The Toronto Blue Jays haven’t seen the post season since 1993.
Just like the Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays suffer from AL East syndrome.
The AL East Division was tough enough when it housed the two best teams in baseball, the Red Sox and Yankees. Than, in the last few seasons the Tampa Bay Rays jumped onto the elite list, which made baseball life in Toronto only harder.
What is so frustrating is the Blue Jays would have made the playoffs many times, if they played in any other division. In 2010, the Blue Jays won 85 games and in four of the last five seasons prior have won 80+ games. That amount of W’s has been enough to make the playoffs many times and even clinch a division title outside of the AL East.
For the Blue Jays, even with their major-league leading home-run total of 257 from last season, heading into 2011 things look to be the same…meaning anything is possible.
Blue Jays fans blamed not making the postseason on unfortunate circumstances for a darn good team, until the Rays proved that theory wrong.
With the sad departure of skipper Cito Gaston, the Jays hired Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell that was a great move. The Jays have a young pitching staff with a lot of potential and under Farrell’s guidance they could flourish.
Trading ace Roy Halladay prior to last season was not a popular move, but the starters finished with an ERA of 4.30, which top the Yankees 4.35 ERA.
The starters have the potential to make Toronto a 2011 surprise story, lead by Rickey Romero who looks to replace the traded Shaun Marcum. Romero finished last season with a 14-9 record and an ERA of 3.73. Three other youngsters Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek will follow Romero.
The Jays had the most homeruns, 46 more than the Red Sox who had 211. Jose Bautista led that charge being accountable for 54 of the 257 total. Bautista should have a big year, as the 30-year-old is a free agent at the end of 2011, and players know the better play, the bigger contract. He also had 124 RBIs last season.
Joining Bautista is rookie Travis Snider, who displayed power in the minors and so moving Bautista to third base frees up a spot in the outfield for Snider to move in full time.
Also, the Jays were the slowest team in baseball, finishing 2010 with a pathetic 58 steals. So, signing Rajai Davis who stole 92 bases for the Oakland A’s the last two seasons is be a huge improvement. Look for Davis’ RBIs and total runs to jump because of the massive power bats behind him in the line-up.
The future of the Blue Jays looks very promising, as their outlook has changed under second-year GM Alex Anthopoulos. Instead of trying to compete with the ‘win now’ attitude of their peer teams, Anthopoulos’ is putting the money into acquiring the top young talent, by adding more scouts all over; in California alone the team has five. This attention to detail seems to be right on track so far. Continue reading ‘2011 MLB Team Preview: Toronto Blue Jays’ »