Toronto Blue Jays News

Ranking the 10 greatest infielders in Blue Jays history

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammate Edwin Encarnacion #10 after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammate Edwin Encarnacion #10 after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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OAKLAND, CA – 1990: Kelly Gruber (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

8. Kelly Gruber

One of the top Rule 5 picks in Blue Jays history was infielder Kelly Gruber. In his nine seasons playing for the Jays, he slashed .259/.307/.431 with 114 home runs and 443 RBI. The Indians originally selected Gruber tenth overall in 1980 but the Blue Jays picked him up in the 1983 Rule 5 Draft. He played in just 15 games that season and made only 16 plate appearances.

The following season saw Gruber only suit up in five games with the club. He didn’t really have a full-time role until the 1987 season. He didn’t impress very much posting a .682 OPS in 135 games but did enough to earn a full-time role the following season.

In 1988, he finally took a full hold on the third base job. He posted a 113 WRC+ and hit 16 home runs. He also had the best defensive season of his career. His 2.1 dWAR was fourth in the American League that season, and the best amongst third basemen.

The 1990 campaign was when Gruber really came into his own offensively. He slashed .274/.330/.512 with 31 home runs and 118 RBI. He made the All-Star team again, won the Gold Glove Award, and took home a SIlver Slugger as well. He ended up finishing fourth in the American League MVP balloting. The 130 WRC+ he posted was the highest in his career by far and was twelfth in the American League. It was the second-highest amongst third basemen.

Unfortunately, the seasons that followed were plagued by injury and his production dipped as a result. He was traded to the Angels after the 1992 season. At least he ended his time in Toronto with a well-deserved World Series ring.

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