Opening Day at last! (After everyone else has there's)
All the previewing and prognosticating and hand-wringing and gushing has been done for now, it's time to see what we actually have. There's not really any new news to write about today - well, the minor league rosters were set but I'm not going to sully opening day by extensively discussing the minors, but you can't let opening day go by without comment.
So here's my rundown of expectations:
Dickey will be excellent early on as the league get's their first look at him, and mildly less so (but still quite good) as the season wears on.
Morrow will, if healthy, be a very strong Cy Young candidate, both because he's that damn good and because he'll enjoy the bump that comes from following Dickey against the same team in many of his starts.
Buehrle will be quite similar to what he was last year, he's a rock.
Johnson might well match up with Morrow and give the Jays two legit Cy contenders into the late summer, again, there's some injury risk.
Happ is in an unenviable situation in that he'd have to be outstanding to be secure. I think he'll be a very nice little pitcher, better than most of the #5 guys in the league...but I don't think he will finish the year in the rotation.
Santos will be "Closer A" at some point just because he'll gain momentum during the early season as the Jays be cautions with Janssen. Janssen will be "Closer B" and my guess is you'll see something like 25-30 saves for Santos and 15-20 for Janssen.
Oliver and Delebar will be the main 8th inning guys and the latter will put himself on the radar in a big way as a known-name around the league.
Cecil will be a pleasant surprise and improve as the season goes on. He'll position himself to take over Oliver's role next year. Loup will be good overall but have occasional adjustment periods. Rogers will end up being the goat who's okay but not as good as the rest. Jefress will be headed to Buffalo within a week or so.
Jose Reyes will have maybe his best year ever, certainly one that would be in the conversation.
Cabrera will be above average, and quite consistent, but not on a level with his career year last year. More like 2011.
Bautista will, I think, press early on and not be completely "in the groove" but will heat up with the weather.
Encarnacion, in my view, will probably regress some but still be the most obvious candidate to hit 4th.
Lind...uh....who the hell knows?
Lawrie I have irrationally high hopes for. If he can stay on the field I look for him in Longoria country.
Rasmus. i don't think can stay irrationally bad. He may never hit as i am convinced his talents would warrant for his habit of getting in his own head, but I figure he'll still be above average for the position.
Arencibia should progress a bit, on the margins, but is more or less what he is. AJ Pierzinski is the ceiling.
Izturus/Bonfacio - I expect the latter to "run away with" the majority of the at bats (See what i did there?) eventually. Having he and Reyes both gunning for 50 steals in the same lineup should be a lot of fun to watch
I KNOW this sounds like unbridled optimism, but heck, is it not true that injuries are largely unpredictable, and that freak bad years can come out of the blue for almost any player? It's a mugs game to try to predict who's going to be the unlucky soul. We just have to hope that we don't have too many ugly surprises.
Bonus prophecy: Dustin McGowan might be the guy who takes Happ's job before Romero gets his chance.