The Blue Jays arguably have the best offense in baseball. Their lineup is loaded with power hitters who have contended for homer run titles. They also have speed and defense. One underwhelming aspect of their game is pitching. They lost David Price and Mark Buehrle this offseason and replaced them with J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez. Their rotation needs to step up if they want to repeat as AL East champions.
Can Josh Donaldson win another MVP award?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Toronto Blue Jays.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 93-69
Key Additions: SP J.A. Happ, RP Drew Storen, RP Jesse Chavez, SP Gavin Floyd, RP Franklin Morales & RP Arnold Leon
Key Losses: SP David Price, SP Mark Buehrle, SS Cliff Pennington, RP Liam Hendriks, RP LaTroy Hawkins, C Dioner Navarro, RP Mark Lowe, OF Ben Revere, RP Jeff Francis, 2B Munenori Kawasaki & RP Steve Delabar
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Russell Martin, Chris Colabello, Ryan Goins, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Saunders, Kevin Pilar, Jose Bautista & Edwin Encarnacion
Projected Starting Rotation: Marcus Stroman, Marcos Estrada, R.A. Dickey, J.A. Happ & Aaron Sanchez
Closer: Roberto Osuna
Fantasy Sleeper: Toronto First Basemen – If Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak were one player, they’d be a fantasy stud. Unfortunately, they split time at first base, but each player has their own qualities that could be useful in fantasy. Colabello has some power and hits for a really nice average. Smoak has a little more power, but doesn’t hit for a great average. I streamed both players in and out a lot last season. They are two of those guys that are just essential if your team gets hit with injuries.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto just signed the 16-year old last July, but he’s a guy that you will want to follow from the start. He has huge power for a young kid and he has his father’s ability to hit balls thrown all over the zone. He’s not going to sniff the big leagues for probably four or five years, but I hope he’s half as good as his father.
Team Analysis: The Blue Jays made some huge deals in the lastcalendar year. First they traded for Josh Donaldson who ended up being the AL MVP last season and then acquired both David Price and Troy Tulowitzki at the trade deadline last year. They ended up winning the AL East for the first time in forever. After all those deals, general manager Alex Anthopoulos left town after the season. He is now one of the many former general managers in the Dodgers deep front office.
Mark Shapiro, who lead the Cleveland Indians front office since 1991, is the new team president and CEO. He hired Ross Atkins, who also worked with Shapiro in Cleveland, will take over for Anthopoulos.
The Blue Jays didn’t make many moves this offseason. They signed J.A. Happ who had a resurgence with Pittsburgh late last year and made some moves to bolster their bullpen. It would have been nice to see them sign another top starter since they were priced-out on trying to re-sign David Price. Their payroll is sucked up by all their offense. They clearly don’t have the extra funds to sign a top-of-the-rotation starter.
The Blue Jays will once again battle near the top of the AL East, but they will need to out-hit their opponents. I don’t have much faith in their rotation to keep the scores low. Toronto will have one of the best offensives in baseball, so they better hope their bats stay hot all year.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 86.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 85-77 (2nd in AL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.