Blue Jays Spring Training Notes & Numbers
Mar 17, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis (77) hits an RBI single during the second inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
There are two weeks to go before the Blue Jays Spring Training games end and the club starts to play games for real. The season opens up on April 6 at Yankee Stadium and before that happens, there are still some questions that need to be answered. Let’s take a look at what is happening to answer them.
Devon Travis is Convincing
When we heard that the 24 year old infielder had been traded for Anthony Gose, there was a mixed bag of reactions. Many were excited that the Blue Jays had acquired such a high level talent. Others were skeptical that he would impact the big league team immediately since he’d never played above AA in the Tigers system. And, with others in the mix for the job at second base, his future looked to be in AAA Buffalo.
Toronto Blue Jays
His spring didn’t exactly start out indicating otherwise. He got off to a rough start. And, when we spoke to him he was just happy to be there. Now, though? It looks like a different story is emerging. Travis has received the 2nd most at bats of anyone this spring with 36. While this may not be a lot, it is in the context of Spring Training. In total, he’s slashing .361/.410/.500 with 5 doubles and 6 RBI. As well, he’s impressing with his glove as well. With varying injuries to Ramon Santiago (collar bone) and Maicer Izturis (groin), Travis’ play is highlighted even more. Of course, some will point to Ryan Goins, but his time has mostly been at short stop. So, Travis may very well be the lats man standing.
Dalton Pompey is the Man
The only player getting more time than Devon Travis is Dalton Pompey. The Blue Jays are giving both youngsters every opportunity to shine. And, like Travis, Pompey is. In 37 at bats, he’s hitting .324/.342/.459 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 3 stolen bases. Now, he does have 9 K in that time, which is something he’ll need to work on. But, like Travis, Pompey is outperforming the competition for his CF job as well as stating healthy. That combination makes for a clear path north with the team.
The Injury Bug is Thriving
Every team in every season has to deal with injuries. We know this. But, watching the Blue Jays reporting rather significant injuries so often and early is worrisome. Losing Marcus Stroman for the entire 2015 season is a massive gut punch for this team. Many felt that he would take huge strides this season. Instead this club will have to push Daniel Norris and Aaronr Sanchez into starting roles whether they’re quite ready or not.
A broken collar bone for Ramon Santiago, a wonky oblique for Kevin Pillar (Bless you!), a groin for Maicer Izturis, shoulder inflammation for Brett Cecil, back inflammation for Edwin Encarnacion all add up to various degrees of anxiety among Blue Jays fans.
While Pillar will be back playing, Santiago and Izturis open a spot (as stated above). Cecil threw in a minor league game already and is working his way back. Norris and Sanchez are showing signs of being ready, but raw. Ideally, they’d have the luxury of growing without the pressure of performing at the big league level. But, as it stands right now, they’ll have to learn and grow at the highest level of competition. They’ll have ups and downs, but should be fine.
The one question mark that lingers is the health of Edwin Encarnacion. His back has limited him to just 6 at bats all spring. Now, Spring Training is a short period of time for guys to get their timing etc down, but it certainly is not a huge amount of time. Having said that, EE is missing out on that time. Will his bat be ready for Opening Day? Can it be with such little time? What if it isn’t? He’ll have to DH. That begs the question of who will play 1st. Both Daric Barton and Justin Smoak have started playing better lately and are creating some more options for that scenario.
Next: Notes and Numbers for Blue Jays Pitchers