More than this weekend's series win against a very good Angels squad, we were brought out of our prolonged funk by watching the play of Travis Snider throughout the series.
Given how quickly Snider ascended through the Jays' system, it is easy to forget that he'll be just 22 years old on Opening Day next year. But when you observe the manner in which he is maturing at the plate by leaps and bound, it's hard not to get excited about his potential over the next six seasons.
In particular, Snider's new-found willingness to take close pitches and to lay off breaking balls thrown on the inside part of the plate will help him immeasurably going forward. While he's still going to be a hitter who will strike out a lot, his willingness to take a walk and to work the count makes us think that he'll end up more along the lines of a patient, high average and high OBP hitter like Lance Berkman, and less like am all-or-nothing wailer like Mike Jacobs.
In his six games since the recall, Snider is posting a 1.121 OPS (.455 OBP, .667 SLG) with two homers, five runs scored and four walks.
And amazingly enough, Snider's managed to escape from the very bottom of the order on a couple of occasions, which gives us a vague sense of hope that Cito Gaston isn't going to stifle his development in the way that he did other significant prospects towards the end of his last tenure in Toronto.
The RR Cool Jay RoY Chase
Ricky Romero had a nice solid outing on Sunday, dropping his ERA to 3.91 for the season. At present, he's posting an identical 11-5 record to fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Jeff Niemann of the Rays, while Niemann has the edge in ERA (3.71) and WHIP (1.30).
In the past month, Romero's walk rate has gone up significantly, pushing his WHIP to 1.40. For RickRo to go over the top of Niemann, he'll need to keep his walks down while hoping for a few disaster starts from his counterpart.
And conveniently enough, the Jays face Niemann and the Rays tonight. If this Blue Jays team has any self-respect, they'll light up the Rays' tall righthander and help their teammate's RoY candidacy that much more.