Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Five Blue Jays Disappointments for 2011
Now that I have presented some bold positive predictions it is only fair that I represent both sides of the coin, identify the yin to the yang of the Blue Jays 2011 season. So without further ado, the following are my predictions for five disappointments in the upcoming Blue Jays season:
1. Ricky Romero will take a step back
Ricky Romero made drastic improvements in 2010 reducing his Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP) from 1.52 to 1.29, lowering his ERA by more than a half a run and pitching 210 innings in just his second season in the major leagues. While scouts have always loved his stuff, his success had never matched his talent. During his time in the minor leagues he never really showed much promise with an overall 4.47 ERA and 1.47 WHIP that lead his then General manager J.P. Ricciardi to state that his biggest regret in any draft was taking Romero over Troy Tulowitzki. In 2009, his numbers weren't all that much different from his minor league results, but still many believed that he was a star in the making.
Romero may yet still become a star but I'm expecting him to take a step back in 2011 and put up numbers closer to his rookie season totals for the following reasons:
○ As mentioned above, he's never really had a track record of success
○ He recently signed a long term contract which may take some of the edge off his game (see Adam Lind in 2010)
○ Romero wasn't missing as many bats in the second half of the season and his strike out to walk ratio dropped to 1.83, a rate that is unacceptable for those who follow in the LIMA fantasy baseball theory.
2. J. P. Arencibia will take his lumps
I've turned the corner on J. P. Arencibia and now believe that he could be an all-star one day. However this is a kid that tends to struggle at first with each level of promotion, in fact after his dreadful first year in triple A in 2009 many believed he was no longer even a prospect. Add to the fact that there will be pressure for him to improve and develop the defensive side of his game and that he finished last season going 1 for 30 with 11 strike outs for the Blue Jays, I expect that this is going to be a long season for Arencibia.
3. The Blue Jays will have a losing record
I'll start by saying that I said this last season and I was wrong. However, since then the following happened:
○ The Blue Jays traded away their opening day starting pitcher for a player who we most likely won't see until 2012
○ The Jays traded Vernon Wells, which is great for the long term but the team didn't spend the savings on improvements and will replace Vernon's 2010 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 3.4 with Rajai Davis' 1.4.
○ Law of averages suggest that Jose Bautista can not repeat his 2010 success.
○ The team lost John Buck (All-Star), Lyle Overbay (going to miss his defence), Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg. While the bullpen has been addressed, the loss of Buck's production and Overbay will hurt the team more than people think.
4. The 5th starter Carousel
As much as I'm hoping Marc Rzepczynski wins the 5th starter job and never looks back, I have a feeling it will go to Jesse Litsch, then Rzep will get his chance after Litsch fails, followed by Robert Ray, Scott Richmond, Wil Ledezma, Brad Mills, etc. It's going to be ugly.
5. Adam Lind at 1st base or not, still won't hit leftiesHistorically Adam Lind did okay against left handed pitching, in fact his On Base plus Slugging (OPS) in 2009 vs. lefties was .780, a very acceptable level. Then 2010 happened, and Adam Lind wasn't just bad against left handed pitching, he was Black Eyed Peas at the super bowl awful. Against left handers Lind had a .117 batting average, .159 on-base percentage and believe it or not .182 slugging percentage, I don't think you can be this bad and expect to turn it around the next season.
While he can't continue to be this bad, unless he finds a solution to how left handers are pitching him, I expect Lind will continue to struggle in 2011.
Truth be told, I hope I am wrong on ever single one of the above, however, I think I'd be okay with all of them as long as Travis Snider finally develops into a premier offensive player, Kyle Drabek realizes his promise, and oh, my five positive bold predictions come true.