Blue Jays: Combining generations for an All-Time lineup
The Bottom Three
7- Vernon Wells (CF)- 2006
.303/.357/.542, 32 HR, 106 RBI, 40 doubles, 17 SB, 6.2 bWAR
I could have easily gone with Vernon Wells’ 2003 season as well, but his 6.2 bWAR season in 2006 wins out for me. It also wasn’t easy to take Wells over someone like Devon White, but his well-rounded game was too much to pass up on.
I feel like Wells is a player that doesn’t always get the credit he deserves for what he accomplished as a Blue Jay, and it all comes back to the seven-year, 126 million dollar contract he signed in 2006. He wasn’t able to keep up the type of 5-tool production that had earned him that massive deal in the first place, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t an incredibly talented player at his peak.
8- Tony Fernandez (SS)- 1987
.322/.379/.426, 5 HR, 67 RBI. 29 doubles, 32 SB, 5.1 bWAR
The late Tony Fernandez is still the best Blue Jays shortstop to ever put on the uniform, even if Bo Bichette looks like he could have the potential to take that title from him someday.
Fernandez ended up making four stops in Toronto throughout his career, but it was in 1987 when he was at his best as a 25-year-old. The slap-hitting switch-hitter was never a power threat, but his smooth defence, ability to hit for average, and his threat on the base paths were a big reason for the success of those 80’s Blue Jays teams, and even the repeat champ in ’93.
9- Russell Martin (C)- 2015
.240/.329/.458, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 23 doubles, 3.2 bWAR
If I’m being fair, Ernie Whitt had a better single season bWAR mark of 3.4 in 1983, but I decided to go with Martin here. Call that the recency bias if you like, but I felt like Martin’s numbers were slightly better even with the bWAR difference, so I’ll give the Canuck receiver the edge here by the slightest of margins.
In my mind, the biggest difference than Martin made was with the pitching staff. His veteran presence, game-calling abilities, and defensive gifts were enough to help move the needle for many young pitchers in Toronto in 2015, and I don’t think they could have made the postseason without him.