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Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 Toronto Blue Jays team preview

2009 Record: 75-87   .463

Run Differential: +27

Toronto was better last season than their record shows as they finished the season by scoring 27 more runs than they allowed.  Usually this would lead to a record of three or four games above .500 not twelve under.  Aaron Hill and Adam Lind had breakout years but even that was not enough to offset the numerous injuries that befell the team's rotation.  Still, by playing in the American League East, no one took the team seriously including the team itself.  The team's best player and arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Roy Halladay, was dangled on the trading block before being pulled back in late July.  Once the season ended, GM JP Ricciardi was fired and Halladay was shipped to Philadelphia in a three team trade signaling a major rebuild.

After the dust had settled, new GM Alex Anthopoulos came away with P Kyle Drabek and 1B Brett Wallace as prizes.
Neither of these two are likely to see much - if any - action in 2010 but each is regarded as a top prospect.  What was a bad system before the Halladay trade remains a bad system but there are at least some impact players at the top.  In 2011 the lineup should feature Lind, Snider, Wallace, Hill, and a few pitchers that have made it through 2010 without injury.  What Anthopoulos might need to do, however, is trade a player like Hill while he's hot to further stock the minors because AL East or not, this team is not close to contention.  This leaves 2010 as a season where the team will evaluate talent at all levels and chart their course to become competitive again.  This would explain why no free agents seriously considered Toronto during the offseason and why you'll probably hear several trade rumors regarding the team's veterans.  It seems likely that once June hits they'll just be playing out the string.

Likely Opening Day Roster:
Pos.
Name
My Two Cents
C
John Buck
Royals cut him loose to save $. Low OBP but good power
C
Jose Molina
No hit all glove
1b
Lyle Overbay
By limiting his ABs vs. LHP, had what looks like best yr w/ club
2b
Aaron Hill
Broke out last season but doubtful it can be replicated
3b
Edwin Encarnacion
Reds grew tired of waiting for him to realize potential
SS
Alex Gonzalez
Now both A.Gonz’s have played for Jays
LF
Travis Snider
This season will be what was expected in ‘09
CF
Vernon Wells
New GM must be pissed Wells is most expensive player
RF
Jose Bautista
Only a placeholder until real RF is found
IF
Joe McDonald
Decent glove no bat. Miracle he’s still playing
4C
Randy Ruiz
Can’t DH two guys so Ruiz has to play “D” sometimes
DH
Adam Lind
Team’s best player by a mile. Too bad D is worse than Dunn’s
SP
Ricky Romero
Expect improvement but Jays wish they’d taken Tulo instead
SP
Shaun Marcum
“Veteran” starter has just 64 career starts
SP
Dustin McGowan
If healthy team could have decent rotation
SP
Marc Rzepczynski
Groundball pitcher hopes Encarnacion brings glove in ‘10
SP
Brett Cecil
Big surprise last year hopes to hold off Morrow as 5th starter
Swing
Brandon Morrow
Club wants to define role but might not happen until after spring
Cl
Kevin Gregg
Flopped w/ Cubs. Strangest signing of winter
SU
Jason Frasor
Will close if Gregg can’t refind form
RP
Scott Downs
Darkhorse closer candidate
RP
Brian Tallet
Long reliever but Jays want more. Not gonna happen
RP
Jesse Carlson
Avg reliever is no LOOGY
RP
Shawn Camp
As long as he keeps it on the ground will stay in majors
RP
Jeremy Accardo
If fully healthy will give Tor very good bullpen
DL
Scott Richmond
Could be a decent reliever but that will have to wait
DL
Jesse Litsch
TJ surgery will likely wipe out this season
DL
Dirk Hayhurst
Will become Southwest gold member w/ trips between Tor and LV

Say Hello To: Brandon Morrow, Kevin Gregg, Alex Gonzalez, Dana Eveland, Merkin Valdez, John Buck, Brett Wallace, Jeremy Reed, Jose Molina

Wave Goodbye: Roy Halladay, Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas, Brandon League, Kevin Millar, Joe Inglett, Russ Adams, Brian Bocock, Michael Barrett

Rookies: Brett Wallace - Acquired just after the the Halladay trade, the guy can hit but probably won't see the majors until September.

Potential Breakout: Travis Snider - Didn't have the season many expected of him but maybe the expectations were unrealistic for a 21 year old rookie.

Welcome to Earth:  Aaron Hill - A very good player but I'm not expecting 36 homers again

Likely to Rebound: Dustin McGowan - Didn't pitch at all last year after knee surgery and '08 was cut short due to an injured labrum.  He was pretty good in '07 though and I think not pitching last year gave his arm time to recover.

Top 3 players: Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Travis Snider

Top Prospect: Kyle Drabek - one of the few prospects where Keith Law and I disagree.  I think Drabek will be a top of the rotation starter who makes several All Star games.

Prediction: 70-92  5th place AL East
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