The Toronto Blue Jays will Win 90 Games
With the new Major League Baseball Season upon us, there has been a lot of excitement in Toronto surrounding the new look Toronto Blue Jays. The team has been revamped after an extremely disappointing 2012 season. Can the new players stay healthy and on the field long enough to dethrone the Yankees as division champs? Lets analyze why the Jays will win over 90 games and take the AL East crown.
Last season, the Jays were beset by injuries. 2012 Emerging staff ace Brandon Morrow was sidelined by injuries, otherwise he would have taken his place among the leagues elite starters. A hard throwing dominator when he is on his game, Morrow was well on his way to 20 wins when he got hurt. This year, look to him to be a bounce back dark horse candidate for the AL Cy Young. He’ll be facing 3rd or 4th opposing starters and he’ll eat them alive. Very few teams other than the Phillies and Rays boast a #3 starter who is as good as Morrow. I see him as a vital cog in the rotation.
The rotation has been bolstered by the additions of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson. Johnson has looked incredible thus far in spring training. We can’t look at Spring stats and pretend that they matter in the regular season, but Johnson was previously compared to a young Roy Halladay. He is pitching in a contract year, and is not even the staff ace. He’ll be matching up against #3s or #4s and I expect him, like Morrow, to dominate. If he wasn’t injury prone over the last few seasons, he would have likely won an NL Cy Young and been named the undisputed staff ace.
Dickey is an enigma. He was a mediocre starter bouncing between the big leagues and the minors for the majority of his career. Over the last three seasons with the Mets, Dickey has emerged as a master knuckleballer who has eaten through NL lineups. He has no UCL, meaning he can never require Tommy John. That is a big perk to a team who lost 3 important pitchers to the procedure in 2012. If Dickey can come close to his Cy Young season of 2012, the Jays will be tough to beat. They will feature a solid top to bottom rotation, with power arms, crafty vets, and a good mix of lefties and righties. However, the ultimate key to their success will be the bats.
The Jays already had a young powerful line up in 2012. Youngsters like Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia, and Colby Rasmus were expected to take the next step last season and bring the Jays a step closer to a World Series. All 3 had up and down seasons and no longer are expected to provide as much.
The Jays brought in Jose Reyes to set the table at the top of the order. No longer is Lawrie expected to bare the burden of a leadoff role he isn’t well suited for. An all Dominican top of the order featuring Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion will be expected to produce for the club. There is plenty of depth in the order with Adam Lind, Emilio Bonifacio, Lawrie, Rasmus and Arencibia still around to produce.
I expect the jays to hit a lot of home runs, steal a lot of bases, and score a lot of runs in general. With the combination of timely pitching, productive bats, and a new man on the bench in John Gibbons, I expect to see the Jays win 90 games and take the AL East. The only thing standing in their way are injuries and the pesky Tampa Bay Rays..