Blue Jays: Good, Bad, and Ugly- Ryan Goins
Jays Journal takes a look back at 2017, and the good, bad, and the ugly of each individual performance from the roster. We switch focus to the exposed middle infield that featured the light-hitting Ryan Goins.
Ryan Goins has been with the Toronto Blue Jays since 2013 and has never come close to a league average 100 wRC+ with the bat but has consistently brought a flashy glove which has kept him around for as long as he has been.
Goins best season as a Blue Jay came in 2015 when he was the primary 2nd baseman following the injury to Devon Travis. In 2015, he set a career high with an 85 wRC+ and a 1.5 fWAR. He also got on base at a semi-decent clip of .318 and a batting average of .250.
Goins 2015 had some optimism that he could maybe be a semi-productive middle infielder but he hasn’t come close to that. It’s been tough sledding for Goins the past two years with the bat but he has developed a very supportive cult following over the past few seasons primarily due to his glove. Let’s look at the Good, Bad, and Ugly from 2017.
One of the few good things we saw from Ryan Goins in 2017 was his ability to seemingly come up clutch when hitting with runners in scoring position. He hit .333/.372/.545 with 5 of his 9 home runs, and 55 of his 62 RBI with runners in scoring position. It was a very welcome contribution from Goins on a team that did not hit well with runners in scoring position.
His ability to come up big like that was a big reason why people are very quick to defend Goins when it comes to his roster spot. With Darwin Barney being a free agent this off-season and the Blue Jays need to have a productive middle infielder on a consistent basis with the bat, it will be interesting to see what Goins role is going into 2018. More on that later.
The Bad & The Ugly
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There was a lot bad and ugly with Ryan Goins in 2017 and that’s why there are some who really would like to see him not back with the team in 2018. For that reason, I’m combining the two sections into one as it’s all pretty bad and ugly.
Let’s start with how he fared offensively. He hit .237/.286/.356 with 9 home runs, 62 RBI, 69 wRC+, and .278 wOBA. Not very pretty.
He also struck out 20.9 K% and walked 6.8% of the time. For his career, Goins gets on-base at a .275 clip and a 63 wRC+. He just isn’t good offensively despite his surprising ability to come up big with runners in scoring position.
When you look at Goins calling card which is his glove, he wasn’t overly impressive with the glove despite having some pretty web gems mixed in throughout the season. He committed 4 errors on the season along with -2 DRS (defensive runs saved) at 2nd base and -5 at shortstop. His UZR/150 at shortstop was -9.8 and 1.7 at 2nd base.
He really wasn’t that great defensively despite his reputation as being a great fielding middle infielder. It was a disappointing 2017 for Goins with the glove and that isn’t a winning recipe for a guy who needs his glove to be at the top of his game to be on a major league roster with his inability to hit.
Entering his 5th season with the Blue Jays, it’s safe to say we know what to expect from Ryan Goins year in and year out. He isn’t going to hit much at all. 2015 was an outlier with the bat and that’s too bad, because in a pinch, what he gave in 2015 could play with his glove.
The Blue Jays front office identified rather quickly this off-season that middle infield depth is a priority given the injury history and age of Troy Tulowitzki and uncertainty injury wise from Devon Travis. Darwin Barney is not likely to be back which does help Goins case heading into 2018.
If the Blue Jays are able to add two middle infielders who can hit as well as play some decent defense, Goins roster spot could be in jeopardy. However, given the love of Ryan Goins from his teammates and manager John Gibbons, I do expect Goins to be one of two middle infielders to open the season behind Tulowitzki and Travis. The ability Goins showed to hit with RISP will likely also play to his advantage when the Blue Jays fill their roster for 2018 this off-season.
I would expect Goins to be better in 2018 with the glove and likely around the same with the bat but definitely, not at the level, he was with RISP this past season. Goins was a -0.3 fWAR player in 2017 and if his glove bounces back, he could be right at or slightly above replacement level.
Next: Blue Jays: Good, Bad, and Ugly- Aaron Loup
If the Blue Jays can find two clear upgrades this off-season, I’d be fine with Ryan Goins not being back in 2018. I don’t think that will be the case. Ryan Goins will open the 2018 season as the 25th man on the roster.