At the end of March, I asked some 500 Level Fan readers a few questions about the upcoming season. I gathered their responses and posted a summary.
As we have officially reached the halfway point of the 2012 season, what better time to take a quick look back and see how accurate the responses were.
First a reminder of the questions:
1. How many HR do you think Jose Bautista will hit in 2012?
2. Colby Rasmus – good year or bad year in 2012?
3. What do you expect from Brett Cecil this season?
4. Do you anticipate a big trade before the deadline?
5. How many wins will the Jays have in 2012?
6. Will the Jays make the playoffs?
Bonus – What kind of stat line do you expect from Edwin Encarnacion?
For the purposes of today’s post, I will leave out question 4 (we’re obviously not at the deadline yet), and 6.
Next, let’s meet the panel:
@TOWineMan – wine blogger extraordinaire and owner of the greatest baseball pants of all time
@JPS_82 – his man crush on the Big Hurt is unnatural
@TheCraiger – his man crush on airplanes is equally unnatural
@TweetsByRules – he doesn’t only love the rules, he OWNS the rules
@dsharpdavis – coach, musician, and a man who loves to flex around women (everybody loves Cody)
@altrendy – Fast Eddie, a man who drinks dark rum 24/7
500 Level Fan Sr. – season pass holder and upper deck legend
Honey Nut Ichiros – a classic non-trader and Mario Balotelli’s biggest fan
David “Future Star” Yarwood – 500 Level Fan’s Ottawa Correspondent
Alexander Bruce “Jesse Barfield For Life” Yarwood – might be truly in love with the great RF
King Pin Emo – a boy among men
The most accurate answer from each question will be highlighted.
Thus Far: So far so good in the HR department for Jose. After a slow start he went crazy in June, setting a franchise record for HR in a month. Through 82 games, he leads the majors in homers with 27, putting him on pace to hit 54 this season.
The Predictions: The readers didn’t give him enough credit it appears. The average of the responses was about 42, meaning Jose is on pace to smash that prediction. If his pace holds up, a gold star to @JPS_82 for guessing 54, and a black mark on @TOWineMan for his guess of 36. 36? Awful!
Thus Far: It was a brutal April for Rasmus, but man has he ever turned things around. After a blistering June, his season line looks like this:
.259 AVG / .322 OBP / .489 SLG / .811 OPS / 16 HR / 50 RBI / 44 R / 4 SB
He has a WAR of 2.3 on both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, and has played an excellent centrefield.
The Predictions: There was great range on this one. Many had bad things to say (“a very bad year”) while some had good things to say (“spectacular”). The one common theme was that nobody expected much in terms of power. Honey Nut Ichiros predicted a total of 16 HR – a number that Colby has already reached. @TweetsByRules guessed a total of 20 HR, a total that Rasmus looks like he may pass in early July. Kudos to both Rules, and 500 Level Fan’s Ottawa correspondent Dave “Future Star” Yarwood, for both guessing an OPS in the .800′s.
Thus Far: Meh. Started the season in the minor leagues, and was only called up when a slew of injuries crushed the starting rotation. He’s made four starts to the tune of a 2-1 record, 5.64 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 ratio. Not great by any means.
The Predictions: I have to say the readers nailed this one. Nobody predicted that he wouldn’t make the team from the beginning, but Alexander Bruce “I love Jesse Barfield” Yarwood, did call for a demotion to the minor leagues by June, which is a bonus. Only one reader was way off the mark – my Pops, Mr. 500 Level Fan Sr., who thought Cecil would have a tremendous year, good enough to be traded at the break for a slugger. Oops.
Blue Jay Wins
Thus Far: It’s been an up and down season. The Jays reached the halfway mark with a 41 – 40 record, putting them on pace for 82 wins. If you look at their offense one would think they should be better. They have the MLB leader in HR, the most HR by two teammates in the league, and are the only team with three 50 RBI players. Plus they have played amazing defense, at least according to the advanced stats. But looking at the pitching you’d think they’d be much, much worse. They’ve lost Morrow, Hutchison, Drabek, McGowan, Litsch, and Santos to injury, the ace has the yips, and they still employ Cordero.
The Predictions: Very optimistic, none moreso than Fast Eddie Trendos, with a prediction of 94 wins. With a strong second half they might be able to get there, but for now things don’t look good.
Thus Far: You can make an argument that Edwin Encarnacion deserves to be Toronto’s MVP. That’s how good his first half was. .298 AVG / .950 OPS / 22 HR / 56 RBI, he’s played surprisingly great defense, and he carried Toronto’s offense through most of April while Bautista was scuffling. A huge season for EE.
The Predictions: A lot of variety here as well. For the most part, the readers thought he’d fall flat, none moreso than @JPS_82. But there was some optimism out there, with seven expecting over 20 HR. Nobody ventured into the 40 bomb category though, which – hopefully – EE winds up in.