March 13, 2013 posted by Patrick DiCaprio

Top Five Fantasy Baseball Questions: Toronto Blue Jays

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Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Here are the top five questions facing the Blue Jays.

5. Can Josh Johnson stay healthy? It almost seems like a silly question, but the facts belie the knee jerk reaction. Johnson’s IP totals since 2009:

2009: 209.0

2010: 183.2

2011 60.1

2012: 191.1

What is more concerning is his K and BB skill erosion. His K rate has dropped over the past three years from 9.11 to 7.76 while his BB rate went from 2.35 per nine to 3.06. His is only a marginal pitcher right now and moving to a tougher league is not likely to improve the situation.

4. Is Jose Reyes worth a first-round pick? In my view this is an easy “yes.” Though Reyes also has a purported history of being injury prone, he has averaged well over 600 PA per year since 2005, and only in 2009 did he miss a significant number of games. And he has topped the 700 PA mark five times since 2005. For those who purport to minimize their risk in the first round he is a safer pick that many players currently with first-round ADPs.

3. What do we expect from Melky Cabrera? Let’s see…he had a year that was out of normal expectation for his skills. He was caught taking PEDs. Ergo, he has to regress right? Not so fast…the fact is that he may still be using, or may not be. One can look at his breakout season in terms of rates and it doesn’t look like anything more than the typical breakout that is driven by increased playing time, especially in the power department.

The sad fact is that no one has the slightest idea of what he will do with any degree of certainty. So, draft accordingly; he might actually be a value pick in your league.

2. How will R.A. Dickey fare in the AL East? One thing we can guarantee is that he will have a significant regression. But lets be frank, we have no real comparable for Dickey, so the traditional analysis is essentially useless. What fantasy players do not need is a bunch of talking points about Cy Young jinxes or regression, or park effects and leagues etc. Dickey may be the most unique pitcher in my lifetime.

The one thing we do know; his strikeout rate is very unlikely to be repeated. His 8.86 mark from 2012 stands so far above every other year of his career that it is simply unreasonable (and illogical) to assume it can be repeated. That is not to say it won’t be; there is some chance it will, but how can anyone reasonably posit that it will? They cannot. One thing we freely admit at is that we do not know the answers and we are not going to lie to you.

1. Is Jose Bautista going to rebound? The answer is undoubtedly “yes” but to where? No one puts up a .215 BABIP with Bautista’s skill set and does not rebound, and we have obvious explanations for his struggles last year in addition to (and in complement of) his terrible luck on batted balls, namely his injury. If he is healthy there is close to a 100% chance of a big positive regression. There is virtually no difference between his 2009 season and his 2012 season in the key markers such as BB%, K%, HR/FB, GB/FB% etc. Everything that decreased is tied to his batted ball troubles.

As with Reyes, I think he is worthy of a first round pick and have zero hesitation in drafting him over Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen.


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