Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Toronto Blue Jays. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
Blue Jays fans can finally have something to look forward to this season. They’ve got some really good young prospects like left handed pitcher Ricky Romero and possible American League Rookie of the Year Travis Snider ready to break into the big leagues and make an impact. They also have a nice mix of old stars as well.
The lineup starts off with shortstop Marco Scutaro. Scrappy little ballplayer. Aaron Hill is the second baseman. Alex Rios is the right fielder and will hit in the middle of the order. Vernon Wells is still the headliner but he must stay healthy and have one of those seasons that restores faith and shows people that all of the sustained injuries in past years have not permanently damaged him. A few years ago, Wells was that guy who signed a mega contract that every team in baseball would have scrambled to build around.
Adam Lind revived his career, and this year he could approach 30 home runs as a DH/OF. Scott Rolen is closing out a long career quietly but still has pop. Lyle Overbay will be the first baseman and hit 7th. Travis Snider, as we mentioned before; will possibly be the headliner on this team by next season. The guy is a bulky, muscular kid. Rod Barajas will hit enough to hold down the catching job. Kevin Millar is also available off the bench.
Roy Halladay is the ace of this staff and the franchise’s most recognizable player. There are already rumblings that if this team isn’t a contender in 2009, that he’ll be dangled at the trade deadline. And that’s a damn shame. Guys like Roy Halladay should remain in the same big league city until their arm falls off. Halladay will give the Blue Jays a chance to win every night that he is on the hill and will serve as the rotation’s streak stopper. Jesse Litsch is the #2 starter heading into the season. David Purcey and Casey Janssen follow him. They’re relative unknowns aren’t they? Dustin Mcgowan will be in there somewhere, and he’s been very impressive when he’s been out there for the Jays.
There’s another superstar in the bullpen. Closer BJ Ryan. If he can stay healthy he’ll do his thing and be this era’s Billy Wagner. Brandon League is a good set-up guy. Jesse Carlson, Scott Downs, and Jason Frasor also log innings in this pen.
The manager is Cito Gaston. Cito Gaston! This is good for the nostalgic baseball fan, but Cito’s last tour of duty isn’t with as much talent. He could lose his job pretty easily. They Jays are in a tough division and while they won’t God awful, but they won’t be able to contend for a top spot in this stacked AL East either.