2011 American League East Pitching Preview: Romero, Morrow & The Toronto Blue Jays


As soon as you figure out the Blue Jays, can you please let me know?  

They trade a very solid young arm and replace him with…Carlos Villanueva?  Um, alright.  

Then they sign Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch and trade for Frank Francisco?  

Do they know you can’t hold leads if you don’t have any leads?  Either way, let’s look at the starters.  

What a coming out party for Ricky Romero in 2010.  A guy who no one drafted, everyone overlooked or wrote off entirely–the 2005 first rounder came through with one of the great value plays of the year.  Above-average numbers across the board (except against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays, that is), Romero is poised to build on that in 2011.  Though his numbers did tail off at the end of the year, his peripherals stayed strong and I expect a good season from him in 2011.

Brandon Morrow – one of the great trades of 2010 for the Jays.  Acquired from the Mariners last winter, Morrow burst on to the scene with the single best start of 2010 – the 1-hit, 17-strikeout complete game shutout of the Rays on August 8.  

Morrow was shut down early last year so as not to tax him arm, but he’s a guy I highly recommend.  Strikeout rates like that don’t come around very often – 178 strikeouts in 146 innings – and he really seems to have harnessed the talent that made him a top five pick in 2006.  I’d put a star next to his name, and try to pick him between rounds 8 and 12.

And then the rotation is one big crapshoot.  Brett Cecil, Mark Rzepczynski, Kyle Drabek, the aforementioned Carlos Villanueva, Jesse Litsch.  Jeez.

Kyle Drabek was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade, and clearly has the most upside.  If Doug’s son can harness that potential, he will be a top starter this year. 

Brett Cecil has the most starting experience, having done it 45 times over the past two years.  The quietest 15 game winner in baseball last year, Cecil has decent strikeout rates (117 in 172 innings in 2010), decent ERA (4.22) a decent WHIP (1.33) and a decent BAA (.264).  All in all, Cecil is a decent pitcher – well worth owning for around $10 in AL-only league; worth keeping on your radar for the later rounds of a Mixed league.

Rzepczynski has great talent and good strikeout potential (117 K’s in 125 career innings), but walks too many batters, gives up too many hits and hasn’t learned how to work himself out of trouble yet.  As much as I love the guy (and I’ve owned him three different times), I just can’t recommend him yet.

Carlos Villanueva? A decent middle reliever, but not worth discussing as a starter.

Jesse Litsch? He had a good 2008, but is 1-6 with an ERA of 6.39 since then.  Um, no.

Oh, and keep half an eye on Zach Stewart…if he can throw enough strikes, he might see the Show this year.

Written by Jesse Mendelson exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com.  Be sure to check back every Wednesday for Jesse’s waiver wire column (and considering he used the waiver wire to sweep all three of his leagues last year, you might want to pay attention).  Find and follow Jesse on Facebook.

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