Blue Jays 2018: The negatives so far this season

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Marcus Stroman
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Marcus Stroman /

It’s almost been a month so far and the Blue Jays have a very decent 14-8 record. There’s an abundance of positives of course, but what about the negatives?

The Blue Jays are currently fourth in runs scored, sixth in earned run average, and fifth in fielding percentage. That reflects the team’s record as they’re doing well in the three main aspects of the game. However, there are also a few negatives in the first month of this enjoyable 2018 season.

A dodgy rotation

The starting rotation has a 5.13 ERA which ranks 12th in the American League. That elevated earned run average is quite inflated due to Marcus Stroman’s early season struggles for sure, however starters haven’t gone very deep into games so far this season. They have averaged 5.6 innings per start, which isn’t a terrible number, but the only starter who has averaged six innings or more per start is Aaron Sanchez.

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Overall the rotation has not been horrible, but considering it is suppose to be the main strength of this 2018 Blue Jays team, better results are expected from it. The team has been carried by great offensive production so far, and a terrific bullpen which ranks 1st in the American League so far. Therefore, if the rotation manages to be as good as expected by perhaps pitching deeper into the games, and the ace of the rotation who is supposed to be Marcus Stroman starts to get locked in, the Blue Jays could be even better.

Randal Grichuk and Devon Travis

Both Randal Grichuk and Devon Travis have been struggling obstreperously. Grichuk was acquired to take over the duties in right field every day for the Blue Jays and his performances in the outfield have been great, he has looked very comfortable with the glove. However, it’s obvious he hasn’t done, yet, what is expected from him. The same goes for second baseman Devon Travis who hasn’t found his way yet this season with a mere .130 average. However, the 27 year old started the same way in the first month of last season and then took off in the month of May. A demotion to Triple A for Devon Travis might very well benefit him to get things going, something that was discussed in ‘Blue Jays’ Devon Travis may benefit from demotion’ by our own Clayton Richer.

The ‘dead’ arm and Josh Donaldson

This topic has been quite a dilemma so far this season. Many still don’t really understand the issue with Josh Donaldson’s ‘dead’ arm. It was obvious that the arm wasn’t fine right from the first play he made at third base in the opening game against the Yankees back on the 27th of March. According to manager John Gibbons it wasn’t anything serious at first, however, after playing as the DH for a number of games and then getting back into action at the hot corner, the famous ‘dead’ arm was still affecting ‘The Bringer of Rain’. The 2015 American League MVP has been on the disabled list since the 13th of April (Retroactive to April 11th) and the comeback date is still uncertain. It’s an obvious statement that this team needs its best player to have sustainable success.

Troy Tulowitzki, who is he?

Veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hasn’t played since July 2017 and his return to the field is still unknown. His presence hasn’t really been missed this campaign with a fine Aledmys Diaz as the everyday shortstop, however, even though Tulowitzki hasn’t been the real ‘Tulo’ in Toronto, his presence on the field can certainly help a team. On top of that, he’s earning $20 million in 2018, it’s just simply not good to have 12.5 % of the payroll on the disabled list for almost, once again, the entire season.

If Randal Grichuk and Devon Travis find their way and start producing like they can, with better performances from the rotation, and a healthy Josh Donaldson, the probabilities of this Blue Jays team contending not only for a wild card but a division title, will increase significantly. They’ve showed so far that they can compete with playoff teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Indians, reflected by their 5-5 record against them this season.

Next: We should be giving J.A. Happ more credit