Home > Baseball > 162 and Oh Baby, Whoo…

162 and Oh Baby, Whoo…

Well, because school became busy at just the wrong time, I haven’t written anything in two weeks.  Fortunately, though it’s not like in that time March Madness went from 68 to four, the Suns’ playoff chances burned up, Barry Bonds’ balls became a subject of conversation, and there was corruption in college football (Serisouly?  I’m shocked, shocked I say…).  And, it’s not like baseball finally stole its way back into our lives… What’s that?  Each of those things DID happen?  Wait, what are you saying, baseball’s back?  Really?

Thank Ghandi, bring on the Boys of Summer…

For the Jays, the season could not have gotten off to a better start.  We are on pace for 162-0 and J.P. Arenciba is on pace for 324 home runs and 162 triples… Realistically, the Jays are a work in progress.  They are a hard team to predict, as their success this season will have much to do with the progress of young arms (Kyle Drabek, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow, and even “Ace” Ricky Romero), young position players (Arencibia, Travis Snider, Brett Lawrie) and vets trying to rebound (Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and I guess Edwin Encarnacion).  Then there’s Jose Bautista who will spend the entire season playing to justify his contract and show people that last season was not a fluke.  To that end, last night was a gosh darn good start, but of course one Swallow Does Not a Summer Make.

Like all fans with a predilection to view their team through a half empty pint glass, I am naturally bracing for a 75 win season.  Rajai Davis has a career OBP of .329, so despite his 50 stolen bases last year, I’m hardly jumping for joy at the thought of 500 at bats from our new leadoff hitter.  We don’t have an Ace and aren’t likely to have one develop this year.  The bullpen is a little bit of a patchwork quilt, and Encarnacion is playing third… An optimist might say that IF Hill and Lind rebound to their 2009 numbers, and IF Bautista makes a reasonable approximation of his 2010 season, and IF the kids develop, and IF… of course, if IF and BUTS were candy and nuts…

What we do know is that GM Alex Anthopoulos has steered the ship with exceptional poise over the last year and a half.  Starting your GM tenure by trading the best pitcher in franchise history, can’t be easy.  However, AA made a deal that will start paying dividends this year, as Kyle Drabek steps onto the mound and Anthony Gose makes a push for the center field job.  A farm system that just 16 months ago was viewed as one of the four worst in baseball has now been restocked and was ranked 4th by both Baseball America and ESPNs Keith Law.

The Jays are taking the right path to future contention.  They are stockpiling assets, filling roster gaps with cheap, one year options, pouring money into scouting and supporting those scouts with a large draft budget.  They are taking measured steps.  It is an optimistic time to be a Jays fan, just don’t expect them to challenge the Sox for the AL East title this year.

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