Our latest poll was added in order to get a feeling for who Jays fans believe will win what is sure to be a very exciting battle for the 4th and 5th spot in the rotation. Although the continued improvements of Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, and Brett Cecil in the #1-3 spots will be critical to Jays success in 2011, the #4-5 spots could wind up being just as important because of the talent of those who’ll likely land there. With injury concerns usually becoming an issue at some point in the season, it’s likely that we’ll see all of these pitchers in a Jays uniform at some point in 2011, but listed below are your favorite choices and responses to a very important question:
“Who will win the 4th and 5th starter spots in the Jays rotation this spring?”
Total Voters: 301
The results were not that predictable from the choices we gave fans. Most everyone could have predicted which of the answers would finish in the top 2, but not many would have bet their house on either of the 2. There are still some pretty decent surprise responses in there, but for my vote, I also would have gone with the top choice of Jays fans: Kyle Drabek and Marc Rzepczynski, which garnered 53% of the votes.
It’s not because I’m not a Jesse Litsch fan, I just believe that the Jays are set on giving Drabek a shot to start – so long as he does well in spring training – and also because adding Rzepczynski gives the Jays 3 lefties in the rotation and a different look all around that doesn’t allow opposing teams to get used to a “style” of pitching. Rzepczynski also had such a great AFL performance that I believe he has found the confidence he needed to regain after a rough 2010 which came after a great 2009.
Having said that, I would not be shocked in the least to see one of Drabek or Rzepczynski headed to AAA while Jesse Litsch gets a chance to redeem himself. He has gained enough respect from the Jays to earn such a shot, and has reportedly trained hard this off season to ensure he’s ready to outperform others this spring. If he wins the battle outright this spring, why wouldn’t they give him a shot? If he does well and no injuries surface, the Jays will have more depth and possible a trade piece pitcher of some sort at the trade deadline. There’s nothing wrong with taking that route if he earns it. But, if his performances are up and down and the Jays still decide to go with him over the other 2 top candidates, this poll points to the fact that many fans will be disappointed.
What surprised me most about this poll was the results that came in 3rd, Kyle Drabek and another pitcher. Really? I would have thought that predicting a Marc Rzepczynski and Jesse Litsch combination would be much more likely than predicting that both would wind up in AAA – or that they would have been traded or a combination thereof. For 11% of the fans to believe that both Litsch and Rzepczynski would wind up elsewhere suprised me a little, particularly when the pen doesn’t seem to be an option for either with so much experience being there already.
I was equally surprised that the Litsch and Rzepczynski combination only got 7% of the vote, as it could very well wind up that way if Drabek has a lackluster spring. Although many fans are hoping that Drabek comes on strong and lands a spot with the Jays, he still has to earn it. John Farrell isn’t going to put him in the rotation unless he’s absolutely sure he’ll stay there. And, Alex Anthopoulos has said in the past that the Jays no longer want to call players up and not play them or send them back down. They want to call them up and play them when they’re ready, and leave them there for the season. So, if the Jays see that Drabek needs some time to work out some issues, they’ll start the season with him in AAA. So, while this option got little support from fans, it still remains a real possibility.
The least support was given to the right options, as both of those scenarios seem a little far-fetched right now based on what we know. Injuries can change things pretty quickly however, so you never do know for certain. If it does happen, those who chose the winning option can brag all they want, because it takes courage to step that far out of the norm! If you want to, let us know who it is that you see filling those spots if not one of the pitchers we listed as options in the comments section.
Our next poll will be up shortly and most likely for a short period, but it’s a very important one!
Thanks for voting and voicing your opinion!