Sunday, May 9, 2010

Better late than never?

Apologies off the top for the delay in weekend posting, but if you've been following along on twitter, you'll have noted that Friday evening was a real meeting of the minds between our gracious blog host (Tao) and yours truly. You'll also have noted that Friday evening's game (playoffs!) went into extras, which (naturally) resulted in a few extra beverages.....which resulted in a supremely sluggish Saturday morning. If you need me to spell it out for you....I'm not 25 years old anymore, friends.

Short of plotting world baseball blogging dominance, good times were had. I'd delve into the detail, but I'm pretty sure that the non-disclosure agreement I was forced to sign prevents me from discussing. Hey, I just work here.

(That, and you'd be bored to tears. "Hey man, I DO NOT appreciate Jose Bautista."...."Oh, fuck off. He's SOLID, dude." Well, not exactly. But I digress....)

So here we are. But where exactly are we? Following the travails of a team that some would say is overachieving - 4 games over .500 a full fifth of the way through the schedule. This seems to be the path of the team - getting off to promising starts before falling off and into the wilderness with the Orioles as the season progresses. But something is different about this club.

We're not all waiting for the other shoe to drop, for one. Lowered expectations for the win! But it's more than that. In seasons past, when our (my?) primary bitch was the lack of organizational direction and low-ceiling makeup of the roster, the frustration borne from the mounting losses was invariably compounded by a growing sense of hopelessness.

But look at where the club is now, right now - objectively and without wearing the fanboy hat - and try to convince me the same applies. You can't, and you won't. For starters (literally), the Jays are deep in the asset every organization covets most - young pitching. And people are starting to notice - as well they should.

"I see Romero as the guy who's going to emerge as their go-to guy to shut down a series," he said. "To me, there's almost a scary resemblance between him and vintage Johan [Santana]. His change has really developed. But he's got three other pitches to go to. With more experience, and a team that can catch the ball, he's got a chance to be an 18-20-game winner.

"Marcum's got the makeup of a front-end rotation guy. His stuff is a little below that. But he battles so well, I wouldn't bet against him. I've always liked Cecil. And Morrow doesn't have the feel of those other guys. But he's got quality stuff. It's a pretty impressive young group."

Somebody help me - what's that word we once used to describe quotes like these? Added bonus, the above doesn't even take into consideration potential frontline arms coming up through the system like Drabek, Stewart, and Jenkins. And let's not sleep on RZep, who's now throwing again.

It's all good news on the pitching front, but you can't win every game 1-0. It would be foolish to pretend that there aren't holes in the starting 9. One needs only witness a classic Manager giveaway game lineup to realize the threadbare depth at the major league level. That's not to say there aren't pieces, for now and three years from now.

Adam Lind will find his stroke and remind us all that he's a very bad man. Aaron Hill will emerge from the fog and be, at the least, an above average second basemen in all facets. Travis Snider is starting to rake, right on cue (though I'd love to see him mash a good country fastball). Vernon Wells isn't done and Freddy Lewis has been a great addition to the team.

More importantly, help is on the way. Brett Wallace and his 1.0+ Vegas-aided OPS. One of the 17 catching prospects (deep!) will pan out and be The Man behind the plate. Perhaps one of Eric Thames or Brad Emaus will fly in from under the radar and be the surprise story that every team needs. And let's not forget about Adeiny.

All in all, I'd say it's a fun time to be a Blue Jays fan. Wouldn't you agree?

Handsome Tony?
Say it aint so, HTV. Does that mean you'll be leaving us too?


Anonymous said...

I would absolutely agree, Ack. In fact, I said exactly that just Wednesday night. I love this team and where they're going.

William said...

I really like the Blue Jays this year. I love their young starters and watching Snider come into his own. I like not hearing about Wells' contract. Lewis is a nice addition. Buck won't keep hitting homers, but it sure has been fun to watch him these past ten days.

Darren Priest said...

Handsome Tony has not been heard from in quite some time -- only deepening the mystery of his true identity.

Great post, Ack, this how I've been feeling too.

Anonymous said...

Is it bad that I'm beginning to hope that Lewis is a more permanent fixture in Toronto? 'Cuz I think I am.

mike in boston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike in boston said...

2 big developmental moments coming up in the next week or so:

1) Tallet's return -- no rational person can believe that he deserves a spot in the rotation over any of the current 5. Then again, the Manager likes him. Hopefully Jannsen's recent exposure as a lousy pitcher will make it easier to move Tallet to the BP.

2) E5's return -- again, the rational person sees no way you can justify taking ABs away from Snider, and Lewis has earned his ABs as a lead-off hitter and as a potential roster player next year. So this leaves a fight for 3B/1B between E5, Bautista, Overbay and Ruiz, none of which will be here for '11 and some of which will be gone by august 1st. this is the one the Manager can screw up pretty badly.

the trading deadline can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

The Jays, tasties, the Tao and Ack, and the 'Peg. Can't get much better than that! Also, good article Ack!

Roberto said...

Absolutely agree. For the first time in a long time, I don't feel like the team has a black hole/dead spot/roster filler in the rotation - or a dead-spot-to-be if anyone gets hurt. 4 near no-hitters by 4 different guys, and plenty of depth behind them in AAA/AA, raring for a shot at the bigs.

Anonymous said...

Lyle Overbay sucks. They can't get rid of him fast enough.