Publish date:

3 BLUE JAYS

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP TORONTO

There's a range of outcomes. They could be in the wild-card hunt, but I could also see them as a 90-loss team and big sellers at the deadline.... It wasn't sexy, but adding Randal Grichuk and Curtis Granderson were very good moves: They're much better defensively with those two guys to go with a Gold Glove--caliber centerfielder in Kevin Pillar.... I think we can say now that Troy Tulowitzki will never come back to becoming the player he was—he hasn't been healthy this spring. His leg issues are a real problem.... Josh Donaldson is an MVP candidate when he's healthy, but given that he's 32 and given the way this game is trending, he's going to be in for a rude awakening in the market. Those Albert Pujols and Jayson Werth--type deals are long gone.... Justin Smoak is a classic case of a guy needing at bats to figure it out. He's a legit middle of the order guy now, a 31-year-old who's trending upward.... Aaron Sanchez is healthy and primed for a good season, but beyond that the rotation is terrifying. Marcus Stroman is a little guy with major torque in his delivery; his shoulder issues are frightening.... This organization gave up a lot to make their playoff runs a few years ago. I don't blame them for that, but now the lack of depth is really going to start to show. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

One reason the Blue Jays failed to meet expectations last year was the right middle finger of righthanded starter Aaron Sanchez. A blister and split nail limited him to just 36 innings in 2017. An All-Star in '16 in his first full season in the rotation, Sanchez made just eight starts last year. His replacements were a disaster. Of the nine pitchers the Jays used to patch their rotation, eight had ERAs of at least 5.13. This spring Sanchez seems to have a healthy hand. In three appearances, he struck out almost a third of the batters he faced. Any chance the Jays have of pressing the Red Sox and Yankees, or of getting back to the wild-card game, starts with a full season from Sanchez. Toronto fans have their fingers crossed.

OVER / UNDER

81

A once vaunted lineup was—surprisingly—one of baseball's worst last year. Better health and consistency will get Toronto to over .500.

THE LINEUP

1. SECOND BASE

Devon Travis

.275 BA/12 HR/7 SB

2. THIRD BASE

Josh Donaldson

.273 BA/.535 SLG/35 HR

3. FIRST BASE

Justin Smoak

.253 BA/.478 SLG/30 HR

4. DH

Kendrys Morales

.259 BA/.466 SLG/23 HR

FANTASY BREAKOUT

5. RIGHTFIELD

Randal Grichuk

.241 BA/25 HR/5 SB

As a Cardinal he hit 22 and 24 HRs the past two seasons; in Toronto, he could hit 30.

6. CENTERFIELD

Kevin Pillar

.269 BA/12 HR/16 SB HR

7. SHORTSTOP

Troy Tulowitzki

.254 BA/.439 SLG/16 HR

8. CATCHER

Russell Martin

.231 BA/.409 SLG/15 HR

9. LEFTFIELD

Curtis Granderson

.242 BA/16 HR/5 SB

THE STAFF

1. RH STARTER

Marcus Stroman

13 W/3.88 ERA/1.32 WHP

2. LH STARTER

J.A. Happ

11 W/4.31 ERA/1.31 WHP

3. RH STARTER

Aaron Sanchez

8 W/4.43 ERA/1.43 WHP

4. RH STARTER

Marco Estrada

10 W/5.01 ERA/1.36 WHP

CLOSER

Roberto Osuna

32 SV/1.12 WHP/10.4 K9

THE SKIPPER

John Gibbons