This has been a crazy season for the Jays, especially the last few months. There have been so many rumors, so much anger, and such an on-slaught of accusations that it is hard to remember what is going on. I feel dazed and confused with a killer hang-over on the morning after a heavy night of drinking where everything is fuzzy and without focus. I guess that is what another lost season feels like, especially one that started off with such great promise.
To get my bearings, I decided to take a look at the standings, the point differentials, and the rank of injuries per team over the past two seasons. I want to remind myself what happened this season and see how it compared to 2011. I am hoping that will lift the foggy haze that currently surrounds the Jays in my head.
With that, here are some stats for you to look at and surmise what you want from them….
A FEW THOUGHTS:
You can see that injuries fluctuate depending on a combination of random variation and line-up construction. The Yankees almost topping the injury rankings this year at number 2 can be seen as an eventuality borne out of their dusty old team, however, the fact that they lost young pitcher Michael Pineda for the season illustrates that there is still some luck involved here. Yet, it isn’t a surprise as they topped the list last year as well.
When it comes to the Jays, it should mildly raise some suspicion that the team has been in the top ten of injuries amongst all MLB teams the past two seasons. What should cause the alarm bells to be ringing is the breakdown by fangraphs over the past 3 seasons. Look at how many pitchers we have lost: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2012-disabled-list-summary/ For the Jays to survive in this league, the front office better fix this situation. If it is all just extreme variations in luck then we better start holding seances in downtown Toronto to reverse the team’s fortunes.
The other point of note is that if you look at the changes in point-differential and team record between the past two seasons, you can see that you can explain some of these changes by free agent acquisitions drafting, internal development, and injuries, but you can’t explain all of them. We have 162 games in baseball because of how much more extreme the random fluctuations of the sport can be, when compared to football or hockey. These dips and highs can happen over entire seasons as well (BALTIMORE, EE).
So where does that leave the Jays? The team has definitely not over-performed in the standings over the past two seasons. The bad news is that they aren’t likely to do so without a few changes to the rotation. The good news, is that it looks like the AL East is starting to provide an opening. Boston is certainly rebuilding. While the Yankees are probably going to be back in the playoffs they are certainly trending downwards. Tampa-bay is competitive and Baltimore is trending up, but neither team will be an insurmountable force.
There is some pessimism creeping into the Jays community. There certainly isn’t the excitement that was pulsing through-out Toronto before the season began. But, the fact is, everyone shouldn’t be so disheartened. A.A. has certainly fallen from grace in the media, but the talking heads have their own agendas as well and have a need to point the blame in order to sell copy. He certainly isn’t the ninja immune from failure that he was built-up to be, but he also isn’t the bumbling incompetent ‘bean-counter’ that he is painted as today.
The Jays are still trending in the right direction, with some room for internal player development from the minors and on the major-league team. Hopefully the team will add a few useful free agents. When you look at the rest of the league, there is an openings for the Jays in the AL East.
Well, unless the Dodgers decide to trade for A-ROD, Texeria, and Jeter.