We have die hard Jays fans ensanimal, Kimchi_Chigae and Rance Mulliniks to thank for this report card:
Eric Hinske - 1B - .250Avg, 43R, 7HR, 32RBI, 6SB - Grade: B-
After a great start to the season for Hinske, the former ROY has seen a drastic fall off. From April's .289 Avg, 18R, 4HR, 17RBI, 2SB to June's .136Avg, 9R, 1HR, 7RBI, 1SB idea's of him returning to his ROY status are fading quickly. Sadly for the Jays, his .250 Avg still ranks 3rd on the team. He is also 3rd in RBI's, and 2nd in SB's. It would be best for Hinske, and the Jays, to have him batting behind guys that can get on base a lot, as he has a .305 Avg with runners on, and .211 with the bases empty.
Second Half: The dropoff in BA has me worried most about Hinske's second half. If he can get it back up above the .250 range, hopefully into the .270, the Jays, and fantasy owners would be quite happy. The SB's help as well, especially since he has more SB's per game post all-star game, than pre.
Shea Hillenbrand - 1B/3B/DH - .305Avg, 47R, 8HR, 33RBI, 1SB - Grade: B+
Similar to Hisnke, Hillenbrand had a great start to the season, including a .390 BA for the month of April. In May, the BA dropped, but the power improved. He leads the team in BA and Runs, and is second in RBI's and HR's. Hillenbrand would seem to better used as the DH, as he's batting 30 over 30 points higher as DH, then when he's in the field.
Second Half: The past 2 seasons his Avg has dropped post all-star game, not a good sign when the Avg is already dropping for the past 2 months. Nobody expected him to keep the .390 Avg, but he should be able to keep it hovering around the .300 mark. If Wells can heat up over the second half, Hillenbrand could put up some nice peripheral numbers, while helping you in the BA cat.
Orlando Hudson - 2B - .245Avg, 28R, 4HR, 30RBI, 4SB - Grade: B-
The only reason O-Dawg gets such a high grade is because of what he does in the field. His Gold Glove caliber defense has saved the Jays on more than one occasion. I don't think we'll see the offense he put up last season, where he had a career high 12HR's anytime soon. For such a quick looking guy, the sb's aren't there as well. Without the decent avg, Hudson needs to be drawing more walks, with only 19 on the season, and a .300 OBP, he needs to become more patient.
Second Half: Expect more of the same great defense, and lackluster offense. The bottom of the order is made for guys like him. Hopefully he'll get recognized this year though for his glove, and get his first Gold one.
Russ Adams - SS - .238Avg, 21R, 5HR, 28RBI, 5SB - Grade: C-
The rookie shortsop probably has not met the Jays expectations. Great in the field, with a great arm, he just can't always throw the ball straight. Adams already has 13 E's, so may be lucky that Koskie will be out a little longer than expected.
Second Half: Really hard to gauge what we can expect on the kid. Will he tire down the stretch, after his first long Major League season? Will he pick it up as he feels more comfortable. I don't see much improvement, although the proposed move in the order might kick start something in him.
Aaron Hill - 3B/DH - .378Avg, 18R, 1HR, 21RBI, 1SB - Grade: C+
In the short time that Hill has been up with the team, he has been meeting expectations. One the Jays top prospects, he's getting it done in the batter's box, as well as in the field when he's asked to play 3B, which is not his natural position. He is quickly becoming a Jays fan favorite.
Second Half: As with Adams, it is tough to guage how he will handle a long second half. I'd feel more confident in Hill putting up pretty good numbers, especially as he has a prime spot in the order, and has been producing since he has come up. I like him to be a surprise contender for ROY this season.
RF Alex Rios 35R 5HR 29RBI 6SB .281AVG Grade: B
Rios has been a solid player for the Jays thus far this season. After a good April hitting .321, his average has dropped to .281, but it still ranks 4th on the team. For someone who hit only 1HR all of last year in the big leagues, the 5 he has hit already this season are a good indication that the power will come.
Second Half: Look for Rios to remain batting at the top of the lineup. With Hudson struggling at the plate, Rios is the best option to hit leadoff or on the 2nd hole. He has good speed and will ocasionally steal a base, he's on pace for 13 this year.
CF Vernon Wells 31R 14HR 36RBI 2SB .246AVG Grade: C+
V-Dub's numbers so far this year are not what the Jays were hoping for heading into the season. A notorious slow starter, Wells has made fantasy owners wonder how could they have wasted their 4th round pick on this guy. After hitting below the Mendoza line in April, Wells has considerably picked it up in May and June.
Second Half: Look for Vernon to have a good second half. His average is on the rise and he will get around 100RBIs by the end of the season. Wells has good speed, but don't count on him for double digits SB.
LF Frank Catalanotto 20R 3HR 14RBIs 0SB .292AVG Grade: B-
Catalanotto is the Jays LF against right handed pitchers. He usually bats leadoff when he starts a game and posts a decent .353 OBP. The Cat has been doing what he was asked to do, sharing playing time with Reed Johnson hurts any fantasy value he would have as a full time player.
Second Half: Catalanotto has done a good job and will continue to do so. He'll post a good average around .300 and will score some runs, but nothing too exciting for fantasy owners to consider picking him up.
LF Reed Johnson 23R 5HR 25RBIs 1SB .269AVG Grade: C+
Johnson is the other part of the Jays LF duo. He has more pop on his bat than Catalanotto, but on the other hand will post a lower average. Reed's fantasy value is also limited because of his shared time with Catalanotto. He will be used as a pinch hitter, but he won't get enough at bats to deserve a roster spot on any fantasy team.
Second Half: Reed Johnson's career average is .279, so don't expect it to climb much for the remainder of the season. Johnson usually works the count pretty deep, but he doesn't walk much. Unless Catalanotto gets injured or traded, Johnson won't help your fantasy team this year.
Other than Halladay, the starters have been an inconsistent bunch, sometimes showing signs of brilliance, while at other times looking rather average.
Roy Halladay 10-4 2.53 ERA 83 K 0.95 WHIP Grade: A+
Halladay has effortlessly returned to his Cy Young form. He leads the AL in Innings Pitched, is 2nd in ERA and Wins, and 3rd in Ks. There is no question that Doc is a top-5 SP in any fantasy format.
Second Half: There may be a small concern that with his high number of innings, he will suffer some arm fatigue later in the season. Still, in his 5 CGs thus far, Halladay has been efficient with his pitches. He continues to look healthy and should be able to put up similar numbers in the second half. At this point he may be the odds-on favourite for the AL Cy Young.
Ted Lilly 5-7 6.08 ERA 57 K 1.54 WHIP Grade: C
After starting the year on the DL, and perhaps returning too soon from his injury, Lilly, who was an All Star last season, looked awful in April and much of May. He's spent much of the season trying to fix a flaw in his mechanics. Lilly clearly hasn't provided the stability that the Jays need in the 2 spot in their rotation.
Second Half: In his last two starts, Lilly has looked very impressive, first in pitching four-hit shutout ball through 7 innings against St. Louis, and then in striking out 10 Orioles in a three-hit 7 inning performance. If Lilly can build on his recent success, he should be able to quietly put together a solid second half. Expect a few more wins, an ERA closer to 4 and more Ks from Lilly.
Gustavo Chacin 6-5 3.30 ERA 52K 1.40 WHIP Grade: B+
Chacin has been the biggest surprise on the Jays staff this year. The rookie lefty received a spot in the rotation at the end of spring training and quickly proved that he could handle major league hitters. After an amazing April, which Chacin finished 4-1 with a sub 2.5 ERA, he's looked more human as he's been hit hard at times, and had some trouble with his control, often getting behind on hitters.
Second Half: Much like Chacin's June, we can expect an up-and-down second half from the rookie. As he gains confidence, he should become more consistent. At the same time, as the hitters around the league see more of him and his unique delivery, it may become tougher for him to fool hitters. He'll likely finish the year with an ERA closer to 3.75, but would still be a uselful starter in AL-only leagues.
Josh Towers 5-6 4.57 ERA 47 K 1.40 WHIP Grade: C+
Towers surprised many at the start of the season by becoming a dependable member of the starting staff. This was due in part to impressive control (only 1 BB in the month of April). However, since he put together a string of 4 consecutive wins at the start of May, Towers has struggled. He's now giving up too many hits, and rarely lasting deep into ball games.
Second Half: With his recent struggles, there has been some concern about Tower's spot in the rotation. Manager Gibbons has given Josh a vote of confidence, saying that his spot won't be skipped, but Towers has yet to provide the stability expected of him. If he continues to struggle, he may not be a starter much longer. I wouldn't expect any significant improvement on his numbers in the second half.
Dave Bush 0-4 4.89 ERA 26 K 1.29 WHIP Grade: C-
Bush, who began the year in the rotation, is currently working on his mechanics at AAA Syracuse. In his 10 starts this year, Bush looked mostly inconsistent. Since he received rather poor run support, his numbers could be better than the are. However, his numbers also don't reflect how ineffective he was often pitching. Bush was often unable to get ahead of hitters, and saw an awful lot of men on base. He clearly had lost the confidence of his manager, as he didn't last through 5 innings in 4 of his last 5 starts.
Second Half: Even with his first half struggles, it is expected that Bush will be called up from Triple-A at some point. Since he hasn't been very impressive in his four minor league starts thus far, this may take some time.
The Jay bullpen, not thought to be a team strength, has actually performed rather well this season.
Miguel Batista 3-0 2.73 ERA 12 SV 17K 1.11 WHIP Grade: A-
Batista has done an excellent job as closer for the Jays. After receiving the closers job at the very end of spring training, Batista has done just about everything asked of him. He's converted 12 of 13 save opportunities and held opponents to a .230 average.
Second Half: The Jays have not presented Miggy with many save opportunities thus far, and there's no reason to think that he will receive more as the season progresses. Unlike typical closers, Batista also doesn't strike many out, which makes him less valuable in a fantasy context. He should have a decent second half - expect him to finish upward of 25 saves.
Jason Frasor 1-3 3.03 ERA 0 SV 19K 1.35 WHIP Grade: B
It looked like Frasor would be the Jay closer this year, but all that changed in spring training when Batista got moved out of the rotation and into the pen. Frasor, who is tied for the team lead in holds has been an efficient right-handed set-up man, though has given up too many walks.
Second Half: With Batista cemented in the closer role, Frasor has little fantasy value. With his WHIP over 1.3, his ERA may rise a little before the end of the year. Even in holds leagues, there are probably better options than Frasor.
Justin Speier 0-1 3.24 ERA 0 SV 12K 1.00 WHIP Grade: B
Like Frasor, some thought Speier would get a chance to close this season. This year, Speier has mostly pitched in a mop-up role, but has nonetheless been effective. He doesn't K many, but his WHIP has remained impressive all season.
Second Half: Frasor won't be getting save opportunities, but should continue to be a useful righty out of the pen. If called upon, he could even step into a set-up role.
Vinny Chulk 0-1 3.71 ERA 0 SV 20K 1.24 WHIP Grade: B-
Chulk has been another solid, but unspectacular righty in the Jay bullpen. He's often called upon for middle relief, and has generally got the job done.
Second Half: Chulk is another mediocre fantasy player. His second half should be much of the same - an ERA approaching 4, and not enough holds to be of value.
Scott Schoeneweis 2-2 5.91 ERA 0 SV 18K 1.69 WHIP Grade: C-
Schoenweis, who spent last season starting for the White Sox has acted only as a situational lefty for the Jays this year. He's pitched better than his numbers reflect - a result of a couple terrible outings. He hasn't been great, but he has held left handed batters to a .213 avg, exactly what is expected of him.
Second Half: With some of the questions surrounding the back end of the Jay rotation, there has been some suggestion that Schoenweis might get a chance to spot-start. As the only lefty in the Jay pen, however, this seems rather unlikely. Expect more of the same from Scott - too high an ERA to be a serviceable fantasy player.
Pete Walker 2-0 1.24 ERA 2 SV 18K 1.13 WHIP Grade: A
Walker has been a pleasant surprise for the Jays, after spending 2004 in Japan rehabbing his arm. Now 100% healthy, Walker appears to be in great form. He's pitched mainly in long relief and has excelled - picking up two three-inning saves.
Second Half: With his impressive play up until now, Walker is being given a chance to start (tonight in fact). Depending on how that goes, Walker may more permanently join the rotation. In 2003 as a starter with the Jays, Walker was second on the team in wins. With the uncertainty surrounding his role, it is difficult to say how he will do in the second half. If he pitches the way he has so far, he will be useful in whatever role the Jays place him in.