Alex Gonzalez's recent temporary departure from the team has highlighted the Blue Jays lack of a useful backup middle infielder. Gonzalez and second baseman Aaron Hill have been healthy as of late and there hasn't been much playing time for the backup infielders. But Hill continues to struggle and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion has been scuffing since returning from injury.
Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, the options off the bench, John McDonald and Mike McCoy, have struggled to produce in limited playing time. McCoy is hitting .184 with an isolated power of .061. His walk rate, 7.5 percent of plate appearances, has been his only useful offensive contribution. His defense has been good, his UZR is 5.3, albeit in too small a sample size to come to any meaningful conclusions.
McDonald has also been above average defensively, as would be expected. But he's also been more useful at the plate than McCoy hitting .250 with a .159 ISO. Despite his inability to draw walks his .267 OBP beats McCoy's .245.
In all the two players are essentially filling the same role of a no-hit, defensive specialist. Which is all fine and good, except for the fact that the Blue Jays don't need two of them to fill the same role. The fact that McCoy has 53 plate appearances and McDonald just 47 also indicates the redundancy of having the two of them on the roster. McDonald has shown to be the better hitter in limited playing time and is at least just as good defensively as McCoy. That leaves McCoy as the odd man out.
The man to take his place is twenty-seven year old Jarrett Hoffpauir. He whom currently leads the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s in batting runs above average at 12.5. A look to his more traditional stats shows him hitting .332 with a .385 OBP while drawing 19 walks to just 11 strikeouts in 219 trips to the plate. He's also popped eight homers and collected a dozen doubles.
According to minorleaguesplits.com his numbers would translate to a .262/.307/.396 batting line in the majors. Not incredible numbers but clearly more useful to the Jays than what McCoy and McDonald have done to date. His career line across 332 Triple-A games is .293/.366/.446 across four seasons. Hoffpauir has never been given a real chance to prove himself in the majors.
Defensively, he's not great and probably below average but he does have the versatility to play second, third and a little shortstop as well. It would be a waste to call him up and use him as little as McCoy has been. But Cito Gaston could certainly work him in two or three times a week across the three positions and find out if Hoffpauir can be a useful player in a utility role. And with basically no MLB service time, a cheap utility option at that.
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