Toronto Blue Jays 2008
Toronto’s pitching staff is from top to bottom is by far the best in the AL East. Take a look at these numbers…3.71, 3.75, 3.81, 4.08 and 4.13. These are the ’07 ERA’s of Toronto’s 5 starters this year; Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum. And, this of course coming against the high octane offenses of the Yanks, Sox and Rays.
Their relievers are not far behind. Setup men Scott Downs (2.02), Jeremy Accardo (2.14) Brian Tallet (2.53) and Jason Frasor (4.58) all pitched better than expected in 2007. What may make or break this relief staff are Brandon League and BJ Ryan, who both missed virtually all of last season with injuries. If the two remain healthy and somehow manage close to their 2006 stats, League with a 2.53 ERA and BJ Ryan a miniscule 1.37 ERA, this pitching staff may finish tops in the majors.
What has damaged the Jays offense these past few seasons is constancy and depth. Depth has been taken care over the last season with the acquisitions of former major league starters Rod Barajas, Matt Stairs and Marco Scutaro. All three players have the experience to both come off the bench and start in the case of an injury. Keep an eye on these players come the trade deadline as the Jays can use this to make a run late in the season.
Consistency has not been taken care of. Lyle Overbay. Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, and Reed Johnson have all had all-star type years, but not consecutively. Throw in Scott Rolen whose picture was recently added aside the term “injury prone” by Daniel Webster and Greg Zaun, who has not thrown out 24% of base stealers in three years now, and you have what I like to call a team made up of a bunch of Iffy’s.
Sure, if Scott Rolen and Frank Thomas can remain healthy, if Overbay (.312, 92, 22 in ‘06), Reed Johnson (.319 in ‘06) and Vernon Wells (303, 106, 32 in ‘06) can reproduce their similar stats in ‘06, if Alex Rios, David Eckstein and Aaron Hill can match their totals from last year, they have a shot. If not, you have a bunch of Iffy’s and Lyle Overpaid’s.