“Blue Jays 2010 Season Preview” Reviewed


As we enjoy Christmas time and near the new year, it’s always fun to reflect on the year that has passed us by and to review our conquests and mistakes made. That’s the process we will be going through over the next week or so at Jays Journal.

On April 2nd 2010, I made some bold and “out of the norm” predictions about the upcoming season. Some people may have called them crazy, in fact some did, because I was one of a very few people who predicted that the Jays would finish off the 2010 season with a winning record. To make such a bold prediction after the Jays dealt the best pitcher in franchise history was not easy to do, but I truly saw the potential of the squad at the time. Sure, some of my assessments didn’t pan out, and I don’t have a crystal ball to look into. But, I did make a few calls that turned out just great. Here are the verdicts, with a link to the article itself available here.

1. Blue Jays Record: My overall record projection was 82-80. The actual record was 85-77. I was off by 3 games.

I would say that this was a pretty accurate projection, and surely closer to the outcome than most others were stating at the time. My reasoning was based on a team I viewed as being similar in make up than the CHW were in 2009 and that the overall depth of the pitching staff was actually better than it had been in 2009.

Verdict – Accurate!

2. Catcher: My analysis of the catching situation was that Buck would perform as well as Barajas had for the Jays, but that he’d be a huge upgrade defensively because he wanted to work with their young staff so badly and had the skills and experience to do so.

Well, that turned out to be 100% accurate, aside from the fact that Buck hit for better average and had a better OBP, and therefore was actually an upgrade offensively. Barajas had hit 19 HRs for the Jays a year earlier, Buck hit 20. Buck also wound up being a huge defensive upgrade and was credited – along with Jose Molina – for the great progress that the Jays pitching staff made.

Verdict – Accurate!

3. First Base: I had Randy Ruiz and Brett Wallace penciled in for a lot more time at 1B than they actually got.

Randy Ruiz ended up in Japan, and while I truly thought the Jays would move Lyle Overbay somewhere else for something in return, he wound up staying there all year. I do believe that when the clubhouse stood up – together – and showed overwhelming support for Lyle, it changed the tide of management’s thinking. Did they want to disrupt the clubhouse’s state of mind as they were in the midst of overachieving? Instead, they chose to ease Adam Lind into the role and to let him learn the ropes by watching Lyle play excellent 1B D.

Verdict – Off by a mile, but actually glad I was, because it both showed that Jays management figured things out for the better of the team and made the most of an awkward situation.

4. Second Base: I actually didn’t assess Aaron Hill‘s probable performance because I expected – like everyone else – that he would perform at least as well as he did in 2009.

Boy, was I wrong. Aaron did show the same pop as is expected from him year-to-year, but he definitely didn’t perform as expected. The Jays made little use of Mike McCoy at 2B and he never actually took off in The Show. But, the bench did prove to be better overall, so I’ll give this one a slightly off verdict due to Hill’s continued pop and good bench.

Verdict – Slightly off

5. Short Stop: I predicted a slight downgrade in offensive output but a much better defensive performance overall by the Jays as they would be getting some of the best D in the majors from Alex Gonzalez. I was bang on in predicting a lower OBP from Alex to go along with more power than they got from Marco Scutaro.

I don’t imagine anyone can argue that I was right on the money with this one, but then again there was so much history to work with from Alex Gonzalez that it was a very easy assessment to make.

Verdict – Accurate!

6. Third Base: I predicted that many fans would be disappointed with Edwin’s performance in 2010 because most expected way too much in terms of a breakthrough season. I stated that he would be a defensive downgrade from Scott Rolen – easy assessment to make – and that the bench would be key.

Mike McCoy, Jose Bautista, and others did have to make a lot of starts at 3B. Edwin did struggle to get his hits while playing everyday when healthy, and he was a definite downgrade from Scott Rolen overall.

Verdict – Accurate!

7. Left Field: I predicted that Travis Snider would improve on his 2009 performance and that he’d get to hit 6th or 5th by the time the season ended.

My expectations were high and he didn’t really reach them. I still am remaining bull-headed about Snider as I expect him to become the 3-4-5 hitter that we all know he can be. Surprisingly, his 2010 struggles came due to not catching up to the fastballs, something he never missed often in the minors. Still, Travis did get out of the basement and did show some glimpses of what he’s capable of. So, while he didn’t meet my lofty expectations, he did improve some on his 2009 season.

Verdict – Off slightly

8. Center Field: I predicted a healthier and “difference maker” season from Vernon Wells in 2010.

I do believe I was 100% accurate, as Vernon turned in a very healthy and productive season. He went from 15 HRs to 31, drove in 22 more runs than he had in 2009, and his entire line improved tremendously.

Verdict – Accurate!

9. Right field: I’ll just let the quote from the article do the talking.

“I expect that Bautista will match the overall package Rios gave the Jays in 2009 and that he will have a career year in the same way that Marco Scutaro had a career year in 2009. He will need to continue what he has started this spring, but his defence is sound, he plays hard every day (an upgrade over Rios)”

He matched and exceeded that.

Verdict – Accurate!

10. DH: I predicted that Adam Lind‘s stats would come down slightly.

Well, who would of predicted such a fall off? Adam struggled so much in 2010 that many question whether or not he’ll ever regain the confidence he showed in 2009. I was slightly right, but still way off on this one because along with a steeper drop off, I actually had Randy Ruiz having an impact. Instead, he headed to Japan.

Verdict – Off by a mile

11. The Starting Rotation: I stated that “99 times out of 100″, I could take the 2010 rotation over the 2009 rotation, even without Roy Halladay.

It ended up including a few other characters, but I do believe that this prediction was accurate. I said Ricky Romero would be better, that Brandon Morrow would surprise many, and that Shaun Marcum would be a big help. I also aded that the supporting cast and depth were so much better than the 2009 version that it would be a huge reason for the Jays being better in 2010.

Verdict – Accurate!

12. Bullpen: I stated that Kevin Gregg wouldn’t get any style points, but that he’d get the job done and that David Purcey would help out at some point. But, I also predicted more help from Jeremy Accardo, Merkin Valdez, and Jesse Carlson.

This is a split decision. Gregg would up being exactly what I predicted while Purcey did show that he’ll be a very valuable piece in the pen. Meanwhile, the other bunch mentioned wound up being non-factors.

Verdict – Split Decision!

Final Take on the 2010 Season: My final take had the following 3 points made;

“I think many teams will take them lightly” - I would say that this was correct. No team expected the Jays to hit as many HRs as they did and therefore were consistently taken aback by the barrage of power coming from the team. Add the suprising performance from the SP staff, and it is a valid point.

Verdict – Probably Accurate, but nobody can know for sure, so we’ll leave this one out.

“that they’ll dominate again when facing other division teams” - The Jays didn’t dominate the AL Central as much as I had expected, as they finished the year with a 22-19 record against them, and they did about the same against the AL West with a 17-14 record. The Jays, instead, decided to make the bulk of their gains in the AL East where they finished with a 39-33 record – surprising everyone. This not only raises their chances of winning in 2011 because it shows that this group is not afraid to play the AL East, but it also PROVES that they can.  Nobody thought their winning gains would be made in the AL East.

Verdict: Off by a mile!

“and finally that AA will be able to make a move or two that push the Jays to become better in 2010.” - I do believe that this was the case. He traded for Fred Lewis in return for….well, as close to nothing as you can get, and also traded Alex Gonzalez and Tim Collins for Yunel Escobar. Both of these moves did make the Jays better in 2010 as they got a lead off hitter and 2-hole player in the lineup that actually got on base, something they had lacked up to that point.

Verdict – Accurate!

My final statement was that “I sincerely hope I have more right than wrong, because it will make this a season worth watching and a very exciting one overall!”

Well, from my count, that makes for the following:

8 Accurate Predictions

1 Split Decision

2 Predictions Slightly Off, and

3 Predictions Off by a Mile.

I’ll take it! I hope my 2011 predictions turn out to be just as accurate or better, because they’re going to be of the “glass half full” variety to be sure!!! Hopefully having made many correct predictions for the 2010 season will get me some credibility for the 2011 season!

- MG

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Tags: Adam Lind Alex Gonzalez Brandon Morrow David Purcey Fred Lewis John Buck Jose Bautista Kevin Gregg Lyle Overbay Ricky Romero Shaun Marcum Tim Collins Travis Snider Vernon Wells Yunel Escobar