DINGERS FROM THE 6IX
by Quinn Sweetzir
With the club just one game below .500 on the morning of June 1st, the recent improvement in performance should be considered a miracle of sorts considering their atrocious April. At the start of the season, I made 27 bold predictions for each player on the roster, plus a couple players on the DL, and since the first two months of the season are finally over, I decided to review my bold predictions in effort to wither expose my lack of ability in predicting a player's success, or decide that I’m worthy of becoming a major league executive with my predicting prowess.
After injuries, Biagini is forced to make a few spot starts throughout the season. He impresses enough to be given a rotation spot in place of one of the Jays pending free agent starters in 2018.
Well, this prediction seems to be rather accurate. Biagini has impressed with his 5 starts this season. At this point, I would consider him to have a high probability of becoming a full time starter in 2017.
An increase in Estrada’s BABIP is offset by the fact that his back is fully healthy, resulting in yet another good season from the veteran righty.
Looking back, this prediction looks rather safe. Estrada has been very good, increasing both his strikeout rate and changeup usage en route to a very good start.
John Gibbons uses Grilli as a traditional setup guy, which leads to some early season struggles, particularly against left handed hitters. However, a change in his usage results in a very successful second half.
Wow, I’m on a roll. Grilli was had an absolutely terrible start to the season, but hasn’t allowed runs in 10 of his last 11 outings, proving that he’s back on a roll and potentially able to contribute over a midseason stretch.
Though his performance is still decent, Happ is inconsistent throughout the season, which causes him to be left out of the Jays playoff rotation in October.
It’s hard to evaluate the the success of Happ considering he’s been hurt for most of the season, but what I have seen indicates that Happ has had trouble with command. As a result, I think that my prediction could be fairly accurate, even if I have to give myself an incomplete for now.
Used mostly as a lefty specialist, Howell manages to be among the major league leaders in total games pitched, and proves to be worth much more than his 3 million offseason price.
Hahahahahahahahah! Ahahahahahahahaha! For some context, Howell has 11 GP, which gives him a pace of 34 GP for the season. Last years MLB leader (Brad Hand) had 82 GP.
Leone spends most of the season shuttling up and down between the majors and AAA before ending up with a different organization by the seasons end.
Thanks to injuries to the rotation and bullpen, extra roster spots have enabled Leone to be with the Jays nonstop until recently. However, I expect this prediction will become more accurate as the season progresses.
In a contract year, Liriano has one of the best seasons of his career, and is good enough to be given starts in a playoff game. Liriano will also break the 200 inning total for the first time in his career.
I’ll confess that I was very wrong on Liriano. He’s hasn’t been good, hasn’t been healthy, and hasn’t been able to get through six clean innings even when he was both for the occasional start. Let’s hope for a better final couple thirds of the season from Frankie.
Thanks to the return of his velocity, Loup manages to return to his pre-2015 form and becomes an effective weapon out of the bullpen for the Jays by the seasons end.
Amazingly, Loup has managed to become an effective and trusted bullpen lefty, and has even managed to fill the role that was expected from Howell. Let’s hope for more of the same from Loup, even if I don’t think it’s sustainable in the long run.
Though Osuna’s performance is very good, a mid season arm injury causes him to miss significant time, which results in him losing the closers role before the end of the season.
If this prediction is to become accurate, then we can expect an injury to happen to our star closer soon. Even though he struggled out of the gate, Osuna is back on pace for a good season, which was expected by the rational folks before the season.
Though Sanchez still pitches well enough to be effective, he pitches worse than he did in 2016 by a wide margin, finishing with an ERA around 3.70.
It’s hard to evaluate the success of this prediction given the righty’s injuries, however Sanchez’s ERA has increased to 3.35 to start the season. Even though it’s tough to draw serious conclusions considering the lack of sample size, it remains possible that Sanchez could either meet, or destroy this projection as the season progresses.
The generically named right hander continues with his average and uneventful performance by pitching about 50 games with an ERA around 3.50.
Considering he’s probably been the Jays second best reliever this season, the projection I made at the start of the season seems rather bullish. To this point, Smith has managed a 3.14 ERA and is on pace for a whopping 85 GP this season. It’s unlikely he reached that level, however I would expect Smith to continue pitching well into the end of 2017.
A newfound confidence for the young righty leads to a Cy Young caliber season from Stroman, who manages to record the most fWAR of any pitcher in the AL East.
Is Stroman on pace for a Cy Young season considering how dominant Chris Sale has been? Probably not, however Stroman has managed to improve on last years totals, and could see some even more improvement from the young righty.
Tepera dominates for a period of about 2 months before falling off a cliff and returning to his previous form, similarly to Bo Schultz in 2015.
Based on the fact that Tepera has been one of the Jays best relievers in 2017, I really hope the second half of this prediction doesn’t come true. If only for the sake of the Blue Jays playoff hopes.
As the backup infielder, Barney plays well enough for the Jays front office to finally accept that Ryan Goins has no place on the Jays roster by midseason.
Given the fact that Barney’s performance at the plate hasn’t been very good so far, I suspect that Ryan Goins and his 4 home runs (and the problems they cause) are here to stay, if only because Goins is more controllable in the long run.
After a relatively poor 2016, Bautista comes back at his best, and records a .260/.375/.500 triple slash with 30 dingers. Though his defense is far from perfect, it also improves from his dismal performance in 2016.
Jose Bautista’s current pace - .251/.362/.455, 31 HR’s and an 8.4 UZR/150 improvement over 2016. I’d say that this prediction is pretty spot on so far.
Playing most of his early season games as a backup outfielder, Carrera gains the starting left field job by May – only to lose it to Dalton Pompey when he goes through a massive slump in mid June.
All things considered, Zeke managed to take over left field duties in May, however he probably won’t lose his role outright until later than mid June, considering Pompey’s concussion has kept him out of action all season.
Donaldson suffers from both minor injuries and a small decline in performance which leads to his worst season since 2012.
A calf injury has kept his out of the lineup for much of the season so far, and this prediction is frighteningly close to coming accurate should he suffer another. However he hasn’t shown any decline in his limited performance to date.
A surprise addition to the roster, Goins simply fails to hit, resulting in him being moved to another organization before the all-star break.
Like I said above, it seems as if Goins is here to stay thanks to 4 home runs, versatility, and the perception that he’s a good defender.
He’s actually not, and has a -5 DRS so far this season.
Extra rest given to Martin because of the teams acquisition of Jarrod Saltalamacchia leads to a sizable increase in his performance, resulting in Martin’s best season since joining the Jays.
Even though his offensive performance has improved from an OBP and BA standpoint, a reduction in his power hitting abilities and his failure to throw out baserunners offset these improvements. This results in zero overall gain in terms of his success.
The power surge caused by moving to the first hitters park of his career causes Morales to set a new career high in home runs by the seasons end. Morales also plays the field more than he has in any season since 2010.
Morales is currently on pase for 32 home runs and 225 innings on the field. These totals would be slightly above, or near his career highs respectively since 2010.
Though his performance doesn’t blow anyone away, Pearce manages to stay healthy for the entire season. This leads to about 3 fWAR from the newly signed free agent.
Since Pearce is currently on the disabled list, and has managed to record a whopping -0.5 fWAR so far this season, I think it’s pretty safe to say that my prediction is dead wrong to this point. Let's hope he improves.
With his new found ability to take pitches, Pillar is able to become a feared hitter in the Jays lineup, becoming the leadoff hitter by the seasons end. This combined with his defense leads to a 7 fWAR season.
To my surprise, Pillar has made much of this prediction true to this point, even if it’s exaggerated. He’s managed to record a respectable 111 WRC+ in 2017 and has taken control of the leadoff spot, even if his fWAR is on pace to be just 3.1.
Though he starts the season in the minors, Pompey is called up to replace Carrera in mid june, and impresses enough to keep the starting left field job for the rest of the season.
If you delay this prediction be a month considering Pompey’s concussion, I think it becomes very plausible. His injury history does muddy the waters a little bit however.
The Jays new backup catcher plays well enough to keep Russell Martin fresh, and is a 1 fWAR improvement on Josh Thole’s 2016.
Let’s skip this one.
Everyone’s least favorite Blue Jay struggles badly when given a full time role, and ends up being released after the Jays trade for a replacement at the trade deadline.
To the surprise of literally everyone, Justin Smoak has not only managed to avoid becoming a complete dumpster fire, but has even managed to lead the Jays position players in home runs, and in fWAR. Way to prove me wrong Smoak!
Although Travis manages to stay relatively healthy throughout the season, his performance declines. Travis will end up hitting somewhere around .265 and will lose his leadoff spot to Kevin Pillar by the seasons end.
Travis is currently not the leadoff hitter, and has a .261 batting average. I think there’s a good chance this one becomes a reality (even though I hope he hits .300).
Tulo regains much of the hitting ability he lost after his trade to Toronto, and he manages to be worth about 4 fWAR with a WRC+ around 115.
Thanks to a hamstring injury, Tulo has only played in 20 games. However, 0.1 fWAR and a WRC+ of 84 are significantly worse than I expected to see from Tulo at this point. Let’s hope he can change that.
That’s it for my bole preseason predictions. Although there were a few where I was dead wrong, most of these have been fairly accurate to this point, especially if I get a little give/take.