SkyDome Park Factors: Hits 104; Runs 107; HRs 113
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: -$22 2001: $10 2002: $22 2003: $30
Halladay reworked his mechanics after his disastrous 2000 season and regained lost velocity. When he returned to Toronto, he was a changed pitcher. When I last saw Halladay pitch, which was before his run-up in value the last 3 years, he showed a live fastball, but did not have a good breaking pitch nor good control. Now his curve is reputed to be above average and his walk rate was 81% lower than two years ago.
Values ~ 2000: $1 2001: -$5 2002: $8 2003: $8
Lilly throws a fastball that is primarily in the high 80s but occasionally gets over 90, a slider with an effective late break and an occasional change. He works from the first base side of the rubber and places his landing foot to the first base side on his delivery, throwing across his body in the process. This enables him to hide his delivery from batters and probably makes the fastball seem faster than it is. Lilly came on strong in the last two months of the season after Oakland told him to quit shaking off so many pitches. If Toronto has similar success, there could be some upside here. Lilly hurt his wrist in an off-field accident and has missed time this spring; this situation bears watching.
Values ~ 2000: $2 2001: $5 2002: -$3 2003: $5
Hentgen came back well last year after missing most of 2002 to Tommy John surgery. Although the ratio chart isn't that encouraging, it masks the very strong second half Hentgen had (3.10 ERA vs. 5.25 in the first half; 1.10 WHIP vs. 1.52; better ratios across the board). When healthy, Hentgen throws a rising fastball that now tops out just under 90 and has an outstanding curve. He also has a cut fastball and slider. Hentgen is quite a ways removed from the Cy Young pitcher he was in '96, but he should be a good back of the rotation addition.
Values ~ 2000: -$13 2001: $12 2002: -$2 2003: $6
Batista throws a 4-seamer in the low 90s, sinker, slider and curve. As he demonstrated in the 2001 postseason, Batista can work hitters over with his late-breaking slider/fastball combination as long as he can locate. In his first 6 ML seasons, Batista's career walk rate was .5; after joining the D'backs, it improved to 37. With his improved control, Batista can work the count better. However, he isn't overpowering. Batista's hit rate went up 9% last year after going up 15% the previous year. He'll do well to duplicate last year's value.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $4 2002: -$4 2003: $7
"Control" Towers throws strikes. However, his hit and HR rates have tended to be high. When I saw him pitch, he was mixing a high 80s fastball which occasionally had tailing movement with a slider and an occasional curve. Although he works to both corners, he primarily stays on the outside, or, if he gets ahead of hitters, may work just off the plate. Towers showed promise last year similar to the way he did in 2001, but it's based on just 14 late season appearances. He'll probably get taken in deep leagues; I'd let someone else take this gamble.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $1 2002: -$7 2003: -$3
Douglass posted solid if unspectacular ratios as he progressed steadily through the Baltimore farm system. He's reputed to have a 90 mph sinking fastball but reports on how much movement he has on the pitch are mixed. His change is not supposed to be good, lacking consistency. His slider is his best pitch. Although he was adequate last year in another tour of AAA, he was made available by Baltimore and has been in two organizations since then. Still needs work, but maybe this is a better situation for him.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $11
Lopez was a Rule V pick but at 28 was older than many Rule V draftees. Because of that, Lopez made a more significant contribution than most pitchers in that situation, setting up early in the season and then closing after Escobar asked out of the role. I heard Toronto GM Ricciardi in an off-season interview saying they would prefer to add a closer to the roster and have Lopez set up. Clearly his hold on the job is tenuous but will come out of spring training as the designated closer.
Values ~ 2000: $9 2001: $4 2002: $4 2003: $5
Speier has a low 90s fastball, slider and splitter. He apparently likes to challenge hitters when he falls behind in the count; he has always had an astronomical HR rate, even before Coors. He improved his plate command last year and built value for owners by stepping into the closer role in Colorado. He should also enter into the mix here; this situation will have to be monitored this spring to assess how much of a role he may have.
Values ~ 2000: $10 2001: $4 2002: $4 2003: $6
Ligtenberg struggled to control his breaking pitches since ligament transplant surgery in 1999 but reduced his walk rate 52% last year, a notable achievement. He became more hittable however. He throws a sinking fastball, splitter and slider. It's worth remembering that he closed in Atlanta in 1998, so it's possible that he could come in for a few saves.
Values ~ 2000: $7 2001: $2 2002: -$3 2003: $3
Adams has a good fastball and slider and keeps the ball down. As a result, he gets a lot of groundball outs and has a low HR rate. Adams pitched well until he was sidelined by a strained oblique and later with an elbow that required surgery in September to remove loose bodies. He should be ready to go this spring. He's reputed not to have the temperament to close but in this situation he could gather a few saves anyway.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: -$1 2003: $7
Hittable lefty starter before 2002 when he posted good ratios at AAA working out of the pen with an occasional start. Kershner got a midseason call and gave the Jays good work in a middle relief role. I'm not sure he can repeat last year's value but he appears to have found a niche.
Values ~ 2000: -$1 2001: $0 2002: $3 2003: $2
De los Santos has a mid-90ís fastball and a splitter but since his off-speed stuff still needs work, hitters tend to sit on his heat. A hard-throwing lefty is intriguing, but he's so far failed to develop.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $8 2002: -$1 2003: NA
File did not pitch at the collegiate level, but Toronto made a pitcher out of him and he unexpectedly earned himself a spot in the Blue Jay bullpen in 2001 where he did a solid job early in the season but faded down the stretch. He missed much of the last two years with assorted injuries. Last winter he had shoulder surgery that involved removal of part of his collarbone. He managed a few late season minor league appearances and faired pretty well. He works both sides of the plate, changes speeds well with a low 90s fastball, a slider with good movement that he was locating well when I saw him, and a change. I'd wait and see. File will open the season on the DL.