Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Yesterday was hitters, today it's pitching and defense. Tomorrow? You'll have to wait and see (I predict it's our annual concession stand preview, but I've been wrong before.)

Which Brandon Morrow shows up - April and May (11 G, 57 IP, 66/34 K/BB, 6.00 era) or June onwards (15 G, 89.1 IP, 112/32 K/BB, 3.53 era)?

Dave Rutt: Morrow’s xFIP (3.48) was a full run lower than his ERA (4.49), so he’s already an excellent pitcher even without a step forward, which is certainly a possibility given his second-half.

Matthew E: I’m optimistic about Morrow. I think he’s for real. He might even get better.

Alex Obal: Good Morrow. He improved his touch and confidence, right? As long as he doesn’t get bombed back to the cretaceous period in April, I see no reason to expect that the changes didn’t stick with him. If he stays healthy, he could be Mark Prior. And if he gets hurt, well...

Gerry: I will pile onto the bus, good Morrow will show up guided by Jose Molina.

Thomas: The success of multiple of my fantasy teams depends, at least in part, on Brandon Morrow’s second-half emergence. I’m a believer.

Anders: I’m bullish on Morrow (is that the good one? Bearish? No wonder we got into this financial mess) in 2011 - he was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year, and if he can keep his walks down, watch out.

Kyle Drabek - Great Rookie or Greatest Rookie? Show your work.

Gerry: I think he will have his ups and downs.  Baseball is a game of adjustments and that usually is what gets the rookies, they are slower to see the patterns and adjust.  Last season Drabek was too careful and he came into the league throwing his curveball in the dirt, that worked in AA but not so much in the majors.  He knows now he needs to keep it up and that has helped him this spring.  I think he might start strong but then be forced into some adjustments during the season.

Matthew E: I’m optimistic about Drabek… in the long run. In the short run he might not look so impressive, and may very well be sent down to Vegas for seasoning.

Obal: I have no idea. (“Okay, so put you down for greatest?” *fumble fumble don’t get the joke*) He certainly has the stuff, and it looks like he has the poise. He didn’t overpower minor-league hitters with strikeouts. Was he simply trying to win games, or does he really struggle to finish hitters off? My intuition is it’s the former. We’ll all be watching his K, BB and GB rates closely.

Anders: Great rookie. In that he makes it through the year intact. I’d settle for a debut year like Romero’s.

DR: I don’t know the first thing about scouting, but I remember being blown away by Drabek’s stuff in his debut last year. He had this fastball that seemed to move in on right-handers so much I couldn’t really believe it. So I think he’ll be good this year, probably based on completely misguided ideas.

Thomas: I agree with the consensus again. Look, if you want a contrarian for the sake of it, go somewhere else. Drabek will have good and bad moments. There’ll be nights when everything of his is working and he looks like quite good and he’ll mix in starts where he struggles to throw pitches for strikes and last 5 innings.

The Jays bullpen is made up of a bunch of new faces, including three "proven" veterans in Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco, who join old favourites such as Shawn Camp, David Purcey and Jason Frasor. Who gets the most saves, and what are your impressions of the group as a whole?

Gerry: This is an injury call in some ways.  If Francisco gets back soon and stay healthy then he is the answer.  Rauch is a good second choice.

DR: It’s deep, which is important now that a couple guys are on the shelf. Should be an effective rotating cast.

Matthew E: Perfectly reasonable bullpen, just like the Jays usually have. My dark horse candidate for closer is David Purcey.

Thomas: Francisco will be the closer, barring further health issues. I like the bullpen, but I do think the depth may cause the Jays to lose an arm during the season due to waivers that they’d have preferred to keep. The interesting thing will be to see how AA sorts through the options as the season progresses and injuries and under-performance rear their heads.

Anders: Well, I think F-Squared is the “Proven Closer™”, so he leads in saves. I think the corps as a whole will be slightly better than year, when they were in the middle of the pack in ERA and FIP.

Obal: Most saves will go to either Rauch or Francisco – Rauch if he dominates early and makes displacing him look like a bad idea, Francisco otherwise. If Francisco gets healthy quickly this looks like an excellent unit. Watch out for Marc Rzepczynski – for all we know he’s got the best stuff in the bullpen.

While at one point it looked like the defense was going to change significantly, it now appears the main differences will be Davis instead of Wells in CF, Lind instead of Overbay at 1B, and Arencibia and Molina instead of Buck and Molina behind the dish. How does this alter the team's overall performance? Will Adam Lind make us think back wistfully on the Carlos Delgado defensive era?

Thomas: I have no recollection of Davis in the field, but I anticipate he’ll be an upgrade over Wells. I’m not sure there’ll be a big difference at catcher, as Molina will play more than he did last year, unless there are some unexpected issues with how Arencibia handles the pitching staff. I think the presence of Wakamatsu will help this concern. The bigger issue is Lind at first; EE’s throws are sometimes white-knuckle rides and Escobar has a occasional tendency to get lazy in the field.

Matthew E: I don’t even really know if Davis is better than Wells in centre, although I’m willing to accept it as a working theory. Overall I think the defense will be about the same as last year, and Lind will be acceptable at first.

DR: If the reports of EE looking good at first are true, and Lind continues to not hit, I could see Eddie taking over at first. But that will barely affect the team defense (and even then we don’t know exactly how), so yeah, what Matthew said.

Gerry: We haven’t seen Davis play in CF but let’s assume his younger legs give us a small pickup.  The catching situation will be close to a wash, maybe a shade less than last season, offsetting the Davis/Wells switch.  Lind will be worse than Overbay, he has to be, a rookie fielder vs an established veteran.  I think Overbay’s defense might have been over-valued by the Toronto media but Lind will probably screw up on which balls to take and which to leave for the second baseman or the pitcher.  I don’t think Lind will be a disaster but he has to learn how to play the position at a major league level.

Obal: No clue on Lind, Arencibia, Davis or Rivera. I always thought Encarnacion would be an excellent first baseman – he has the range and reflexes, he just looks really awkward and can’t throw (at all). As it is, EE throwing to Adam Lind at first does not fill me with confidence. Escobar and Hill are both very competent and should end up comfortably above average.

Anders: I’m not optimistic about Lind at first - he’s terrible in MLB The Show 11.

The Blue Jays allowed 728 runs last year, good for 19th best in baseball (9th in the AL). Does that number increase, decrease, or stay the same, and by how much?

Anders: Well, like I said in yesterday’s thread, I think more runs are going to be scored overall, so lets say the Jays allow 740, which keeps them about in place.

DR: 19th best in baseball? Really? I thought the pitching was good last year. I guess it’s the AL East effect? Anyway, the loss of Marcum will hurt, so the runs allowed total will go up a bit.

Obal: This looks like an average run prevention unit. The runs allowed will go up a bit. My bold prediction: led by the improved bullpen, the pitching staff’s WPA will go up, too.

Gerry: Sophomore pitchers can break your heart and I will say we will see some regression.  On the other hand the bullpen has some issues last season so lets assume they are a little better.  I will say the Jays allow 750 runs this season.

Thomas: Better in some areas, worse in others. Up to 747 runs.

Matthew E: It increases by a little bit, say to 743 runs. I think we’re due for some of these young pitchers to get hurt, take a step back, or both. Mostly because everything went so great in 2010; it can’t last.
Toronto Blue Jays 2011: Pitching and Defense | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#231939) #
Marcum gave the club 195 innings of 3.87 runs/9IP, and no starter is (I think) going to do that in 2011.  The pitching staff was preternaturally healthy in 2010, and that too is unlikely to continue.  Lind/Arencibia represent a great defensive step backward than Davis represents a step forward. 

I like the pitching staff, but I think 2011 will be a development year.  775 runs allowed.

Craig B - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#231940) #
Ooh! Let me play!

Which Morrow? More of the late-season one, but he'll walk more and strike out fewer. He'll likely miss time with injuries though.

Drabek? Farrell got a lot of young talent coming through in Boston. Three of those guys became good pitchers in his four years - Buchholz, Masterson, Bard. Only Masterson hit the ground running. The others have struggled. For Drabek to come through and pitch well immediately, Walton will need to work hard to build immediate trust and rapport.

Pen I assume that Francisco will close for four months, he will get the most saves. Farrell likes working with veteran talent, Walton has shown he can work with young guys. The pen looks good to me, Dotel is a huge wild card (goodish risk if used properly) and Purcey may be the coming man. I always liked Frasor, but he will be dealt.

Defense A horror show. I don't know what they are thinking. EE at third. Lind at first. Bautista in right. Davis in center. Snider still isn't there. Arencibia I don't trust yet. Could be the worst in the majors, although Yunel is adequate and Hill should continue to be excellent.

Runs Allowed Assuming no rookies light the world on fire (usually a reasonable assumption) I think the starters will mostly struggle and the pen will mostly be solid, but the defense will be horrid so 9th to 11th in the AL sounds right. There will be more runs scored this year than last I think, so maybe 770 RA.

Lylemcr - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#231942) #
Ooh! Let me play!

Which Morrow? The arm injury worries me.

Drabek? Adequate, but not overwelming.  4 era, decent SO. 

Pen The pen is going to be completely different by yearend.  I am really interested to see how McGowan fairs.  I do like Purcey and JoJo Reyes. 

Defense No different than the last couple years.  Davis is better than wells, but Lind is worse than Overbay.

Runs Allowed There are too many options for pitching and it is a good bullpen.  Marcum was good, but he is no Roy Holladay.  I see them having simular numbers. 

mathesond - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#231944) #
My turn! My turn!

Which Morrow? More of the late 2010 than the early, but a bit of the early just to keep us on our toes. Matt Cain-ish, if you will

Drabek? A couple of rough patches will have him with 9 wins and an ERA around 4.50, WHIP in the 1.30s. 6.5 K/9? Sure, why not?

Pen: Much to the dismay of my BBFL team, Rauch doesn't relinquish the closer role to F^2. In Francisco's defence, it's because Farrell uses him in 2 on, 1 out, 8th-inning situations. He will get 8-10 saves, though

Defense: It won't take Farrell long to realize that Edwin at 1B and Lind at DH is best for all concerned. Rivera becomes the big scary bat on the bench. Nix will cover 3rd until Lawrie comes up. Lawrie's defence will be acceptable, but his bat, while respectable, won't put him in the ROY discussion, alas.

Runs Allowed: Too many for my liking, but enough few enough to be respectable. Middle of the pack, 750-ish
92-93 - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#231949) #
Overbay's defense is now "over-valued"?! Now that's a good one.
Jonny German - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#231952) #
If he stays healthy, he could be Mark Prior. And if he gets hurt, well...

...he will be Mark Prior!
Mike Green - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#231954) #
"I will pile onto the bus, good Morrow will show up guided by Jose Molina"

That explains why there are so many obviously means "bus driver" in Spanish. Cooper, Smith and Molina would be the working class equivalent of a law firm!
John Northey - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#231956) #
Doh! Didn't get around to filling this in :P

Which Morrow? I'm expecting a guy with around 175 IP and a 100-110 ERA+ plus 170-180 K's

Drabek? Fun to watch at times, frustrating others, 95 ERA+

Pen: Always a crapshoot (since Henke/Ward at least). I hope some kid emerges as a true closer by mid-season, maybe Rzep.

Defense: Hrm. I think it will be better overall, as the only spot to really drop in the offseason was 1B with Lind vs Overbay but if any position can sacrifice it is 1B (if Fielder can do it, so can Lind).

Runs Allowed: Lets go with a healthy staff and 700, which given my prediction of 800 for runs for puts the Jays at 93 wins and a wild card case down to the wire.

Hey, someone has to be the optimist around here - much more fun than being the pessimist.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#231964) #
Hey, off-topic but Tim Collins pitched a shutout inning (1 K) in the KC opener. Cool.
Mylegacy - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#231965) #
2011 will go down as the year the pitching just wasn't good enough.

Morrow is the only potential Ace on the team (there are several in the minors) - however he isn't there yet. Drabek has the makings of a very solid #2 on a chanpionship team - he also is not there yet. Cecil, Reyes and Litsch will ALL be overtaken in the next few years by higher ceiling guys. Stewart, Alvarez and Sanchez come immediately to mind. The pen - like all pens - can be remade yearly - with our depth we can can have a good pen for the next 5 or 6 years just from those that don't make it as a starter.

Our defense is - definitely will be - getting better and better over the next few years. This year Escobar, Hill and Davis will give above average D "up the middle." JP will be at least OK - the only way he can hold off better defensive catchers presently in the minors is to start slugging and keep it up - I think he's a perennial 25+ homer guy in the bigs. He'll peak near 40 homers. Lind and EE will BOTH be better than many here thought they would be. 

Our offense will be the big surprise of the season and the reason that we're not out of it by mid-June. By late July we will be out of it - third is our best hope, forth is realistic and 5th would not be unexpected. BUT - we will  mash again on 2011 like we did in 2010 - only even better.

Magpie - Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#231966) #
I wanna play! (Note to the roster - something funny has happened to my email, as in I no longer get any.)


Which Morrow? I am insanely optimistic about Morrow. I guarantee he’s for real. He will get much, much better.

Drabek? Rookies are rookies. Some days you get the bear, sometimes the bear beats you bloody. If he splits 20 decisions, I'll click my heels together and dance a jig.

Bullpen? Should be adequate. Francisco ends up with the most SVs.

Defense? I won't go so far as to say horror show, but... significantly worse. Catcher is the second most important position on the diamond, and Arencibia is a prospect because of his bat. No one but me seems to take defense at first base seriously, but the prospect of Adam Lind handling the baseball 1400 times makes me tremble.

Runs Allowed? At least 50 more than 2010, and I'll blame the defense for at least half of that. I'm going with 789.
rpriske - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#231973) #

By the end of the year Romero will be our third best pitcher, behind Morrow and Drabek... and not because he has gotten worse.


The bullpen, on the other hand, looks like a potential train wreck. The faster they jettison Purcey, the better.

I hope I'm right about the first point and wrong about the second.

bpoz - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#231974) #
735 runs allowed.

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry. But I like to analyse and I know it can be annoying. I want to give my explanation of defense and would like corrections to this.

So 735 total is Earned & Unearned runs.

Position player great defense is obviously a big plus. Strong throwing OFs, Incredible infield plays,catching & maybe being alert about how many outs there are. I don't know how we are, maybe OK.

But is not the pitcher the most important "runs allowed" factor.

I am sure that is correct so I expect:-
1) 50 runs less because I believe the 5th spot last year was bad (40 or so starts from the non big 4 of 2010). I don't know about JoJo Reyes but I like our SP depth.
2) 30 runs more because we lost Marcum.
MatO - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#231987) #

Cecil, Reyes and Litsch will ALL be overtaken in the next few years by higher ceiling guys. Stewart, Alvarez and Sanchez come immediately to mind.

I'm glad they got rid of Halladay and Marcum as well,  since they don't throw hard enough.  They'll be able to replace them  with these high ceiling guys.

ayjackson - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#231988) #

By the end of the year Romero will be our third best pitcher, behind Morrow and Drabek... and not because he has gotten worse

I like the cut of your jib!

earlweaverfan - Saturday, April 02 2011 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#232017) #
Which Morrow? The outstanding one, all season long, ERA+ 125; 17 wins

Drabek? Poise and maturity will compensate when his stuff deserts him; ERA+ 105; 13 wins

Pen? Substantially better - at the middle and long ends, including Frasor being the second half version of the 2010 edition, Villanueva and Janssen having peak years, Rzep becoming a major contributor; somehow, Dotel and one of the other guys will get traded, all assuming that the Jays' pitchers stay (wonderful word) preternaturally healthy

Defense EE will be better than he was last year, until he returns to DH, and then Lawrie will be much better than EE was last year. Lind will get better as the year goes on, but still two or three steps down from Overbay. JPA has a full-time coach in Don Wakamatsu, and a close supporter in Molina. He will be at least as strong as Buck from the outset, and will outperform him defensively by mid-year. More Molina time means better defense, too. Davis will seriously outperform the defensive player Wells had become by last year.

Runs allowed: Modestly better, as starting will be a bit stronger, the bullpen a bit stronger, and defense a bit stronger, but there will be more runs scored in the league, hence: 715 runs

Toronto Blue Jays 2011: Pitching and Defense | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.