Toronto Blue Jays: A History of Great (WPA) Performances

Jul 31, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; Former Toronto Blue Jays player Roberto Alomar (12) has his number 12 retired in a ceremony before the game against the Texas Rangers at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After the Toronto Blue Jays ridiculous comeback from a 7 run deficit against the Tampa Bay Rays where J.P. Arencibia managed to total a ridiculous WPA of 73.8% my interest was piqued. Where did JPA’s awesome bout of clutchitude rank on the Blue Jays All-Time list? What were the greatest single game performances in Blue Jays history according to WPA? Well thanks to Baseball Reference’s handy-dandy Play Index to which I subscribe, I could find out and share!

I present to you the 10 “best” performances in Blue Jays history (note that JPA’s performance ranks 13th on the Blue Jays list, although he ranked second on the list for those who started on the bench). Before you start herpin’ and derpin’ down in the comments, these rankings include only the regular season, although no Blue Jays playoff performance would make this list so there.

10. Chris Woodward 8/7/2002 @ Seattle Mariners

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
4 4 3 3 0 0 3 3 0

0.766

On August 7, 2002 Chris Woodward had himself a game for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 5-4 Loss to the Seattle Mariners, Mr. Woodward accounted for 3 of the Blue Jays 4 runs with 3 solo home runs in 4 plate appearances. His first solo home run tied the game in the fifth inning, 2 innings later after a Dewayne Wise solo homer tied up the game once more Woodward gave the Blue Jays a 1 run lead. Up again in the bottom of the ninth inning Woodward once again knocked out a solo shot to tie it. The Blue Jays eventually fell in the 10th inning when Dan Wilson of the Mariners hit a solo home run to give the bad guys the lead for good.

9. Rick Cerone 9/17/1979 vs Boston Red Sox

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
4 4 2 2 1 0 0 2 0

0.775

On September 17, 1979 Rick Cerone had himself a very nice game against the Boston Red Sox. In a 5-4 win Cerone managed 2 hits in 4 Plate Appearances, including a 2-run double to CF in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game on which he also scored the winning run after a throwing error on the catcher. This single at-bat increase Win Expectancy by an insane 80%.

8. Rance Mulliniks 6/15/1984 vs Boston Red Sox

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
6 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 2

0.776

On June 15, 1984 Rance Mulliniks had one of the quietest good games you’ll ever see. In 6 Plate Appearances Mulliniks had one hit (a single) and two walks. But as we all know, great games aren’t just about the raw stats, it’s about the clutchitude. Down a run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, Rance came through with his only hit of the game to drive in 2 and send the fans home happy.

7. Carlos Delgado 9/8/1999 @ Seattle Mariners

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
4 4 2 2 0 0 2 3 0

0.81

During 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on September 8, 1999 Carlos Delgado did Carlos Delgado things (smashed baseballs). In 4 plate appearances Delgado managed 2 hits (both of which were of the kind where he touched all of the bases). Delgado’s lofty WPA in this game can be attributed to the 2-run home run in the top of the 9th inning he hit to give the Blue Jays a 1-run lead. Delgado’s heroics were all for naught however as Billy Koch did Billy Koch things and promptly gave up a game winning 2-run home run in the home half of the 9th.

6. Joe Carter 7/25/1996 vs Oakland Athletics

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
5 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 1

0.821

On what I assume was a beautiful July night in 1996, Joe Carter hit the baseball a couple of times and greatly increased the win probability of his Toronto Blue Jays. In his 5 plate appearances Carter had 2 hits and a walk. The most important and clutch hit coming with 2-outs in the bottom of the 9th down a run when Carter hit a 2-run shot to end the game. Walk-off home runs are great eh.

5. Otto Velez 7/18/1978 @ Seattle Mariners

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
4 3 2 3 0 0 0 2 1

0.889

The only reserve performance that added a greater Win Probability than J.P. Arencibia’s the other night, Otto Velez manage 3 hits and a walk in 4 plate appearances, including RBI singles in both the top of 9 and in the top of 10, to seal the victory for the good guys.

4. Aaron Hill 9/15/2006 @ Tampa Bay Devil Rays

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
5 4 3 4 1 0 1 2 0

0.969

The at the time still Tampa Bay Devil Rays fell victim to the Toronto Blue Jays on September 15, 2006, a much of that was due to the heroics of soon to be scape goat Aaron Hill. Hill’s 96.9% Win Probability Added was aided greatly by his walk off 2-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning (worthy of an increased win probability of 65% alone). The rest of Hill’s WPA was the other 3 hits he scattered across his other 3 at-bats. Yay Aaron Hill.

3. Paul Molitor 5/13/1993 vs Detroit Tigers

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
5 5 1 2 1 0 1 4 0

1

5 plate appearances, 2 doubles, and 4 runs batted in, including 2 in the bottom of the 9th to give the Toronto Blue Jays the victory over the Detroit Tigers in this mid-May tilt from 1993. Mr. Molitor’s Win Probability Added for the game was a cool 100%, an 82% contribution coming by way of the 2 run double in the 9th and a 27% contribution by way of a 2 run bomb in the bottom of the 6th. The win moved this ridiculously stacked Toronto Blue Jays team to .500 at 17-17 for the season. If our current iteration of the Blue Jays get back to .500 anywhere near this date you best be ready for me to bring it up.

2. Kelly Gruber 6/12/1989 vs Detroit Tigers

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB

WPA

6 6 0 5 1 0 0 3 0

1.019

Sometimes, like with JPA’s huge home run to seal the comeback against Tampa Bay, a big WPA performance is weighted heavily on a single swing of the bat. Other times players have a good WPA night by grinding out 6 hits in medium leverage situations. Then there are those times when you go 5 for 6 including the game winning 2 run double in the bottom of the 11th inning like Kelly Gruber did on June 12, 1989. What a game.

1. Roberto Alomar 5/10/1991 vs Chicago White Sox

PA

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
6 4 3 3 0 0 2 2 2

1.037

Who else but Roberto Alomar would hold the Toronto Blue Jays record for single game Win Probability Added? Ironically enough this performance came in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

On May 10, 1991. Robbie came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th, 2 out, the bases empty with the Blue Jays down a run and promptly deposited the baseball into the seats to push it to extra innings. Up again in the bottom of the 11th, once again down a run with the bases empty, Alomar cranked another round tripped to tie the game up one more time. Alas the White Sox would go up for good in the top of the 12th, and luckily for the White Sox Robbie didn’t get a chance to play hero again.

While most opinions on the game of baseball are quite subjective, this piece was not. I simply listed the 10 best performances based on single game WPA in franchise history. Have another Blue Jays performance you think deserves mention? Let me know in the comments and I’ll take a look at the game, and compare it to those that made the list!

Topics: Toronto Blue Jays

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  • http://twitter.com/Wrayzerblade Michael Wray

    man these stats you got a hold of are going to make for some amazing articles!

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Where else can you find an article that name drops guys like Rance Mulliniks and Otto Velez in the same post?!

      • http://twitter.com/Wrayzerblade Michael Wray

        OTTO!!!!