Behind the scenes: Toronto Blue Jay projections

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What do you say we finish our look at the A.L. East with a look at the Toronto Blue Jays? I will tell you right from the get-go, that Joe Carter’s home run still stings in this Phillies fan’s memory, but I will do my best not to let that get in the way of an unbiased look at three Jays. I don’t have to like it, though.

Looking for a couple pitchers you can probably snag in the late rounds of a deep draft? The Jays staff might be the place to look. Let’s begin, then, with starting pitcher, Carols Villanueva. For the second year in a row, Mr. Villanueva was asked to start his season in the bull pen, and end it in the rotation; and he did not do too badly, either. He struck out 122 opposing players (he’s a team player so he would never strike out a teammate), additionally, he had nine wins, and a winning record, on a team that did not have the same luck. If you play in a 15 team league, you probably got Carlos off the waiver wire, so you enjoyed a nice half season from Mr. Villanueva. (I tried to FAAB him in my league, but was outbid, so to prevent that from happening again, I am not going to play in any more leagues with owners who follow baseball during the season.) While he walked an uncomfortable 3.3/9 IP, his DOM (K/9) was 8.8, and this gave him a very respectable 2.7 CMD. In four of the last five seasons, his CMD has been 2.4 or higher, so I would look for that to continue. All is not peaches and cream, though. Carlos is a fly ball pitcher who gives up more than his share of home runs. For the last two seasons, his FB% was 43% and 44%, respectively. Couple that with the fact that in six of his seven major league seasons his HR/9 has been 1.2 or more, and in 2012 he almost rang the bell with 1.7. That is just too high to be comforting to owners, and should keep his ERA north of 4.00. Should Mr. Villanueva get the starting gig right out of spring training, I believe owners can expect 160 K’s, a 4.25 ERA, and a 1.31 WHIP, in 2013. If you can stomach the ERA and WHIP, you may get a player, normally relegated to the waiver wire, who will give you a decent number of strikeouts, at the end of a deep-league draft.

Next up, starting pitcher Ricky Romero. What happened in 2012? Where did his command go; his ERA, his WHIP? After two straight seasons of 170+ strikeouts, he ended 2012 with 124. After treating fantasy owners to ERA/WHIP ratios of 3.73/1.29 in 2010 and 2.92/1.14 in 2011, he ended 2012 with 5.77/1.67. Someone needs to get Ricky a compass. K’s need to go north and ratios need go south. So what can owners expect in 2013? I’m going to guess (wait for it), a rebound. Mr. Romero’s fastball velocity stayed above 91 mph, so I have confidence in the arm. It was his control he struggled with, all season, and I believe that the Toronto ace will find that in the off season. If your draft is late enough, take a look at his CMD in spring training, to see if there is any indication of a rebound to 2010 and 2011. Even in 2010 and 11, he barely got above 2.0, but I do not think he is the 1.2 CMD pitcher we saw, right out of the gates, in 2012. If rays of hope sneak into his spring training numbers, look for the ERA/WHIP to be in the area of 3.91/1.29, and the K’s to be around 170.

Finally we get to a batter. J.P. Arencibia. Does the low BA keep him off your radar? You must not play in a two-catcher league. For those of you who are in a two-catcher format, this is for you. J.P. spent two months on the DL because of a broken hand, so his at-bats were limited to just 347 in 2012. For 2012, he batted a difficult-to-stomach .233, slugged 18 HRs, scored 45, and drove in 56. For a catcher you drafted late, that is pretty good, even with the BA. What might happen in 2013? J.P. has plenty of power. His PX is 144, he hits 45% of his fair balls high enough to be considered fly balls, and 17% of those, out of the park. I think that will give J.P about 26 HRs in 2013. Batting average? What you see is what you get. His contact rate is 69%, and he almost never walks. If he can walk a little more, you might see a BA close to .240, but I think you should expect something closer to .227. If you draft Mr. Arencibia, you need to have enough .300 batters to compensate for his average, but his power gives him plenty of value in two-catcher leagues and deep leagues. Not everyone can be Yadier Molina.

Did I miss a Blue Jay you would like an opinion on? Leave a comment. I will do my best. Brad

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