I suspect that I’ve been giving far too much airtime to a little thing like FanGraphs’ interesting, but hardly earth-shattering, series of positional power rankings, but… Opening Day is still a month away, so it at least gives us something to talk about that isn’t going to be repeated ad nauseam over the next four weeks. And, like I said, it’s been interesting– even though the rankings are based largely on ZiPS projections we all could have looked at for ourselves already.

Today’s, though, which ranks the rotations, I actually had a couple issues with. Not so much the Jays coming in at 19th– because… whatever– but with the write-up.

Prepare for some nitpicking. Cameron writes:

With Romero, Morrow, and Alvarez, ZIPS sees the makings of a strong rotation going forward, but the lack of quality at the back-end looks to be a real problem this year. That said, there is some talent there, and it’s not completely out of the question that a guy like Drabek could find the form that made him a real prospect a few years ago. If the Blue Jays want to contend for the second wild card, though, they’d do well to get a solid veteran who would raise the floor of what they could expect from their #5 starter, and keep an implosion from the young kids from ruining their season.

To get one tiny bit of pedantry out of the way first, I’d like to point out that you only need to go back one calendar year, not “a few years,” to find a time when Kyle Drabek was still a ridiculously highly-regarded prospect. Lest we forget, for 2011 he was 29th for Baseball America, 14th at Baseball Prospectus, 13th according to Keith Law, and FanGraphs’ own rankings had him 25th.

Granted, it does feel like it’s been a hell of a long time since he was a Prospect Who Mattered, but it really hasn’t been.

The other issue I had– and this one also comes with a caveat– is the stuff about how the Jays could best contend to maybe, possibly contend for the second Wild Card spot, earning themselves a spot in a coin flip of a play-in game. It’s not exactly the way the Jays should be anywhere close to contemplating looking at things. I’d trade the minuscule chance of being close to getting into a play-in game for the opportunity to see what the club has got and who steps up at the back of the rotation– especially since, if the door remains open mid-season, and the back-end of the rotation remains in flux, the club can always make a trade then, rather than having blocked some of their young arms at the outset.

Of course, FanGraphs’ M.O. with these rankings has been to focus solely on 2012, which is why the Jays get no points for all the potentially-lethal arms they’ve got coming through the system, and why, one assumes, Cameron is talking about what it would take for them to make a run this season, and not considering their intentions to keep building.

So… there’s that.

Comments (13)

  1. Good point on Drabek, and I’d take it even further. The kid was 3-3 with a 4.16 ERA after 11 starts as a 23 year old rookie. Sure, the control wasn’t great, but he was figuring out ways to get guys out and get through the games before it all fell apart.

    Drabek had 3 bad months (June, July, August) and everyone is jumping off the bandwagon. If the Jays are to make some noise this year, he’s going to play a prominent role.

    • Respectfully disagree about Drabek playing a prominent role needed for the Jays to make some noise.

      Teams normally go through 7 to 12 SP each season due to injuries,etc.Drabek COULD be a prominent part but if he’s not,I’m sure that the depth in the minors will provide enough for the Jays to be more competitive.

  2. I don’t think any AL team has as much potential upside as the Jays this season. Soooo many things could go right (Drabek, McGowan, Johnson, Snider, Rasmus, Thames, Cecil, Alvarez, Morrow, Lind)

    • As opposed to all those teams who somehow DON’T rely on their players performing to their potential.

    • Good point Matt…everyone does that. I was going to say, the Jays have a bunch of these guys you think could be performing so much better. But at some point you have to figure guys like Cecil and Lind had “exception” years and act accordingly. Also you have to look at your coaches too and say, are these the right guys to get the maximum performance out of the “Cecils” and “LInds”.

  3. And yet with so many high ceiling guys pushing the incumbent players to perform better or be trade fodder.
    Is there another Alverez in the system,who can make the jump from starting the season in A ball and end the season with the big club?

    Nice article on Alverez.

  4. Fuck me I spelled Alvarez wrong,Fucking twice.

    I feel so ashamed.

  5. I thought that it was weird for Fangraphs to suggest that the Jays pick up another starter based solely on their “current” rotation’s ZIPs projections. I know they didn’t have a lot of time for in-depth analysis with these pieces, but it kind of seems like the blog equivalent of a lambasting an organization for letting an awful pitcher with a single-year winning record and an unsustainably low ERA go when you have better options available. I mean… I guess they could benefit from an Oswalt, if he actually wanted to play for them… but is that really what they should be doing?

  6. I definitely disagreed with that when I read it this morning, too. Not so much with the ranking, but the idea that the Jays should get a “solid veteran” to take up the #4 or 5 spot in the rotation. I really have a hard time believing that there’s anybody available (without giving up too much) that would be significantly better than some combination of Cecil/McGowan/Drabek/Hutch/Jenkins/McGuire would be, especially when you factor in the net benefit of getting those guys extra development via MLB reps rather than blocking them with Freddy Garcia or whatever.

  7. I would rather see AA go big or go home in regards to the acquisition of a SP before the trade deadline. I agree with Ty. No need to get a Freddy Garcia type when we have some high upside arms waiting in the wings. But if AA can swing a deal to get a legit number 2 or number 3 starter, then by all means, please do sir.

  8. Great point on Drabek.

    It’s important to note that this is EXACTLY how we should be treating Rasmus. Remember it was only 2 months from the season’s end that everyone was popping the Lawrie-sized boners about his acquisition and now everyone’s shitting all over him.

    Let’s see how things pan out with these young guys that we had such huge hard-on for only a year (or even less) ago.

  9. My gripe with the Jays analysis is with Drabek’s 100 IP at a -0.5 WAR clip. I don’t know how much it would impact their position, nor does it matter, but Drabek sure will not be pitching 100 innings if he is pitching that poorly.

    • Interestingly, I looked through the list and the only other pitcher with -ve WAR on the bottom 15 is Bronson Arroyo.

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