Brett Lawrie and the Bench
It was disappointing to hear that Brett Lawrie will start the season on the disabled list. After all, this is the shiniest new Jays lineup in quite a while, and it's a shame that it won't be at its shiniest right out of the gate. The growing body of Lawrie injuries start to make one wonder if he's headed for a Cam Neely/Wendel Clark career path: excellent when healthy, but hard-pressed to stay healthy.
As Bill James has observed, staying healthy is a skill, and while it's too early to proclaim that Lawrie doesn't have that skill at just 23, his list of injuries and the fact that he attacks the game like a B.A.S.E. jumper without a chute leave some room for concern.
The heartening fact to take away from this news, is that the Jays will have a competent major leaguer in Lawrie's stead in Macier Izturis.
For the last couple few years, the Jays had John McDonald and Omar Vizquel as backup infielders. Great stories, wonderful individuals, terrific defenders and essentially useless with the bat.
This year, Alex Anthopoulos has provided his team with a serviceable bench. Here are all of the Blue Jays to come off the bench for at least 150 plate appearances over the past two seasons, along with their On-Base-Percentage Plus Slugging, adjusted for the league and park. 100 is average.
Mathis '12 227 71
Gose '12 189 70
Sierra '12 157 74
Vizquel '12 163 49
Rivera '11 275 80
Snider '11 202 65
McCoy '11 228 53
Molina '11 191 104
McDonald '11 182 70
Nix '11 151 49
Aside from Jose Molina's career year, there's not a lot there. Here's what the Jays will have coming off the bench this season, with their adjusted OPS over the past 4 years.
Some caveats apply.
- Derosa might be done at 37, though he's claiming to be fully healthy and did show some pop during the spring.
- Henry Blanco is 168 years old and wouldn't be called upon to carry the lion's share of catching duties, even if J.P. Arencibia gets trampled by a herd of wildebeests Opening Day.
- OPS+ does not take into account the speed of Davis or Bonifacio, which comprises the bulk of their value.
McDonald and Vizquel were fun to watch, but so are mascots. They don't necessarily help the ball club win. With a viable set of reserves backing up a revamped roster, the Jays are better equipped to handle injury than they've been in many years.
Labels: 2013, bench, Blue Jays, Brett Lawrie