Mar 012011

Major Changes

Of the nine hitters listed by Baseball Reference for Toronto in 2010, exactly ONE is projected as the starter at the same position as he played last year! Gone are John Buck, Lyle Overbay, Fred Lewis, Alex Gonzalez and Vernon Wells, and moved are Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. Aaron Hill is still at second base. Juan Rivera, Yunel Escobar, Travis Snider, Rajai Davis and JP Arenciba will take their places. Also gone are  Marcum, Downs and Gregg from the pitching staff, replaced by Drabek, Dotel and Francisco.

Hitters 2010 C 2011 D+ (-6 WAR)

Last year the Blue Jays hit a ton of home runs, but did not get on base so well, so they didn’t score all that many runs. This year they do not figure to hit nearly so many home runs, but they still don’t get on base. They were widely applauded for unloading Vernon Wells’ contract (including by me) but he WAS a productive, if overpriced, player in 2010. Jose Bautista is unlikely to produce at the same level, especially as he is slated for third base, a position he really can’t play. Arrenciba looks like the real deal behind the plate, but overall this team doesn’t look like they can really hit.

Rotation 2010 B 2011 C+ (-3 WAR)

From the best ERA in 2009 to a solid rotation in 2010 to a slightly above-average rotation in 2011 does not sound like the kind of progression you are looking for. Sean Marcum was pretty good for Toronto, and is gone. The rotation will be very young (26, 26, 25, 24, 23) so they are very hard to predict, but except for Romero none of them have shown anything special at the ML level, so this is what I get.

Bullpen 2010 B- 2011 C- (-2 WAR)

Octavio Dotel may be a find, but no number crunching will show that. Frank Francisco was hardly extraordinary for Texas last year. And the holdovers are not old, but they are not young and bursting with potential, either.

Overall 2010 B 2011 D (-11 WAR)

I am predicting a crash and burn for the foreign team. They appear to have lost ground in every aspect of their game – even if the young rotation flourishes they will be hard put to make it to .500, let alone compete in this toughest of all divisions.

Charts

Player Position 2011 2010
J.P. Arencibia Catcher 2.0 3.0 Buck
Adam Lind First Base 1.4 2.4 Overbay
Aaron Hill Second Base 2.2 0.8
Jose Bautista Third Base 3.3 1.6 Encarnacion
Yunel Escobar Shortstop 1.7 2.8 Gonzalez
Travis Snider Left Field 0.6 0.8 Lewis
Rajai Davis Center Field 1.5 3.4 Wells
Juan Rivera Right Field 0.9 5.6 Bautista
Edwin Encarnacion Designated Hitter 0.9 0.1 Lind
14.4 20.5

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Ricky Romero Starting Pitcher 3.0 3.4
Brandon Morrow Starting Pitcher 1.5 1.6
Brett Cecil Starting Pitcher 1.5 2.2
Kyle Drabek Starting Pitcher 1.0 3.8 Marcum
Jesse Litsch Starting Pitcher 1.0 0.2 Rzepczynski
8.0 11.2

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Octavio Dotel Relief Pitcher 0.0 1.8 Downs
Jon Rauch Relief Pitcher 1.0 1.5 Camp
Jason Frasor Relief Pitcher 1.0 0.6
Jesse Carlson Relief Pitcher 0.5 0.1
Casey Janssen Relief Pitcher 0.7 0.7
Frank Francisco Closer 0.9 1.3 Gregg
4.1 6.0

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