Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting to Know Colby Rasmus

Can any truly honest Blue Jays fan out there say that Colby Rasmus wasn’t starting off this season under the gun already?

Rasmus was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays last summer from the St. Louis Cardinals as a part of major three-team swing that send journeyman Corey Patterson, lefty-specialist Marc Rzepczynski, former big arm Octavio Dotel, and innings-eater Edwin Jackson to the eventual World Series champs. However, as a former pro scout once said, “the team that ends up with the best player after the trade, wins.” Colby Rasmus was by far the best player that came out of this trade – and the Toronto Blue Jays got him.

In 2009, Colby Rasmus made his MLB debut with the Cardinals as the centerfielder. Rasmus put his tools on display over the next 2 seasons with a combined .268 batting average, .340 on-base percentage, and .790 on-base plus slugging percentage. This was not a coincidence, and it was certainly not a fluke. Colby was a 5-tool American baseball prospect that with a guaranteed number of at-bats proved that he is a stud, and has the ability to become the horse he was built to be.

With those numbers in mind, Colby went through a process of manager Tony La Russa and the Cardinals organization attempting to alter his approach at the plate. La Russa did not like the amount of movement taking place with Colby’s front leg. This was not the great cause for concern – it was when Rasmus refused to adhere to the advice of hitting coach Mark McGuire or La Russa, instead siding with his high school coach (Mr. Rasmus himself). This rift between the young Rasmus and the Cardinals management, led to Colby being dealt to the Blue Jays in the trade that many major league still consider to be a steal for Canada’s team.

             With guaranteed at-bats and the starting CF position cemented for Rasmus this season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Colby will be the first one to let out a big sigh of relief. His humble, quiet, and hard-working demeanor may not seem to fit in with the rebuilding core of the Blue Jays on the surface, but Rasmus is a big piece of this team’s personality. Rasmus has said that this season is going to be about, “going out there and having fun”; and during the difficult parts of the season Rasmus is “going to just play the game he has played since he was a little boy.” This attitude is exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays need, in fact, the rest of professional sports could use more kids having fun instead of megastar egomaniacs throwing away their millions.

This season we have already seen Colby Rasmsus’ stellar range and defensive ability that should put angry fans crying for the trade of Rasmus in the corner for a timeout. Rasmus has shown his slugging potential with the long-ball and the extra base pop. The numbers that Rasmus has produced in 2012 despite hitting at the bottom of a struggling Blue Jays offence, are second only to his 2010 All-Star season with the Cardinals!

My final thought is this: I had the privilege and opportunity to meet Colby Rasmus at the Jays Care Foundation Curve Ball this April, and he is easily the most misunderstood professional athlete in the city of Toronto. He is funny, smart, and completely excited to be a huge part of this true powerhouse baseball team that GM Alex Anthopoulos is building for Toronto. When I asked Colby about his time in Toronto, especially with the criticism and anger that seemed to follow him from St. Louis, he told me not to worry. Colby was quick to say that he is having so much fun with guys like Lawrie, JP, Bautista, and others that he knows it will only be a matter of time before Blue Jays fans really get behind this superhorse. I say the time is now! I encourage the whole Toronto Blue Jays fanbase to get behind this 25-year old outfield machine, and watch him give us his 100% effort every single game. Rasmus is the real deal. 

-Nick Topolie

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breaking: McGowan, Cecil Shut Down

The news keeps on getting worse for Dustin McGowan. After coming back last September, and pitching for the first time in 3 years, he was scheduled to be the Jays #5 starter in 2012. He got plantar fasciitis during Spring Training, and was placed on the disabled list. Today, he visited Dr, James Andrews, who gave him Tommy John Surgery a few years ago. He was told that he has been shutdown, and cannot throw for at least a 10-12 Days.

Meanwhile, in AA, The New Hampshire Fisher Cats chances of winning just got a whole lot better (Credits to Ian Sutherland for that one), as Brett Cecil has also been shutdown. Cecil is having trouble with his groin, and will be out for 3 starts.

Because of the McGowan injury, it seems as if Drew Hutchison will have the #5 spot in the Jays rotation until mid-June at the earliest, although I would not be surprised if McGowan's career is finished. And to everybody who think signing McGowan to that extension was a waste of money, it wasn't. First of all, it is not your money, so why the heck do you care. Secondly, the chances of reward were much higher than the risk, but the Jays just got unlucky, that's it.

Feel free to comment below.

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Blue Jays Batting Order Woes

Picture via -Yahoo Sports 

So far in 2012, there is much to like about the Toronto Blue Jays.  They are a game out of 1st place in the AL East .  It looks like they should finish ahead of Baltimore and should finish ahead of Boston too (especially if the train wreck in Boston keeps giving us things to talk about opposed to their play on the field).  I am on the fence with Eric Thames (just won’t tell that to his face with those biceps starring me down), but he has struggled because he does not have a place in the batting order.  Imagine coming to work every day and finding out your doing a different job with different responsibilities every day.  It’s hard to focus and do good at one particular job. 
One of my complaints is the daily flux in the batting order.  So far in the 17 games the Blue Jays have played, there have been 22 different batting order combinations.  I would like to see that number even out more as the season plays out.  Here is the breakdown in the batting order so far and then I will present what I think is the best batting order, unless any trades or call ups happen.
So far Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson and Jose Bautista have not changed in their place in the batting order.  In the 17 games, Yunel Escobar has batted 1st every game, Johnson 2nd and Jose Bautista 3rd.  The one ‘problem’ thus far has been the 14 walks that have been issued to Jose Bautista, and who the cleanup hitter is from night to night.  Bautista has only been knocked in 5 times other than his homeruns (that’s 36% of the time he's been walked – that needs to be higher).
Adam Lind (.211 5-1-6) - has batted 4th (10 games), 5th (3 games) and 7th (2 games).  His best spot in the order so far stats wise is when he batted 4th – he's batting .282 and has all of his 6 RBI’s in that spot.  He's batting 1 for 18 in the other two spots.
Edwin Encarnacion (.286 9-4-13) – has batted 4th (7 games), 5th (9 games), and 6th (once).  The main idea behind the flip flop with Edwin and Lind is the right-left pitching matchups, but let’s look at the stats.  Edwin is batting .214 with 3 RBI’s in the 4 slot.  But is batting .297 with 7 RBI’s from the 5th spot.  The one game be batted 6th he went 3-5 with a 3 run HR.
Brett Lawrie (.294 9-2-11) – has batted 5th (2 games), 6th (9 games) and 7th (6 games).  I know that Farrell wanted Brett to hit up into the order and earn his spot, so it’s tough to gauge now, but let’s again see what the numbers say.  He has 7 hits in 6 games with 2 RBI’s batting 7th.  He has a .500 avg. batting 5th with 3 RBI’s and has 6 RBI’s batting 6th (but also 10 strikeouts).
Eric Thames (.273 6-1-2) – has been moved around and I would say jerked around the most of any of the regular Blue Jays.  He has batted; 5th (once), 6th (5 games), 7th (6 games), 8th (2 games) and 9th (1 game).  I feel sorry for the guy, who is trying to prove his place on the team.  Based on his batting average, he has had the most success batting 6th (.333 2 runs).  Batting 8th he is batting .400 in games.  Batting 7th he is hitting .211 with 3 strikeouts.
J.P. Arencibia (.200 4-1-9) – has batted in two spots in the batting order – 8th (6 games) and 9th (7 games).  Hitting in the 8 spot he has had 12 strikeouts but his homerun from that spot.  He is however, batting .292 in the 9th spot with 4 RBI’s.
Colby Rasmus (.242 8-3-9) – Colby has looked great some games hitting home runs with his eyes closed (or its seemed that way), and been ice cold the next day.  He has batted 5th (once), 7th (3 games), 8th (8 games) and 9th (5 games).  He like Thames has been moved around the most, and it’s shown on the stats sheet.   Batting 5th, 7th and 9th he has a .094 batting average, with 2 RBI’s.  While batting 8th is hitting .400 and has 7 RBI’s. 
In an ideal world, there would be one batting order that Jays fans could expect to see (withstanding any pitching matchups – personal or the left-right affect).  The numbers don’t lie.  It’s not hard to see what players are excelling at one area in the batting order.  The mentality of batting 3rd and batting 7th is night and day.  There are responsibilities and expectations with each spot in the batting order. 
So what is the ideal batting order?  I will use the stats that the Blue Jays players have provided me when they excelled in one spot and their stats in that spot, for the optimal lineup.

1.       Yunel Escobar – SS – Right (.231 with 7 RBI’s)
2.       Kelly Johnson – 2B – Left (.246 with 13 runs)
3.       Jose Bautista – RF – Right (.200 with 9 RBI)
4.       Adam Lind – 1B – Left (.282 with 6 RBI)
5.       Brett Lawrie – 3B – Right (.500 with 3 RBI’s)
6.       Edwin Encarnacion – DH – Right (.600 with 3 RBI’s)
7.       Eric Thames – LF – Left (.211 with 2 runs)
8.       Colby Rasmus – CF – Left (.400 and 7 RBI’s)
9.       J.P. Arencibia – C – Right (.292 and 4 RBI’s)

I would like to see Colby switched with Edwin, but I think Colby has to show more consistency as a batter to be moved up.  I do think he can handle it and will get back to his 2010 numbers where he hit 23 HR and had 85 Runs while stealing 12 bases with St. Louis.  This kid is only 25 and having him batting 6th I think is where he should end up.  in order to get the other Blue Jay who is struggling offensively, Eric Thames, he needs to find a place in the order.  Having him bat in 5 different places in the batting order in just 15 games is a little much – that’s a new spot in the order every 3 games.  His spot should be at #7.  He has done better at other spots, but that’s the only one left when placing others at their best spot.
If you want some consistency out of the Blue Jays, the batting order needs to be more solidified.  I am glad to see the first inning always the same with Escobar, Johnson setting the plate for Jose.  But like most managers have done, I would just walk Jose every time.  Because the batting order after him has been different every game.  

Comment below with your opinion on what you think the Jays batting order should look like.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hutchison to Become Blue Jays #5 Starter

Drew Hutchison, the Blue Jays #1 Pitching Prospect according to many (not me), has been called up to be the interim Fifth Starter. Hutchison beat out Jesse Chavez and Joel Carreno for the spot, although Drew is only 21 years old, and has pitched 6 games above A ball. Of course, his lack of experience means nothing, because when a player is ready, he's ready. Lets just hope he is ready, and this is not like the Travis Snider situation back when JP Ricciardi.

To make room on the 25 man roster for Hutchison, Evan Crawford has been sent back down to AA, while Jesse Litsch was moved to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man.

Do you like this move? Comment with your opinion!!

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Who Will Pitch on April 21st?

The Blue Jays are currently using a 4-man rotation because they have been blessed with many off days this month. On Saturday, April 21st, a 5th starter will be needed once again, but the question that has not been answered yet is who will become that 5th starter? There are options at AA, AAA, and in the Jays Bullpen, and a final decision isn't likely to come until later this week.Here is the list of pitchers that could fill the role.

Carlos Villanueva
Joel Carreno
Aaron Laffey
Drew Hutchison
Deck McGuire
Brett Cecil
Chad Jenkins

From that list, these are the guys who will not be considered.

Carlos Villanueva- He is the Jays long man in the bullpen, and has been very dominant so far. I don't think he will get the start because Dustin McGowan's return date is still unknown, and he is only a spot starter, not someone who can fill the role for a month and a half if needed.

Drew Hutchison- I don't believe the Jays want to call him up and send him back down, so he won't get the job for a month, just to be sent down in mid-May. Also, the Jays want to save his arm for August-September, when he could really impact this club, so his chances are slim.

Deck McGuire- AA stated on the Fan 590 today that Deck is not being considered. He has gotten off to a bad start this season in New Hampshire for the Fisher Cats, but he will most likely be in Toronto some time this year.

Brett Cecil- Cecil Spring Training struggles have continued into AA, as he has given up 9 runs in just 11.2 innings pitched, in the span of just 2 starts. He has a WHIP of 1.65, and a BABIP of .435, both horrible numbers. I still think its going to be a few months before Cecil makes it back to Toronto, if he makes it back to Toronto.

The Remaining 3 pitchers are: Aaron Laffey, Joel Carreno, Chad Jenkins. These are the reasons why I think they have a chance.

3. Aaron Laffey- Laffey was just sent down yesterday to make room for Sergio Santos coming back from his paternity leave, and because the Jays wanted to stretch him out again. He has not pitched in a long time, so his chances of getting this spot aren't very high because he needs to work up his arm to be a starter again.

2. Joel Carreno- Carreno was the original 5 starter to start the season, but was sent down after his only start to keep him on a starters routine, and not out him in the Jays bullpen. I see him as a reliever, and I do not want him to get this opportunity to start. He doesn't have enough quality pitches to start, so the only way I see him being in Toronto in the future is as a reliever. Because he is on a starters schedule, he has a better chance of getting the spot ahead of Laffey.

1. Chad Jenkins- Jenkins has been solid so far in his two starts in New Hampshire, but what really rose his stock was his very impressive spring. He pitched to a 1.13 ERA in 8 innings pitched, and looked great on the mound.Jenkins throws a four seam and two seam fastball, and the 2 seam has a ton of movement. His strikeout pitch is his slider, and he also throws a Change up that is developing. I see him being called up later this week, and becoming the Jays number 5 guy. Hopefully he proves his worth, and runs with the job.

Who do you think should get the job? Leave your comments in the section below!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Opening Day Insight

I know I am not the only Toronto Blue Jays fan out there who is absolutely pumped that the 2012 season has finally started! I cannot possibly contain my enthusiasm and excitement to watch the Boys of Summer compete in the AL East this year. This division really is the pinnacle of competition and has flawless organizational execution from top to bottom – I wouldn’t want to swap out of this division for anything in the world.

Here are some thoughts from my experience at the #HondaHomeOpener this past Monday.

Atmosphere: I was riddled with goose bumps for at least an hour during the introductory ceremonies, and throughout the first few innings listening to the excitement from the crowd of 48, 473. I was enjoying the roller coaster of emotions the Blue Jays fans were riding during the stellar start of 21-year old Henderson Alvarez, and watching the young offence put the team in position to win (well at least attempt to). Here are a few things I took out of the game.

Why not repeat this atmosphere on a more consistent basis? It would take an absolute fool to truly believe that just being Opening Day makes it a better atmosphere! It is about fans! It is about the excitement of the game! The beautiful thing about the sport of baseball is the lengthy season, which spoils true fans with 81 opportunities to turn the SkyDome (it will always be the SkyDome) into a tough road trip for an opposing team. Granted the drinking and partying atmosphere is hard to consistently repeat, but true fans are there for the excitement of the game! If you want the big players to join our team, if you want playoffs, and if you want a championship – then own up to your end of the bargain fans. Plant yourself in a seat and continue to help make Toronto a destination where winners will want to come and win!

Toronto Fandom: I must confess that I am just as passionately obsessed with the Toronto Blue Jays as anyone else will tell you that they are. There is nothing wrong with that passion for your team, city, & boys – but the Toronto fans could use a good shake sometimes.

First of all, let’s take care of the elephant in the room – newly acquired closer Sergio Santos. He is a young guy with electric stuff, a solid delivery that will help his longevity, and a passion to win that fits right in with the swag of this youth movement in Toronto. I watched Brewers fans sit idly while their young Canadian closer John Axford spoil his first 2 save opportunities before going on to slam the door shut 47 consecutive times!

The Toronto fans must appreciate their role in the current upward trend toward playoff baseball. I do understand that Toronto sports fans have been struggling with dramatic negativity for their teams for quite a while now; however, we must realize how our unwarranted negativity will affect this young impressionable team. Blue Jays fans must remain on an even keel with the play of this exciting team – we have to not get too high on the highs, and more importantly not get too low on the lows. With players like Colby Rasmus, Kelly Johnson, and now Sergio Santos the Toronto Blue Jays have collected some young and very talented players to become a major part of this team. As a fan base desperate for a championship, we must do our best to cultivate and create an “at-home” advantage for our boys. With the right kind of energy from our energized fan base we can make the Dome a terrible place for other teams to play and a spot that our team can’t wait to come home to. Can you imagine our team with a young, hard-throwing closer like Santos treating the Rogers Centre like Papelbon did with Fenway Park – we have the chance to help something special grow here in Toronto. So let’s all make a Toronto Blue Jays fan pledge to not throw garbage on the field, or throw jerseys back onto the field of our players that may struggle; I promise if we do not do those things, then we won’t poison our young team like Leafs fans may have done with their young hockey team.

Other thoughts on Santos: I will leave you with my final thought on Santos – he will be more then fine. Sergio is a young and talented hurler who possesses a dominant combination of power and control, with his two fastballs, which only set-up his out pitch slider. It is a nasty late-breaking slider, which has been called the best in the game, and it looks more like a cut fastball.

Here is what Mike Wilner had to say on his blog “Miked Up” about Sergio Santos:

“This is just his second full season in the big leagues as a pitcher, and last year, he was amazing. It’s very difficult to have the opposition hit .181/.282/.314 against you by accident, just as it’s tough to call 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings over 63 1/3 innings of work a fluke. This is a special arm, and I firmly believe he’s going to be just fine.”

Feel free to comment on what you thought about the Home Opener in the section below.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cecil Sent to AA, Carreno back Up

Just minutes ago Brett Cecil was sent down to AA, and Joel Carreno, who surprised late last season in the bigs and pitched phenomenally out of the Pen was called up to be the #3 starter for the Jays. Cecil struggled this spring, as he went 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA, a WHIP of 1.80, and an opponents batting average of .290. Carreno barely pitched this spring, as he only threw 5 innings, but gave up 3 earned runs.

I am not a fan of this move at all, as Carreno does not have the stuff to be a starter. He is destined to be a reliever in the MLB, but this move is just short term. The Jays only need 5 starters once in April, as they have a ton of off-days. Once Carreno makes his start, he will be moved to the bullpen, where he should be in the MLB. If he or Kyle Drabek struggles, one of them will be sent down when Dustin McGowan is activated from the Disabled List in late April or early May. Cecil said today when he was talking to the media that he gave the Jays no choice, because he was pitching horribly during the spring. he also added that the Jays Front Office did give him an option of whether he wants to go to AA or AAA, and he chose to go to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in AA.

Luis Valbuena is likely going to be traded today or tomorrow, and It would not surprise me if that trade is to the Phillies. Philadelphia needs a guy like Valbuena, and he won't be able to be sent down because he is out of options. Now, I'm also thinking that AA packages up Valbuena and some other pieces, and acquires Phillies Pitcher Joe Blanton. just a thought, but you never know whats happening with AA at the helm.

Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 MLB Preview & Predictions

With North American Opening day for the MLB just two days away, it's time for my annual predictions. So, after an off-season which saw heavy hitters run from the NL Central to fortify the American League, and the Marlins spend a huge chunk of change, the question becomes, who will win the 2012 World Series? Will it be the powerful Tigers, or the reloaded Yankees? Will it be a team that comes from the best rivalry in the game now, Rangers-Angels, or will the champion come from the ever so challenging NL East? All I know is that with the 5th playoff team added to each league, the races just got a whole lot crazier!
*The win-loss records were voted on by the staff here at BlueJaysPlus, but the playoff scenarios are my predictions.
AL East
New York (AL) 97-65
Tampa Bay 93-69
Boston 89-73
Toronto 86-76
Baltimore 68-94
AL Central
Detroit 99-63
Kansas City 82-80
Chicago (AL) 82-80
Cleveland 81-81
Minnesota 75-87
AL West
Los Angeles (AL) 98-64
Texas 98-64
Seattle 74-88
Oakland 67-95
NL East
Philadelphia 95-67
Miami 88-74
Atlanta 88-74
Washington 81-81
New York (NL) 73-89
NL Central
Cincinnati 88-74
St. Louis 86-76
Milwaukee 85-77
Pittsburgh 76-86
Chicago (NL) 71-91
Houston 60-102
NL West
Arizona 92-70
San Francisco 86-76
Colorado 85-77
Los Angeles 78-84
San Diego 73-89

Post-season Predictions

AL Wild Card Game- Texas defeats Boston
ALDS1- Detroit over Texas 3-1
ALDS2- Los Angeles (AL) over New York (AL) 3-0
ALCS- Los Angeles (AL) over Detroit 4-2

NL Wild Card Game- Miami defeats Atlanta
NLDS1- Philadelphia over Cincinnati 3-0
NLDS2- Miami over Arizona 3-2
NLCS- Philadelphia over Miami 4-1

2012 World Series

Los Angeles Angels defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 to win the 2012 World Series!!

I have the Angels over the Phillies in the World Series, who do you have? Comment below to share your predictions and thought on how the 2012 season will play out!

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Blue Jays – From a Fantasy Baseball Perspective

Can the Toronto Blue Jays finally play meaningful ball in September?  This will probably be the year.  Could they win 90 games?  If they played in any other division, then yes, but since they don’t, they will probably win 85 or so.  It’s fun to talk about how the team will do in 2012; it’s been exciting this spring training.  What if we were to look at each position and break down how they stack up against other teams, you know for fantasy baseball purposes. 

I have been playing fantasy baseball for over 10 years now and have loved every minute of it.  this is the first season in a while where I am putting trades out there where I am trying to purposefully trade for Blue Jay players.  There are a few who are valuable for fantasy teams, and will help Toronto get to 85 wins in 2012 as well.  Below is a breakdown of each position, with projected stats, and how they rank against others at that position

C – JP Arencibia – I still can’t believe the guy hit 23 HR and 78 RBI’s in his rookie season.  He should put up similar numbers in 2012, and I actually have him and the majors 8th best catcher.  2012 – 60-25-80. 

1B – Adam Lind – I would love to have his 2009 numbers where he hit 35 HR and 114 RBI’s.  He has the ability to do that again, but injuries stand in his way.  He could be one of the top-15 fantasy first basemen.  2012 – 80-30-90.

2B – Kelly Johnson – is one year removed from 93 runs and 26 HR’s.  He could bat either 1st, 2nd or 6th and steals bases as well.  His value is flying under the radar as a top 10 2B in 2012.  2012 – 85-25-75-15.

SS – Yunel Escobar – 2009 was also a good year for Yunel.  SS is traditionally a weak position offensively, and Yunel’s spot in the order, is primed for another solid season.  He could be a top 12 SS offensively at the end of 2012.  2012 – 90-15-70-5.

3B – Brett Lawrie – it’s a surprise to see he is only 21.  This is the type of player you build a team around.  Who is Shawn Marcum again?  His rankings at 3B are skewed only because of his teammate – Jose Bautista, who also qualifies at 3B in 2012 for some reason.  He will finish as a top 10 3B in baseball.  2012 – 90-30-90-15.

LF – Eric Thames – wants us to all remember he is only 25 as well.  Last year he began the season in the minors.  In his first full season, he could put up good numbers in the #7 slot in the batting order, and will be in the top 100 for outfielders.  2012 – 65-20-60.

CF – Colby Rasmus – he also is only 25.  Even though there is some negativity surrounding him, he had a great  2010.  He has potential for a great season, with everything behind him now.  He should be a top 50 OF but could be much higher.  2012 - 85-25-80-15. 

RF - Jose Bautista – is one of the best players in all of baseball.  I have him down as the 3rd best OF in baseball behind Kemp and Braun.  I took him ahead of Pujols in one mock draft a week ago.  2012 – 105-45-110-10. 

DH – Edwin Encarnacion – like Lind and Johnson is a question mark but could produce this year.  He needs to put up great numbers if the Blue Jays have hopes of improving on their 81 wins from last year.  Most teams have had more production from their DH who make the playoffs.  2012 – 70-20-75-10. 

Bench – Rajai Davis will steal 40 this year in a limited role.
Pitching Staff
  1. Ricky Romero – the Ace of the staff has come a long way from the emotional rookie who learned how to be a big leaguer from Roy Halladay.  He has won 14 games on average over the past 3 seasons.  2012 – 16-9 185 K’s. 
  2. Brandon Morrow is doing things right this spring.  He has allowed just 1 ER and John Farrell has predicted big things from Morrow in what he calls his 3rd season as a starter.  I expect big things from him this year.  2012 – 14-12 215 K’s.    
  3. Henderson Alvarez – is like Lawrie in that he is only 21.  It is hard to believe when you see him pitch a game; he is what they call mature beyond his age.  2012 – 12-9 150 K’s. 
  4. Dustin McGowan just resigned another great deal for Toronto.  He is the big question mark heading into 2012.  He has the stuff to win 15 games, but might not win 5.  He is 30 now and no one really knows what 2012 will bring, but anything will be a plus.  2012 – 8-10 120 K’s. 
  5. Brett Cecil – is can be hard to believe that he won 15 games in 2010.  He fell off the map last year and is needed to have a great season if the Jays will move ahead in the standings this year.  Again, who knows what 2012 will bring?  2012 – 12-11 130K’s. 
  6. Kyle Drabek – is on this list because he has looked good all spring and will begin by spelling McGowan who is on the DL.  He like McGowan has the stuff to win 15 games, but is only 24.  He is on the upswing.  2012 – 7-5 80K’s. 
Closer – Sergio Santos – besides having the best contract in all of baseball, was one of the biggest suprises all off-season.  He is a converted SS and was a former Jays prospect.  I am glad to have him back, that’s for sure.  2012 – 35 saves, 95 K’s.  He could end up being a top 3 closer in the AL. 

The Blue Jays have at least 10 guys now who are reasonable fantasy players.  There are only 4 real question marks, offensively in 2012.  Could the Jays win 90 games?  They will need more than a few things to go their way.  But this is one year where they will have a few players on their roster put up some good stats.  Whether you’re watching the Blue Jays for the wins, for fantasy purposes, or for both, 2012 will be a fun year.

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