Sure, I could sit here and bitch about another blown save by someone who should be raising his trade value if he wants to go to a playoff bound club, not lowering it, but I figure I’d rather examine Yunel Escobar’s impact with the club in such a short period of time.
After watching all 4 games he has played thus far for the Jays, I can say one thing without a doubt – Yunel is a baseball player with a well above-average baseball IQ and and well above-average ability. Both HRs he has hit so far were crushed and showed a lot more power than the Jays were “supposed to get” in this deal.However, it’s the bunt singles and D that have me loving his upside more and more every day. As the game began last night and Fred Lewis singled on the first pitch, Yunel was able to recognize that the 2nd baseman was following Fred Lewis to 2B as he tried to steal. So, instead of trying to drive the ball or crush it, he simply bunted it to where the 2B was supposed to be playing – hard enough to get by Kyle Davis, and got on 1B as a result. That, my friends, is not something that many players would recognize or would be willing to do, especially in the AL. I have no idea why Yunel was playing the way he was for the Braves, but, a fair argument could be made that he simply was disgruntled and didn’t fit into their clubhouse ambience well. Meanwhile, the Jays are reaping the benefits of yet another team giving up on a player (see Jose Bautista, John Buck, Fred Lewis, and Kevin Gregg) and are going to enjoy having him on board to be sure if he keeps playing this way. Having seen his swing, and knowing the Jays mentality in terms of aggressiveness, I see no reason that Yunel can’t reach 20 HRs in a season and fit in very well as an eventual 3B as a result.
Yunel’s position in 2011, 2012 and beyond depends entirely on Adeiny Hechavarria and his progression in AA-AAA. If Adeiny Hechavarria does well from here to the end of 2010, and others are promoted as expected, the lineup should be as follows (barring future moves):
- 1 – Fred Lewis, LF (30 years old in ’11)
- 2 – Yunel Escobar, 3B (28 years old in ’11)
- 3 – Aaron Hill, 2B (28 years old in ’11)
- 4 – Vernon Wells, CF (32 years old in ’11)
- 5 – Adam Lind, DH (26 years old in ’11)
- 6 – JP Arencibia, C (25 years old in ’11)
- 7 – Travis Snider, RF (23 years old in ’11)
- 8 - Brett Wallace, 1B (24 years old in ’11)
- 9 – Adeiny Hechavarria, SS (22 years old in ’11)
I took out Lyle Overbay (FA), Jose Bautista (big trade bait), and shifted Yunel Escobar from SS to 3B. The lineup as above could be possible by mid-2011 if not at the beginning and has a ton of things to like and dislike about it. First, there is a ton of power in the lineup. Everyone from the 2 spot to the 8 spot should hit 15+ HRs and JP Arencibia and Brett Wallace should add more power at their respective positions than the Jays got this year when added together. Their patience at the plate should also make the Jays a little better.
However, the youth of the lineup also comes into play for 2011. The average age on the lineup as above is 26.44 years old and many (3) would be in their rookie season. The quality is there, but the learning curve would be steep as they man the bottom of the lineup. Hopefully 2 of these (Wallace and Arencibia) will get some experience in 2010, but Adeiny will be as fresh as they come and manning a very demanding position.
With so much youth in the lineup, Yunel Escobar and Fred Lewis – the 2 newest additions to the club – will be thrust into leadership roles, along with Aaron Hill and Vernon Wells. It bodes well for the Jays in 2011 that these players will be manning the top of the lineup, easing some of the pressure the young guns could face. Therefore, Yunel Escobar has an impact not only in what he provides the Jays with this season, but also in what he’ll do for the Jays next season. If the Jays had kept Alex gGnzalez on board, some say the Jays could have been better off, or “more experienced”, but there’s a serious disconnect sometimes when players have too big an age gap. I’d say that Yunel is still mature enough to help, but not too old to be disconnected from the “next generation” of Jays coming in. That and he may also be more patient to win since he still has a ton of time left in MLB, while Alex could feel pressure to win now as he approaches the end of his career and begin to feel a little disgruntled as the season wears on.
Escobar is having an immediate impact, has raised his play to where most felt it should be for someone of his talents, and is a welcomed addition to a club on the move – up and up!
Other Notes of the Day:
- MLBTR is really pissing me off with all of these JP Ricciardi quotes. Nobody cares!!!
- JP Arencibia hit his 28th HR of the day in AAA – ring ring, ring ring….
- Shawn Hill had yet another stellar start in the GCL (6 IP, 6 HA, O ER, 6 Ks)
- Chad Jenkins is turning things around in HiA (5 IP, 5 HA, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks in last start)
- 2010 3rd rounder and Canadian Marcus Knecht is off to a great start in the GCL (108 AB, .315 avg, 10 doubles, 1 HR, 12 BB/19 Ks, .388 OBP)