Spring Training is now under way, and I think it is a good time to reveal my predictions for the entire infield for the upcoming 2009 season.
Lyle Overbay is looking to re-gain his 2006 form, when he hit .290, over 20 home runs and 90 RBI while leading the team in doubles. He is already out for a week with some injury problems, but this one should not affect his performance for the upcoming season.
Although I don't expect him to be as good as he once was, look for him to have a much better 2009 then 2008 season. He has a tendency to ground into a lot of double plays, but also walked more then anyone else on the team
2008 Stats: .270 AVG, .358 OBP, 15 HR, 69 RBI, 74 R, 1 SB in 158 games
2009 Projections: .284 AVG, .364 OBP, 18 HR, 78 RBI, 83 R, 2 SB in 155 games
Aaron Hill had a very disappointing season last year. First, he started off really slow, then just as he was starting to heat up, he collided with David Eckstein and got himself a concussion, ultimately ending his season.
Fortunately, Hill is back with a clean slate this year and it looks like he will be back to his normal self, something the Jays desperately need.
2008 Stats: .263 AVG, .324 OBP, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 19 R, 4 SB in 55 games
2009 Projections: .290 AVG, .339 OBP, 14 HR, 72 RBI, 90 R, 8 SB in 150 games
A trade that went under the radar last year was when JP Ricciardi acquired Scutaro from the Oakland Athletics. Thought to be nothing more then a bench player, Scutaro managed to place third on the team in at-bats and had himself a good season.
Scutaro is expected to be the starting shortstop for the Jays in 2009.
2008 Stats: .267 AVG, .341 OBP, 7 HR, 60 RBI, 76 R, 7 SB in 145 games
2009 Projections: .258 AVG, .335 OBP, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 51 R, 3 SB in 121 games
Traded for Troy Glaus during the off-season before 2008, Rolen battled shoulder problems all year, which was to be expected. It did not help that Troy Glaus put together a healthy, all-star worthy season, hitting for almost 30 home runs and falling just one RBI short of 100.
Do not expect much from him this season, although the modified swing he is working on may help a little.
2008 Stats: .262 AVG, .349 OBP, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 58 R, 5 SB in 115 games
2009 Projections: .272 AVG, .350 OBP, 14 HR, 64 RBI, 71 R, 5 SB in 130 games
Expected to be nothing more then a backup to Gregg Zaun, Barajas took the number one job when Zaun struggled early on and then got seriously injured. Barajas had an average season by his standards, but the Jays will need to upgrade at catcher sometime in the future to be a true contender.
2008 Stats: .249 AVG, .294 OBP, 11 HR, 49 RBI, 44 R, 0 SB in 104 games
2009 Projections: .244 AVG, .295 OBP, 9 HR, 49 RBI, 55 R, 0 SB in 114 games
Keep in mind that the bench players will have their own article for predictions, so do not think that I just forgot about Joe Inglett, John McDonald, Michael Barrett, and the others.