Blue Jays hit home runs, so why do they struggle score runs?

The Toronto Blue Jays are in the upper half of the league in home runs, yet this team struggles to score runs…

 

When you think about the type of baseball the Toronto Blue Jays play, home runs are typically front and center. Me too and why not? Jose Bautista became every Blue Jay fan’s favorite when he mashed 50 plus home runs what feels like an eternity ago. Josh Donaldson clubbed his way to an MVP with Toronto in 2015.

 

Chicks Dig…..

 

Everyone loves the fireworks generated by Blue Jays teams of yesteryear. That’s right, yester ‘freaking’ year. After hitting 232 home runs in 2015 (1st MLB) and 221 home runs in 2016 (4th MLB), the Blue Jays currently sit 12th in Major League Baseball with 151 home runs.

 

Toronto hit 1.43 home runs per game (HR/G) in 2015, followed by 1.36 HR/G in 2016.

 

How many HR/G are they hitting in 2017 without Edwin Encarnacion? Without a healthy Josh Donaldson? With a declining Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki, and Russell Martin?

 

1.36 HR/G

 

ISO

The Blue Jays continue to live and die (more die this year) by the long ball. Despite hitting dingers at the same pace, they find themselves near the bottom of the league in runs scored. Like 25th bottom of the league.

 

During their two playoff runs of 2015 and 2016, the Blue Jays didn’t just hit home runs, they posted excellent ISO thanks to their ability to hit extra base hits.

 

In 2015, the Blue Jays finished 1st in both ISO and extra base hits. They finished the year with a .188 ISO and 557 extra base hit. The team wasn’t able to duplicate their 2015 numbers but still managed to finish near the top of the league in both categories in 2016.

 

The Blue Jays, now a year older, experienced a 52 extra base hit drop in 2016 from their 2015 numbers. Rather than leading the league, Toronto finished out of the top 10 at number 11. The club still managed to post an impressive .178 ISO which was good for 6th in the majors.

 

At the time of writing the Toronto Blue Jays are 111 games into the season. The team is 7 games under .500 with a record of 52 and 59, 10.5 GB of the American League East leading Boston Red Sox, and 3rd from last in the American League.

 

Toronto’s ISO continues to slip in 2017. The Blue Jays currently hold a .169 ISO which places them 15th in Major League Baseball. Not great but not San Francisco Giants .131 bad either.

 

Extra Base Hit

 

The Blue Jays ability to hit home runs has allowed them to hold a respectable ISO but their inability to hit for extra bases is why Toronto is 25th in the league in runs scored.

 

Sure we can blame the injuries or blame it on Aaron Sanchez for basically missing the entire year or Marco Estrada for not being Marco Estrada for two months. I agree. All those factors are part of the equation; however, I still point my finger to the offense and their inability to hit for extra bases.

 

Through 111 games, the Toronto Blue Jays sit at 23rd with just 329 extra base hits.

 

The 2015 season saw MVP Josh Donaldson collected 41 doubles. He was helped out by 31 doubles from Edwin Encarnacion and Kevin Pillar.

 

The 2016 season featured four players with 30+ doubles, Pillar (35), EE (34), Michael Saunders (32), and Donaldson.

 

This season Pillar leads the club with 25 doubles and is on pace to hit 37 doubles. Pillar is followed by Bautista, Kendrys Morales, and Devon Travis with 18 and Smoak at 17. We know Travis isn’t likely to return until the end of the month….if we are lucky, so he isn’t going to reach 30. Bautista hit 7 doubles in July. Even if he hit 7 in each of the final two months he would reach 32 on the season and this would be the high water mark. The problem here is that Joey Bats only hit 2 doubles in June, so we just don’t know. Morales is in the same predicament as Bautista.

 

Conclusion

 

It appears that our Toronto Blue Jays have gone from a team that hit home runs and extra base hits to a team that relies too heavily on the long ball.

 

We keep hearing how the Front Office wants to get younger and more athletic. This would go a long way to helping the Blue Jays offense in 2018.

 

 

*Featured Image Credit:- Rob Lockhart cUNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.

Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.