The Toronto Blue Jays play in the most competitive division in baseball, yet have assembled a five-man rotation, who all have potential fantasy upside. 

Let’s take a look at the candidates in order to determine the potential long-term success:


Brandon Morrow

The 17-strikeout game aside, Morrow has a ton of potential and might just now be scraping the surface of his ability. 

Maybe the Mariners continuous shifting of him between the bullpen and rotation stunted his development, but now as a full-time starting pitcher in Toronto, he’s excelling.

Overall this season he’s posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, but he has struggled with some sub par luck (.341 BABIP, 69.1% strand rate). 

Those two numbers show great promise for improvement, especially with his humongous strikeout rate of 10.8 (165 Ks in 137.1 innings). 

He isn’t just a one-game phenomenon, but has been compiling Ks all year long.

Obviously, that number could fall some, especially when you consider that his minor league career mark was 8.1 over 101.2 innings (though, that includes just a 6.5 mark at Triple-A in 2009 when he was demoted to transition back to the rotation). 

The bottom line is that, at 26 years old, the numbers appear lined up to have great success. 

With his strikeout ability, all he needs is improved luck and he could post a huge year in 2011.

He’s a risk, but the reward is tremendous. He’s definitely worth keeping depending on your league rules.


Brett Cecil

There is upside in Cecil, who already has posted a 3.90 ERA and 1.24 WHIP this season.  He posted a minor-league walk rate of 2.9, matching what he has done through 131.2 innings in 2010.

In the Majors he hasn’t posted big strikeout numbers, with a K/9 of 6.5. In the minor leagues he had a 9.0 mark, however, so there certainly is big-time potential for him to improve there.

He also has the potential to significantly improve on his ground-ball rate, which currently stands at 44.1 percent. Over his minor-league career, he had a 59.7 percent mark.

I will certainly spend more time on him in the offseason, but Cecil has pitched well with realistic metrics (.281 BABIP, 71.8 percent strand rate) and has the potential to pair solid control with improved strikeouts and ground balls. 

Sounds like a pitcher who could really develop into a must own fantasy option, doesn’t it?

I wouldn’t call him a must keep, because it certainly depends on your format, but he’s certainly a pitcher to be on all fantasy radars.


Ricky Romero

I’ve had my doubts about Romero dating back to 2009, but he continues to get the job done. This season he’s improved his strikeout rate (7.8 K/9) and control (3.2 BB/9), while posting believable luck metrics (.304 BABIP and 72.2 percent strand rate).

There truly is nothing not to like in those numbers, but can we actually expect him to improve on the 3.50 ERA and 1.28 WHIP? 

He has maintained his ground-ball rate from last season (54.0 percent), but where is the upside potential? 

Even in the minor leagues, he was not a big strikeout artist (7.0 K/9 over 430 innings).  In fact, he posted a minor league ERA of 4.40 and struggled with his control (3.8 BB/9).

The numbers look nice, but this is probably the best we can expect from Romero.

He’s a solid pitcher, but is more likely to post an ERA in the 4.00 range without huge strikeouts numbers then he is to post a 3.25 ERA. 

He’s a nice player, but not one that I’d be looking to keep, especially playing in the AL East. There is nothing to “love” about him.

Marc Rzepczynski

He is someone that I was high on prior to the season, but injuries have severely limited his production. 

He’s appeared in just seven games (five starts), posting a 6.31 ERA and 1.64 WHIP.  While his rehab was in the Pacific Coast League, you also can’t be happy seeing his 6.04 ERA there.

The lefty has shown some strikeout ability in the minor leagues, including 60 Ks in his final 60.2 innings before being recalled. 

Couple that potential with some ground ball upside (53.2 percent this year at Triple-A, 50.6 percent in the Majors) and decent control, and you see he has some potential.

He is more likely to be a flier in the deepest of formats, or waiver wire fodder in 2011, but certainly not a keeper.


Shaun Marcum

There were legitimate concerns heading into 2010, considering he missed all of 2009.  Yet, he has returned to form immediately, with impeccable control (2.0 BB/9).

He is what he is right now, however, so there is no real upside. 

That means he’s going to be a good source of WHIP (1.13 this season and 1.24 for his career) and a good, but not great strikeout artist (7.5 K/9 and 7.2 for his career). 

He’s not among the elite, but depending on your keeper format he certainly is worth keeping.

What are your thoughts on the Blue Jays rotation?  Who would you target to keep?  Who would you keep your distance from?

Make sure to check out our extremely early 2011 rankings:


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