2016 Recap & 2017 Outlook

Toronto reached the ALCS last season, eventually losing to the Cleveland Indians. This team can certainly make it back to the playoffs, but will need some overachievers to get there. The lineup lost Edwin Encarnacion, but replaced with Kendrys Morales, who I am loving a lot this year. They also added Steve Pearce, who is a lefty masher, and knows his way around the AL East quite well, playing for Baltimore and Tampa before. Toronto has an aging Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista, who should continue to produce, but a drop off in production wouldn't surprise me either. The rotation is an interesting one, as young arms like Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman continue to emerge. What will we get out of Francisco Liriano, J.A. Happ, and Marco Estrada is more of a question mark.

Offseason Moves

Additions: Steve Pearce, Kendrys Morales

Subtractions: Edwin Encarnacion

Park Factors

The Jays pitchers tossed a 3.47 ERA on the road, compared to a 4.10 ERA at home. The Rogers Centre has that effect, tied with Texas in runs last season. The stadium was middle of the league in home runs, but still slightly above average. The lineup had more success at home, as you can imagine, owning an ISO and wOBA about ten to fifteen points higher. The Rogers Centre can go both ways, we have seen it play neutral, but we have also seen it play very hitter friendly. This is an above average park for extra base hits on both sides of the plate, especially from the left side. Kendrys Morales will enjoy the park change.

Projected Lineup

Lineup OrderPlayerPosition2016 wOBA vs. RHP2016 ISO vs. RHP2016 wOBA vs. LHP2016 ISO vs. LHP
1Devon Travis2B.360.171.263.100
2Troy TulowitzkiSS.326.196.329.165
3Josh Donaldson3B.405.272.396.240
4Jose BautistaOF.361.220.327.209
5Kendrys MoralesDH.314.191.392.231
6Russell MartinC.325.173.312.147
7Justin Smoak1B.322.192.275.128
8Kevin PillarOF.291.104.305.124
9Ezequiel CarreraOF.282.102.357.123

2016 Statistics Used

Projected Rotation

Rotation SpotNameIPK%FIP
1Aaron Sanchez19220.43.55
2J.A. Happ19520.53.96
3Marcus Stroman20419.43.71
4Marco Estrada17622.84.15
5Francisco Liriano47.124.83.86

Pitching Outlook & Notes

DFS Rotation Grade: B-

DFS Studs: Aaron Sanchez

The Blue Jays rotation might be slightly underrated heading into the new season. Aaron Sanchez is poised to breakout this year, after having a really strong 2016 season. He brings a high groundball rate to the table, average strikeouts, and limits damage. He is upside is a bit capped due to his ability to miss bats, but he does offer up a pretty strong floor regardless. I like him a lot in 2017. Marcus Stroman pitched very well in the last game against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, and that was a very good lineup. If he can pitch like that more often than not, he will be a strong pitcher in 2017. He was a bit unlucky in 2016, and should hover around a 3.75 ERA. The strikeouts, like Sanchez, are not all that exciting.

Now strikeouts are in line for Francisco Liriano, who pitched well in Toronto, over his eight games. The mix of strikeouts and groundball rate has always been a great positive for Liriano, but the walks have not been. That will continue to be the case this year, and he is an effective tournament option at best. The other lefty, J.A. Happ was extremely serviceable last season. Probably a guy I won't expect to have a 3.18 ERA from this year, but if he continues to work around hitters and provide quality starts, he will have some use.

Lineup Outlook & Notes

DFS Stacking Grade: B

DFS Studs: Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Devon Travis

When healthy, this team is one of the best offenses in baseball, although Edwin Encarnacion leaving drops it down just a tad. Kendrys Morales is definitely a good fill-in, and he receives a big bump moving to the AL East ballparks, and out of Kansas City. Morales' is in a good spot to reproduce last year's numbers, where he hit 30 home runs and drove in 93 runs.

Josh Donaldson is at a loaded third base position, and is one of the elite hitters in the game right now. Donaldson has ridiculous numbers against southpaws. Donaldson isn't a one dimensional hitter anymore, hitting 30 of his 37 home runs off right-handed pitching. The move to the Blue Jays has given him back to back seasons with 122 runs, and has has driven in over 200 runs since his time here.

36-year-old, Jose Bautista, battled injiries last season, and had a down year at the plate. He only hit .234, and his ISO dropped to the lowest it has been since 2009. It still was at .217, but he as a lot more boom or bust last season. Bautista should bounce back to a near 30 home run hitter again, but he will still likely remain in the boom or bust category.

Devon Travis' problem is his ability to stay on the field. His time was cut down last season to 101 games, while playing 62 in 2015. In those 101 games, he hit .300 with a .154 ISO. Travis can be one of the better hitting second baseman in baseball, if he can stay healthy. Troy Tulowitzki's prime is well past him, yet he still hit 24 home runs last season. The lineup around him remains solid, and while it isn't Coors, Rogers Centre and AL East ballparks are still prime hitting spots.

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