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Your 40 Mariners and MLB predictions for 2023

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Guardians Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Two weeks ago, I laid out a different approach to making predictions for the 2023 season. Instead of hot takes, bold takes, or spit takes, what if we tried to be rigorous enough about it to get better at takes? I discuss the thinking at length in the post.

The gist is to do three things. First, make concrete, falisifiable predictions—things that you can look back on and actually know whether you were right. “Luis Castillo has the best season of any pitcher on the team” is not falsifable because what do you mean by “best”? “Luis Castillo leads the Mariners in fWAR” is falsifiable because you can just go look. Second, think probabalistically. There’s so much uncertainty in life; people who are good at predictions, rather than being really good at being right or wrong, are actually good at estimating the level of uncertainty. Put odds on things and try to calibrate well. If you give ten predictions 70% odds, you’re doing just as badly if you get nine of them right as if you get five of them right. Finally, and this is so crucial, write your predictions down so you can go back and see how you did and reflect on why you made the errors you did. That reflection is the key to how people get better at this. Again, read more here.

So we’re all trying this out together this year. I put odds on 40 predictions, discussed several of them with Anders and Evan on the podcast, and left a survey for you to fill out your predictions. 150 of you responded. When we look back at these in October or November, we’ll see who did better. The theory of the wisdom of the crowds suggests you’ll be much better. But for the written record, here’s what you thought. I’m listing the mode—the most common response—since the mean and median is almost always in the high 70s or low 80s, which isn’t that interesting. But I’ll note where there’s particularly high or low consensus in the survey.

Atlanta Braves v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Mariners Hitters Performance

Julio hits at least 22 home runs.
Zach: 90%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 80%, Readers: 90%
I think we all agree that this is really about how much Julio plays.

Julio steals fewer than 30 bases.
Zach: 70%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 90%, Readers: 80%
You were pretty evenly split on this one. How much was Julio easing up in the second half about the particular injuries he was feeling and how much was about a general fear of injuries? If it’s the former, then, combined with the larger bases, Julio might well steal 40.

Julio leads the Mariners position players in fWAR.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%

Ty France hits fewer than 30 home runs.
Zach: 80%, Evan: 80%, Anders, 90%, Readers: 90%

Toro and Winker combine for more fWAR than Kolten Wong.
Zach: 80%, Evan: 80%, Anders: 80%, Readers: 70%

Cal beats his Steamer projected wOBA of .312.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 80%

Evan White gets fewer than 400 MLB PAs.
Zach: 60%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 80%, Readers: 90%
Looking back, this is the one I already have the most regrets about. 400 PAs is a lot and requires him to be both healthy and good for like four months. Rethinking it, 40% odds on that seems unjustifiable.

Tommy La Stella gets fewer than 50 PAs as a Mariner.
Zach: 60%, Evan: 80%, Anders: 70%, Readers: 90%
90%? How quickly some of you forget our Steven Souza era, our Justin Upton era, our Mike Ford era. Dylan Moore is already hurt.

Mariners have at least five hitters with at least 250 PAs and a wRC+ over 100.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 80%
You all were pretty evenly split between 70%, 80%, and 90%.

Mariners Pitchers Performance

At least one Mariner recieves at least one Cy Young vote.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 90%
You have to look all the way back to 2022 for a season where this didn’t happen. Luis Castillo has never appeared on a Cy Young ballot. I’m high on this rotation too, but I think you’re being a little overconfident about this.

Luis Castillo does not lead the Mariners pitchers in fWAR.
Zach: 60%, Evan: less than 50% (i.e., Castillo will lead), Anders: 70%, Readers: 60%

George Kirby improves his K/BB from last year.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 80%
For those who haven’t looked it up, Kirby’s 6.05 last year was seventh among the 140 pitchers who threw at least 100 innings. He was nestled right between Verlander and Kershaw. Grogu Kirby had an all-timer rookie year.

Logan Gilbert finishes with at least 2 fWAR.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 90%
Only one vote separated those of you who put this at 80% from those who put it at 90%.

Marco makes at least 10 starts for Seattle.
Zach: 70%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 90%, Readers: TIE
You all were very evenly split on this one.

Marco makes fewer than 20 starts for Seattle.
Zach: 70%, Evan: 70%, Anders: 50%, Readers: 90%

At least one Mariners reliever puts up at least 1.5 fWAR.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 90%

At least five Mariners record at least one save.
Zach: 60%, Readers: 90%
On reflection, I think y’all make a strong point here. The only time during Scott Servais’s tenure when fewer than five Mariners recorded a save was Eddie’s bananas 2018. Even in 2020’s 27-win season, five Mariners got saves.

Other Mariners Predictions

Mariners win at least 80 games.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%

Mariners make the playoffs.
Zach: 60%, Readers: 70%
Twice as many of you put this at 90% as gave this less than 50% odds. Respectfully, get real.

Mariners make at least one in-season trade.
Zach: 90%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 90%, Readers: 90%

One of Kelenic, Trammell, or Marlowe end the season in another organization.
Zach: 70%, Readers: 60%
This is only sort of related, but I feel bad for Trammell. The last time MLB expanded, there were 9.2 million Americans for every MLB team. Today, there are 11 million. To go back to 9.2 million per team would mean adding six (six!) more MLB teams. Taylor Trammell really should be in his third season as a starter, not clawing his way into being a reserve.

Teoscar does not sign an extension before the final game of the regular season.
Zach: 70%, Readers: 70%

Scott Servais ends the year as the Mariners’ manager.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%
Only 20 of you gave this less than 90% odds.

Chris Clarke does not end the year with Seattle.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%
While the mode in the survey was 90%, only 40% of voters said that, which is shocking to me. I’d be willing to put 90% odds that Chris Clarke doesn’t end April with Seattle.

Mariners have at least three All Stars.
Zach: 60%, Evan: 60%, Anders: 60%, Readers: 90%
90% was the mode, but this was another pretty even split across 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90%.

Mariners have fewer than five All Stars.
Zach: 80%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 80%, Readers: 90%

Mariners have fewer than three players on the midseason update to the FanGraphs Top 100 Prospects.
Zach: 60%, Readers: 70%
You were pretty evenly split between 70% and 80%. Harry Ford’s performacne in the WBC is making the 80% group look good.

Around the AL West

Astros win the AL West.
Zach: 90%, Evan: 70%, Anders: 70%, Readers: 90%
Almost as many of you put this at 80% as at 90%.

A’s finish last in the AL West.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%

Rangers do not make the playoffs.
Zach: 70%, Evan: 70%, Anders: 70%, Readers: 80%

Jacob deGrom leads the Rangers starters in fWAR/IP.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%
You all were too evenly split on this. A fifth of you only gave this 60% odds, and I feel like the most likely explanation for that is that you missed the part where this is the rate state of fWAR/IP, not the counting stat of fWAR. But I’m eager to hear your explanations in the comments.

Astros have at least ten players with at least 10 PAs and a wRC+ over 100.
Zach: 70%, Readers: 70%

A’s trade a reliever during the season.
Zach: 90%, Readers: 90%

Shohei finishes the year as an Angel.
Zach: 70%, Evan: 90%, Anders: 90%, Readers: 90%
I get where you all are coming from, but the Angels are too weird for me to feel too comfortable predicting anything they might do. These are the people who looked at the job Phil Nevin did and said, yeah, let’s try that again.

Around MLB

Orioles do not make the playoffs.
Zach: 80%, Readers: 70%

Rays make the playoffs.
Zach: 60%, Readers: 70%
But a solid group of you had this at 60%.

Dodgers do not win the NL West.
Zach: 60%, Readers: 60%
This was the one that had the highest share giving it 50% or worse odds, with 27% of you thinking it’s at least as likely as not that the Dodgers win again. But good for the Padres that this is even in doubt.

Mets finish the year with a better record than the Yankees.
Zach: 70%, Readers: 80%
I think I’m still at 70% after Edwin Díaz went down, but I maybe moved to the 60% side of that rather than the 80% side.

Mitch Haniger plays fewer than 135 games.
Zach: 60%, Readers: 80%
Is “frowny face” a percentage?

The qualified player with the highest wRC+ is one of Judge, Yordan, Soto, Julio, Shohei, Vladito, Trout, Freeman, Tucker, or Mookie.
Zach: 70%, Readers: 90%
Hear me out, what if the 2023 wRC+ leader is this guy? Believe.