Jose Reyes, Shortstop
2014 Stats: 23 GP, .215/.288/.409, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 20 R, 5 SB
Reyes has had a tough start to his year. He suffered a hamstring injury during the very first game of the season and ended up on the 15-day DL.
The 30-year-old’s numbers since his return haven’t been very impressive and are below his career-norms. This likely suggests that his timing is still off because of the long layoff.
The good news is that Reyes’ hamstrings appear to fine and his speed is back. He’s looked good running the bases and already has five steals in five attempts.
While Reyes has definitely had a slow start, his career numbers suggest that he’s due for a breakout soon. Staying healthy for the rest of the season will be the biggest challenge for him.
Edwin Encarnacion, First Baseman
2014 stats: 40 GP, .245/.328/.465, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 22 R, 2 SB
Encarnacion had a slow start to the season by his standards, but has been picking it up as of late.
While it took the 31-year-old first baseman 20 games to hit his first home run of the season, it only took 20 more games after that to hit his next five dingers.
Encarnacion is also second on the team in runs batted in and third in runs scored.
Following an especially hot stretch last week where he hit .321 with four home runs and 10 ribbies, MLB awarded him the AL Player of the Week honors.
Brett Lawrie, Third/Second Baseman
2014 stats: 33 GP, .234/.289/.427, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 15 R
Lawrie has had an up-and-down season with the bat up to this point.
Like his batting average suggests, he’s had problems getting hits at a consistent basis. He also only has nine walks in 124 at-bats, which leads to the low on-base percentage.
Lawrie’s biggest problem is his tendency to be over-aggressive and swing at pitches out of the zone rather than being patient.
That over-aggressiveness has led to a spike in his power numbers, though. The 24-year-old is third on the team in both home runs and runs batted in.
While Lawrie’s offense has been inconsistent, his defense at third base has once again been top-notch. Despite that, the team has recently opted to shift him to second base in order to open up a spot for Juan Francisco in the lineup.
Adam Lind, Designated Hitter/First Baseman
2014 Stats: 19 GP, .308/.429/.519, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 11 R
Lind is another player on the team who has been bothered by injuries. A strained back cost him a trip to the 15-day DL earlier this season.
When healthy, the 30-year-old has been a steady hitter in the lineup. He’s been patient and has developed a reputation for taking a lot of pitches during his at-bats.
Although the Blue Jays would love to see a little bit more power from a middle-of-the-order bat like Lind, it’s hard to fault a guy hitting .300 and getting on base at such a high clip.
Juan Francisco, Third Baseman/Designated Hitter
2014 Stats: 22 GP, .293/.386/.600, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 15 R
Francisco has arguably been the biggest surprise for the Blue Jays this season.
After being called up from Triple-A Buffalo following the aforementioned injury to Lind, Francisco has quickly become a productive hitter in Toronto’s lineup.
The 26-year-old has displayed enormous power and has hit some tape-measure home runs.
Strikeouts are a bit of a concern for Francisco, as the left-handed hitter has struck out 29 times in 75 at-bats. But, as long as he keeps producing at this rate, he should have no problem getting regular playing time.
The Blue Jays are so enamored with Francisco that they chose to move him to third base rather than take him out of the lineup once Lind returned.
Dioner Navarro, Catcher/Designated Hitter
2014 Stats: 33 GP, .276/.312/.336, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 13 R
After signing a two-year contract with the Blue Jays this past offseason, Navarro has looked decent so far.
While he doesn’t exactly have great speed or defensive prowess, the 30-year-old has hit well for a catcher. His batting average ranks third on the team (out of all the players who have had a minimum of 100 at-bats).
Navarro has also developed a reputation among Toronto’s pitching staff for being a good game-caller.
The Blue Jays will certainly take whatever they get from Navarro considering that they arguably had the worst catcher in the major leagues last season in J.P. Arencibia.