Haven’t Toronto Blue Jays fans learned anything from following this team year in and year out? This franchise continuously underachieves regardless of the amount of talent on their roster annually. I’ve heard rumblings recently that this is Toronto’s year after their 15-7 start, which has them alone in first in the AL East and one game ahead of the surging Boston Red Sox. I’ve even heard of comparisons to last year’s Tampa Bay Rays club. Let me put an end to that right now and tell you why this year will be no different than years past.
The first thing you have to look at is the history of this franchise. Not since 1993 have the Blue Jays won the American League East division. In fact, they’ve only been crowned the Eastern division champion five total times since the division’s inception in 1969.
Looking at recent seasons, the Jays have been off to promising starts before only to squander them quickly enough. In 2008, Toronto went 4-2 against the dominant powers of Boston and New York to start the season, even taking two out of three from the defending champion Red Sox. They finished that promising start to April by losing eight out of their final nine games of the month to sit at 11-17.
Then there was 2003, when they started 5-2, which included a five-game winning streak. How did they follow that up? By losing 12 out of their next 14 games.
Now, you have to compare what they’ve done this season in getting to 15-7 with the schedule that they’ve played. The Blue Jays have yet to face an AL East opponent, no doubt the toughest division in baseball (featuring the hottest team in the Red Sox). To this point, Toronto has played series against Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago (White Sox), Minnesota, Oakland, and Kansas City. The combined record of these six teams is 56-64.
The only team they have faced that has a winning record is the Detroit Tigers, and they are only 11-10. The Jays have faced two out of the three last place teams in the American League divisions in the Indians and Athletics, picking up four of their 15 wins against those two teams.
Now let’s look at what the individual players have accomplished thus far.
Hill has easily been Toronto’s biggest offensive threat so far, batting .371 with five home runs and 20 RBI in his 22 games played. What’s the problem with this? Well, Hill is a career .289 hitter, never having hit any higher than .291. He has also never finished with more than 17 home runs or 78 RBI.
In his previous four Major League seasons, he has averaged only seven home runs and 47 RBI. In other words, if you think his play will continue, you’re insane.
This guy is hitting .351 in his 13 games played. Big contributions from a player who has a career average of .242. He’s already struck out 10 times in his 37 AB, meaning he strikes out nearly once every three at-bats. In other words, don’t expect him to continue to get on base at the .429 pace he’s on now, especially since his career OBP is .327. Another player clearly overachieving.