In past years, the Blue Jays became a team enamoured by the long ball. With respect to their offense, home runs were their bread and butter, all the while, fundamentals like bunting, stealing bases, and sacrifice flies fell to the wayside.
The Blue Jays of 2018 are thankfully getting back (at least a little bit) to the fundamentals in order to have a more balanced offensive attack. Sure they’re still 4th in the majors in home runs, but they’re expectations on the players, especially the younger ones, are far greater than they’ve been in a long time when it comes to doing the little things right.
Players on the Blue Jays are learning the hard way this season that if they can’t master the art of fundamental baseball, they may just end up back in the minors. Although Toronto doesn’t utilize the bunt all that often, you better be sure if you’re a speed player such as Dalton Pompey, Anthony Alford, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., or Richard Urena that you can lay down a quality bunt if you’re asked to do so.
The same thing goes for defense. The Blue Jays organization is so loaded with young talent these days, that if they bring you up and you fail to provide big league level defense on a daily basis, they’ll just as quickly send you right back down to the minors in exchange for another of their many prospects.
This tough love approach may not seem like the best way to coax the best out of their players, but what it does is make perfectly clear to Toronto’s younger players that if they aren’t quite ready for the big leagues, the Blue Jays won’t be keeping them around for long. It’s a way for the Blue Jays to hold their players accountable for their play and development. Hopefully they respond positively to this firm approach and become better players in the long run.