The Blue Jays had the best offense last season and ran out of gas. Today, we're looking at the Blue Jays win total in the MLB odds and FIND which way to go now that David Price is not around.
Offense Wins Games?
I always say that good pitching wins games, but in the Toronto Blue Jays case, the pitching just needs to be slightly above average and the offense will take care of the rest. Take all this into account for your MLB picks.
I think that people are a bit too high on David Price and as you saw in the post-season, he got hit just like the other Blue Jays pitchers did. As is stands now, the Jays are 10-2 in the Grapefruit League, but lets remember, the Philadelphia Phillies are just a ½ game behind, therefore, these games mean very little.
I normally like to look at the pitching first, but with Toronto, I'm going to look at the offense first. There has been a lot of rumbling with Jose Bautista as sometimes he can be a “hot head”, but in the end, I still expect Bautista to be in the mix and possibly have a huge season. While there's no question that he can crush the baseball, he's not going to hit for average. With Joey Bats, one must consider his on-base percentage as it's continuously very high.
Last season, Bautista slammed 40 home runs with 114 RBI and a .250 BA. His OBP% was a a very appealing .377 and that's what matters most to me. Numbers such as RBI's and OBP% often get overlooked. Bautista isn't getting any younger at 35 years of age ,but he's still producing and is only 13 home runs away from the coveted 300. Players usually press where milestones are concerned. Expect a monster season from Bautista as he appears to have something to prove in this second half of the American League.
I've said this in previous articles. With the exception of Giancarlo Stanton, nobody hits the baseball harder than “EE”. Encarnacion is coming off of a 39 HR, 111 RBI season in which his OBP% was.372. Quite simply, opposing batters are afraid of “The Big 3” in EE, Joey Bats, and Josh Donaldson. Anything that Troy Tulowitzki provides is gravy as this isn't Coors Field.
Most Valuable Player
From finish to start, Josh Donaldson upped his game from being an Oakland Athletic to a Toronto Blue Jay and had the season of a lifetime. Nobody could've expected 41 HR, 123 RBI and a .297 BA out of Donaldson, coming from Oakland.
People always wonder if a player such as this is a “one hit wonder”, but it appears that Donaldson is the real deal and just on a team that was able to provide more opportunities for him. I remember hit destroying the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last season and that's basically what he did to the rest of the major leagues. Donaldson loved hitting at the Rogers Centre and I expect that trend to continue.
We all know that Troy Tulowitzki is a good baseball player. However, I think that he benefited from playing at Coors Field.
For the season, Tulo had 17 HR, 70 RBI, and a .280 BA in a little less than 500 at-bats. These are good numbers, but the power isn't there like it was before. That said, he's a great fielder and I think that Toronto will acept that. Also, look for Tulo's production to increase this season.
One more player that I like to mention is Ben Revere. The Philadelphia Phillies were stupid enough to get rid of Revere and although he doesn't provide power, the Jays soon realized that he belonged at the top of the order. He's a superb trend setter. This offense is a diverse group of players that can basically do it all.
I never give a shoutout to a manager, but in John Gibbon's case, I loved the way that he handled the pitching in the post-season. Toronto has an elite manager in JG.
The Blue Jays don't need David Price as Marcus Stroman (15-6, 3.31 ERA for his career) heads a bunch of slightly above average pitchers that “bring it” every time that they're on the rubber. This is a staff with a bunch of gamers and that's what creates winners.
Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.30 BA) might not be Clayton Kershaw, but he provides every ounce of energy when he pitches and Gibbons handles him well. J. A Happ is another pitcher that doesn't get the respect, but I'm sure that the Jays will accept another season of 11-8 with a 3.61 ERA. Then there's R.A. Dickey. We know that the Mets ripped the Blue Jays off in the Dickey deal as Dickey was coming off of a 20 win season, but he's a competitor, an innings eater, and a guy that's a legitimate #3 to #4 pitcher on any staff. My gut is telling me that R.A. Dickey is going to have a winning season.; an exceptional season.
Of course, it's true that the pitching staff benefits from the run support, but they still have to get 27 outs.
The total of 87.5 wins are a joke. The loss of David Price isn't going to make a dent into the Blue Jays win total. If anything, this is a team that learned a lot from losing in the post-season last year. The total is low and it is reflected in the MLB odds boards. Over is the definite play and you can put a nice chunk of change on that.