The Toronto Blue Jays State Of The Union: 2014 Preview
By ‘Baseball Writer’ Steve Cheeseman Follow @steveccheeseman
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The Toronto Blue Jays have been a franchise in question for over 20 years. This floundering franchise has gone through 11 manager changes since winning the World Series in 1993 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies.
GM Alex Anthopolous numerous moves acquiring major pieces to what was supposed to be a contending team.
Let’s start with the obvious, RF Jose Bautista. The heart and soul of this club is healthy and ready to cause fear in the eyes of all pitchers to stare him down when he enters the batter’s box.
Last season even through injured during the past couple seasons is reportedly in the best shape of his career and “chomping at the bit” to get going.
He has good potential, however hasn’t been able to piece together a solid season. If he is going to break out this upcoming year, he’ll need a lot of patience at the plate to cut down his strikeouts, and wait for his pitch.
Colby Rasmus is a talented outfielder that appeared to finally make that breakout season late season. After hitting .276 with 22 HR last season.
We’ll have to wait and see if he can follow up with more of the same.
A difference between the starting line-up this season than last season is behind the plate. Gone is J.P. Arencibia, and in comes Dioner Navarro.
Although not the best defensive catcher in the business, he is a definite improvement from last season.
With no upgrade at 2B, the job appears to be Ryan Goins to lose. Last season, he did a pretty good job filling in the middle infield; however he has yet to be tested for a full season.
One thing I hope he has done in the off season is made improvement to his arm strength and range in the field. The rest of the field looks the same as the start to last season.
Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Lind will most certainly split time between DH and 1B. Jose Reyes will anchor the infield at SS with Brett Lawrie at 3B.
In the outfield will be Melky Cabrera in LF, the soft hands of Colby Rasmus in CF, and Jose Bautista with the cannon of an arm in RF.
The starting pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays will continue to be the question for the season.
One up and coming pitcher to watch will be prospect Marcus Stroman, however will likely start the season in AAA Buffalo.
With the injuries last season, only Dickey and Buehrle made 20+ starts. That number among the rest will certainly have to improve.
Guys typically riding pine are more important than the average fan give credit for.
Whether it’s filling in for an injured or resting player, or a little extra speed needed on the bases, keep an eye out for speedsters coming into the game for Toronto in 2014.
Seeing as Getz and Kawasaki are signed to minor league deals, I predict Izturis will get the job.
When last season ended , the backup catcher role seemed to be locked up for Josh Thole, however since the trade for Eric Kratz for Brad Lincoln, people are starting to lean toward Kratz, which is fine but, can he catch a knuckleball?
Overall for this season, I am extremely surprised in the lack of progress in gaining another solid pitcher for the starting rotation, however, maybe it’s like they say, these things happen for a reason.
Predictions are easy to make, however getting them right is what’s difficult. As a sports writer I have to take a crack at it. So as of now, here is how I see the opening day line-up for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays:
SS Jose Reyes .290/.350/.435, with 30 SB and 95 Runs
RF Jose Bautista .260/.360/.525, with 41 HRs 101 RBI
DH Edwin Encarnacion .275/.375/.520, with 35 HRs and 99 RBI
1B Adam Lind .270/.340/.450, with 25 HRs 83 RBI
3B Brett Lawrie .290./340/.445, with 20 HRs 77 RBI
CF Colby Rasmus .252/.325/.450, with 24 HRs, 70 RBI
LF Melky Cabrera .285/.320/.390, with 175 Hits
C Dioner Navarro .255/.310/.390, with 15 HRs 55 RBI
2B Ryan Goins .240/.270/.340
The team should club well over the 200 HR barrier, which should help keep them win some games.
R.A. Dickey: 14 – 10, 4.05 ERA
Mark Buerhle: 13 – 11. 4.20 ERA
Brandon Morrow: 11 – 9, 4.25 ERA
J.A. Happ: 9 – 12, 4.67 ERA
Drew Hutchinson: 7 – 7, 4.55 ERA
All in all, if the Toronto Blue Jays remain healthy, they should be able to complete in the American League, and more specifically the AL East, which is by far the toughest division in all on baseball.
Last season with the numerous injuries to Jose Bautista, R.A. Dickey, and Jose Reyes to name a few definitely crushed a potentially glorious season.
However, should everything remain intact for 2014, who knows, maybe they can reach the promised land after all.
Are Blue Jay fans in for a season to remember, or another season to once again try to forget?
Toronto will win between 80 – 85 games this year, likely not enough for a Post Season Berth, yet much better than 2013.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
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A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Special Guest Writer’ Steve Cheeseman for preparing today’s featured article.
Steve was born and raised in Marystown, Newfoundland – and has been an avid sports enthusiast his entire life. He loves hockey, baseball, and soccer, and continues to play in local leagues where he lives.
However baseball will always be Steve’s favorite sport. He moved to Ontario, Canada in 2001, and currently lives in the nation’s capital of Ottawa with his wife and daughter.
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Posted on March 7, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged @steveccheeseman on twitter, aaron loup, adam lind, alex anthopoulos, anthony gose, brad lincoln, brandon morrow, brett cecil, brett lawrie, Casey Janssen, Cito gaston, colby rasmus, dioner navarro, drew hutchison, edwin encarnacion, emilio bonifacio, eric kratz, Esmil Rogers, j.a. happ, john gibbons, jose bautista, jose reyes, josh johnson, josh thole, Kevin Pillar, kyle drabek, luis perez, marcus stroman, mark buehrle, melky cabrera, mlb, moises sierra, munenori kawasaki, Neil Wagner, r.a. dickey, ricky romero, Ryan Goins, sergio santos, steve cheeseman, steve Delabar, toronto blue jays, toronto blue jays 25 man roster 2014, toronto blue jays 40 man roster 2014. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.