Fourteen games into the 2011 baseball year, and I have no clue what kind of team the Toronto Blue Jays will be this season. Perhaps I'm exaggerating the point... but am I alone in wondering what the on-field philosophy is with this club, and whether there currently exists the personnel to execute?
Focusing on the offence - this year's club was expected to follow (largely) in the footsteps of the 2010 Jays - a team of rakers with power to spare. Standard "sample size" caveats apply (as they do throughout this post - but what else is there?), but more often than not we've seen empty swings where we might otherwise have seen loooooong fly balls. A pedestrian 12 HR through the first 14 is the end result.
"Offsetting" the reduced power is the increased focus on the running game (cringe). Last year's leadfoots now lead the league in swipes with 19. What? And that's without much contribution from expected burner Rajai Davis.
Travis Snider is the living embodiment of whateverthefuck is going on with this offence. Billed by many (guilty!) as a breakout power threat..... he's belted one (1) home run to go with his five (5!) stolen bases. And who's ol' Lunchbox tied for the team lead in stolen bags with? Aaron Hill.... to accompany his zero taters. Well, at least Adam Lind is mashing enough to cover. No he's not, he's got one. Which beats Edwin's longball production by one.
What the what?
This is the point where I correct my own nonsense and say "it's early". Speaking specifically to Snider's slow - let's use "slow", OK? - start, Sportsnet's handy broadcast graphics tell me he seems to be developing a pattern (Vernonesque, perhaps) in opening his seasons poorly, and I still have confidence he'll warm with the weather, as they (?) say. That crazy HR/SB ratio (not an official stat) will work itself out, as will Jose Bautista's timing.... which hasn't reaaaaly seemed to be there since taking the A's series off.
The power strokes will come around. If I can take away one concern from the first two weeks, it's that the promise of increased aggressiveness on the basepaths has gone completely insane. And while it's exciting as all hell to watch, running into outs..... not so much.
So keep running, Blue Jays. But let's be smart about it can we? And feel free to mix in a few home runs while you're at it.
Not so much to ask, is it?