2007 Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Preview
In 2006, the Toronto Blue Jays (87- 75) finished second in the AL but missed the Wild Card spot by more than a week’s worth of games. During the off-season, GM J.P. Ricciardi did not make the big deal for a top pitcher. With Boston improved and the Yanks still formidable, it could mean the team from Canada finishes third.
If Roy Halladay (16- 5, 3.19 ERA) and A.J. Burnett (10- 8, 3.98 ERA) remain healthy, the Jays will have a chance at the post-season. Lefty Gustavo Chacin (9- 4, 5.05 ERA) and righties Shaun Marcum (3- 4, 5.06 ERA) and Casey Janssen (6- 10, 5.07 ERA.) must all produce consistently. Closer B.J.Ryan (2- 2, 1.37 ERA, 38 SV) has been a rugged competitor.
The Jays have a line-up that includes Vernon Wells (.303 AVG, 106 RBI, 32 HR), Alex Rios (302 AVG, 892 RBI, 17 HR) and Reed Johnson (.319 AVG, 49 RBI, 12 HR). The newly signed Frank Thomas (.270 AVG, 114 RBI, 39 HR) will be a fine combo with Troy Glaus (252 AVG, 38 HR)—providing potent power. Aaron Hill (.291 AVG, 50 RBI, 6 HR) and Lyle Overbay (.312 AVG, 92 RBI, 22 HR) are very productive.
In the field, the double play combo of aging SS Royce Clayton and defensively challenged second baseman Hill looks tenuous. Glaus is a versatile performer at third base. In center, Wells has won three Gold Gloves and with Johnson playing left and Rios roaming right, Toronto has a fine outfield.
Manager John Gibbons is seen by some as being a good leader in the clubhouse and by others as a hothead. Remember last season when he challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fight? He’s in his final contract year and will have to come through to save his post. If the wheels fall off of the Yankee and Red Sox, the Jays have a chance.
The Blue Jays have power and some fine pitching but probably not enough of both to be in the mix in September. Health is a concern as is the talent and skill in the back end of the rotation.
For more info on the Blue Jays check out the MLB official page for Toronto baseball.