Good Start Crucial


September 26, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY SportsOne of the reasons to doubt the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays according to a lot of people is that recent team spending sprees have not equaled playoff berths. The 2011 Boston Red Sox, the 2012 Los Angeles Angels and the 2012 Florida Marlins all missed the playoffs after spending big in the offseason.

One excuse is that spending money doesn’t equal success.

Tell that to the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies.

Say what you want about the Yankees and Red Sox, but spending money wisely is a hard skill as we’ve seen in recent years.

One of the actual reasons big spending teams haven’t been making the playoffs lately is that they’ve all got off to bad starts. No one seems to bring that up, but it’s a HUGE factor.

The 2011 Boston Red Sox famously started the season 0-6. No team in the history of baseball had ever made the playoffs after starting 0-6, except for the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. On May 1 the Red Sox were 12-15 and dead last in the division. The Kansas City Royals even had a 15-13 record at the time. At the time 95 wins was what we thought you needed just to get into the playoffs in the AL East. No matter how great a team you have and believe me the 2011 Boston Red Sox were a great team it’s hard to get to the post season in the AL East when you only have 12 wins at the end of April. The Red Sox missed the playoffs by 1 game in 2011. The funny thing is under the new 2 wild cards playoff format the 2011 Red Sox would have made the playoffs.

On May 1, 2012 the LA Angels were 9-15 and dead last in the AL West. You can bring up Mike Trout late, Pujols can start being Pujols again, you can acquire Zach Greinke but when you start the season that badly it’s hard to make a real playoff push in the AL West. The Texas Rangers were 17-7 and Oakland were close enough to 500 at 12-13 at the time. The Angels ended up missing out on a playoff spot by 4 games.

On May 1, 2012 the Miami Marlins were 9-14 and dead last in the NL East. Do you see a trend here? The funny thing about the Marlins is they won 20 games in May!! They were 29-23 and 1 game back of the Washington Nationals for the NL East on June 1st. Unfortunately for the Marlins they had a repeat of April in June and ended the month 38-40.

Unlike the 2011 Redsox and 2012 Angels the Marlins didn’t try to keep contending in 2012. They panicked and traded Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante during the season. Whether the Blue Jays are contending at the time or not you can bet they’re not throwing in the towel on 2013 in July.

We have no idea if the Blue Jays spending will help the Jays make the playoffs in 2013. Recent history tells us a good start could go a long way in helping them get there.