Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why the Jays aren't in first...the offensive part

Welcome back...after a busy NHL playoff season working sales for a Stanley Cup finalist followed by relaxing over at Lynx Stadium and actually catching Jays, and so many other teams', games on TV. Great game to catch on Sunday, I actually turned to my friend during the 2nd or 3rd inning and stated "McGowan looks filthy today"...good call...too bad my opponent in the pool had him.

So as of Thursday, these stats were compiled in trying to see why the Jays aren't better than they should have been. In taking a look at the offense (the problem spot as per expectations, it doesn't take long to figure out why). There are four positions where the Jays vastly under performing as per the expectations and even last season's performances.

  • Catcher: With the injury to Zaun, the Jays have sent Jason Phillips ( -4.8 VORP) for the bulk of at bats. When Zaun has played, his numbers have been disappointing as he has only managed a VORP of -2.4. Last season both Molina and Zaun had VORPs over 15, hopefully Zaun regains his form as he comes back from the injury but the lack of a capable backup has hurt the team offensively.
  • Left Field: The Jays lost half of their platoon in LF this off-season and the injury to Reed Johnson has not helped things. While they managed a combined VORP over 20 in LF last season, this season it is under 0! Adam Lind has had the majority of at bats and is a -4.1, in his limited ABs Johnson provided 1.1 VORP and Matt Stairs has over performed offensively in his at bats at LF and 1B. When is Reed back? The spark he brings to the top of the lineup is missed and Lind just needs more seasoning in AAA.
  • Centre Field: Vernon Wells has been a bust since receiving his big contract, last season he had a VORP of 58.5, this season it's a VORP of 5...meaning by the end of the year he'll be approximately 45 VORP lower than he was last year...he needs to pick up his game, let's hope a move to the leadoff spot will help.
  • Designated Hitter: Frank Thomas was expected to bring a spark to the lineup but has instead managed to get a VORP of only 5...not quite the improvement the team was looking for. Here's the good news, at this time last year the Big Hurt was not playing and his numbers were .239/.356/.522. His numbers after June 21st? .228/.375/.395, obviously he needs to start slugging (which he has with 2 home runs in his last 3 games) but he's still drawing a lot of walks and at least getting on base.

What's interesting will be to see how much their stats improved after a great weekend that pushed the team into second place in the division, can they get a 4 game winning streak tonight?

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