Monday, April 6, 2009

Blue Jays batting order

For the first part of last year, and worse yet, for a couple of seasons, the Jays offense has floundered. However, after the June 20th firing of Manager John Gibbons and the subsequent re-hiring of beloved Cito Gaston, the Jays offense improved steadily. There is cautious optimism that the club's bats could come around to respectability (especially with Aaron Hill back in the fold, and the continued development of Adam Lind and stud prospect Travis Snider)

the projected lineup is:

SS Marco Scutaro
2B Aaron Hill
RF Alex Rios
CF Vernon Wells
DH Adam Lind
3B Scott Rolen
1B Lyle Overbay
C Rob Barajas
LF Travis Snider

Coming off the bench will be:

Jose Bautista
Kevin Millar
John McDonald
Michael Barrett

Toronto does not have a prototypical lead-off hitter. Scutaro is a solid veteran that works the count and will always give a good at bat, but he lacks speed and doesn't have one strong skill that jumps out at you. Toronto used Joe Inglett in the lead off hole last season, and he produced well. However, because he has options Toronto decided to send him to Triple AAA without a spot for him on the major league roster. Expect him to be on the team at varying points throughout the campaign. Toronto could experiment with Hill setting the table, or fall back on Rios to produce in the #1 slot. This will be a point of contention throughout the season...

Another issue is having the first 4 batters batting right handed in the lineup. Ideally, left handed hitting Lyle Overbay could slide up and hit in the 2 hole, pushing Hill down in the lineup to break up the righties and lefties. It's also hard to believe Snider will bat 9th for a long portion of the year. He is a true blue chip prospect, one ranked extremely high throughout MLB, and once he gets more seasoning in the bigs, he'll play a big role in the meat of the order...

Another option is batting Lind in the 3 hole, pushing Rios to 5 behind Wells, followed by Overbay & Rolen. Manager Cito Gaston likes sticking with a set lineup more often that not, so once he finds a suitable order, unlike his predecessor Gibbons, he'll stick with it...

Whether or not Toronto's lineup scares anybody, General Manager J.P. Ricciardi has brought in quality depth. Bautista can play multiple infield positions and the outfield, right handed Millar will undoubtedly start against difficult left handed pitching, McDonald will be a phenomenal defensive specialist, and Barrett should provide decent leadership and a little bit of pop for a catcher...

up next, we'll take a look at the great Jays bullpen, and whether or not they can hold up with the expected added workload this year...

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