After a winter of excitement, and a spring camp full of optimism, it’s nearly time to play for real.
The Jays kick-off their 2013 campaign one week from now, welcoming the Indians to the Rogers Centre.
For the first time in years, Toronto opens a baseball season not as a “hopeful” team – a team that may make the playoffs if everything goes right – but as a legitimate contender. People – real life people! – are even picking the Toronto Blue Jays to win the World Series. It’s incredible isn’t it?
But you can read about what those other people think elsewhere.
Here, you will get the terrible predictions of a buffoon.
Today 500 Level Fan wraps up our season prediction columns with a look at the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays.
Here are 25 predictions about Toronto’s upcoming season. Enjoy!
1. Jose Bautista returns to the field with a vengeance, showing no ill effects of his wrist injury by slugging 42 home runs.
2. On Friday April 5th, Jays fans welcome back former manager John Farrell with the loudest and most hate-filled chorus of boo’s since the 2009 return of A.J. Burnett.
3. Edwin Encarnacion proves that 2012 was no fluke by exceeding the 35 HR and 100 RBI milestones.
4. Brett Lawrie has an outstanding year, albeit one interrupted by two separate stints on the disabled list.
5. As much as I want him to succeed, Colby Rasmus continues to struggle, finding himself platooning in CF by the end of the season.
6. Adam Lind has a nice rebound year, but not good enough to prevent the Jays from acquiring Justin Morneau at the July trade deadline to solidify 1B.
7. After suffering through a 2012 that saw only two pitchers make 30 starts and zero reach 200 innings, 2013 will see four starters reach those milestones.
8. At some point in 2013, Ricky Romero pitches in the minor leagues – with AA New Hampshire a real possibility.
9. After allowing 9 passed balls in 2012, J.P. Arencibia allows 10 in 2013 – not great, but very good considering he will spend time catching R.A. Dickey.
10. Speaking of Dickey, he won’t be able to match his outstanding 2012 numbers, but still has an exceptional year in the AL East, posting a sub 3.50 ERA, and over 200 strikeouts.
11. For the first time since 1984 the Jays have three players – Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and Rajai Davis – who exceed 30 stolen bases. Depending on the amount of playing time Anthony Gose gets, there could be four.
12. After a decent, but not outstanding, start to the season, the Jays hit stride in July by ripping off an 11-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break against the Tigers, Twins, Indians, and Orioles.
13. Toronto finishes 10-9 against the Rays, the first time since 2006 that they finish above .500 against Tampa.
14. As the 25th man on the roster, Mark DeRosa puts up pedestrian-like numbers. But they look absolutely Barry Bonds-like when compared to what last year’s 25th man Omar Vizquel posted.
15. Darren Oliver becomes one of the most valuable relievers in the league, posting a sub 1.75 ERA in mainly high leverage situations.
16. Jose Reyes becomes the third Toronto Blue Jay to hit for the cycle.
17. J.A. Happ makes at least 10 starts.
18. Bautista, Reyes, Encarnacion, and Brandon Morrow represent Toronto at the All-Star game.
19. Emilio Bonifacio ties a modern day record by stealing 6 bases in a single game.
20. Maicer Izturis puts up a solid season at the plate, by his season highlight is achieved in the field when he turns an unassisted triple play.
21. Dickey’s knuckler works wonders in a mid-summer game, as he strikes out 17 batters in a complete game shutout.
22. John Gibbons shows more emotion than John Farrell ever did, going to bat often for his players against the umpires, resulting in seven ejections.
23. After being an absolute sink hole last year (.656 OPS – 5th worst in MLB), Toronto – led by Melky Cabrera – finishes in the top-10 in OPS for left fielders.
24. The Jays sweep the Yankees in Toronto in a September 17 – 19 series, increasing their lead for a playoff birth and dropping the Bronx Bombers to last in the AL East.
25. Toronto clinches a playoff spot, the first since 1993, on Thursday September 26th in Baltimore. Yonge street goes crazy.