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Surprise Jays Will Look Different at Season's End

Starting lineup

1. RF Jose Bautista
2. 2B Aaron Hill
3. DH Adam Lind
4. CF Vernon Wells
5. 1B Lyle Overbay
6. 3B Edwin Encarnacion
7. C John Buck
8. LF Travis Snider
9. SS Alex Gonzalez

Analysis

Lind expected to duplicate his stats from last year but Aaron Hill will not though he is too good a hitter not to hit 20-25 homers with 90 RBI. A breakout by Travis Snider is expected and .275 with 15 homers and 75 -80 RBI would be considered a breakout year though once he puts it together and gains confidence he may blow away those numbers. We’ll get no hitting of consequence from catcher or SS but we must get solid defense. If Arencibia has a strong 1st half in AAA look for him to replace Molina and get his feet wet the second half to add some offence. What we must have is a rebound year from at least one of Wells, Oberbay or Encarnacion. If we get solid hitting from more than one of them, look for our hitting to surprise a lot of people. Strong potential young replacements at 1B in Wallace and Dopirak if they manage to trade Oberbay but little OF backup strength.

Rating B to B+


Bench

John McDonald
Mike McCoy
Randy Ruiz

Analysis

DH will be a strength as Ruiz will provide solid backup with his bat though our defense will take a hit if he plays 1B. The rest of our bench provides stable gloves but not much offense though it does add a speed factor in short supply throughout the rest of the lineup

Rating C to C+

Starting rotation

1. LHP Ricky Romero
2. RHP Shaun Marcum
3. RHP Brandon Morrow
4. LHP Brian Tallet
5. LHP Dana Eveland

Analysis

They are young but have lots of talent and not much experience other than Tallet. None are pure rookies however so expect one of them to have a breakout year like Romero did last year. If not Morrow or Eveland, then Cecil or Rzep when he returns from his broken finger. Unknown factors are the potential returns by Dustin McGowan or Jesse Litsch but we at least have SOME depth this year. Expect Romero and Marcum to combine for 30 victories and the 3-5 starters to combine for another 30 more. Barring decimation by trade 20+ will come from a strong pen as in previous years to give us a near .500 record.

Rating C+ to B

Bullpen

Scott Downs
Kevin Gregg
Merkin Valdez
Casey Janssen
Jeremy Accardo
Shawn Camp

Analysis

Accardo can’t seem to find his place in this organization in spite of previously recording 30 saves and is being showcased. All are capable but lots of depth and strength waiting in the wings in Carlson, Roenicke, Purcey, Stewart. The loss of the left arm of Downs would likely hurt the worst but the replacements are capable in case of trade.

Rating B+ to A-

Closer

RHP Jason Frasor

Analysis

New changeup adds to his already strong power pitches and makes him more effective. Showed he can save with 17 in 2004 and 11 last year. Only question is how he will handle full year as dedicated closer. Backup is Gregg (who has a stronger track record) if traded. 30 – 35 saves is a must for team to reach .500

Rating C+ - B

Manager

Cito Gaston

Analysis

In spite of his two World Series he is not the right manager for this team of young players but is loyal and a known quantity. He is predictable and will not lose too many games due to bad managing but is only a placeholder for the new manager who will take this team to contender status.

Rating C

Prediction

Jays will surprise many people with a consistent attack to support some inconsistent young pitching. There will be enough days when the staff holds opponents to under 3 runs to win the 60 games expected. A true breakout by any one of the starters could put less pressure on a strong and deep bullpen who will provide lots of support.

For the first time the Jays have some depth and talent in Las Vegas to provide promotion and replacement opportunities in case of injury or trade. Look for Arencibia, Wallace and potentially Dopirak to make their debuts this year.

Trade Possibilities

Alex Anthopolous will burn up his Blackberry to try and move Overbay to make room for the young 1B candidates. Look for one of Frasor, Downs, Tallet, or Eveland to be moved for young talent if the opportunity presents itself. There are many teams already including: Twins, Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks who have major pitching woes already for AA not to find a trade partner if they can agree on the prospects coming in return. Whoever leaves will do so with little effect on the team’s performance due to pitching depth.

William Bruyea

1 comment:

  1. Nice predictions, I think it is all about what the pitching staff can do this year. I agree that Gaston isn't really the right man for the job.

    ReplyDelete