Toronto Blue Jays: The Dark Horse team of 2012

Posted: April 6, 2012 by vindanton in Pro Sports

By: Vin D’Anton

The last time the Toronto Blue Jays appeared in the playoffs was 1993. In 1993, they won the World Series on that magical evening in Toronto, when Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run off of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams.

From then on, with the emergence of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and a little bit of the Baltimore Orioles, it has been tough for the Blue Jays to establish themselves. When that one spot left for an A.L. East team to compete with the Yanks and Sox was open, the Tampa Bay Rays emerged from out of nowhere to take that coveted third spot.

Things have changed in baseball; this season, there will be a second Wild Card that will compete with the top Wild Card in a one game playoff. This rule was made for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays always seem to be a team on the cusp of becoming a contender; since 2006, they have posted a record under .500 only once. Though they are competitive throughout the year, they seem to falter in July and August as the Yanks and Sox begin to pull away, leaving them with nothing to play for.

Now, in 2012, they do…and they are ready to roll.

Outfielder and two-time defending home run champion Jose Bautista said the team is excited about the new Wild Card because it helps teams like the Blue Jays in tough divisions like the A.L. East.

Manager John Farrell added that the second Wild Card would increase the Jays’ opportunity and most teams that have come close the last few seasons.

We all know about the Blue Jays offense: Bautista…one the most underrated players in baseball, Adam LindKelly Johnson…the young Brett Lawrie who is ready to burst onto the baseball scene…and Colby Rasmus who has just as much potential as any young outfielder in the league.

When Farrell did an interview with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on SiriusXM, he said the thing that would make or break their season would be the pitching. He talked about how in a Division like the A.L. East, it’ll be tough to contend without defense.

Even without the services of Dustin McGowan who’s starting on the 15-Day DL, and Brett Cecil who has been optioned to Double-A to start the season, the skipper has faith in his inexperienced staff.

Behind Ace Ricky Romero and No. 2 starter Brandon Morrow, Toronto is confident in three guys that are all 24 years of age and under: Kyle Drabek, Joel Carreno, and Henderson Alvarez.

Drabek looked promising in 2010 with Double-A New Hampshire, where he posted a 14-9 record and 2.94 ERA. With stints in the majors and AAA, it hasn’t looked too promising.

Carreno and Alvarez have been mainly winners in their Minor League years, so we don’t know what we’ll expect from them, but as we’ve seen with the Yankees, a great offense with OK pitchers works.

“The rotation is young and it is inexperienced, but we like the talent and potential that exists,” Farrell said. “They have good stuff. It’s going to be a matter of going out and executing, and I know that can be cliché, but we’ll take our chances with the stuff that they all throw over the plate.”

That “ready to explode” offense has to pile on the runs in the first half of the season so those pitchers gain confidence…and that will happen.

Baseball world…watch out for the Toronto Blue Jays.

vindanton@gmail.com 

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