Predicting the 2013 Starting Lineup of the Toronto Blue Jays
However, inconsistent play and injuries appear to have spoiled what looked to be a promising season.
With many of their everyday players on the disabled list or out with nagging injuries, Toronto Blue Jays fans are getting an early glimpse of what the future may look like as Yan Gomes, David Cooper, Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Adeiny Hechavarria have all been summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has done a tremendous job of reshaping the club and hasn’t been afraid to pull the trigger and make a trade since taking over from J.P Ricciardi on October 3, 2009.
Perhaps his best move came during the winter of 2011 when he unloaded Vernon Wells and his gigantic contract ($86 million over four years) to the Los Angeles Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.
Under Anthopoulous, the Jays have acquired Brandon Morrow, Yunel Escobar, Colby Rasmus, Kelly Johnson, prospects Travis D’Arnaud and Anthony Gose. And they have recently bolstered an overworked bullpen, bringing in J.A Happ, Brandon Lyon, Brad Lincoln and Steve Delabar to Toronto.
As of August 7, the Jays rank fifth in the majors in runs scored, while their 152 home runs trail only the New York Yankees’ 169.
The Jays have several key pieces already in place, but with a few additions, they could become a force in the AL East.
Staying put: J.P Arencibia C, Jose Bautista OF, Edwin Encarnacion 1B/DH, Kelly Johnson 2B or Yunel Escobar SS, Brett Lawrie 3B and Colby Rasmus OF.
On the way out: Kelly Johnson 2B or Yunel Escobar SS, Adam Lind 1B and LF situation.
The Jays will need to decide between Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar, since there’s a strong possibility that Adeiny Hechavarria will begin the 2013 season in the majors.
Johnson got off to a strong start (nine homers and 26 RBI) in April and May, but he has struggled since, combining for just two home runs and 13 RBI in June and July.
He offers the Jays a decent on-base percentage, some power and a left-handed bat in a predominantly right-handed lineup, but he strikes out too often.
He is set to become a free agent after the season.
Escobar’s best season with the Jays came in 2011 (.290 AVG, 77 R, 11 HR, 48 RBI), but perhaps his most impressive stat was his .369 on-base percentage.
Offensively, he doesn’t strike out as often as Johnson, but he also doesn’t offer as much power. He is signed through 2013, and the Jays hold 2014 and 2015 team options.
Prediction: Jays go with Escobar, and Hechavarria takes over for Johnson at second base.
Adam Lind was placed on waivers earlier this season and was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas after batting just .186 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 34 games.
To his credit, he has played much better since his call-up. Prior to being placed on the disabled list, he’s posted a .287 average while adding five home runs and 16 RBI in 24 games.
Nonetheless, it is difficult to envision him as part of the roster next season, given that the Jays were willing to lose him for nothing earlier in the year. He will be in a new uniform in 2013.
Prediction: Jays make a big push for David Ortiz.
Left field has been a problem for the Jays this season.
Eric Thames was named the Opening Day left-fielder after beating out Travis Snider for the starting job, but he was later optioned to Las Vegas after putting up Lind-like numbers.
In 43 games, he batted .243 with three home runs and 11 RBI.
Snider was recalled from Triple-A on July 7 and hit .250 with three homers and eight RBI in 10 games.
However, both players are no longer in the organization's long-term plans, as they were moved in separate deadline deals that brought a pair of right-handed relievers to Toronto.
The Jays have used eight different players in left field this season and will need more stability at that position in 2013.
For the season, Toronto's left fielders have combined for a .256 average, 46 runs, eight homers, 40 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.
The speedy Rajai Davis has received the bulk of the starts in left field and has been effective at times, but he's better suited as a No. 4 outfielder
Prediction: Jays add Nick Swisher.
2013 Opening Day Lineup
Brett Lawrie - 3B
Colby Rasmus -CF
Jose Bautista- RF
David Ortiz - DH
Edwin Encarnacion - 1B
Nick Swisher - LF
J.P Arencibia - C
Yunel Escobar - SS
Adeiny Hechavarria - 2B
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