Donaldson and Martin “grow” for the Jays’ team photo — but will Martin’s strikeout troubles quit growing?

I’ve been watching the opposing teams’ broadcasts of late, so forgive me if the Jays’ one showed this clip a billion times last night or the night before (eliciting many a horse-laugh from the booth, I’m sure), but check out Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin clowning around and growing some extra inches as the club had their annual team photo taken this week.

Is there anything especially interesting about the below clip (which comes via Reddit/imgur), given what Donaldson said last night (as John Lott discusses in his latest piece for us) and the fact that Russell Martin has perhaps been the worst culprit on the Jays when it comes to their dreaded strikeout totals?

I doubt it. But man, Martin’s 46% strikeout rate (not a typo), resulting in 29 Ks over 63 plate appearances is… discouraging.

I was really hoping to see Martin’s move away from having to catch RA Dickey every fifth day paying slightly better dividends at the plate early on (as that task in 2015 seemed, according to Kyle Matte’s work at Capital Jays, as I’ve noted umpteen times, to have a detrimental effect on his performance at the plate), but here we are.

We can at least take a little solace in the fact that last year he started slow, too. But it was nothing like this. Martin ended April of 2015 with a .197 average, sure, but his wRC+ was a very solid 118, given that he offset the lack of hits with a 19% walk rate for the month. And his strikeout rate was just 22.8%. So… not quite like what the underlying numbers are telling us about this year at all. (He currently has just four walks — a 6.3% rate).

You can only have so many $20-million-per-year guys who are only justifying their presence on the field with their gloves, y’know? (Hey, but let’s be desperate for the front office to keep this team of well-over-age-30 players together for as long as we can, right?)

Of course, the fact that Donaldson can say what he said is, in a way, a good thing. Sort of. By which I mean that it’s not like the Jays don’t have the talent to be a whole lot better. For the most part. It’s not like, in saying people need to bear down and take better at-bats, he’s asking for his teammates to do things that they can’t do.

I dunno. It at least still seems here that everybody’s still cool, despite what might be simmering beneath it all as the club (which hasn’t maybe been quite as bad as they’ve looked at times — by BaseRuns, which gives a team a win total based on an expected runs calculation without considering sequencing, the Jays are 12-11, which… still isn’t great) continues to flounder slightly.

Anyway, here’s the clip.

View post on imgur.com

Funny stuff! 

  • 0noggin

    And to Josh Donaldson’s point, it really defies explanation how a lineup consisting of Bautista, Encarnacion, Tulowitzki and Martin is having serious issues even making contact on fastballs over the middle of the plate. The only explanation is that they’re all sitting on breaking balls and can’t catch up to the fastball, particularly when it’s up in the zone. 13Ks just last night, many of them with men on – that was a very winnable game.

  • I’d start really worrying in May. Martin, as you rightly pointed out, was slow to start last year, too. He kind of has been since he was a Dodger.

    15 LOB was nightmarish, however. The strikeouts, too. Something’s gotta give.

  • Bad Dabbler

    Article from the Star by Brendan Kennedy point out the following not so “fun” fact

    Jays have struck out double digits in 11 out of 23 games.

    Last year they struck out double digits 28 times the entire year.

    So strike outs…Yeah.. big deal. we know they arent the end all be all. Problem is this increase in k rate has coincided with a decrease in power. Now we have a problem.

  • Alan

    The base running errors are becoming somewhat troublesome as well. Saunders a couple of nights ago didn’t tag at third on a ball hit to center, which was caught, and which he didn’t score on until Encarnacion bailed him out with a 2 out single, or Tulo last night dancing off second with none out, and not making it to third on a flyball to right. These by themselves are small mistakes, and most times would not be noticed, but these types of errors, coupled with the high strikeout rates and the amount of runners continuously left on base, and it seems that this lineup just doesn’t seem to have their game faces on. Most of the games I’ve seen them lose were VERY winnable, and more than likely would have been won last year.