Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fluke or For Real?

Looking at the standings right now (8-10 games into the season) is a complete waste of time. However, it's impossible not to notice some of the teams that have gotten off to suprisingly good starts this season. How have they done it? And more importantly, are they for real?

Toronto Blue Jays (7-3):

Why: Offense. Offense. Offense. As a team, the Blue Jays lead the American League in team batting average (an amazing .313), total bases, hits, doubles, and they are tied for first in the AL in home runs with 17. Scott Rolen, Vernon Wells, Adam Lind, and Scott Rolen have all gotten off to amazing starts at the plate that have jump started the offense.

For Real?: I say no. The Blue Jays are playing in the best division in the major leagues and eventually, their lack of starting pitching depth will haunt them once the offense cools down.

Seattle Mariners (7-2):

Pitching. Pitching. Pitching. Through the first 8 games, the Mariners pitching staff is leading the AL in ERA (2.96), runs given up (22), and shutouts (2). The rotation, led by Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn, and the resurgent Erik Bedard, has been fantastic. And hey, even Carlos Silva has not been totally terrible...only a 6 ERA!

For Real?: I say no, but the Mariners have looked very good thus far. If the pitching staff holds up, the Mariners could surprise some people and actually compete in the AL West, especially if the Angels pitching staff cannot get healthy. However, the Mariners offense leaves much to be desired, even with Ichiro Suzuki returning last night. This offense still cannot get on base consistently, hit with lots of power, or produce a high enough batting average to adequately supplement the pitching staff.

Florida Marlins (7-1):

Why: Over the first 8 games of the season, the Marlins have gotten a wonderful mix of quality starting pitching and fantastic offense. Their pitching staff ranks 4th in the National League with a 3.25 ERA and the Marlins offense has been downright scary. Emilio Bonifacio looks like the second coming of Jose Reyes (can he keep it up???). And Hanley Ramirez has developed into a lethal #3 hitter. (Side note: Josh Johnson=beast)

For Real
?: I say yes. Sure the Marlins have some weaknesses namely in the bullpen and with the defense, but this team is too talented not to make some noise. In the end, the Marlins might not have the intangibles needed to make the playoffs, but they sure as hell can scare the living crap out of the Mets and Phillies. If the Marlins can improve their bullpen and defense, then watch out. This club is dangerous.

San Diego Padres (6-3):

Why: Pitching. Pitching. And more pitching. The Padres pitching staff, led by Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Heath Bell, has been fantastic so far as they rank third in the National League in ERA (3.15 ERA). If the Padres pitching staff can keep up this kind of production, especailly at PETCO Park, then the Padres will be better than expected.

For Real?: Hell no. The Padres offense is one of the worse in all of baseball and it doesn't help that the Padres play in one of the most pitcher friendly ballparks in all of baseball. Even with the incredible Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres simply do not have enough offensive depth to come anywhere close to competing.

Like my picks? Think I'm crazy? Make your voice the comments!


Jason @ IIATMS said...

can't disagree with any of them, though the Jays are certainly raking. Their pitching is just too thin, however.

One thing certainly worth noting, however... the O's have a DAMN GOOD team, excluding their rotation. If their pitching prospects ever develop as promised, this team will be very good.

Adam Jones is a stud in the making, and while losing the moody Bedard was the cost of getting him, they are better with Jones longer term. The kid can play. Roberts, Markakis, Huff... good players. And that Wieters kid has all the promise in the world.

Bill said...

Ha...we had very similar thoughts today. I went with the Orioles, who I'm not quite as high on as Jason is, but I've got the M's, Fish and Pads coming up in probably the next three days.

I agree with you on the Jays. Primarily because of that pesky three-best-teams-in-the-bigs-are-in-their-division thing, and also because there seems to be a curse on their pitching staff to which only Roy Halladay is immune.

Josh said...

If the orioles can ever get some pitching, they will be very, very good

Anonymous said...

Why don't the Padres and Jays work out a deal? Jays need pitching and Padres need hitting. Each is overstocked at their strengths.

Josh said...

The problem is that I doubt the Padres would trade Peavy or Young at this point...maybe Peavy later on in the season. Also, I doubt the Jays would be able to take on salary.

In your opinion, what would the Jays have to give up to get Peavy?

Jason B said...

As a Jays fan, let me clear up this misconcenption--the Jays are in no way overstocked with hitting, first 13 games not withstanding. Not all of their regulars will hit .350 indefinitely. Marco Scutaro is not the guy you want leading off. They'll do well to get 120 games out of Rolen, as per his usual. Not gonna be a productive tandem of catchers. Overbay will provide slightly below average production at 1B. Jose Bautista is involved.

With all that said, Hill *is* back and healthy, Lind may well break out this year, Rios can rake, and let's hope Snider can develop in the bigs without too many growing pains.

I wish Marcum and McGowan were healthy, that staff is too thin. *Sigh*