Halfway Home: Revisiting My 2012 Blue Jays Predictions

After yesterday’s look back at how poorly I predicted the divisional races in 2012, let’s have a look at how poorly I predicted the Blue Jays season.

The following 24 predictions were posted originally on April 6th.

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.

Thus Far: The Jays are on pace for an 81 – 81 record, meaning I will be six wins shy of my prediction.  But I think we’re in store for a good second half, pitching woes be damned.  87 wins it is!

2. Jose Bautista will once again eclipse the 50 HR mark, finishing with 51.

Thus Far: Through 86 games Bautista has slugged 27 bombs, putting him on pace for just under 51.  We’re only halfway there, but….nailed it!

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.

Thus Far: A bit short in the average territory, with a .259 mark right now, but with an .821 OPS and 17 HR, I’m looking pretty good here too!!

4. Yunel Escobar wins the Gold Glove for AL SS.

Thus Far: Tough to say right now.  According to many advances metrics, he is right up there.  Using Baseball Reference’s defensive WAR stat, he is the second best fielding SS behind Seattle’s Brendan Ryan.  But stats never decide Gold Gloves (see Jeter, Derek), and Yunel doesn’t have the type of exposure to win.  I would bet Elvis Andrus takes it.

5. 500 Level Fan’s favourite Edwin Encarnacion hits over 30 HR and moves into the cleanup role behind Bautista by May.

Thus Far: You bet!!

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.

Thus Far: This was pretty close to being true until early June.  His strikeout total was a bit down, but he was consistent and definitely one of the top pitchers in the AL.  Then he got hurt. 

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.

Thus Far: Kind of got it right.  Hutchison arrived earlier than I thought, but with all the injuries the final three rotation spots are in turmoil – and likely will be for the rest of the year (unless AA makes a trade).

8. Rajai Davis becomes a surprisingly effective bench player.

Thus Far: I think we can say this has come true.  He has actually become a starter since Thames went down, but he was pretty effective off the bench when he was on it.  He is currently second in the AL in stolen bases.

9. Ben Francisco does not.

Thus Far: 0 HR, 2 RBI, .669 OPS and a long time missed due to injury.  This one is right on!

10. The bullpen, Toronto’s Achilles heel in 2011, is vastly improved, and finished with the best ERA in the entire American League.

Thus Far:  Ugh.  Not even close.  With a 4.14 ERA, the Blue Jays rank second last in the AL in bullpen ERA, only ahead of Cleveland’s 4.31.  And with all the injuries – especially Luis Perez going down last week – we are getting worse.

11. Sergio Santos finishes second in the AL in saves, and first in K/9 for relievers.

Thus Far:  Let’s just move on…

12. By the end of the season, Jessie Litsch, Adam Lind, and Travis Snider are no longer members of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Thus Far: All are still here, though it looked like Lind was gone for a while.

13. Ricky Romero wins 20 games.

Thus Far: His record is actually pretty good, for what it’s worth, but unless he fixes himself in a hurry, he might not even reach 12 wins.

14. Omar Vizquel, in an incredible performance, hits for the cycle – the home run will be his only bomb of the season.

Thus Far: With only 15 hits thus far, he hasn’t come close.  Still waiting for his first HR, so I’m still alive here!

15. Brett Lawrie continues where he left off last season, and is elected as a starter for the AL in the All-Star game.

Thus Far: He’s doing well but not well enough to attract more votes than Adrian Beltre.

16. As a reliever, Casey Janssen puts together a scoreless innings streak of 29.

Thus Far: His longest so far is just over 10 innings, but he’s currently on a streak of 4.2 scoreless – you never know!

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.

Thus Far: Halladay was hurt, so this never happened, but the Jays did sweep the Phillies.

18. The Jays continue their dominance over the Orioles by posting a 16-2 record against them.

Thus Far: This was a miss.  Halfway through their schedule, the Jays are just 4-5 against the O’s.

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.

Thus Far: We’ll find out soon enough.

20. Henderson Alvarez throws a one-hit shutout – twice.

Thus Far: Not yet, but he did toss a 6-hit shutout against the Angels in May.

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.

Thus Far: TBD.

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.

Thus Far: Darvish is 2-0 against Toronto with a 3.00 ERA and 12 K’s – I was wrong.  Fielder has yet to play against Toronto.  Pujols has a .310 average and .828 OPS against Blue Jay pitching.  This prediction is a wash.

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.

Thus Far: Nope…

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.

Thus Far: I still have hope that this will be the case.

Overall, it looks good that I’ll get 5 right. 

That means I’m batting .208.

Above the Mendoza line!!!

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