Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: What the lineup could look like without Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Sep 7, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) gets injured as he crosses first base in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) gets injured as he crosses first base in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Raimel Tapia (15) at bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Option #2- A different look

If Whit Merrifield isn’t the answer to cover for any Gurriel Jr. absence, don’t be surprised if Raimel Tapia sees his playing time increase.

It’s been an interesting first season in Toronto for Tapia, and there have been times when he’s played very well, and others when it’s a very different story. Overall on the season the former Colorado Rockie has slashed .261/.284/.365 across 329 at-bats, and hasn’t added a whole lot of power either with just five home runs.

As I said though, there have been times when he’s played quite well for the Blue Jays. For example, he hit extremely well in the month of July when he slashed .357/.368/.554 over 18 games that covered 56 at-bats. He was pretty solid in June as well when he slashed .296/.306/.507 across 71 AB.

The other appeal with Tapia is the different look that he gives the lineup, as he’s a much different hitter than most of the Blue Jay regulars, and he also hits from the left side. It’s debatable how much that matters, but my belief in the importance of lineup balance has certainly grown this year. We’ve seen more pitchers feasting on the outside corner, and I’ve heard more than one talk about how it’s easier to lock in on those spots when facing a lineup that’s dominating from one side of the plate.

Adding Tapia’s left-handed stick to the group could give them a look that is something like this:

1- Springer (CF)
2- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B)
3- Bo Bichette (SS)
4- Teoscar Hernandez (RF)
5- Alejandro Kirk (DH)
6- Cavan Biggio (2B)
7- Matt Chapman (3B)
8- Danny Jansen (C)
9- Tapia (LF)

Not much is different from the previous lineup that I presented other than swapping Merrifield and Tapia in the 9-hole, and moving Teoscar Hernandez back to his usual spot in right field.

Tapia certainly comes with his shortcomings too though, and he’s really struggled at the plate since the calendar flipped to August, slashing just .170/.200/.189 over 53 at-bats that month. Assuming he’s about to see more opportunities, Schneider and the Blue Jays have to hope they get more of the June/July version of the native of the Dominican Republic.

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