The Jays are not really a Fantasy powerhouse team. One of the reasons for that is they’re not particularly fast as a team, and are conservative on the basepaths. There are some solid Fantasy choices to be sure, but not a lot of Fantasy depth.
The Top Tier:
Roy Halladay (SP): Roy is one of the most reliable aces in the league. He’ll be good for 200+ innings with very good ERA and WHIP numbers, and will be near the league lead in Wins. The one thing he won’t give is a ton of strikeouts. He’ll only be about average in that regard, so if you take Halladay as you ace, it would be wise to take a higher strikeout pitcher or two later on if you can. Don’t read much into the injuries he’s had over the past couple years. They mainly been random injuries rather than chronic type injuries, and he’s had no difficulties returning to form.
B.J. Ryan (RP): Ryan is one of the top closers available. He’ll rack up the saves with a very low ERA and WHIP and over a K per inning. In short, he’s everything you’re looking for in a closer. One cautionary point is that he’s had a sore lower back this spring, so the team’s been cautious with him. He seems to be back to full strength, but anytime you have a back problem, some caution is warranted.
Vernon Wells (CF): Wells is a borderline top tier talent. Certainly, if he performs like last year, he’s worthy of an early pick. One key for him will be maintaining the increased stolen base totals from last year. He is certainly fast enough to keep his steals up, the question is more whether he’ll continue to run, as the Jays are notably conservative baserunners. If he does run, his fifteen to twenty steals to go with his strong skills in other areas make him one of the better five category outfielders.
The Second Tier:
Troy Glaus (3B): Glaus is a prototypical power hitting thirdbaseman. He won’t hit for much average, and no longer steals as much as he once did, but if you’re looking for power, you can’t go wrong with Troy. If he’s healthy, he’ll hit 35 Homers to go along with solid Runs and RBI. He is an injury risk, however. Last year he did a good job of staying in the lineup, but the addition of Frank Thomas takes away the option of using him at DH when he’s aching.
A.J. Burnett (SP): A very good pitcher, when healthy. He’s not as consistent as a true ace, and always seems to have question marks for health, but he’s also good for almost a strikeout per inning with respectable ERA and WHIP numbers. As a second tier player, he’s high risk/high reward. His injury shortened season last year deflates his 2006 numbers, however, so he may be available as a later draft steal in some leagues.
Alex Rios (RF): Rios appears to be emerging as a solid five category player. He’s a big, athletic guy who started showing some power last year, but the extent of his power potential this year is uncertain. At a minimum, expect a solid batting average with double digit homers and steals. If his power development continues, he’ll be just a notch below team mate Vernon Wells as a five category talent, and available much later.
The Third Tier:
Lyle Overbay (1B): Overbay won’t put up the flashy power numbers you like from a firstbaseman, but is a solid choice for a consistent producer if you miss out on the real power bats. Overbay will still provide decent power – about 20 homers – to go along with a solid batting average.
Aaron Hill (2B): Hill’s the guy you pick up to plug in at second once the real fantasy options are gone. He’ll maintain a respectable batting average, but he’s not fast, and his true fantasy value depends on whether he can develop double-digit power, which is far from a certainty. He won’t kill your lineup if you have him, but he’s not likely to provide much value.
Frank Thomas (DH): A definite health risk, and a regression risk due to his age. There is no question the man can hammer baseballs if he’s healthy. The question is whether he can stay on the field. He’ll either be a 35 homerun premium power source, or a DH clogger. Draft him at your own risk.
Reed Johnson (OF): Will the real Reed Johnson please step forward? Johnson had an uncharacteristically strong year last year, particularly in terms of batting average. He’s also having an excellent spring, hitting over .400 with good power. However, he’s never shown that kind of performance in the past, and expect him to regress significantly. A .280 hitter with 10 homers and 5 steals just isn’t enough for a fantasy outfielder. If you’re more optimistic about his gains from last year, you can likely grab him later in the draft, but make sure you have a backup plan.
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