Thursday, March 29, 2018
Toronto Blue Jays 2018 season preview
In a disappointing season for Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and just about half the team, the Toronto Blue Jays finished 4th in the AL East with a 76-86 record, missing the playoffs. With Baustista facing free agency again, and the roster not looking sharp, the Jays had their work cut out for them this offseason. Let's take a look at what they did.
Notable additions: RHP Seung-Hwan Oh, OF Randal Grichuk, INF Yangervis Solarte, SS Aledmys Diaz, RHP Tyler Clippard, LHP Jaime Garcia, RHP John Axford, OF Curtis Granderson, INF Gift Ngoepe, RHP Sam Gaviglo.
Notable subtractions: RF Jose Bautista, 2B Ryan Goins, SS Darwin Barney, C Miguel Montero, OF Ezequiel Carrera, RHP Dominic Leone, Tom Koehler.
What they did well: The Diaz and Solarte trades were nice. All their free agent signings are coming off rough seasons, but it's not like they got any big deals.
What they did bad: Leone looks like he has a high ceiling in St. Louis, and is already auditioning for the closing role.
Sneaky sleeper: He's starting the season in AAA, but Teoscar Hernandez played very well after coming over in the midseason Fransisco Liriano deal. He hit .261 with eight homers in just 95 PAs, opening up many eyes that thought he would be the starting RF (included mine). He wasn't but he'll get his chance this season.
Incoming outbreak: For years, Yangervis Solarte bounced around the San Diego infield, playing multiple positions. He'll probably do the same for Toronto, but I think the 30 year old will be more successful.
Unsuspected slump: Well, since Troy Tulowitzki is already injured, I'll go over to Devon Travis. Travis had a promising start to his career, but has had injuries in his path since, stopping him from really doing anything productive. In just 50 games last season, Travis hit just .259, stealing four bases. That's very low for his standards.
Blue-chip Bopper: An upcoming free agent, expect even more Josh Donaldson trade rumors as the year progresses. In his three year career in Toronto, Donaldson has bashed 111 homers with 300 RBIs, plus hitting a decent .285 batting average. He's a superstar, even though injuries are starting to linger for him.
Astounding ace: One of the few good things of the Blue Jays 2017 season was Marcus Stroman. Stroman had an ERA of 3.09 in 201 innings, showing everybody he's their official ace. Expect bigger things coming forward from Stroman.
Here's their projected lineup.
2B Devon Travis (R)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
1B Justin Smoak (S)
3B Josh Donaldson (R)
DH Kendrys Morales (S)
SS Aledmys Diaz (R)
LF Curtis Granderson (L)
RF Randal Grichuk (R)
C Russell Martin (R)
Here's their projected rotation
LHP J.A. Happ
RHP Marcus Stroman
RHP Aaron Sanchez
LHP Jaime Garcia
RHP Marco Estrada
Roberto Osuna (R) is their closer, with Aaron Loup (L), John Axford (R), Danny Barnes (R), Tyler Clippard (R), Seung-Hwan Oh (R) and Ryan Tepera (R) in the bullpen.
C Luke Maile (R), INF Yangervis Solarte (S), INF Gift Nogoepe (R) and OF Steve Pearce (R) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Blue Jays, a team lacking lots of skill, will miss the playoffs in 2018.