Rajai Davis has been putting on a show nightly for the Blue Jay fan base.
Now let’s make a realistic projection based on this performance for the rest of the season IF he gets full-time work
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.