So back on April 1st, I entered into the world of Infield Fly blogging with a post entitled 10 bold predictions. It was my own prognostications about what I thought lay ahead for the Jays in 2011.
Looking back, it’s pretty easy to see that I missed the mark. As blog commenter JC put it, most of my predictions were an “epic fail.” That being said, no harm in going through them for everyone’s amusement about how one fan in rose coloured glasses can be so wrong.
So, here, in order, are the predictions I made and my own thoughts on how they turned out (for complete details on what my predictions were in April, click the link above).
1. The Jays will once again exceed expectations and win more games than last year
Simple enough, I missed the mark on this one, as I would say the Jays planted themselves firmly in the camp of “meeting expectations” or coming in under them, depending how optimistic your outlook was.
While I typically always try to take an optimistic outlook with the team, perhaps anyone who was being realistic about 2011 would have said the team’s finish – 82-82, three fewer wins than 2010 – was about what was expected.
2. Jose Bautista will regress towards the mean
I thought this was easily the safest of all my predictions, but apparently the verdict is still out there on where exactly the mean is for the man known as Joey Bats.
I was quite happy to be proven wrong on this one, as it was enjoyable watching Bautista turn in an even better season, by almost all objective measures aside from homeruns, than the breakout campaign he had in 2010.
3. Travis Snider will be the team’s MVP
Although I could have easily seen this prediction not coming to fruition, there wasn’t much chance I saw Snider’s season turning out as poorly as it did.
A .616 OPS, 56 K’s in 202 PA’s and an extended tour of duty down at AAA does not an MVP make.
I want to believe, Travis, I really do. But each and every year you get older and the prospect shimmer turns to veteran underperformance, it’s getting harder to do so.
4. Toronto’s bullpen will return to being one of the AL’s best
Orrrr it will be about as bad as it has been in years. Alright. I was close on this one.
5. The Jays will actually be sellers at the trade deadline
This is one of the only predictions I somewhat hit on the head, as rather than sitting pat and trying to delude the fanbase that the Jays could contend in 2011, AA dealt the likes of R-Zep, Dotel, MacDonald and Hill towards the latter half of the season, in efforts to shore up the franchise’s future.
It was tough to see some of those guys go, but refreshing to see a new attitude in the front office.
6. Roy Halladay will return to pitch at the SkyDome, will flirt with a no hitter. Thankfully won’t get treated like garbage, I hope
No no-hit bid, but very very thankfully Doc was treated very well in his return to the Dome. For once I was proud of Blue Jays fans.
7. J.P. Arencibia’s transition to the major league starter won’t be seamless
The afforementioned commenter JC grouped this prediction under my “epic fail” category, but I’m still going to claim that this is a correct prediction.
I predicted he’d hit .230 with 12 homeruns. He ended up hitting .219 with 23 homeruns. So, does that qualify as a seamless transition to the major leagues? In my opinion, no.
He still struck out 144 times this past season and posted an ugly OBP of only .275. He’s still got some growing pains to go through both offensively and defensively, but his rookie campaign was definitely a positive step forward.
In 2012, hopefully more walks and fewer strikeouts.
8. Brett Lawrie is not nearly as good as you think he is. Calm down
While Lawrie did everything that could have reasonably be asked of him in his rookie campaign, and posted an impressive .293/.373/.580 with 9 homeruns, I’m still standing by the original sentiment of this prediction.
He hasn’t even yet played a full season in the major leagues, he hasn’t even yet gone through any extended period of struggle, which is something that will happen without a doubt. How will he handle a long major league slump? Nobody knows, but he obviously still has more to prove at the major league level.
Is he dynamic, exciting and an amazing talent that should be a keystone for the Jays for years to come? Without a doubt.
Is he a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer that his first half season in the bigs might suggest? That remains to be seen.
I will no longer tell people to calm down about it, because I now see that Lawrie is in fact worth getting excited about. However, I’m still of the mind that expectations need to be tempered slightly, as by coming in right off the bat and meeting and perhaps exceeding each and every expectation, he has perhaps set his stock at an even higher and perhaps unsustainable level.
9. One of Ricky Romero/Brett Cecil and/or Kyle Drabek will put up a serious Cy Young-esque or ROY (Drabek) season
Drabek and Cecil were obviously awful, but while Romero’s campaign wasn’t nearly good enough to warrant Cy Young consideration amongst seasons like that of Justin Verlander, I’m still saying I’m at least partially right, as Romero threw down an ace-quality season.
10. Adam Lind/Aaron Hill return to being good major leaguers
Adam Lind was hot for a stretch and although he ended up having better overall numbers, it assuredly wasn’t the bounce back that was expected.
Although he was pretty putrid offensively in Toronto, a solid late-season push by Hill in Arizona returned his overall numbers to relative respectability. While his almost complete lack of power is still mystifying, here’s to hoping he can continue to turn things around wherever he ends up next year.
So there you have it, I was about 1-for-10 with a couple half points sprinkled in? Much like the Jays, maybe I’ll do better this year.