No team had more of a drastic offseason makeover than the Toronto Blue Jays. Most have branded them with the dreaded “winner of the offseason” label which always tends to lead to less than desirable results when the actual on-the-field results start showing. Can Toronto be as good on the field as they look to be on paper?
If Toronto is significantly better, how does that change the value and effectiveness of the fantasy-noteworthy players on their roster? Those are just some of the questions fantasy baseball owners have about Toronto. To find answers, we continue our “Starting 9″ series of previews today by hearing from Kyle Franzoni of Jays Journal the Fansided blog devoted to daily great coverage of the Blue Jays. We asked him the same nine questions we’ve asked our previous guests (archive here) and here’s his insightful responses.
1. Did your team do a good job this offseason?
2. Who is the key player to your team’s success this year?
I think Johnson become the real key. The rest of the rotation is likely to make all of their starts, making Josh Johnson the only wild card. If he can stay healthy and produce like he did in Miami, the rotation could be dangerous.
3. Who is a position player many people may not know about who is going to have a breakout season?
Tough call, as most of these guys don’t have a lot of room for break-out, or anonymity for that matter. Brett Lawrie was due to break-out last season, but with a better line-up around him, the pressure is reduced and he could reach his potential of a .285 hitter with 20+ home run power from the hot corner.
4. What starting pitcher is going to have a surprisingly good season?
I think Ricky Romero is going to surprise people. Last season was sort of the come to Earth year and has lowered people’s expectations of him for 2013, especially not that he is the number five starter. The presence of Buehrle will help him mature and he’ll come back strong this season.
5. How does your team’s bullpen look going into this coming year especially at the closer position?
6. Who do you think is the most “over-rated” player on your team?
Edwin Encarnacion’s break-out season is likely to get a lot of fantasy owners to buy high on him in 2013. While I would love to see a repeat this season, past history makes it likely that he’ll regress a bit. That said, he doesn’t need to perform to those standard in 2013 in order to have a successful season, so a 30 home run campaign may be more realistic.
7. Are there any rookies that will impact the team from the beginning of the season or as a midseason call-up?
8. What would be considered a successful season for your team?
Anything short of a deep playoff run will be disappointing Blue Jays fans. 20 seasons without a single playoff spot, coupled by the team’s aggressive offseason makes expectations run rampant.
9. What exciting things do you have coming up on your site this season?
We’ve got an excellent staff if place at Jays Journal and with the excitement surrounding the team this season, the expectations of quality content will also be high. We’ve got a strong plan in place to give the best coverage of not only the Major League team but also the minor league affiliates. We’re also working on getting some exclusive interviews in place, so fans will want to stay tuned throughout the year.