The Jays had better add a better option in left field soon, because it’s going to get tiresome writing a post like this after every. single. time. a team cuts a player who seems like a better fit for a left field platoon with Melvin Upton than Ezequiel Carrera. And yet here we are again, as Arizona has cut the once-useful Gregor Blanco.
Blanco had a down year in 2016, slashing a pitiful .224/.309/.311. That was good for just a 70 wRC+, which is well below Carrera’s 85 mark. But if you look at their numbers exclusively against right-handers, the gap narrows. Both had reverse split years, but Carrera’s was significantly better against same-sided pitching (123 wRC+) than he was against the right-handers he’ll be tasked with facing as Melvin Upton’s presumed platoon mate (71 wRC+). Blanco’s 64 wRC+ against right handers, while also astoundingly garbage-y, is at least comparable.
And the thing about Blanco’s numbers in that split is that, unlike Carrera’s, they’re an anomaly. Expand the sample to include the last two years against right-handed pitching and Blanco’s wRC+ rises to a tidy 97, while Zeke stays weak at 77. Blanco has struck out less over that span (17.0% to 22.3%), he’s walked more (11.1% to 8.1%), he’s stolen more bases (9 to 1), he’s hit for more power (.370 SLG to .335). And as a left fielder over that span he’s been worth +1 DRS and +5.9 UZR in 434 innings, while for Carrera those numbers have been -4 and -0.7 in 469 innings.
Granted, using a two year sample masks much of Blanco’s ugly 2016 as a hitter, but it’s not like 2015 was too much of an outlier for him. Blanco by wRC+ from 2012 to 2015 goes: 94, 100, 106, 118. By WAR over that same span it’s: 2.5, 2.7, 1.9, 2.2.
Asking for a bounce back from Blanco at age 33 maybe isn’t a great idea, and he didn’t fare as well as Carrera in terms of exit velocity or “barrels” per plate appearance. He also has had a poor enough spring (.225/.295/.400) to get cut by the fucken Diamondbacks. Aaaand I kinda hate to be constantly running down fun ol’ Zeke, especially with the Jays suggesting they have internal metrics that really like him.
I’m honestly not opposed to the idea that Carrera could be better than his career numbers have shown against right-handed pitching! And I refuse to call this mess a complete disasterfuck until they actually start hurting themselves by running out players who are clearly failling. It’s just… y’know… come ahhhhhhn!!!