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Funtastic curves

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My Tigers are digging out of a hole right now. I don't see a wold series in our future but i see a big improvement.
 

jcas50

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Mets fan here. I have a 20 game package, so I see a lot of games. We are on a hot streak but need to go 16-6 and have some help from ATL and PHL both losing. At least its fun to watch the polar bear smack em outta here.
 

mathfa

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Mets fan here. I have a 20 game package, so I see a lot of games. We are on a hot streak but need to go 16-6 and have some help from ATL and PHL both losing. At least its fun to watch the polar bear smack em outta here.
The Mets season has been wild. Lindor has always been somewhat overrated, but I really expected the rest of their core players to do better than they have. Plus the chaos upstairs hasn't ceased.
 

mathfa

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The Orioles season might not have gone well for most, but it certainly went well for Cedric Mullins. Going from the worst hitter in the league to an MVP candidate in just two years. And now he's ending the year with the best result 😀 GO ORIOLES

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waldo

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I currently dislike the Jays.
I hope you will be absolutely hating the Jays this year. Vlad Jr. hit a dinger in his first exhibition game AB. I hope that is a good omen for a steam roller through the Al East and back to the WS. Last year, their bullpen really let them down, especially in the 1st half. If the pitching is good, this team will be scary. The only downside is a continued lack of left-handed power.
 
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I hope you will be absolutely hating the Jays this year. Vlad Jr. hit a dinger in his first exhibition game AB. I hope that is a good omen for a steam roller through the Al East and back to the WS. Last year, their bullpen really let them down, especially in the 1st half. If the pitching is good, this team will be scary. The only downside is a continued lack of left-handed power.
Yikes. My apologies in advance for the LONG reply, but this turned from a comment about what went wrong last year to all the things I am excited about for this year's Jays team. lol

But yeah, not only did they have bullpen issues, our ace last year, Hyun Jin Ryu, mysteriously was just "off" pretty much all year and progressively pitched worse as the season progressed, which didn't help things. That, and they had a lot of injuries throughout their lineup as well. Case in point: they had nearly 40 pitchers that pitched in the bullpen and rotation last year. 😬 It also didn't help that their big closer signing, Kirby Yates, required Tommy John surgery even before the season started (even though Jordan Romano filled the role extremely well). The Jays' other big signing, George Springer, also had nagging injuries all year, which hampered his overall production (even though he was still on pace for about 45 HRs). Added to that, the fact that they were still playing in Florida and Buffalo for 2/3 of the season didn't help things either when you had Yankees, Red Sox, Cleveland, Tampa fans, etc. filling the seats nearly every game (because of the border closure), so even when they were at home, most games felt like they were on the road. Plus, it's just hard to feel like you're on the road 24/7 and living out of your suitcase and hotel rooms all the time.

However, despite all the adversities they faced they still wound up with 91 wins. Just one win away from a playoff spot. In most years, that would have been enough, but there were four teams in the AL East with 91 wins or more, which is pretty much unheard of. Even with the same adversities, if they had played in any other division they would have had even more wins than that. They're going to be better this year.

We did lose last year's AL Cy Young winner in Robbie Ray, as well as Marcus Semien who won the Gold Glove at second base and hit 45 HRs (the most by a second baseman ever), but I think with the additions the Jays have made so far this offseason that we're positioned to have a very good year in the AL East.

We may have lost Robbie Ray, but our starting rotation is already better off with a full season of recently signed José Berríos who is one of the most talented and durable young starters in the game (and will be for us for the next 7 years). I am also fully expecting Hyun Jin Ryu to bounce back after his weird season last year, which in addition to Berríos, will more than make up for the loss of Ray. We also lost a solid pitcher in Steven Matz too, but again, we more than made up for him with the signing of Kevin Gausman. Returning after his stellar rookie season last year will be Alek Manoah as our 4th starter. He's one of the most exciting young starters in baseball and I'm hoping for more of the same from him this year.

However, our 5th starter, Yusei Kikuchi, who the Jays just acquired, is a bit of a wildcard. He was one of the best Japanese pitchers before moving to the MLB, but his first three seasons in the majors haven't been that great with a 4.97 ERA overall. However, I have watched video of him pitch and he has elite movement to his pitches. When he's on, he has absolutely filthy stuff that makes guys take awkward swings, and leaves batters with their bat on their shoulder wondering what happened. The good thing is our pitching coach is an absolute wizard and is legendary for working with pitchers to have some of the best years of their career. If he can work on Kikuchi's mechanics and somehow get him to be more consistent, watch out. I'm not saying he'll become the next Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer, but the talent is VERY much there. When we signed him, I couldn't understand why, but after watching video of him I can see why the Blue Jays have had their eye on him for the last 3-4 years.

As for losing Marcus Semien's 45 HRs and his Gold Glove at second base, again, I expect George Springer to have a bounce back season and I think he's going to have a big year for us. As mentioned, even with only a half season's worth of work he was on pace to hit 45 HRs (possibly even more), and despite the nagging injuries he had, I can see the athleticism he possesses. Now that he is fully healed I'm really looking forward to seeing a full season of him in centre field.

Additionally, the Jays also recently signed Gold and Platinum Glove winner, Matt Chapman, who is the best defensive 3rd baseman in the game. He'll not only be a crucial defender at third base, which is important in the righthand-heavy hitting AL East, but he'll also be a huge benefit for our pitchers who have a high ground ball percentage. But in addition to his elite defense, he also has a powerful bat, and now that he doesn't have to hit in one of the worst hitter's ballparks in baseball anymore (Oakland), he'll now be hitting in one of the best ones in Toronto. Just by him playing in Toronto all year, I expect his power numbers to rise. Just like Josh Donaldson's did when he moved from Oakland to Toronto...and just like it did for Marcus Semien when he moved from Oakland.

Additionally, I also like the move the Jays made the other day by trading Randall Grichuk to Colorado for Raimel Tapia. Grichuk was a good player, but he was stuck batting behind George Springer, Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Grichuk had plenty of power, but always had a low on-base percentage. He was a solid defender in the outfield and was an absolute Yankee killer at the plate, which will be missed, but as a 4th outfielder, I much prefer Tapia. Tapia doesn't have very much power, which is fine, because our lineup already has more than enough power, but what he brings to the table is speed on the bases, a decent average and excellent overall athleticism. Even though his numbers don't show it (yet), he has some of the best base running speed in baseball and he's going to be a key piece in a lot of base running situations, as well as being an excellent defender when he'll play in the outfield to give guys a day off. Grichuk was just another power bat and a decent defender, and not much else. Tapia gives us more overall athleticism, situational base running and a quality left-handed bat as well.

Our batting lineup is LOADED with power, so I'm not really worried about losing Semien's bat at all. Nor am I particularly worried about our starting rotation. I think our weakest link (as of today) is our bullpen. I think Jordan Romano will be a rock as our closer again, and I think Adam Cimber and Yimi Garcia will be solid contributors, but beyond that there's still a lot of question marks in my mind. There's enough talent there, but I think our bullpen's success will come down to consistency and cutting down on walks. Like last year, how well they perform is going to come down to how well they are able to hold leads in the later innings. But, I think if they're able to stay healthy and pitch to their abilities we should be fine. But I'd still like to see a couple upgrades in our bullpen before the trade deadline.

Other than that, I'm pretty excited about 2022 in Jaysland! Go Jays go! 😁

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