There’s a line from the movie ‘Major League’ where Harry Doyle (aka Bob Uecker) says “that’s all we got, ONE GOD DAMN HIT!” When I hear that the Blue Jays had all of five triples last season, I’m reminded of that classic line from Major League.
There was an article in the New York Times last week titled ‘Where have all the triples gone? (Don’t ask for them in Toronto)’. People say the game is changing. And it is…teams these days swing for the fences rather than trying to make things happen on the bases. This is unfortunate. Baseball is such a difficult game as it is, that you need to take advantage of every means possible when it comes to generating offense. And this includes not neglecting stealing bases or legging out triples. One of the most exciting things for me in baseball is seeing a speedster run the bases. Forget home runs. Any big leaguer can hit the long ball. I want to see more players with speed that beat-out infield singles and hit triples on a regular basis.
The Blue Jays five triples in 2017 should be a huge red flag of the direction their offense is heading. Toronto seems to have it in their head that the only consistent way of scoring runs is to blast home runs. This belief couldn’t be more wrong. A solid line-up isn’t one filled top-to-bottom with power hitters, but one with a balance of hitters that provide speed, power, and contact. The power, power, and more power approach just doesn’t cut-it, especially when your line-up doesn’t possess the power it once did.
What upsets me about the Blue Jays lack of triples (in addition to other speed/hustle related statistics) is that they’ve been making excuses for how few triples they’ve been hitting. I don’t care how good outfield arms are getting, how efficient outfielders routes to the ball are, or that Rogers Centre isn’t conducive to hitting triples. When you hit five measly triples as a team in one season, there’s a serious problem. Last year alone, 22 players had more than Toronto’s total number of triples. During the Golden Age of Blue Jays baseball while at Skydome in the early 90’s, they had seasons where they hit 45 (1991), 42 (1993), and 40 (1992) triples.
The good news for Blue Jay fans is that Toronto has an incoming crop of young, athletic, and decent running players who should find themselves in the big leagues soon enough. An offense that includes Anthony Alford, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette surely wouldn’t have five DAMN triples.