MADISON, February 26, 2014 — Over the next few weeks this column will unveil MLB Power Rankings starting with the weakest team and working towards the strongest. Today the process continues by looking at number 20, the Toronto Blue Jays.
2013 Record: 74-88 with a -44 run differential.
Key Additions: C Dioner Navarro and 3B Brent Morel,
Key Losses: IF Mark DeRosa, C JP Arencibia and RHP Josh Johnson
2014 Projected Lineup:
SS Jose Reyes
OF Melky Cabrera
OF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
3B Brett Lawrie
1B Adam Lind
OF Colby Rasmus
C Dioner Navarro
2B Maicer Izturis
2014 Projected Rotation:
Kyle Drabek/Esmil Rogers
Best Case: The Blue Jays close the off season by signing SP Ervin Santana who, although not spectacular, solidifies the rotation. Jose Reyes stays healthy all year and posts numbers similar to his 2011 season when he had a .337/.384/.493 slash line while leading the NL in doubles with 16 triples in just 126 games. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion form one of the best power tandems in baseball combining for 80 HR’s. Colby Rasmus posts numbers similar to his .276/.338/.501 slash line and establishes himself as one of the top hitters entering the free agent market. RHP Marcus Stroman is called up in June and assumes a spot in the rotation becoming one of the top contenders for AL ROY in the process. The Blue Jays bullpen carries over its success from last year led by Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil.
Worst Case: Toronto experiences a repeat of the disastrous 2013. Jose Reyes has two trips to the DL. Jose Bautista spends too much time following everyone on twitter and sees his slugging percentage dip further to .470. Adam Lind disappoints making his .288/.357/.497 2013 slash line appear to be a mirage. R.A. Dickey shows that even the best knuckleball pitchers cannot defy Father Time forever. Brett Lawrie continues to have his career derailed by injuries and plays just 75 games after suffering multiple injuries. Brandon Morrow struggles with both injuries and his command again in 2014.
Prospect Watch: The Blue Jays took RHP Marcus Stroman with their first pick in the 2012 draft, and despite many people doubting his size he looks to be a keeper. Stroman posted a 3.30 ERA with 129 K’s in just 111.1 innings in AA last year and could see time with the big club in Toronto by the end, or even the beginning, of 2014. Aaron Sanchez has the frame that tantalizes scouts but has struggled with his command, which has slowed his progress. Sanchez spent last year at High A, despite being drafted two years prior to Stroman, logging 86.1 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 75 K’s. OF DJ Davis and SS Franklin Barreto both spent last year in Rookie Ball. Both have the tools to make it to the majors, but the Blue Jays will need to be patient with them to see their potential actualized.