Toronto Blue Jays Infield Depth Chart: The New Look for 2011
At the end of the 2010 season, the Blue Jays have seen many of their players depart through free agency, yet not that many players have been added from outside the organization to fill out the roster.
This suggests that many of the openings are being filled internally, through prospects or position changes.
Alex Anthopoulos has worked tirelessly in his time with the Blue Jays to fill the system with high-end prospects, but many of them aren't ready yet.
You will see them starting to fill out the lineup over the next few years, players such as Travis D'Arnaud, Brett Lawrie and Zach Stewart.
In the meantime, players who have seen some time in the majors will likely become a permanent part of the roster, such as Kyle Drabek and J.P. Arencibia.
Adam Lind should get the majority of the starts here, since Anthopoulos wants to see if he can take over the position for the future.
Lind is still young enough to be a part of the core for the future, and he also has the capacity for power that is desirable at the corner infield spot.
Lind will be backed up at first by the recently re-signed Edwin Encarnacion, who was improving defensively but still struggled with his throwing.
His skill set fits first base and both of these players can take turns at designated hitter.
Aaron Hill will remain a part of the double play duo in the central infield by continuing his play at second base. He faltered in 2010, both in the field and with his hitting, but with a return to being completely healthy, his play should rebound in 2011.
There was discussion of Hill being moved to third base if the Jays had traded for another second baseman, but no move was made, so he will retain his position for now.
When Brett Lawrie was acquired, he stated his desire to make this team out of spring training, which is a little far-fetched, but look for him in the near future.
The defensive stalwart John McDonald will back up Hill at second, as well as both shortstop and third.
Yunel Escobar will continue to make highlight-reel plays at shortstop for the Blue Jays as the second part of the double play tandem.
His defensive flair was viewed as a distraction in Atlanta but has lit up the crowds here in Toronto. His versatile approach at the plate also gives the Jays some much-needed diversity, as he can hit to all fields and drop in a bunt when necessary.
The highly coveted Adeiny Hechavarria, who signed a four-year, $10 million contract with the Blue Jays last year, will have a chance to make the squad out of spring training.
He has made it as far as Double-A, so he might not be ready yet, but he could still impress the coaching staff enough to stay with the team.
The ever-versatile Jose Bautista is slotted in for third base at the moment, as a long-term option hasn't emerged to fill the role.
There was an outside chance that Brad Emaus could have played some time there, but he was selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft after the Jays didn't protect him; they believed that his skill might not translate into the big leagues as a full-time player.
Mike McCoy will be in the infield utility role along with McDonald, so both of them may play some time at third to allow Bautista to play the occasional day in right field.
J.P. Arencibia will get his chance to prove that he can be a full-time catcher in the majors this season.
There was talk that the Jays were pursuing free agent Russell Martin, who could have played some third for the team as well as his typical role of catching. They lost out in pursuit of him to the Yankees, so it will be important for Arencibia to quickly prove that he can handle full-time duties.
It will be important for the catcher to get to know his starting staff so he can work on calling a strong game at the major league level.
He will be helped out in this regard and with his defensive play by the veteran Jose Molina, who was brought back for his leadership and experience.
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