|Depth Chart courtesy of BlueJays.com|
I often wonder if I overvalue certain Blue Jays players just because they play for my favourite team. Am I guilty of viewing them in a special light simply due to the fact that they are Blue Jays? The answer is unequivocally, yes.
This situation most often comes about when potential trade scenarios rear their head. “There’s no way they’d ever trade Travis Snider for Player X” and yet some want to ship Adam Lind off to Cincinnati in hopes that would bring Joey Votto back.
Rather than view the entire roster through rose coloured glasses, I was curious to see what the Blue Jays depth chart look like if we replaced them with comparable players around the league.
By using Baseball Reference’s Similarity Scores, one can get a sense of what the Blue Jays roster could potentially be if they were replaced with other players with similar statistics.
Please note that I only used Similarity Scores from active Major League players when comparing them to the Blue Jays starters. The results are pretty interesting to say the least:
First off, let’s begin with the starting rotation. Ricky Romero is most similar to former Cy Young runner-up David Price … not too shabby. But after Romero, the level of quality tails off in the comparison department.
Derek Holland compared to Brett Cecil is a promising sign, as most are projecting Holland to have a solid year with the Texas Rangers. With Dustin McGowan’s injury-riddled past, I can definitely see his similarities to Bergesen and Hill. Overall, not bad for a fifth starter.
The position player comparables are a little more tricky, however. There weren’t any active players with Similarity Scores close to J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie and Eric Thames simply because they haven’t played enough games.
There are a few anomalies in Jose Bautista and Travis Snider due to their very unorthodox path through the Major Leagues. So fret not when Josh Willingham is measured as the most similar to Jose Bautista.
The rest of the position player comps shake down pretty accurately. The middle infield comparison of Rickie Weeks and Asdrubal Cabrera is very intriguing. I’d be very happy to have Weeks and Cabrera as the starting middle infielders on my fantasy team, just as I would Escobar and Johnson.
There is one set of Similarity Scores that actually involves two players who are already on the Blue Jays roster: Colby Rasmus and Ben Francisco.
Factoring in this information, I can begin to see why some people think Rasmus has been a bust. But keep in mind Francisco is five years older than Rasmus and he has over a season’s worth more of experience.
Also at this point in his career, Ben Francisco will have to battle simply to be the fifth outfielder on this squad. On the other hand, it’s expected that Colby will hopefully blossom into an elite centre fielder.
Lastly, it’s the giant elephant in the room: Adam Lind. The AL East is a hotbed for elite first basemen, so stacking up Lind next to the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Teixeira might seem like an unfair comparison.
Okay, maybe if we widen the range a little bit, Lind’s peripherals might look a tad bit little better. I’m afraid not.
Over the past two seasons, Adam Lind ranks dead last in on base percentage among qualified first baseman. A .291 OBP through the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Lind’s evil twin Jason Kubel sported a slightly better on base at .321.
Just for fun, I took a look at Adam Lind and Jason Kubel’s WARGraphs, and the results are were expectedly similar, but I didn’t think they’d be this similar. This might just be the catalyst for another blog post in itself.
The Blue Jays will pay Adam Lind $17 million dollars total over the next three seasons. Compare that with the $22.5 million the Diamondbacks will potentially have to pay Jason Kubel (pending they pick up his 2014 option), and that’s a little reassuring … at least from a financial standpoint.
This comparable depth chart isn’t to say that all the players are an eye for an eye. Clearly there are some that are way off the mark, and others which are frighteningly similar to the Blue Jays.
So the next time you want to take stock in a particular Blue Jay player, perhaps take a look around the league first. Maybe when they’re measured up against another similar player, your perception of them might just be better … or worse than before.