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On Friday the Jays offense was subject to the detailed analysis of the Bauxites. Today it is the turn of the pitching and defense. Tomorrow we will feature our predictions for the Jays in 2006.

In the off-season the Jays added AJ Burnett to the rotation and said goodbye to David Bush. BJ Ryan joined the bullpen as Miguel Batista returned to Arizona.

The Jays allowed 705 runs in 2005, well below the league average of 758. The Jays were fifth in the A.L. in ERA. The Jays expect the addition of AJ Burnett and BJ Ryan to make a 2005 strength even stronger.

The Jays admit that the loss of Orlando Hudson will hurt the defense, Aaron Hill is unproven at second base. Three fourths of the infield are new from the start of the 2005 season and the infield could be a busy place with ground ball pitchers like Halladay, Burnett and Towers on the mound.

So Bauxites, will the Jays allow more or less runs in 2006?

Rob - I hope Burnett does better on his NL-to-AL transition than Clement did. His strikeouts and groundouts are encouraging for the Rogers Centre, but if he's not healthy, it doesn't really matter. I also expect declines from Towers, Chacin, Chulk and also Speier to some extent, though he'll still be a fine reliever. As for B.J. Ryan...I approve heartily.

The outfield defense scares me, though. Wells is Wells, but I can't imagine Hinske in a corner spot. And as much as I love the Cat (and I do think his defense is better than most believe), his best position is the batter's box. Also, let me state my contrary view on Reed Johnson's defense -- I don't think he's excellent out there, I've seen him butcher a few flies over his head, and as much as I believe Cat is underrated, Johnson is overrated. Might be just me, though.

I'm optimistic regarding Adams at short. He can only improve, which isn't saying much, but I think he'll be fine. Hill, while being a downgrade from the O-Dog, will play a passable 2B. The infield should be fine -- not the laughingstock others make it out to be. Put me down for 735 runs allowed.

Mike G- The team's ERA last year was 4.06; the FIP was 4.44. With the losses of Hudson and Koskie and the platooning of Rios (offset to a modest extent by the additions of Overbay and Molina), I see this as an average defensive club now. The addition of B.J. Ryan helps, but I still seem them surrendering 750 runs.

Joe: Average at worst. As breathlessly as some of the pundits have proclaimed that the Jays' defense is going to be awful, they aren't exactly putting a fire hydrant out there at second base, vainly trying to deflect balls to the shortstop. (Fire hydrant's season stats: 162 G, 323 A, 1 PO, 1 DP, 483 E.) Aaron Hill isn't Orlando Hudson, but he'll outhit the O-Dog, and he's an athletic man. I expect he'll open some eyes in the first month of the season.

RF, on the other hand, is a bit more worrying. I am going to reserve judgement on Hinske until I see him out there, but I think that the average of Hinske and Rios can come out to no more than league average.

As for 3B and 1B: definitely no worse than last year. Koskie only played 76 games at third last year, so the defensive drop-off can't be that great. I have great faith in Butter's ability to develop the infield defensively.

Dave Till: There's one stat from the 2005 season that just leaps out at me: the Jays led the AL East in fewest runs allowed by 81. That's with only half a season of the best pitcher in baseball. That's without Burnett and Ryan. How much will they lead the division by this year?

As for the defense: Hill will be a drop-off from Hudson, but he's athletic and has good range. And Butterfield is still there to teach him. The Jays also have excellent defense in reserve: Johnson, McDonald and Rios (when not playing) are as good with the glove as anybody out there. I'm not worried about the fielding.

Pistol: The runs allowed could really be all over the place, as is the case for most teams. Will Halladay pitch a full season at a Cy Young level? Will Lilly be healthy, and if he is will he be more 2004 Lilly or 2005 Lilly? Will Towers and Chacin be as effective and durable this year? What will Burnett bring? What impact will the defensive changes have? The Jays could almost be anywhere from 680 runs to 800 runs allowed.

I see a small step back from last year's result. Mark me down for 715 runs allowed.

Thomas: The defence will take a noticable step backwards. Overbay's an improvement and Adams will improve, but Glaus and Hill are significant downgrades. I expect steady improvement from Hill over the course of the year and I think Dave's got a great point in that we should be optimistic to see what Hill looks like after a year of tutelage under Butterfield. However, we're going to be saying, "O-Dog would have had that" a lot this year, particularly in the first half.

Wells is fine in center and I think Reed's a good outfielder who also has a tendency to sometimes badly misread balls. Overall though he's got good range and a strong arm; he's a plus defender. Hinske is going to be interesting to watch, but the Jays have set up their outfield well with both Johnson and Rios able to come in defensively. Despite the addition of Burnett and the health (knock on wood) of Halladay, the Jays will allow 630-640 runs this year.

Magpie - There are more ways for the Jays pitching and defense to take a step back than a step forward. Chacin and Towers were both very good last year (better than A.J. Burnett). Neither have proven that this is an Established Level of Ability. The five guys who carried the ball from the starter to the closer covered the whole gamut from Good (Walker, out of the pen anyway) to Lights Out (Speier). There's no real reason for regression there, just the Ceaseless Call of mediocrity.

The defense won't be as good, because Hudson is one of a kind. But I don't think it'll be a big problem. I expect Adams to be better, I expect Hill to be OK. Molina should be fine. Even Hinske - he can throw well enough, run well enough, he works hard, and I think he has good baseball instincts. I don't think he'll be a problem.

Matthew E: I think the pitching will be a little better than last year's, but the road it takes to get there may be an unexpected one. The Jays' '05 bullpen was unusually stable; that probably won't happen again. Not with the same six guys (well, five, now that Batista's been replaced by Ryan). The starters won't all succeed. There will be injuries. But overall they'll be fine. I'll go out on a limb here, though, and predict that by September, Dustin McGowan will be Toronto's second best starting pitcher.

Gitz:I can't really speak for the defence, but any team that loses Orlando Hudson in the middle of the diamond is going to notice it. Put me down for being opposed to both the Burnett and Ryan signings. Ryan is a fine pitcher and will be OK, but how much difference will he make in the standings in 2006? One win? Two at best? The Clement/Burnett comparison is a good one, except that we hope Burnett doesn't get conked on the head by a line drive mid-season. That's what really torpedoed Clement's season; he had been excellent until that point (he had a 5.72 ERA after). Whatever the case, chances are good that Burnett, assuming he pitches at all, will be slightly above league average.

Having Halladay around for a full year will help (duh), and realistically he's worth five extra wins. That's fantastic, but that will be mitigated somewhat, if not entirely, by declines in Josh Tower's and Gustavo Chacin's performances. And my feelings on Ted Lilly are well-known, so I won't bother.

In sum: Magpie said it best. The odds are greater that the Jays staff, on the whole, will take a step back in 2006 than it will take a step up.

Magpie - On the other hand... while there are lots of ways for the Jays to allow more runs than last year than there are for them to allow fewer... the ways in which they can allow fewer are extremely significant indeed. That's the good news, and extremely good news it is. Doc and Ted the Tease, on their own, can pretty much offset it all by themselves. If Halladay can start 33 games or so, instead of 19, the team could be saving about 25-30 runs against last year; if Lilly is just league average, that too saves a whole bunch of runs (say 15-20) as well. If those two things happen - and neither is unreasonable - it should at least cancel out most of the decline from Chacin/Towers/SetUp Crew. Anyway, once again the Jays will give up fewer runs than any team in the division. By quite a lot, actually...

Mike G- Gitz is the Designated Skeptic, but I'll pinch-hit for him on this one. Halladay has averaged 195 innings with an ERA of 3.16 over the last 4 years. To expect him to throw 230 innings with an ERA of 2.42 is asking a little much, especially as a ground-ball pitcher missing Hudson.

Named For Hank: Thomas, is Glaus really a huge downgrade on Hill, Hinske and Hillenbrand? Or just on the guy from the Praries who played less than half the season?

I got a whole lot less worried about the swirling O-Dog trade rumors once I saw Hill play second for the last month of '05. He wasn't Orlando Hudson, but no one is.

Thomas: NFH, I'm talking about Koskie. I think Koskie last year looked like he had lost a half-second/step (however you feel it is best phrased) off his time in Minnesota in the first half of the decade. That being said, Koskie was still, in my eyes, a better than average defensive third baseman. Not gold glove or anything, but better than average. Glaus, from what I've read of him, isn't by most accounts. So I expect Glaus to be worse than Koskie would have been and, without Glaus, Koskie would still likely be at 3B.

Hinske didn't play 3B at all, but I think Glaus will be worse than Hill was, particularly given the fact that Hill was likely to improve in 2006 if he stayed at the position. I'm not sure how to compare Glaus to Hillenbrand and I'd probably like a chance to look at both of them a bit more. But as to whether Glaus will be worse defensively than Koskie? I would be surprised if he's not.

Named For Hank: But how much better will Glaus be at third than Koskie will be on the DL? Infinitely better! That's kind of my point -- Koskie is a really great defender when he's healthy, and he's much less healthy every year. Check out his games played -- they march down in a very predictable pattern.

Thomas: Agreed. But still, the over/under on Koskie's games played is about 100. Let's say it's in that vicinity for argument's sake. It still means that for about 100 games we're missing Koskie's defence and we have Glaus's. I don't know how Troy compares to Hillenbrand or Hill, but I don't think either is particularly worse than he is. This means you still have a case of 100 games of noticably worse defence at 3B. Is it the end of the world? No. Will it negate Glaus's offensive potential? No. Is it something to note when Halladay and Burnett are ground-ball pitchers? Yes.

Gerry: Pitching is more important than defense, so even though there are concerns over the defense its the pitching that matters more. Injury worries aside, Halladay, Burnett and Towers are better than league average pitchers. Chacin and Lilly could be, although we cannot be sure, but I think they will be close to league average. Many fans think the bullpen will regress this season and they might, bullpen pitchers tend to have their ERA's move up and down from year to year. However I do think the Jays group is a good one and pitchers like Ryan, Speier, Walker and Frasor are likely to be more predictable and should perform at close to last years level.

The Jays defense might not be as good as last year but 80% of those concerns are at second base. I think Hill will be fine there, but of course not as good as O-Dog, and offsetting the drop-off at second will be an improvement at shortstop. I am not suggesting Adams will develop into a great shortstop but he was bad last year and most shortstops get better in their second year, they learn the position, they know the hitters, and they learn their limitations. So I am calling for the middle infield to be similar to last year. I am not as worried about the loss of Koskie, he was injured a lot and I thought his skills had diminished a little.

I will give back a little and say 735 runs allowed for the 2006 Jays.

2006 Toronto Blue Jays Preview - Pitching and Defense | 36 comments | Create New Account
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Craig B - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#144056) #
Shameless self-promotion... for more prediction-related goodness, see my latest THT article, "The Bill James Indicators":

The article foreshadows what I think is going to be the main story of 2006, which is that the AL is absolutely a killer league now. It'll take a lot to win it. If the Jays plan to, this (pitching and defense) is the key to it. It has to be, basically, the best in the league, and therefore the best in baseball. I think how credible you think that goal is will determine how credible the Jays' chances of going to the World Series are.
Craig B - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#144057) #
To clarify... I don't mean they need to lead the AL in runs allowed; the Dome remains a hitters' park. But they need to have the best pitching+defense.
zeppelinkm - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#144062) #
Are you guys serious? Did nobody see Hill play last year? The guy is a very solid defender, capable of making sensational plays from time to time. He's not going to boot a lot of routine plays. Hudson takes away hits. Hill will make the plays he needs to. It's not going to significantly affect the ground ball pitchers this club has.

I am also curious, what do you guys make of the scouting reports? They cite Troy Glaus as being well above average as a defender when healthy. If this is any wheres close to true, then I really doubt the Jays will see much of a drop off from Koskie, or not nearly as much as some of you guys seem to suspect. But if these TSN>ca scouting reports are just heresay and false information, then disregard this last paragraph.

But pitching is ultimately the key to runs allowed. Not defence. Defence is important, but as long as your defence is at least average, then your pitching will really dictate the runs scored. Something that it seems statistical junkheads disregard when constantly calling for the regression back to the mean in calling out Chacin and Towers for a reduction is that pitching is a whole lot more then physical ability and statistical probabilities. It is a mind battle, every pitch to every batter. I pitched a lot, and have read a lot about pitching growing up. I believe Chacin is a pitcher. His stats don't support his good record because of his instincts and ability to get out of situations. You don't lose that ability, you develop it, refine it, and perfect it.

There are pitchers and there are hurlers. Put together a team of pitchers and they'll get better from year to year, injuries aside. Hurlers, you just never know what you're going to get. They're the guys who have the god-given talent, but don't really understand how to pitch.
Named For Hank - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#144064) #
Are you guys serious? Did nobody see Hill play last year? The guy is a very solid defender, capable of making sensational plays from time to time. He's not going to boot a lot of routine plays. Hudson takes away hits. Hill will make the plays he needs to. It's not going to significantly affect the ground ball pitchers this club has.

Are what guys serious? The guys that wrote the article above that says anywhere from "he'll be fine" to "I expect him to improve"? Who said he's going to boot routine plays? I think the harshest criticism of Aaron Hill in the article is that he's not Orlando Hudson. And who is?
zeppelinkm - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#144065) #
To add briefly: I also read earlier in the spring about how Halladay has been working with Burnett extensively to help him understand this difference between pitching and throwing. I expect a significant improvement for Burnett and expect him to make about 25 - 30 starts. I expect the Doctor to be in and operating for at least 30 - 35 starts.

I expect this team to limit the opposition to between 695 - 715 runs.
zeppelinkm - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#144066) #
NFH, you're right that nobody said Hill is going to boot routine groud balls. If I could edit my comments, I wouldn't have myself coming across so strongly on that point.

I inferred from some writers comments that they don't have nearly much confidence in Hill as Hudson, and rightfully so. But going from somebody who plays Hall-of-fame calibere defence to somebody who is going to play damn fine defence isn't going to affect the runs scored as much as is given credit, at least in my eyes.
Chuck - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#144067) #
A number of thoughtful, well-reasoned opinions, even if contradictory.

That said, I have a fundamental problem with the "delta" methodology that goes: we yielded X runs last year and now that we've added Tom, Dick and Harry, we should yield X minus delta runs.

That presupposes that everyone's 2005 performance represents their benchmark. Risky thinking for the likes of Chacin and Towers, I would think.

A preferable approach would be a "from scratch" methodology that uses any of the myriad forecasting tools. Let those tools appropriately weigh the significance of each player's 2005 performance rather than treat 2005 alone as the starting point assumption for 2006.
Cristian - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#144070) #
A completely subjective counterpoint to the 'woe is us for losing O-Dog' crowd:

There is no doubt Hudson is a great defender. However his defensive numbers are buoyed by the catches he makes in shallow center and shallow right. On a number of occasions, he would call off Rios and Wells and take flyballs that ought to have been taken by the outfielders. Being the O-Dog, the outfielders would defer to him. Hill just has to play 2B adequately. Many of the plays made by Hudson will now rightly be made by the outfielders. The end result is that Hill's defensive stats won't look as good as Hudson's but the Jays defence won't take the hit the drop in 2B defensive stats would suggest.

Mike Green - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#144071) #
I have nothing but high hopes for Aaron Hill. However, we cannot expect him to provide defence that is better than average in his first year at the position. Orlando Hudson was 15-20 runs better than average.
Mike Green - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#144073) #
Chuck raises a good point. Using last year's statistics exclusively as the basis for projections is unwise. The problem with most projection systems is that they do not adjust for changes in team defence or differences in the leagues, and that they take DIPS a little too seriously. Projecting run prevention is still, I think, more art than science.

My runs allowed figure of 750 reflects an acknowledgement that Chacin and Towers both pitched above reasonable expectations last year and that accordingly some regression is likely, although not as much as most projection systems would suggest (at least in the case of Chacin).

sweat - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#144077) #
Did anyone else think that Kosie was below average at third?
I wanted to change his name to Double-clutch Koskie. I just dont think Koskie was all that good last year, and a lot of poeple are talking about Koskie as if he was still the guy who played above average defense.
Newton - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#144078) #
In light of the offensive preview I agree with Burley's assessment; our run prevention elements will need to be darn good to make the playoffs.

Our offence has a shot to be the 6th best in the league, but is likely to produce significantly fewer runs than both Boston and New York; in my estimation any reasonable projections top out at about 800 runs with 780 being the most probably outcome (that is not to say more than 800 isn't possible).

Our pitching staff, therefore, will need to yield fewer than 700 runs if we're going to make a run at 90 wins and the wild card. (a 100 run gap would put us right in the hunt).

If all goes well, full season from Doc, AJ is a legit 1B guy, BJ is the real deal and tosses 80 superb relief innings, and Towers and Chacin perform at levels similar to last season, I think a run prevention improvement is possible notwithstanding the loss of Hudson.

That said, however, the over under for runs allowed by the Jays is probably around 715 for this season.
Ducey - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#144079) #
I acknowledge that using last years stats might be a bit risky, but I am not smart enough to do it any other way...

Here is how I see it:

Towers and Chacin had nice ERA's last year but in terms of runs scored they were not that great. The team committed 15 and 9 E's behind Towers and Gus last year. If you assume the team would make no errors (we are concerned about runs not earned runs), their ERA's would have been 4.36 (Josh) and 4.12 (Gus). (I am sure there is some name for this stat) I don't think it is unreasonable to assume they might come in this area again.

A change from Batista to Ryan should save about 10 runs.

Lilly having an ERA of 5 rather than 5.56 in the same number of innings would save 8 runs.

The combo of McGowan, League, and Gaudin added an ERA of +6.5 in 93 IP. Given the Jays better depth in TO and at AAA maybe they save 5 runs here.

Halladay should save a few runs (say 5). AJ won't be any worse than Bush.

If the loss of Hudson is worth + 20 runs I think it will be offset somewhat by in improvement in Adams.

None of the teams in the AL East have really changed offensively so I think the chances are good the Jays will allow essentially the same number of runs as last year. I say an even 700.
chips - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#144080) #
RE: Koskie at 3rd.

I agree. Koskie had trouble getting the ball out of his glove many times and that allowed infield singles. I think the one outstanding catch he made in foul territory against the 3rd baseline wall made people think he was better than he actually played.
laketrout - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#144084) #
I think Chacin and Towers will be the key to Toronto's pitching this year. It's not hard to imagine Chacin and Towers have a drop in their performance from last year. Lilly can only be better than he was last year (he canít get worse, can he?). Burnett is going to be at least as good as and probably better than David Bush and Halladay should get a full season in of quality "Halladayesque" pitching.

The bullpen should be solid again and Ryan closing will no doubt improve upon the Jay's record in one-run games.

Defensively, Glaus will be an improvement over Koskie. The Koskie we had last year was not the spry spark plug he was in Minnesota. Instead, the Koskie we had was a slow, flat-footed, aging player. Hill will be just fine at second base. The run differential between Hill's defence and Orlando's will be counted on one hand by the end of the season.

In the outfield Cat's defence will still be weak and with Hinske taking for my time in right, the defence will see a drop out there too.

Prediction: 718 runs against
Mike D - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#144086) #
I'm a little worried for Josh Towers, because he really does rely on his defence to pitch effectively.

But I'm more confident in Chacin. Not every pitcher regresses to the mean (especially when they're so young!), and not every pitcher regresses to their peripherals. If you would take Gus's walk and strikeout rates, show them to a panel of experts and ask them what kind of pitcher would be most likely to outperform those peripherals, the panel would probably recommend a deceptive lefty who can't be run on and who has the makeup so as to pitch better with men on base.

Gus's composure is remarkable for a pitcher as young as he is, especially since he had no AAA seasoning at all. I know, I know, intangibles are irrelevant and robots will rule the earth, but put me down for an ERA+ of at least 110 for Chacin this year. Again.
MatO - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#144088) #
A minor point I know, but the addition of Ryan and Burnett and the deletion of Bush and Batista should result in an increase of 100+ in K's thus less reliance on defence by say 2-3%.
Mylegacy - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#144097) #

The real problem with forecasting 06 performance is that we are so tied to "comparing" with 05. We have to remember that all teams have changed so what we did in 05, result wise, is largely immaterial.

That said; Halladay for 15 more starts, Lily for 10 more starts, and AJ for 30+ starts HAS to be a big improvement for about 55 starts. Towers IS GOOD, he is for real. The AL East's Jamie Moyer. Chacin, who knows. BJ is a BIG upgrade on Batista...not only on the field but PHYSOLOGICALLY... the team will not only BE better late in the game they will FEEL more confident. BJ, Frasor and Speier are a GREAT back end 1-2-3.

Defense; I LOVE O'Dog. Sigh. He's gone. Move on... Hill will be excellent. He and Adams are bonding and will grow together. Very capable middle defense. Glaus was a Gold Glove type defender before his's healthy and AT LEAST OK. Overbay's better than Hinskenbrand at first. Hinske in RF IS A CHALLENGE, but Hinske was always surprisingly fast for a big guy, remember the stolen bases? I think he'll only cost us a few runs...and he'll pressure Rios into becoming the offensive force we all hope he'll become.

Pitching is IM(H)O more important than defense. We look very good to me.
DepecheJay - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#144099) #
Didn't know where to put this with all the new threads opening up, but is anyone else having a hard time viewing some of the games on MLB.TV? The Pirates, Orioles, Cardinals games all tell me that it's buffering and then it suddenly stops. I'm not having a hard time with the other games however.

Ron - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#144101) #
If the Jays ran into injury problems this season I was hoping McGowan would get a shot (assuming he pitched well at AAA) but he's pitching out of the bullpen now down at AAA. Very strange move if the Jays still intend to use him as a MLB starter this season.
westcoast dude - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#144104) #
I'm delighted Josh gets to start behind Doc and in front of Chacin. All three will win 20 games, IMO. Towers' second half was nothing short of brilliant. Chacin will be a great one. Burnett and Lilly will be fine if they stay healthy. Behind them are at least four men who could string a line of bagels together. For those bemoaning the loss of Dave Bush, take a look at Tallet and tell me he isn't a potential Doc clone. What were the Indians thinking?
When all is said and done, however, it's Bubba that makes this an elite team because he takes an excellent bullpen to the next level.
Rob - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#144107) #
I'm delighted Josh gets to start behind Doc and in front of Chacin. All three will win 20 games, IMO

When's the last time a team had three 20-game winners? Even the 1993 Braves with Glavine, Maddux and Avery didn't do it.

take a look at Tallet and tell me he isn't a potential Doc clone

Well, he's four months younger than Halladay and has a grand total of 5 major league starts. By age 25, Halladay had come up, had a good full rookie year, went down to rebuild himself, and came back up again with two great years in 2001 and 2002. When Tallet was 25, he had small parts of two seasons in the majors. There is no comparison.

I bemoan the loss of Bush because I like him, as a person and a pitcher. Not because I think Tallet can somehow be "a Doc clone."

Mike Forbes - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#144110) #
The only thing Tallet and Doc have in common is that they're both very tall. End of discussion.
Mick Doherty - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#144111) #
All three will win 20 games

That's just silly. When was the last time ANY team had three 20-game winners? (I don't know the answer to that, so anyone who does, pipe up.)

If those three guys won 18-14-14, the Jays would be quite pleased, I think. If all three win 20, I will donate $1000 to the charity of Kent Williams' choice. Well, as long as my wife is okay with that ...

Mick Doherty - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#144112) #
The youngster Rob beats me to the posting punch!
Cristian - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#144113) #
I'm doing okay other than that my wireless is cutting out every 15 minutes or so. I doubt I can blame for this though. I like's new media player. It makes it much easier to switch between games.

I have decided to upgrade my RAM. Continuous streaming video is sapping my laptop's resources.
Mick Doherty - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#144115) #
Google tells me -- and I don't know for sure this is right -- the last AL team to have three 20-game winners was the 1973 A's (Hunter, Holtzman, Blue) while the last NL team to do so was the ... wait for it ... *1923* Reds.

So it doesn't seem terribly likely.
Rob - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#144116) #
I actually wanted to know the three 20-game winners answer, so I looked it up. Vida Blue (20-9), Ken Holtzman (21-13) and Catfish Hunter (21-5) for the 1973 A's. In other words, a Series-winning team with a Cy Young/MVP winner, a two-time All-Star and a Hall of Famer. Towers is none of these, and Chacin probably won't be either.
Cristian - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#144118) #
I think I'm going to go easy on the rah-rah optimism from posters. At least until May. Heck, right now I'm predicting Lilly will also win 20. Hmmm, I'll be conservative and only predict 15 wins out of the bullpen for the SS Loogy.
Mike Green - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#144120) #
Rob and Mick were obviously separated at birth.

The O's, of course, had their 4 20-game winner team in 1971, and 3 in 1970. Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, Davey Johnson, Paul Blair and Boog Powell had something to do with that, not that Palmer, Cuellar and McNally were chopped liver.
Ducey - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#144121) #
Don't worry, as soon as the Jays lose 3 in a row (hopefully not as soon as April 4-6) all the Boo birds will come out force criticizing JP and the off season moves. Then Tallet will be seen as an unimaginative move by an unltra conservative GM.

Tallet is a Loogy in waiting. Comparing him to Doc is like comparing SS Loogy to Curt Shilling.
Chuck - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#144124) #
It's a lot easier to win 20 games as part of a 4-man rotation than as part of a 5-man.

And it helps if you get a whackload of run support.

There was this pitcher, or maybe there still is, by the name of Roger Clemens. I think we can all agree that he was pretty good. Of his 671 career starts, he won 50.7%, which is pretty amazing when you look up the numbers.

Pitchers like Towers and Chacin, who figure to start 33 or 34 games, need to win about 60% of their starts to win 20. Which will be awfully difficult to do averaging just 6 innings per start. And with the Jays' middling run support.

6-4-3 - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#144128) #

The Clement/Burnett comparison is a good one, except that we hope Burnett doesn't get conked on the head by a line drive mid-season. That's what really torpedoed Clement's season; he had been excellent until that point (he had a 5.72 ERA after).

First off, this is a great preview, so I hate that all I have to add is to say that the Clement tanked after he was hit in the head theory is a myth, but that's all I have to offer.

Clement was beaned on July 26, and he left the game after 2.1 innings and 3 ER. To start July, he gave up 8 runs in 6.2 innings against Toronto. He had a good start at Texas, and then he gave up 6 runs in 3.2 innings against New York. He had a mediocre start against Chicago, then he was hit in the skull in his next start. His monthly ERA for July, including the last start, was 8.88. If you remove his last start, it's 8.60. Compare that to his 5.72 ERA after he was hit, and it doesn't look like it hurt him that much.

How did he respond? He got shelled in his first start against KC (6 runs, 5 innings), but then he strung together four good starts against Texas, Anaheim, KC, and Tampa. His monthly ERA was 3.60. Sure, the competition wasn't great, but he wasn't getting rocked.

In September, he pitched well against Baltimore and Anaheim, and then the wheels fell off. He gave up 6 runs in 6 innings against Toronto, 7 runs in 1.1 innings against Oakland, recovered to throw 6 shutout innings against Baltimore, and ended the season with 4 runs in 5 innings against Toronto. His monthly ERA was 6, but if you take out the disaster in Oakland it's only 4.03. To me, it looks like he ran out of gas when facing a few good offences at the end of the year, and not that he was facing the effects of getting hit. He threw some good starts against some bad teams, had some terrible starts against some good teams, but nothing suggests that he fell apart immediately after his injury, and it looks like he was already faltering before he was hit.

Ron - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#144131) #
QOTD: How many innings does AJ pitch this season?

You can put me down for 155 innings. I believe he will be injured again (on top of his current DL trip).
Mylegacy - Monday, April 03 2006 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#144139) #
Speaking of AJ, a story just out on the Jays site says AJ MIGHT come back before the 16th. If we need a AAA guy it looks like Banks (on 40 man roster) or Janssen. Apparently Janssen is throwing "faster" at the moment.
2006 Toronto Blue Jays Preview - Pitching and Defense | 36 comments | Create New Account
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