Thursday, 5 January 2012

2012 Projected Pitchers for the Jays

Break-down of the 2012 Blue Jays pitching staff.  

Ready?.. Set... GO!

Starting Pitchers:
1. Romero
2. Morrow
3. Cecil
4. Alvarez
5. McGowan
Source: Romero's Twitter page.

Ricky Romero had a solid rookie season with 13 wins (ERA 4.30), an improved sophomore season with 14 wins (ERA 3.73), and one upped himself in his 3rd MLB season gaining 15 wins and held a 2.92 ERA.  By those numbers alone, one can see that Romero is getting more comfortable as an MLB pitcher and can play with the big boys of the AL East.  He went the distance 7 times last season, and there were several occasions where he was flirting with a no-no.  The Jays will look to Romero to be their ace this season, and hopefully see those number improve once again.

Lily Morrow (Left) with Brandon Morrow (right).  Source: Morrow's Twitter page. What a great Hollywood looking couple.
Brandon Morrow did not have the year that everyone had expected from him in 2011, but he will still be slotted in the #2 starting position in 2012.  His less-than-stellar performance can be attributed to his forearm strain that sidelined him for the opening month of the season.  He had a strong 2010 season, including an ALMOST no hitter (DIVE HARDER, AARON HILL!!!!).  Keep in mind, 2011 was only his 3rd full season as a starter and still has time to grow.  He's gotten the injuries out of the way, and will be working a lot on his off-speed pitches and conditioning in the off-season.  Expect a big 2012 year from Morrow.

Brett Cecil, also known as "Goggles".  Source:  
Brett Cecil is good, as long as he stays away from the kitchen [he's missed two starts due to slicing his pitching hand fingers while cooking].  Romero and Morrow are the only two that have a locked position within the pitching staff.  Although I have pegged Cecil at #3, he is still a pitcher that can have his job taken by any one of the starting pitchers behind him.  He had an excellent 2010 season, but struggled spotting his fastball in 2011.  He still has plenty of upside to his game, and will be comfortable to start the season as the #3 pitcher.  He will be working on improving his arsenal of pitches in the off-season, and management will keep a tight eye on him during 2012 to ensure that he rises to his potential every game.  Some are even saying that Cecil will be a #4 or #5 pitcher... but I'll give him the benefit of doubt and slot him in #3.

Henderson Alvarez.  Source:
Henderson Alvarez jumped into the spotlight, seemingly, out of no where.  He never really had the high prospect rankings, he was undrafted, and he started the season in Dunedin.  When he made his debut on August 10, most fans saw Alvarez take to the mound and collectively said, "WHO!?!".  It wasn't long after that every Blue Jays fan knew very well who Alvarez was.  He was very impressive on the mound for the Jays.  He threw the pitches and remained calm; he was playing like a veteran, hard to believe that he is only 21.  I would hope that the Jays don't push him too hard this season.  Sure, he had a good two months with the Blue Jays, but the big test will come in 2012.  If the Jays are wise, they will put him at the back of the rotation and make him earn his promotion to the middle.  The "sophomore slump" is a very real demon, and the Jays need to do their best to keep him in line as a pitcher.

Dustin McGowan... I had to get a picture with those sideburns.  Source:
Dustin McGowan was one of the best stories of 2011.  McGowan hadn't pitched in a game since July '08, at which time, he was on the radar to be the Jays' future ace.  After years of seemingly no progress, multiple injuries, multiple surgeries, and multiple single season re-signings, McGowan made his return to the Blue Jays  on September 5th against the BoSox.  He was hot and cold in his four starts with the Blue Jays, but still showed glimpses of pre-injury McGowan.  He's got a rocket of a fastball, and a curveball that breaks the knees of opponents.  I'm a McGowan fan, always have been.  I want to see him as a starter for the Jays in 2012 and live up to the potential that he once had.  If he gets back to his original stamina levels, he will be deadly in the AL East.  If not, he still has the power to be an elite closer in the AL.

Santos- Newly acquired, and still new to the CP role.  He looked good from what I saw of him last season, and I'm excited to see him as a Blue Jay.
Frasor- I'm happy the Jays got him back.  For the longest time, Frasor was a middle relief pitcher before switching to closer.  He will likely be the set-up relief pitcher for the most part, and close games when Santos is not fully rested.  Having him as a set-up man will take pressure off him and allow him to play his best.
Janssen-  Solid middle relief/set-up pitcher.
Litsch- I've never been much of a Litsch fan.  When he made the move to he bullpen,  I found myself actually liking his play.  I think Litsch's days as a starter are done.  He will be an excellent long relief/ middle relief pitcher.
Villanueva- Some want to see him as a starter.  Decent pitcher, and still new with the Jays.  I'd prefer to see him in the 'pen.  I just don't think he's got enough to be a starter.
Perez- Look for Perez to be the final key piece to the Blue Jays' bullpen.

Some of you may be wondering about Kyle Drabek and Deck McGuire.  Two minor league prospects that are hot on the Jays' radar.  Of the two pitchers, Drabek will be the only one that will be considered for an opening day roster position, but will probably start in AAA, but will most likely be playing in the bigs before McGuire.  The Jays won't be looking to rush either of them, but I do feel that McGuire will make his debut sometime this season.


As the young Blue Jays look to build up the core of their team, except some of these players to not be on this list, come opening day.  Some of their best pitchers have been mentioned in trade talks and I wouldn't be surprised if Anthopoulos makes some moves before the season begins.

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