2015 was a wildly successful year for the Toronto Blue Jays. They made huge acquisitions, broke a 22 year playoff drought, came within two wins of the World Series, won an MVP award, and saw attendance explode.
2015, however, was not a wildly successful year for 500 Level Fan. Check out my Blue Jays predictions, made before the season started, to see just how bad of a year it was.
- Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson combine to hit over 100 HR.
Result: Nailed it! The Big 3 combined for a whopping 120.
- Both Bautista and Donaldson finish in the top-7 of AL MVP voting.
Result: So, so , so close. Donaldson, of course, won the award, while Bautista finished 8th in the AL voting with 82 points, 1 point behind Adrian Beltre for 7th.
- Four Toronto rookies finish in the top-10 of AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Result: With six rookies breaking camp with starting roles for the Jays, I clearly had high hopes. However, Travis and Sanchez both missed significant time with injury, Pompey spent most of the year in the minors, and both Norris and Castro were traded by July. Only Osuna lasted the whole year, and not surprisingly earned a 4th place finish in ROY voting.
- Devon Travis never loses the second base job, fending off challenges from Izturis and Goins, and finishes with very nice rookie numbers.
Result: Looked good, and likely would have been the case until his second half injury ended his season.
- The Blue Jays miss the bat of Melky Cabrera in LF, as Michael Saunders struggles to stay healthy and Kevin Pillar struggles to stay productive.
Result: Half right. Saunders definitely struggled to stay healthy and appeared in only 9 games. Pillar was very productive…but in CF. LF was a bit of a black hole until Ben Revere was acquired at the deadline.
- Despite losing Marcus Stroman and being labeled as a weak spot by pundits, Blue Jay starting pitchers finish in the top half of all of baseball in ERA….
Result: Yes sir! Toronto starters finished the year with a 3.96 ERA, good enough for 12th overall in MLB.
- …Mainly because Drew Hutchison has a breakout season, with a sub-3.00 ERA and a 9+ K/9 ratio.
Result: Oh. Oh no. Hutchison was incredibly awful this year, especially on the road. His ERA finished up at 5.57 and his K/9 was a disappointing 7.7. A terrible year, one that leaves his future with the club in doubt.
- After using 23 different relief pitchers in both 2013 and 2014, the Jays continue to cycle through arms in 2015. Looking for the best possible bullpen, Toronto once again uses 23 relievers this season.
Result: Very, very close. The Jays actually used 22 different relievers.
- One of those relievers is Steve Delabar, who makes a surprise return to the big leagues in June.
Result: He did make a return to the big leagues, but earlier than expected – in May. Unfortunately, he didn’t do very well once he was here: 5.22 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 29.1 IP.
- Dioner Navarro is traded before the deadline.
Result: Nope, he lasted the whole year and was a huge contributor, especially his partnership with Marco Estrada.
- Russell Martin proves more than adequate at handling Dickey’s knuckleball, meaning that after Navarro is dealt the Jays call up A.J. Jimenez to serve as Martin’s backup, as opposed to Josh Thole.
Result: Every year I fall in love with the idea that Jimenez will make the big league roster, and every year I’m disappointed. In fact, Jimenez had one of the worst years of his career in 2015, hitting .194 with a .538 OPS for New Hampshire and Buffalo before wrist surgery ended his season.
- Jose Reyes plays over 145 games.
Result: Nope. Reyes only appeared in 116 games – 69 with the Jays and 47 with the Rockies.
- After struggling against them for years and years, the Jays finally win the season series against the Yankees.
Result: Absolutely nailed this one. Toronto went 13-6 against New York, including four very memorable series down the stretch.
- Dalton Pompey provides one of the highlights of the season with a 5-hit game.
Result: He did finish the season with a 5-hit game….only it happened with AAA Buffalo. Kind of got it right???
- A year after completely falling apart in August with a 9-17 record, Toronto erases those memories by going 19-8 in the month this year.
Result: They were even better than expected, going 21-6 to fly up the standings and take over first place in the division.
- This year’s winner of the “no-name reliever who comes out of nowhere to have a very nice season” award is Colt Hynes.
Result: Oh my. Hynes only lasted 3 innings in the big leagues, registering an ERA of 6.00. The winner of this award would have to be Liam Hendricks.
- Devon Travis puts up better number across the board than Brett Lawrie does in Oakland.
Travis – .304 / .361 / .498 / .859, 8 HR, 35 RBI, 3 SB, 2.4 WAR
Lawrie – .260 / .299 / .407 / .786, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 5 SB, 1.9 WAR
Despite playing in 87 fewer games, I think Travis gets the nod.
- Toronto scores over 20 runs in a game, twice.
Result: Despite having the best offense in the game, they never did reach that lofty plateau. They did reach 15 runs on 3 separate occasions.
- On Tuesday April 21, the Jays host the Orioles, and Baltimore’s Travis Snider is given a nice ovation by the home crowd, before striking out 3 times against Blue Jay pitching.
Result: Toronto fans being who they are actually booed Snider, and he responded with a 2-for-4 game and only one strikeout. So…no.
- In his comeback season from his steroid suspension, A-Rod does absolutely nothing against the Jays, finishing with 1 HR and a sub .200 average.
Result: A-Rod vs. Toronto = .175 average and 2 HR. Half right.
- The Jays rip off a 10-game winning streak and two separate 6-game winning streaks.
Result: Again, even better. The club ripped off two 11-game streaks and one 6-gamer.
- A Blue Jay finishes in the top-5 in the AL in stolen bases
Result: Yes! With 25 steals, Kevin Pillar tied for 5th, 13 behind leader Jose Altuve.
- Mark Buehrle exceeds 200 IP yet again.
Result: So very, very , very close. 198.2. He had a chance in the finale but couldn’t get it done.
- Toronto enters September within 3 games of the AL East lead.
Result: They actually entered the month with a 1.5 game lead in the division.
- The Blue Jays clinch a playoff spot during the season’s final series in Tampa Bay, ending a 22 year drought.
Result: Again, even better than expected. They actually clinched a playoff spot against Tampa Bay but in Toronto the weekend before, before clinching the division in Baltimore.