Monday, July 8, 2013

The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays

It's been a long time between posts, but for some reason I feel the need to write about the Jays. Living in Canada I find that the Jays get a lot of coverage, so naturally they're one team that I still keep an eye on. And with Alex Anthropolous being GM, I sometimes wonder if he thinks he's playing in a fantasy league.

So, I'm going to look at the hitters first, in order of plate appearances (as of 2:03pm PST on July 8, 2013).
                                         AVG   OBP    SLG    OPS     OPS+
1. Edwin Encarnacion.  .268     .357     .532     .889     138   

EE is having an excellent follow up to his break out season of 2012. He's also less worse than usual in the field, and as long as he mostly plays 1B or DH's he's obviously an integral part of the lineup.

2. Jose Bautista. .265     .364     .513     .877     135

Still solid with the bat. I think he's settled in to a level of hitting that won't improve much over time. The .302 season in 2011 was an outlier. Fielding is average, and as a 32 year old his returns will begin to diminish. As much as I think it's time to get some huge value for him now, the Jays can't possibly afford to lose his bat from the lineup. His batting second is intriguing, clearly not the best place for a slugger to bat, but he gets on base a lot and the Jays really don't have a classic 2 hitter.

3. Melky Cabrera. .278     .321     .362     .684     86

I hated this signing when it happened, I had no faith that Melky could hit anywhere near his PED levels, and he's actually been even worse than I expected. A terrible, terrible signing. Truly one of the worst signings by AA in his time with the Jays.

4. Colby Rasmus. .250     .324     .476     .800     114

It's a shame he wasn't a fireballing pitcher, because then one could say "And Colby brings the cheese". He's been better than I expected with the bat. The power being the redeeming factor, but also a few walks thrown in to boost his OBP. With his decent glove in CF he's an important member of the team. However, I can't see him ever being as good as he was in his 2nd season with the Cards. Still way too many K's.

5. J.P. Arencibia. .219     .252     .418     .669     78

Just freaking terrible. A terrible hitter, and a terrible catcher. With his complete lack of sense of the strike zone while batting, I think it would be impossible for him to be a good catcher. If he can't figure out what the opposition is doing to get him out, how can he ever figure out what to call for from his pitcher? However, with a complete black hole for backups, the Jays are stuck with him. There's basically NOTHING in the system for catchers that would be considered a prospect, aside from maybe this Derrick Chung who is playing in A+ at Dunedin. However he's 25 years old and has no power, so he's not much of a prospect. There are no catchers in the system, other than ancient Ramon Hernandez at AAA, who could play in the majors. What the hell is AA doing?

6. Maicer Izturis. .243     .280     .341     .622     68

Another useless signing. Maicer's OPS+ of 68 is abysmal. Even his career mark of 91 isn't so hot. And where did his speed go? He had 17 SB last year, 0 this year.  He's not a good fielder, and not a major league hitter. What a waste of money.

7. Adam Lind. .309     .368     .519     .886     138

A true surprise. He's hitting at almost the same level as his 2009 season. He's not a total klutz at 1B either. He's even hitting lefties decently, in the few AB's he's had against them. The big question though is will it last? Is the Adam Lind of 2009 back to stay, or will the Adam Lind of 2010-2012 rear his ugly head again?  At his current level of hitting, he's a useful piece. If he drops back to previous levels, he's a useless piece.

8. Emilio Bonifacio.  .209     .242     .312     .554     49

Possibly the worst hitter around. How this guy can keep getting AB's is beyond reason. The Jays have Jim Negrych in AAA. He's a .300 hitter in his minor league career, and he's having an excellent season (.319 .384 .452 .836). He can't possibly be worse than Emilio. Sure, he's 28 and never played a game in the majors, but I personally guarantee that he can't be worse than Emilio. Heck, I might be better than Emilio.  Emilio's current level of expertise is running. He can stick around to pinch run and be a late inning defensive replacement if he has to be on the roster. But keep this guy away from the plate, please.

9. Munenori Kawasaki. .212     .315     .300     .615     69

He can draw the occasional walk, and steal an occasional base, and play an ok SS, and be all fun and a crowd favorite, but he is in no way at all an everyday player. More proof of the incredible short sightedness of AA. Sure, you can't know that Jose Reyes was going to get hurt, but you've got to have something better available as a middle infield replacement when needed.

10. Rajai Davis. .296     .341     .395     .736     100

He's a player that must hit around .300 to be worth putting out there at all. Currently he's doing so. It won't continue. His only true benefit to the team is his speed. His fielding isn't great, and he's lacking in power. If Rajai Davis is your best replacement outfielder, you're simply not going to have a winning team.

So, clearly the fact that Jose Reyes isn't in the top 10 of Jays plate appearances is one major reason that the Jays have a middle of the pack offense. But it's clearly not the only one. Gaping holes at C, 2B, SS, and 3B contribute greatly to a weak lineup. A telling stat is that the Jays have only drawn 4 IBB, last in the league.  It shows that no one on the Jays isn't pitchable, especially if you consider that Jose Bautista led the league in IBB with 24 in 2011.

I'll try and take a look at the pitching tomorrow, and add in some final thoughts.

All stats from

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