Alex Anthopoulos' plan is taking shape. In 2011, more pieces of the puzzle were acquired and promoted. The players the Jays GM has assembled are expected to be key components to the team he feels will challenge for the playoffs in 2012 and beyond...
The team's offence is led by two-time All-Star Jose Bautista. In two seasons as a full-time player, "Joey Bats" has hit 97 home runs and driven in 227 runs. Last season, his OPS was of the charts at 1.056. Stats that are the definition of a superstar.
One of the players expected to play a prominent role in 2012 includes highly touted 3rd baseman Brett Lawrie, who had an immediate impact after his call up, batting .293 with 9 home runs, 25 rbi and 7 stolen bases in just 43 games.
"You're never out of a game if you're tied or close with him at the plate," Manager John Farrell said of his young 3rd baseman. "What he's done since he's been up here... what a splash to a big-league career."
Additionally, the Jays received solid contributions from their young players, including JP Arencibia, Eric Thames and Henderson Alvarez.
"The impressive thing with the young players that have come up, they haven't backed away from the environment... They come in with a level of confidence, a little bit of self-assuredness when they come back a second time, and it's allowed their abilities to play out more consistently," added Farrell.
The starting rotation is augmented by young vets Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Dustin McGowan is expected to challenge youngsters Kyle Drabek, Henderson Alvarez and Brett Cecil for a rotation spot in 2012.
Expect the Jays to challenge for a playoff spot in the AL East this season!