  Sorry about that.  RESULT:  79 (UNDER)

  • FINISHING POSITION/NL EAST.  Standard:  1.5.  Contest entrants could not decide and split this one down the middle.  But whether you are now thinking “tied for 2nd” or “3rd place after the tie-breaker”, the contest answer will be the same.  RESULT: 2nd/3rd (OVER)
  • TEAM RBI.  Wow.  This one was incredible.  In 2013, the Braves knocked in 656 runs.  With all of the injuries amongst the ‘producers’, I set the standard for this one at what seemed to be a reasonable 660.5.  In no scenario could I have imagined 17% fewer while still using roughly the same lineup… and neither could you, for 70% guessed “over”.  RESULT:  545 (UNDER)
  • TEAM STOLEN BASES.  Standard:  65.5.  Steals are tough to gauge.  The 2013 team only had 64 steals, so a modest increase wasn’t a horrible guess.  This team jumped up and took 95 bases in 2014 (with 33 failed attempts).  In 2012, there were 101 swipes (32 CS).  Before that, you have to go all the way back to 2000 to exceed those numbers:  that team took 148 bases – for the 2nd consecutive year.  73% of you were correct.  RESULT:  95 (OVER)
  • TOTAL OFFENSE RANK (via fangraphs).  No, you won’t be surprised at this result.  The standard was 9.5, which was again a function of guessing for a modest improvement over last year with its myriad injuries.  But… this bad?  Another ‘wow’… and 64% were too bullish on our chances.  RESULT:  26 (OVER)
  • NUMBER OF ALL-STARS.  This was pretty easy.  65% of the answer picked the ‘over’ on a standard of 2.5.  RESULT:  3 (OVER)
  • HIGHEST MVP FINISH/ANY BRAVE.  No – the ballot have not been read yet – though they should be in the mail today.  But since I think it’s a mortal lock that Justin Upton will be in the top 4 for the NL (my standard was 4.5), I’m calling this one today (and 62% are getting credit for getting this right):  RESULT: 3/4 (UNDER)

 

THE PITCHING PERFORMANCE QUESTIONS

  • 1st DAY GAVIN FLOYD PITCHES.  I had May 19 as the over/under standard.  Many (69%, including myself) thought that was too soon.  RESULT:  May 6 (UNDER)
  • # OF PITCHERS OVER 200 INNINGS.  I added “regular season” innings to that question… silly me.  The standard (0.5) was born out of the myriad of things that can/do go wrong with pitchers.  The 2014 pitching staff was cobbled together with baling wire, a wing, and a prayer.  And they performed. 63.5% of you went that same direction.  RESULT:  2 (Teheran/Harang).  OVER.
  • Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Cody Sokol (19). Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

    # DIFFERENT STARTING PITCHERS.  Counting James Russell yesterday, the answer was still not as many as I’d guessed with the standard of 10.5.  After Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy went down, I had expected the worst to continue.  62% agreed.  It actually did not.  RESULT:  8 (UNDER)

  • TOTAL SAVES/NOT FROM KIMBREL.  Standard:  3.5.  A bit of a surprise to me here, as we had 3 each from Jordan Walden and David Carpenter, plus one from Shae Simmons. Almost 71% took the ‘Over’.  RESULT:  7 (OVER)
  • TOTAL KIMBREL SAVES.  Finally!!  I got one right!  The standard was set at 47.5 and Craig notched #47 on the last day.  This was clearly a good one, not only because the number was right, but also because our entrants were likewise conflicted:  52% get credit for being right.  RESULT: 47 (BARELY UNDER)
  • TOTAL INNINGS:  Wood/Hale/Schlosser.  This was way under done at 111 innings – and 90% agreed with the result of ‘over’.  I had figured that this would go one of two ways:  either Alex Wood would be in the rotation for the full year, or he’d flop/get hurt and have to be replaced.  So this was more about Alex than anything else – and I was very pleased to see him blossom this year.  RESULT:  276.2 (OVER).
  • TOTAL WINS:  Santana/Teheran/Minor.  Standard: 40.5.  Maybe next year, I’ll pick a better stat, for Minor and Teheran got killed on win totals.  They certainly deserved more than what they got.  RESULT:  34 (UNDER)
  • TOTAL INNINGS:  ALL RELIEVERS. 

Okay, on this one, you need to know a little historyFredi Gonzalez had been roundly criticized for over-using his bullpen.  Jonny Venters was the poster child of this.  In 2011, the Braves bullpen ranked 3rd in innings pitched (522).  In 2012, that dropped to 15th (486).  By 2013, Fredi managed to get the Braves down to 29th on that list – 460.2 innings.

Naturally, I didn’t buy that trend, and guessed a standard value that would put the Braves back into the middle of the pack (494.5).  Between history and the shakiness of the starting pitching (particularly early on), this seemed to be a good call.  67% not only agreed with this, but were more pessimistic that this number would be higher.

2014?  How about 440.2 innings from relievers.  29th in baseball again… only beaten out by the Reds.  So I have to give Gonzalez some credit here:  he is no longer a bullpen killer.  In fact, the guy with the most innings?  Craig Kimbrel:  61.2.  That number was exceeded 4 times in 2011 alone.  RESULT:  440.2 (UNDER)

 

THE HITTING PERFORMANCE QUESTIONS

  • HOMERS+BATT AVG (Evan Gattis).  Standard 269.1.  A good result from the offense.  58% agreed.  RESULT:  285 (OVER).
  • Chris Davis (19). Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

    HOMERS+BATT AVG (Andrelton Simmons).  Standard 270.1.  A not-so-good result:  78% were wrong.  RESULT:  251 (UNDER)

  • COMBINED HOMERS BY UPTONS.  Standard 42.5.  Almost nailed this one.  57% had taken the over in a close one.  RESULT:  41 (UNDER)
  • DAN UGGLA OBP.  .344 (the Standard) was being optimistic.  The survery had entrants mostly split – 51% hoping for the best.  That didn’t happen.  In fact, it was over a hundred points worse.  RESULT:  .241 (UNDER)
  • JASON HEYWARD OBP.  Standard was .363.  71% hoped for better than that.  It was kinda close...RESULT:  .351 (UNDER)
  • FREDDIE FEEEMAN RBI.  I should have forecasted a drop-off here.  Instead I set the bar at 110.5… but then 53% agreed  RESULT:  78 (UNDER)
  • BJ UPTON INFIELD FLY BALLS%:  This was his big bugaboo in 2013.  The hope was that a correction might lead to better hitting overall.  59% thought he’d beat the 15.3% standard.  He did – and he was slightly better.  But not nearly enough.  RESULT:  10.5% (UNDER)
  • UGGLA+BJ UPTON K’s:  This was not so much about the number (399.5) at is was whether you thought Dan would make it through the year.  75% figured he would not and they were correct.  RESULT:  213 (UNDER)

 

TIE-BREAKERS

  • Who would have more homers: Evan Gattis or Brian McCann?  Until an 8-HR September, this looked to be a lock for Gattis.  Turned into a 23-22 winner for Heap.
  • Higher batting average:  Uggla or BJ B.J. Upton wins – if you can call it that – in a runaway:  .208 to .149 (shudder)
  • # of Braves’ in-season trades executed at the major league level just one – the deal that brought James Russell and Emilio Bonafacio into the house.

 

Okay, So Who Won??

I have to count ‘Ringers’ separately from the ‘Readers’ here… and there’s one who has been dancing on that line of distinction between the two groups.

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) signs autographs. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Of the 24 questions in the survey…

  • Staff Writer Benjamin Chase got nineteen of them correct.  Among the misses:  Pitching wins by Teheran/Santana/Minor (perfectly understandable), team wins, Simmons, and different pitcher starts.  That a pretty stout result.
  • In the newly created ‘former writer/often contributor‘ category, Lee Trocinski garnered 18 correct answers.  If Justin doesn’t somehow get in the Top 4 of the MVP ballot, then – yes – we can flip these top two finishers.  But I think they’re gonna stick.

Among the pure ‘readers’, we had a 3-way tie with 16 correct answers.

  • Bama Brave
  • Cerrato76
  • Kemosabie

The tie-breakers have spoken:  Kemosabie is our readers winner – getting 2 of the 3 tie-breakers correct (Cerrato76 getting 1 for the runner-up position).  Even if Justin doesn’t get the MVP votes, Kemosabie would still win – with 17 correct answers, which would eliminate the need for the tie-breaker.

We had 91 entries in the contest – and…. what?  You want to know how I did?

No – you really don’t:  my problem (read that as “excuse”) was in trying to guess all the results ahead of time, and thus thinking every question would be a coin flip.  Ergo, ‘heads’ came up just 8 times.  It was hardly the worst result (somebody managed to get only 5 right), but nothing to brag about, for sure.  I also got only 1 of the tie-breakers.

Among the other ‘Staff entries’ from those who are or were writing for us at the time:

  • Julien Benjamin:  10 plus 2 tie-breakers
  • Chris Headrick:  8 plus 2.
  • Brandon Woodworth:  a strong 13 plus 2.
  • Fred Owens:  another strong showing:  also getting 13 plus 2.
  • Hmmm…. somehow I managed to let my co-editor slip through without an entry.

 

So congratulations to the winners identified above – and especially to Ben, the “Shortstop King”, who also won our staff Rotisserie League for 2014… all of these #19 photos are just for you!

We do sincerely appreciate the participation – this was fun!