Quick Turnaround In AL East Has Been Done Many Times
Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox players Jacoby Ellsbury (left) , David Ortiz (middle) and Dustin Pedroia (15) are welcomed back to the dugout after scoring on a three-run double by right fielder Shane Victorino (not pictured) in the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY SportsI know what you’re thinking. The Toronto Blue Jays finished last in the hardest division in baseball and it’s going to be darn near impossible to improve enough for the 2014 season to grab a playoff spot.
And you’re probably right.
BUT this very thing has been done by AL East teams before. In fact it’s happened 3 times in the last 6 years!
In 2007 the Tampa Bay Rays were 66-96 and finished last in the AL East. That’s also coincidentally the last year the Jays have won a series in Tampa. But then in 2008 the Rays went 97-65 to win the AL East.
All those years of being terrible was finally starting to pay off for them with their high draft pick choices developing into good players.
The Jays could also benefit from young players developing like Drew Hutchison or Marcus Stroman, etc, etc.
It also helped the Rays that the Yankees had a down season and missed the playoffs that year so the Jays may not be able to count on that happening again.
In 2011 the Baltimore Orioles were 69-93 and finished last in the AL East. But then in 2012 they went 93-69 and won a wild card spot.
The 2012 Orioles were considered lucky by many people because they finished the season with an unimpressive +7 run differential and had an unheard of 29-9 record in 1 run games and went 16-2 in extra innings.
So some luck may be required for the Jays to take a playoff spot in 2014 which isn’t exactly something you can count on.
Speaking of 2012 the Boston Red Sox were 69-93 that season. And in case you just started following baseball today they went 97-65 in 2013 to win the AL East and the World Series.
Unlike the Rays, Orioles and Jays the Red Sox had a great team the year before there last place finish in 2012 with their 2011 team winning 90 games.
But the 2012 Red Sox were bad because of down years from many of their players just like the 2013 Blue Jays. So bounce back seasons from some Blue Jays players in 2014 could make a big difference.
But like the 2008 Rays the Red Sox were helped by the fact that the Yankees had a down year and missed the playoffs.
And hey the 2013 Jays 74 wins is more wins than any of those other 3 teams that went from last to playoffs!
It’s going to be hard for the Jays to go from last place in the AL East to grabbing a playoff spot but there’s been plenty of recent history to show that it’s possible.