Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Blue Jays: 2014 Off-Season Fantasy Writeup

This is a part of the current discussion on /r/FantasyBaseball on, in which readers will write up previews of their respective teams.

The Blue Jays: Breaking Hearts since 1994. The team seemed like it was on the cusp of it’s first playoff appearance since its World Series championships. However the team struggled for the final three months and alas it was not meant to be, finishing 83-79. Jose Bautista put the team on his back for most of the year, Marcus Stroman emerged as a ROY candidate and Mark Buehrle looked like an ace for a couple of months (but come on, who didn’t see him regressing). This team should be improved this year (DONALDSON AND MARTIN WOOOO), but with the Red Sox emerging as a threat, the Yankee’s surely not finished and the O’s being the O’s, the Jays will have to fight for a spot in the Post Season. And hopefully END THIS STUPID DROUGHT (as someone who was born in 1994, it kinda sucks).

(Injury-Prone) Studs

Jose Bautista – Who didn’t see this coming? Jose Bautista is becoming more of a complete player, and while 40+ HR’s is probably never going to happen again, we’ve been treated to a player who is much more patient and walks A TON (15.5 BB%). He was only one of two players to walk more than he struck out and was 6th in wRC+ at 159. The dude can flat out mash and will make you pay for bad pitches. He’s a guaranteed 30+ Hr and 100+ RBI (without injury of course) and hell he even had 6 stolen bases last year. The crazy thing is, he probably isn’t even the Jays best hitter.

Edwin Encarnacion – If it wasn’t for an oblique injury that took longer to recover from than expected, EE would have topped 40 HR. Hell, if he had played all his games 50 HR could have been a possibility. More than likely not, but I CAN DREAM. His pretty good season was fueled by an incredible May in which he hit EVERYTHING out of the park (16 HR and a crazy OPS of 1.132) however he still produced most of the year like Edwin. Coming back from injury he showed some rust, however in Sept/Oct he shook that off and ended the year strong. EE also features great patience like Bats, and in 2013 walked more than he struck out as well (82BB and 62K, which reversed this year thanks to 25Ks in April). If EE were to have a year in which he had a BABIP of over .300, he’d be an MVP candidate for sure.

Jose Reyes – While Reyes isn’t a stud in overall fantasy production terms, shortstop is a very thin position. He’s a top 5 SS (which, looking at the list, is quite injury prone itself) and WHEN HEALTHY produces like one. After missing quite a chunk of time in 2013 thanks to a broken ankle (which may I add was one of the most painful things I’ve seen live) he played most of 2014 and produced like the Jays had hoped when they swung the major Marlins deal. He was a great lead-off guy and put the rumors of him being too old aside, stealing 30 bases. 40+ stolen bases will more than likely never happen again, but if you’re looking for a guy that can hit 10+ HR while stealing 25+ bases, Reyes is a good add that won’t cost you a 2nd round pick much like Tulo and Desmond will.


Marcus Stroman – I am as bullish on Marcus Stroman as anyone probably will ever be. This kid reeks confidence, and it’s amazing! A tweet by Andrew Stoeten to help prove my point:

By FIP among pitchers with more than 130 IP, @MStrooo6 ranked 15th in MLB, tied with Darvish, a point ahead of Scherzer. DID I KNOW THAT???

Stroman can pitch. Forget his height issues, he’s the Blue Jays best pitcher BY FAR. He’s got a good ground-ball rate, a very good K/9, he doesn’t walk many batters and is projected to be the 12th most valuable pitcher next year in terms of WAR. I hate to build up Stroman so much just in case of failure, but I can’t bring myself to not get excited. The Jays haven’t seen someone this talented pitch this well since Halladay, and they deserve it. ALL ABOARD THE HYPE-TRAIN #CHOOCHOO.

Aaron Sanchez – As much as I’d rather the Jays try Sanchez in the rotation, it sounds like Alex Anthopoulos’s plan is to let him pitch out of the ‘pen in 2015. This could be a really good thing for Sanchez fantasy wise, as he proved last year he could pitch out of the bullpen. In 33 IP he only allowed 14 hits, to go along with 9 walks and 27 strikeouts, sporting a 1.09 ERA (xFIP of 3.00 however, but still great numbers for a rookie). After Janssen had blown his chances at saving games, Sanchez was given reins to the closer gig and proved he could close (albeit three opportunities). At this point I think Sanchez will be a valuable bullpen piece, and his value really depends on if the Jays do end up signing someone to close.

Dalton Pompey – As it stands right now, Pompey would be given every chance to take the starting CF jon currently vacant in Toronto. After dealing Anthony Gose away this year for Devon Travis, it was clear the Jays had faith in what Pompey brings to the table. Pompey started the year in High A ball but quickly rose through the system until making a September call-up with the Jays. While Pompey didn’t exactly burst onto the MLB scene (much like Lawrie did in 2011) he did demonstrate the patience he had shown in the minors and that he had some pop in his bat. Be warned, he’s only had a grand total of 165 AB above A ball, so I would assume there is a bit of a learning curve in his future. He’s shown a lot of promise however, and I feel by 2016 at the latest center field will be Pompey’s.

New Guys On the Block

Josh Donaldson – “ALEX ANTHOPOULOS GOT WHO!?” was my initial reaction when I saw the news on Twitter about the deal that started off as a Jeff Samardzja rumour. I’ve talked about Donaldson a tad here but not a lot fantasy wise. Josh-Freaking-Donaldson has mashed since he was given the 3B job, hitting 24 home runs in 2013 and 29 in 2014. He’s also driven in over 90 RBIs both years and been a staple to the Oakland Athletics offense. Not having to play half his games in the Coliseum should increase his power output, thanks to now having to play half his games in the Rogers Center, which had the 3rd highest HR factor at 1.31. He also should hit better than his .255 average shown, as he hit .276 away on the road while only .233 on the road. I personally don’t think its out of the question for him to hit over 35 home runs and drive in 100 RBIs. Man this Jays lineup is going to be POTENT.

Russell Martin – I’ve already written a piece on Russell Martin and what he means to the Blue Jays, soooooo….. HERE IT IS!


Brett Cecil – While I mentioned earlier that Aaron Sanchez could potentially win the closer gig, I wouldn’t count Cecil out of the mix just yet. Cecil had another very good year, posting an ERA of 2.70 (and an even better FIP of 2.34) with a K/9 of 12.8. The only worry I can see with Cecil is his splits. He’s lights out against RHB with a BAA of .213 and slugging against of .254. However, against LHB he’s got a worse BAA of .243, which isn’t bad, but has a pretty bad .395 slugging against. His BB/9 also went up from 3.4 in 2013 to 4.6 in 2014 but I feel it could go closer to 2013 levels with Martin behind the plate. I do believe Cecil has a shot at the closing gig, and even if Jon Gibbons uses a lefty-righty setup to close, Cecil should provide value. Keep a watch as spring training approaches. Also, his moment against the Rays down the stretch in the 9th inning made me love him. SO MUCH (unnecessary) HOPE.

Drew Hutchison – Hutchison was a tale of two pitchers last year. One night, he’d throw a 9 strikeout 7 inning gem. Next outing? 5 ER in 3 IP. I believe Hutch will become a much better pitcher in 2015 thanks to a strong K/9 of 9, a FIP over half a run better than his ERA (FIP of 3.85, ERA of 4.48) and an above average BB/9 of 2.9. His 11-13 W/L record also didn’t do much to help his value, and I think the offensively heavy lineup will be able to provide more chances for him to get wins. Only having 12 quality starts last year also hurt his overall value, and I feel that number should go up.

Mid-Season Call-ups

Devon Travis – I DO NOT THINK Travis will be the starting 2B for the Toronto Blue Jays. However, I do believe by the end of 2015 he will be. Second base was abysmal for the Jays last season, and while Travis hasn’t played above AA ball, he has shown he can walk, hit for pop and for average. Travis has a good chance if he has a strong spring training and improves in AAA.

Daniel Norris – While technically you could say he’s a sophomore, I don’t believe 6.2 IP should qualify him like Pompey’s September call-up did. While Norris didn’t exactly have the greatest MLB stint (although striking out Big Papi in his first appearance was pretty awesome), he’s shown improvement in his command and an elite strikeout ability (K/9 of 11.8 over three levels!). He also sported a 2.53 ERA over three levels of the minors and should be one of the first pitchers called up if an injury arises. I could also see the Jays carrying Norris in the bullpen with McGowan, Morrow, Janssen and Santos gone to start the year.

Stay Away

Mark Buehrle – I love Mark Buehrle as a pitcher. Guaranteed 200 innings with a mid 4 ERA. Great to have on a staff, but fantasy wise? Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Buerhle turned some heads to start the 2014 season, posting a 2.64 ERA in the 1st half with a 10-6 record. He was much like himself in the 2nd half however, posting a 4.64 ERA. He had a mediocre K/9 of 5.3 but does have a great BB/9 rate of 2. Other than a couple of streams, I don’t think I would roster Mark Buehrle in a 12 team league.

R.A. Dickey – Much like Hutchison, Dickey had both his up’s and downs. However Dickey and his knuckle ball is a lot more untrustworthy. The problem I had with Dickey was you could never trust his starts. He did have a much better 2nd half than 1st half, however home runs still plagued Dickey. His ERA of 3.71 isn’t terrible, but his FIP of 4.32 shows it wasn’t as good as it really was. His K/9 of 7.2 isn’t terrible, but whenever Dickey starts at the Rogers Center, I almost always expect a home run or two. Which is too bad, because he’s got deceiving stuff.

2B and LF Situation – Right now it seems like the Jays are willing to platoon 2B and LF. While this may not be a problem in real life as the players produce, it obviously limits them fantasy wise. It’s not quite sure who this is and unless they sign Melky Cabrera or Nick Markakis, I would avoid LF. 2B is in the same boat, unless Izturis produces like he did before getting hurt in 2014 over a long period of time, I don’t want anything to do with these players.

Projected Lineup

C – Russell Martin
1B – Edwin Encarnacion
2B – Maicer Izturis / Steve Tollison
3B – Josh FREAKIN Donaldson / Danny Valencia
SS – Jose Reyes
LF – Kevin Pillar
CF – Dalton Pompey
RF – Jose Bautista
DH – Dioner Navarro

SP 1 – Marcus Stroman
SP 2 – Drew Hutchison
SP 3 – R.A. Dickey
SP 4 – J. A. Happ
SP 5 – Mark Buehrle


Marco Estrada
Steve Delabar
Aaron Loup
Todd Redmond
Aaron Sanchez
Brett Cecil

With John Mayberry Jr., Andy Dirks and Justin Smoak all being non-tendered there is lots of options for the Jays to do, mostly in LF now. I would have to think that means AA has something up his sleeve, whether it be a FA (Markakis, Melky) or a trade (Fowler), this (hopefully) shouldn’t be the starting lineup once the season starts.

I didn’t mention many names in this writeup, and I either feel they will be okay but not great (Happ, most of the bullpen, all of the bench) or traded (Navarro). The Jays will rely heavily on their offense for 2015, and if they can even get average pitching, they should compete for a playoff spot. GO JAYS GO!


Follow me on Twitter @JamieSayer69! I frequently talk Fantasy Baseball, Blue Jays and hockey (I’M CANADIAN IT’S IN MY BLOOD). I’m always up for a discussion!

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