Blue Jays quarter-season report card | Baseball | CBC Sports

MLBBlue Jays quarter-season report card

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 | 11:01 AM

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After a slow start, Jose Bautista has recaptured his hitting stroke in the month of May. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) After a slow start, Jose Bautista has recaptured his hitting stroke in the month of May. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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The season hasn't begun the way the Blue Jays wanted, but some hope has emerged as Toronto has a four-game win streak going and has finally figured out how to use its bats. Here's a first-term report card for the Jays' key players.
We've hit the 40-game mark (OK, 41 games) of the Blue Jays' season, which means the first quarter is behind us.

The season hasn't started the way the Blue Jays wanted it to (their record is 17-24) but there is some light trying to bust through the gloom of a lousy start as the Jays have a four-game win streak going and have finally figured out how to use their bats.

Here is a first-term report card for the Blue Jays' key players.


J.P. Arencibia: D

About all Arencibia has done well is hit home runs, which, if you are only going to do one thing well, that's what you should do. He's hitting .236/.252/.493 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 10 home runs (just one behind the AL leaders), two walks and 49 strikeouts. If he could just take a few more walks. Last year he walked once every couple of weeks -- this year it's closer to one walk every four weeks. Add in that his defence is still a work in progress and you get the idea that Arencibia isn't a star.

Edwin Encarnacion: B

Encarnacion is tied for the league lead in home runs with 11 and his 30 RBIs lead the team. He had a slow start to his season: for the first half of April his batting average was under .200. But, like many of the Blue Jays' hitters, he's brought up his numbers over the last couple of weeks.

Maicer Izturis: D-

Izturis hasn't been hitting -- his slash line is .217/.242/.333 -- and he hasn't been great with the glove either. The sad part is that, of the two guys general manager Alex Anthopoulos brought in to play second base, he's been the better one.

Munenori Kawasaki: C-

When he was called up after Jose Reyes wrecked his ankle, Munenori gave the team a shot in the arm with his enthusiasm. He's fun and all with his dancing, fake steals and bowing, but he isn't hitting much: .235/.337/.279. And though he's made just three errors, they have come at the worst possible moments. I like watching happy players. It's a kid's game. The players should have fun. But that alone isn't enough to make you a ball player.

Brett Lawrie: D

Lawrie's defence has been amazing. He makes a highlight reel play almost every day. But it has taken his bat a long time to get going. He's hitting just .204/.272/.369 with  four home runs and 10 RBIs. No matter how good his glove is, he has to contribute more with the bat. I'm hoping he is coming around: in his past five games, he's hitting .316. We can hope he found his stroke at the plate.

Melky Cabrera: C

An MRI showing quadriceps "irritation" explains why he has looked so slow. Like many of Toronto's other batters, after a bad start, Cabrera has finally found his stroke at the plate too, hitting .380 over the past two weeks. He's much more fun to watch when he hits. On the season he's batting .279/.316/.364 with one home run and 14 RBIs. His defence hasn't looked good. I'm hoping that, as his leg improves, his defence will too.

Colby Rasmus: D-

Rasmus has struck out in 45 per cent of his at bats. Once in a while he has a good game and I start to think he's coming around. The next day he'll strike out four times. His six home runs and a good glove in centre-field saved him from an F.

Jose Bautista: A

Like last year, Bautista suffered through a slow start. Having back spasms didn't help. He's flipped a switch in May, hitting .362/.476/.574 this month. In all, a .262/.376/.549 line gives us little to complain about.

Adam Lind: A-

Lind has had a great start to the season. He is hitting .286/.411/.468 and, after not hitting a home run in April, he has three in the last 10 days, including a game-winning shot in the ninth inning against the Red Sox. Maybe all he needed was a manager smart enough to keep him on the bench  against left-handed pitchers.

Emilio Bonifacio: F

On the plus side, a little three-game hitting streak (six hits in his last 12 at bats) has brought Bonifacio's batting average up to .200 and he hasn't made an error in a month. That doesn't mask the fact that he's been awful.

Rajai Davis: B-

Davis was doing pretty good, and then he went on the DL. I'd like him more if he could stop chasing pitches in the dirt. As is, he should only play against left-handed pitching.

Mark DeRosa: B-

Speaking of players that should only play against left-handers, we have DeRosa. He's been much more effective now that Lawrie is back, sparing us from watching DeRosa play every day. He's hitting .304 against lefties and just .161 against righties.

Henry Blanco: F

I'm not sure why he's on the team. It isn't like the .138 batting average should come as a surprise to anyone. He's 41 now and wasn't much of a hitter when he was in his prime.


R.A. Dickey: C+

Dickey hasn't found any consistency this season. Some starts have been good, some have been terrible. He is 3-5 with a 4.83 ERA. Back problems haven't helped. His last start was his best of the season, with 10 strikeouts in six innings. Maybe he can build off that.

Mark Buehrle: F

If there was such a thing as an F+, he'd get the plus for his last start, where he pitched seven innings, allowing just  one run, against the Red Sox. That showing  brought his ERA under 7 on the year. Still, a 6.19 ERA is not acceptable, especially from a pitcher who will make $48 million US over the next three seasons.

Brandon Morrow: C+

Like most of the Jays' starters, Morrow has had good and bad days, but he's been one of the team's better starting pitchers. He hasn't pitched in 11 days because of back spasms, but he is expected to get the ball on Saturday.

J.A. Happ: B

Happ was Toronto's best starter in April, putting up a 3.86 ERA in five starts. Then, in his first start in May, he walked seven in 3.2 innings. The next start he took a line drive to the head and hurt his knee falling to the ground. He should be back to pitching in June.

Josh Johnson: D-

Johnson made four starts for the Jays before being put on the DL with triceps soreness. One of the starts was good, one was OK, one was poor and one was just awful. In all, a 6.86 ERA isn't what was expected of him when the Jays picked him up in the big trade with the Marlins. He should be back with the team in early June.

Casey Janssen: A+

Janssen is 10-for-10 in save opportunities. In 13 innings, he's only allowed four baserunners. The only problem is the Blue Jays haven't had enough save chances for him, and manager John Gibbons seems to be hesitant to use him in non-save situations.

Steve Delabar: B

Delabar's ERA is very good (2.05) but he's walking too many batters -- 14 in 22 innings.

Darren Oliver: B

Oliver's first few appearances weren't good, and we were wondering if he should have retired. But, for the last month, he's been great. Oliver has had big reverse splits: right-handers are hitting only .152 off him, while lefties are hitting .448 against him. That's very unusual for a lefty reliever.

Brett Cecil: A-

He's been great. Cecil is much better against left-handed batters, who he is holding to a .126 batting average, than right-handers, who are hitting .290 against him.

Aaron Loup: C+

He hasn't been quite as good as last year. He's leaving too many pitches up in the strike zone

Esmil Rogers: F

Rogers hasn't impressed me at all. He throws hard, but straight. Major leaguers can hit a fastball that is straight, and they have off him. His 6.27 ERA should have Gibbons thinking twice about calling him into a game.

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