Blue Jays: Should they keep the new batting order?
By Amy Sarkany
With the Toronto Blue Jays in fourth place in the AL East and some recent tough losses making playoff chances fall away, it was only a matter of time before the Jays decided to do something to shake up the on-again off-again offence. Instead of calling up another skilled rookie like Alek Manoah, Charlie Montoyo decided to change the top of the batting order.
For most of the 2021 season, veteran Marcus Semien was hitting leadoff, followed by an aggressive Bo Bichette, All-Star MVP Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and lastly former Silver Slugger Teoscar Hernandez in the cleanup slot. This lineup proved to be pretty successful for the most part, with Semien starting to hit well after a first rough month, Bichette with the hot bat, and Guerrero continuing to lead the MLB in multiple offensive categories. For the first few months of the season, this batting order seemed strong, and I honestly couldn’t have seen it change much from this.
Things changed when George Springer returned from his injury, and the question of where to put him in the lineup became one on everyone’s minds. Since he wasn’t playing up to his franchise breaking record salary, the Jays put him in the middle of the lineup, keeping the usual top intact. With some recent struggles and losses to the Red Sox and the first game against the New York Mets in the three-game series, it was finally time for a change.
The Toronto Blue Jays have made some changes to the top of the batting lineup in the last few days, but is this change going to bring the most success?
Montoyo has now moved Springer to the leadoff spot, followed by Guerrero Jr., Semien, Bichette, and Hernandez against the Mets on July 24, and the Blue Jays have kept the switch for the following two games since.
At first, I wasn’t sure how much success Springer would have at the top of the lineup, given he was hitting .232 at the time and wasn’t living up to the hype when he was first signed. I also preferred Vladdy hitting third or fourth in the lineup, with his clear ability to knock balls out of the park. But after the last few games, I may have been proven wrong as to where these two hitters should be.
Since Springer seemed to find success hitting at the top of the lineup with his former team the Houston Astros, it makes sense for the Blue Jays to see if that’s what it would take to get his bat going. For the two games against the Mets that featured Springer hitting leadoff, he was able to compile three hits and one home run, with Vladdy getting three hits over the same two games.
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After beating the Mets on Saturday 10-3, one couldn’t help but think that maybe this would be a more reliable lineup going forward, and would get Springer to where everyone hoped he could be. However, the following day ended in a tough loss but still saw some success with this new top of the order. Semien and Bichette seem to hit well no matter where they are, so the questions really arise as to whether Springer will continue to improve in this spot and if Guerrero would be better hitting third or fourth, given his ability to hit home runs and drive in Semien and/or Bichette already on base.
It’s a small sample size, so it’s not easy to tell what will best help the Blue Jays for the rest of the season. I hope to see Springer improve, and if that means keeping him at leadoff then that’s what the club should continue to do.
However, dropping Guerrero Jr. back into the third spot may mean more runs scored for the Blue Jays.
No matter what is decided, this change in the batting order has certainly been interesting and has shown some success, so I am interested to see what the Jays have in mind as they inch closer to the end of the season, and hopefully, a playoff spot.