Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Year in Review: Ryan Goins

Oct 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins (17) reacts after striking out during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians in game four of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins (17) reacts after striking out during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians in game four of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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After finishing the 2015 season as the Blue Jays starting 2nd baseman, Ryan Goins only played in 77 big league games in 2016 and spent a good portion of the season in Triple A

Ryan Goins once looked like a potential fixture in the middle infield for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2015, he provided Gold Glove calibre defence at both second base and shortstop when called upon. He was extremely valuable filling in for the oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki, and ended up finishing the season as the starting second baseman, covering Devon Travis after he had shoulder surgery.

The Blue Jays’ brass always knew Goins could provide excellent defence, but it was also encouraging to see him take steps forward with the bat last season. He finished with a line of .250/.313/.354, five home runs, 45 RBI, and 16 doubles. Nothing to write home about necessarily, but considering he hit .188 in 181 at bats in 2014, it was a major step forward for the defensive whiz.

Unfortunately for Goins, the 2016 brought steps back in his career, both in production and in playing time. With Devon Travis on the shelf to start the season, the 28 year old didn’t exactly grab ahold of the starting job, which made the decision easy upon Travis’ return.

The Good

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Goins did end up playing in 77 games in 2016 between stints in AAA. He again showed plus defence at shortstop and second base, and even played a few games at first and in the outfield. He’s best suited as a middle infielder, but adding any defensive value to your resume is never a bad thing for a fringe big-leaguer like Goins.

He did play well in limited action in the postseason, coming on to start two games after Travis went down with a knee injury. He was one of the few Blue Jays who seemed to be seeing pitches, and hit the ball much better than his 1-for- 5 would indicate.

The Bad

After finishing so strongly in 2015, Goins had a legitimate shot to keep the starting second base job if his play warranted. Travis missed more than the first month of the season, and Goins found himself as the starter to open the year. With his plus-plus defence, hitting .250 or higher as he did in 2015 could have been considered enough to keep him in the lineup, but alas, he took a step back this season.

He finished the year hitting .186/.228/.306 with just three home runs and 12 RBI in 183 at bats. He struggled early and ended up losing playing time to Darwin Barney, who excelled when given opportunities, further hurting Goins’ case for playing time.

He didn’t fare well against righties, but made it nearly impossible to start him against southpaws, hitting just .167/.189/.194. With Barney playing well and Travis’ eventual return, the former 4th round pick spent a great deal of the season in Buffalo.

The Future

The Blue Jays have their starting middle infield set with Tulowitzki and Travis as lineup fixtures. That said, both have been injured throughout their careers and the Blue Jays know they need to have a solid replacement or two ready to go, next season and beyond.

Darwin Barney is a free agent, but it’s possible the Jays could look to bring him back after a strong 2016. The Jays also have players like Andy Burns ready to challenge for the utility position, so next season could be important for Goins’ future in Toronto.

Next: Jason Grilli's 3 million option: In context

He’ll likely have a strong shot to earn that utility job next season, but it’ll ultimately depend on who else is brought in to compete for the gig. The Texas native will have to show improvement at the plate in order to stay in the big leagues, which isn’t news to anyone, including him.

He is a hard-working and well liked player in the organization who hasn’t publicly complained about playing in the minors, which bodes well. The Jays would no doubt love to see him become a super-utility type, and will more than likely give him the chance to earn that job next season.

If he can hit, even a little bit, he’ll have a solid chance to stick in that role for 2017.

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Other  Toronto Blue Jays ‘Year in Review’ Profiles:  

Michael Saunders   Ryan Goins   Ezequiel Carrera

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