Saturday, May 15, 2010
The 2010 Toronto Blue Jays
The biggest question mark for the 2010 Jays was how they could survive an entire season with inexperienced and, in many cases, rehabilitating arms. One of those rehabilitating arms was Shaun Marcum who was chosen as the opening day starter and defacto ace. Marcum despite missing all of 2009 has the most MLB experience on his belt - including a spectacular first-half of 2008 - among the Jays' starting rotation. The ace in waiting is obviously Ricky Romero, who notched a 12 K one-hitter earlier this season and struck out 12 again against the Texas Rangers in a complete game shutout. Brandon Morrow and Dana Eveland, two Alex Anthopoulos imports, have been volatile but have shown signs of brilliance. Morrow in fact leads the AL with 11.83 K/9 IP while Eveland's only poor starts were against Boston (twice) and Oakland. In the bullpen, Kevin Gregg has truly been a lights-out closer. This should be no surprise considering that Gregg averaged 28 saves over the past three seasons in the NL for the Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs. Scott Downs is consistently tough - against right and left handed hitters - while Shawn Camp and Rommie Lewis deserve honourable mention as well.
Make no mistake, I am no homer that is claiming that the Blue Jays will win the World Series this year or even the next for that matter. However the true beauty of sports is its unpredictability and although the Jays were given 100:1 odds to win the World Series this year, there is always that one instance where they shock the world and win it all. There is no reason why the Jays cannot keep up their current pace and finish third - a mere afterthought only a few years ago - ahead of one of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, or Tampa Bay Rays. For a team that has proclaimed that they are in year one of a long-term rebuilding project that would be a tremendous accomplishment and catalyst for future success along the rebuild. For realists out there, the Jays are not contenders but you can take solace in the fact that you are watching some of the pieces of the future contending Jays teams. Based on the make-up of the younger players on the team and in the farm system the team should be comprised with big sluggers - Adam Lind, Travis Snider, J.P. Arencibia, etc.. - and strong starters - Ricky Romero, Kyle Drabek, Zach Stewart, etc... Anthopoulos has handled his responsibilities capably including snagging two top prospects for Roy Halladay in a deflated market and increasing scouting expenditures. He appears sincere when he says that this will be a legitimate rebuild and that he will not sell-out the team by making an expensive signing or trade to improve the team in the short-term. He also appears sincere when he says that in the meantime, the Jays will be more competitive than most fans think. The fans in Toronto do not seem to be convinced and have stayed away in droves. It is true that winning is highly correlated with attendance however I believe that the experience trumps all other factors. The Rogers Centre and the Blue Jays have never been considered hot tickets in town and it is very common to see waves of disinterested fans clearly there because of a work outing. The rebuild must transcend the team itself and focus equally on rejuvenating a detached fan base. The city can draw on its glory days of the early 1990s when the Blue Jays were the best organization in baseball and regularly led the league in attendance and it is only fitting that the same man who oversaw that period is at the helm now. Can Paul Beeston strike lighting twice?
Top 30 Blue Jays Organization Prospects