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Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

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Old 02-14-2006, 08:29 PM   #1
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Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

Yeah...it's that time of year again...catchers and pitchers report Friday, and it looks like the roster is set. So, without futher ado, my predicted lineup/rotation/scouting report for the Jays this year:

Note: All Projections do not take chance of injury into account (if you want those, use Pecota ).
Lineup
SS - Russ Adams
2005 Stats (AVG, HR, RBI, SB, OBP) - .256, 8, 63, 11, .325
Adams would have challenged for the Rookie of the Year last season, but fell off the face of the earth late in the year, with his average dropping from .280 in August to .256 by the end of the season. However, Adams possesses the ability to hit the ball in the gaps well, with ocassional home run power, as well as some speed. His defense, especially his throwing, needs some work.
Projected 2006 Stats - .274, 12, 60, 15, .341

LF - Frank Catalanotto
2005 Stats - .301, 8, 59, 0, .367
Catalanotto is known as a "professional hitter," a player who can shine in the right situation, but falter in others. Frank's specialty is hitting right-handers, whom he hit .302 against in the severe majority of his at-bats (388 vs 31 against lefties). Catalanotto is also not a strong defensive player, and is usually replaced in the late innings by Reed Johnson. Once again, the Cat should have a solid year, but his age might start to affect him.
Projected 2006 Stats - .297, 6, 45, 0, .354

CF - Vernon Wells
2005 Stats - .269, 28, 97, 8, .320
Wells was the go-to guy for this team last year, and although he struggled early (.248 OBP in April), he recovered to have a solid year. Wells can hit the long ball, and with some protection behind him, should return to his 2003 numbers. However, don't be surprised if Wells' walks, which have been at around the 50 mark in the past two years, drop by 25% or so with him seeing more fastballs. Once again, Vernon should show off his gold-glove defense in centrefield, and will be one of the most important players on this club down the stretch.
Projected 2006 Stats - .306, 32, 102, 15, .342

3B - Troy Glaus
2005 Stats (ARI) - .258, 37, 97, 4, .363
Glaus is the prototypical power hitter, low average, high strikeouts, but unlike a lot of power hitters who have passed through Toronto, Glaus possesses a high on-base percentage. Troy may have benefitted from playing in a hitter's park (his sluggin percentage was 100 points higher at the BOB), but Glaus can still hit the longball no matter where he plays. He has virutally no speed, and is a poor fielder, but after watching the Jays struggle to score runners last season, he is a welcome addition.
Projected 2006 Stats - .249, 36, 104, 0, .350

1B - Lyle Overbay
2005 Stats (MIL) - .276, 19, 72, 1, .367
Best known to those who play MLB '06 as the "doubles king," Overbay is a player who will be finding those bright, bright Rogers Centre scoreboards quite a bit. Hitting 87 doubles in the last two years, Overbay, who will now hit in the 5-spot instead of the three, should have far more RBI oppourtunities. Overbay has never been much of a power threat, but that may change with the surrounded protection he will now receive in Toronto. Overbay, although not fleet of foot by any standards, can play gold glove defense when he wants too.
Projected 2006 Stats - .289, 17, 83, 2, .375

DH - Shea Hillenbrand
2005 Stats - .291, 18, 82, 5, .343
Hillenbrand, the lone all-star last season for the Blue Jays, avoided those nasty arbitration hearings, and will go to Dunedin with a new contract already worked out. Hillenbrand is a very unique player, a hard-nosed player who can hit lefites very well. Shea is a consistent .290-15-80 type player who is not the stereotypical DH, but will do the job just fine. He will probably see time at first and third. One troubling thing may be his low average with RISP and two outs, something he will face a lot hitting sixth.
Projected 2006 Stats - .278, 16, 78, 3, .329

C - Bengie Molina
2005 Stats (LAA) - .295, 15, 69, 0, .336
Molina is the newest addition to the Blue Jay family, signing a contract last week, and knocking Gregg Zaun right out of a starting position. One thing that Molina brings to the table is power, which is needed in this lineup. However, unlike Zaun, Bengie has virtually no plate discipline, and it should be interesting to see how this contrasts with John Gibbons' approach. Molina is a very solid defender, and calls a good game.
Projected 2006 Stats - .288, 16, 63, 0, .337

2B - Aaron Hill
2005 Stats - .274, 3, 40, 2, .342
Hill started off like Gangbusters in 2005, hitting a blistering .415 in May and .333 in June. He looked to be the next big thing, but slowed down in the stretch. Hill is still a very good player, a true line-drive hitter with a sweet, Paul Molitor-like swing, and can drive the ball to all fields and work the count. He doesn't have anything special power or speed-wise, and if he can do half the job that Orlando Hudson did at second base, then the Jays will be happy.
Projected 2006 Stats - .302, 8, 53, 6, .351

RF - Alex Rios
2005 Stats - .262, 10, 59, 14, .306
An enigma wrapped in a nutshell is the best way to describe Rios. Once the top prospect in the Blue Jays minor league system, Rios is now the biggest question mark on the roster. If he can tap into his potential, then the $150 I spent way back in 2004 to be the first one to jump on the Alex Rios jersey bandwagon will make me look like a genious. If not, then at least it's still a Blue Jay jersey, right? Anyhow, if Rios can get his timing down, he will be something special, and to keep my hopes up, I say he will. Tool wise, he can run like a gazelle (when he wants), and has a gun for an arm. The best athlete on the roster.
2006 Projected Stats - .275, 21, 68, 23, .316

The Bench
C - Gregg Zaun
2005 Stats - .251, 11, 61, 2, .355
Zaun is still a very good catcher, and although he has been removed from his starters job, should still see some playing time. Zaun can hit for power, but is best known for his ability to take pitches and work at-bats. There was one game in Chicago last season where Zaun had 4 straight 10+ pitch at-bats. Also a solid defensive catcher, and might be trade bait (although, there really aren't many needs).
Projected 2006 Stats - .269, 5, 36, 0, .365

CIF - Eric Hinske
2005 Stats - .262, 15, 68, 8, .333
Hinske had a pretty bad year last year, although it was better then the media would want you to think. Eric hit .294 post-all star break, and started to look again like the player he did in his amazing 2002 year. Hinske will become a utility man this year, and may see time in the outfield. However, I see him being a situational pinch hitter, and I think he can flourish in that role.
Projected 2006 Stats - .276, 9, 40, 3, .348

MIF - John McDonald
2005 Stats (TOR/DET) - .277, 0, 16, 6, .326
One of the few players I've seen with a lower slugging percentage then on-base percentage, McDonald will not play much, but rather serve as a late inning replacement for the defensively challenged Russ Adams. McDonald has a bit of speed, and a good glove, but no real hitting ability to speak of.
Projected 2006 Stats - .249, 1, 12, 4, .307

OF - Reed Johnson
2005 Stats - .269, 8, 58, 5, .332
Johnson is a fan favourite in Toronto, and is one of the better fourth outfielders in the game. A true utility player, Johnson can hit for a bit of power, a bit of contact, has a bit of speed, a pretty good arm, and a half-decent glove. In other words, he is truly average (or, if you want to be more harsh-sounding, mediocre). Reed will hit mostly against left-handed pitching again this season, although I'm sure Gibbons will find a way to get him in against the Red Sox, a team he had 15 of his 58 RBI's against.
Projected 2006 Stats - .274, 7, 48, 9, .341

Sometime this week: The Pitching Staff
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:07 PM   #2
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

That was great. I can't wait to read your assessment of the pitchers. BTW here's something from TSN

Quote:
John Gibbons watched gleefully as GM J.P. Ricciardi rebuilt the Toronto Blue Jays over the winter and the affable manager understands it's now his turn to do some heavy lifting.

Adding a bunch of talent to the roster is one thing, but integrating them successfully is another matter and Gibbons will make that his top priority when he arrives at training camp in Dunedin, Fla., on Wednesday.

"We have so many new faces, we're going to have to pull them all together and form a team," Gibbons said in a recent interview from his Texas home. "It should be easy but when you get a new look like us, adding five guys, they're trying to fit in and do their thing.

"That's always something you have to be conscious of. The more they play together that should happen pretty easy.

"Last year we were basically a .500 team but we jelled together pretty good so I think that's my biggest target, get them to pull together so we can kick off opening day as a team."

The Blue Jays finished 80-82 in 2005, good for third in the AL East, and the off-season additions of No. 2 starter A.J. Burnett, closer B.J. Ryan, third baseman and cleanup hitter Troy Glaus, catcher Bengie Molina and first baseman Lyle Overbay has the club thinking big.

Pitchers and catchers must report by Friday for physicals with their first workout set for Saturday, although several are already there. Position players need to be in camp by the 22nd, with the first full-squad workout a day later.

"When you make the moves that we've made and add those additions to the lineup and the pitching staff, on paper we've gotten a lot better and more's going to be expected out of us," said sophomore shortstop Russ Adams. "As a team and as an organization we're ready for it."

Helping things is that barring injuries the Blue Jays have few major matters to figure out this spring, as the 25-man roster for opening day is mostly set.

Their key issues are:

- How sophomore Aaron Hill, drafted as a shortstop, will adjust to second base in place of departed Gold Glover Orlando Hudson. Hill received an audition at the position last September while Hudson was hurt and looked very capable, but must now do it over the long haul.

"He and Adams need time to work on their double play combos and things like that," said Gibbons. "But (Hill) is an athlete, he's going to be fine."

- Getting the infield comfortable with one another. Aside from Adams, everyone in the infield is new and building chemistry will take time.

- Teaching Eric Hinske to play the outfield. The 2002 AL Rookie of the Year is learning a new position for the second straight spring and will get time in both corner spots.

"I'm going to try him out there (in right)," said Gibbons. "I don't think you have to lock him in there and say he's going to be a left-fielder."

- Finding enough playing for both Hinske and Gregg Zaun. A pair of solid, team-first players, they both will see the new additions eat into their playing time and Gibbons will have try to keep them both satisfied.

"I don't anticipate any problems," said Gibbons. "I know Zaunie is disappointed, you can't blame him, I'd be disappointed if he wasn't. He did a heck of a job for us last year, but he'll get plenty of playing time, no question about that.

"(Hinske) can still help us win and he needs to contribute."

- Working out an outfield rotation and figuring out how right-fielder Alex Rios fits into it. The third-year player comes into camp as the starter but needs to show continued improvement. Hinske, Frank Catalanotto and Reed Johnson are also vying for playing time around Vernon Wells in centre.

"The thing with Alex is until it all kicks in he's one of those guys that you'll pick apart different parts of his game and wonder why this isn't here, why this isn't there because he's so talented," said Gibbons. "I still think he's going to be a heck of a player. No need to put any pressure on him but he knows he needs to go out there and perform.

"He can be a big part of it and I anticipate it."

- Figuring out the final spot in the bullpen. Veteran Pete Walker enters camp as the favourite for the long-man role, with non-roster invitees James Baldwin and Ben Weber also in the mix.

The plan for now is to return prospects Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum and Brandon League, who all spent time in the majors last season, to the minors so they can pitch more innings. But all will have the opportunity to pitch their way on to the team.

- And determining a batting order. Gibbons has a fair idea of what he wants to do, but needs to see how the hitters mesh. Glaus is a lock for fourth, with some combination of Overbay and Wells around him. Adams will lead off with Catalanotto second. Shea Hillenbrand and Molina are candidates for the sixth and seventh holes, with whoever is in right plus Hill rounding things out.

"We've got a big middle of the order now," said Adams. "It stretches out a little farther than it did last year."

Gibbons believes it will all come together fairly smoothly and there's good reason for that. In the past convincing the Blue Jays they had a chance could be a tough sell, whereas now the players firmly believe they are contenders.

"I think this is the type of off-season that they were looking to have. I think that they hit it right on the nose as far as what they were looking to do," said Adams. "You got your own expectations for yourself as well and when you make those kind of moves and when the organization makes that commitment to try and make your team a lot better, you've got to kind of take that pressure and run with it."
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:13 PM   #3
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

Yessss. I cannot wait...
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:20 PM   #4
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinceanity2k3
Yessss. I cannot wait...
Oh yeah...I'm pumped. I really wish they had what they did back in the '90's when there would be a split-squad game at the Dome in the middle of March.

I remember St. Louis came in '98 and McGwire signed a bunch of autographs...

And what's the point of having Hinske play the OF? He's the eleventh best offensive player on this team...we don't need a #5 OF. We just need a backup CIF/DH
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Old 02-15-2006, 03:21 AM   #5
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

Quote:
Originally Posted by theaub
what's the point of having Hinske play the OF? He's the eleventh best offensive player on this team...we don't need a #5 OF. We just need a backup CIF/DH
Hinske is expected to platoon with Reed Johnson in LF while also filling in at 1B/3B/DH. Gibbons wants to keep Hinske's bat in the lineup when facing right-handed pitchers, against righties last season Hinske hit .283 with 11 HR's, 55 RBI's and 29 Doubles, compare that to the .170 he hit against lefties and you can see why it will be a platoon.
The same will happen in RF as Frank Catalanotto will platoon with Alexis Rios. Oddly Rios-a right-handed hitter, hit 30 points lower against lefties than he did against righties which could mean Catalanotto may see more than his share of AB's against left-handed pitching.
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Old 02-20-2006, 05:58 PM   #6
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/column...son&id=2336248

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

For some reason...I feel like playing baseball now. I think I'm pumped.
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:02 PM   #7
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

Ahh it's nice to get coverage in the American media again
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:31 PM   #8
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Re: Official 2006 Toronto Blue Jays Thread - "Back to the Top"

Rotation
SP - Roy Halladay
2005 Stats (W-L, ERA, K, WHIP) - 12-4, 2.41, 108, 0.96
Halladay was probably a freak Kevin Mench liner away from his second Cy Young Award last season, but instead has now been labelled "injury-prone" by some sources. However, Halladay is still one of the best pitchers in the game, with a solid mid-90's fastball, splitter and changeup. The bread and butter is the knee-breaking, jaw-dropping, 12-6 curveball, which is probably the best in the business. Halladay should reedem himself this year, and is, IMO, the favourite to win the Cy.
Projected 2006 Stats - 21-7, 3.20, 203, 1.12

SP - A.J. Burnett
2005 Stats (FLA) - 12-12, 3.44, 198, 1.26
Burnett signed the first 5-contract for a starter since the reign of Chan Ho Park in Texas, but hopefully will not repeat Park's dismal performance. Burnett is a pure power pitcher, with a fastball that can touch 100, and a solid curve. One has to have questions about his head, but his past rapport with Brad Arnsberg will hopefully keep him in check. If he performs up to potential, then he will be worth all 5 billion+ pennies.
Projected 2006 Stats - 15-9, 3.89, 185, 1.31

SP - Gustavo Chacin
2005 Stats - 13-9, 3.72, 121, 1.39
The young lefty made a sparkling entrance into the majors, with a solid 13-9 year, and a push for the Rookie of the Year until a bad August and September did him in. The soft thrower is very similar to Ted Lilly, with a decent fastball, but getting by with a good change and curve. However, Chacin's greatest asset is his funky delivery. If batter catch on to it, Gustavo's sophomore year may be a bit longer then expected.
Projected 2006 Stats - 15-11, 4.23, 114, 1.46

SP - Josh Towers
2005 Stats - 13-12, 3.71, 112, 1.27
Towers, one of the few pitchers in the game who might throw too many strikes, quietly had a very solid year. His 3.72 ERA was the best in the AL East (Halladay doesn't qualify), and his K/BB ratio was almost 5:1. Towers is another soft-tosser, with a 90 MPH fastball, but he has a very good slider, which he uses a ton. Probably won't have a year like 2005 again, but should be a very good #4.
Projected 2006 Stats - 11-10, 4.12, 107, 1.29

SP - Ted Lilly
2005 Stats - 10-11, 5.56, 96, 1.53
Lilly, who was plagued with elbow tendinitis for the whole season, struggled after his 2004 all-star campaign. Ted says he's recovered, and if he can return to form, then the Jays will have the deepest rotation in the MLB. Lilly does not have a great fastball, but makes up for it with pinpoint control. If his changeup is on (as it was against Boston last year), he can be virtually unhittable.
Projected 2006 Stats - 10-11, 4.50, 138, 1.41

Bullpen to come sometime later.
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