Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Preview

2010 Record: 85-77

2011 Projected Roster

  • Catchers: JP Arencibia, Jose Molina
  • Infielders: Aaron Hill, Yunel Escobar, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, John McDonald, Edwin Encarnacion
  • Outfielders: Rajai Davis, Travis Snider, Juan Rivera, Corey Patterson, Scott Podsednik
  • Starters: Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Mark Rzepczynski, Kyle Drabek
  • Bullpen: Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor, David Purcey, Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp

Notable Signings

  1. Rajai Davis: traded for 2 players
  2. Juan Rivera: traded for Vernon Wells
  3. Frank Francisco: 1 year, $4MM
  4. Octavio Dotel: 1 year, $3.5MM
  5. Jon Rauch: 1 year, $3.5MM

Notable Losses

  1. Vernon Wells
  2. Scott Downs
  3. John Buck
  4. Shawn Marcum
  5. Kevin Gregg
  6. Lyle Overbay

Top Prospects

  1. Kyle Drabek: RHP
  2. Brett Lawrie: 2B
  3. Zach Stewart: RHP
  4. Travis D’Arnaud: C
  5. JP Arencibia: C

Key Position Battles

  • 5th Starter: Mark Rzepczynski vs. Jesse Litsch – This battle could really be for the 4th and 5th starter spot but I am fully confident that the Jays are going to give Kyle Drabek, son of former major league pitcher Doug Drabek, a chance to start this season. Therefore, it comes down to Rzepczynski and Litsch who both have shown signs that they could be successful major league pitchers. I believe Rzepczynski has the leg up due to his strikeout potential and strong end to 2010 in which he went 3-1 with a 2.85 ERA over his final 5 starts. Litsch had a great year back in 2008 but has been injury prone and inconsistent since. 5th Starter Pick: Mark Rzepczynski
  • Closer: Frank Francisco vs. Octavio Dotel vs. Jon Rauch vs. Jason Frasor – The Blue Jays are now sporting three “closers” in their bullpen. Francisco lost his closer job to Neftali Feliz last season but may be best suited to close in Toronoto. Dotel and Rauch saved 22 and 21 games in 2010 respectively. All three have the potential to close and they may end up in a time sharing situation, as they all have consistency issues to deal with. Frasor is on the outside looking in at the competition; he is the long shot. Closer Pick: Frank Francisco

The story of the Blue Jays 2010 season seemed to be parallel one player’s season. This player is Jose Bautista who exploded out of no where last season for 54 home runs; he will be no where near such numbers this season. The Blue Jays seemed to explode as well after a weak 75 win season in 2009 and not very high expectations going into the year. They won 85 games last year but I expect them to take a huge step back this season. They will be without Vernon Wells, who although not worth the ridiculous contract he was under, brought 3.4 WAR to the table(2nd highest among Toronto position players.) His replacements Juan Rivera and Scott Podsednik are on the decline and will not bring what Wells did to the table. Rajai Davis is a good addition for the Jays as he gives them a speed dimension that they have lacked. Three players who will need to rebound nicely from poor 2010 campaigns in order for the Jays to be successful are Aaron Hill(had 26 homers but .205 average due to low BAbip,) Adam Lind(all around down year may prove that 2009 was flukey career year,) and Yunel Escobar(traded for Alex Gonzalez to play short.) Their offense all seemed to swing for the fences all the time last year and with the likes of Davis and Podsednik plugged in now, instead of Wells and Overbay, that does not really fit their bill. The rotation is completely boom or bust as well. Brandon Morrow could be a stud, as he is already a strikeout machine, but his wildness is his downfall. Ricky Romero is only going to continue to get better the way he has his first two seasons in the majors. The young lefty is about to hit his prime. No one really knows what to expect from Kyle Drabek this season due to his minimal major league experience(granted his is only 23) but he has the chance to be a top of the rotation starter if he improves on his changeup. As mentioned above the Jays have 3 or 4 arms in the pen who could potential close. The most notable of which are Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch who have combined for 96 saves over the past 3 seasons. I do have to give props to Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos for unloading that awful Vernon Wells contract and only having to cover a minimal amount of the balance.

WTP Projected 2011 Record: 75-87

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About jacarfagno

Live, Breathe, and Bleed Baseball
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