The season is done, free agency is here, and the Blue Jays are undergoing some wholesale changes. 2017 is sure to have a much different look and feel than 2016. But before we look forward, let’s take a look back at how well I predicted 2016. (Hint: not good)
- Jose Bautista leads the American League in HR.
Actual: Nope. An injury plagued year limited him to only 22 dingers, tied for 43rd in the AL.
- Troy Tulowitzki stays healthy, has a huge year, and finishes in the top-5 of AL MVP voting.
Actual: He stated relatively healthy (131 games), but had an absolutely terrible start, and received zero MVP votes.
- Josh Donaldson continues where he left off in 2015, and joins Tulo in the top-5.
Actual: Nailed it. Another outstanding season for Josh saw him finish 4th in AL MVP balloting.
- Marcus Stroman thrives as the “ace”, reaching the 20-win plateau.
Actual: Was held to only 9 wins, after a very up-and-down season.
- Both J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada regress from last year, but while the stats are down across the board they still turn in solid seasons.
Actual: Quite the opposite, as both actually improved. Happ reached the 20 win plateau and Estrada finished with a 3.48 ERA.
- For the first time in years, Toronto’s bullpen stays relatively stable. The club uses fewer than 15 relievers (after using 23 in 2013, 23 in 2014, and 22 in 2015)
Actual: Not even close. The bullpen was a dumpster fire through much of the first half. Including relief appearances by three starters (Dickey, Hutchison, and Liriano all came out of the pen at least once each), the Jays actually used 25 relievers in 2016, more than the previous three years.
- Jesse Chavez is called on to make 10 starts.
Actual: Nope – zero starts and was gone before the deadline.
- Drew Hutchison is called up to make 3 starts.
Actual: Nope. He made three appearances (one in relief, two starts) and was gone by the deadline.
- Kevin Pillar struggles in the leadoff spot and is moved down to the 8/9 slot by the end of April. He is replaced by Michael Saunders.
Actual: Hey hey – nailed it! Pillar’s last game as the leadoff hitter came on April 16th, an 0-for-4 appearance that dropped his average to .188 and his OBP to .235. He was replaced in the leadoff spot on April 17th by….Michael Saunders. Nice!
- Saunders has a very nice bounceback season, finishing with an .800 OPS and 20 HR.
Actual: Two in a row!! Saunders had a huge first half that resulted in his first ever All-Star appearance, and finished the season with 24 HR and.815 OPS.
- After being moved down, Pillar thrives on the basepaths, stealing over 20 bases after the All-Star break.
Actual: Nope. He finished with 14 SB total, 7 each in the first and second halves.
- R.A. Dickey throws more than 200 innings for the 6th straight season.
Actual: Not really even close. Dickey finished with 169.2 IP after being skipped for most of September.
- The Blue Jays crush the Orioles, winning 14 of the 19 regular season meetings.
Actual: Close, but not quite. The Jays won 10 of 19 games vs. Baltimore, good enough to give them home field in the Wild Card game.
- Edwin Encarnacion hits a home run into the 500 level….twice.
Actual: A lot of bombs, none that big.
- The Jays rip off four winning streaks of at least 6 games each.
Actual: No, just twice. They won seven straight from July 2 -8 and six straight from October 1 through the ALDS sweep of Texas.
- GM Ross Atkins swings a deal for a backup catcher sometime in May.
Actual: No – but he did reacquire Dioner Navarro in August, so kind of close.
- Toronto absolutely humiliates the Red Sox by scoring over 20 runs in a June game in Fenway.
Actual: Not even close. They managed to score 15 runs combined in three June games in Fenway.
- Aaron Sanchez struggles in April, but the Jays stick with him and he rebounds with a huge May and June….
Actual: Half right. He didn’t struggle in April. In fact, he never really struggled all season long, putting together a huge season for the Jays.
- …including throwing the second no-hitter in Blue Jays history.
Actual: But not that huge.
- The Blue Jays offense does not get shutout once, all season long.
Actual: Oh boy. Despite having baseball’s best offense on paper heading into the season, the Jays were shutout eight times during the regular season, then twice more in the five game loss to Cleveland in the ALCS.
- Roberto Osuna starts the season as the closer, but Drew Storen finishes the season as the closer.
- One of Bautista and Encarnacion signs an extension during the season.
Actual: Sadly, no.
- Ryan Goins starts over 75 games split between 2B and SS.
Actual: Two-thirds right. Goins made 50 starts during the season.
- One member of the team posts a 30-game hitting streak.
- The Jays use a 20-9 September to rally past the Red Sox and successfully defend their AL East title.
Actual: Quite the opposite. The Jays suffered through am 11-16 September to cough up the division lead to the Red Sox, nearly dropping out of the postseason entirely.