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We've looked at the team's hitting and pitching and defense the last two days. Today we give our overall impressions of what the Jays will be like in 2011.

What do you see as the big overall storyline for this season?

Obal: The only interesting storylines are the ones that donít happen. This yearís Ďstorylineí is the same thing it has been for each and every one of the past 10 years: the Jays are building the right way, taking incremental steps toward contending. I donít sense the same kind of euphoric optimism Matthew does, but if thereís anything to Gerryís anecdote the other day about ticket sales possibly being way up, maybe Iím wrong. Still, nobody serious thinks theyíll finish any higher than fourth, so as long as they donít implode completely I donít expect widespread disappointment.

Matthew E: I think the Jays will be perceived as a disappointment by a lot of fans and media types who are unrealistically optimistic. But it wonít be all that bad of a year anyway.

Dave Rutt: The two super-rookies Kyle Drabek and Brett Lawrie, who will mostly just battle each other for Rookie of the Year honours, with Drabek getting the nod thanks to being up for the whole year.

Gerry: Unfortunately i think we are statistically expected to have more pitching injuries this season and thatís my pick for story of the year.  That and a Travis Snider break-out.  If we Jays play exciting ball and if the fans show up then the media will be covering the ďbaseball is backĒ story in Toronto.

John Northey: The big story will be a mixture of a couple of kids doing really well and Encarnacion having a surprisingly good year.  Iím betting EE has his best ever, around a 120 OPS+ with 30 HR.  90 wins and fighting for the playoffs but coming up short.

Anders: I think that Anthopoulos pulls off another big move that grabs headlines, before the hockey training camps start and nobody cares about baseball anymore.  

Are there any players you expect to surprise or disappoint?

Gerry: If Yunel Escobar doesnít add some power he could be disappointing, as his perceived lack of effort take the shine off the other parts of his game.  JP Arencibia could disappoint in the first half of the season as he gets used to playing at the major league level.  I believe Travis Snider will do well, that might not be a surprise.

Obal: This has to be Sniderís year, and I expect Rzepczynski to establish himself as well. I could also see Encarnacion taking a big step forward with the bat, following Bautistaís example.

Matthew E: Iím going to guess that Cecil will have a really rough year, and that Morrow and Snider will take big steps forward.

DR: I could see Davis being better than people expect. In fact, with good defense, he could out-WAR Vernon in 2011.

Anders: I think Ricky Romero has a nice year and pitches strong throughout (heís faded a bit in the second half previously), gaining some notice. Travis Snider would be my pick for breakout hitter, while Iím worried about Cecilís velocity drop and Drabek struggling heavily. I donít think Morrow counts as a breakout player, but if he does, then I choose him. I expect Cy Young votes if he pitches enough innings.

John Northey: Encarnacion is my bet for the surprise of the year.  As I said above, 30 HR and a 120 OPS+.

Should the Jays be looking into locking up any of their young players, a la Ricky Romero? If so, who?

Anders: The Hinske and Hill contracts have only worked out so well, and Lind may not be great. Still, I lock up Morrow if I can, and wait and see with Cecil and Snider.

John Northey: Probably nothing till mid-season, then signing whoever is off to a solid start among Cecil, Snider, and Morrow.  Me?  Iíd be hesitant to do so unless the scouts all agreed the guy was a lock to keep it up or he signs for a much lower deal than he should.

Matthew E: Iím a proponent of waiting almost as long as possible before locking up young players. Iíd rather have to pay extra later than commit myself to mediocrity now.

Gerry: I wouldnít until after the season.

If the Jays are in it on July 1st, should they look to add pieces? Or is this another building/consolidation year?

Obal: Define ďin it.Ē Five games out is not ďin itĒ unless Brett Lawrie is hitting .410 with 26 homers at Vegas and about to make his debut. If theyíre tied for first in mid-July, though? Go for it. Why not? In the more likely event that theyíre not in first, though, they should go with the same mentality they had last year: neither buyers nor desperate sellers, just looking for value wherever they can find it.

John Northey: Depends.  If the guys doing well are key pieces for the future (such as JPA and the pitchers) then add what is needed.  If it is more due to EE and other guys who arenít expected to be parts of the long term future then Iíd hold off and hope for a miracle.

Matthew E: Itís another building year. Which is not to say that there wonít be any good deals for them in July; there might be.

DR: Not at the expense of future pieces, obviously, but you never know with AA... even if theyíre out of contention I could see them being on the other end of some moves.

Anders: Something like the Yunel move, sure. They probably donít need to/shouldnít give up the farm to rent Prince Fielder for two months though.

Gerry: I donít think this front office will do anything rash or short-term, if a move improves the team long term they will go for it, otherwise they will stick with what they have.

The Jays finished 85-77 last year, good for fourth in the AL East and 7th in the American League. Vegas puts them at about 76 wins this year. How many games do the Jays win, and where does that place them amongst the Beasts of the East?

Matthew E: I think with some reasonable luck they can finish at .500. Thatíll put them in fourth place.

DR: Yeah, fourth place sounds about right. Same story as the last... oh, I canít count anymore.

Anders: I remember the days when we took finishing third for granted... sigh. Iíll say 82-80, 4th overall.

Gerry: I will go with 80-82, 740 runs scored, 750 conceded.

Obal: What everybody else said. I wonít be completely stunned if they contend this year, though, the way I was last year.

John Northey: I predicted 93 wins via 800 runs scores and 700 allowed earlier, so what the heck.  Iíll be the guy who guesses high this year (kind of like most years).  More fun to be an optimist than a pessimist.  At least in March.  Lets say 2nd place as the Yanks get old, the Rays have issues and the Sox run away with it.
Toronto Blue Jays 2011: Overall | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
drjohnnyfever - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#231978) #
I admit it's off topic, but still cool... Funny or Die has a great song about former Jay Cliff Johnson:

I'll take any Blue Jay appreciation I can get from south of the border!

Gerry - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#231994) #
Speaking of overall........ the Jays have declined Aaron Hill's options according to MLB Trade Rumors.  They will have a chance to take up the 2012 and 2013 options at the end of the year.  The decline cost the Jays their option on Hill's 2014 season.
Sano - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#231996) #
I'm a bit concerned that not picking up Hill's options will mess with his head a little. He won't say it but it has to hurt a little that the Jays don't believe he'll bounce back and be productive for the next few years.

I'm also wondering if this is a matter of trying to keep the option open of shifting Lawrie back to second to accommodate a renovated Encarnacion.
lexomatic - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#231998) #
FWIW: Brock2 also thinks Hill is toast. It projects him for a decent 279 ave with 16 2b 16 hr in 75 gp... but over the rest of his projected career (5 seasons, he only plays another 275 games...and never again a full season. All his injury time affects the projection somewhat... He realizes he didn't have a good year, or should, and that should be motivation.
Mick Doherty - Friday, April 01 2011 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#232001) #

The Jays finished 85-77 last year, good for fourth in the AL East and 7th in the American League. Vegas puts them at about 76 wins this year. How many games do the Jays win, and where does that place them amongst the Beasts of the East?

Forgot to add my comments before this wen live, but as hinted at in other places (my NYY preview, for instance, ( see the team winning 85-87 games and finishing a strong third, three  or four games behind WC-winner Tampa and about 10 games back of <ugh, ick> division winner Boston.

Toronto Blue Jays 2011: Overall | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.