The Jays “What Could Have Been” Rotation


As we wait for the Jays to kick off a new series today, I thought it would be interesting to take a peak at what the Jays rotation could have looked like, statistically speaking, if the Jays had held onto Roy Halladay and Shaun Marcum, while still dealing for Brandon Morrow.

The Jays rotation would look something like this:

#1: Roy Halladay RHP

  • Arguably the best pitcher in baseball today.
  • 9-3 / 118.1 IP / 107 hits / 16 BB / 119 Ks / 2.51 ERA / 1.039 Whip

#2: Ricky Romero LHP

  • Could argue to put Marcum here, but Romero is just as effective.
  • 6-7 / 102.2 IP / 87 hits / 36 BB / 91 Ks / 2.98 ERA / 1.198 Whip

#3: Shaun Marcum RHP

  • The change up master makes this rotation that much more effective by changing speeds on their lineups.
  • 7-2 / 94.2 IP / 75 hits / 25 BB / 86 Ks / 2.95 ERA / 1.056 Whip

#4: Brandon Morrow RHP

  • He has had some health issues this year which have dampened his stats.
  • 3-4 / 61 IP / 61 hits / 26 BB / 72 Ks / 5.02 ERA / 1.426 Whip

Tied #5: Jo-Jo Reyes LHP

  • I was as skeptical as most, but he has been better than expected with his newfound tools.
  • 3-6 / 85 IP / 97 hits / 27 BB / 54 Ks / 4.34 ERA / 1.459 Whip

Tied #5: Carlos Villanueva RHP

  • Picked up for cash, Carlos has proven himself worthy of a rotation spot and deserves the 5th spot here. I added 2 #5 starters because with Morrow on the mend, it’s likely that both would have gotten some starting time.
  • 4-1 / 59.2 IP / 46 hits / 16 BB / 41 Ks / 3.17 ERA / 1.039 Whip

This exercise is presented to ask Jays fans one simple question: would having the rotation pieces listed above have made the Jays a playoff team in 2011? The Jays are 36-39 without both Marcum and Halladay in the rotation. How many more wins could we expect the Jays to have with them in the rotation? Halladay has 9 wins to his credit (and a WAR of 4.3), while Kyle Drabek has 4 wins (and a WAR of 0.1). Let’s assume that Roy would add a minimum of 5 wins to this point. Marcum, meanwhile, could add somewhere close to 3 wins (he has a 2.3 WAR rating). That would give the Jays an extra 8 wins over what they have to this point, give or take one or two wins.

With 8 more wins to their credit, the Jays would be tied with the Yankees with 43 wins.

The obvious objections to this “theory” or presentation include the fact that nobody can say with any certainty that Halladay and/or Marcum would have been as dominant in the AL as they have been in the NL this season.

Still, it does beg the question of just how much better the Jays could have been with such a rotation in place. The pen would be fresher and less depended upon, the depth of the rotation would have been greater, and the AAA rotation would include Brett Cecil, Scott Richmond, Brad Mills, and Rey Gonzalez, all pitchers who would provide the Jays with capable backups to their rotation. Zach Stewart, Henderson Alvarez, and Joel Carreno would have represented the “next wave”, and would all be earning their way through AA. **Drabek was taken out as you can read about in the comments….mistake on my end!!

Obviously, keeping Roy Halladay around was not an option for the Jays, and if Brett Lawrie is anything close to what many people say he will become as a Jays player, the Marcum deal was well worth it. But, had the Jays been able to retain both pitchers, it’s quite possible that the team would be in the thick of a race at this point in the season, instead of being on the brink of becoming sellers as we get close to the trade deadline.

Just a fun exercise that makes you go hmmm…..

- MG

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  • Carter

    Great post, very interesting.

  • Tod L

    I myself have thought about this a lot, in the past couple of months. Great article Mat. Even thought it looks like we mightve been in the thick of it right now, I trully believe we are better off for the future. And I think thats what AA is trying to build, a perennial contender.

  • Scott C.

    Good article but with Halladay in the Rotation, Drabek wouldn’t be in AAA. He would still be in the Philly organization.

    • Mat Germain

      Ha! How in the world did I miss that…

      Thanks for the pickup Scott…I should have noticed it myself!

  • aaforpm

    Interesting although if Halladay was still here than Drabek would not be pitching for our AAA team, he’d be pitching for the Phillies’ AAA team.

    Also, if we were going to dream, as much as I appreciate what Jo Jo has done this year, I would dream about what if Dustin McGowan hadn’t gotten injured…in my mind this entire season will be salvaged if he can come back this year and prove himself to be healthy for next year.

    A rotation of Romero, Morrow (who I believe will be very good even if he isn’t great), McGowan (back to his old 96mph fastball self), Doug Drabek (who I also think will establish himself sometime over the next couple of years), and Henderson Alvarez COULD be as good as anyone in our division……the key word being COULD

  • Brett

    I have to say, it is a fun exercise, but I don’t know if it captures some of the intangible stuff that has occurred since Doc was traded… like the fun that the rotation seems to be having, for example. Doc is an amazing, professional pitcher who brought a constant hard working mentality to the team that, despite the fact that the starters likely benefited from it, may have hindered their growth as perfection became an expectation.

    Doc seemed all business, no fun. These guys like to have fun with each other while keeping focused on their business, if you will.

  • NoScoutHere

    That rotation could lead the league in shutouts and complete games but we would still have a losing record unless those 5 can get on base and drive in runs at the same time.

    Does anyone else get pissed off with these CAPTCHAs?

    • Tod L

      Yes! So annoying!

  • Mike

    A neat analysis, but…
    Would the Jays get Morrow had they kept Halladay? They got Morrow to start…I doubt they go looking for another starter had they kept Halladay.
    Would Marcum and Romero get as good as they are pitching on the same staff as Halladay? without Halladay, Marcum and Romero were thrown into the fire and had to sink or swim. They got mentally tough quickly in that position. They had to pitch a lot of innings, they had to challenge the AL East power teams, they were the leaders on a young pitching staff.

  • David Robson

    Haliday makes other pitchers better look at AJ he got better after working on a team with Haliday, Marcum and McGowan both became really good on a team with Haliday and if Toronto doesn’t trade for Morrow when they don’t need a started then Brandon Leauge is the Jays Closer. It looks like the Morrow deal worked out for both sides. And had the Jays had that rotation coming into the season they would have gotten a couple free agents in the off season to make a run…