Even with my rose colored glasses I've found it increasingly more and more difficult to think that the Jays will be anything more than a Team that will end up with a Top 10 pick in the 2014 draft.
So where does the team stack up in the unofficial 1st half? Here is how I see it.
The Starting Rotation: F+.
They've have been bad....really bad. From Injuries to unfulfilled expectation, the starting rotation has been issue #1 on why the Toronto Blue Jays are sitting 4 games under .500 and last in the AL East.
For me there are two major reasons why the rotation has been so bad. 1. Josh Johnson and 2. Brandon Morrow.
Josh Johnson was to be the work horse coming into the final year of a contract and plowing his way through the competition on his way to a huge pay day, but what we got was a pitcher who looks afraid to pitch and his past injury concerns snuck their way in.
Morrow....I expected so much for Brandon. A year where he put himself into the elite of MLB starting pitching, but we were left with a shell of this. I don't even think he had a quality start to his name this year. He soon got hurt and hurt again and we've been left with a guy named Todd Redman.
Buehrle has been Buehrle, started slow but has been a guy you can count on more than not. Dickey has been anything but the CY Young pitcher from last year, but has shown flashes to his former self. Happ got hit in the head, Ricky is still looking for answers, Rogers has been surprising. and we've probably had 6 - 7 other starters come in and try to earn a living.
All in all pretty much the exact opposite of what I was expecting.
The Line-Up: C -
There have been a few bright spots...Edwin & Lind, A few decent spots - Bautista, Rasmus, some bad ones - Arencibia, Bonifacio, Izturis, and a lot of hurt ones, Reyes, Lawrie & Cabrera. Ultimately a lot of inconsistency from top to bottom.
I'm still looking for the day when the actual complete projected line-up is able to play all together.
When this line-up is at it's best there isn't a line-up in the whole league that they couldn't compete with, but the Jays just haven't been able to put all there guys on the field at the same time.
The Bench - C+
The bench has had alot asked of it. Combined with a number of injuries all year long plus a pitching rotation that has required them to keep an 8 man pen, we've probably seen alot more of Izturis, Bonifacio, Davis, Kawasaki & Derosa that we imagined we would have.
With that being said Derosa and Kawasaki have been serviceable replacements during the injury run. Davis is what he is....A guy who can steal a bag whenever you need a guy to steal a bag, Izturis is starting to look better, and Bonifacio...well let's just say he runs fast.
The Bullpen - A
Can't really give them anything but an A. They have been overworked and still they've able to put up some of the best pitching stats in all of the MLB.
When was the last time you saw two bullpen pitchers from the same team (and not one of them being a closer) represent a team in the All-Star game?
What about Cecil sitting down 43 consecutive batters! I also don't think they've lost a game yet this year if they were leading after the 7th inning. All in all everyone from Wagner to Janssen have been more than serviceable for the Jays and made them one of the teams with the best Bullpen's in all of the MLB.
Coaching Staff: B
I like John Gibbons and it's probably going to be some time before I turn on him and his staff. I like the changes he's made to his line-up with the hand he's been dealt and his bullpen management has been nothing less than great. Sure there will always be things that can be criticized, but all in all they make more good decisions than bad.
The team has been anything but the team we thought it was, if they don't look to right the ship and pull off a couple big winning streaks Canadians will once again be looking forward more to exhibition hockey in September than Jays games.
1st Half Highlights! - (This will be short)
- Kawasaki being the best team mascot in team history.
- An 11 Game winning steak that matched the team's franchise mark.
- 4 Blue Jays going to the All-Star Game. Only truly deserving ones were the two Bullpen pitchers.
- The boos for John Farrell when he returned to Toronto.
- Watching Jose Bautista throw guys out from Right Field.
1st Half Low-lights!
- Reyes getting hurt in the 2nd week.
- Lawrie being a complete snap show and coming back too early from injury.
- Loosing to John Farrell anytime sucks.
- Watching Sean Nolin get thrown to the Wolves before his time.
- Romero's two painful starts.
- Watching Melky trying to run.
- Arencibia getting put over the coals all year and thus lashing out at the media.
- Not signing Phil Bickford - Sure we get the pick back in 2014, but not signing 2 or the past 4 1st round picks has me questioning the Jays scouting department.
Hopes for the rest of the 2013!
- 2 or 3 big runs of 6 or 7 straight wins leading to some meaningful baseball in September.
- An actual starting line-up of 2013 projected starters.
- A Ricky Romero re-birth.
- A full recovery from JA Happ and Brandon Morrow.
- Some trades to help the team for 2014 and restocking of the minor league system.
- Sign Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
Final Record Prediction: 84 - 78 (4th in the AL East)
Players no longer on the Jays: - Darren Oliver, Rajai Davis, Cassey Janssen & Emilio Bonifacio
Jays Rotation in September: Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Morrow & Romero
September Line-Up: SS Reyes, DH Cabrera, RF Bautista, 3B Encarnacion, 1B Lind, 2B Lawrie, CF Rasmus, C Arencibia, 3B Izturis
Notable Call Ups: Kawasaki, Gose, Drabek, & Pillar
The rest of the year will be if anything interesting! Here's hoping for a complete180 for the last 68 games of the season.
Go Jays Go!