Team Analysis: AL East – Toronto Blue Jays
- Updated: February 6, 2008
AL East –
Toronto Blue Jays
C – Gregg Zaun: Although he only hit .242, his OBP was nearly 100 points better due to his high walk rate which was among the Jays’ highest in 2007.
1B – Lyle Overbay/Matt Stairs: I never thought I’d hear myself say (or rather write) this, but the versatility of Matt Stairs helped Toronto out a lot in 2007 as he filled in for the injured Overbay here at 1B. Stairs held 2007 team highs in SLG & ISO.
2B – Aaron Hill: A solid year at the plate for Hill and led the team in doubles and had the third lowest K rate (6%) in the starting line up. More stats: .291/.333/87/17/78/4 (BA/OBP/R/HR/RBI/SB)
3B – Troy Glaus: Glaus’ year was shortened due to nagging injuries and he has been given a clean bill of health for 2008, but he was recently traded to the Cardinals for fellow 3B Scott Rolen. An even swap. Rolen has a better glove, but Glaus has more power.
SS – John McDonald: Honestly, I’ve never even heard of him and his stats don’t impress me at all! Next…
LF – Reed Johnson/Adam Lind/Matt Stairs: See note at 1B about Stairs. Lind, a rookie in 2007, showed some power, but also showed that he needs to gain plate discipline moving forward if he wants to become a starter in the major leagues. Johnson, after returning from an extended trip on the DL, played beneath expectations. The Blue Jays are better off with Overbay at 1B and Stairs in LF. But Stairs is a stop gap at best! For long term, they will need to get a replacement or hope that Lind or prospect Travis Snider (OF) can live up to expectations beyond 2008.
CF – Vernon Wells: 2007 was a subpar year for Wells. He hit under .250, had less than 20 HRs, his OBP was just over .300 and he knocked in only 80 RBIs. Expect a better year from Wells in 2008. You can write him off for future drafts if these numbers don’t improve this year!
RF – Alex Rios: By far, the best hitter the Blue Jays had in 2007. He led the team in BA (.297), runs (114), stolen bases (17) and triples (7). Was this a breakout year or is he still improving? How he performs in 2008 will tell this story, but I say that these numbers should not be difficult to duplicate!
DH – Frank Thomas: A nice pick up by the Jays! He led the team in both HRs (26) and RBIs (95) and had an impressive .377 OBP. I see no reason why he can’t put up numbers like these again in 2008.
SP – Roy Halladay: Toronto’s Ace of the staff was hit again in 2007 with the injury bug and still walked away with 16 wins and an ERA under 3.75 and a WHIP under 1.25
SP – A.J. Burnett: He would challenge Halladay for the role of team Ace if they would manage his pitch count better! He is one of those guys who simply can not throw too much or his arm will fall off! Otherwise, he would literally throw until it did. He’s either stupid or a fierce competitor! I’m just not sure which category he falls into! J His ERA was under 3.80 and he led the team in Ks with 176 in only 25 starts for an impressive SO9 of 9.59
SP – Dustin McGowan: Probably one of the best surprises of 2007 for the Jays with 12 wins and a 4.08 ERA to go along with a WHIP of 1.22 and a SO9 of 7.64
SP – Shaun Marcum: Another surprise was the performance of Marcum who also had 12 wins and an ERA of 4.13 to go along with a WHIP of 1.25 and 1 save.
SP – Jesse Litsch/Josh Towers/Tomo Ohka/Gustavo Chacin: Litsch will probably emerge as the 5th starter out of this bunch seeing that he was the only one with an ERA under 5.00 (3.81). Towers also saw time in the bullpen (over 20 innings) and that’s more likely to be where he will start out in 2008.
RP – Josh Towers/Shaun Marcum: Although Marcum did pitch over 15 innings of relief in 2007, I don’t expect him to see the bullpen in 2008 outside of pre-game warm-ups. Towers will al least start in the bullpen and how long he stays there will depend on his own ability and how well Litsch pitches if he is in the # 5 slot in the rotation.
RP – Jason Frasor: He was the only regular in the Jays’ bullpen with an ERA above 4.00, but he did record 3 saves, 4 Holds,a WHIP of 1.23 and SO9 that was highest in the bullpen at 9.32. On the down side, he also had 4 blown saves.
RP – Brian Tallet: Pitched over 60 innings with a 3.47 ERA, 1.24 WHIP. He had 2 Holds, but 3 blown saves.
RP – Brian Wolfe: A rookie in 2007 who pitched well in over 45 innings with a 2.98 ERA, a .99 WHIP, 2 blown saves, but 6 Holds and the lowest SO9 in the bullpen.
RP – Casey Janssen: A nice surprise in 2007! Janssen pitched the most innings on the team while maintaining a 2.35 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He had 6 saves, 5 blown and 24 Holds as a starter converted to the bullpen in 2007. Not bad!
Set-up – Scott Downs: I put Downs in here because he has a higher SO9 (8.84) than Janssen. He had an ERA of 2.17 with a WHIP of 1.22 to go along with 1 save, 3 blown, to go along with a team leading 25 Holds.
Closer – Jeremy Accardo: Accardo came into the closer’s role when BJ Ryan went down with a season ending injury. With an ERA of 2.14, a WHIP of 1.11 to go along with his 30 saves, 5 blown, 2 Holds and a SO9 of 7.62 Accardo will be more than efficient as the 2008 closer for the Jays’.
Down on the Farm:
Two of Toronto’s highest ranked prospects saw playing time in 2007. Adam Lind is ranked as their best talent, while Jesse Litsch is ranked 8th. Not only that, but he has lefty Ricky Romero (# 3) and righties Francisco Rosario (# 6) and Brandon Magee (# 7) who were all ranked higher than him. This is good news for the Blue Jays if they can pitch as well as Litsch did in 2007. Travis Snider (OF) is noted as having the best power stroke in the Toronto system (see note above in LF). Another area they need future help in would be at Catcher and prospect Curtis Thigpen (# 5) might fill that role nicely depending upon his development.
Biggest Needs for 2008:
The acquisition of SS David Eckstein addressed on of their biggest needs going into 2008 and there really isn’t any other outside needs, except maybe at catcher. What they REALLY need is a healthy year out of their starting rotation, especially Halladay, Burnett, Marcum & McGowan.
Correction: Josh Towers will not be starting or coming out of the Blue Jays bullpen in 2008 seeing he is now with the Rox. To Jays fans everywhere, please forgive me!