Blue Jays Matt Hague has earned his opportunity


The Toronto Blue Jays management made a smart move on Monday when they finally called up Matthew Hague from their Triple-A affiliate. I first saw that the move was a possibility from Bob Elliot’s tweet:

This move is well deserved and 100% overdue. Matt Hague has earned the hashtag of #MattVP by posting MVP-esque numbers. Matt leads the International League in batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.427), slugging percentage (.482), and runs batted in (83).

It is also very fitting that this move should come almost exactly year after Hague was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. It appeared like a change of scenery was what Hague needed because he hit .267 with the Pirate’s AAA team, but proceeded to hit .377 in 13 games following the move.

His 161 hits places him second behind just Jhonny Peralta (181) for the most hits by a Buffalo Bison. He has 51 multi-hit games and has provided the Herd with a consistent bat in the heart of the order all season (121GP).

Hague has a good approach at the plate (1.02 BB/K) and he has a quiet swing which produces lots of line drives (30 doubles). He starts with his hands high, but lowers his hands as he loads. He doesn’t have great bat speed but the bat stay in the zone for a long time, resulting in good contact rate (.378 BABIP).

Let’s not expect too much from Hague. Chances of him get too much playing time is slim. He has split time between 1st and 3rd, which explains why he is just now receiving a promotion. With the Jays heading out on the road to face the Phillies and couple days off between the Yankees/Phillies/Angels/Rangers series, I wouldn’t expect Hague to get too many starts. Pinch hitting duties are more likely (.394 BA versus LHP).
Hague’s 2015 stats

Whether he plays or not, this is a feel good story. I really hope that Matt gets a chance to play and make an impact down the stretch, but it is more likely that he will only be for next 10 days; however, if he can produce like Chris Colabello, minus the power, that would be fantastic.

Congratulations and good luck.

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Other Buffalo Options:
Andy Burns: Can play all infield positions, and has played 8 games in LF (6) and RF (2). Burns has split most of his time with the Bisons between 2nd (38) and 3rd (46). He’s hit .298/.357/.384 with 4 HR, 40 RBI, and 9 SB with solid plate discipline ( 32:53 BB:K).

Jon Berti: Jonny Hustle has only a hand full of games in Triple-A but his ability to play 2nd (50GP) and the OF (15 GP), coupled with his game changing speed (23-for-29 stolen bases) make him a solid bench guy. He started very slow in Double-A New Hampshire this season (.206 BA in April), but turned his season around with a .309 May. You’re not going to get much pop from Berti, but he will always give you A+ effort. He has hit .262/.345/.339 with an OPS of .684, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 23 SB, and 35:49 BB:K in 88 games between New Hampshire and Buffalo.

Next: Examining the slumping Justin Smoak