Unfortunately, the Jose Reyes era in Toronto was officially sidelined on April 12th, when the dynamic lead-off man severely injured his ankle while sliding into second base. In exchange for 10 games, 38 at-bats, a .395 average, 5 stolen bases, and 5 runs scored, karma took away four months of Reyes’s season.
Now, a Blue Jays team that was already having trouble scoring runs, is back to the drawing board and trying to make up for that instant offense. Quite simply, they are right back in the same hole they were in during the 2012 season.
In 2012, Toronto used seven different batters in the lead-off role, and the results were not pretty. The combination of Brett Lawrie, Kelly Johnson, Omar Vizquel, Yunel Escobar, Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, and Mike McCoy were able to must just a .237 batting average and 98 runs scored.
Thus far in 2013, the results without Reyes have somehow been worse. Toronto has used five different hitters in the lead-off role without Reyes in the line-up, including Lawrie, Davis, Munenori Kawasaki, Emilio Bonifacio, and Mark DeRosa. That current conglomeration of ineptitude has mustered a .202 batting average on 17 hits and just 8 runs scored in 24 games. That group has also managed to strike out as often as they’ve hit the ball, a whopping 17 times.
As a team, the Blue Jays rank just 24th in Major League Baseball in runs scored. While the bats of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have been silent thus far, save for the home run ball, it is the lead-off hitters that are setting the tone for this team. Toronto ranks 26th in runs scored out of the 1-hole and the team’s .308 on-base percentage from their lead-off hitters ranks 21st, even with Reyes’s numbers helping to boost that number.
Perhaps that is why John Gibbons has continued to tinker with the line-up, using 27 different orders in 30 games. Perhaps that is why Toronto’s offense if holding the team back, resulting in a 10-20 record to start what was supposed to be a promising season.
Perhaps the reason this train has wrecked is that it can never truly get started.