Even though the Blue Jays offense struggled for long stretches last season, the team still managed to make the post-season on the strength of their starting pitching. Although the 2017 rotation consists of the same personnel it did towards the end of last season, due to injuries to J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, and Francisco Liriano, Toronto’s starters haven’t been there to pick-up the slack for the lagging offense to the same extent as they were last year.
I wish I could write nothing but positive articles that focus on all the good things the Blue Jays are doing rather than the bad. But the thing is, Toronto’s offense is starting to stagnate just like it did so often in 2016. And if they don’t start hitting soon, it’s going to be extremely difficult to salvage anything of this season in the second half.
The most frustrating part is, we know this team can hit because they did so in May when they had a .263 AVG (this compared to the .228 in April and .249 in June). What made their performance in May even more impressive was that they were doing so without Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Steve Pearce, and Russell Martin.
So why is it that a line-up consisting of so many of Toronto’s bench players and minor leaguers was able to do so much more compared to when all the starters are playing? Is it a personnel thing and Toronto just doesn’t have the hitters to get the job done at this level? Are their internal issues we haven’t been hearing about that are keeping the players off their game? Or are the Blue Jays just not going about their preparation as well as they could be when it comes to hitting?
Back in 2015, the offense clicked because there was a healthy balance of contact hitting, power, and speed. These days however, with power hitters like Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, and Troy Tulowitzki not being the same hitters they were even just two seasons ago, it’s creating a serious problem with the offense as Toronto continues to lean on these players every bit as much as they did when they were much bigger contributors.
It would be wonderful if Martin and Tulowitzki could start hitting like they did back when they were young studs in the National League. As nice as that would be, we have to be realistic though. In the three seasons that Martin and Tulowitzki have played with the Blue Jays, they’ve hit for a combined .239 AVG. From an experience and defensive perspective, Martin and Tulowitzki are leaders on this ball club. Offensively speaking, they are not.
Despite what we’ve been seeing from this team, they can hit. Or at the very least, they can hit a whole lot better than what they’ve been showing. I find it hard to believe that so many experienced/all-star caliber players can’t dig deep and figure out a way to get a little more production at the plate.
Whatever factors are contributing to the abyssal performance of the Blue Jays offense, they need to figure it out soon, because it’s been going on far too long now. If they don’t, Toronto will continue to be dominated by starting pitchers that have no business doing so, and we’ll be forced to endure this weak brand of baseball.