With only about a month left in the season, it’s time to take a look at playoff and yearly award predictions. These are obviously subject to change, but below are my predictions. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @dynasty_digest.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Cleveland Indians
AL West: Texas Rangers
Wild Card: Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers
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Tuesday March 19th, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
At the beginning of 2012, Ricky Romero was solidified as the number one starter in a strong Toronto Blue Jays roster. In the previous three years of his career, he only had an ERA above 4.00 once (in his rookie season, 4.30), and had won more than 10 games every year.
2012 was an absolute disaster for Romero as he posted a sky-high 5.77 ERA and a 9 – 14 record. He had fans confused as to how such a solid pitcher could do a complete 180 and turn from an ace to an iffy back-of-the-rotation starter.
Romero is in a very interesting situation for 2013. The Blue Jays added two very formidable starters in Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle when they acquired the two in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins. The two former Marlins starters will help support the preexisting rotation consisting of Brandon Morrowand Romero..
Also in contention for a spot is Kyle Drabek, who has made starts over the past couple of years, but has never really stuck. Johnson, Buehrle, Morrow, and Alvarez will round out the top four spots, and Romero will most likely be the fifth starter for 2013.
Ricky Romero Interview:
Tuesday June 19, 2012
John Burns: What a comeback season it has been for Adam Dunn so far, as he leads all of baseball with 23 homers… and it’s not even July yet.
Dunn experienced a miserable 2011 campaign in his first season in Chicago, as he hit a career low .159 and was not showing his usual power numbers. After signing a 4-year, $56 Million deal with the White Sox in 2010, the expectations were huge for the slugger. 2011 was a season to forget for Dunn. After he underwent an appendectomy in April, Dunn’s productivity declined rapidly. Dunn broke the White Sox record for most strikeouts in a season by a hitter with 177 strikeouts in only 415 at-bats. Dunn’s 2011 campaign was by far the worst of his career. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday December 4, 2011
MLB reports: We welcome Loren Deans to MLB reports! Loren was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 37th round of the 2003 draft. Unfortunately, Loren never ended up signing a contract with the Rangers and playing professional baseball. His baseball journey is a tale of fate and twists that led him off the diamond. Now Loren is back and hungrier than ever to jumpstart his career. Joining us today exclusively on MLB reports, we learn about Loren Deans and his journey back into baseball. This is the story of Loren Deans in his own words.
Name : Loren Deans
Height : 6’3″
Weight : 200 lbs
Position : Centerfield/OF/Closer
High School : Capistrano Valley
Loren Deans- Guest MLB Blog: After graduating Capo “Capistrano” Valley High School, I was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2003 Major League baseball draft. It was supposed to be a draft-and-follow deal (ended in 2007), which allowed me to play another year of college ball. I would then have the opportunity to be re-drafted in a higher round. Back then, based on the draft-and-follow, Texas kept full rights of me for that year in college ball. I was looking forward to having a great year in College and joining the Rangers quickly afterwards
So I went to Irvine Valley College. That ending up being probably one of the roughest years of my life. Looking back,if I could have done things differently, I would have rather signed the contract with the Rangers as a raw 17-year-old out of high school and just developed with Texas. Losing that year in professional baseball ended up setting me back much further then I could have ever imagined.
I definitely did not have the best college experience. I went to Irvine valley college not taking classes too seriously, which led to run-ins with the coach. Once I got my act together and was playing top-notch ball, of course the first injury of my entire life happens! A head-first slide ended my season on my throwing shoulder. Texas was then nowhere to be found that summer. I rehabbed that year (and am now 100% healthy by the way!)
So I moved on to play for Seminole State College in Oklahoma… talk about culture shock HA! Southern California guy going to Oklahoma on a limb was intense. I played my usual centerfield and batted lead off in Oklahoma. I don’t talk about this period in my life much, but truthfully there were many issues facing this team. The coach in Oklahoma had distractions at home and was not all there in the head mentally. So I had enough and left the team in the winter. I went back to California and played a winter at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, where I was tearing it up. I batted cleanup for the first time since my sophomore year in high school. Driving the ball to all field with power playing and I was at the top of my game. Unfortunately, I was not able to play ball that spring due to car problems and living arrangements. Talk about living in the trenches! I was there. Struggling to survive and maintain work and place of home… it was extremely difficult. I found it hard to train and deal with all that was around me. But at the end of the day, I make no excuses.
I recently tried out in May 2011 for the Independent baseball league: NAL “North American (Baseball) League”, in Pasadena, CA. That is where it all currently lays in front of me. My life is in a 180° spin for the better. I have a great job and life at home, although the baseball game continues to burn strongly inside of me. I am 26-years young in my opinion, with plenty of time to succeed in baseball. The passion is inside me. It seems that once you fall out of the baseball loop, it is very hard to get back inside the system. I am currently training and preparing for the upcoming season in a big way. I will NEVER give up! It is my vision that an organization will find this diamond in the rough. A team will view me as a 5-tool utility player. All he needs is to be given a chance. I am training and working towards a comeback because my skill level I believe is high. The fire is there. It is my time!
You can follow Loren on Twitter (@SwinGzLo) – Please feel free to contact Loren with any questions and comments that you may have!
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Thursday September 15, 2011
April Whitzman (Blue Jays Writer- MLB reports): Toronto Blue Jays fans have been asked a plethora of difficult questions this season, but none have been as tough as the following: Whose recent comeback is more impressive – Dustin McGowan’s or that of Adam Loewen?
When I was first tasked with writing this article, it was a question that I asked myself continually. Every time I responded, my answer would change. Comparable to many fans I spoke to, September 5th was a day in Blue Jays history that I will never forget. Dustin McGowan, after having three surgeries, and spending over three years away from the majors, got the call-up to return to the big leagues. I was excited for him that day and can only imagine how he must have been feeling on his return.
The same excitement McGowan felt playing in the majors, must have been shared by Adam Loewen. A former high draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, Loewen was forced to change positions from pitcher to the outfield. Loewen could have quit baseball all together; however he didn’t, as he changed positions, and chose to sign with the Blue Jays as an outfielder. Although the Orioles tried to re-sign their once star pitching prospect, Loewen chose to sign with the Jays and begin his three-year journey back to the majors. Canadian born, Loewen chose to sign with the Jays as the team he grew up cheering for. As luck would have it, two days after Dustin McGowan’s return to the big leagues, Adam Loewen would be called up to the Blue Jays to make his triumphant return as well.
PRIOR TO INJURY
Prior to their injuries and subsequent recoveries, both players left the majors on a high. Dustin McGowan made 19 starts in 2008, accumulating a record of 6-7 with 4.37 ERA. Comparatively, in 2006, reaching the major league level at the age of 22, Loewen also made 19 starts, recording a 6-6 record with a 5.37 ERA. Injuries, however, soon took their toll. Dustin McGowan would endure a torn rotator cuff, a torn labrum, and torn cartilage in his left knee. Loewen, on the other hand, experienced a stress fracture to his pitching elbow.
MINOR LEAGUE JOURNEY
Dustin McGowan began his journey back to the majors July 2011, when he was back pitching in the minor leagues with the Dunedin Blue Jays. In seven games, he recorded a 0-2 record with a 2.87 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched, holding opponents to a 228 batting average. After a great performance with Dunedin, he was next sent to double-A. Through five starts with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, McGowan saw both an increase in workload and results, including a record of 0-2 and a 2.47 ERA in 19.2 innings.
Loewen started out in high-A Dunedin in 2009 and hit .236 with 4 HR and 31RBI with .695 OPS in 335 at-bats. Last year, in AA New Hampshire he had a .246 average, but the power numbers improved, as the former Oriole belted 13 homers and drove in 70 runs, while posting an OPS of .763. After the Fisher Cats were eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs, he also worked on his plate discipline and power in the Arizona Fall League. This year, Loewen has proven that all of his hard work as part of his journey has been worth it. In the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, Loewen hit .308, with 17 home runs and picked up 84 RBIs. Most impressive was his .888 OPS.
SINCE MLB CALL-UP
On September sixth, against the Boston Red Sox, McGowan threw four innings, surrendering three runs on five hits. While he surrendered three walks, he also struck out five, the majority of them coming off his fastball, which was consistently hitting the mid 90s. During his first start in the MLB since 2008, on September 11th against the Baltimore Orioles, McGowan’s plate consistency wavered. He pitched three innings, allowing four earned runs, on three hits and five walks. He is presently sporting a 9.00 ERA in two games played.
BC native Adam Loewen made his first appearance with the Blue Jays the day after McGowan, on September 7th. In his first big league appearance as an outfielder Loewen went 1-3 with a run scored. His best game came September 11th, (also a McGowan Start) versus Baltimore, where he went 2-3, with a home run, which he belted to centerfield. However, many presume that Tuesday’s game against Boston, where Loewen went 0-4 with two strikeouts was his worst game thus far in a Blue Jays uniform. Yet, I would like to point out, Loewen made a stupendous catch over the centerfield wall during that game to rob a home run away from the Red Sox, which in my eyes made up for the poor day at the plate. The young Canadian is presently sporting a .300 average with three hits, two runs and a home run, with no walks and four strikeouts.
Both Adam Loewen and Dustin McGowan have come a long way since their respective career threatening injuries during the middle part of the decade. Each player symbolizes the heart and hustle motto that the Toronto Blue Jays have been preaching this year, as neither ever thought of quitting the game despite adversity. The determination Loewen and McGowan have each shown in wanting to come back to Major League Baseball has also been extremely impressive. Despite the small sample of success each has shown this month, I would suggest that both could be integral parts to a Blue Jays playoff run in the non-too-distant future. Thus, returning back to the central question of whose return was more impressive… I would have to say – – both.
What’s your opinion on the returns of Loewen and McGowan? You can comment below, reach us by email at MLBreports@gmail.com and you can add me on twitter at @Alleycat17. I look forward to hearing from you!
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.