Second Annual 500 Level Fan Reader Poll


For the second consecutive year, 500 Level Fan has decided to let the readers – the fine, educated, and outstanding readers – take over.

As has been well documented on this site, I am awful at making predictions.  I routinely hit about 15% of my predictions, often missing many spectacularly.  (Though, I would like to note, I did correctly pick the Dominican Republic to win the World Baseball Classic.  Hooray for 2013!)

So why not let others take a crack at some?  Why not let others share the pain of failure?  That was the premise behind 2012’s Reader Poll, and I must say that many of the predictions about the 2012 Blue Jays were bang on.  Some, of course, were horrendous.

So that brings us to this year.  What you will read below are predictions on a variety of Blue Jay related subjects, including Bautista, Romero, Lind, trades, and whether or not the Jays make the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

To all of my loyal readers who participated, thanks very much.  Look out for a mid-season and an end-of-season column to see your progress.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

1. How many home runs will Jose Bautista hit this season?

The readers were pretty united on this one.  About half picked Jose to hit in the 40’s, and the other half pegged him for the 30’s.

Lowest prediction: 31 HR

Highest prediction: 47 HR

Average prediction: 40 HR

2. Who will lead the team in stolen bases, and with how many?

Four different players were named by the voters: Emilio Bonifacio, Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, and Jose Reyes.   Reyes was the most popular answer, named on over 50% of the ballots.

As far as the number of SB, there was a wide range:

Lowest prediction: 24 SB

Highest prediction: 57 SB

Average prediction: 42 SB

3. Predict the number of HR for each of the following: J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind.

There was a WIDE range of responses for these four, and the answers were interesting.  A few expect a bounce-back season from Lind, while several expect Edwin to regress.  Here are the results:

J.P. Arencibia

Low: 13 HR

High: 28 HR

Average: 22 HR

Brett Lawrie

Low: 14 HR

High: 38 HR

Average: 22 HR

Edwin Encarnacion

Low: 21 HR

High: 64 HR (!!)

Average: 37 HR

Adam Lind

Low: 2 HR

High: 32 HR

Average: 16 HR

4. Will one of Toronto’s main players be traded during the season?

Again, the answers here were very interesting.  Five different players were named as potential trade bait, but not every reader was convinced that trades were coming.  About a third stated that no midseason trades would take place.

By far and away the most popular name was Colby Rasmus.  Over 50% of readers who thought there would be a trade pegged Rasmus as the logical candidate, citing the emergence of Anthony Gose as the main reason.   Other players mentioned included J.P. Arencibia, Mark Buehrle, Adam Lind, and – if out of contention early – Josh Johnson.

5. Predict Ricky Romero’s performance in 2013

I decided to split the responses here into three categories:

a) those who think he will rebound and have a good season

b) those who think he will have a decent, not great, typical fifth starter year

c) those who think 2012 will strike again and he will be awful

Category A had the fewest votes, about 23% of the total.  Some of the predictions saw Ricky winning 18+ games, some saw a sub 3.00 ERA.

Category B was the most popular, 46% of all responses.  Predictions here were all about the same: approximately 10 wins, mid-4.00 ERA, 1.4 – 1.5 WHIP, and a high amount of walks.

Then there was Category C, which accounted for the remaining 31%.  These people have no faith in Romero, and no hope that he will recover his pre-2012 form.  Predictions here saw Ricky with twice as many losses as wins, ERA’s over 6.00 (or in one case “the worst ERA in baseball history”), and one even pegged Romero to be released on waivers.  Brutal!

6. Casey Janssen starts 2013 as the closer – who finishes 2013 as closer?

While one reader hoped for the return of B.J. Ryan, the rest were overwhelmingly in favour (75% majority) of Sergio Santos reclaiming the role he lost due to injury in 2012. 

7. Rank Toronto’s three new starting pitchers (R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle) from best to worst in terms of expected 2013 performance

Of the six possible combinations, only four were chosen:

Buehrle, Johnson, Dickey (17%)

Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson (25%)

Dickey, Johnson, Buehrle (25%)

Johnson, Dickey, Buehrle (33%)

8. How many wins will the improved Jays end up with, and will they  make the playoffs?

Optimism is everywhere!  85% of readers expect this to be the year the Jays finally, at long last, make the postseason.

Obviously, that translates into high win totals:

Low: 87 wins

High: 99 wins

Average: 92 wins

Thanks to everybody for fiilling out the ballot.  Good luck with your picks!

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