Best Blue Jays Ever: Designated Hitter


Well children, we’re coming down to the end of things. Only one position player left the ever controversial DH. Like many of the other positions this was a toughie. Not because there was a lack of good players, but because the Blue Jays have rarely employed a full time DH for any extended period of time. Usually the position is used to give young players at bats for a year or so, until a position opens up (Carlos Delgado, John Olerud), or it’s given to an older player on the last legs of his career looking for one more kick at the can (Frank Thomas, Dave Winfield). What does that all mean, well it means we have another short list. Once again the rules are:

  • We are looking at only the player’s career with the Jays
  • Must have played at least 3 full seasons in Toronto (no one-year wonders here)
  • Must have been a fairly regular player (we’ll say average of 81 games/season)
  • Historical impact with the club will be considered as well as overall statistics (it can’t just be about numbers can it?)
  • WAR will not be considered (otherwise what’s the point? I could just list them in order of WAR, and that’s no fun

3.)  Adam Lind

Career with the Jays: .273/.327/.426 2B: 196, HR: 146, RBI: 519, OPS+: 112

Once again the exercise of this series has surprised me. I had no particular problems with Lind, despite the fact he was really only one third of a player. Looking at his stats I confess I was a bit impressed, considering his complete inability to hit left-handed pitchers. It hard not to wonder how good of a player he might have been had he been able to hit lefties even at league average. Instead what we got was another case of unfulfilled potential. Like so many other Jays that have found their way onto this list Lind Suffered from terrible bouts of inconsistency and his body often betrayed him as the season wore on. That inconsistency puts Adam at number three a far distance from…

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2.)  Paul Molitor

Career with the Jays: .315/.387/.484, 2B: 98,  HR: 51, RBI: 246, SB: 54, OPS+: 128

What is there to say about Molitor? Hall of Famer, World Series MVP, 3000 hit club. He was probably one of the best players to don the blue and white. The man could rake with the best of them. When he came to Toronto he was on the downswing of his career, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he hit the ball. His first year with the Blue Jays he only hit .333 (which was 2nd in the league to teammate Olerud) hit a career high in HRs , oh and also he was 36 at the time. Not only could he hit, but he could also run in the 3 season he spent with Jays he was caught stealing only 4 times(!).  Pretty impressive for a guy approaching retirement. Paul was a solidify force in that lineup and in the clubhouse on a team that had just won the Series and had high expectations placed on them. His short stint on the team is what makes him #2 on this list, if it had been longer things might be different, instead our #1 is…

1.)  Edwin Encarnacion

Career with the Jays: .267/.351/.514, 2B: 137, HR: 158, RBI: 441 OPS+: 133

Once again we end a list with a current player sitting on top. I went into this post thinking that Molitor was a surefire lock for #1, but the more I looked at things, the more I realized that wasn’t the case. Edwin has been flat-out terrific for the Jays. He has hit, hit with power and gotten on base, plus he’s not fast but he’s a smart baserunner. He’s been an All-Star the past 2 seasons and he’s hit 30 or more HRs in 3 straight seasons. He has been a rock in the middle of the Blue Jays lineup in that time. This is especially impressive given that his start in Toronto was not so great. As a young third baseman he struggled defensively which affected his hitting which ultimately led to him being non-tendered during the 2011/2012 offseason. Fortunately Alex Anthopolous was able to resign him and the rest is history, but could you imagine if he ended up going to Oakland? That would have sucked…mostly because I hate Oakland. At any rate EE his here for at least the next couple of years and hopefully we’ll be able to see this on the World Series stage sometime soon.

Well that’s it. The hitters are all done. What does everybody think? Did I miss someone? Let me know in the comments.

Next: Fun with captions: Marcus Stroman and Russell Martin