FanPost

Why can't they contend in 2010?

It seems to be the general consensus among Jays followers that the 2010 season is a write off, and that there are better seasons not too far ahead - some say as early as 2011.  I'm not so sure that 2010 can't be a season where they contend.  What's so different from 2010 to 2011?  Let's take a closer look.

Position

2010

2011

The Winner

1B

Lyle Overbay with possible platoon of Ruiz/Dopirak

Brett Wallace (rookie)

Lyle Overbay is good folks.  In a healthy contract year, expect him to perform better than recently.  He may even hit .300/.400/.500 in a platoon role.

Wallace on the other hand, will be a rookie, even though he probably gets a 2010 September callup.  Don’t expect too much on 2011 for a guy who projects to eventually become an Overbay type.  Winner 2010

2B

Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill

Hill won’t be declining anytime soon, so I expect similar performances in 10 and 11.  A tie

SS

Alex Gonzalez

Alex Gonzalez

With no imminent options at SS, and continued poor FA market, expect him back in 11.  He may or may not decline.  Winner 2010

3B

Edwin Encarnacion

To be determined

The FA market is thin, and the Jays don’t really have anyone in the system to plug into 3B in 2011.  Perhaps AA trades some pitching to get a 3B.  Either way, it’s hard to say whether we’ll see an upgrade in 2011 or not.  However, a healthy Encarnacion under Butterfield’s supervision may surprise in 2010.  A tie?

C

John Buck

JP Arencibia (rookie)

John Buck is an average catcher offensively and defensively.  I think Arencibia will take a step forward in AAA this year, and will win the 2011 job.  However, to expect him to perform better than John Buck would be a stretch.  It would be interesting to see what kind of prospect Buck was, when he was in the system – he was probably regarded highly, as is Arencibia.

Winner 2010

LF

Adam Lind

Adam Lind

He’s a monster and will remain a monster through 2011.  Interestingly, apparently he hit better  in 2009 on games where he was in the field.  A tie

CF

Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells

I expect a bounce-back seasons for Wells.  I can just smell.  However, he is getting older, and his physical skills are clearly declining.  So for that reason, we should expect at least a slightly better season in 2010 than 2011.  Winner 2010

RF

Travis Snider

Travis Snider

When will Travis Snider explode.  That is the question.  He’s young, but we’ve all seen glimpses of what he can do.  His power to all fields is very encouraging.  I think, given his young age, he’ll probably continue progressing, and ultimately be better in 2011 and 2010, but really who knows, maybe he hits 40 HR in 2010, and then the benchmark is pretty high for 2011 wouldn’t it?  Winner 2011

DH

Randy Ruiz

Randy Ruiz/Dopirak/insert free agent

The DH/RF/LF situation is difficult to project.  Ruiz is a personal favourite of mine, so I’ll plug him in there and predict that he’ll have a big year in 2010.  Although he ‘s older, he’s not showing any signs of declining.  A tie

#1 SP

Shaun Marcum

Brandon Morrow

This is one spot where I expect to see an upgrade from 2010 to 2011.  Though Marcum should be solid in 2010, I hope to see Morrow spectacular in 2011.  Winner 2011

#2 SP

Ricky Romero

Shaun Marcum

I’ll take a 2011 Marcum over a 2010 Romero.  Winner 2011

#3 SP

Brandon Morrow

Kyle Drabek

A developing Morrow should be about the same as a rookie Drabek  Tie

#4 SP

Mark Rzepczynski

Mark Rzepczynski or Jesse Litsch

I’ll call this a tie, unless Jesse Litsch comes back with a vengeance and becomes clearly superior to Zep.  Tie

#5 SP

Brett Cecil

Zach Stewart or Romero or Cecil or Litsch

Although I think last year did a lot to get Cecil ready for a solid 2010 season, it is clear that there are more options in 2011.  For that reason, I’ll give the edge to 2011.

Bench

McDonald, Bautista, Chavez, Jeremy Reed

McDonald, insert 3 others

It’s difficult to project who will be the bench players in 2011.  Given the minor role the bench plays, it would be difficult to justify that 2011 will be that much better than 2010 due to the bench. 

Closer

Jason Frasor

Dustin McGowan

One can dream of an upgrade here.  Who knows.  Tie

Set up

Scott Downs

Jeremy Accardo

I’m a Downs fan, and would prefer him to almost anyone in the set up role  Winner 2010

Set up

Jeremy Accardo

Merkin Valdez

I’m just guessing here.  So for that reason, I’ll call it a tie.

MR

Jesse Carlson

Jesse Carlson

Tie

MR

Merkin Valdez

Tim Collins

Tie

LR

Shawn Camp

Scott Richmond

Tie

LR

Brian Tallet

One of the leftover SP’s is converted

Winner 2011

I guess, given the multiple uncertainties, this was really a pointless exercise.  However, if there is point in this, it is that improvements from 2010 to 2011 are not a clear certainty.  Though 2011 seems to indicate that there are more viable options for the starting rotations, it is still impossible to predict who will perform well and when, at the major league level.  I don't mean this to be pessimistic at all.  Instead, it's more to point out the 2010 might be OK after well.  We just never know when things can come together.




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