Blue Jays: Trying to tactfully sum up the first half of the 2018 season
Because I don’t like being negative all the time, I figured I’d start with taking a look at a few of the things have gone right for the Blue Jays so far this year. While there is a lot to be frustrated about, there are a few things the organization can celebrate ever so quietly.
Minor League system
While it doesn’t help the big league Blue Jays right now, the future is definitely bright for the team when it comes to their minor league depth. We’ve seen a few pieces start to emerge at the highest level this year, including guys like Teoscar Hernandez finally sticking, others like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and fine performances from starting pitchers Ryan Borucki, and Sam Gaviglio. While neither is projected to be an ace, both arms have been nice contributors and could be a part of the future rotation.
Of course, there are also big names waiting in the wings like the one man wrecking crew that has been Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He’s got plenty of company as well, as guys like Bo Bichette, Kevin Smith, Cavan Biggio, Danny Jansen, and many more have been making big developments on both sides of the ball, and impressing scouts everywhere. Several pitchers have taken big steps forward this year too, including upper level arms like Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano, T.J. Zeuch, and more.
I know, it sounds ridiculous that I’m suggesting that there has been anything good to celebrate about the health of this team. It’s been a busy season on the disabled list for the Blue Jays, with many of the top players on the team missing significant time. However, there is one player who has been noticeably absent from the list: Devon Travis.
I realize he was demoted to Buffalo in order to get his bat going, but he’s been much better since returning to John Gibbons‘ disposal in the lineup. He recovered from another horrific start to push his average to .242/.295/.392, and has been heating up more recently as well, hitting .333 over the last two weeks before the All-Star break, and .400 over the most recent week.
Other than those two things, you’re looking at more minor celebrations, which doesn’t say a lot for how this season has gone. J.A. Happ has been quietly excellent for a struggling rotation, and represents the best trade piece at Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins’ disposal. There are others like Devon Travis who have recovered from slow starts such as Randal Grichuk, and even Kendrys Morales, both of whom could have been close to being DFA’d earlier in the year because of their struggles.
The bullpen has also had some minor successes like Seunghwan Oh and Tyler Clippard, which could be flipped into a few extra trade pieces this month for the front office as well. The team has also received decent value from the likes of Curtis Granderson, and Yangervis Solarte as well, both of whom were brought in last winter.
Beyond that, it’s hard to find a lot to celebrate. That’s how she goes when you’re sitting 14 games out of a playoff spot at the All-Star break.