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.
Not suprisingly, considering the terrible season we witnessed in Toronto, this years grades are ugly. Worse than last year as a matter of fact.
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 Bonifacio).
Cream of the Crop
A+ Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH
.904 OPS / 36 HR / 4.0 WAR
Edwin proved that 2012 was no fluke. He finshed 3rd in the AL in HR, and 5th in OPS, and also finished the season with 20 fewer strikeouts than walks (62 to 82) – an incredible stat for a power hitter. If he didn’t miss 20 games he easily would have eclipsed the 40 HR mark again.
A Colby Rasmus, CF
.839 OPS / 22 HR / 4.8 WAR
Finally put everything together. He topped the Blue Jays in WAR, played a terrific centrefield, and put up tremendous production offensively.
A Casey Janssen, Closer
2.56 ERA / 0.99 WHIP / 34 Saves
Many predicted a fall back season for Janssen, and that he’d eventually be unseated as closer by Sergio Santos. Instead he posted a sub-1.00 WHIP, finished 34 for 36 in save chances, and was the anchor of Toronto’s bullpen.
A Aaron Loup, RP
2.47 ERA / 4.08 K/BB / 1.5 WAR
Though Cecil and Delabar made the All-Star game, Toronto’s most effective reliever by season’s end was Loup. Led all Jays relievers (> 40 IP) in ERA, IP, and strikeout to walk ratio.
B+ Jose Bautista, RF
.856 OPS / 28 HR / 4.1 WAR
Finished second on the team with an .856 OPS and 28 HR, and remained one of the most formidable sluggers in baseball. However, injuries once again plagued him, causing him to miss almost 50 games.
B+ Mark Buehrle, SP
4.15 ERA / 203.2 IP / 2.1 WAR
Overcame an unbelievably terrible start to finish the season exactly as advertised: a 200+ inning pitcher who is dependable, not overpowering, and mostly consistent.
B+ Brett Cecil, RP
2.82 ERA / 1.10 WHIP / 10.40 K/9
Was lights out in the Jays bullpen for much of the year and made his first All-Star team. Would have been graded higher if not for a late season fade.
B Rajai Davis, OF
45 SB / 1.8 WAR
He finished second in the AL in stolen bases for the second straight season, once again proving to be a great 4th outfielder.
B Adam Lind, 1B
.854 OPS / 23 HR / 1.9 WAR
A solid bounceback season for Lind. He finished 12th in the AL in OPS and, thanks in part to 51 walks, 18th in OBP. He still struggles against left handed pitching.
B R.A. Dickey, SP
14 W / 1.24 WHIP / 177 K
Dickey was a bit of a disappointment in his first season with the Jays, but at the end of the day he fniished the season with solid numbers, including 224.2 IP – good for second in the AL.
B- Steve Delabar, RP
3.22 ERA / 1.35 WHIP / 12.60 K/9
Struck out a ton of batters and for a stretch was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. Like Cecil he made the All-Star game, but also like Cecil he ran out of gas near the end of the year.
C+ Jose Reyes, SS
.780 OPS / 15 SB / 2.5 WAR
Reyes was fantastic when he was in the lineup, getting on base and giving the Jays energy and speed at the top of the batting order. But a sprained ankle cost him 69 games.
C Brett Lawrie, 3B
.712 OPS / 11 HR
Disappointing season for Lawrie, marred by two separate stints to the DL. He was far too inconsistent when he was healthy. Remains an elite defender, though the bat needs to catch up next year.
C Munenori Kawasiki, IF; Mark DeRosa IF
Two bench players who meant a lot to the team for different reasons. DeRosa put up a .733 OPS and 36 RBI while serving as an excellent mentor for the erratic Lawrie. Kawasaki was the glue that held the team together during the Reyes injury, and actually had a higher OPS than J.P. Arencibia despite hitting 20 fewer HR.
C Darren Oliver, RP
3.86 ERA / 1.27 WHIP
His numbers regressed across the board, and he spent time on the disabled list. Not the way Oliver wanted his final big league season to unfold.
C Esmil Rogers, SP/RP; Todd Redmond, SP
Rogers and Redmond were not supposed to be members of Toronto’s starting rotation, but finished the season there due to injury. Both did an adequate job (Redmond had better numbers across the board, albeit in 60 fewer innings), and both have a shot to claim a spot in the 2014 rotation.
D Moises Sierra, OF; Anthony Gose, OF; Kevin Pillar, OF; Ryan Goins, 2B
This quartet of call-ups didn’t log enough playing time to make any real impact, but each played just enough to leave us with an impression. Sierra looked the best of the bunch with an .827 OPS, but was very sloppy on the basepaths. Gose continues to amaze with his speed, but his bat is not improving. Goins played outstanding defense, but struck out a ton (28 K to only 2 BB). Pillar looked overmatched.
D J.A. Happ, SP
4.56 ERA / 1.47 WHIP
Got off to a decent start, but his terrifying injury in Tampa Bay where he was hit in the head by a line drive derailed his season. He didn’t look good at all when he returned.
F J.P. Arencibia, C
.194 AVG / .592 OPS / 0.1 WAR
It says a lot when a guy hits 21 HR and still puts up one of the worst offensive seasons in recent memory. Pick a stat, any stat, and JPA was likely at or near the bottom of the league. His 148 strikeouts to only 18 walks was particularly pathetic. He needs to improve, but will he even be around to get a chance?
F Josh Thole, C
.175 AVG / .498 OPS / -0.7 WAR
It’s hard to be worse than Arencibia, but Thole definitely was. His .242 slugging percentage was laughable, just like Toronto’s catching position as a whole.
F Melky Cabrera, LF
3 HR / .682 OPS / -0.1 WAR
The OPS was better than others, but when compared to what was expected from him and what his contract was worth, Cabrera was a terrible disappointment.
F Maicer Izturis, 2B
.598 OPS / -1.0 WAR
He was pretty bad all around until an injury ended his season. His -1.0 WAR was the 9th worst in the entire AL.
F Brandon Morrow, SP
54.1 IP / 5.63 ERA / -0.6 WAR
This was supposed to be the breakout year that we have all been waiting for, but instead it was Morrow’s worst season in Toronto. He only made 10 starts before an injury finished his season, and the 10 starts he did make were pretty awful.
F Josh Johnson, SP
2 – 8 / 6.20 ERA / 1.66 WHIP / -1.6 WAR
Johnson was considered one of the most important offseason acquisitions, a top-of-the-rotation stud who would solidify the pitching staff. Instead he turned into the worst pitcher in the American League. Between injury and poor performance he never got it going.