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 2013 season, what better time to take a quick look back and see how accurate the responses were.
Let’s meet this year’s esteemed panel:
500 Level Fan Sr.
Honey Nut Ichiros
King Pin Emo
The most accurate answer from each question will be highlighted.
1. How many home runs will Jose Bautista hit this season?
Thus Far: The Jays have played 94 games, and Joey Bats has poked 20 HR, putting him on pace for 34 home runs.
The Predictions: 7 of the 13 predicted a total of 40 or more, so Bautista is letting a bunch of people down thus far. With 35, King Pin Emo is the closest so far.
2. Who will lead the team in stolen bases, and with how many?
Thus Far: Early on it looked like Reyes would run away with this category, especially with Davis firmly planted on the bench. But injuries to both Reyes and Melky Cabrera has opened the door wide for Rajai. He leads the team with 24, putting him on pace for 41.
The Predictions: Only two panel members thought enough of Rajai to pick him. @TOWineMan is looking really good, with a pick of 40.
3. Predict the number of HR for each of the following: J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind.
Thus Far: For all of his critics, and the complaints about his low OBP and high strikeout rate, Arencibia can still hit the long ball. He is currently on pace for 28 this season. Encarnacion mashed the ball in the first half, leading the team with 25 HR, putting him on pace for 43. Lind is having a bounce back year, and though the power numbers aren’t where they once were, he is on pace for 19. Then there is Lawrie. He has been on the DL twice, and has been terrible when playing. The average is way down, and the power stroke is all but gone. He is only on pace for 9 bombs in 2013.
The Predictions: The picks for Arencibia, Edwin, and Lind all look really good, with somebody nailing each almost exactly. The entire panel overestimated Lawrie however, with the lowest prediction standing at 14. He needs a big second half to come close to that.
4. Will one of Toronto’s main players be traded during the season?
The trade deadline is a few weeks away, so we’ll know more about this at that time. The overwhelming favourite was that Colby Rasmus would be the one to go – he received six votes. However, he has been one of the most consistent members of the team, and looks good to stick around. Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson each received one vote, and look more likely than anybody else to be shipped out.
5. Predict Ricky Romero’s performance in 2013
Ricky didn’t even make the team out of Spring Training and has only made two starts this season, rendering this question basically useless. However, kudos to @altrendy for predicting that Romero would end up on waivers at some point in 2013.
6. Casey Janssen starts 2013 as the closer – who finishes 2013 as closer?
Again, we can’t make a final vote on this one until the season is done, but only three panel members thought that Janssen would last the season. Pretty much everybody else thought Santos would take over. Barring a trade of Casey, I can’t see any scenario where he doesn’t finish 2013 as the 9th inning guy. @dsharpdavis, @TOWineMan, and @TheCraiger are all riding on Janssen.
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
Thus Far: There are a number of ways to rank starting pitchers, and the question was intentionally vague. Looking solely at strikeout numbers, Johnson has been the best: K/BB is ranked as Johnson (2.91), Buehrle (2.57), Dickey (1.96), and K/9 is ranked Johnson (9.1), Dickey (6.4), Buehrle (6.0). But strikeouts aren’t the only thing that matters, and the other key stats all say the same thing:
IP – Dickey (128.2), Buehrle (116), Johnson (66.1)
ERA: Dickey (4.69), Buehrle (4.89), Johnson (5.16)
WHIP: Dickey (1.30), Buehrle (1.37), Johnson (1.49)
WAR: Dickey (0.8), Buehrle (0.3), Johnson (-0.5)
They have all been disappointing, but the ranking as it stands now has to be Dickey / Buehrle / Johnson.
The Predictions: Honey Nut Ichiros, 500 Level Fan Sr., and @TOWineMan all picked that order, and take the category at the All-Star break.
8. How many wins will the improved Jays end up with, and will they make the playoffs?
Thus Far: Not good. Not good at all. With a record of 45-49, the Jays are on pace for 77.5 wins, which we can go ahead and round up to 78.
The Predictions: Even the most pessimistic member of the panel didn’t predict this. @boswelliott didn’t climb aboard the bandwagon as much as everybody else, but with 87 wins, he was still pretty optimistic. Only two people picked the Jays to miss out on the postseason, which – sadly – looks to be an almost certainty.