Apr 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind (26) prepares for his turn at bat during a game against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre. The New York Yankees won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Rambling Thoughts On New Toronto Blue Jays Lineup Order


When I first saw Sunday’s initial starting lineup for the Toronto Blue Jays, I had mixed emotions. As seen below, it was jumbled a bit with some new twists.

1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Colby Rasmus (L) CF
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF
4. Adam Lind (L) DH
5. Edwin Encarnacion (R) 1B
6. Dioner Navarro (S) C
7. Maicer Izturis (S) 2B
8. Brett Lawrie (R) 3B
9. Ryan Goins (L) SS

My first thought was, “finally, Colby Rasmus is hitting 2nd instead of Maicer Izturis.”

Then, much later than I care to admit, I noticed that Adam Lind was hitting 4th and Edwin Encarnacion was hitting 5th. At first I considered John Gibbons was crazy, how dare he bump Edwin down for Lind. Then I remembered that Lind has an OPS above .900 to start the season and Encarnacion has an OPS below .700 to start the season so it makes some sense. It will also make managers on other teams need to use a left handed reliever right after Bautista’s at bat against Lind and then have to bring in a right handed one against Encarnacion, as opposed to the “convenience” of a righty facing Bautista and Encarnacion and then bringing in a lefty to face Lind.

The move was obviously made to get Encarnacion going after an early season slump. That said, it’s hard to imagine Encarnacion getting much to hit with Dioner Navarro as his protection. It could also be very annoying if the Jays lose a close game where Encarnacion didn’t get to hit in a crucial situation because he was too low in the lineup or if he lost at-bats being too low in the line-up. Because of that, this line-up likely doesn’t carry with it a long shelf life.

But hey, the Blue Jays had 17 hits and 11 runs with this new lineup order in place. While there’s a good chance it’s not going to stay in that order for long, it seems to be working now and if it isn’t broken, well you know. So let’s just enjoy it while it lasts.

Then again, Gibbons might not even keep that lineup order past Sunday, which would really make this post pointless.

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  • Andrew van Laar

    I don’t mind this one bit (other than Colby in the 2 spot. He scares me). I think it is fine for EE to be after Lind right now because Navarro does offer protection. He is a beast with men on. 8 RBI in 12 games. If we are riding hot players with this lineup, then I don’t mind riding the hot RBI man as well even if he isn’t hitting for average or power.

    • brad

      who would you put second? lol

      • jays4life77

        i think i would try lawrie in the 2 hole…i mean i understand why rasmus or another lefty bat in the 2 hole makes sense when switching between right and left but lawrie would be getting more pitches to hit so we could see if he can live up to his potential. We all know rasmus will hit 20+ bombs a year no matter where he hits but if we can get offense out of lawrie it offers some speed plus more ahead of the big boys. Although i think once reyes is back melky drops to the 2 hole and reyes hits lead off.

        • brad

          If Reyes gets hurts later in the year, Lawrie would be a good guy for the 2 spot…. right now though he is pretty much lost(2 ABs Sunday notwithstanding). rasmus isn’t much better but he’s probably the best AVG hitter they have outside of Melky, JB, EE and Lind. If it were me I might actually just move everyone up a spot till Reyes comes back. Melky, JB, Lind, EE,Navarro, Rasmus, Lawrie, Diaz, Goins

          • Justin Jay

            He hit .270+ for the first time in almost 3 years. He’s not the best AVG hitter they have. He doesn’t get on base all that well. Rasmus is NOT a #2 hitter. Even if he is heating up, he’s not #2. Lawrie makes better contact. The problem is the hits are grounders.

          • brad

            As of this moment, aside from the guys I mentioned, he is so. This isn’t a long term question though. The person who finishes the season with the higher average means nothing….at all. Who will have better on base numbers from now until Friday is the question. Think that will be Lawrie and all 6 of his 2013 hits? Dude looks lost… not that Rasmus looks great but you know how he gets when he’s hot. He’s a streaky hitter that has had a couple good games in a row now. I would put the odds at about 80% that he is more productive than lawrie in the next 4 days… at which point Reyes comes back…. and this whole conversation becomes moot.

          • Justin Jay

            It’s going to be tough to beat the grand slam from the bench

          • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

            Agreed… Joey Bats wRC+ was over 200 if I recall correctly when he was in the two-hole last year… no idea why he’s so opposed to batting second. It’s not like RBIs pay like they used to in free agency.

      • Andrew van Laar

        You answered my question. Just move everyone up.

        • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

          +1

    • Justin Jay

      But who’s to say Navarro’s production will last? I think this line up is good in a lot of ways, I just don’t like Rasmus at #2 because he doesn’t make enough contact. That hurts opportunities for hit and runs.

  • TJayC

    The idea of one hitter ‘protecting’ another in a lineup is not something that has ever been shown statistically, so its a silly thing to worry about when making a lineup. Current lineup construction data actually suggests that the number 2 hitter is actually a lot more important than the number 3 hitter. (#3 frequently comes up with 2 outs and nobody on base which is a very low leverage situation). Personally I’d love to see Melky 1st, Bautista at #2, Colby #3, with Edwin and Lind at 4 and 5 to split up the lefties. Unfortunately it looks like injuries will derail things as Colby is hurt and Lind just got hurt tonight.

    I iwill say It was very disappointing tonight to see Kawasaki in the #2 hole, which advanced statistics suggest should belong to your best hitter.