2009 MLB Preview: #22 Toronto Blue Jays

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Offseason Movement: The Jays added pitchers Brian Burres, Matt Bush, Matt Clement and Ken Takahashi as well as catcher Michael Barrett, outfielder Jason Lane and first basemen Kevin Millar. Outside of Barrett, Millar and maybe Lane, none of Toronto’s offseason additions are expected to make the Opening Day roster. And Barrett started 1 for 16 in spring training, so, good luck with that.

Top Prospect: Travis Snider, OF
Snider is a true power hitting prospect who has a long swing but above average plate discipline. The Jays hope he can develop into an player that hits for extra bases and who can drive the ball to all parts of the field. He’ll probably never hit for average, but his power should more than make up for it and he has a great arm for the outfield. Thus far, the 21-year old is hitting .371 with six extra-base hits in 35 at-bats in spring training.

The Big Question: What’s after Halladay in the rotation?
The Jays know exactly what they’ll get out of Halladay every fifth day – dominance. But outside of a win every fifth day, Toronto doesn’t have much to look forward to in terms of their starting pitching staff. Jesse Litsch, David Purcey, Scott Richmond and Casey Janssen/Matt Clement/Dustin McGowan form a rotation filled with question marks and uncertainty. This is one of the most unproven rotations in baseball and Cito Gaston better have his finger on the bullpen dial all season long.

Outlook: While every club in the AL East improved this offseason, the Blue Jays stayed pat. None of their offseason moves will have an impact this season and while most teams could do worse than a lineup comprised of Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, Marco Scutaro, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, they could also do much better, too. The lineup defies the word “meh” and the starting rotation, save for Roy Halladay, will struggle. The defense is very good, but an injury to Rios or Wells (which is likely in Wells’ case) leaves the outfield awfully thin. Expecting the Jays to sniff 90 wins again like they did last in a tough division might not be realistic.

Projection: 4th AL East

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