Toronto Blue Jays: The Cito Gaston Referendum, Part One
I am an unabashed Cito Gaston fan; he can do no wrong in my eyes.
Every day I wake up hoping he has finally inked a deal for making books on tape. I would pay an insane amount of money for Cito to guide me through the pages of any literary classic.
Hello, I'm Cito Gaston and welcome to the novelization of Die Hard 2.
Chapter one. John McLane was waiting outside the airport for his wife Holly. John left his car and stepped into the airport, reminiscent to Joe Carter entering the batter's box in Game 6. Joe sent that ball flying! Yippee Kiyay Mitch Williams!
I'm listening already.
Yet, in a season that's been subpar, fans must have a nagging suspicion about Gaston's complicity. Cito's softspokeness could be mistaken for a lack of interest, and frankly he's not giving us a whole lot of reassurance.
So, is Cito Gaston the man for the job? Welcome to part one of my two part series on the very topic! It's going to be edutaining!
And at the end of it all I'll, throw in a poll to gauge your opinion; because it's all about you, you selfish bast-er, intelligent, good-looking, fans.
Let's tackle the offence first.
The Jays are averaging 4.84 runs a game, exactly the AL average. For a sub-.500 team it explains a lot of the losses. How much of that is on Cito?
Toronto is hitting .269, which isn't exactly jaw-dropping. But the Jays have seen career seasons from Marco Scutaro, Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind. They've clearly blossomed under Gaston's tutelage.
Meanwhile Vernon Wells has struggled and the remaining Blue Jays batters haven't exactly been inspiring. It's a mixed blessing that does reflect on Cito Gaston, but the same can also be said for J.P. Ricciardi who stocks Cito's cupboard.
The average age for the Blue Jays is 30.2. Aside from Hill, Wells, and Lind, all other batters have played for other teams. These outside players are past the developmental stage, they are at the "Produce now or fall forever" stage.
All Cito can do is pass his sage wisdom on to these vets. Whether they respond to it is their prerogative. The only thing Cito can do is try. His success and failure here must be taken with a grain of salt as it is one thing to manage, but a completely different thing for a player to play up to their expectations.
Still, surely Mr. Gaston should be doing more to score more runs. Well, what more would you like him to do?
On the base paths. the Jays have had 1727 (most in the AL) base stealing opportunities with only 58 swipes, which is 22 less than average. Maybe Cito should be putting a little more pressure on opposing pitchers.
What legitimate threat do the Jays actually have on the base paths though? Alex Rios was the only other real threat not named Vernon Wells; Wells and Rios have 33 of the 58 Blue Jays steals.
Also, the Jays have the second-highest fly ball rate in the major leagues at 41.8 percent. Hitting that many fly balls really handcuffs a team trying to run. You could argue that Cito knows his team well enough not to pry.
The Jays haven't exactly been putting themselves in a position to succeed either. Only 42 percent of the time have they had an advantageous lefty-righty pitcher-hitter matchup, the lowest in the AL.
Of course this could be because of the options available to Gaston. The Jays currently have only three left-handed hitters and no switch-hitters at all. He's not exactly flushed for choices.
In one run games, the Jays are only 14-21, and 5-11 when in extra innings. Those are the games when a manager really matters.
Is Cito crumbling under pressure?
Offensively, all Gaston can do is sit back and let his hitters bat or pinch hit someone. It's not exactly Cito's style to switch things up, and like I said above he doesn't have a glut of matchup options.
But when Hi-C does make a move it is always in the most necessary situations. The Jays pinch hitters are always put into the highest of pressure moments with a 3.02 average on the pinch hitting leverage index.
When 1.00 is the standard that means these Jays are thrown in there in some very high pressure situations. Either it's absolutely necessary or it's far too late.
Toronto's Pythagorean Win-Loss record (which calculates their runs scored vs. runs allowed) is 60-53. They've had their share of bad luck that needs to be accounted for.
This concludes our offensive portion of the tour. Please don't forget to tip your guide while waiting for part two.
Is Cito Gaston a good manager? Do the Toronto Blue Jays need to keep him around? Will Geoff Zochodne get a life? Is Roy Halladay a cyborg? Does J.P. Ricciardi have a soul?
All these answers and more on the next edition of, "The Cito Gaston Referendum". Only on Bleacher Report, the champagne of sports punditry!
(All stats, however obscure, provided by baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com)
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