Yangervis Solarte is a big reason the Toronto Blue Jays have started the 2018 season the way they have
The Toronto Blue Jays are off to a much better start than some people thought (and others feared) they would. Heading into play on Tuesday afternoon, the boys in blue sat in second place in the AL East with a 9-5 record. Of course, they missed out on two games in Cleveland, so their record could have been better (or worse). But, as it is, Toronto is competing right out of the gate and we’re enjoying it.
Part of the reason for them competing is the fact that GM, Ross Atkins, built himself a nice little roster with quality depth to cover for injuries that everyone knows were coming. Tory Tulowitzki will be out for a while longer, Josh Donaldson took his shoulder to the DL and Kendrys Morales is nursing his hamstring on the shelf.
If this were last season, injuries to key players would have meant lots of playing time for Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney. That also meant not competing. But, this year is much different, thanks, in large part, to Yangervis Solarte.
When I interviewed Toronto Blue Jays President, Mark Shapiro for the Jays From the Couch Guide to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays (Available on Amazon), he said that fans will be the most impressed by Solarte. He thought that the 30 year old from Valencia, Venezueala would have a big year for Toronto.
Blue Jays fans may remember him from his time with the Yankees and Twins, but it wasn’t until Solarte was sent to San Diego that he really came into his own. Hitting a total of 47 HR, 80 doubles and driving in 198 runs is rather impressive in the context of the Padres team of the last three seasons.
A move to the AL East would certainly benefit the switch hitter’s bat. If he did that well hitting in the NL West, certainly the numbers in Toronto would increase.
Well, to start the 2018 season (numbers accurate as of Tuesday morning), Solarte is slashing .286/.423/.923 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 10 BB. He helped himself out by having another monster game in the first half of the double header against Kansas City, hitting another homer and driving in 4 in his first three at bats. With Tulo, Morales and Donaldson out of the lineup, the Blue Jays need someone to produce and Solarte has stepped up big time.
Already, Solarte’s versatility is showing as he’s seen time at second, third and short stop. He’s been worth a very acceptable -1 DRS over the three positions. Very rarely have Blue Jays fans been able to say that a guy filling in allows you to not really miss those for whom he’s filling in. Now, that’s not to say the Blue Jays don’t need Donaldson, Tulo and Morales back, because they do. But, when the guy filling in produces, it makes the loss easier to stomach.
Aside from his early production, Yangervis Solarte makes it that much more enjoyable by having a passionate, fun loving personality. Seeing his goofy dance in the dugout when a teammate does well, or his crocodile chomp as he heads home after hitting a dinger all make him fun to watch. But, he is a serious competitor as he displayed in his first at bat of Tuesday when he was called out on strikes and ripped off his protective gear.
Yangervis Solarte has become a player that the Toronto Blue Jays are not just better off for having, but one that they have desperately needed for a while now. His versatility provides so many options and his production has relieved the pressure of missing big stars.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Toronto Blue Jays are having the success they are so far in 2018 because they brought in Yangervis Solarte.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.