Just over a quarter of the way through 2011, the Blue Jays sit at .500 (23-23). Is this where you expected they would be?
As with any team in any season, there have been ups and downs for the 2011 Jays. The team has dealt with significant injuries (Morrow, Lind, Hill, Davis), and seen a number of players struggle (Snider, Encarnacion, Rivera, Hill). On the positive side, Jose Bautista has been the best hitter in all of baseball (wOBA .549), and the bullpen has been strong.
The Jays offense has been unbalanced to say the least. Few players have shown consistency outside of Bautista. Despite this trend, Toronto has scored the 6th most runs in baseball (208). Today I will look at some of the most notable developments on the offensive side.
“The man, the myth, the legend- (Mike Wilner, Fan 590).” Who else could I begin with? Jose Bautista has been the most valuable player in MLB, and is starting to generate a ton of mainstream sports media buzz. You all know the story, and you all probably know a good deal about the excellence of his tradition stats (72 HR, 155 RBI since the start of 2010). But do you know how fantastic his peripheral stats are? So far this season, Bautista has reached base 50% of the time, slugged at a .819 clip, and walked in 22.2% of his at bats. All of these stats lead baseball. Even without consistent lineup protection, Bautista has been able to display power and discipline at a rate that hasn’t been seen since Barry Bonds.
In case you missed it, Mat wrote a piece on Bautista just over a week ago: http://jaysjournal.com/2011/05/15/jose-bautista-goes-historic-by-producing-at-a-barry-bonds-circa-2001-rate/
The first in a long line of strong Jays catching prospects, Arencibia has quickly shown the power that earned him the Pacific Coast League MVP award in 2010. Currently hitting 244/309/520 with 8 HR, 6 2B and 2 3B, J.P has been one of the most productive catchers in the majors. If he continues to develop patience and his defensive ability, he could be in the running for the American League rookie of the year award. His peripherals so far: K% 25. 2/ BB% 8.8/ ISO .276.
Check out Mat’s article on Arencibia from last week: http://jaysjournal.com/2011/05/20/j-p-arencibia-is-outproducing-john-buck/
Escobar has returned to his pre-2010 hitting ability, with a solid OBP and sneaky pop for a short stop. His hitting line so far: 283/363/410 has made him the best option at leadoff for the Jays. His peripherals: K 14.5/ BB% 11.3/ ISO .127. With a plus glove up the middle, Escobar is an extremely valuable player for Toronto, and he represents one of the many great moves made by Alex Anthopolous.
Mat wrote about the Escobar deal on Saturday, here is the link: http://jaysjournal.com/2011/05/21/evaluating-the-yunel-escobar-and-jo-jo-reyes-for-alex-gonzalez-tyler-pastronicky-and-tim-collins/
Before being put on the DL Lind was really starting to heat up. After a slow start, Lind had raised his batting line to a respectable 313/343/516 with 5 2B and 7 HR. His peripherals on the season are K% 18/ BB% 5/ ISO 203. I love Lind as a hitter, and am very confident that his second half will be very productive, but I do not feel he is best suited to hit fourth for the Jays. If I was in John Farrell’s shoes, I would flip Lind and Bautista, and hope (pray) that either Aaron Hill or Juan Rivera can provide sufficient protection in the 5 hole.
Next I will look at some of the Jays pitching stats from the first quarter of the season, but first I will ask again (this time in poll form): is this where you expected the Jays to be after 1/4 of the season? (23-23)
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