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One of the best Jays observers around is Spencer Fordin, whose latest column on looks at the 2003 rotation. I love this wonderful line in the first paragraph:

...less than two weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin.

Fordin's a bit more cautious than I am about Doc, and presents both sides of Cory Lidle: the slow starter, and the man who had a Hall of Fame month in August. I agree about Tanyon Sturtze:

Here's another telling statistic: of Toronto's starters who pitched more than 40 innings in 2002, only two finished with a better ERA than Sturtze. With better run support and defense than he got in Tampa Bay, Sturtze could shave a run off his ERA and win 10 games in 2003. That's the best-case scenario -- at worst, he'll perform like Esteban Loaiza, who went 9-10 with a 5.71 ERA.

Hope he's also right about Henderson; the big fella's my choice as #4 and part of my fantasy strategy. Seems to think a good game, and his already fine stuff should keep improving for a while. That's a great picture of him. I'm not conceding anything to Walker or Miller; I like Pete even better in the 'pen, and Doug Linton could pitch himself all the way to #5 in Florida.
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_R Billie - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 10:52 AM EST (#96954) #
I think Sturtze is about the equal of Loaiza. His peripheral numbers don't point at his ERA being a whole lot better than last season though...unless he somehow ups his strikeouts and/or lowers his walks compared to the last two seasons. The problem with Sturtze is that he's probably overpaid; he got $1 million and a guaranteed roster spot while some pitchers in comparable situations got only minor league deals. But then such is the risk of jumping into the free agent market early on; a million at the time seemed like OK value compared to the $5+ million Loaiza made and the $3+ million Parris made last year.

I'm hoping for both Hendrickson and Miller to make the rotation; again I'm not certain of Miller's situation with options remaining but I hope the Jays don't put themselves in danger of losing him to waivers if they try to send him down. The Jays could then decide which of Bowles, Coco, or File was most expendable and designate them for assignment in order to bring in Kershner or Wiggins as the second lefty. Probably Wiggins since there's a chance that Kershner himself could be a starting candidate either now or down the line.
_Sean - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 02:09 PM EST (#96955) #
Nice article, well-researched and containing apposite mentions of important concepts such as sample size.

Personally, I predict a comeback season from Sturtze. If he hurls over 200 IP, I have confidence that his ERA should be quite close to league-average, which I'm sure is exactly what JP et al. are hoping for.
Pistol - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 02:57 PM EST (#96956) #
Apparently Tim Kurkijan doesn't feel strongly about the Jays. He lumped them in as tied for the 5th worst team in baseball.
_DS - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 03:17 PM EST (#96957) #
What Tim Kurkijan doesn't know about baseball could fill a whole set of encyclopedias. I'm amazed how some of these guys get to keep their jobs.
_R Billie - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 03:38 PM EST (#96958) #
Well he designated them as among the teams with no chance of making the playoffs, which barring a small miracle is probably true. It does seem odd to say a .500 club as among the worst teams in the game though.
Coach - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 03:55 PM EST (#96959) #
From, here is Kurkjian's aptly-titled "Worst of the Worst" list. The Rangers and Cubs have worse chances than the Blue Jays, so why didn't he make it an eight-way "tie" for fifth?
_Steve Z - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 04:09 PM EST (#96960) #
Here's a concise article from the New Haven Register about the exciting group of players that will be coached by (future big league manager) Marty Pevey this year.
As many here at Batter's Box have said before me, that AA will be incredibly exciting to follow this much so that they'll have to rename historic Yale Field.... Pevey's Playhouse!

By the way, Chris Buckley (Jays' Scouting Director) provided a worthwhile interview with MLB Radio (and it can be found on the official Blue Jays website).
_Eric C - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 06:50 PM EST (#96962) #
I listened to the interview, and there really isn't anything new in there, He talks about Rios, Gross, Griffin, Negron and a couple of others. Most interesting was the comparison of Rios and Negron. However, I learned how to pronounce some of the names. For example Chad Pleiness was pronounced by Scott as Ply-ness, while I always thought it was Plein-ness.
_FWIW - Thursday, February 06 2003 @ 08:36 PM EST (#96963) #
Dick Scott is the Director of Player Development.
_Spicol - Friday, February 07 2003 @ 01:09 AM EST (#96964) #
The interview is a great listen. True, there aren't any huge revelations but how often do we get to hear detailed discussion of Jays prospects? The message that did come across loud and clear though, is that the prospects the Jays have are much better than can be told by simply looking at the stats...which I admit I all too often do. Statistical analysis will tell you that the Jays' have a pretty good group of prospects but can't tell you about Rios' BP power or Negron's mental errors or that John Wesley really does have a pretty lively arm and it wasn't just a lucky 29 innings. It would be easy to say that he's not the most objective source of info but it is more information than I'm usually privy to and I'll take whatever I can get.

Great site, btw. Can I get on the newsletter mailing list? Hello again, Dave. You might remember me from asbtbj as Senor Steve.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.