With spring training back in full swing (pun INTENDED), it’s been great to see all of my faves, I’m talking to you Osuna, back on the field preparing for the upcoming season, which has got me thinking, are the 2017 Blue Jays World Series material?

Now, of course since I’m a diehard fan of the Toronto Blue Jays I’m going to say yes because I want my team every year, I believe in the Jays every year, to bring the World Series trophy back to Canada but if I’m being truly honest with myself, do they have what it takes to go all the way?

In the 2016-2017 offseason, we’ve lost some great players including Edwin Encarnacion to the Cleveland Indians (my heart will forever be broken), Michael Saunders to the Phillies (not Michael!), RA Dickey to Atlanta (the knuckleball will be forever be missed) and lefty Brett Cecil to the Cardinals (is it bad not to feel sad about him gone?) But, the Blue Jays are still an extremely strong team offensively and defensively. Let me start with the rotation.

ROTATION 4.5/5

If I haven’t said it already, I’ll say it now: I honestly think the Blue Jays rotation is one of the best in the bigs.

Last year, Aaron Sanchez, who was supposed to switch to the bullpen once his limits of innings was up to conserve his arm, didn’t take that path which ultimately was a very good decision as he lead the American League with the best ERA of 3.00. Applause necessary.

JA Happ, who had a 20-4 record and finished 5th in voting for the Cy Young last season, is commonly overlooked but is a force to be reckoned with. He flies under the radar and comes up with 20 wins in his pocket.

Any day Marcus Stroman pitches is first, just a great day on its own. How can anybody not smile when the StroShow pitches? Haters that’s who but seriously, when he pitches, the bullpen usually always gets a break because of his long (and quality) outings that are most of the time 7 innings. He pitched 204.0 innings last season and surely can pitch 200+ once again this year.

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P Marcus Stroman, photo courtesy of RantSports

 

 I love Marco Estrada, he kind of reminds me of a cute penguin if that makes any sense at all or is just plain weird, but every time he throws a pitch (might I add, usually a strike. He had 165 last season) I cringe thinking he’s going to hurt his back. Yes, he has back problems, but when healthy, he is dominant. Knock on wood.

The Blue Jays just recently signed starting pitcher Mat Latos  who would fit quite nicely in the already superior rotation but it’ll all depend on spring training.

BULLPEN 2.5/5

I’d like for everyone who says the Blue Jays bullpen sucks to, in the nicest way possible, to shut up just for a second because even though they don’t necessarily have an A+ pen, it’s pretty okay if you ask me.

My man, my everything, Roberto Osuna (is my obsession too obvious??) as their closer is an extremely harmonious position for a person like him.  He’s calm, cool,collected and that’s the kind of person you need in high pressured situations. No panic. At this rate, he’s on track to be the next Mariano Rivera. Maybe even better?

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Closer Roberto Osuna, photo courtesy Toronto Star

 

With Osuna alone, we’d be fine but we also the help of the amazing Jason Grilli who “fires up the grill” in the 8th. He gets the crowd fired up and channels that energy into good pitching.

Joe Biagini is quickly turning into one of my faves but the guy’s absolutely. But you can’t blame him, he’s a Gemini. Word was going around that the Blue Jays were thinking of putting him in the rotation as the 5th starter but now with the acquirement of Mat Latos, he’ll stay in the pen. For the days however that our starters aren’t rocking (which I’m guessing won’t happen often as our SPs are amazing), he can be the long man. He’s an extremely talented pitcher that is sadly often overlooked.

Now I know a 3 man bullpen simply cannot hold up a tea,, their arms will give out but we also have the new addition of lefty (yes, I said lefty!) J.P. Howell, Aaron Loup and perhaps Ryan Tepera. Hey, at least their not Drew Storen.

BATTING 4/5

The Blue Jays batting order has always been known for producing homers, RBIs and runs thanks to the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson but with the departure of EE to Cleveland (still hurts) can the Jays offense still hold up to its title as one of the best in baseball? Is that even a question? Of course!

Yes, the absence of Encarnacion does slightly hurt the offense as he was the primary source of their homers (42 last season, tied for 3rd) but a lineup that has Donaldson AND Bautista is going to scare any pitcher. More frightening when Edwin was part of it but they have the addition of 1B/DH Kendrys Morales, a practical clone of Encarnacion. With those 3, we can have 90, 100 homers easy.

But let’s not forget about the rest of our stars that shine in our lineup, those who don’t belt out 40 homers. Power is not everything.

Troy Tulowitzki offers lots with his power, 20+ home runs generally and his excellent position at short. He is a great piece to the lineup when he’s actually in it. He is unfortunately injury prone but he can stay healthy, the Jays will have nothing to worry about.

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SS Troy Tulowitzki, photo courtesy of MLB.com

 

Now there are some Russell Martin haters, I truly hate those people, saying he sucks offensively but if you look at his stats from last year you can see he’s not. Generally, catchers aren’t power hitters but last year Russell Martin had 20 home runs, tied for 5th which is pretty good for a catcher as the most home runs last year by that position was 27 by the Dodgers Yasmani Grandal. So stop hating on Russ!

Melvin Upton Jr. Devon Travis, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar are all key pieces to the lineup and bring crucial hits to the team. They may pay quiet, but their numbers are loud.

FIELDING 3.5/5

I’m going to make this short and sweet. We have Kevin “Superman” Pillar in center, JD at 3rd doing his magic, Russ behind the plate, Tulo at short doing double plays, Goins, Travis and Barney (all equally amazing) at 2nd and Joey Bats in right. Need I say more.

 

I think I answered my question. With the team’s score graded on their rotation, bullpen, batting and fielding, they got a 14.5/20. Maybe they can’t or maybe they can “bring home the bacon” this year but I do believe with all the extremely talented players this team has, they will make it to the playoffs, whether it’s by reigning the east or the wildcard. Either way, this team is going to play some amazing ball and I’m more than ready to watch and enjoy.

 

 

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