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2015 Toronto Blue Jays Overview

We head back to the American League East and preview one of the most improved teams in the league over the 2014 off-season, the Toronto Blue Jays. There is good reason for enthusiasm from those fans in Canada for the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays, because they possess one of the best line-ups in the American League. Manager John Gibbons was able to have a career changing year in Toronto in 2014, finishing in third place with an 83-79 record, the first time the Blue Jays finished above fourth place since 2007, when they finished third, with an 83-79 record, under manager John Gibbons. The Blue Jays have given Gibbons more to play around with this year and more confidence stems from their minor league system, which gives competition in the east a bigger boost.

Team Overview: 2015 Toronto Blue Jays

The off-season of 2014/2015 for the Blue Jays consisted of a lot of player turnover from their rosters, whether it be trades or free agency that they played around with. A new catcher, third baseman, left fielder, and fifth starter were among the acquisitions of Toronto. The projected middle of the line-up (3-4-5-6) looks to be very powerful, with Jose Bautista entering his 8th season with the Jays and Edwin Encarnacion entering his 7th. Both have played a major part in the Blue Jays offense, between injuries, for the time they have been in Blue Jays blue.

Josh Donaldson, the biggest addition of the off-season, will become the four or five hitter, dependent upon whether Gibbons wants to use Donaldson or Encarnacion there, and adds major All-Star power, and defense, to the depth chart. The six spot temporarily belongs to Dioner Navarro, who hit a career high .274 with 12 homers and 69 RBIs but isn’t guaranteed a starting spot, only getting this place because of the designated hitter spot.

Roster Moves:

He’s Here: P Scott Barnes, 3B Josh Donaldson, P Marco Estrada, P Preston Guilmet, P Liam Hendriks, C Russell Martin, OF Michael Saunders, P Bo Schultz, 1B Justin Smoak, P Matt West

Non-Roster Invitees with chance to make roster: P Ronald Belisario, 1B Chris Colabello, SS Ramon Santiago, OF Dayan Viciedo

He’s Gone: SS Franklin Barreto, OF Melky Cabrera, OF Andy Dirks, 3B Juan Francisco, OF Anthony Gose, P Kendall Graveman, P J.A. Happ, P Casey Janssen, 3B Brett Lawrie, 1B Adam Lind, OF Darin Mastroianni, OF John Mayberry Jr., P Dustin McGowan, P Brad Mills, P Brandon Morrow, P Sean Nolin, OF Colby Rasmus, P Sergio Santos

Baseball from North of the Border

Toronto, Canada: the location of the only non-United States Major League Baseball team. There is great promise radiating from fans from up there as well as fans in Dunedin, Florida, the location of Jays Spring Training. Although they have already seen a new addition in outfielder Michael Saunders injured during Spring Training (due to tripping on a sprinkler). Saunders isn’t their only starter who was recently injured. Young starter Marcus Stroman tore his ACL in training camp and is expected to miss all of 2015, which badly hurts the already unstable Blue Jays rotation.

With Stroman out for the season, the rotation takes a huge blow at a time where it consists of young talent at the back and veterans presence at the front. R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle are penciled in as the top two in the rotation, followed by Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison, and new addition Marco Estrada, who moves up from a bullpen spot. Daniel Norris, another top prospect, provides depth, Jeff Francis, a non-roster invitee, now has a chance to make an impact on the team, and Johan Santana (gasp!) could find a Major League spot once he recovers fully from his arm troubles.

Team Outline

(Red indicates a new acquisition)

C: Russell Martin

1B: Edwin Encarnacion/Justin Smoak

2B: Ryan Goins

3B: Josh Donaldson

SS: Jose Reyes

LF: Kevin Pillar

CF: Dalton Pompey

RF: Jose Bautista

DH: Dioner Navarro/Edwin Encarnacion

*Michael Saunders injured

*Dayan Viciedo with chance to make roster as left fielder

The Blue Jays line-up is one of the best looking in the American League at this point, and it would be hard to underestimate them. With Dayan Viciedo given a chance to potentially start in left field for the injured Saunders and make up for his lackluster 2014 season, the line-up could become very stable.

1. R.A. Dickey

2. Mark Buehrle

3. Aaron Sanchez

4. Drew Hutchison

5. Marco Estrada

*Marcus Stroman injured

*Johan Santana injured

Bottom Line

Toronto is the team to beat in 2015 in the American League, despite the upgrades of the Red Sox within their division and the White Sox elsewhere. The line-up is untouchable from other teams, and a healthy season from a good amount of their starters will result in a play-off appearance. Even with Stroman and Saunders out for a reasonable amount of time, the team has was it takes to make without two young players looking to make a difference. First or second place with 87-92 wins seems reasonable for the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays.




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