By Will Carroll
March 01, 2011
Digging through the injury database, the Jays stand out as one of the oddest cases. While they're slightly better than average when it comes to most stats, they are by far the most imbalanced team in the majors. They simply can't seem to keep pitchers healthy, period. There is no pattern; it happens at every level. Lefty, righty, Latin, American, college, high school, free agent ... the only commonality is injury. It's not even to the same body part that would suggest some problem in their mechanical teachings. This is just a really odd quirk for those of us on the outside, but a major issue for the Jays. It's one thing when I don't know the cause, but quite another when the team themselves don't seem to have answers. Given their combination of young pitching and rehabbing pitching, those answers are going to be key if the Jays have any hopes of doing more than fighting for fourth in the AL East.

(HEAD TRAINER: George Poulis; FIVE YEAR RANK: 18; 2010 RANK: 27)
For explanation of these ratings, click here
3B Jose Bautista
You really expected me to talk about this power spike, didn't you? I'll reserve judgement. If it was the tweaks to his swing that Cito Gaston made, they should hold to some extent. I'll stick to the facts and avoid the pointless speculation, thanks.

CF Rajai Davis
The Jays shed two horrible contracts but are left with filler in CF. The manager wants to run more, so if Davis can get on base, he's always been able to run.

RP Jason Frasor
Frasor's a nice setup guy with good numbers. He could be one of those sleepers that gets some save chances, given Octavio Dotel's occasional injury issues and Frankie Francisco's more regular problems. Farrell's got options.

Also Green:
1B Adam Lind
SS Yunel Escobar
S1 Ricky Romero
S3 Brett Cecil
C J.P. Arencibia
People in Toronto are a bit suspicious of people named J.P. these days, but Arencibia could grab the catcher's job by default. He's ably backed up by Jose Molina, so he shouldn't be overworked. He's a hacker, so adjustments and confidence will be key. The Jays should use Molina to protect Arencibia from the best strikeout pitchers.

LF Travis Snider
Snider is built like a square and people hold that against him. The bigger worry should be the small but sapping injuries he's had. The wrist really crushed his stats, but the hamstring and knee problems point to some turfing. He should be the DH sooner rather than later.

RF Juan Rivera
Rivera's on a slow decline, but he's not Vernon Wells' paycheck, which makes him very welcome in Toronto. This would be a great place to platoon in someone young, but that part of the rebuilding plan hasn't been built yet.

DH Edwin Encarnacion
This rating assumes that he could play more in the field, spotting in here and there. He started terribly after off-season wrist surgery (sound familiar?) and never got on track. Assume some bump, but how much is a two-win question.

SP Brandon Morrow
Morrow proved that it was Seattle's fault, not his. Given one role, he excelled. The Jays were very conscious of his innings load last year and will need to be again. A lot of people in the game are looking to Farrell's handling of Morrow as a test. Farrell is a tinkerer and Morrow doesn't seem to need that.

SP Jesse Litsch
Litsch made it back from elbow reconstruction only to injure his hip. Surgery on that has him ready to try and re-establish himself in the rotation. There are others coming, so Litsch will need to establish that sinker to be more than a placeholder. He's very nearly red, with the expectation that he can't hold the spot being the difference.

CL Octavio Dotel
Dotel doesn't care where he is. Heck, after all his movement in the past few seasons, he probably doesn't even know. He still has swing-and-miss stuff, but is moving out of the Tommy John honeymoon, the period after elbow reconstruction where re-injuries don't seem to happen.
2B Aaron Hill
Hill's status is still informed by his long struggle with post-concussion symptoms. There are many that suggest he might still be suffering from some given the complete collapse he had last season. It's a theory with some merit and while spring training stats aren't usually that informative, a lot of K's would be a very negative sign.

SP Kyle Drabek
Nice DNA, Kyle. Drabek overcame "makeup questions" and pitched well enough to make some dream on getting an ace out of the Roy Halladay deal. He's not Halladay, but who is? This season, the Jays will have to watch his innings closely, but the Jays have enough Triple-A depth to do this without giving up much. It's not like they're going to contend yet.

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