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Looking Ahead: Jays Outfield for 2012

With only 9 games left in yet another playoff-less season, it seems fitting to start thinking about the 2012 Blue Jay campaign. As I’ve written many times before, it is a very interesting and intriguing time to be a Jays fan. Since Alex Antholopolous took over as G.M in 2009, the Jays front office has diligently followed a clear and detailed plan. AA’s m.o. has been to bring in as many young, high-ceiling players as possible, in the hopes that these players will enter their prime at roughly the same time.

Nowhere on the diamond is the lock jam of young talent more obvious than in the outfield. With Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista locks in centre and right field, the battle for the starting spot in left is going to be hotly contested next spring. Here are the contenders:

Eric Thames:

MLB:

G 83/ PA 353

.265/.313/.449

2B 22/ 3B 4/ HR 10/ RBI 33

wOBA .332/ wRC+ 108

Career UZR -7.7 (LF/RF)

The 24 year old has had a solid rookie season. There is certainly solid power potential in his bat, but he also strikes out a ton (K% 21.8). His lack of plate discipline is troubling, because it is his bat-not his below average glove- that will make the difference between being a starter or a fourth outfielder.

Travis Snider:

AAA

G 61/ PA 277

.327/.394/.480

2B 22/3B 2/ HR 4/ RBI 42

wOBA .393/ wRC+ 124

Career UZR 3.1 (OF)

Snider struggled with the Jays this season hitting .225/.269/.348 in 49 games. Down in hitter-friendly Las Vegas, Lunchbox has raked- although the power numbers aren’t quite where I would’ve expected. Nonetheless, Snider is still only 23, and I will be pulling for him hard to make the big club next spring. I still believe Snider has the biggest upside of anyone on this list.

Adam Loewen:

AAA

G 134/ PA 585

.306/.377/.508

2B 46/ 3B 4/ HR 17/ RBI 85

wOBA .382/ wRC+ 117

Adam Loewen is a long shot to make the Jays out of spring training, but it is possible that he could play his way onto the club at some point during the 2012 season. The B.C. native has shown steady improvement with the bat and the glove since switching over from pitching after a myriad of arm injuries in 2008. The jury is still out on how good Loewen can be in the field, but it appears as though he may have major league pop in his bat.

Rajai Davis:

MLB

G 95/ PA 338

.238/.273/.350

2B 21/ 3B 6/ HR 1/ RBI 29

wOBA .282/ wRC+ 74

Career UZR/150 (LF) -16.7

The forgotten man for many Jays fans, it will not be easy for Rajai Davis to win the starting left field job. Davis’ injury shortened 2011 was one to forget as he was terrible with both the bat and glove. What happened to all those HR’s he hit in spring training?

Who will be the Jays Left Fielder in 2012?

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Tags: Colby Rasmus Eric Thames Jose Bautista Rajai Davis Travis Snider

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