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by user Timothy Moreland
I am one of the few pessimists when it comes to the Blue Jays. Here's why...
SP Roy Halladay
<stats> Player=Roy Halladay Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SP A.J. Burnett
<stats> Player=A.J. Burnett Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SP Ted Lilly
<stats> Player=Ted Lilly Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Gustavo Chacin Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SP Josh Towers
<stats> Player=Josh Towers Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
Halladay is an ace without a doubt and most likely the best starter in the AL East. A.J. Burnett will contribute a mid to low-.300 in ERA but his IP has ranged from 204.3 to 23 to 120 to 209 over the past four years. I expect him to have a healthy year and put up around 190-200 IP. After these two, there is a huge dropoff to the next three starters. Lilly has the best strikeout rate of the bottom three but had an ERA over 5.50 last year. Expect more of the same, as Lilly is the worst pitcher in the rotation this year. Chacin was a pleasant surprise last year but his ERA will rise over the 4.00 mark this year. Towers is the one with the best outlook due to his low walk rate(1.3 BB/9). He was a solid contributor last year and will be so again this year, with potential for an ERA in the mid- to low-3.00's. B.J. Ryan is one of the top closers and, with Blue Jays' wins being close this year, could save 45-50 games. Justin Speier and Jason Frasor are both strong setup righties.
SS Russ Adams
<stats> Player=Russ Adams Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
LF Reed Johnson
<stats> Player=Reed Johnson Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
CF Vernon Wells
<stats> Player=Vernon Wells Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
3B Troy Glaus
<stats> Player=Troy Glaus Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
1B Lyle Overbay
<stats> Player=Lyle Overbay Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Shea Hillenbrand Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
RF Alex Rios
<stats> Player=Alexis Rios Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Bengie Molina Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
2B Aaron Hill
<stats> Player=Aaron Hill Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
Reed Johnson is near the top of the list of the worst starting players in baseball. The more AB's he gets, the longer Toronto will play little sister to the Yankees and Sox. He has a mediocore OBP with no power out of a corner OF spot. Hopefully, Frank Catalanatto will be given as many AB's as possible. Russ Adams is maybe the worst defensive SS in the game(26 Errors in 132 Games at SS). Offensively he is nothing special. The #3 and #4 spots in the lineup are very strong, especially Glaus. Vernon Wells, entering his prime, adds spectacular defense with 30 HR power, and Glaus makes up for his shabby defense with a solid .250/.350/.500 line. Lyle Overbay is an average offensive 1B who has not developed into the HR hitter many expected. Fortunately, he comes with a slick glove on the corner. Hinske and Hillenbrand, practically identical hitters, will split the DH spot. Rios, Molina, and Hill finish out a lineup lacking in power.
Projection: 80-82 3rd place in the AL East...The offseason moves were good but Toronto still goes into the year with the possibility of having huge holes in the lineup. Sorry but I see no realistic scenario in which they threaten the Yankees or Red Sox for the title. In fact, look out for the O's.
(this can also be viewed over at my own blog http://www.sportspar.blogspot.com)
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Tue 03/07/06, 4:19 pm EST