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We kick off our three-part Jays preview with a look at a couple of offense-related questions.

Feel free to chime in with your own opinions in the comments.



Adam Lind will break camp as the first baseman and cleanup hitter. How long do both of these arrangements last. If you were the manager, what would your plan for 1B/Lind be?

Update: A minor injury late in camp has derailed this slightly, and it looks like thereís a chance Lind could hit fifth behind Encarnacion.

Anders: Lind has put up a wRC+ of over 100 once in five major league seasons; there have been lingering injury concerns, but that is, as they say, not good. If the Jays would platoon Lind with Encarnacion that would alleviate some of my concerns, but that pretty much makes Ben Francisco the DH so itís not a huge win. Lind should really be hitting below Brett Lawrie, Encarnacion and probably Eric Thames at this point.

John Northey: I think the two go together pretty much.  If Lind can hit like he did in the first part of last year then he is a great cleanup hitter.  If he canít hit well enough to hit cleanup then he shouldnít be in the lineup anyways (1B who canít hit well enough for the middle of the order really donít belong as regulars).  Plus, of course, lineup effects are minimal compared to playing the right guys in the first place.  So if I was GM Lind would hit, and probably in the cleanup to start but Iíd evaluate at the end of April (gotta give a guy a shot).  

Matthew E: I donít mind giving Lind the whole season, unless heís obviously terrible, in which case Iíd cut bait on him by the All-Star break. I might move Bautista to first and put Snider in right, if I had to replace Lind.

Alex Obal: Lind gets the first-base job until (a) he has a six-week stretch with an OPS below .700, or (b) someone forcibly removes him. And that Ďsomeoneí could be the general manager.

Gerry: I think Lindís recent back injury helps the team here.  Lind will get a day per week off in April and EE will cover first giving Davis or Francisco a chance to play.  I assume Lind will ďrestĒ against a lefty pitcher. Once April is done the plan depends on how well Lind is hitting.  I assume he will hit OK against right handed pitchers and if he is not hitting lefties I would start a platoon with EE with Davis/Francisco/Vizquel covering DH.  I do think Lind will hit well against right handed pitchers.  Even though the Jays havenít questioned his performance Lind knows it was a problem.  He even admitted he had to work out this winter.  The big issue is his hitting versus lefties.  That is the plan B I have in my pocket.

Thomas: An interesting decision will arise if the Jays are hanging around the AL East and/or wildcard leaders at the end of May and Lind has been poor, but not awful. How long is Lindís leash and does its length depend on how well Snider is doing in Vegas? For the record, I think this scenario is very plausible. And, in response to Matthew, if Lind is moved or benched, I shift EE to first and Thames to DH. His solution is probably the long-term one, but I donít move Bautista mid-season.


Eric Thames has won the starting Left Field job. Weíve discussed this ad nauseum, but is it the right choice? Should the Jays trade Snider as a result?

Obal: Thames might be my favorite non-pitcher on the team, so Iím thrilled to see him get a chance to play every day.  

John Northey: Thames has done enough to keep it for now I think.  Snider has too many holes (shown by his strikeouts) at this point in my opinion.  Iíd be ready to bring him in, but Thames is the better choice for now.

Matthew E: Itís not the obviously wrong choice. I wouldnít trade Snider unless it improved the teamís talent configuration... but then, thatís true of anybody. As for Thames, I donít expect him to be quite as successful as last year, which may open the door for Snider if the Jays think heís playing well enough. And then weíll see.

Gerry: I am on the record as saying it is the best move.  I do think Thames will hit well in 2012.  I believe Snider needs time in AAA to be successful for an extended period and to make sure his new swing is fully embedded.

Anders: I donít know, truthfully. I donít want to give up on Snider, and heís still just 24, but where is he ever going to play for the Blue Jays? Anthony Gose is going to be the Jays starting CF by the middle of 2013. I think Bautista eventually moves to first base, but even if he does Rasmus and Thames will still be in the picture, not to mention Jake Marisnick and Moises Sierra. And what happens if Sniderís mashing in AAA in June and Thames is an average player? This is a right shmozzle, and the only way out may be to trader Snider for 50 cents on the dollar.  


Brett Lawrie over/under: .875 OPS/27.5 HR/25.5 SB

Matthew E: Under. This year.

Anders: I love Lawrie, but lets say .850/25/20.

Thomas: Over, Under, Under.

Gerry: I have to go with the under.  Anders numbers look good.

Obal: I will cop out. Iím guessing consolidation year, and if thatís what we get, Iím content. However, I wonít be shocked at all if he goes ballistic.  

John Northey: Iíll go with .900/30/20 - so over/over/under (have I said Iím an optimist?)


The Blue Jays 5 best hitters in 2012 will be (in order):

Thomas: Relative to position it will be Bautista, Lawrie, Yunel, Rasmus and Johnson.

Anders: Joey Bats, Lawrie, Yunel, Kelly Johnson and E5.

Obal: Ö each individually better than the Marinersí best hitter.

John Northey: Iíll go with Bautista, Lawrie, Encarnacion, Thames, Rasmus

Gerry: Bautista; Lawrie; Thames, EE and Lind

Matthew E: Going out on a bit of a limb here. Bautista, Rasmus, Lawrie, Encarnacion, Johnson. Iíd like to get Escobar in there but I suspect the others will be ahead of him.


The Blue Jays scored 743 runs in 2011, the sixth best in baseball (5th in the AL). How does this number change? (Either total runs or relative to league).

John Northey: More runs!  More, more, more!!!  Iíll go with 800 for 4th in the league.

Gerry: Better but not amazing, 782 runs.

Thomas: 767.

Matthew E: The total number goes up slightly, to 750, 760, but they slip to 6th in the league.

Obal: I want to take bets on whether total offense goes down yet again this year.

Anders: I agree with Alex. Offense in 2010 was the lowest in 15 years, and 2011 was significantly below it. I think the Jays position relative to the league stays about the same, but Iím going to predict a slight bump overall, and say that lands the Jays at 775.
2012 Blue Jays Preview: Offense | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
85bluejay - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#253668) #
Mlb Trade rumors is reporting that Joey Votto and the Reds are close to an extension - I'm happy for both Votto & the Reds but especially for AA & the Jays - not a fan of what it would have taken to sign Votto and AA doesn't have to hear the Toronto media & fanbase get into a frenzy about signing Votto - I'm a happy camper
bpoz - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#253670) #
JPA was not chosen in the top 5. Is this because he will get about 150 ABs less?
If he hits 27HR & 85RBI how should he be evaluated? Even if he does not do that, how does 27HR & 85RBI get evaluated? Lets say KJ is good but does not get these numbers because it is not his style in that JPA is the stronger power threat.
Chuck - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#253671) #
how does 27HR & 85RBI get evaluated?

Better to look at rate stats OBP and SLG than at counting stats. A 27/85 year can seduce you into overlooking some harsh truths.
Thomas - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#253672) #
My two unders on the raw stats in Lawrie's case are both a hedging on a sophomore slump and a recognition he has a heightened risk of injury.
Chuck - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#253673) #

hedging on a sophomore slump

Which is a sound general strategy for 2nd year players. It's tempting to ignore that Lawrie's rookie season was all of 150 AB. He wasn't around long enough in year one to have to make adjustments to pitchers who had altered their approach, so we didn't even get to see a "fair" rookie season.

The sky is the limit for Lawrie. No question. But there will be hiccups along the way.

Mike Green - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#253674) #
Left-field was bizarrely weak in the AL last year, while first base was very strong.  Normally, those two positions will be pretty comparable.   Anyways, I'll take Thames over Lind. 

.875 OPS would have placed Lawrie within a nose of Beltre for the best among AL third basemen last year.  Anyways, Lawrie goes .300/.365/.500 with 20 homers and 17 steals in 575 PAs in 2012.  It earns him a berth on the All-Star team.

AWeb - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#253678) #

My $0.02:

Lind - Platoon him to start, and bench him if he can't outhit EE's career numbers versus RHer's. With a long-term lingering back isue, the Jays can also probably get away with extended "benchings" using the DL if they need to manage the roster that way. Bautista should stay in the OF this year.

Thames - if the team thinks it's best, then I'll give then the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he can turn in a few Garret Anderson type seasons, which can be very useful.  Snider could make a damn useful bench player though, since he can play all 3 OF spots, and even steal a base or two. Next year, maybe that's his role if he doesn't force his way to the starting job.

Lawrie - a lot depends on the league offense levels, but I'll take the overs. In the past 12 months: killed AAA, starred in MLB, and has destroyed Spring Training.

Best 5 - Bautista, Lawrie, Encarnacion, Escobar, Thames

Total Runs - Up to 785. Dropoff by Bautista can be offset by Lind and Hill not wasting 1000 PAs. Note that I'll assume Johnson is at least passable and Lind is either decent or replaced by someone who is. Throw out Patterson's 330 PAs too, I'm hoping the Jays have a higher internal replacement level than the slop they tried last year. In 2011, LF got a .677 OPS, CF a .596 OPS, 2B a .634. Move those to .750, .700, .725 (hardly optimistic), and the offense vastly improves. The 2011 offense was a perfect example of the type of good offense that should also be easy to solidify and improve. 

92-93 - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#253680) #
Shmozzle? Is that an anglicized attempt at Yiddish? If it is, the context doesn't work at all.
92-93 - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#253681) #
I sure hope Matthew is right on the offense, because if Yunel is our 6th best hitter this team will make the playoffs.
Anders - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#253708) #
Shmozzle? Is that an anglicized attempt at Yiddish? If it is, the context doesn't work at all.

Well clearly it is in some derivation; I'm going more with the Urban Dictionary definition (which isn't appropriate for a family website).


Mike Green - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#253716) #
Back in the day, it usually was spelled something like schemazel, and it was something you could say at a family Friday night dinner without offending anyone.  Kids these days.
Parker - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#253721) #
Wasn't schemazel (or however you spell it) featured in the lyrics to the Laverne & Shirley theme song?

Since this is a baseball forum though, I might as well throw out a couple predictions:

-Thames hits for a higher OPS than Lawrie this year (not because Lawrie sucks - an .850 OPS seems plausible - but because Thames takes a big step forward. If he doesn't get hurt, he'll hit 45 doubles, 30 HR and get on base around .340)

-David Cooper finishes the season as the team's primary DH

That should flush all the crazy out of my system for now.
greenfrog - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#253724) #
Eric Thames hit 308/385/535 in the minors. Deducting fifteen percent across the board (the majors are hard), we get 262/327/455. That seems about right. I could see him doing a bit better than that, though.

Gazing into my crystal ball (I like to rely on hard science), I see Lawrie hitting 285/350/480.

I think Bautista is going to take a step back, but still have a good year: 280/360/550.
greenfrog - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#253725) #
Joey Votto, now Matt Cain, possibly Cole Hamels...seems as though most of the pending top-notch FAs are coming off the market. I guess it's a natural consequence of baseball being so flush with cash at the moment.

It could be interesting in a few years when these high-priced players get a bit older. Some of these long-term deals will work out well, but others aren't going to look so appealing down the road. Meanwhile, the value of good young cost-controlled players is just going to go up and up.
Sano - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#253735) #
1. Adam Lind will break camp as the first baseman and cleanup hitter. How long do both of these arrangements last. If you were the manager, what would your plan for 1B/Lind be?

I'm not so much of a believer anymore. I think the back and Lind's inconsistency will lead to a trade or platooning with EE by mid-May. I think Gerry's probably right that this will be done officially through giving Lind more "rest." I think that AA might make a concerted effort to see what he can get for Lind on the market, especially if he has a hot start to the season.

2. Eric Thames has won the starting Left Field job. Weíve discussed this ad nauseum, but is it the right choice? Should the Jays trade Snider as a result?

Right choice, don't trade Snider just yet. His value is about as low as it can get right now anyway, so no harm in holding onto him a little longer to see if he can rebound at AAA.

3. Brett Lawrie over/under: .875 OPS/27.5 HR/25.5 SB

Over. I'm a believer.

4. The Blue Jays 5 best hitters in 2012 will be (in order):

Bautista, Lawrie, Johnson, Escobar and Encarnacion.

5. The Blue Jays scored 743 runs in 2011, the sixth best in baseball (5th in the AL). How does this number change? (Either total runs or relative to league).

I think a full season of Escobar and Johnson setting the table for Bautista means an increase of about 20 runs by itself. Combine that with Lawrie, Rasmus improving (hopefully, I don't have high standards) and a full season of Thames (no more Patterson!) will mean the Jays are in the 760-790 range.
earlweaverfan - Monday, April 02 2012 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#253745) #
Lind gets one day off per week, and DH's another day per week, and they take special care of his back, and so he avoids serious injury and has a much better year than we are all expecting - not as good as 2009, but much better than the average of the last two years.  He will lay off bad pitches and take more walks.  EE switches with Lind in the clean up spot, much of the time, but not all of the time, and this will prove to be a positive move for Lind, who will find the reduced stress to be very gratifying.  As a happier guy, he will play better.

Thames has a break-out year, becoming the hitter he was going to be before injury reduced his draft slot.  His defense will play alright for left field.  Snider will have a strong year in AAA, and some GM may make a play for him, making AA an offer he may find it hard to refuse.  Whether he does take it or not, will depend on whether AA is building for 2013, or finding that last piece for 2012.

Lawrie will be over, under, under.  He will be held back by Management from going full tilt boogie, every game, so his stolen bases will be kept in check.  If he does not, he will injure himself, pushing down his SB and HR totals, anyway.  But he will show himself to be a pure hitter, day-in, day-out.

The five best hitters in descending order of OPS will be:  Bautista, Lawrie, Thames, EE, Lind.

Total runs will be at or will exceed 810, just to make John Northey look risk averse.

(Bring on the pitching, so I can look much gloomier, as I forecast the future of Brett Cecil.)




ColiverPhD - Tuesday, April 03 2012 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#253755) #

I think that Lawrie will be a bit under in all three regards for the following reasons:

1.  This is his first true "go-around" in the league.  He will hit peaks at times...he will hit valleys at times.  Just about all young players do so.  Nothing to worry about.

2.  Lawrie plays hard...very hard.  Due to this, he may be conducive to injuries.  I am looking at a 135-140 game season for him.

uglyone - Wednesday, April 04 2012 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#253880) #
"Adam Lind will break camp as the first baseman and cleanup hitter. How long do both of these arrangements last. If you were the manager, what would your plan for 1B/Lind be?"

As much as I'm bitter that Lind gets a free pass in this city for his horrendous performance the past 2 years, I still believe that he has the talent to be a very good hitter. I really don't think he should get any extra rope if he's struggling, though, especially if the likes of Snider/Cooper are ripping up Vegas.

I'd go with him as long as he hits, pretty much. But I'd say both Lind's and EE's spots in the lineup will be under serious pressure from Lawrie and Thames, and I'm not convinced that they can outhit the kids to hold them off.



"Eric Thames has won the starting Left Field job. Weíve discussed this ad nauseum, but is it the right choice? Should the Jays trade Snider as a result?"

It's funny, after all the hue and cry about Snider not being treated fairly, turns out that Thames had a better spring than him anyways.

Spring Training Numbers:

Thames (25): 64ab, 6bb, 14k, .359avg, .408obp, 578slg, .987ops
Snider (24): 48ab, 5bb, 17k, .271avg, .340obp, 625slg, .965ops

And, of course, while Thames has been older at every level, he's also outhit Snider at every level they've played at - MLB, AAA, AA, and A+. And while he's been older, he also missed 2 crucial development years at ages 20-21 which really set him back.

I think it's obviously and easily the right choice, especially considering that even with his hot spring, Snider was still King at a ridiculous 30+% rate.


"Brett Lawrie over/under: .875 OPS/27.5 HR/25.5 SB"

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Lawrie actually steals more bases than he hits home runs this year. I say he comes in between 20-25hr, but up at about 25-30sb.

as for an .875ops, that's pretty high. I like an .850 call. but hey, wouldn't be surprised to see him eclipse .900.



"The Blue Jays 5 best hitters in 2012 will be (in order):"

1) Bautista
2) Lawrie
3) Thames
4) Johnson
5) Rasmus



"The Blue Jays scored 743 runs in 2011, the sixth best in baseball (5th in the AL). How does this number change? (Either total runs or relative to league). "

Goes up significantly in total runs, and while the rank won't change much, they'll be much closer in total runs to the top few teams than they were last year.



2012 Blue Jays Preview: Offense | 18 comments | Create New Account
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