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.