Over the course of the past week, 500 Level Fan has posted a series of divisional previews, and a host of blatantly incorrect 2014 predictions.
Today I wrap up my season prediction columns with a look at what’s in store for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays.
Here are 25 predictions about Toronto’s upcoming season. Enjoy!
1. Jose Bautista’s red hot spring carries over into the regular season. He enjoys his best campaign since 2011 and slugs over 40 HR.
2. On Friday April 4th, in the home opener, Dustin McGowan rewards the Jays for years of patience by throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees.
3. Edwin Encarnacion shows no ill effects of offseason wrist injury, and hits over 35 HR, making him and Bautista the top home run hitting teammates in baseball.
4. Brett Lawrie continues to struggle to stay healthy, ending up on the DL twice.
5. Ryan Goins starts the season at second base, and to the surprise of many actually finishes the season there as well. While he will never hit a ton, his glove does enough to keep him the lineup every day.
6. Adam Lind still doesn’t hit great against left handers, but for the first time is able to eclipse a .650 OPS vs. LHP.
7. Mark Buehrle extends his 200 IP streak to 14 straight seasons….barely.
8. Of the two players once considered Toronto’s elite prospects – Anthony Gose and Kyle Drabek – one of them will be out of the organization by September.
9. Former Jay J.P. Arencibia will out-homer Dioner Navarro by a wide margin, but Navarro will out-OBP Arencibia by 100 points.
10. Armed by the return of his hard knuckler and a healthy back, Dickey has a huge bounceback season, eclipsing 200 strikeouts and posting a sub 3.50 ERA.
11. Buoyed by a couple of fluky caroms in Fenway Park’s wonky outfield, Edwin Encarnacion hits a triple in his final at-bat of a game in Boston to hit for the cycle.
12. Jose Reyes plays over 145 games.
13. For the first time ever, Toronto actually enjoys interleague play and finishes over .600 against the NL.
14. Despite an absolutely massive year by Sergio Santos, Casey Janssen maintains the closers role all season and finishes with over 40 saves.
15. Marcus Stroman makes an appearance in the big leagues as a reliever. Aaron Sanchez does not.
16. Josh Thole starts the season as the backup catcher. Erik Kraatz replaces him part way through the season. And A.J. Jimenez ends the season as the backup.
17. Bautista hits 3 HR in a game.
18. The Jays play 26 games in August and win 18 of them.
19. Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, Kyle Drabek, and J.A. Happ all make starts in place of a once-again-injured Brandon Morrow.
20. Moises Sierra plays so well as a fourth OF that the Jays are able to move Colby Rasmus at the trade deadline for pitching help.
21. Toronto absolutely destroys Masahiro Tanaka….twice.
22. A Blue Jay finishes in the top-5 in the AL in the batting race.
23. In a 3-game series from July 18-20, the Texas Rangers visit Toronto, and J.P. Arencibia strikes out 10 times in three games.
24. Jays hitters go crazy in a Thursday afternoon game at home against the Red Sox, with over 25+ hits, 20+ runs, and back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs.
25. With no pressure and no expectations, the Blue Jays are the surprise of baseball and play meaningful games in September…finally. Dream big right?