Projecting New Look Blue Jays Rotation

In an unbelievable offseason that has seen the Toronto Blue Jays add Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera, Mark Buehrle, Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio – did I forget anyone?  Oh yeah, some guy named R.A. Dickey, just the reigning NL Cy Young award winner and one of the better pitchers in baseball over the past three seasons.

Can anyone believe that above paragraph is actually fact?  That type of offseason haul would be difficult on MLB13 – The Show let alone in real life.  Kudos to our ownership for stepping up to the proverbial plate and providing the payroll needed to pull this off.  The buzz that has been created is palpable and the fan base that had grown indifferent is hungry for baseball once again.

Today I wanted to have a look at our revamped starting rotation which is without a doubt the part of the ballclub that needed the most improvement.  Alex Anthopoulos and his staff have done a wonderful job reloading a starting staff that had been absolutely decimated by injury (Drew Hutchison, Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek) and poor performance (Ricky Romero).

Let’s have a look at the new and improved (on paper) starting rotation and include 2013 Bill James projections:

2013 Projections IP   H     BB    K     HR/9 ERA  FIP  WHIP K/BB
R.A. Dickey (R) 226 198 56 152 0.83 3.58 3.76 1.12 2.71
Josh Johnson (R) 196 176 62 166 0.51 3.21 3.08 1.21 2.68
Mark Buehrle (L) 205 218 41 106 1.01 3.78 4.10 1.26 1.80
Brandon Morrow (R) 187 163 66 191 0.91 3.47 3.48 1.22 3.18
Ricky Romero (L) 185 183 89 140 0.92 4.43 4.46 1.47 1.57
JA Happ (L) 161 158 72 144 1.12 4.30 4.25 1.43 2.00

*projections for Dickey, Johnson and Buehrle were for their prior NL teams, obviously a move to the AL will hurt overall statistics

Injuries are bound to happen and given our recent history teams might need up to eight healthy starting pitchers to get through the season.  Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow are two pitchers who have had particularly rotten past health issues so that is why I included JA Happ’s projections as he is a decent insurance policy.

Check out the ZIPS projections for the Blue Jays rotation heading into last season for some contrast.

The thing I find most attractive about the new rotation is the versatility and ability to throw a completely different style of pitcher at an opposing line-up each night.  In this setup the opponents would face ‘the nuke’ from RA Dickey followed by the power fastball/slider combination of Josh Johnson – quite the tricky combination back to back.

After that the fast paced, soft tossing southpaw Mark Buehrle would be again followed by a power fastball/slider pitcher in the nasty Brandon Morrow.  That isn’t a bad 3-4 combo in a starting rotation and with Ricky Romero likely to bounce back from a disaster 2012 the Blue Jays could have a distinct advantage on the mound in most games (especially in the backend of the rotation).

Nothing is guaranteed in baseball, especially in baseball but having a strong starting rotation certainly makes it easier to avoid long, season crippling losing streaks.  A strong staff might also help string together the much sought after winning streaks that can separate the playoff teams from non-playoff teams.

Any way you slice it the Toronto Blue Jays on paper have one of the better starting rotations in all of baseball and that is a great start to having a successful season.


2 Responses to “Projecting New Look Blue Jays Rotation”

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