2009 Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays (86- 76) are not a bad team, they just aren't good enough to win the AL East. The fact is Toronto just doesn't have the depth or talent to compete against the Yankees, Red Sox or Rays.

Starter Roy Halladay (20- 11 W/L, 2.78 ERA, .237 BAA) is a number one on any team. He works counts efficiently and can go deep into games. He possesses great command of his 90-94 mph fastball and offers an effective curve and changeup for variety. Jesse Litsch (13- 9 W/L, 3.58 ERA, .261 BAA) is an aggressive starter who throws strikes, utilizing an active curve and a sinking fastball. Dustin McGowan (6- 7 W/L, 4.37 ERA, .273 BAA) is good at eating up innings, however he was lost last season to a shoulder injury and is a question mark for 2009. Casey Jansen, who missed last season with a torn right labrum, is an efficient pitcher who can start and relieve. There's a decent group of relievers on board, which is led by quality closer B.J. Ryan (2.95 ERA, 32 SV, .216 BAA).

Overall, this is a team that needs more clout at the plate and more speed on the base paths. Last year, the club was 22nd in RBI, 24th in home runs and 20th in stolen bases. Vernon Wells (.300 BA, 78 RBI, 20 HR) and Alex Rios (.291 BA, 79 RBI, 15 HR) are the two most productive hitters on the team. Wells is an excellent fastball hitter but he often takes bad swipes at pitches out of the strike zone. Rios is a natural hitter who shows excellent plate coverage and quick wrists.

The infield offers some better-than-average defense, including a good double play combo in second baseman Aaron Hill and short stop John McDonald. Scott Rolen at third has a good glove and an accurate arm, but he's had a tough time staying healthy. Lyle Overbay lacks range at first but has good hands. Behind the plate, Rod Barajas needs to show improvement in just about every area. Wells is a fine centerfielder who can make tough plays look easy, and Rios, in right, has excellent fielding tools.

When General Manager J.P. Ricciardi took over in 2001 and made some aggressive deals, there was a lot of hope in Toronto. But after a string of 80-win seasons, Ricciardi, who is a passionate GM, has become the focus of fan and media criticism. In September, the general manager lost his biggest supporter when team president Paul Godfrey resigned. There's been a string of managers under Ricciardi. Last year, the club brought back former manager Cito Gasten, who carries a calming influence wherever he goes.

From 1991- 1993, the Jays won an average of 94 games per season and took three AL East titles in a row. That was under manager Gaston. And although this team is a long way from doing that again, some believe that change is in the air. If this club doesn't show improvement soon, Ricciardi will be gone.

Read more on the Blue Jays other AL East division opponents, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

For more info on the Blue Jays check out the MLB official page for Toronto baseball.


2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews

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