The 2011 Results - Offense
Yes it is absolutely true the Toronto Blue Jays finished finished 6th in baseball in runs scored in 2011, however, with pitchers hitting in the National League you really can't use runs scored as a measure of comparison for teams from the different leagues. Therefore, to compare apples to apples I will only use American League team totals for the purpose of this article, where the Blue Jays finished 5th out of 14 teams in runs scored. Refer to Chart 1 for American League runs scored by team.
Chart 1 - American League Runs Scored by Team
|Chicago White Sox||654|
The first thing that stands out to me is that although the Jays did finish 5th in the league in runs, they scored 132 less runs than the league leading Boston Red Sox. Additionally, they only scored 20 more runs than the league average. Thirdly, these totals ignore home park factors and could be misleading.
To combat any park advantage I decided to equalize each teams at home runs scored by taking their 2011 park factors and adjusting each to an equivalent of 1.00. Therefore, once removing home park advantages, the Toronto Blue Jays adjusted total runs scored was 692, which was 31 runs below the league average. Additionally, they now finished 10th out of the 14 teams in adjusted total runs scored.
Therefore, despite the common belief, the above analysis suggests the Blue Jays offense was below average for American League teams in 2011.
The 2011 Results - Pitching
The common belief is that the entire rotation outside of Ricky Romero and 10 starts for Henderson Alvarez, the entire Toronto Blue Jays rotation was a disappointment. Additionally the bullpen couldn't be counted on as they blew a league leading number of saves and Casey Janssen was the only reliable member that had any kind of success. Overall the pitching staff was a disappointment and needs improvement. On the surface the numbers support this argument as Toronto Blue Jays pitchers allowed 761 runs which was the 4th highest total in the American League. Refer to Chart 2 for American League runs allowed by team.
Chart 2 - American League Runs Allowed by Team
|Chicago White Sox||706|
Again, the above totals ignore home park factors and when the number of runs allowed at home are adjusted to equalize any advantage/disadvantage, the totals look very different. The 2011 Toronto Blue Jays adjusted total runs allowed is now 706, which is good enough for 8th lowest of the 14 American League teams and 11 fewer runs than the league average number given up. Therefore, since both numbers are now right in the middle of the pack for the American League, you could say that the Jays pitching was league average in 2011.
Therefore, while I believe that both the offense and pitching needs some improvement before we can truly call the Blue Jays a team ready to compete for a playoff spot, the analysis above suggests that it is actually the Blue Jays offense that needs the greatest amount of improvement.
Photo courtesy of SI.com