Blue Jays Starting Staff Gets Miami Makeover

Ricky Romero stretches before his start.

Last year, the Jays had 12 different pitchers start for them. Injuries were part of the problem, but general ineffectiveness was also to blame. Only Ricky Romero and Henderson Alvarez broke the 30-start barrier for the Blue Jays last year, and Alvarez is now a Marlin. So for that reason this trade immediately upgrades their starting rotation by adding a quality veteran in Mark Buehrle and a potential stud in Josh Johnson.  So let’s take at look at their potential rotation and see if any of them could feasibly help your fantasy teams.

  1. Ricky Romero Still number one on the depth chart despite a bad season last year. Lest we forget, he is only one season removed from a 15-win campaign in which he sported a 2.92 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 178 Ks in 225 IP. Last year was obviously a step back as he went 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and only 124 Ks in 181 IP. Something went wrong in that he set a career high in walks while pitching fewer innings. He also set career highs in H/9 and HR/9 while seeing his K/9 rate drop nearly one whole point. It’s hard to say what happened to Romero. The good news is that, there hasn’t been much talk that I’ve heard about a loss of velocity or control. Sometimes guys just have a bad year. It’s important to remember that he had two very good seasons prior to this one where he had over 200 IP, winning records and an improving ERA each season. And, he’s a bulldog out there who has stayed healthy each and every season. Expect somewhere between his 2011 and 2012, probably similar to his 2010 season.
    Reasonable Projection: 12-10, 3.68, 192 IP, 166 Ks, 1.21 WHIP.
  2. Josh Johnson The true ace of this staff now. After being injured for most of 2011, he hoped 2012 would see him return to excellence after winning the ERA title in 2010. However he was back to being a mere mortal, going 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 165 Ks in 191 IP.  The numbers aren’t terrible, but they weren’t what anyone who drafted Johnson early was expecting. But his BB rate was higher than normal and he played for a stinker of a team in Miami. Perhaps he was overthrowing and that led to some of his issues. A move to the AL East will give him better teammates, but also a tougher group of hitters to pitch against. I suspect we’ll see an improvement over last season, though I don’t think he’ll win the ERA title again. He can hopefully give you wins this year while helping in the WHIP and ERA departments. A strikeout pitcher he is not, but he’ll throw a few of those your way too.  Probably a little better than Romero, but still an injury risk as he’s only reached 30 starts twice in 5 years.
    Reasonable Projection: 14-9, 3.54, 177 IP, 164 Ks, 1.16 WHIP.
  3. Mark Buehrle The new number 3 man in Toronto.  With Buehrle you pay for consistency. It’s not exciting, but it’s dependable and that’s worth a lot in this crazy game. He’s given teams over 200 IP every season since 2001. He’s kept his ERA under 5 every season, with a career ERA of 3.82. He throws one of the slowest fastballs in the major leagues and doesn’t put many men on. He won’t strikeout a lot of guys, with his career high being 165 in 2004. He’s an innings eater who won’t let things get out of control. That’s what he did last year going 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 125 Ks in 202 IP. He wins ball games. He’s had double digit wins every year since 01 with only one losing season in there, going 12-13 in ’06.  His dependability makes him one of the most boring pitchers in baseball, which also makes him one of the most sought after. You get what you pay for. People like that.
    Reasonable Projection: 12-11, 3.79, 210 IP, 128 Ks, 1.31 WHIP.
  4. Brandon Morrow Toronto’s best pitcher last year. He led the club with 10 Wins, despite only starting 21 games. He also had a sparkling 2.96 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Brandon Morrow took a big leap forward dropping his ERA from the 4.40 region to under 3. He also saw fewer walks than ever before. It came at the expense of Ks, but if that’s the tradeoff then the Blue Jays and fantasy owners should be happy. If the improvements Morrow made last season are going to last, he could become this team’s ace. He can certainly bring fantasy players Wins, help in the ERA and WHIP departments, while giving you Ks. I’m a big Morrow fan and think you should be to.
    Reasonable Projection: 15-7, 3.19, 188 IP, 180 Ks, 1.14 WHIP.
  5. J.A. Happ There is no reason to draft J.A. Happ.

Some of you may be asking, who is this person talking about the re-vamped pitching staff in Toronto?

My name is Tom Alsip and I’m the newest Crackerjack Contributor. I’m excited to be writing for this great site, in addition to writing my own baseball blog the Payoff Pitch). I’m a fantasy baseball veteran of almost a decade with plenty of thoughts that I’d love to pass on to all of you.

A lot has been made of the trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins that officially went through last week. If you want to know what I think about the real world implications, I’ve written previously on what this trade could mean. I think I cover it in pretty good detail but for more about the way the Marlins do business you could check out this article by Jeff Passan. It covers things pretty well; touching on the outrage, shame and disgust that anyone other than Blue Jays fans should feel about this trade.