The Toronto Blue Jays were the sexy pick last year to win the AL East, but injuries and inconsistent play doomed them to a 74-88 record and a 5th place finish in the AL East. The Blue Jays are hoping to stay healthier and move up in the standings, but I just don’t see that happening here. Vegas Odds have the Blue Jays at +2000 to win the AL East, +2000 to win the AL Pennant and +4000 to win the World Series.
Despite the injuries last year, the Blue Jays still ranked 9th in the league in runs scored (712) and 4th in the league in homers (185). Jose Reyes was brought in last year, but Injuries limited him to just 382 AB’s on the year. Jose Bautista hit 28 HR’s last year but drove in just 72 runs. He would have had more on both but he also spent time on the DL. Edwin Encarnacion had a monster year as he hit 36 HRs and drove in 104 runs and spent no time on the DL. Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera are solid in the middle of the lineup, making this a very tough top 6 for opposing pitchers to go though. It really helps, though, that Reyes and Bautista are healthy now. This problem with the offense will be very little production from the 7, 8 & 9 hitters, but still overall this is a top 10 offense, especially when healthy.
Last year the Jays finished 25th in the league in ERA at 4.25, and it may not be all that much better this year as the starting staff looks a mess. R.A Dickey was brought in last year and was expected to have a big year, but he was a flop for most of the year with a 14-13 record and a 4.21 ERA. His is their number 1 starter this year though. Mark Buehrle was also signed last year and while he did go 12-10, also had a 4.15 ERA. The rest of the staff consists of Drew Hutchinson (5-3, 4.60 ERA), Brandon Morrow (2-3, 5.63 ERA in 10 Starts last year) and Dustin McGowan, who has just 4 starts and 30 total appearances in the last 5 years. Very weak staff for sure, while the bullpen is average at best. The Pen has some solid late inning hurlers in Steve Delabar, Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos, but middle and long relief are a mess and they will be important getting to the late relievers, especially with this weak staff.
Outlook: The Jays have some good hitting at the top and middle of their lineup, but the bottom is pretty weak. Still they should score plenty of runs, especially if they can stay healthy. They will also give up plenty of runs, as the top two in the rotation are very average at best, while the other 3 are just not that strong at all and middle to long relief has some issues also. I do not see anything but the basement in the AL East for the Jays.
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