Well after another blown save and lackluster bullpen performance by the Toronto Blue Jays there record fell to 13-16 and are now three full games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. During the JP Ricciardi era it seemed that one year the Blue Jays bats would be unstoppable but the pitching didn’t keep up, or vice versa.
Perhaps a team on a shoestring budget (at that point) just has to put up with such things. Last year it felt like we had wasted one of the best bullpens the team has ever had as the offense and starting pitching was just ok. This season I wanted to have a look at the offense. I hadn’t actually looked until writing this piece today but it felt like the Blue Jays under Kevin Seitzer had become a more patient team at the plate.
Let’s take a look shall we?
On the season the Blue Jays have scored an impressive 134 runs – ranking 7th in all of baseball. They have hit 35 homeruns (4th) and .330 wOBA (6th). As a team the Blue Jays swung at 45.4% of all pitches thrown and so far this year only 43.1% (the fourth lowest in the majors FYI).
Let’s take a look at individual batter numbers:
Sort of a mixed bag when looking player by player and you can plainly see that a majority of the overall lower swing rate comes from Jose Bautista and Adam Lind. Saying that those are three of the more important cogs in the lineup and of course they will make up a good deal of overall plate appearances.
The Blue Jays have a few free swingers that aren’t likely to start changing now. Brett Lawrie swinging as often as Melky Cabrera given the differences in contact skills might explain some of his early season batting average struggles.
While not conclusive down the entire lineup card as a team the Blue Jays are trying to work the count a little deeper and have swung at less pitches overall. Ranking 4th overall in swing percentage is a good thing. Ranking 1-3 are the Twins, Rays and Red Sox and all three are in the top ten in runs scored early on in 2014.
Getting the starting pitcher out of the game and facing pitchers like Todd Redmond in key run scoring opportunities can only help the team in the long run. I hope this new approach continues as it makes the Blue Jays a tougher team to play against.