1/4 through 2011: Blue Jay Hitters

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.

 

Jose Bautista:

“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/

 

J.P Arencibia:

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/

 

Yunel Escobar:

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/

 

Adam Lind:

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)

Is this where you expected the Jays to be 1/4 through 2011?

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Topics: Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Jose Bautista, Juan Rivera, Yunel Escobar

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  • kylez

    There record indicates that they’re doing about as expected. But individually almost everyone except for Bautista and a handful of pitchers (Drabek, Litsch, bullpen) are not playing as they should.

    I have a gut feeling they’re lucky to be where they are, but if the others don’t step up soon then this could get ugly.

  • Keith

    The club overall has performed as expected.
    The Great:
    Thankfully Bautista is in another league.

    The Good:
    I think we are getting just about what we hoped for from JP and Escobar. Lind is having a bounce back season.

    This means that we have hopefully solidified 1B, SS, C & RF.

    The Bad:

    Davis, Rivera and Hill have been disappointments so far and we need to start seeing better approaches at the plate out of these 3 hitters for this team to have a shot.

    E5 has been a disappointment but I was expecting him to be.
    Patterson should not be playing everyday and the fact that he has been, is ridiculous.

    Shocks:

    Beyond that, I probably had too high an expectation for our starting 5. Other than Romero & Litch (only because he is a #5), the other 3 have been frustrating to watch. Morrow has not been able to take it to the “next level” that I thought we would see. He has definitely not shown himself to be an “ace” Drabek has shown a few glimpses of brilliance surrounded by way too many walks and Reyes has only started to put it together….. Unfortunately it’s 2 months into the season. Even Romero has been hit hard in 2 starts. Which is not what you would expect from a true #1. But he is growing into that role.

    I keep having to remind myself that this year is about AA and management further figuring out what we truly have here. If we say that we now have 1B, SS, C & RF plus 4 potential starters who are all 26 or under that is a good start. Hopefully we get to see Lawrie soon and Snider sorts out his issues and is back by the All Star break. If so with Thames at DH this could be a dangerous line up (with 3 LHB no less).

  • onomeister

    A 1/4 done and Encarnacion is on pace for… 44 errors. If he continues to perform poorly offensively in the next 3-4 weeks, I see AA forcing the issue and cutting him and promoting Lawrie.

  • Baseballkid

    The Jays are right where people were predicting. I do however see them improving in the consistency of the hitting. The starters have struggled at times, but the bullpen has been out of this world. This past weekend was the first game I watched where they really blew the game away.