Incredible stat proves Davis Schneider needs to play every day for the Blue Jays

“Put your best players out there, like Schneider, on a nightly basis and reap the rewards.”
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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It used to be a healthy George Springer that helped drive big winning streaks for the Blue Jays in recent years, but that mantle of chief “straw stirrer” may have been passed to the much younger - and mustachioed - Davis “Babe” Schneider.

Now in his second MLB season at age 25, Schneider’s OPS of .837 ranks third on the Jays behind Justin Turner (1.026) and Cavan Biggio (.841). He’s tied with Alejandro Kirk for the team lead in RBI with 7, and all of that has come in only 24 plate appearances through Toronto’s first 13 games of the season.

For fans who still count things like runs, RBI, and wins and losses, you may have noticed an interesting factoid just a few weeks into the new season: the Toronto Blue Jays are 5-0 in the games that Davis Schneider has been in the starting lineup, and 2-0 when he’s played the entire game. They’re 1-7 in games when he starts on the bench.

Just coincidence, or is there something to this? Well, all five of Schneider’s starts have come in left field, which means Daulton Varsho usually slides over to centerfield in those games and Kevin Kiermaier (only 3 hits in 34 plate appearances, with an OPS+ of -18) moves to the bench.

That configuration seems to be a more productive lineup, as the Jays have scored 24 runs against only 8 runs allowed when Schneider starts, for a run differential of +16. In games when he doesn’t start, the Blue Jays have been outscored 56-23, for a run differential of -33.

Sure, analytics may point to Kiermaier’s total defensive runs saved above average (DRS) of +3 already this season, but the fact is the team is 3-7 when he starts games. Schneider’s two out, 2-run walkoff home run off Houston Astros closer Josh Hader in a 2-1 win on April 2nd might have been another exclamation point - it came the day after the Blue Jays were no-hit by former car wash attendant Ronel Blanco.

As Jays Journal editor Eric Treuden wrote after those 9th inning heroics in Houston, “Putting Schneider, 25, into the every day lineup… feels like the obvious choice here... Put your best players out there, like Schneider, on a nightly basis and reap the rewards.”