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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.

2) Who will hit more home runs for the Jays this year – Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista?

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

From Around The Web

  1. As a guy who follows the Jays waaaay to close (can’t wait to root for the DBacks!) I agree with Tom on all points. Grab Santos quick is you’re in a holds league!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I think I have Santos in every RCL this year…juuust in case

  2. Mikey boy324 says:
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    Who’s a better flier Hutchinson or Paxton?

  3. Hey Mike good stuff as always. Curious what your thoughts are – keepers are due today, and assuming the following: 10-team ROTO, 10-keeper (no limit on yrs), 2-Catcher with MI+CI, 5 OF (14 hitters, 9 pitchers + 7 bench) – which 10 would you go with?

    Molina, Yadier (C) STL
    Gonzalez, Adrian(1B) LAD
    Prado, Martin(2B,3B,OF) ARI
    Tulowitzki, Troy(SS) COL
    Pedroia, Dustin(2B) BOS
    Cuddyer, Michael(OF) COL
    Garcia, Avisail(OF) CHW
    Kemp, Matt(OF) LAD
    Marte, Starling(OF) PIT
    Victorino, Shane(OF) BOS
    Baez, Javier(SS) CHC
    Bogaerts, Xander(SS,3B) BOS
    Encarnacion, Edwin(1B) TOR
    Beltran, Carlos(OF) NYY
    Machado, Manny(3B) BAL

    Hamels, Cole(P) PHI
    Jansen, Kenley(P) LAD
    Scherzer, Max(P) DET
    Latos, Mat(P) CIN

    Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Tulo, Pedroia, Kemp, Marte, Baez, Bogaerts, Machado, Edwin, Scherzer, Jansen

      • @Mike: @Mike: hey thanks! – yeah my biggest peeve is dropping a-gon back to the pool when I think I could get Baez later on… but agon would block up 1st/CI/Util for me & I’d love to snag Abreu early on, but due to trades last year, I’ve only got 2 picks in the first 49 and don’t think he’d still be there (w/ everybody & their 10 keepers)… does that change anything for you, or would you still go baez?

        if so, how early do you think he’d be up this year?

        thanks again as always Mike

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I think he’s probably a Super 2 guy (June) and yeah I would still hold on to him since it is a keep forever. His bat will play even if he moves off of MI. If Baez moves to 3b, you’ve got your corner/util anyway.

          • @Mike: thanks again for the quick follow up – this is my 2nd year in the league (finished 2nd last year) and haven’t been in a long-term keeper ever, so I’m stilllll sheepish to throw agon back – is this a relative no-brainer for you? considering i’ve got tulo/bogaerts/machado all vying for those spots SS/MI/CI/3B, too?

            thanks again Mike

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              anytime man. yes, in a keep forever it’s Baez all day. I like to buy into the talent and let the positions sort themselves out. Injuries, position changes etc may make your decision easier in the future if you are clogged.

  4. Mike says:
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    Tulo, Pedroia, Kemp, Marte, Baez, Bogaerts, Machado, Edwin, Max, Jansen

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      this is what happens when I comment from a kid’s birthday party on my wife’s phone :)

  5. The Thumb says:
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    Thoughts on Scheppers now that he’s in the rangers rotation? I drafted him for holds in my sv+hold league so I’m a little disappointed but I figured if hang on to him for a couple of starts in April.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I like him. I think he could be a cheap source of strikeouts.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      …and he keeps the ball on the ground enough not to get destroyed in that ballpark

  6. marcus allen was good al says:
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    Are you concerned at all w stromans spring struggles? Ie…is the downward plane scouts look for going to haunt him at the mlb level? When do you see him getting the call? Also what’s ur thoughts on kyle Gibson cracking the minny rotation? Great ground ball rates but is he too hittable for fantasy purposes?? Thx Mike!!

      • marcus allen was good al says:
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        @Mike: rt on thx, yea I love Scotts work too. How do u feel about Gibson? Meh? Or worth a shot?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          oops sorry forgot about the Gibson part of the question. Yeah, I like him, but he was more of a streaming option for me in 12 team and shallower last year and I don’t expect things to be much different now.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            basically, he doesn’t K enough guys for me to want to roster him

          • marcus allen was good al says:
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            @Mike: rt on thx! Yea I’m weighing Gibson vs Jesse Chavez for a back end flier/streamer. Thx for ur work and insight!

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              anytime

  7. Chris says:
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    I’ve got Tulo at SS and Reyes at UTIL. My RP’s are Tommy Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and Darren O’Day. I’m dropping O’Day for JJ Hoover. Would you trade Reyes for a top RP (re: K. Jansen)? I could put Jose Abreau in the UTIL spot.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      If you are a hawk on the wire you can get by with that group (SAGNOF). Otherwise I could see doing that for Jansen since he is elite and you have somebody you can plug in at UTIL. I just wouldn’t do it for anything less than a Kimbrel / Jansen type.

  8. OGRE says:
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    Anyone up for an RCL draft tonight?! I just had a spot open up. Draft is at 7:45 pm ET

    • Bryce Krispie says:
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      @OGRE:
      INFO PLEASE?

    • BKK says:
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      @OGRE: let me know if you still need someone. I am already in one group but, I’d do another if you have a vacancy.

  9. Bryce Krispie says:
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    Im in a 16 team mixed H2H. Standard Positions (3OF)+ 3Utility 4 starters 1 reliever. We keep 12 each year. I was holding chapman but think I can get him back because I have extra picks in early rounds from trading. We draft 12 players in a snake format. I pick one in the first 3 times in the second twice in the third and twice in the 4th
    I have
    Santana hosmer rendon segura machado beltre stanton harper tavares Teheran and Kershaw. If I throw chapman back I can keep Murphy at second Ryu or Avisail Garcia. Any suggestions?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      If you think you can get Chapman back I would keep Ryu

  10. The Guru

    The Guru says:
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    Draft Rob Ford or Marion Barry?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Barry because…80s

      “Mayor for Life”

      Thanks for stopping by Guru!

  11. Beastman says:
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    Need one more owner for a $100 RCL drafting tomorrow at 5 pm EST. Email to join: joshua_eastman@yahoo.com

  12. Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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    Mike: First things first, you get a good version of O CANADA and no jingoistic 7th God Bless America overkill thrown in when in Toronto. Love that anthem. Russia and France have good ones too. But it’s up there. It easy to sing to and not a bad dance tune either. I give it a “9”

    1) Dicky is a nice story about a human being who has struggled within himself as much as on the field.

    I don’t believe in knuckleballers in shallow leagues.

    One thing I heard about Dicky that made sense (Bill Miller – Giant’s Voice), is that domes don’t favor the knuckleballer. He said it in SF on a blustery day, just before Dicky pitched a gem – he should have kept his mouth closed – so should I – don’t hold your breath, neither will ever happen.

    A knuckballer should never be your ace in MLB. Nor should Mark Buehrle be your # 2 man. Could be a long year for the lads in the bullpen.

    Morrow will he ever be healthy again?? He looked like a sure thing once – ya never know??

    2) Toss a coin if Baubau is healthy. Then again, Encarnacion is due for some ill health too.
    If but are healthy, it could be the biggest one two punch in MLB.

    When is the last time 2 players in the same lineup combined for 90 home runs – Maybe the Giants when Bonds was applying the creme. Or the year Sosa and Big Mac each went wild – didn’t need someone to pop that many to get to 90 taters combined??? For the same team, Mantle and Maris leap out at ya for certain.

    OK – It’s BauBau’s turn

    3) Storman – If they are have a shot – he’ll be up sooner rather than later.

    4) I hate the way his name is butchered – It should be pronounced in a lilting Scandoid accent with a nordic “J “sound. Yaawn-ssinN. Like the the settler Lars Jorgensen would have said it in the great western the “Searchers”.

    Janssen’s shoulder has me scared. He also is backed up by the best top end of a bullpen in MLB Santos, Delabar and (drum roll…..) Brett Cecil (the one time SP – can’t believe, he is only 27 YO). They are going to have to be with #1 and # 2 and the rest of the cast from above. Brett Cecil is a name to grab in deep leagues in reserve WOW Stuff – if it is a competitive deep league the first 3 should be drafted. Expect a lot of innings some shared Saves and Wins from these lads – a good thing for FBB teams – not so good for the Jays.

    They have some reasonable long relief candidates in the minors to help out eating innings as the need arises.

    OK: I’ll say, NO, he won’t make it to 30. Injury and outstanding competition pressure will nip at him all season.

    5) Hands down Lawrie.

    Yeah, Ford is a latter day north of the border Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr, But in politics, its a good thing to have your name in the papers sometimes. Just look at JW Bush, he got elected twice with the lowest IQ of anyone with a job of any knd in Washington DC – Well, maybe he didn’t get elected either time outright – but he served twice – kinda.

    Lawrie is only 24 YO. He is doing fine. You want to be his owner when he takes off! Could it be this year? When he becomes David Wright II or better. He is sure getting hammered for not being bad at all – in fact, pretty good.

    I have Lawrie with a legitimate shot at 20 – 20 this year – How many 3rd baseman can you say that about – a low risk – high reward pick in FBB. Sadly, He is lodged too high in the ESPN rankings to be the bargain he could/should be.

    I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when you run out of teams, Mike. One thing for sure, it won’t be NFL blogging.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks Ghost. Good stuff. You won’t see me talking NFL either…I literally know nothing about football.

      • Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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        @Mike:

        Good for you Mike. It shows you have an independent mind.

        I avoid it like the plague.

  13. Principle Blackman says:
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    More Rob Ford jokes, please.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Rob Ford runs into a bar and asks the bartender, “Quick, how tall are penguins!?”
      The bartender replies, “About 2 feet I think.”
      Rob Ford yells, “Sh**! Then I definitely just ran over a nun…”

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      A man sitting at a bar sees Rob Ford ordering martini after martini after martini. After each drink, Ford carefully places the olives in a jar. After a while the man asks the bartender, “What the hell is Rob Ford doing over there?” The bartender replies, “His wife sent him to the store for a jar of olives.”

  14. canucktruck says:
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    I think the sleeper for the Jays is Drew Hutchinson. He’s always been a strike throwing machine. He had a 2.8 ERA 9.6K rate and a 2.4 walk rate in his minor league career.

    The interesting thing about Hutch is that he’s displaying increased velocity this spring coming off Tommy John. He’s hitting 96 on the gun this spring. With his fastball command and good complimentary off speed stuff he’s looked amazing this spring. 16 strikeouts in 9 and 2/3rds this spring and 1 walk. He just pitched another 7 scoreless in minor league with 1 hit and one walk and 6 strikeouts.

    I think Hutch is a guy that lots of guys are going to be picking up off the waiver wire early in the season.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Agreed. Good stuff, thanks!

    • Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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      @canucktruck:

      Canuck: He may windup being the Jays stud pitcher. He better have a good year of the Jays are in trouble IMO

  15. John says:
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    Rank Eaton, Murphy (Mets), and Brantley? Thanks man!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Eaton, Brantley, Murphy

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @John: tough one. Brantley, Murphy, Eaton

  16. Slim says:
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    hey mike, hutchinson is looking great this spring, but i don’t know who to drop for him as my pitching is solid. would take him over any of the following: cingrani, pineda, estrada or rp seigrist

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Maybe Seigrist, but not the others listed.

  17. Eliezer Vergara says:
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    Thoughts on Hutchison? Should I drop Erasmo or Scheppers for him? Or simply pass? Thanks!

    • marcus allen was good al says:
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      @Eliezer Vergara: I am also interested in this question. I own erasmo and scheppers and am curious on ur thoughts of those two this season

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d rank them Erasmo, Hutch, Scheppers

      • marcus allen was good al says:
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        @Mike: I’m gonna have to agree with u there. Thoughts on scheppers? Does he still have high heat? Read he hit 98mph in early career. That true? And do u think he’ll post better k/9 this yr?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I don’t know enough about him to talk about the early velocity, but I think it’s reasonable to expect a K/9 in the 7 – 7.5 neighborhood, and that’s good for a cheap starter I can grab off the wire.

          • marcus allen was good al says:
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            @Mike: scheppers vs hector Santiago? 5×5 standard cats

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              Santiago

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      He’s going to be the best kept secret on the wire because we will search for “Hutchinson” instead of “Hutchison”

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