Toronto Baseball Guys
Sunday, March 31, 2013
  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.


                       PA    OPS+
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.
 
Derosa     87
Davis      89
Blanco     84
Bonifacio  83
Izturis    99


Some caveats apply.

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.

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