Harshing Your Buzz: A Sobering Reality Check for Toronto Blue Jay Fans
As I write this, my beloved Toronto Blue Jays are sitting third in the AL East (fourth overall in the AL) with an impressive early record of 16-13. This places us a mere four games behind the Yankees, for the Wild Card spot.
It's also May 6.
Have a cup of coffee, rummy.
First allow me to preface the remaining article with the following: You will be hard pressed to find a more devoted Blue Jay fan than I. However, I'm also a strict realist who deals in honest, factual reasoning and absolutely does not suffer fools. I'm a shotgun diplomat who leaves the platitudes for the horde of Pavlov's Dogs that seem to inhabit the sporting news blogosphere.
As for the Jays, sometimes you just need to tell your girlfriend "yes honey, you do look fat in that dress."
At first glance a 16-13 record looks fairly impressive for a team that was supposed to be a bottom feeder this year. However, when you dig a little deeper you'll notice that it just isn't the case.
We have yet to play New York, Detroit, Minnesota, or Seattle and we still have 16 games left to play against Tampa and Boston. That leaves 99 games left against winning teams from '09—not including 12 games against the Rockies, Giants, Cards and Phillies, all winning teams from the NL.
At our current pace we are looking at a record of 33-66 against the winning teams in the AL. Lets say we run just over .500 during Inter-league games at 8-7, that leaves us at 41-73.
48 games left to play against the worst of the AL.
Lets be optimistic here and say we have a .700 record against these teams and end up 34-14. That gives us a record of 75-87.
Coincidentally, that was our record last year. Good enough for 4th in the AL East, a full 28 games back of New York.
Now for some sobering reality about our roster:
Alex Gonzales' best year offensively was in 2004 with the Marlins when he hit .232/23/79.
To illustrate how much of an anomaly that is, his career per season numbers are .248/10/45. Of his eleven other seasons, only in three of them did he eclipse 10 home runs and 55 RBI. His pace so far projects to .278/45/123. Needless to say you can cut those power numbers in half and knock off 30 average points. More than expected yes, but Alex Rodriguez, he is not.
John Buck is hitting very well of late (though his avg/OBP are putrid as expected).
However, in four of his six years in Kansas City, when he was the clear starter, Buck had never hit more than 18 HR or 50 RBI. His current pace of 27/76 (based on 135 games) simply cannot be sustained.
As advertised, Brandon Morrow has been a strikeout machine.
But with a K:BB ratio of 10:5, we can expect his ERA to stay at around 5.00. Control is a skill that is slow to develop and expecting Morrow to "figure it out" and start shutting teams down in the next couple of weeks, or even months, just isn't reasonable. Also, as long as he's averaging five innings per start, he's going to decimate the arms in our bullpen.
Now lets quickly discuss Vernon Wells.
He's also on pace for a 45/120 season although at a significantly higher average than Alex Gonzalez. Also just like A-Gon, he will not maintain that pace.
That's not a bad thing either.
His bloated contract puts him squarely in the cross hairs of both media and fans alike.
However, over the course of his career Vernon has proven to be a very respectable .280/25/90 hitter to go along with great defense in center field. I think we need to stop blaming him for the contract J.P. Ricciardi signed him to and realize that he just isn't the .310/35/115 guy we all want him to be.
Jays fans need get off the road to Jonestown this season.
We are not winning any divisions or wild cards. We are, as expected, a middling team just trying to stay relevant in the cutthroat A.L. East.
Lets just sit back and enjoy the emergence of some great young talent like Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, and Travis Snider. I suspect that fairly soon Brett Wallace will be here and we should catch a glimpse of J.P. Arencibia and Kyle Drabek come September.
Now take a cold shower and get ready for more kool-aid.
NHL offseason starts in July!
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