Thursday, May 24 2012 @ 12:08 PM EDT
Contributed by: John Northey
Just was thinking about where the Jays are weakest so far and where improvements are needed so far in 2012.
Using sOPS+ (OPS+ vs the rest of the league at that position) we see the following...
- 2B - 113, Kelly Johnson plus an 0 for 8 by Vizquel
- DH - 111, Encarnacion (138) dragged down by Francisco (58) & Lind (-2) and 20 PA by others (Bautista, JPA, Lawrie, Thames, Vizquel)
- CA - 106, JPA & Mathis
- RF - 100, Bautista & 5 PA by Francisco & Davis
- 3B - 98, Lawrie & Gomes, Encarnacion, and Vizquel (19 PA total for those 3)
A bit surprised at how good 1B looks, but that is thanks to Encarnacion and how he has continued to hit while playing there. Thames in LF isn't that far off of league average for LF, which is a surprise as is Rasmus in CF being in eyeshot.
- SS - 89, Escobar & Vizquel (8 PA)
- 1B - 88, Lind, Encarnacion (135 sOPS+), and 13 PA by Bautista, Gomes & Vizquel
- LF - 88, Thames (93) & Davis (76) & Vizquel (1 PA)
- CF - 88, Rasmus & Davis (14 PA)
Clearly the offense is not amazing but also not as far from solid at all positions as it seems somedays. SS/1B/LF/CF all being so tightly bunched in sOPS+ was a surprise. However, if Encarnacion is moved to 1B full time then a real DH must be found. The Jays advantage is they could find a LF or DH or 1B and have it work, sadly that is due to Encarnacion and Thames both being poor defensively.
What about pitching you ask? They do list sOPS+ for starting vs relief which can be an indicator. The starters have a sOPS+ of 97 against (here a low number is good) while the relievers are at 111 (yikes). Morrow is at 65 (average hitter against him looks like Lind vs other first basemen), Romero 86 (average hitter looks as bad as our SS/1B/LF/CF situations). Drabek & Alvarez are 104/105 which is respectable, a bit worse than league average. Hutchison...well...129 thanks to an ISO of 195 (when they connect they really connect against him).
The pen is a bit extreme... Oliver at 47 (wow), Perez 74, Frasor & Janssen 85, Carreno 94 - these are the guys doing better than the average reliever. Villanueva is at 108 which is OK for your 6th/7th man. But our 2 closers...ugh...Cordero at 173 and Santos at 186 is much, much, much worse than planned - they make everyone look as good as Bautista was the past 2 years. Crawford moves to a new level of suck at 244 (Barry Bonds level).
Clearly there is dead wood here. Crawford isn't ready for prime time, Cordero you hope comes back and has shown promising signs lately. Santos is hurt and should improve a lot once he is healthy (we hope). Hutchison might need more AA/AAA time to learn how to keep away from the power centers of hitters.
Right now I'd say the clear need is a slugger for one (or two) of 1B/LF/DH - Snider could be the answer but at this point I doubt it. Another starting pitcher would be nice (Darvish...if only Rogers would've opened the pocketbook) but it would need to be a kid who has 3+ years of control and has shown ace ability which is always very hard to find. Janssen has taken over the closer role and with Santos returning at some point I'm not too worried about the pen. So one or two hitters and an ace for the rotation...hrm...haven't we been hearing that for about 9 months now?