Opening Day is here….and it is glorious.
Not since my days as a kid have I been this excited about a Blue Jays season. And for the first time in quite a while, many baseball experts are just as excited as I am. Both Jayson Stark of ESPN and Scott Miller of CBS Sports pick Toronto to take advantage of the second Wild Card and make the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Amazing.
But you can read about those predictions, and others, elsewhere.
Here, you will get the terrible predictions of a buffoon. But if there’s one thing going for me it’s this: I can’t get any worse than last year.
Today 500 Level Fan wraps up the set of season prediction columns with a look at the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays.
Here are 24 predictions about Toronto’s upcoming season. Some are standard and some are off-the-wall, bet we can all rest assured on one thing – MOST will be wrong.
1. Toronto will win 87 games and finish ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. The Wild Card might be a stretch, but they’ll be close.
2. Jose Bautista will once again eclipse the 50 HR mark, finishing with 51.
3. Colby Rasmus has the kind of breakout year that was projected for him years ago, finishing with a .280+ average, 25 HR, and a high .800’s OPS.
4. Yunel Escobar wins the Gold Glove for AL SS.
5. 500 Level Fan’s favourite Edwin Encarnacion hits over 30 HR and moves into the cleanup role behind Bautista by May.
6. Brandon Morrow leads the league in strikeouts, stays healthy, and stays consistent, finishing the season as one of the top pitchers in the AL.
7. Romero, Morrow, and Alvarez stay firmly entrenched in the rotation, but the final two spots remain in turmoil until rookie Drew Hutchinson is called up in July and brings stability to the back end.
8. Rajai Davis becomes a surprisingly effective bench player.
9. Ben Francisco does not.
10. The bullpen, Toronto’s Achilles heel in 2011, is vastly improved, and finished with the best ERA in the entire American League.
11. Sergio Santos finishes second in the AL in saves, and first in K/9 for relievers.
12. By the end of the season, Jessie Litsch, Adam Lind, and Travis Snider are no longer members of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
13. Ricky Romero wins 20 games.
14. Omar Vizquel, in an incredible performance, hits for the cycle – the home run will be his only bomb of the season.
15. Brett Lawrie continues where he left off last season, and is elected as a starter for the AL in the All-Star game.
16. As a reliever, Casey Janssen puts together a scoreless innings streak of 29.
17. With Philadelphia in town again (from June 15-17), Jose Bautista repeats 2011 by launching a massive HR off Roy Halladay. Unlike last year, the Blue Jays actually win the game.
18. The Jays continue their dominance over the Orioles by posting a 16-2 record against them.
19. Alex Anthopoulos makes a daring trade in July finally parting with one of Toronto’s blue chip prospects for a bona fide major league star.
20. Henderson Alvarez throws a one-hit shutout – twice.
21. Travis d’Arnaud makes an appearance in the big leagues before the season is finished. Other top prospects, including Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick, do not.
22. Of the three major additions to the AL, Toronto shuts down Prince Fielder, knocks around Yu Darvish, but has a tough time with Albert Pujols – as does the rest of the American League.
23. Eric Thames survives the entire season in LF and has a nice all-around season. His highlight comes in August when he puts together a 15-game hitting streak and has a 3-HR game.
24. Toronto’s second last series of the season, a 4-game home set against the Yankees, is the biggest September series since the early ‘90’s, with the AL’s second Wild Card birth at stake. All four games are sold out.
Happy 2012 everybody!