Toronto Blue Jays 2012 Report Cards

Welcome to the offseason.

Keeping with 500 Level Fan tradition, one of the first offseason posts will be a look back at the season that was by grading each of the players on the Jays roster.  Grades are based not only on season performance, but also how well the player performed relative to the rest of the league, and relative to his expectations. 

A word of warning – this years grades are ugly.

Note: only position players with at least 100 plate appearances, and pitchers with at least 40 IP were included.  Players must have ended the year on the Jays (so no Thames or Cordero).

Cream of the Crop

A+   Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH  

.941 OPS / 42 HR / 4.6 bWAR

We expected a bit of power and at least a marginal improvement over 2011.  What we got were MVP calibre numbers.  On top of the homers, Edwin nearly walked as many times as he struck out (84 to 94), and chipped in 13 steals.

A+   Casey Janssen, Closer

2.54 ERA / 0.86 WHIP / 22 saves

Dominated as closer after taking over for Santos and Cordero.  Likely starts next year as the 9th inning guy.

A   Darren Oliver, RP

2.06 ERA / 1.02 WHIP / 1.9 bWAR

A rock out of the bullpen all season.  Easily Toronto’s most consistent pitcher.

A   Carlos Villanueva, SP/RP

7 W / 8.80 K/9 / 1.2 bWAR

The numbers might not be outstanding, but Villanueva was great out of the bullpen, and made a seamless transition to the rotation.

Next Best

B+   Jose Bautista, RF  

.86 OPS / 27 HR / 3.2 bWAR

Overcame a terrible start and was tearing up the league when he was lost for the season with a wrist injury.  Still finished 18th in the AL in HR and 29th in bWAR despite missing 70 games.

B+   Brandon Morrow, SP

2.96 ERA / 1.12 WHIP / 3.2 bWAR

Was putting together a career year until he was injured.  Strikeout total went down, but control and command went up.

B   Rajai Davis, OF

.687 OPS / 46 SB

Proved to be adept at filling in for injuries, and finished second in stolen bases in the AL.

B   Luis Perez, RP

3.43 ERA / 8.40 K/9

Was Toronto’s top long reliever until Tommy John surgery ended his year.

B-   Brett Lawrie, 3B

.729 OPS / 13 SB / 4.1 bWAR

Power numbers were not what we expected, but was great with the glove.  Needs to mature to be more effective.

Needs Improvement

C+   Adeiny Hechavarria, IF; Anthony Gose OF; Drew Hutchison, SP  

Three rookies.  Each expereienced some growing pains, but lack of playing time limited their contribution.  In Hutchison’s case, he was coming into his own when he was hurt, and both Gose and Hech showed improvement at the end of the season.

C   J.P. Arencibia, C

.710 OPS / 18 HR / 56 RBI

Solid power and handles the pitching staff well, but his OBP is not good enough, and actually went down in 2012.

C   Jeff Mathis, C; David Cooper, 1B; Moises Sierra, OF; Aaron Laffey, SP

A quartet of bench players and fill-ins.  I was impressed by both Mathis and Laffey as they both contributed more than anybody thought they would.  Sierra is young, and Cooper, despite a decent .788 OPS, doesn’t hit with enough power for a 1B.

C-   Kelly Johnson, 2B

.678 OPS / 16 HR / 159 K

Set a Jays record for strikeouts and was a thorough disappointment with the bat.  Did draw a lot of walks to somewhat cancel out his high K rate.

C-   Colby Rasmus, CF

.689 OPS / 23 HR / 75 RBI

Set career highs in HR and RBI, but aside from a red-hot month of June, was mostly terrible.  Potential is still there, but will he ever reach it?

The Disappointments

D+   Adam Lind, 1B  

.729 OPS / 11 HR / 0.0 bWAR

He was sent down, injured, and aside from a nice stretch to end September, mostly terrible.  Part of a black hole at 1B for Toronto.

D   Yunel Escobar, SS

.644 OPS / 9 HR 

His hitting dropped off substantially and he caused controversy with his stupid eye black escapade.  His glove is the only thing keeping him above an F.

D   Kyle Drabek, SP; Henderson Alvarez, SP; Jason Frasor, RP

Drabek and Alvarez are still young, so there is a chance they’ll improve.  But Drabek was still walking way too many batter before he went down, and Alvarez struggled most of the season.  Frasor’s ERA was over 4 out of the ‘pen.

D-   Brett Cecil, P; Yan Gomes, C/IF

Not much was expected from these guys, and not much was delivered.  Gomes barely kept his average above .200, and Cecil barely kept his ERA below 6.00.

The Failures

F   Omar Vizquel, IF  

.546 OPS / 0 HR / -0.4 bWAR

Was brought in mainly to provide veteran leadership and stability to a young team, but judging by the way the season unravelled, he failed miserably. 

F    Ricky Romero, SP

5.77 ERA / 1.67 WHIP / -1.7 bWAR 

By baseball reference’s WAR stat, Romero was the second worst pitcher in the AL to Minnesota’s Nick Blackburn.  Nothing went right for him in 2012, as he regressed to a point where he became a liability.  Hopefully offseason elbow surgery will propel him to a 2013 rebound.

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