After making quite a splash last off-season in a massive trade with the Miami Marlins and bringing in a few other solid free agent options, the Toronto Blue Jays fell flat in 2013. This off-season, they’ve been a lot less active, making only two notable moves – allowing J.P. Arencibia to walk and signing Dioner Navarro — which failed to grab headlines in this crazy Hot Stove season. It’s probably for the best, as it seemed to take a little while for all the new members to get acclimated to their new surrounding.
Overall 2013 was disappointing to the Blue Jays and for the fantasy owners who had their high profile players, as well. Perhaps the step back in terms of activity for the team will produce better outcomes all around in 2014. The Blue Jays certainly offer a lot of intrigue if they can get some or all of their many fantasy options back on track, as this team has plenty of big names who’ve been valuable fantasy players in recent years.
Projected 2014 Blue Jays Offense
|1. Jose Reyes||SS||31||S||566||84||13||53||32||.295|
|2. Melky Cabrera||LF||29||S||506||72||10||57||12||.277|
|3. Edwin Encarnacion||1B||31||R||528||85||33||90||9||.284|
|4. Adam Lind||DH||29||L||487||58||20||72||1||.267|
|5. Jose Bautista||RF||33||R||459||82||28||78||7||.264|
|6. Colby Rasmus||CF||27||L||449||63||21||62||3||.238|
|7. Brett Lawrie||3B||24||R||545||74||15||67||14||.270|
|8. Dioner Navarro||C||30||S||480||58||16||62||1||.289|
|9. Rion Goins||2B||26||L||476||49||9||42||3||.249|
- Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus, and Brett Lawrie.
– Lind: He has power, and protection if he is in fact sandwiched between Bautista and Encarnacion. If Adam Lind is around late in drafts or for just a few dollars or less in an auction, he might be worth the pick.
– Cabrera: Well, he certainly didn’t do much last season, missing a lot of time with injuries and not being terribly effective when in the lineup. However, Melky Cabrera still offers some fantasy value, especially if he does in fact get back to the two spot for the Blue Jays. Having said that, there should be no hurry to draft Melky, so wait it out.
– Rasmus: Toronto seems to agree with Colby fairly well, and if he can hit over .270 once again there could be some serious fantasy value here. Colby Rasmus is also just 27, so if he finds some more power then we may have a breakout season on our hands. However those are both big IFs.
– Lawrie: Just 24, Brett Lawrie has been up in the show for parts of 3 seasons already. Unfortunately, he hasn’t exactly done much to write home about. Lawrie needs to first stay on the field, as he has missed 92 games the past 2 seasons. He also needs to get himself into the number 2 spot in the lineup. He could be a real fantasy asset if both of these things happen.
Projected 2014 Blue Jays Pitching
- Crackerjack Fantasy Options: R.A. Dickey, Casey Janssen
R.A. Dickey Finished the 2013 season strong, and seems to have found his pitches again. Let’s hope he can build on his late season success and become a solid fantasy starting pitcher once again. Be warned, however, that his elite days are behind him.
Casey Janssen is certainly an elite closing option for any fantasy league. His last 3 seasons have been just about lights out. The nicest thing about Janssen is that you won’t have to draft him for the same cost as the true top elite closers, and not overpaying for saves makes a huge difference when building a team!
- Fantasy Star: Edwin Encarnacion
Eddie is the real deal, back to back 90+ runs, 35+ HRs, and 100+ RBI seasons instantly put him as the Blue Jays fantasy superstar. Sure he is a career .260 hitter, but has been above .270 over the last three seasons. Turning that corner easily makes Edwin Encarnacion a Top-4 fantasy pick.
- Fantasy Bust: Adam Lind
Lind might just stay in the lineup enough to get over 20 home runs again, however I seriously doubt he hits over .280 like he did last season.
He is a career .269 hitter and I would expect him to come in under that. For Adam Lind to produce significant fantasy value means that he better darn well hit 25 or more bombs. He is also an injury risk AND if the team decides to give significant DH at-bats to Bautista and Encarnacion to save their legs, it’s so long to Lind’s at-bats.
- Prospect Watch: Marcus Stroman
Ultimately the Blue Jays do not have a marquee prospect to tout. However one guy to watch will be Marcus Stroman. Stroman has shown the flexibility to work out of the pen, and seems to be willing to work on anything and everything to prepare him for the next level. There are certainly bigger fish in the prospect seas, as Stroman comes in at just 5’9″, but his determination is hard to match.
- Fantasy Sleeper: Brandon Morrow
At times Morrow has shown different aspects of being a top tier pitcher. When he is on, he is a strikeout machine, and in 2012 his posted ERA and WHIP were terrific.
The one major problem is that he has never done it for a complete season, whether it is a shortened season due to injury or he just implodes mechanically, Brandon Morrow is a wild card. That said, he could be a dark horse sleeper that could provide A LOT of value if he can keep it together!
- Final Thoughts:
The Blue Jays can provide a lot of fantasy value given the players on their roster. They are even more valuable if you can be patient in the drafts.
The only real bankable player you could draft from Toronto is Eddie Encarnacion. Reyes, Bautista, and Dickey are all solid aging former stars and could still give top-tier production, they just come with a lot of question marks.
I think the true value of the Blue Jays comes from the players that might be a bit more overlooked. Rasmus, Lawrie and Morrow are guys that I am targeting late and I think they will produce better than our conservative projections. All in all, the Blue Jays are a good source of fantasy value.