Half Way Home – 500 Level Fan’s Predictions Revisited

Now that we have hit the All-Star break, I figured it’s a good chance to look back at my pre-season predictions to see just how stupid (or smart!) I was. At the unofficial half way point, it is confirmed – I stink.

American League Predictions

Division Winners: Boston, Chicago, Texas

Wild Card: Yankees

Not too bad here. Three of the four are correct at the halfway point, and Chicago, despite all their struggles, have moved to within 5 games of first place Detroit. I was also right on when I said that Oakland and Baltimore would both suck – neither would take the step forward that many analysts predicted.

But my pick of Cleveland to finish dead last and Minnesota to lose out on the Wild Card late in the season? Wow – AWFUL!

Stat Leaders (predicted winner followed by actual place)

HR – Jose Bautista (1st – I BELIEVED!!)

RBI – Bautista (4th)

Average – Ichiro (40th)

SB – Brett Gardner (T5th)

W – Jon Lester (T4th)

ERA – Gio Gonzalez (5th)

K – Brandon Morrow (T13th)

Sv – Mariano Rivera (3rd)

Actually not a bad performance here. Aside from Ichiro falling off the map this year, each of my predicted winners is in the top-5. Brandon Morrow is 13th in strikeouts, but might easily be in the top-5 had he not started the season on the DL. A pat on the back 500 Level Fan!

Awards

MVP – Adam Dunn

Cy Young – Jon Lester

ROY – J.P. Arencibia

Manager– Ron Gardenhire

There goes the momentum. Adam Dunn is effing awful, hitting an incredibly pathetic .160 on the season. Lester hasn’t been bad, but is now on the DL and is miles behind Verlander in the Cy race. Arencibia, despite his HR total, will need a huge second half to pass Seattle’s Michael Pineda. Minnesota stinks, though it’s not really Gardenhire’s fault (at least not all of it). Terrible performance 500 Level Fan. Terrible.

National League Predictions

Division Winners: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado

Wild Card: Philadelphia

How does 0 for 4 sound? Brutal. To be fair both Atlanta and Philly are currently in playoff spots – I just have them reversed, so that kind of counts as two right choices doesn’t it? The Reds have dropped behind the Pirates in the Central, and Colorado is five games under .500 in the West.

The rest of the predictions were an even bigger mess. I had both Pittsburgh and Arizona to finish dead last, yet both are above .500 and within striking distance of first (the Pirates are 1 game back!!!!). I had Florida finishing third and battling for a Wild Card spot, and Washington (who find themselves even at .500) to come dead last. The most embarrassing of all? I picked the Cubs to finish second. That’s right, the 37-55 Cubs. Oh no…

Stat Leaders (predicted winner followed by actual place)

HR– Ryan Braun (T11th)

RBI– Albert Pujols (T18th)

Average– Troy Tulowitzki (T37th)

SB – Michael Bourn (1st)

W– Roy Halladay (T2nd)

ERA – Tommy Hanson (4th)

K– Ubaldo Jimenez (21st)

Sv – Heath Bell (T2nd)

Move on folks, nothing to see here. Just a set of horrendous predictions. Aside from SB, I’m not even close on ANY of the batting leaders. The pitching guesses weren’t too bad, but way, way off on Ubaldo. He’s killing a lot of people this year.

Awards

MVP– Joey Votto

Cy Young – Tommy Hanson

ROY – Freddie Freeman

Manager– Mike Quade

Votto, Hanson, and Freeman are all having pretty good seasons, and all have to at least be in the conversation for their respective awards. Quade is not, and could be closer to the firing lines than the manager of the year award. Wait ’til next year Cubbies.

Toronto Blue Jay Predictions

Below are the 24 predictions I made coming into the season, with my take on how well they’re looking at the halfway point:

1.Jose Bautista will hit 44 HR to lead the AL. He will not regress as much as everybody expects.

– 44 might have been too conservative. With 31 at the break, he looks poised to easily top that number. SUCCESS!

2. Travis Snider has the break-out year that many predicted last year. .275 average, 32 HR, 95 RBI.

– He stunk early and was sent down. Swinging a much better bat now, but will not come anywhere near those numbers. FAIL!

3.Rajai Davis steals 63 bases, breaking the franchise record of 60 set by Dave Collins in 1984.

– With 24 at the break, he needs to pick it up if he wants to break 60. It’s close but I’ll give myself a FAIL!

4.Edwin Encarnacion plays a surprisingly capable third base, and hits over 30 HR to boot.

– Uh…no. HUGE FAIL!!!!

5.EE’s steady play in the field keeps future hearthrob Brett Lawrie in the minors for most of the season, ruining John Kruk’s rookie of the year choice.

– Lawrie will be in the minors for most of the season, but only due to injury and not at all due to EE’s good play. This is a FAIL!

6.Though Drabek has a nice rookie year, he finishes under .500 and nowhere near first place in the ROY voting.

– While it’s wrong to say he is having a nice rookie year, it looks like he will finish below .500 barring a late season call up, and it’s true he will finish nowhere near first place in the AL ROY voting. This is a wash.

7.The Rookie of the Year? Throw all the Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Sale, and Mike Moustakas predictions out the window. J.P. Arencibia takes the fact that nobody seems to believe in him anymore to heart, lives up to his potential, and wins the award for the American League.

– The power is there but the other numbers are not. Barring a big second half, players like Mark Trumbo or Michael Pineda are far ahead of him. FAIL!

8. At one point in the season, Jason Frasor is given the opportunity to close games again. He blows it. Again.

– Incomplete. With the disarray that is the Blue Jay bullpen, Frasor might indeed be anointed the man again.

9.Jon Rauch starts the year as closer and Frank Francisco finished the year as closer. They combine for 40 saves.

– Terrible. Terrible. Francisco might finish the year in the minors or on another team. No way they reach 40 saves. FAIL!

10.Eric Thames is called up to the big leagues before Brett Lawrie.

– YES! Got one. SUCCESS!

11. One member of the Blue Jays starting rotation tosses a no-hitter, only the second in franchise history.

– Not yet…

12. Ricky Romero leads the staff with 16 wins.

– He currently leads the staff with 7, but unless the Jays start scoring for him, 16 looks like a tall order. Incomplete.

13. Brandon Morrow returns from injury and leads the AL with 235 strikeouts.

– This looks unlikely, with only 104 thus far. Even he manages to hit over 200, he’s not catching Verlander for the AL title. FAIL!

14.Jessie Litsch surprises many by sticking in the rotation all season.

– Nope. FAIL!

15. On the afternoon of Sunday June 26th in an interleague game in St. Louis, Toronto hitters hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of former teammate Brian “Billy Talent” Tallet.

– Didn’t happen. Tallet wasn’t even active. FAIL!

16. Juan Rivera does not make it through the season.

– Yes sir! SUCCESS!

17. Aaron Hill bounces back, sacrificing power for average, and hits .275 with 15 bombs.

– Oh no. He will not make .275 and he

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will not make 15 HR. Terrible, disastrous season. FAIL!

18.Yunel Escobar mystifies fans everywhere by bunting in the first inning over 50 times.

– I don’t have the stats on this one, but I can’t remember him doing it at all, so I’ll say FAIL!

19.As has been said elsewhere, Marc Rzepczynski – not David Purcey or Jesse Carlson – becomes the next Scott Downs.

– I’ll take this one. Rzep has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP and has pitched very well out of the pen. SUCCESS!

20.Jose Bautista joins Kelly Gruber and Jeff Frye by hitting for the cycle.

– He came close in April, and there is still time. Incomplete.

21.Scott Downs, Vernon Wells, and Roy Halladay all receive huge ovations upon their returns to Toronto. When Pittsburgh comes to town between June 28-30, Lyle Overbay inexplicably does not.

– Overbay didn’t, Halladay did, and Downs and Wells don’t come back until August. Incomplete.

22.The Blue Jays hold their own against the AL East, but play poorly against the AL West and, as usual, the NL during the interleague schedule.

– Toronto is 14-21 against the AL East, 7-6 against the West, and went 8-10 in Interleague. Not looking good for my prediction to ring true. FAIL!

23. For the second year in a row, Jose Bautista and a Toronto catcher make the All-Star team. Arencibia (yes, I believe in him) joins Buck and Whitt as the only Blue Jay catchers to make it.

– Bautista did, Arencibia did not. FAIL!

24. Romero finishes in the top-5 of the AL Cy Young voting.

– Incomplete, but a strong second half should be enough to get this right.

Final Verdict?

4 right, 13 wrong, with 1 wash, and 6 still undecided.

In other words…not good.

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