Diving into the depths: Toronto Blue Jays

Leave a comment

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Toronto Blue Jays
Rotation
1. Shaun Marcum
2. Ricky Romero
3. Brandon Morrow
4. Mark Rzepczynski
5. Brett Cecil
6. Scott Richmond
7. Brian Tallet
8. David Purcey
9. Dustin McGowan
10. Robert Ray
11. Brad Mills
12. Kyle Drabek
13. Zach Jackson
14. Zach Stewart
15. Lance Broadway
16. Reidier Gonzalez
Of course, they’re not all serious threats for the rotation, but the Jays always manage to go through some pitchers. They’ll enter spring with three spots pretty much set, and Rzepczynski should be the clear favorite for the fourth.
McGowan is supposed to be ready to pitch this spring after missing most of the last two years, but odds are that he’ll begin the year rehabbing in the minors. Drabek should be a factor come June or July, and Jesse Litsch, who is on the way back from Tommy John surgery, could join the rotation after the All-Star break.
Bullpen
1. Jason Frasor
2. Scott Downs
3. Casey Janssen
4. Brian Tallet
5. Jeremy Accardo
6. Jesse Carlson
7. Shawn Camp
8. Josh Roenicke
9. Dick Hayhurst
10. Zech Zinicola
11. Zach Jackson
12. Luis Perez
13. Sean Henn
14. Willie Collazo
Everyone in the top nine here is a holdover from last year. The Jays have relief depth to part with in trade if they want to go that route. As is, they wouldn’t seem to have room for Roenicke or Hayhurst unless Tallet finds himself back in the rotation. Frasor and Downs, though, are both free agents after the season, and Accardo, who wanted to be non-tendered last month, would still like to move on to a team that would grant him a bigger role.


Catcher
1. John Buck
2. Raul Chavez
3. J.P. Arencibia
4. Kyle Phillips
5. Brian Jeroloman
First base
1. Lyle Overbay
2. Adam Lind
3. Brett Wallace
4. Brian Dopirak
Second base
1. Aaron Hill
2. John McDonald
3. Jarrett Hoffpauir
4. Mike McCoy
Third base
1. Edwin Encarnacion
2. Jose Bautista
3. John McDonald
4. Mike McCoy
5. Brett Wallace
Shortstop
1. Alex Gonzalez
2. John McDonald
3. Brian Bocock
The Jays have filled two of the three holes in their lineup, but Buck and Gonzalez aren’t more than stopgaps. Worse, they’re not just filling in for a year while younger talents develop. Arencibia has been a bust since being drafted 21st overall in 2007, and the Jays’ best catching prospect now is likely Travis D’Arnaud, a 20-year-old picked up in the Roy Halladay deal. At shortstop, Toronto has to hold out hope that Justin Jackson will learn to hit. Neither D’Arnaud nor Jackson figures to be a factor until 2012.
Left field
1. Travis Snider
2. Randy Ruiz
3. Jose Bautista
4. Joey Gathright
5. Chris Lubanski
Center field
1. Vernon Wells
2. Joey Gathright
3. Jose Bautista
4. Jorge Padilla
Right field
1. Jose Bautista
2. Randy Ruiz
3. Joey Gathright
4. Jorge Padilla
Designated hitter
1. Adam Lind
2. Randy Ruiz
3. Brett Wallace
4. Brian Dopirak
The thinking earlier this winter was that Overbay would be traded and Lind would be tried at first base. That doesn’t seem likely to materialize now, and the Jays might just keep Lind in the DH role in preparation for eventually turning first base over to Wallace.
Right field is the biggest remaining question mark. I wouldn’t mind seeing Encarnacion out there, with Bautista or a free agent at third. However, there’s been nothing to suggest it might happen. The Jays will probably sign a cheap veteran (Rick Ankiel?) and push Bautista back into a bench role.
Since the Jays haven’t addressed their outfield at all, it does look like Snider is safe. The Jays wanted to force him to win the job in spring training, but it looks like the competition will be less than stellar.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”