Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blue Jays Report Card - Part II: The Bats

Lyle Overbay - I'm just not a fan. He never seems to be in sync with the rest of the team, when he gets hot (rarely) the rest of the roster is ice cold, and when you need a big hit he almost always disappoints. I also think his defence is overrated which translates into him being one of the worst first basemen in the AL. Grade: B-

Joe Inglett - The new Reed Johnson: he plays hard, is scrappy, is very easy to cheer for and also has the soul patch thing that Reeder sported. The super-sub, with his play in the outfield and at second base, should have a spot locked up for next year's squad. Grade: B

Aaron Hill - Truly disheartening to see our best young everyday player make an extended stay on the disabled list only weeks after signing a new team-friendly contract. I like Hill's game a lot, both offensively and defensively, and at this point I think the best move would be to just tell him to get ready for next season. Grade: B-

Marco Scutaro - Has a knack for getting the timely hit and has absolutely been more than anyone could have expected. However I still think if he's playing everday that can't be a good sign. But after being asked to play 3 of the 4 infield positions, it's tough to get down on him. Grade: B

John McDonald - He's been awful with the bat (even for him), but I'm willing to give him a pass since Gibby barely played him before he got hurt in May. And Riccardi jobbed him when he brought in Eckstein, a guy that was widely assumed to be washed up. Grade: C

David Eckstein - Another awful signing by J.P. who has now inked Royce Clayton and Eckstein in back-to-back years rather then just going with Johnny Mac full-time and providing continuity to the line-up. If Eck sees another game as DH I'm going to eat my remote. Grade: C

Scott Rolen - It was painful to watch as Gibby religiously stuck by him and batted him in the 3, 4 or 5 hole while his numbers and general plate appearance bore more resemblance to a 7 or 8 hitter in the line-up. But at least the Jays weren't held hostage by all the Troy Glaus HGH questions, because that has really hurt the Cardinals. Grade: C-

Alex Rios - After improving both his home run and RBI totals four consecutive years, Rios will need a ridiculous final two months to keep that streak alive. But when you're (supposedly) being protected in the order by guys like Rolen and Scutaro it doesn't make a lot of sense for opposing pitchers to challenge you. Grade: B-

Brad Wilkerson - A stop-gap player who has done just enough to escape being released (again), but really has no business being on a team with playoff aspirations. I guess that's why he's playing here. Sigh. Grade: C-

Vernon Wells - Getting injured while stealing third in a game where we're up 7-1 left me scratching my head, especially for a guy with only 4 stolen bases this year. Is it me, or does he seem like Jason Spezza with a ball glove: supremely talented, but looks like he would rather have a good time and lose than focus hard and win? Grade: C+

Matt Stairs - A solid addition since joining the Jays last year and his home run power has taken on increased importance in a line-up that lacks anyone close to a heavy hitter. However, in my mind it doesn't make sense to employ an everyday DH, I'd rather leave the spot open and shuffle a handful of guys (Wells, Rolen, Rios, Lind) through the position instead of giving them a full day off. Grade: B

Shannon Stewart - His reacquisition never made sense (a laughable 14 runs scored and 3 stolen bases in 175 AB's), and now with Lind firmly established in left it's adios to Mr. Stewart and his popgun arm. Grade: C-

Adam Lind - Finally found his footing under Cito and has been the Jays best and most consistent bat since being recalled from the minors in June. Lind has only been held hitless twice in the last 24 games and has an outside shot at leading the team in homers despite the fact that he'll probably end up playing only slightly more than half the season. Grade: B+

Greg Zaun - So Zaunie wants out, wants to go to a contender. Has he looked at his own stats, or realized he's 37 years old? Listen Greg, the only way you're going to see the postseason is if Sportsnet hires you as analyst again. Grade: C

Rod Barajas - He's been better than Zaun but I'm not ready to hand over a multi-year contract to a guy who turns 33 in September and has an awful .298 OBP. But his power and throwing arm are a huge upgrade compared to Zaun and he seems to have bonded well with the pitching staff, so I'd try to bring him back on another 1-year deal if he was willing. Grade: B-

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