How the Jays' pitching stacks up

Blue Jays' Ricky Romero is as big a winner off the ball diamond as he is when throwing heat from...

Blue Jays' Ricky Romero is as big a winner off the ball diamond as he is when throwing heat from the pitcher's mound. (REUTERS)

Ken Fidlin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

The Projected Starters

1. Ricky Romero

In just three seasons, Romero has gone from being a quiet, respectful rookie to a team leader, both in word and deed, leading by example in his clubhouse demeanour as well as with his work ethic. Last season he won 15 games, tossed 225 innings and put up an ERA at 2.92, yet retains the hunger to continue to get better and help build a winner in Toronto.

2. Brandon Morrow

Morrow’s results have not yet added up to the sum of his talent but he left hints in September that by pitching with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, he may step up to join Romero as 1 and 1A. “I think there’s a certain level of a$$hole that you need to be to really succeed,” Morrow said when he signed a three-year contract extension in January. “You look at the best athletes, and they’ve all got a little bit of that in them.”

3. Brett Cecil

In Blue Jays manager John Farrell’s eyes, Cecil is one of the players who holds the key for the Jays to break out of the fourth-place rut they have been in the American League East the past few years. Coming off a disappointing season in which he finished 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA, Cecil has slimmed down and muscled up to try to make amends in 2012.

4. Henderson Alvarez

With his unflappable demeanour Alvarez, just 21, was plucked from the New Hampshire roster early last August and he performed remarkably well in 10 starts at the big-league level, even though he was only in his first season of double A competition. He’s been trying to master a slider to go with his very effective fastball-changeup approach but his forte is his command that led to his issuing just eight walks in 64 innings.

5. Dustin McGowan

The last time McGowan came to spring training in a competitive frame of mind was four years ago. Ever since July of 2008, the big right-hander with the textbook delivery has been trying to coax his shoulder back to health. If he can remain able-bodied for an entire season, with a mid-90’s fastball and a hard-biting slider, McGowan can make Jays fans forget that their team didn’t add an experienced starter this winter.

In The Mix

1. Kyle Drabek

In an impressive side session Friday, Drabek clustered about 30 knee-high pitches, pinpointing his fastballs and cutters and showing no sign of the lack of command that ruined his season in 2011. “His mind is quiet,” said an observer. “I wish we could bottle that.”

 

2. Aaron Laffey

Laffey was once one of the prized pitching prospects of the Indians when John Farrell was their director of player development. He made his MLB debut in 2007 but has remained a fringe player, drifting from Cleveland to Seattle to New York to Kansas City to Toronto the past two years.

3. Scott Richmond

The best Richmond can hope for out of this camp is another triple-A gig in Las Vegas, or the chance to show enough that some other organization sees something in the B.C. native that they like. At the age of 32 the future is right now for Richmond.

Top Prospects

1. Drew Hutchison

A strike thrower on the order of Greg Maddux, Hutchison has ice water in his veins to go with an extraordinary pitching IQ. Coming soon to a big league park near you.

2. Deck McGuire

After just one season of pro ball, McGuire is at the double-A level with the bigtime just a phone call away. At 6-foot-6, 220, he could add some muscle to with his upper body and a little more heat to his 91-94 m.p.h. fastball that meshes nicely with a very good slider.

3. Chad Jenkins

Jenkins is on a similar track to McGuire, using a heavy sinker and very good control as his primary weapons. They will anchor what promises to be a killer rotation in New Hampshire.

4. Joel Carreno

Carreno got a taste of the big leagues as a reliever last September but he remains on a track to be a starter, despite the fact he only gave up two runs in 15 innings working out of the Toronto bullpen.

The Projected Bullpen

1. Sergio Santos

Some analysts have called the deal that brought former shortstop Santos back to the Jays in exchange for minor-leaguer Nestor Molina as their closer one of the best trades of the winter. Only time will tell, but Santos looks like a good, cheap keeper.

2. Francisco Cordero

No longer a flame-throwing strikeout artist, Cordero can still miss enough bats to be an effective eighth-inning setup man, especially if he’s able to cut down his walks as he did last season.

3. Darren Oliver

Oliver, 41, typifies the adage “youth is wasted on the young.” In his first 12 years, mainly as a starter, he was 87-79, with a 5.07 ERA and a WHIP of 1.544. In his last six years, starting at age 36, he is 25-11, 2.97 ERA and a WHIP of 1.151.

4. Jason Frasor

Facing an uncertain future with the White Sox, Frasor couldn’t be happier to be back in Toronto with a team he knows and in a mid-relief role that suits him perfectly.

5. Casey Janssen

Armed with a brand new two-year extension and coming off his best year since surgery interrupted his career in 2008, Janssen joins Frasor as the bridge between the starters and the bullpen’s short men.

6. Carlos Villanueva

Villanueva’s finesse as a reliever led to his role as emergency starter last year but he’ll be back in the pen where he limited opponents to a .161 batting average in 33 innings.

7. Luis Perez

With is history as a starter, Perez will get many of the long assignments out of the pen, as well as the occasional situational opportunity to get a key left-handed hitter out.

In The Mix

Jesse Litsch, Trystan Magnuson, Alan Farina, Jim Hoey, Evan Crawford, Chad Beck, Danny Farquhar, Jesse Chavez, Robert Coello, Nelson Figueroa, Jerry Gil, Garrett Mock, Ryan Tepera.

 

 

 

 


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