We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Blue Jays Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Tom Daker from Bluebird Banter.
1) What should we expect from R.A. Dickey in 2014? Can he bounce back closer to what he was in 2012 or are his 2013 numbers the real Dickey?
Would ‘somewhere in between’ work as an answer? R.A. pitched for team USA in the WBC, and ended up throwing competitive innings much earlier in the spring than he normally would. At 38 years old, even as a knuckleballer, that likely wasn’t the best of ideas. He ended up starting the season with a sore neck and back, and should have gone on the DL. Unfortunately, the way the Blue Jays’ season started, any pitcher whose arm didn’t actually fall right off his body had to stay on the active roster. The result was a 5.18 ERA for the first two months of the season.
The rest of the season went much better, R.A. put up a 3.72 the rest of the way.
Even healthy, expecting him to put up the same numbers in the AL East as he did in the NL East is overly optimistic. The parks in the AL East are much smaller (Dickey gave up a career high 35 home runs), and it didn’t help to go from the rather home park of Citi Field (where he allowed 12 home runs in 2012) to the far more homer friendly Rogers Centre (where he gave up 24 home runs in 2013). Add in the tougher competition in the AL East and you can see why it would be tough for R.A. to match the 2.73 ERA from 2012.
I’m thinking a healthy Dickey should give us a mid-3’s ERA, which would make Blue Jays fans happy.
Can I hope they tie for the league lead in homers?
If you were going to bet, I’d take Edwin. Bautista is a little older, plays a more demanding defensive position and has battled nagging injuries over the last couple of seasons. I think that, if the Jays were smart, they would give Jose a weekly start at DH and give him the occasional break from the rather hard surface at Rogers.
3) Deep league/keeper league players always have one eye on a team’s prospects. Which prospect(s) from the Blue Jays’ system should fantasy players have their eye on for 2014 and beyond?
Right-handed pitcher Marcus Stroman has a shot at making the rotation out of spring training if the Jays don’t sign a free agent starter late in the off-season. Even if they do sign someone, we should see him in Toronto sometime this season. Stroman struck out 10.4 per 9 innings in Double-A New Hampshire, walking only 2.2. He’s be someone I’d want on my fantasy team.
Beyond Stroman, most of our best prospects are in the lower levels of the minors. Ryan Goins looks to have a good shot at platoon share of the second base job, but I can’t see him having a lot of fantasy value. Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar will battle this spring for the 4th outfielder spot. With how fragile Blue Jays players are, any or all three could see some time in the lineup. Gose might get you a few stolen bases and Sierra has occasional power but I wouldn’t be drafting any of them unless you are in a very deep league.
4) Over/Under 30 saves for Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen in 2014?
I’d take the over. Janssen has always been one of my favorites, and he only had 2 blown saves in 36 chances last season. The only caveat is that Sergio Santos looked unhittable, when healthy, in 2013. It is possibly he’ll get a split of the save opportunities.
5) Who gets more negative attention in the Toronto papers this year- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford or Brett Lawrie?
Oh Ford easy, it isn’t even a fair contest. Lawrie can’t match the DUIs, drunken jay-walking, cocaine use, sexual harassment, possible conspiracy to murder, and being tickled in public. Yes, tickled. All Brett can do is yell at umpires and teammates, unless he commits several felonies, he can’t compete.
Follow Mike on Twitter @643ball