Folks,,, the 2017 baseball season is upon us and the Blue Jays are looking to make their 3rd straight postseason appearance.
For those of you who have never read my Jays work, it can be described as “half-assed” at best. If you’re looking for facts and stats, there’s the door.
Now that the Nerds are gone, let’s get this bad boy started.
It goes without saying their are some big question marks with Edwin Encarnacion now no longer with the team but I’m here to reassure you all that things are fine… I hope.
While Edwin might be gone, the rest of the infield is the same as last years. Led by Donaldson at third, the Blue Jays infield will consist of Tulo at short, Travis at second, Martin at home and the prince of going down hacking, Justin Smoak at first. Defensively, the Jays should be fine, obviously I’d rather have Edwin at first, the guy was an underrated defender but Smoak won’t kill us here. Where Smoak hurts the infield, is at bat. Everyone knows how great of a hitter Edwin was for the Blue Jays and to lose that type of production, will hurt. Luckily the Jays brought in DH-man Kendrys Morales, who will look to make up for some of the production lost with Edwin’s departure.
The outfield will be the biggest question mark for the Jays. Pillar will lead the outfield at centre and will look to continue doing his best superman impersonation. Along with Pillar, Jose Bautista will once again be out in right. Do I like the idea of Jose Bautista in right? Fuck no! But if he can keep the ball in front of him and not make any stupid, costly errors, he should be fine. On the plus side, I don’t know if there’s a better Jose Bautista then a pissed off one and you better believe Jose is pissed off, after no team looked to acquire his services this offseason. Jose was more-or-less forced to come back to the Jays with his tail between his legs and this is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Jose hit 35+ bombs. Left field will be the biggest question mark for the Jays as Captain Canada, Michael Saunders is no longer with the team. Before I would’ve thought that the player formerly known as B.J. Ryan would be starting in left but he was just released by the Jays, so there goes that. That leaves, Ezequiel Carrera and Steve Pierce to man left. Zeke was clutch as fuck in the postseason but I don’t expect much from him in the regular season and Pearce has never played a full season in his career. Now, I would like to blame management for either not retaining Saunders or seeking out a better player in left but instead, I shall blame none other then Dalton Pompey, I call him Dalton Pompeii because so far his time with the Jays has been a disaster. If Pompey had developed into the player he was suppose to, we wouldn’t even care that we have a hollowed corpse in right.
Pitching will be the Jays strongpoint which is crazy to think. I don’t know if in my years as a jays fan, that our pitching has been better then our hitting. Granted the 2000’s haven’t been kind to either pitchers or hitters for the Jays but the Jays enter 2017 with one of the best pitching staff’s in the Majors. Who would guess that the AL ERA leader would end up pitching 5th for the Jays. Sanchez is dealing with a minor injury, which is one of the reasons he sees himself at 5th and as the season progresses, I wouldn’t be shocked if Sanchez works his way up all the way to the 1 spot, I genuinely think he’ll be that good.
Relief pitching will be sketchy, per-usj. Besides Osuna, I don’t have the highest of hopes for our relievers, hopefully I’m wrong though. Osuna will be starting the season on the DL which is never something you want to see, but I’d rather have him out for the first two weeks of the season, then at the end.
Most Improved: Devon Travis
Barring injury, I expect Devon Travis to have the biggest turnaround for the Jays. Travis managed to hit 14 homers last year, which isn’t bad considering last year was his second full year with the Jays and even that was marred with injuries. I think Travis can easily produce 20 if not 25 homers for the Jays, helping make up for the loss production of Edwin Encarnacion.
Best Pitcher: J.A. Happ
As big as a Sanchez fan as I am, I still think Happ will be the best Jays pitcher for the second straight year. I can’t really come up with any reason for why his production should fall off. He’s been more then consistent over the last 2 years and continues to prove the haters (for which there are many) wrong. I see him going 17-5
Best Hitter: Josh Donaldson
Duh…. 35 homers and 103 RBIs for the bringer of Rain
The Cito Gaston Homecoming Award
Come on……. Do the right thing Shapiro, bring the Crazy Canuck back home. Look at how sad he’s gotten.
What’s there to lose bringing him back? If Gibby deserved a second chance with the Jays, why not Lawrie? Plus, look at the last couple Jays who returned after fooling around with another team, Happ, Navarro, toss in Lawrie and that’s quite the island of misfit toys you got there. Not to mention, bringing back Lawrie would be the ultimate FU to that senile nerd Billy Beane.
88-74. One more loss then last year but still good enough to make the AL Wild Card. I think the Red Sox will reclaim their AL East crown but that doesn’t mean I think they’ll be making it farther then the Jays come postseason time. The first month or two could be difficult for Jays fans’ as we’ll have to adapt to being Encarnacion-less but I still have high hopes for this team. The Jays still have all the right pieces to make a strong postseason push and I think they’ll do just that.
Follow me on twitter @McFultz1Percent for live tweets during Jays games. Except for the season opener… goddamn 4th year presentations!