Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s Something About the Jays’ Offseason Moves I Don’t Think We’re Talking About Enough

The Blue Jays would never say it, but one of the reasons they brought in Steve Pearce last winter was surely because they thought he was going to take away at-bats from Justin Smoak. Prior to 2017, Smoak, despite being a switch hitter, and naturally a right-handed hitter, had never been anywhere close to a league average bat against left-handed pitching (save for a minuscule sample of 40 PA in 2015). And though obviously the club had some faith in him, and it turned out that they obviously had other uses for Pearce, surely they were cognizant of the fact that Smoak might end up unplayable, especially against lefties, so having a genuine lefty masher like Pearce around made some sense.

Why do I bring this up? Because I can’t help but wonder if something similar is happening under our noses as the Jays put together their roster for 2018. (Or at least something more to do with righty-lefty splits than we’re often considering).

As much as Monday’s Curtis Granderson signing was considered in the context of the outfield, and as much as Yangervis Solarte is looked at (rightly) as cover for the infield and potentially a piece that could be used in the outfield, there are other ways that their skills could be applied to this roster that I don’t think are getting enough attention.

What if, for example, we saw one of them a lot at DH?

Sure, the Jays already have a DH in the form of Kendrys Morales, but like Smoak was a year ago, Morales is a switch hitter who may have a serious platoon issue.

Let’s consider some numbers…

Believe it or not, against left-handed pitching over the last two seasons, Morales has been ridiculously good, producing wRC+ marks of 148 and 165.

No, really!

Those are the two highest marks of his career in that particular split, with the next highest being a 121 wRC+ back in 2013 when he was with Seattle. That being the case, I’m not sure we can outright say that he’s merely a lefty masher himself just yet, but over his last 330 PA against LHP he’s definitely trended that way. His strikeout rate has gone up from 14.5% in 2015 to 19.5% and 21.2% in 2016 and 17, while his slugging percentage has grown from .412 to .560 to .598 over that span. Seems he’s selling out for power a bit more, and it’s working.

Like… really working.

Among 149 hitters over the last two seasons with at least 200 plate appearances from the right side against left-handed pitching, Morales’s 155 wRC+ ranks 13th, just behind Mike Trout.

In 2017 alone his 165 wRC+ ranked 16th in baseball among right handed hitters with at least 100 PA against LHP, just ahead of George Springer and José Altuve, and just behind Josh Donaldson.

No, seriously!

Even add in his less-than-stellar 2015, where he produced a 109 wRC+ in the split, and he gets just edged out of the top 30, right behind Carlos Correa, Miguel Sano, and Nolan Arenado, and just ahead of Edwin Encarnacion.

I am not even joking!

But… uh… what this all means, of course, is that, given his weak numbers overall, Kendrys’ work from the other side — from the left side against right-handed pitching — has been somewhat terrible. Or at least it was in 2017, where he sunk to just a 77 wRC+ vs RHP in 471 plate appearances.

Interestingly, over the course of his career, this has generally been the better split for him. Just not so much in the last four seasons, where his 145 wRC+ in 2015 is by far the high point, with a mark of 64 in 2014, and a 94 mark in 2016, going along with last year’s 77.

So what do we make of all this? Well, a few things. For starters, the fact that Morales can still be elite from the right side hopefully bodes well for his ability to get it back together from the left. There is certainly a whole lot more to like about him than a whole hell of a lot of Blue Jays fans believe. And, as I’ve noted before, if you look at his exit velocities, they are also elite: according to Statcast there were 284 players with at least 200 “batted ball events” in 2017, and by average exit velocity Morales ranked 9th — directly ahead of Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado, Marcell Ozuna, J.D. Martinez, and Josh Donaldson, behind only Ryan Zimmerman, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton, Khris Davis, Miguel Sano, Joey Gallo, Nelson Cruz, and Aaron Judge.

That said, those are his overall exit velocities, and it seems likely that for Kendrys they’re being padded somewhat by his success against left-handers. We have a better idea of what kind of hitter Statcast shows us he is from either side if we look at xSTATS, which does break down his numbers into splits. xSTATS uses data from Statcast to tell us what a player’s season “should” have looked like by taking the way he struck the ball (his exit velocity and launch angle) in each of his batted ball events and assigning it a value based on what the data tells us about the typical outcomes of balls hit in such a way. And according to it there is a clear weakness in Morales’s 2017 splits against right-handed pitching. From the left side against righties he would have been expected to produce just a .265/.326/.484 line last season, which is significantly better than his pitiful real life .216/.280/.400, but still isn’t great.

In other words, though reason for optimism is real, it’s far from a sure bet that he’s not lost the plot as a left-handed hitter. And that, friends, is an important and overlooked aspect of the moves for Granderson and Solarte. Like Pearce they’ll have utility regardless, but also like Pearce, one of them could certainly be here with a view to Kendrys losing some of his at-bats against right-handers.

To wit:

Solarte vs. RHP over the last three years: 115 wRC+, 122 wRC+, 108 wRC+.
Granderson vs. RHP over the last three years: 150 wRC+, 121 wRC+, 114 wRC+.

But let’s move away from so strictly looking at this through the DH prism. Even if Morales is good — which he might be! — and he’s not the one these guys end up taking at-bats from, they’re still really useful pieces. They’ll play a whole bunch — as they should.

We talk a lot about the way that the Blue Jays, through their small moves so far, have made nice gains in terms of both infield and outfield depth. Usually, though, we talk about this in terms of having having big league calibre bodies around to raise the floor and to play in case of injury. But this is a roster that in 2017 finished 23rd in team wRC+ against right-handed pitching, producing just a 90 wRC+ as a group. Last year the club gave 525 PA against right-handers to José Bautista who produced an 83 wRC+ in the split, another 471 to Morales and his 77 mark, 381 to Ryan Goins who produced a 70 wRC+, 477 to Kevin Pillar who was at 64 wRC+ in the split, 223 to Darwin Barney whose mark was 52, plus another 367 combined to Chris Coghlan, Luke Maile, Miguel Montero, Rob Refsnyder, Michael Saunders, and Richard Urena, who ranged from 58 to -11.

Solarte and Granderson can’t cover all those at-bats, but they can cover a whole lot of them, and in doing so will represent a much more serious upgrade than I think most realize. In 2017 batters stepped into the box 185,295 times, and in 137,558 of them they were facing a right-handed pitcher. That’s 74% of the time. Getting better in that split is vital if the Jays are to have any hope of contention in 2018, and somewhat quietly I think they’ve taken a couple big steps toward that. They may not look like big splashy, sexy additions, but this is genuine, tangible improvement in an area that matters significantly. THAT’LL FUCKIN’ DO.

  • The Original Mark

    Great analysis. I’m interested to see where they go with pitching upgrades now. Lot’s of good options out there, and unless they can move Pearce, Morales, or Carrera for something, I wonder if they’re done with the position players.

  • Player to Be Named Later

    Absolutely. Hitting righties is way, way more valuable than mashing lefties. Like – it’s 3 times more valuable, because every season righties throw 3 times as many pitches as lefties. Morales has a chance to bounce back. But giving a lot more at bats vs rhp to Grandy and Solarte is a quiet way to get some good (cheap) production. Let’s just hope Grandyman has one more year of pop in that bat.

      • Teddy Ballgame

        I think the front office is great, and I still like calling them “Shatkins.”

        Sure, it’s immature. But my baseball fandom has never been based on maturity.

        That said…while I do admire the FO’s ability to identify weaknesses, it is to some degree them mitigating the issues arising from signing Morales in the first place. And while it’s clearly prudent to take DH at bats away from Morales and give them to someone with a better chance of success against righties, I can’t help but think Morales when he’s not in the lineup is a wasted bench spot, as he only really brings one skill to the table. Ideally you’d want someone who provides more flexibility, but we’re obviously not talking about ideals here.

  • AD

    Uhhhh… so If Morales can’t hit righties what is the point of having a $12m dollar DH that will only play once every five games on average? (or whenever they face a lefty starter). Might as well deal him and use some of that dough to sign cain.

    • Alan

      The only way you’re dealing him right now is for a fringe player at best, and then only if you eat a lions share of the $$… nobody is lining up to trade for a $12M DH at what is likeliest the low point of his career.

      • Steve-O

        You might have to pay his full salary, and his plane ticket out of town, and include a fringe prospect of your own, just to unload him at this point.

        It is what it is. He could still bounce back and be fine, so I don’t think there’s much point is worrying about it.

      • AD

        True, not too many AL teams need a DH. I dunno, maybe a team like the A’s? Or KC? Its just a big time inefficient use of resources to pay this guy $12m and play him 20% of the games.

          • AD

            Yup, but as stoeten eloquently pointed out above thats not ideal since he sucks agaist righties so he is hurting the team in that sense. If the goal is to be actually good in 2018. Him and pearce are reduntant. Wouldnt be suprised if pearce was dealt. ( and plleeaseee god trade pillar)

    • GrumblePup

      I’m beginning to think that you don’t know this is real life. Like, you opinions only make sense if you frame them in terms of video games on easy mode with the “force trades” option selected.

          • Steve-O

            AD, the GM: “Hey, I’m trying to trade Pillar, god he’s terrible, right? The worst. Can’t hit, declining defense… So, anyway, how about I send him to you for one of your decent relievers.”
            Rival GM:”Um, didn’t you just tell me you think he’s terrible?”
            AD: “Right. Oh absolutely. Just garbage. I should just release him outright, ha-ha. So, how ’bout a leftie? We could use one of those.”
            Rival GM: “Hey, maybe I’ll just wait for you to release him.”
            AD: …
            Rival GM: …
            AD: …
            Rival GM: [gently] “I’m not going to give you an asset of any kind for your terrible player, AD.”
            AD: …
            Rival GM: …
            AD: …
            Rival GM: “Ok, good talk, AD, you take care n–”
            AD: “Hey, how about Morales, then? He’s overpaid AND useless!”

        • AD

          LmAO, I dont think that I would be blunt that he sucks tho. Its you guys who are are in denial/refuse to believe that he sucks. So how would you sell Pillar if you were trading him?If I was GM, id sell him as a top flight CF that can make awesome catches and hope some idiot bites. A good reliever or 5th starter for him would be nice.

          • Steve-O

            I’ll try this one last time. Here’s the thing: either he has value (and he would have to, to get a SP or good reliever for him), or he doesn’t, in which case no one will trade for him.

            I happen to think he does have value, and is worth holding onto until someone in the minors (one of Alford or Pompey, I’d guess) takes his job away, presumably by producing at the plate at a rate greater than the value of Pillar’s glove and base running.

            Then, and only then, you can shop Pillar around as a CF option to a team that needs one (or as an upgrade on their existing CF) as a 3-ish win player under cheap control until 2021, and see what you can get.

            Until that happens, you keep him, bat him 8th, and enjoy the show in CF. And hey, in the meantime, maybe he learns how to take a walk!

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    There’s an excellent article that Jeff Passan has written after he investigated the non-action this offseason with free agents. It comes down to a wide-spread realization that the economic model in baseball, where you achieve free agency in your 30’s and someone pays a fortune for your decline that’s not recouped in value, is broken. The teams recognize it, the agents recognize it, the union recognizes it – except for some fans who think paying a fortuned for unreturned value from famous name, everyone recognizes it. So it’s going to be harder for Boras to get some loser owner to pony up 9 figures to watch the fading years of famous players. Our 3 years of eternity with Tulo may be one of the last of a kind. Along of course with the delicious experience of watching Dombrowski and John Henry eat the next five years of David Price.

      • dgapa

        Harper will be entering his age 26 season, a lot younger than most free agents where they are usually around 29-32. Also comparing anyone not named Trout to Harper is a fool’s errand.

    • Teddy Ballgame

      It’s an article well worth reading. Here’s the link:


      I liked this quote in particular:

      “Brian Cashman has been one of the best GMs for 20 years, and this is the first year he’s really been recognized as a good GM. Why?” one official said. “Because [the Yankees] cut payroll. Because he had more homegrown talent, as if that means a damn thing. And because you can’t be a genius if you spend money. You can only be a genius if your team wins through not spending money. And that’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. But they’ve done a good job in conditioning the whole world to see it that way.”

    • DAKINS

      The problem is, how do you pay a player for his prime, while they are still in it?

      As it says in the article, if you make FA kick in earlier, you are just giving the Yankees, Sox, Dodgers, etc. yet another advantage, and screwing smaller market teams again.

      You could introduce arbitration earlier, and more often, but that could cause player salaries to get very expensive, very quickly. This would make future roster construction quite difficult, especially for teams given strict budgets (Rogers). However, on the good side, it would force the owner’s hand, and prevent them from pretending they are smaller market teams. *cough* 2000’s era Jays *cough*

      • Teddy Ballgame

        I just want to see players get their fair share of the pie. If the shift is away from paying for past the system has to be recalibrated to better reward current value. Otherwise you’re just taking money from millionaire players and give it back to billionaire owners – many of those owners who made their fortunes as arch capitalists, only to agitate for MLB to be governed via socialism.

        • J. Paquin

          True equity would be spreading that money out to all the concession staff, coaching staff, front office management, etc. Let’s be honest, both the owners and players make far too much money. It’s everyone else who gets them there or supports them at that level who are left in the cold.

          • Teddy Ballgame

            I totally get what you’re saying, and certainly it would be great to see the spoils spread out more widely. But that doesn’t change the fundamental fact that people do not pay money to come to the ballpark and watch the concession staff. The players ARE the product, so they deserve a healthy cut of the money that their performance generates.

            Certainly being a major league baseball player requires a rarer and more challenging skill set than the guy who slings beer…much as we all love the beer guy.

            And it’s not like if you put a cap on player salaries, that the owners would turn around and give the ticket sales staff a raise. Again, it goes to the players, or it goes to the owners.

          • DAKINS

            While I get what you are trying to say, the value of the players on the field is much, much, much higher to the franchise than the people using skills that can be utilized in a variety of jobs.

            Supply and command, etc.

  • Drunk Damaso Garcia

    You can spin the Grandy signing however you want. But, it’s playing out like another PR fiasco. There’s plenty of stuff that’s up for debate. Stats allow for arguments like this one. But, the optics of increasing ticket prices substantially while adding a bunch of low cost spare parts is incredibly tone deaf. You need a marquee signing to excite fans. And based on the roster, the Jays needed a heart of the order bat, too. Not an old platoon player who Ks a lot. FanGraphs says 83 wins. Seems like a dream. The offence will be terrible. We’ll lose a lot of games because of it. I see a collapse in ticket sales because the product is uninspiring. How Rogers reacts will be interesting. I can’t see Atkins as GM long term. And, I doubt Shapiro retains roster control beyond this season. They were handed a tough job, but they’ve really exacerbated the Jays probs with their moves. Bummed

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      The ticket price increase is to bring them in line with major league prices, not to pay extra for extra performance. As I posted here before, looking at the lower bowl seats only Oakland’s are cheaper. Even Tampa charges more. Toronto seats are about 1/6th the cost of Cubs’ seats and less than half the cost of Red Sox seats. They are ending the days of dirt cheap seats.

      • Drunk Damaso Garcia

        “Bring them in line?” Lol. And you buy that? They mean increase profits without improving the product (and you’re defending that.) You must work for Rogers.

        • The Humungus

          He’s 100% correct. As a stadium traveller, I nearly always buy tickets on the secondary market when I go because I don’t want to pay full price after paying travel and lodging, unless there’s a good deal (Seattle had tickets in the open air portion of their RF restaurant for $55 US, but each came with an $18 voucher off your bill in the restaurant, good for food or drink, including booze).

          Tickets are just expense. Unless you want to sit in the upper bowl, you’re looking at at least $50/ticket anywhere in baseball for a decent seat with a good sightline.

    • Gavin Belson

      Yes, the front office should make stupid decisions and over pay people so that the “fans” will be excited . You know what excites the fans? winning. They honestly don’t care how you do it. These moves help the jays win at a nominal cost. if joe blow fair weather doesn’t like it, tough.

  • Voidhelix

    Great, so Grandy was supposed to be a replacement for Jose Bautista, but in reality he’s a PT replacement for Kendrys Morales? The dude’s almost 37, what else is he going to do, play CF when Pillar’s getting a breather, and maybe a little SS?

    Also…..COGNIZENT? For the love of Mike. It’s cogniscent. Grab a spell-check, Stoeten.

  • MLip

    Something not mentioned (but maybe increases the value of the RHP split) is that aside from the Red Sox, there are no “ace” level LHP in the AL East. There are hardly any LHP pitchers in AL East aside from the Sox (Sale, Price, Pomeranz, Rodriguez).

  • Knuckleballs

    Yes I have been very much OK with the Jays signings this off season. They build depth which they did not have last year. However, I do agree they need to sign a marquee player , but with only 15M left I really do not see this happening with several holes still to fill (Starting pitcher, another outfielder (maybe), BP pieces and maybe a backup catcher). This team to me will compete, but for a wild card. The evidence is becoming more clear – this is bridge gap filling excercise until 2019 when the next gen arrives.

  • MLip

    One other thing, I sorted the Jays wRC+ from last year in the split with the following results:

    Vs LHP (2017) Vs LHP (career)
    Morales 165 113
    Smoak 160 94
    Pearce 91 126
    Granderson 76 87
    Martin 64 116
    Solarte 54 92
    Tulowitzki 23 134
    Carrerra -3 84

    vs RHP (2017) Vs RHP (career)
    Smoak 124 105
    Carrerra 123 91
    Granderson 114 128
    Martin 110 103
    Solarte 108 111
    Pearce 102 100
    Tulowitzki 98 113
    Morales 77 112

    From these charts, it appears the Jays may be terrible against LHP next season. However with some regression to there career norms, there remains some hope (especially Tulo, Pearce and Martin).

  • Knuckleballs

    I really do not understand all this Kevin Pillar hate. To me Pillar is a streaky hitter with above average defence. And he is character on the team that fans come to see play centre field. One of his best catches ever to me was when he was player LF and he literally climbed the 10 foot wall at the Dome to make a grab (2014 season if I remember). He is not all that terrible with a career 264 Average and OBP 302 – it maybe regarded as hallow stats but they are what they are.

  • CM

    Interesting analysis. Great points, but my take is Mgt doesn’t really believe in the teams ability to compete as all the moves to date are marginal commitment, hedge your bet types of moves. The team has steadily aged and gotten worse with replacements typically less than the departed. In a way a poor season is a self fulfilling prophecy with this approach but it will allow Shapiro to market a rebuild which will also buy him time in his seat. There’s always less pressure when your rebuilding as opposed to competing, I think this is what will happen over the next few years and it’s anyone’s guess how competitive the jays are when they come out the other end. Even if Vlad is equal to JD and bichette is utley in his prime the yanks will still be dominant with a still young proven core with probably a marquee free agent or two added to the cast. Just think the Cleveland crews strategy will be much more success in the al central and in a small market. It’s ok to do this competing with the twins royals etc. Much tougher when the yanks bosox are your opposition and they are constantly in go for it mode and will spend to make it happen. Their Mgt has no fear of bold moves, and Shapiro is ultra conservative.

    • Drunk Damaso Garcia

      Spot on, mate. Agree on all points. Especially, this crew’s small market mentality. The Tampa Bay Rays have demonstrated to all that to simply use draft and development, you won’t win very often in the ALE. Plus, the fans in this market have demonstrated their support when ownership/management makes a real commitment to winning. If the Jays were run like the Leafs/Raptors (top level management, talent on roster) every game would be sold out 2015 – 2017.) Sadly, Rogers is going to see all this momentum evaporate to realize they need to change their approach if they want 3m fans per season.

      • yeah, 4th in attendance in MLB, avg 80% capacity, for a team that was, for all intents/purposes, was out of it in the first month, is fucking shitty.

        sure, 2017 attendance was based largely on season tickets purchased based on prior success, so we’ll see how the numbers shake out for 2018…but even if fans felt obligated to go to games to watch a mediocre team cuz they’d already paid for the ticket, TV viewership remained very high, indicating that fans have bought in to the team.

        i don’t think there isn’t a jays fan out there that doesn’t wish that rogers treated the team more like the high-value, revenue-generating entity that it is, or wish that the team could take advantage of the lavish TV contracts that others do…there’s what we wish could be, and there is what is.

        • Kris

          Rogers is not perfect but I don’t think they are bad. The Jays had a mid 170 payroll last season, that is about 5th in MLB. They are spending most of their international slot money and are putting money in player development (staff and facilities) . Yeah they are not the Red Sox or Yankees near the cap but at the same time they are not “small market mentality” either.

          The issue with the payroll the Jays don’t have a ton of space with so many “bad contracts” not Rogers. But I would love an extra 10 million from Rogers.

          • absolutely not a small market, they finished ’17 with a little over $166M for the 40-man, which ranked 14th (per Cot’s). it’s nothing to sneeze at, perfectly respectable, but it isn’t in line in a number of areas (market size, TV viewership, and when compared to the yanks/sawx (and even the O’s; 4 of the 14 highest payrolls in ’17 were in the ALE); there should be no expectation that they will compete with those two). the problem – aside from having bad contracts on the books (really tho, it’s just Tulo’s that’s especially onerous at this point) is that if they’re not going to compete at that level money-wise, they need to be creative & find value in other areas. my biggest problem is that every fucking year, they seem to be just a few million shy of what it would take to have a complete roster.

            this year, projection is they have ~$15M more left to spend, and three holes to fill (OF/SP/backup C); so, they’ve got enough left to get a truly impactful OF (using all of it, which may be a stretch), OR a 4th/5th starter type & catcher (again, using most or all of it). so yea, an extra $10M (which seems more than reasonable) this year would go a long way. since they don’t have it, they’re making do with the resources they have, and leaving themselves as much flexibility as possible.

    • given all this, would it not be prudent for a team playing in a division with two of the biggest spending teams in MLB to opt for an approach that ensures long-term viability: building a high-end young core of controllable players who will provide surplus value vs their cost, which allows the team to spend on FAs (or acquire players) WITHIN THEIR BUDGET to compete? they need to maximize the value out of guys under control for as long as possible, while shuffling expensive (non-arb) vets in/out, continuously replenishing that core of young/cheap players. that is the only model that will offer even a glimpse of long-term competitiveness in their market…they will never be able to compete with the yanks/sawx in terms of pure dollars, because even if they could, they’d almost surely need to not just match what those teams are willing to pay, but exceed it to offset the pre-conceived notions working against a team playing outside the US (hassles with customs, higher taxes, less exposure/opportunity for extra revenue streams, playing in a division against the yanks/sawx, etc etc).

      the surest way for an organization in a market starved for a ‘winner’ is to build a team that year in/year out has a realistic chance. the risks of tearing it down and doing a straight rebuild are high…once you go down that road, and fans do stop turning out, it can take a long time for them to come back.

  • Gavin Belson

    Morales exit velocities don’t mean as much as they do for some other hitters. How many balls does he crush into the shift? That is not luck and that is a likely a potentially repeating phenomenon. I recall the year before last he had the same issue, exit velocities that did not add up to the generally expected result such velocities should produce.

    • where a ball ends up after being struck is, largely, pure happenstance; a millimeter difference in where the ball is contacted determines whether it’s a liner to the 2b playing 80 ft into RF, or one that finds the gap. all you can really ask of a hitter is to square it up as best he can, and let the chips fall where they may; more often than not, it evens out over time.

      • Flash McLennan

        I think Gavin’s comment is descriptive, not prescriptive, and is bang on. Here are some facts about Morales:
        (a) He makes hard contact.
        (b) He’s one of the most shifted-against opponents in baseball.
        (c) Numbers suggest he hits balls at people a lot.
        Taken together, this does seem to suggest that there might be greater predictability/consistency than other players in terms of *where* he hits the ball. That would be an interesting analysis to see. If that is the case, then Gavin’s right, it’s not luck, and no, it *won’t* “even out”.

        But that’s all descriptive. I don’t think the point is a prescriptive “Hey Kendrys, hit it where they ain’t!” Might be nice, but I agree that’s probably not something he can do easily.

        • The Humungus

          To continue, Morales hits nearly 50% ground balls, and had a GB/FB ratio of 1.46.

          So, his contact is not “great contact” and he is susceptible to shifts because he doesn’t do things that other guys do, like put the ball in the air at a great rate.

          He’s a guy who would greatly benefit from a swing plane change for a better loft angle. Problem is, after 12 years in the majors and at 35 years old, it’s likely not happening.

          Just for comparison, here are some other Blue Jays who are strong pull hitters GB/FB ratios last year:

          Donaldson – 0.96
          Smoak – 0.77
          Bautista – 0.82
          Travis – 1.02

          And the new guys

          Granderson – 0.67
          Solarte – 0.99
          Diaz – 1.21

  • ice_hawk10

    ya but the problem is, if Morales shits the bed again, you can’t have Granderson DH cause you need him to keep the damn OF from being a disaster. and Solarte’s DH time is limited by Tulo and Travis’ inability to stay healthy. there’s high variance mediocrity all over the roster on the position player side, and not enough guys who can be reasonably depended on to be above average. I got Donaldson and maybe Martin on a per AB basis. every one else you are hoping and squinting for to be average. do i want to bet Smoak will be any more than a league average 1B? How about Pillar? wanna bet Travis can stay healthy, or that Tulo and be healthy and not terrible? how about Granderson? Teoscar? Morales? Pearce? you see the depth (heh) of the problem. depth is great, but we pretty much have depth backing up depth, which means we probably have a pretty mediocre team.

    • Kris

      Fansgraph projections for 2018
      Martin .748OPS
      Smoak .813OPS
      Travis .757OPS
      Tulowitzki .776OPS
      Donaldson .916OPS
      Granderson .783 Pearce .792
      Pillar 727OPS
      Hernandez .720OPS
      Moralezs .790OPS

      I think you are being way too hard on this lineup, it is not “depth backing up depth”. It is basically average if you take care of the RF problem and I think Teoscar has potential be a solid corner OF. Every one of those projections is average to above average (good in Smoak/Donaldson case, maybe Martin) . Fansgraph projects the Jays to be 6th in RS per game for the AL.

      Now the lineup is not the strength of the team, the pitching will carry the Jays in 2018. I like the rotation with a healthy Sanchez and the pen looks strong.

  • 0noggin

    It’s concerning to me that the Jays’ options outfield/DH are mostly incomplete players who either hit poorly against RHP or LHP, hitting OR defence or vice versa and generally have very poor OBP and K% numbers. The platoon approach could definitely help optimize what they have (providing Gibbons actually constructs his lineups on the numbers instead of pulling them out of a hat), but to me, the Jays still strike out too much, don’t get on base often enough and even though they have enough bodies for the OF, their offense is set to suffer if even some of their platoon players get hurt.