What do the first 6 Blue Jays spring games mean? Well probably nothing really but still lets discuss it a little! Early in spring you will often see most of the regulars play in home games and then a few guys along with some minor leaguers on away games. This really does not set the table for an accurate read on performances as many regulars even when starting might only see a handful of at bats and pitchers are only pitching 1-2 innings.
Still small sample sizes allow us to react strongly in both directions!
Melky Cabrera – 5 hits with 3 doubles in 11 AB’s. After a poor showing in 2013 it has been great to see a little difference in Cabrera. The guy had a tumour on his spine for most of 2013 which caused him to run really slow and look terrible in LF. He looks healthy, he has been making great contact and seems to run significantly better, not great but better. This is more like the guy they want hitting in the #2 spot.
Jose Bautista – 2 monster HR’s, 2 doubles, 2 walks. Bautista has looked really locked in at the plate, in his first few games. Timing is a huge part of his game and hopefully he can stay locked in and have a great April. Also it is great to see that he looks healthy and recovered from his season ending injuries. Home Runs, extra base hits and walks is what Bautista is all about and so far he has delivered.
Brett Lawrie – 5 hits in 10 AB’s with 2 doubles. Lawrie will be a big part of the offense and its great to see him have a nice start to the spring. He has been playing nice defense overall minus a little blunder. He probably exceeded his red bull limit that day.
Drew Hutchison – 4 K’s, 1 hit, 0 BB in 2 IN. Hutchison is my personal choice for the 4th spot in the rotation as I mentioned in my Spring Review. In his first 2 innings he reminded everyone why he got called up to the bigs at 21. He was in command, did not give walks and showed his dominance. Hopefully we see more of this in the coming weeks.
Chad Jenkins – 3 games, 2.1 IN, 0 hits, 0 BB, 2 SO. Jenkins almost no shot at making the team but you have to like what he has shown so far. Not a bad option to have in the pen for a spot start if needed. Nice to see him do well as I highlighted him as a deserving candidate who will probably not get a shot.
J.A. Happ – 2 starts, 1.1 IN, 6 hits, 5 BB, 6 ER. This is not the type of start that inspires confidence in Happ. John Gibbons and AA have been pushing the Happ propaganda hard, this is not the Happ they have been selling. So 4 outs in two starts and 11 runners on base, that’s what you call a poor showing. He appears to have the 4th spot locked down but if he can’t find himself before opening week he might find his way in the pen. Again I hate to be right here but the Jays can do way better than Happ.
Pitching – The pitching overall has been pretty poor over the first 6 games allowing 31 BB vs 45 SO and has an ERA of 6.24. This also does not inspire confidence after a 2013 that saw them near the bottom of the league in team ERA. We will get a better idea in a few weeks as the top starters get more innings and the minor league guys leave camp but the first week was no kind. Most of the guys who will be counted on have been good to okay.
Jose Reyes – 2 hits with 1 double, 1 CS. I don’t put much weight in a slow start from Reyes as he has been making contact with only 1 SO. Additionally it was nice to see him attempt a SB even if he did get thrown out. You have to cut a guy like Reyes some slack but still a .167 AVG in week one is pretty poor.
Like I said at the start, a few early spring games mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Some of these positives and negatives might hold true but Happ could very well shine the rest of the way (doubt it) or Hutchison could get lit up in his next start. Either way it still is fun to watch spring games and run your mind a little on how the final 25 man roster will unfold.
Here are a few predictions for the last few weeks:
Todd Redmond gets DFA before opening day
Maicer Izturis gets traded to make a spot for Chris Getz (wishful thinking?)
Dustin McGowan wins a rotation spot to everyones surprise and then gets injured before opening day
Ryan Goins only gets 4 hits all spring and still wins the 2B job
Sergio Santos gets traded before opening day, please be Happ instead!
Most of those are a little out there but I might get the Redmond one right