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With the season kicking off in a few days, let's ask and answer a few questions about how the Jays offense will perform in 2011.

Who is due for a bigger rebound year, Aaron Hill or Adam Lind? Both? Neither? And why?

Matthew E: Iíll guess that Lind will bounce back bigger. I think heís more of a legitimate power hitter and I expect him to start acting like it.

Dave Rutt: Hill, by a mile. I looked at both of their seasons after 2010 ended, and while both players have legitimate concerns as evidenced by their dismal 2010 lines, Hillís struggles seemed to be much more luck-based. Lind, on the other hand, regressed terribly in terms of K/BB, and canít hit lefties at all.

John Northey: Lind Iím betting on.  Mainly because it is more important for his bat to come around than Hillís, at least as far as their respective careers are concerned.  Also if he has too much trouble vs LHP I could see him being platooned which would artificially jump his rate numbers.

Gerry: Hill had a deeper low so he can bounce back more.  I have more confidence in Lind to hit well.  Lind got into some bad habits that are easier to fix.  Hillís weakness was his pulling everything, if Hill is willing to go to right field with the fastball away then he will have a better season.

Anders: Iím worried about both of them, to be frank - they were both pretty terrible last year. If I had to pick someone to rebound more, it would be Hill. Itís fairly evident why he struggled last year - he just hit a ton of fly balls, and if fly balls arenít going out, they are almost always turned in to outs. If he can level out his swing (and heís had a good spring), I think he can settle back into .280/.330/.450 territory. By contrast, Lind walked less and struck out more last year than he had the year prior, and the only notable difference was a dip in babip. He could hit .280/.330/.450 as well, but it would be much less of a success, on account of position/lack of defense/higher expectations.

Jose Bautista hit 54 home runs last year. Will he come close to repeating his 2010, either in total homers or overall performance?

Anders: I think Bautista will be just fine. He might hit 37 home runs instead of 54, but I suspect that overall, his average rises a bit, his slugging falls, and he is 5-10% worse overall with the bat.

Matthew E: He wonít even come close to coming close. I expect him to perform respectably for a major-league third baseman [now right fielder], but I predict he wonít clear 30 home runs.

Gerry: I am with Anders on this one.  Bautista, like Hill last season, will have to handle the pitchers pitching away.  Bautista is much more willing than Hill to take a walk and that should work to his advantage.

JN: Iím betting on 40 HR - but I am a known optimist.  I also suspect his average will climb a bit.

Alex Obal: Nobody was pitching to him last year when he hit his 54 homers. I donít think will have to change his approach at all. He may not be as locked in as he was in 2010, but Iíll still pencil him in for at least 40 homers, assuming good health.

With Cito Gaston gone but Dwayne Murphy remaining, do you expect the team's offensive approach to change at all?

Matthew E: What a good question. Depends on so many things. It depends on the players and how much they take their approach from the coach and manager, on Anthopoulos and how much he dictates such things, on Farrell and how much he dictates such things. Iím going to guess that the approach will change, just because last yearís offense was historically weird and therefore probably unrepeatable.

DR: I hope so, because no approach works for every player, and the team doesnít have the exact same players as last year. The best hitting coaches should recognize this and not push their ideas on every player, even if itís worked with most others.

Obal: Not really. Theyíre still going to be the same quick-strike team they were in 2010, which is a reasonable approach to take if you expect the 2010s to be the decade of the pitcher. Rajai Davis brings an extra speed dimension to the table, Brett Lawrie may contribute there as well, and if Juan Rivera sticks heís the contact hitter the team didnít have last year. But this is still a team full of players who are well-suited to playing longball. Why fight that?

JN: I expect more running, but the go for the fence approach will continue.

Gerry: No.  Most of the hitters are the same and except for Hill and Lind they were successful in 2010.  The only guys changing their approach are the guys who were broken in 2010.  Otherwise it if ainít broke.....

Anders: Well, yes and no. The teamís OBP should improve from bad to mediocre, but for the moment the team still seems jammed with medium average, low OBP sluggers - Hill, Encarnacion (who does walk a bit), Arencibia, Rivera, Lind perhaps. One thingís for certain, theyíll hit a lot fewer home runs.

Is JP Arencibia ready for prime time?

Gerry: If he is not ready now when will he be.  There is a lot to learn when you are a rookie major league catcher, see Wieters, Matt.  Expect a slow start with a few bombs with better performance as the year goes along but as of today I would take a .230 ba with 20 home runs, assuming average defense.

Matthew E: Sort of. No matter what he does in the majors, thereís no point in sending him down again, because you need a catcher and heís got nothing to prove at Las Vegas. If it turns out that he isnít the guy and the Jays need a holding pattern for díArnaud or Perez, then itís just as well to use Arencibia as the stopgap as to sign some external spare part.

JN: He is as ready as heíll ever be.  Nothing left to prove in AAA, lots to prove in the majors although having his first big game (that first game of his) helps a lot.  He knows he can play, and that is one of the biggest roadblocks for young players.  I expect a solid year with around 20 HR and a 250 average.

Anders: I agree with Gerry/John/Matthew - heís got to play, might as well be now. If he hits 20 home runs and keeps his OBP above .310 with decent defense heíll have some value, otherwise heís filling space til Travis díArnaud or Carlos Perez get here.  

DR: Itís easy to be dismissive of Las Vegas stats, but itís also easy to forget just how good those stats were. JPAís OPS last year at AAA was .986, with 79 extra-base hits in 459 PAs. If he had OPSíed .886 instead, weíd be saying the same thing: ďgood year, but you canít trust Vegas statsĒ. How good do they need to be to mean something? I think JPAís ready and will not be a disaster, his 2010 cup of coffee notwithstanding.

Over/under on Rajai Davis steals - 47.5

Anders: Over. If he can get on base at all, I expect heíll let loose.

Matthew E: Iíll take the under. What if he gets hurt? He could totally get hurt.

DR: Well, heís only done that once in his MLB career, and only by 2.5. Then again, heís only been a full-time player once. Iíll be the optimist and take the over, but under Dave Collinsí Jays record of 60.

Obal: If he starts 150 games, over. Since youíre not allowed to impose conditions like that, under. As long as Davis bats right in front of Yunel Escobar, itíll be a winning proposition for him to try to get into scoring position.

Gerry: Under.  Teams always talk things up in the spring and return to normal once the season starts.  I say 35 steals.

JN: Over - lets see him reach 55.

The team scored 755 runs last year, good for 9th in baseball (6th in the AL). Will that go up, down, or stay the same, and by how much?

Anders: This one is a bit misleading (even though I wrote it), in that scoring in the Majors was very depressed last year - about ⅖ of a run less than any previous American League season in the last 15. I expect that runs will be up in general, but that the Jayís offense wonít be any better - so letís put them right back at 755, good for 8th in the AL.

Obal: Iím going to give a non-answer. I believe strongly in Jose Bautistaís improvement, and I also believe strongly in the value of a dominant hitter to anchor the offense. If heís for real Ė and I think he is Ė the other guys in the heart of the order will do perfectly fine by osmosis.

Matthew E: It will go down by a little. Some things wonít work that worked last year, some others will work better. Iíll say 740 runs.

DR: My favourite offense estimate tool, the Lineup Analysis tool, projects about 770 runs using ZiPS projections. You can knock a few off for lost time, but throw a few back on for gaining the platoon advantage. 756 for me.

JN: Iíll go for up vs the majors and AL - 3rd in the AL.  Lets say 800 runs.  I like a lot of the changes and expect big things from Edwin after the kick in the pants he got last offseason.

Gerry: Down a little, less from J-Bau and catcher, more from Hill and Lind.  I will go with Matthew and say 740.

Alright Bauxites - what are your thoughts, about these or any other questions relating to the team's bats?
Toronto Blue Jays 2011: Offense | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 30 2011 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#231879) #
The lineup is still pretty slow and leans to the right side.  Hence, more double plays than average and fewer runs than projected by the OBP/Slug estimators.  730, about league average.
lexomatic - Wednesday, March 30 2011 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#231882) #
I  started doing another Brock2  forecast for 2011, but got derailed by school. It's also on my other computer. I'll post some highlights later on today or tomorrow. I remember Brock being high on Snider (300+ career HRs but 255 career avg or something. )Haven't gotten aroud to some of the new additions. I did look at some of the minor leaguers (who now have enough playing time ot actually project) so I'll mention that as well.

Mick Doherty - Wednesday, March 30 2011 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#231889) #

Lex, sounds complex. If you do this and think it might be worthy to  publish as a standalone "inch-Hit" thread here, let me know  (drop me a note, and we can work through the process.

Before Opening Day would be ideal, but that's a time crunch, so if interested, maybe within a week or less?

bpoz - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#231937) #
I will say 830 runs scored.
I am hoping for all 9 spots in the batting order to be reasonably tough, that I believe is the biggest strength of the NYY historically, no easy spots for the pitcher.

IMO we lose something with Wells gone, but I expect over 100 Rbi from Bautista. I also expect more from the Hill, Lind & Overbay spots.

I hope this team plays hard, thereby not giving up easy & unnecessary outs.
rpriske - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#231972) #

I think most of you guys are being way to hard on JPA.

I think he will perform at least as well as Buck did... probably better.

earlweaverfan - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#232016) #
To me, there is an opposite to homerism and that is not called awayerism. It is pessimism, in order to seem sane, rational and not overly influenced by emotion.

Of course, I write this from the perspective of one game into the season, where many of the shibboleths appearing in the wisdom at the top of the thread took a pretty major blow to the chin. (Of course, I could be giving far too much weight to last night's game, also - making the Twins swallow doesn't make for a successful summer, or something like that...)

Several strong contrarian views to think about:
1) There is no evidence IN HIS PLAY this spring that Bautista will fall short of last year; everyone who believes that he must are denying what their eyes are telling them
2) JPA could as easily perform up to his last year's AAA record, as he could fall well short of it. What I saw last night (beyond the 2 HRs, 3B, 5 RBI) was a very confident, assured young player, with massive power to all parts of the park, and whose play calling and plate blocking all looked strong
3) Davis has had the Murphy treatment, and he has found a substantial power boost throughout the spring - he will strongly outperform what Vernon did last year in all parts of his game
4) EE has not cut loose yet this year, but when he does, look out. Those who say he will do well and hit 30 HR this year are actually saying that he will get fewer HR per AB than last year, despite his newly svelte condition. A modest improvement over last year would be 600 AB and 36 HR
5) Hill and Lind both look so much better than they did last year. They both look like they are hugely comfortable at the plate. Even if all that they do is recover their OBP from 2009 (with no SLG improvement over 2010) they will score many more runs, with Travis and JPA hitting behind them
6) I still think that Rivera will come to love the Rogers Centre, and will show a return to his past power peaks, but even if he does not, the odds are excellent that Lawrie comes up and puts on a show starting in June, relegating Rivera to the bench, EE back to DH, and then there will be nobody in the lineup that can't cause substantial damage, 1 to 9
7) So, I give the Jays 870 runs, leaving them neck and neck with the Yankees, Red Sox, and White Sox
8) What will that mean for the win column? Jays starting pitching will determine everything!!
Toronto Blue Jays 2011: Offense | 6 comments | Create New Account
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