Toronto Blue Jays

Manager: John Gibbons
Stadium: Rogers Centre
2008 Record: 86-76 (4th in AL East)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

'08: Batting | Runs (11th in AL)
PLAYER B POS
Marco Scutaro R SS
Aaron Hill R 2B
Alex Rios R RF
Vernon Wells R CF
Adam Lind L DH
Lyle Overbay L 1B
Scott Rolen R 3B
Travis Snider L LF
Rod Barajas R C
OFF THE BENCH
Kevin Millar R 1B/DH
John McDonald R INF

PITCHING

'08: Pitching | ERA (1st in AL)
ROTATION T POS
Roy Halladay R SP1
Jesse Litsch R SP2
David Purcey L SP3
Ricky Romero L SP4
Scott Richmond R SP5
BULLPEN
Scott Downs L Setup
Brandon League R Setup
B.J. Ryan L Closer
 

The scouting information available to minor league hitters is often scant -- the name of the opposing pitcher, a couple of statistics. So when Travis Snider was promoted to the majors last August, he was thrilled to discover the detailed info at his disposal. "It becomes more of a chess match than at the minor league level," says Snider, Toronto's first-round pick in 2006. After slugging .513 in three seasons on the farm, the left fielder batted .301 with six doubles and two homers in 73 big league at-bats. The Blue Jays, who finished 21st in baseball in runs scored last season, hope Snider and Adam Lind, a third-round pick in 2004, can help Vernon Wells and Alex Rios kick the offense up a notch. With a club built around pitching and defense, Toronto has averaged 85 wins the past three seasons. That would make the Jays contenders in some other divisions, but they've become an afterthought in the loaded AL East. This team is nearing a crossroads: Another mediocre season, and it may be time to clear the chessboard and start over.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN The Magazine's Blue Jays preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Travis Snider might be the favorite to win Rookie of the Year if Matt Wieters doesn't come up in the first few weeks of the season; Snider has a quick bat, plus raw power and a good eye, and plays capably in right or left field.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Ricky Romero has bounced back from a few years of control trouble and has a strong three-pitch mix that should help him get through opposing lineups two or three times.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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Featured Comment

Coming out of Maryland, LHP Brett Cecil is on the fast track to the majors.


DaQuadfatha

American League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

With B.J. Ryan's velocity way down this spring, Scott Downs is the Blue Jays' fallback option at closer. He's been really good as a set-up man two years running, and this news makes him a viable deep-league draftee.

BUST

B.J. Ryan will probably keep his closer's job to begin the year, but there's real concern about how soft he's throwing. He was reliable in '08 but looks overvalued in '09. At the very least, his strikeouts seem likely to suffer.
-- Christopher Harris

INJURIES

Last year, Vernon Wells missed significant time because of a strained left hamstring and a broken wrist. This spring, Wells has already been bothered by the same hamstring and wrist. No need for a medical background to know that this is not good. Hamstring injuries are known to be annoyingly recurrent, but having the problem crop up so early for Wells is cause for concern when the first of 162 games has yet to be played. As far as the wrist issue, stiffness and soreness in the area of a prior fracture are not unusual, but once again, the fact that this is rearing up so early is of concern. Manager Cito Gaston remains hopeful that these are minor issues, but this is unlikely to be the last we've seen of these injuries for Wells.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: Will Travis Snider live up to the hype?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 18 overall
    (4th in
    AL East)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 15 overall
    (4th in
    AL East)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 15 overall
    (4th in
    AL East)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 20 overall
    (5th in
    AL East)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 18 overall
    (4th in
    AL East)