|Picture via -Yahoo Sports|
So far in 2012, there is much to like about the Toronto Blue Jays. They are a game out of 1st place in the AL East . It looks like they should finish ahead of Baltimore and should finish ahead of Boston too (especially if the train wreck in Boston keeps giving us things to talk about opposed to their play on the field). I am on the fence with Eric Thames (just won’t tell that to his face with those biceps starring me down), but he has struggled because he does not have a place in the batting order. Imagine coming to work every day and finding out your doing a different job with different responsibilities every day. It’s hard to focus and do good at one particular job.
One of my complaints is the daily flux in the batting order. So far in the 17 games the Blue Jays have played, there have been 22 different batting order combinations. I would like to see that number even out more as the season plays out. Here is the breakdown in the batting order so far and then I will present what I think is the best batting order, unless any trades or call ups happen.
So far Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson and Jose Bautista have not changed in their place in the batting order. In the 17 games, Yunel Escobar has batted 1st every game, Johnson 2nd and Jose Bautista 3rd. The one ‘problem’ thus far has been the 14 walks that have been issued to Jose Bautista, and who the cleanup hitter is from night to night. Bautista has only been knocked in 5 times other than his homeruns (that’s 36% of the time he's been walked – that needs to be higher).
Adam Lind (.211 5-1-6) - has batted 4th (10 games), 5th (3 games) and 7th (2 games). His best spot in the order so far stats wise is when he batted 4th – he's batting .282 and has all of his 6 RBI’s in that spot. He's batting 1 for 18 in the other two spots.
Edwin Encarnacion (.286 9-4-13) – has batted 4th (7 games), 5th (9 games), and 6th (once). The main idea behind the flip flop with Edwin and Lind is the right-left pitching matchups, but let’s look at the stats. Edwin is batting .214 with 3 RBI’s in the 4 slot. But is batting .297 with 7 RBI’s from the 5th spot. The one game be batted 6th he went 3-5 with a 3 run HR.
Brett Lawrie (.294 9-2-11) – has batted 5th (2 games), 6th (9 games) and 7th (6 games). I know that Farrell wanted Brett to hit up into the order and earn his spot, so it’s tough to gauge now, but let’s again see what the numbers say. He has 7 hits in 6 games with 2 RBI’s batting 7th. He has a .500 avg. batting 5th with 3 RBI’s and has 6 RBI’s batting 6th (but also 10 strikeouts).
Eric Thames (.273 6-1-2) – has been moved around and I would say jerked around the most of any of the regular Blue Jays. He has batted; 5th (once), 6th (5 games), 7th (6 games), 8th (2 games) and 9th (1 game). I feel sorry for the guy, who is trying to prove his place on the team. Based on his batting average, he has had the most success batting 6th (.333 2 runs). Batting 8th he is batting .400 in games. Batting 7th he is hitting .211 with 3 strikeouts.
J.P. Arencibia (.200 4-1-9) – has batted in two spots in the batting order – 8th (6 games) and 9th (7 games). Hitting in the 8 spot he has had 12 strikeouts but his homerun from that spot. He is however, batting .292 in the 9th spot with 4 RBI’s.
Colby Rasmus (.242 8-3-9) – Colby has looked great some games hitting home runs with his eyes closed (or its seemed that way), and been ice cold the next day. He has batted 5th (once), 7th (3 games), 8th (8 games) and 9th (5 games). He like Thames has been moved around the most, and it’s shown on the stats sheet. Batting 5th, 7th and 9th he has a .094 batting average, with 2 RBI’s. While batting 8th is hitting .400 and has 7 RBI’s.
In an ideal world, there would be one batting order that Jays fans could expect to see (withstanding any pitching matchups – personal or the left-right affect). The numbers don’t lie. It’s not hard to see what players are excelling at one area in the batting order. The mentality of batting 3rd and batting 7th is night and day. There are responsibilities and expectations with each spot in the batting order.
So what is the ideal batting order? I will use the stats that the Blue Jays players have provided me when they excelled in one spot and their stats in that spot, for the optimal lineup.
1. Yunel Escobar – SS – Right (.231 with 7 RBI’s)
2. Kelly Johnson – 2B – Left (.246 with 13 runs)
3. Jose Bautista – RF – Right (.200 with 9 RBI)
4. Adam Lind – 1B – Left (.282 with 6 RBI)
5. Brett Lawrie – 3B – Right (.500 with 3 RBI’s)
6. Edwin Encarnacion – DH – Right (.600 with 3 RBI’s)
7. Eric Thames – LF – Left (.211 with 2 runs)
8. Colby Rasmus – CF – Left (.400 and 7 RBI’s)
9. J.P. Arencibia – C – Right (.292 and 4 RBI’s)
I would like to see Colby switched with Edwin, but I think Colby has to show more consistency as a batter to be moved up. I do think he can handle it and will get back to his 2010 numbers where he hit 23 HR and had 85 Runs while stealing 12 bases with St. Louis. This kid is only 25 and having him batting 6th I think is where he should end up. in order to get the other Blue Jay who is struggling offensively, Eric Thames, he needs to find a place in the order. Having him bat in 5 different places in the batting order in just 15 games is a little much – that’s a new spot in the order every 3 games. His spot should be at #7. He has done better at other spots, but that’s the only one left when placing others at their best spot.
If you want some consistency out of the Blue Jays, the batting order needs to be more solidified. I am glad to see the first inning always the same with Escobar, Johnson setting the plate for Jose. But like most managers have done, I would just walk Jose every time. Because the batting order after him has been different every game.
Comment below with your opinion on what you think the Jays batting order should look like.
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