Jays From the Couch compares Toronto Blue Jays 2nd base situation to their American League East counterparts
The Toronto Blue Jays have a rich history of very good second basemen. The keystone baton’s been passed from Damaso Garcia to Nelson Liriano to Roberto Alomar. Unfortunately, after Alomar Toronto struggled to fill the void at second. The ‘Alomar Void’ was momentarily filled by Homer Bush before Orlando Hudson stabilized the position between 2002 to 2005. The emergence of Aaron Hill made Hudson expendable, resulting in a trade for Troy Glaus.
Aaron Hill gave Toronto a power bat in the middle of the batting order, but inconsistency forced the front office to move in another direction. Trading Hill and fan favorite John McDonald for Kelly Johnson was not the right direction.
From 2011 to 2014 the Blue Jays ran out the likes of Emilio Bonifacio, Ryan Goins, Jonathan Diaz, Kelly Johnson, Mike McCoy, Munenori Kawasaki, Mark DeRosa, Steve Tolleson, Omar Vizquel, and Maicer Izturis. Then came Devon Travis.
Thank you, Anthony Gose.
Devon Travis has the potential to be a very good player for the Blue Jays. He can hit for average, he’s shown he can hit double-digit home runs while handling himself very well in the field.
How does Devon Travis stack up against other American League East second baseman?
The above table shows Boston Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia remains one of the best second basemen in the game and in the AL East. After 2 downs years, thanks to injury, Pedroia re-established himself as a threat scoring ALE best marks in WAR, wRC+, and OPS.
Toronto’s Travis, struggling to remain on the field again, wasn’t able to match the power numbers of his competition. However, he managed to finish near the top of all other sabermetric stats. Travis’ injury issues in 2016 can be used to explain his low HR and RBI totals.
The offense a second baseman provides can be offset by poor defensive play. A good defensive second baseman can stabilize the right side of the infield. How did Devon Travis’ 2016 defense stack up against AL East projected 2017 second baseman?
Toronto’s Travis put up the 2nd best defensive numbers. Once again Boston’s Dustin Pedroia shows why he’s destined for Cooperstown. Tampa Bay’s Brad Miller played his 2016 season at SS and 1st with zero games at 2nd, his numbers are the worse of the bunch. Yankees Starlin Castro continues to see his defensive metrics decline, while Schoop provided the O’s league average D in 2016.
2017 Offensive Projections
The table below was put together utilizing 2017 projections from Fangraphs.com (Depth Chart, Streamer, Fans, and ZIPS).
It appears that Devon Travis is projected to miss more time in 2017. Depth Chart projects Toronto’s second baseman to miss about 60 games while Fans expects Travis to finally put the injury woes behind him with 133 games. Regardless of how many games Travis will miss in 2017, the projections clearly place the Blue Jays second baseman near the top of the AL East.
Pedroia is expected to put up Pedroia type numbers in 2017. Miller is expected to split his time between 2nd and 1st with his power numbers coming down. I feel like those projections are too cautious. Miller should hit close 30 HR again in 2017 but will also see his K% grow.
Baltimore’s Schoop is projected to repeat his 2016 numbers while Yankee’s Castro is projected to regression again.
Toronto Blue Jays
Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins will provide the Blue Jays some insurance if Devon Travis struggles to remain on the field in 2017.
Top Middle Infield Prospects- Richard Urena (SS) and Bo Bichette (SS/2B)
The O’s will have veteran Ryan Flaherty backing up Schoop
Top Middle Infield Prospects- Ryan Mountcastle (SS) and Irving Ortega (SS)
Tampa Bay Rays
Top Middle Infield Prospects- Willy Adames (SS) and Adrian Rondon (SS/3B)
Boston Red Sox
If the ageless Dustin Pedroia 2016 number fall back to his 2013 and 2014 numbers, super Brock Holt will be happy to take over 2nd for the Red Sox.
Top Middle Infield Prospects- C.J. Chatham (SS) and Josh Tobias (2B)
New York Yankees
The Yankees farm system is set to explode in the next year or two. Until the next wave of prospects to reach the majors the Yankees will turn to Ronald Torreyes if any of New York’s infielders are lost for any length of time.
Top Middle Infield Prospects- Gleyber Torres (SS) and Jorge Mateo (SS/2B)
Toronto fans will have the 2nd best keystone in 2017. Health will determine how productive Travis will be and if he can elevate his game enough to unseat Pedroia as the AL East’s best keystone. Toronto will see a steep decline in offensive production if they need to rely on Barney and Goins for long stretches.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem
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