The Blue Jays had their first full squad workout February 25. This time of year is always interesting since the fans see many of the young talent the team possesses and how this year might play out. The Blue Jays have a lot of questions regarding their daily lineup. Right now JP Arencibia is slated to be the daily catcher however he could easily lose the position. How will the 2012 starting rotation look like? These are just a few questions the Blue Jays are facing this spring training. This post is not about the questions the Jays face, but which players that fans and management should be looking at. Here is the list:
JP Arencibia/ Travis D'Arnaud: Arencibia did hit 23 home runs last year, more than any rookie catcher in Jays history. He did this though with a paltry average of .219. According to Fangraphs his BABIP was .255, meaning that he could of been unlucky last year. However, he has no plate disciple. He walked 7.4% of the time and struckout 27.4%. This means that he has an all or nothing approach which for some work, but most of the time does not yield good contact batting average numbers. Scouting reports indicate that JP will never be known for his defence and that he will only be average at best. Now, let us look at the 2011 Eastern League MVP Travis D'Arnaud. He is the man that should be causing JP to work harder and fans to be excited about. He is projected to be way better than Arencibia.
Travis Snider: This first-round pick has been a bust so far. Management and the fan base are losing their patience. If you check his stats, he has no excuse for his failure. His BABIP last year was .300, similar to the league average. Some may say he has potential because he did hit .327 in the minors last year. His BABIP of .383 shows that he was extremely lucky. This spring training he needs to prove to the coaching staff and management that he deserves to be in the big leagues this year. If he fails expect a trade.
Eric Thames: To the fans last year he was quite the surprise. He hit .262 and hit 12 homeruns. His stats show this is what he should be expecting from him regularly. For this year though, he needs to beat out Travis Snider for left field. He is 2 years older than Snider so if he fails expect a trade.
Brett Cecil: He probably wants to forget about last year. In 20 starts he had an ERA of 4.73 and won 4 games. According to his BABIP of .267 he was lucky last year. So last year could be an indicator of Brett Cecil true self. During last year spring training there was concern over his fastball and during the season struggled to touch 90 mph regularly. This years starting rotation will be harder to crack since the jays have a lot of options and a ton of pitching prospect that can crack the roster. So if he struggles in spring training and does not crack the rotation his career as a Jay will be questioned.
Kyle Drabek: Can he keep his name as one of the Jays top pitching prospect? If he keeps this up he will not. He is just 24 and still has time to learn. He seems to have the stuff however his walk rate of 6.29/9 in the majors last year and 4.92/9 in the minors show that he lacks control. Also his k/9 was around 5.5 in the majors and minors last year. These two stats show the he is essentially in trouble if he does not improve his stuff. I suggest that you disregard his ERA of 7.44 in the minors are not just since his BABIP was .378 and his FIP was 5.8. So the minors did not truly represent who he is. He has a shot of making the rotation if he can prove this spring that he can control himself and that he can still strike guys out. If he does not he will probably toil in the minors and if he does well than may receive a call up. I still have high hopes for him and he keeps working on his stuff expect big things