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Blue Jays 2015 Year in Review: Ezequiel Carrera

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In 2015, the Blue Jays Ezequiel Carrera would enjoy the best season of his career at the Major League level. The Venezuelan-born outfielder got his start in professional baseball as a free agent with the New York Mets in 2005. Carrera wouldn’t play in the minors until 2007, starting in the Gulf Coast League posting impressive numbers at the plate.

In 2008 Carrera would be involved in a twelve player trade sending him to the Seattle Mariners. Carrera’s speed on the bath paths and great contact at the leadoff spot would impress minor league scouts, becoming a Double A All-Star in 2009 after batting .337 and stealing 27 bases. Even though Carrera would post solid numbers at Double-A, he wouldn’t make his Major League debut until 2011 when he was playing with the Cleveland Indians.

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Carrera would continue to develop in the Minors, but still, he would end up being involved in a constant cycle of being claimed off waivers one day, then designated for assignment days later. In 2014, where Ezequiel would sign a one year Minor League deal with the Detroit Tigers, he would continue to prove his worth as a reserve outfielder.

Carrera would get to play in forty-five major league games that season, showing signs of major improvements on the defensive end playing in centre field. When Carrera wasn’t playing in the Majors in 2013, he would continue to post great numbers in Triple-A, hitting .307, while stealing 43 bases in 97 games.

Carrera would be granted free agency at the end of the 2014 season, signing a one year Minor League deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Entering the 2015 season, the Blue Jays would seem to have a ton of organizational depth in the outfield (Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders, Kevin Pillar, and Dalton Pompey) it would be tough to see Carrera cracking the Major League roster at any time during the season. With an injury Saunders, however, and Pompey not being ready for the Major League limelight, Carrera would get his chance to play left field in the Majors. By season’s end, he would play in a career high ninety-one major league games, batting .273/.321/.372.

The Good:

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Carrera has proven throughout his career that, no matter where he goes or which level he is playing at, he is capable of staying afloat in the offensive game. This season was no different, posting Major League Career highs in home runs, runs batted in, average, and runs.

Unfortunately Carrera doesn’t hit for as much power as someone like Chris Colabello might, which led to the Blue Jays experimenting with him in left field this past season. The problem really lies within the defense, and the premium position Carrera plays.

The Bad:

Although he would make some highlight plays throughout the season, Carrera continues to be a subpar defender. With a 2015 UZR of -4.3, committing two errors in forty-seven balls hit into his zone, he continues to be a liability on defense. This has been the label on Carrera for quite some time, and while showing decent speed on the base paths it’s hard to figure out why Carrera seems to struggle in the field.

Is Carrera’s defense getting worse though? One of Carrera’s biggest upsides entering the league was his speed on the bases. Every time Ezequiel get his chance in the Majors, it seems like his ability on the base paths continues to go underutilized. Stealing two bases this year in only three attempts, maybe the regression of his base stealing attempts is a reflection of his defense?

Next: Prospect Jon Berti joins Jays Journal for a chat!

The Future:

Carrera’s biggest problem entering next season is the same problem he faced last season – too much organizational depth in the outfield. Spring Training will show what happens to Carrera, if he is able to stay on the forty man roster. With Ben Revere still in the mix as well, it’s tough to see Carrera’s ceiling not much more than a pinch hitting/running bench guy waiting in Buffalo. For now, Carrera will still be seen as a AAAA player.

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