Jun 13, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting left fielder Rajai Davis (11) slides into third base in the 3rd inning with a triple against the Washington Nationals at the Rogers Centre. The Nationals beat the Blue Jays 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rajai is Running Away With the Starting Job


Jun 28, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) shows the ball to the umpire as Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Rajai Davis (left) steals second base during the second inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Rajai Davis has been putting on a show nightly for the Blue Jay fan base.

Season Stats As of July 2nd 2013:

Games 49
BA .321
OBP .357
SB 21
Runs 25

Now let’s make a realistic projection based on this performance for the rest of the season IF he gets full-time work

Games 124
BA .290
OBP .340
SB 45
Runs 60

Any time you have player as electric as Davis in the lineup you have a chance to win. What has hurt Davis the previous two seasons with the Blue Jays was his .238 and .257 batting average in 2011 and 2012. When hitting closer to .300 his value sky-rockets from a game changing pinch runner, to an electric starter who always puts pressure on the opposing teams pitcher and their defense. The good thing for Davis is he has taken advantage of his opportunity with Cabrera on the disabled list and if he continues on the pace he is on, then the management will have another tough decision to make.

What can keep Davis out of the lineup?

• Injuries- Completely unpredictable. As long as Rajai is healthy, he needs a spot in the starting nine

• Melky Cabrera- When healthy people will debate who is more valuable to the team. I would have to think Melk’s .278 avg, ability to make the clutch hit, along with his higher salary would make him a priority in the Lineup.

• Brett Lawrie coming back. How can this hurt Davis? Lawrie back healthy means one of the starting Infielders will have to take a seat. I would bet on Bonifacio being the odd man out. If he doesn’t get sent down or traded then the best place to play him is in the outfield. That means less playing time for Rajai. While they have similar playing styles, Rajai seems to do everything better (steal, hit, defend). This is a less than ideal situation for Davis.

What the Jays could and/or should do:

• Don’t be surprised to see creativity when Melky comes back. Even splits are a possibility or the team can have Davis continue to Pinch run/come in as a defensive substitution when Melky is playing deep into games.

• Have Rajai Rotate through the outfield. Cabrera and Rasums can have the occasional day off and Jose can DH on hot days.

• Keep Lawrie in Buffalo to work on his swing. This means you can have Lind playing 1st, Edwin at 3rd and Davis DH. Based on Bretts performance thus far it would be better for our team if he corrects is swing. Yes this will result in decrease in defensive ability at 3B but Edmin has played well thus far at 3rd and is a suitable replacement in the meantime.

There are many ways the Blue Jays can go about having Davis start. There was no mention of trades to get him in the lineup because these, like injuries are too unpredictable.

Bottom Line: Rajai has earned a starting spot on this team and he has become a crucial piece to our second half success.

Tags: Rajai Davis Speed Toronto Blue Jays

  • Andrew van Laar

    On point with this article, I have always been a huge Rajai fan. I’ve always loved what he brings to this team and have wished for him to have a more prominent role than what he has had.

    On a side note… when will management (and fans/bloggers) stop putting Lind at first? This guys back is in bad shape. Since his 2009 campaign he has been having back problems and they keep putting him at first. This is the first season he has been pain free. If they want to destroy his bat, by all means continue to do so, but a big guy like him stretching and lunging and bending over constantly doesn’t bode well for a weak back.

    • Trevie O

      I’ve asked this before: why can’t Lind play the outfield? He was
      brought up as an outfielder and surely playing left field is less taxing
      to the body than playing first base — at least for Lind’s bad back.
      Plus, putting him back in left field, from time to time, would allow him
      to spell Cabrera (or even Bautista) a game or two, should nagging
      injuries and fatigue take their toll.

      At this point, he’s definitely more mobile than Cabrera and so whatever
      “outfield rust” he has playing a corner would be better than having
      Cabrera hobbling around out there, wouldn’t it?

  • RyanMueller

    Also a Davis fan. So far his biggest issue is health. Everytime he goes on a hot streak it seems it is stopped by an injury. I don’t think that he will maintain a 300 average let alone a 270 average. Davis will go into a prolonged slump and finish the year around 260. I still think that would be good enough as long as he is able to get on base (take a walk). Once on base, as you said, he is electric.
    Keep up the job work Davis.