Here are five burning questions to start the week. It’s kind of like a reader mailbag, except I ask AND answer the questions!
Here we go.
1. Should Travis Snider bat clean-up?
I watched the Jays game on Sportsnet yesterday and one thing jumped out at me: Travis Snider was batting 4th, in between Baustista and Encarnacion. After spending most of last season hitting 8th or 9th, it was certainly a different look to see the young slugger in the middle of the order. In fact, I kind of liked Snider in that slot. Assuming Bautista maintains his hold on the number three spot, whoever bats clean-up will have a lot of pressure to protect the HR king. I see Snider dealing with that pressure a lot better than Lind, Encarnacion, or anybody else.
2. Should Gregg Zaun join Sportsnet?
The answer to this is obvious – yes. The former Blue Jay fan favourite does a great job in the studio during the playoffs. Now that he’s freshly retired, he’d be a great addition to the Sportsnet team, especially alongside Buck Martinez. I think I’m one of the few who actually doesn’t mind Pat Tabler doing colour, but I think bringing in Zaun would be a major upgrade.
3. How many bases will Anthony Gose steal in the minors?
In his first two full minor league seasons, Anthony Gose swiped 121 bases. So far this spring he’s stolen three, all
while only reaching base four times. Gose will not make the club out of spring training and still might be two or three years away from tasting the big leagues. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start a “Gose Watch” in order to follow how many bags he steals this year. If he is able to improve his SB% (a pedestrian 70% in his career) I am willing to put the over/under at 75. Anyone care to make a guess?
4. Does Yunel Escobar have any chance to lead the Jays in batting average in 2011?
So far this spring, the top Blue Jay averages are:
1. Yunel Escobar .471
2. Brett Lawrie .400
3. Eric Thames .375
Neither Lawrie nor Thames are likely to make the Opening Day roster. Escobar is firmly entrenched as the starting SS. It sounds crazy after his putrid season last year to suggest that YE could lead the team in hitting. He only hit .256 on the season, including a .275 mark in Toronto, and a .258 clip in September. But Yunel is only four years removed from hitting .326 with the Braves in ’07, and on a Jays team that looks like it will lack for high averages again, he has as good a chance as any.
5. Who starts 2011 as the closer?
Despite only tossing one inning so far (and allowing two hits and a walk in that inning), and battling shoulder soreness, Frank Francisco is still the odds on favourite to land the gig. With Octavio Dotel doing little to help his cause thus far (2 IP, 22.50 ERA, 3.50 WHIP), Francisco’s main competition might just be the man who started 2010 as the closer – Jason Frasor. With a new one year contract and one perfect inning under his belt, Frasor is off to a solid start this spring. While I don’t think he starts the year as the 9th inning guy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get another shot at some point in the summer.