Overall, the Blue Jays pitching was awful in 2011. The bullpen was a disaster, several starters took steps backwards and some key pitchers were sent packing.
Their stats and league rankings:
ERA: 4.33 (24th)
FIP: 4.29 (26th)
xFIP: 4.06 (23rd)
K/9: 7.21 (T-13th)
BB/9: 3.33 (T-23rd)
HR/9: 1.10 (27th)
WHIP: 1.35 (T-18th)
OPP AVG: .253 (T-18th)
SIERA: 3.79 (T-17th)
The bullpen struggles have been well documented, as have the setbacks and subsequent demotions of both Kyle Drabek and Brett Cecil. But what about Brandon Morrow? I wrote a piece several weeks back pointing out the extreme split between his traditional and advanced stats, but there really isn’t a way to colour a pretty picture for his 2011 season. Morrow for me, will be the difference between contending-or not- next season. He just has so much talent.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Henderson Alvarez here. The 21 year old was very effective in his first 10 big league starts (3.53 ERA). I love his ability to induce ground balls (53.5 GB%) and believe he will be a mainstay of the Jays rotation starting next spring.
Ricky Romero was another bright spot this season (2.92 ERA), earning an all-star nod and setting career bests in wins, ERA, WHIP and innings pitched. His 5 year 30.1 million dollar contract (plus club option for 2016), looks like an absolute steal for AA and the Jays at this point.
As poor as the Jays pitching was as a whole in 2011, the potential is there for a markedly improved 2012. Better seasons from Drabek, Cecil and Morrow can reasonably be expected, and a full year of Alvarez is an upgrade over the ’11 rotations back end. The bullpen could also be much better next season, with Casey Janssen coming off a terrific year in mid relief and Joel Carreno looking brilliant as a September call up.
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