As many of us know, the Toronto Blue Jays have lofty expectations this season. Whether it be from the odds in Vegas to the chatter around the league to the success-starved fans, everyone agrees that the Blue Jays should make the playoffs this season.
With many fair-weather fans joining the fray in Toronto, it would help to give them a little more information about the team, especially regarding the new players on the squad.
This piece will look at all of the starting offensive players and discuss their main strengths and what they bring to the Blue Jays.
Since he was in the minor leagues, J.P. Arencibia has been known as an offensive catcher. He has great raw power, and I believe will hit close to 30 home runs this season.
After the debacle on Opening Day trying to catch R.A. Dickey's knuckler, many fans have instantly soured on J.P. However, his power in the bottom half of the lineup will definitely be useful this season.
It will be interesting to see how many RBI J.P. will have this season on Brett Lawrie scoring runs. #Teamunit is still alive and well.
I kid I kid, but seriously, what does he bring?
If you have read any other articles written by yours truly, you know that I am not the biggest Adam Lind fan.
This is why: Other than his breakout 2009 season, Adam Lind's career high in WAR* (Wins Above Replacement) in a full season is 0.2.
What does that mean? It means that he brings 0.2 more wins to the Blue Jays versus an average minor league designated hitter.
Think if they had a serviceable, decent designated hitter.
If I had to comment on his biggest strength, I would say that it is his ability to get hot and streaky. He might not be consistent, but he can get you four hits or four RBI one game out of 20.
* WAR is defined as a single number that presents the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player (think AAA minor league player) would add.
Edwin Encarnacion has turned into an all-around great player for the Blue Jays. He brings power, some speed, a good eye at the plate and the ability to cash in runs.
He is a smart hitter and does not give away any at-bats. Although he was in the top five for most home runs last season, I wouldn't say his power is his biggest asset. It is the fact that he gives you exactly what you want in the four hole, a player that can get the runs home and a myriad of ways.
He provides great protection for Jose Bautista and displays all the skills that you want with runners on base.
Even so early in the season, on a new team, it is clear that Emilio Bonifacio brings much energy and excitement to the bottom of the batting order and helps keep his teammates loose.
It seems as if Jose Reyes thinks Bonifacio is hilarious, and he keeps the atmosphere quite light on and off the field.
Whether it be through all of his new handshakes with teammates or his 'Lo Viste' signal where he holds a sideways V over his eye, Bonifacio helps bring the team together.
That is his biggest strength on the Blue Jays
It could be easy to say that Jose Reyes' speed is his biggest strength, but I don't buy that. It is the infectious energy and love for the game that makes him such a household name.
Reyes has started the season off strong, yet any new Blue Jay fan could tell you that the Dominican loves to smile, loves to enjoy himself on the field, on the basepaths or in the batters box.
Reyes can ignite a team with a stolen base, a great play at shortstop or a double play, but it is his ear-to-ear smile that, at the end of the day, is what makes Reyes, Reyes.
If you asked anyone in baseball, "Who is Brett Lawrie?" the answer would be unanimous.
"He is this crazy Canadian that plays with such energy, enthusiasm and drive that he will put his own life on the line to make a play."
Clearly not verbatim, but you get the point.
The first thing people would mention is not necessarily his skill (which is plentiful) but the way he plays the game. This has got him into trouble in the past, but he is who he is, and as he learns to harness this love for the game and translate it into multiple outstanding offensive and defensive plays, he will be known not only as an All-Star, but as a great overall player.
Melky Cabrera is the prototypical No. 2 in the batting lineup.
Melky sees a lot of pitches, which is exactly what you want in your two hole. In his last full season he narrowly missed a 100-run, .300-plus, 20/20 season (he was two home runs short).
Having such a dynamic contact switch hitter following one of the best leadoff men in the league gives the Blue Jays an excellent 1-2 punch that they have not seen since the likes of Devon White and Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar.
What is a five-tool player? A five-tool player is a rare commodity in the MLB but is defined as a player who has above-average speed, arm, fielding and the ability to hit for both power and average.
Colby Rasmus has always been known to be a five-tool talent, and although his batting average has never really come around, he is still a well-rounded center fielder.
Therefore, Rasmus' biggest strength is his all-around offensive and defensive game.
The team revolved around Jose Bautista offensively. It was no surprise that Bautista was out of the lineup when the Jays offence was struggling (see: Boston 13, Toronto 0).
He is the anchor of the offense and the undisputed leader of the Toronto Blue Jays.
He has shown in many different formats the desire to help his teammates improve both in game and in practice. As someone who is known to have a great eye at the plate (K/BB from 2010-2013 : 292/293) he always shares the information he is seeing once he returns to the dugout.
Bautista is the most feared hitter on the Blue Jays (although guys like Reyes and Encarnacion make it very close) and helps set the table for the rest of the batting order, as he has the most home runs in the entire MLB over the past three seasons, even while missing over 70 games last season.
Thank you for the read.
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