From Last Night:
- Tribe blows a big lead, but Ryan Raburn walks off to save them in the 11th
- Minor out pitches Wainwright in a 4-1 win for the Braves
- Rays shell CC, move into first place
- The Royals finally cash in on a great start for Shields, beat the Sox
- Huge 7th inning bails out Dickey in Toronto
- Mets dominate the Nats in game one, but waster Harvey’s gem in game two as Zimmerman walks off
- Chatwood strikes out 11 Brewers
What I’m Watching Today:
- Darvish faces Masterson in Cleveland (7p Eastern)
- Chris Sale faces the Royals (7p Eastern)
- Bumgarner welcomes the Cubs to AT&T (10p Eastern)
The Big Question:
- How do you feel about Ryan Raburn?
Raburn hit a big 3 run walk off homerun on Friday, improving his season numbers to .273/.371/.533, good for a 153 wRC+ in 186 PA. He is now the Indians second best position player with 2.0 WAR which ties his career high for an entire season. I’ve always loved Raburn because he has the biggest range of possible outcomes of any human being I’ve ever seen. It’s equally likely that he hits 3 HR in a game as it is that he falls down the dugout steps and injures Jason Kipnis. He hits huge homeruns and makes the more untimely mistakes. There’s something quite compelling about that in my book. He’s also playing above average defense and walking 11.8% of the time. This guy.
73-89, 4th in the AL East
The Blue Jays didn’t have a great season in 2012, but man have they had a great offseason in 2012. Only 73 wins during the season isn’t enough to be good, but taking everyone from the Marlins and R.A. Dickey from the Mets is enough for a winning offseason.
The 2012 version was led by Edwin Encarnacion (4.4) and backed up by Jose Bautista (3.2 WAR in 92 games) and Brett Lawrie (2.9). No other position player topped the 2.0 starter threshold. But the cavalry is coming.
On the pitching side, it was worse. Only Brandon Morrow’s 2.4 WAR in 21 starts was anything worth mentioning. No other starter had a 1.0 WAR. That’s really bad.
But like I said, the important part of the Blue Jays’ 2012 was the part after the season was over. Here is an incomplete list of players who are now Blue Jays that were not Blue Jays during 2012: Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, and Melky Cabrera.
That’s a big improvement on the previous version of the Jays. Even if those guys don’t perform at their peak potential, that’s at least ten wins in the standings, but it’s probably closer to fifteen.
With the Sox in rebuilding mode and the Yankees working to reduce payroll, this was a great shot for the Jays to join the Rays and the Orioles as the AL East party crashers.
So they’ll be a lot better in 2013, especially if you factor in a healthy Bautista, but I’m not buying them as favorites. Just like the Dodgers, they’re much better, but they aren’t a lock at all. I think the pitching staff will be a lot better, but I think the offense won’t be as great as a lot of analysts think.
But that’s just my gut feeling. On paper, they look like a real contender. For me, they’re still the third best team in that division and not that much better than the Sox and O’s.
2012 Grade: D
Early 2013 Projection: 86-76