This is exactly what the problem is with a team full of guys who swing for the fences every time they take a swing: they get in droughts. In this case, it just ends up being that all of them are in a drought simultaneously. When you go to Colorado and can’t get 1 run in against a pitcher like Jason Hammel, you know your club’s having run scoring issues. It has gotten so bad that Cito Gaston has even opted to play small ball – bunting guys from 1st to 2nd! Who would of thought that would ever happen?
Well, when the guy at the plate is Jose Molina, you really have no choice. So where are the Jays bats? Is this really a drought, or just a more accurate picture of what the Jays have than what we saw during the first 2 months of the season? Everyone knew that Jose Bautista and Alex Gonzalez couldn’t keep up the pace they were on, but most did believe that Adam Lind and Aaron Hill would pick up that slack and keep things going for the Jays as a result. Instead, all bats are quiet and hidden….in AAA!
JP Arencibia is the hottest bat the Jays have in the minors right now. Here is his line over his last 10:
Last 10 games: .38 AB/ 316 AVG/ .366 OBP/ .763 SLG/ 2 Doubles/ 5 HRs (4 in last 4 games)/ 3 BB/ 5 SO
The Jays have to begin considering bringing up the big guy so that they can have him ready to take on a bigger role in 2011. His power (13 HRs in 2010) is needed in the lineup and as much as I love Jose Molina and his game calling skills, his bat limits his effectiveness in the lineup. I’m not sure if JP can play 1st base, but if he can the Jays could give him some starts there as well and that could allow them to send Jeremy Reed back to the minors instead of sending Jose Molina packing. Carrying 3 catchers isn’t ideal, but with JP’s power off the bench and all of the things he could learn from Molina while practicing and sitting on the bench, it isn’t that bad a proposition.
Brett Wallace is ready. Even though he has slumped recently in AAA, he deserves a shot at making an impact on this club. Is the timing right to bring him up? I’m not sure, but he should get a shot soon.
Jarrett Hoffpauir is another guy in AAA that could definitely help this offense out. His .330 average and .388 OBP would clearly help the Jays out because their biggest deficiency right now is not getting guys on the base paths. He does have pop, 8 HRs on the year and 3 over his last 10, and plays excellent D at both 2B and SS. I’m not sure if he can play 3B, but if he can I’d call him up in a heartbeat and alternate him with Edwin depending on the match ups.
And last but not least, there is the biggest surprise (in my opinion) of the minors this season that is actually in AA: Adam Loewen. The Canuck is proving to be a lot more effective than I would have ever imagine. I am self-admittedly guilty of wondering why the Jays kept him around for as long as they did. As it is, Adam has hit the following lines over the season and the last 10 games:
Last 10 games: 39 ab/ .410 avg/ .465 obp/ .769 slg/ 5 doubles/ 3 HRs/ 3 BB/ 8 SO
Season totals: 198 ab/ .303 avg/ .396 obp/ .515 slg/ 18 doubles/ 8 HRs/ 26 BB/ 53 SO
The fact that he’s gotten so much better and showed more power over his last 10 games makes me think that Adam is finally getting confident enough with his contact rate to use more power and speed in his swing. His HRs are perfectly split between LHP and RHP (4 each) and he hit .260 vs LHP and .318 vs RHP, making a possible full time player if he can in fact hit well against both consistently. Adam still needs more time in the minors, I’m not saying he’ll be up to the Jays this season, but a promotion to AAA seems like a fair test for his skills now that he is proven in AA. What a great story it would be if he could make it to MLB as a regular OFer.
So, with JP Arencibia, Brett Wallace, and Jarrett Hoffpauir waiting for the call to the Jays, fans all over are forced to sit and watch the continuing struggles of what can be a mighty offense when things are going well. When the question of where the Jays bats have gone comes up I always answer with the same response: the real question is not where they have gone, it’s when will they get here!
Although I predict it is when they come up from AAA, I’ll still hope that answer is today vs fellow Canuck Jeff Francis.