Looking Back: 2014 Blue Jay Predictions

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It is a quiet time in baseball.  We are a day away from the World Series and a few weeks away from free agency.  The best way to fill this lull is with humour.  So with that, let’s take a look back at 25 Blue Jay predictions I made before the 2014 season started.

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.

Result: Half right.  Bautista did enjoy his best season since 2011, putting up a .928 OPS and 6.0 WAR but fell a bit short of the 40 HR mark with 35.

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.

Result: Not even close.  McGowan struggled in his return to the rotation lasting 2.2 IP and giving up 4 ER.

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.

Result: Again, half right.  An injury cost Edwin the 35 HR plateau as he fell just short with 34.  But with a combined 69 HR, he and Bautista were the top home run hitting teammates in baseball (tied with Cruz and Jones of Baltimore).

4. Brett Lawrie continues to struggle to stay healthy, ending up on the DL twice.

Result: Yep, though I did expect him to play more than 70 games.

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.

Result: Kind of.  Goins started the season and finished the season as the second basemen, but he spent a good chunk of the middle of the season in AAA Buffalo because he simply can’t hit.

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.

Result: Way off.  Lind was limited to only 37 PA vs LHP and put up a woeful .223 OPS.

7. Mark Buehrle extends his 200 IP streak to 14 straight seasons….barely.

Result: Nailed it – 202.0 IP.

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.

Result: Nope, both finished the season within the organization.

9. Former Jay J.P. Arencibia will out-homer Dioner Navarro by a wide margin, but Navarro will out-OBP Arencibia by 100 points.

Result: Wrong on both.  Navarro actually out-homered Arencibia 12 – 10, and only managed to out-OBP him by 78 points, .317 – .239

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.

Result: No and No.  Dickey did have a pretty good season but fell short of both thresholds, finishing with 173 strikeouts and a 3.71 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.

Result: Didn’t happen – though Edwin did hit two triples in 2014, both in Toronto.

12. Jose Reyes plays over 145 games.

Result: So close!!! Reyes finished with 143 GP.

13. For the first time ever, Toronto actually enjoys interleague play and finishes over .600 against the NL.

Result: Nailed it!  The Jays finished 13 – 7 (.650) 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.

Result: Kind of a 3-parter.  1) Santos did not have a massive year, wrong.  2) Janssen, aside from when he was injured, did maintain the closers role all season, right.  3) He did not reach 40 saves, finishing with 25, wrong.

15. Marcus Stroman makes an appearance in the big leagues as a reliever.  Aaron Sanchez does not.

Result: Right and wrong.  Stroman began as a reliever before becoming entrenched as a great starter.  Sanchez made 24 relief appearances.

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.

Result: The Jays actually carried three catchers for a while, so both Kratz and Thole were backups.  But Kratz was traded part way through the year (and is now in the World Series) and Jimenez never made the big leagues.

17. Bautista hits 3 HR in a game.

Result: Wrong.  He hit 2 HR in a game twice, but never managed 3.

18. The Jays play 26 games in August and win 18 of them.

Result: Couldn’t be further from the truth.  The Jays entered August just a game and a half out of the AL East lead, and comfortably ahead in the race for the second Wild Card, before going 9-17 to fall out of contention.

19. Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, Kyle Drabek, and J.A. Happ all make starts in place of a once-again-injured Brandon Morrow.

Result: Morrow did go down yet again, but only Happ started a game out of that quartet.

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.

Result: Wow.  What was I thinking here?  Sierra was abysmal in the 13 games he played in, posting an .059 average and .145 OPS before being shipped to the White Sox on waivers.

21. Toronto absolutely destroys Masahiro Tanaka….twice.

Result: Masahiro Tanaka absolutely destroyed the Jays….three times.  In three starts against Toronto he was 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA and 22 K in 18.1 IP.

22. A Blue Jay finishes in the top-5 in the AL in the batting race.

Result: Close but no cigar.  With a .301 average Melky Cabrera finished eighth.

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.

Result: Nope.  Arencibia only struck out twice in the series, and even hit a home run against his former club.

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.

Result: The Thursday afternoon home game (on July 24) was memorable, but not because the hitters went crazy.  In an 8-0 Jays win, Marcus Stroman took a no-hitter into the 7th and finished with 7 1-hit, shutout innings.

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?

Result: I’ll take this one.  The Jays did surprise and remained in playoff contention until mid-to-late September.

Final Tally: Not good.  Not good all.  I did get a few picks right, but was spectacularly off on many.  Moises Sierra?  Yikes…

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