Jon Heyman at SI.com puts the Blue Jays hot start in perspective

Monday, May 4th, 2009   (7 years, 11 months ago)

Jon Heyman over at Sport Illustrated (SI.com) offers up a very balanced, accurate assessment of the Blue Jays. And then tosses it aside and makes a conclusion about their chances based on something else.

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Jon Heyman has a new article up over at SI.com (one of my favourite sites) - it’s called

Separating contenders from pretenders

…I think we can all see where this is going. If you’d like to cut right to the conclusion - apparently the Jays are pretenders, or as Heyman puts it: “Assessment: Phony Baloney (this isn’t a bad team, by any means, but it’s got little shot in that division)

I’m not going to attack Heyman too much here since his overall assessment of the Jays is pretty fair. And he managed to get through the whole article without any foaming-at-the-mouth comments about statistics, Moneyball or bloggers who live in their mothers’ basements… so, you know, good for him.

He does gloss over a few important things in the 205 words he devotes to the Jays. He also picks on just about the last thing I can imagine anyone considering an area of concern about the Jays. Actually the weird thing is he doesn’t highlight any weak spots in the team; says the offense isn’t a total surprise, notes that the team has put up this record while weathering a barrage of pitching injuries… and then concludes by saying the Jays can’t compete in the AL East. Wait… what?

“The division’s going to get them,” one competing exec said. “I don’t see them matching up in the AL East through the dog days.”

That is entirely possible - the Jays still have 69 games to play against the AL East this year. However…

  1. The Blue Jays were 9-9 against the Red Sox last year
  2. They were also 9-9 against the Yankees last year
  3. The Red Sox and Yankees were 9-9 against each other last year (weird)
  4. The Red Sox snagged the wild card spot despite winning exactly 1 game more within the division than the Jays. The Red Sox went 38-34 against the AL East in 2008 and the Jays went 37-35.
  5. The Jays were the best pitching team in baseball last year and they’re the best pitching team in the AL East this year (although Tampa is gaining)
  6. The Jays (as I’m sure someone must have mentioned somewhere) have the best offense in baseball so far this year
  7. The Jays are about the winningest team in baseball since Cito Gaston took over. Seriously. They’re 69-46 since Cito returned. That’s a .611 winning percentage, which would work out to a 99-63 record over a full season. And last year 99 wins would’ve put them first in the division.

Heyman does single out one player and question whether that player will be able to maintain his strong early season performance…

Can Scott Downs (17 K’s, 0 BBs) keep fooling ‘em?

…you got me there Mr. Heyman - Rod Barajas is probably not going to…

…wait. What?! Scott Downs?! You’re singling out fucking Scott Downs to worry about?

Okay… maybe you have a point Jon. I see what you’re saying - I mean Downs is essentially a scrub who’s on a freak hot streak at the moment, so he’s not going to keep fooling batters forever.

No wait.. according to that link you handily provide - right there in the sentence where you’re questioning his ability - Downs has been an absolutely dominating relief pitcher over his whole career! 2.36ERA, 197Ks, 7.74K/9, and a .208 BAA in 229 innings. Last year his ERA was an even more impressive 1.78 in over 70 innings of relief.

…and that’s it as far as analysis of the team. So in case you were wondering or getting excited about the Jays chances this year - forget it. That division is going to get them. Jon Heyman heard it from a competing exec.

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Footnote:
I don’t want to seem like I hate Florida or something, but I had to include Heyman’s conclusion about the Marlins:

Assessment: Real Deal (though they remain the third choice here in their division).

So… they’re the real deal… and you expect them to finish third in their division… that makes perfect sense. The Jays are “Phoney Baloney” because their division is going to get them, but the Marlins are the “Real Deal”.

And you expect the Marlins to finish third. In their division. Behind, say, two other teams …in their division.

Okay, got it.

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Pissed? I would be too if I was a fan of Jon Heyman, you should definitely complain about it...