Do Blue Jays Have More Patience This Year?


Blue Jays fans may recall feelings of rage from watching the 2014 Blue Jays rely so heavily on swing and miss type of players. The frustration of watching guys like Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus whiff their way out of innings, games and, eventually, Toronto was palpable. Perhaps, it is this memory that makes this year’s Blue Jays offense look to be one of hope. In the very early goings, it would appear that there is a much more patient approach from the offense.

One of our dedicated readers (Jason) pointed out that he thinks the Blue Jays offense is showing more patience at the plate. To prove his assertion, he provided their numbers for pitches seen per at bat. Given that that was a couple days ago, I compiled their up to date numbers heading into play Tuesday.

According to, we see some good signs from the ‘regulars’ in the Blue Jays lineup. For example, we see that two Blue Jays sit in the top 10 in all of baseball in this category. I’ve created a little chart for the sake of ease.

[table id=89 /]

*It should be noted that Sporting Charts did not list Russell Martin, but our friends at MLBTR provided me with the quick info I needed. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

In looking at the chart above, one will notice that this list does not include EVERY Blue Jays hitter. But, it does show the guys who have spent regular time in the lineup and who are likely to stay there. (Sorry, Kevin Pillar). Among these hitters, we see that there has been increase in the number of pitches seen per plate appearance. All save for Jose Bautista. It would appear that he is seeing fewer pitches this season. Perhaps, it is the start of the season and he is pressing a bit; being impatient. Perhaps, he is rushing things. This may be evidenced by the big dip in his BB/K rate from last year to this. We should not raise alarm bells with this, though. It is Jose Bautista and he’ll be just fine. As well, Jose Reyes is showing a decrease in his patience. This may alarm some of us given that he is a leadoff hitter and should be seeing more pitches. But, you will note that his 2014 total is not exactly high either. Yes, it’s down, but not drastically so.

But, the rest of the line up is showing an increased amount of pitches seen. Look at Devon Travis in there! Not too shabby, huh? For years we’ve been hearing that the teams who make pitchers work and run up the count, tend to have more success. And, it makes sense. Make a pitcher throw more, you see more, you have a better chance of him making a mistake, a better chance of learning patterns, etc. There is a lot of benefit in drawing out at bats. It is part of the reason that fans don’t mind having a Munenori Kawasaki in the lineup despite his bat not having much pop behind it. He works counts. He fouls pitches off. He sees pitches. 

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The work put into those kind of at bats can lead to good things. With a better approach at the plate, the Blue Jays could be heading for more success in 2015. Right? Let’s not get too excited. According to Lance Rinker at Beyond the BoxScore, there may not exactly be a huge jump in wins or success. In April, 2013, he put together a study of pitches per plate appearance from 2002- 2012 and found that the teams that see the most pitches don’t experience an exponential increase in wins over others.  “We can see that there really isn’t any significant change in the number of wins for a team that see more pitches per plate appearance overall than a team that sees less. We can also see that teams who see more pitches per plate appearance at an average or better rate tend to be in the 90-99 win range more often than any other range, while the teams that see less than average are sticking around the 85-89 win range.”

What we can take away from this is that if the Blue Jays continue to be patient at the plate, even at an “average or better” rate, they could be looking at 90 wins. Now, there is so much else that goes into winning that this should not be taken as a direct correlation. However, it does show that this offense (at least in the early going) is in better shape than it was last year, which could pay big dividends when the Toronto Blue Jays are making a push for the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.

Next: The Hidden Value of Devon Travis