Diving into the depths: Toronto Blue Jays

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Ricky Romero
2. Brandon Morrow
3. Brett Cecil
4. Kyle Drabek
5. Mark Rzepczynski
6. Jesse Litsch
7. Dustin McGowan
8. Scott Richmond
9. Brad Mills
10. Zach Stewart
11. Robert Ray
12. Jo-Jo Reyes
13. Joel Carreno

The Blue Jays still have quite a bit of pitching depth, but it’s mostly fringe guys. Barring a miracle recovery from McGowan, the only pitcher outside their top five with any real chance of being an above average starter this year is Stewart. I’m skeptical that Morrow can throw 200 innings and I don’t expect big things from Drabek as a rookie, so I’m not very high on this group.

Bullpen
1. Octavio Dotel
2. Jon Rauch
3. Frank Francisco
4. Jason Frasor
5. Casey Janssen
6. Shawn Camp
7. Carlos Villanueva
8. David Purcey
9. Josh Roenicke
10. Jesse Carlson
11. Winston Abreu
12. Jo-Jo Reyes
13. Chad Cordero
14. Wilfredo Ledezma
15. Rommie Lewis
16. Brian Stokes
17. Alan Farina
18. Luis Perez

The Jays have restocked their pen, bringing in three right-handers with closing experience to help replace Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs. It will be interesting to see what the next move here is. With seven veteran right-handers all worthy of jobs, there doesn’t appear to be any room for Purcey or Carlson at the moment. The team may well trade Frasor to open up a spot for one of the lefties.

Catcher
1. J.P. Arencibia
2. Jose Molina
3. Brian Jeroloman
4. Ryan Budde

First base
1. Adam Lind
2. Edwin Encarnacion
3. David Cooper

Second base
1. Aaron Hill
2. John McDonald
3. Mike McCoy

Third base
1. Jose Bautista
2. Mike McCoy
3. John McDonald
4. Brett Lawrie
5. Edwin Encarnacion

Shortstop
1. Yunel Escobar
2. John McDonald
3. Mike McCoy
4. Adeiny Hechavarria

The Jays traded for both Miguel Olivo and Mike Napoli in their winter maneuverings, yet Arencibia still appears poised to become their regular catcher. He’ll be an out machine, but he could hit 15-20 homers. … There are no potential starting third basemen left in free agency, so barring a trade, it looks like Bautista will start at the hot corner. Maybe Lawrie will be ready in July, but it’s more likely that he’ll need a full season in the minors.

Left field
1. Juan Rivera
2. Travis Snider
3. Corey Patterson
4. Mike McCoy

Center field
1. Rajai Davis
2. Corey Patterson
3. Darin Mastroianni

Right field
1. Travis Snider
2. Jose Bautista
3. Eric Thames
4. Corey Patterson

Designated hitter
1. Edwin Encarnacion
2. Juan Rivera
3. Adam Lind
4. David Cooper

If they can’t grab a third baseman, the Jays do need to go get themselves another outfield option. Lastings Milledge would make a lot of sense, given that he still has some upside and he wasn’t that bad last season. Such a pickup would create competition in left field and at DH. If the Jays acquire a third baseman, then Bautista would play right, Snider would shift to left and Rivera and Encarnacion would battle for the DH job.

The Red Sox start is ridiculous

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The red-hot Red Sox completed a sweep of the previously red-hot Angels last night, outscoring them 27-3 in their three-game series. Last night’s game was, relatively speaking, a close one, with the Sox winning “only” by six runs. They did manage to strike out Shohei Ohtani three times, though, so some style points help make up for the “squeaker.” Also worth noting that they held Mike Trout of all people to a 3-for-11 line in their three-game series. He did not score a single time and drove in no runs.

That series win puts the Sox at 16-2 on the year. They dropped their Opening Day game to the Rays, but then won their next six games against Tampa Bay, which I’d say makes up for it. In between those two series they swept a two-game series from the Marlins and afterwards they took two of three from the Yankees and three in a row from the Orioles. The only thing that even threatened to slow this juggernaut down is the weather, resulting in a postponement of Monday morning’s Patriot’s Day game. Somewhere in here we should notice that they’re doing this with their starting shortstop and starting second baseman on the disabled list.

As we’ve noted many times, their 16-2 record is the best start in the Red Sox’ 118-year history. It’s also the best start for any team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers began 17-1 (let us just forget, for the time being, that those Brewers lost 18 of 20 in May of that year). They are the fourth team since 1961 to win 16 of its first 18 games.

The Sox aren’t simply getting lucky here. They’ve scored 116 runs and have allowed only 50, which is a Pythagorean record of 15-3. They lead all of baseball in offense, scoring 6.44 runs a game, leading individually in average, on-base percentage and slugging. They are only three one hundredths of a run behind the Astros from leading all of baseball in pitching, allowing only 2.78 runs a game. They’re winning all of these games because, in the early going, they’ve simply been that dang much better than everyone they’ve played.

No, the Sox are not going to go 144-18, as they are currently on pace to do. Yes, they are going to find a lot more trouble in their schedule once they play the Orioles, Rays and Marlins less, play a healthier Yankees team more and face off against the Astros, the Blue Jays, the Indians, the Twins and some tougher interleague opponents. This is baseball, obviously, and no one makes it through a season without rough patches, long, short and numerous.

Still: this has been one whale of a start for Boston. Those wins are in the bank. It’s been quite the thing to see.