The Players’ Choice: Jose Bautista Bats Leadoff for Blue Jays

As the Blue Jays begin a 4 game series, the players have been granted a request to select their lineup and Jose Bautista leads off.

 

The Toronto Blue Jays are beginning a series in Minnesota on the heels of a sweep at home by the Tamp Bay Rays. The first two games of that series saw the Rays score a total of 25 runs. This comes after a series in Texas where the team took part in a good old fashioned hootenanny. Suspensions, struggles and downright frustration have been the tone of the last couple of weeks. In these times, perhaps a shake up is in order.

That is exactly what is happening this evening.

 

Jose Bautista will hit in the leadoff spot for the first time this year. It is not the first time the Blue Jays have used him there, but it is the first time that something so drastic has been required since this all world offense was assembled. But, it has not lived up to that billing, so perhaps the time is right.

Likely, the key here is that Bautista has the eye of a computer when it comes to the strike zone. His ability to walk is arguably the best in baseball. Despite hitting .222 on the year, he is walking at a rate of 19.2% with 35 in total already. His .374 OBP basically speaks for itself. In 105 games leading off throughout his career, Bautista has 112 hits, 19 HR, 78 runs, 54 BB and an average of .264. His OBP is .356.

Perhaps what is more interesting about this is the way it came about. Apparently, the players have been looking for a shake up for a while.

 

This is far more intriguing than who actually leads off. It gives us a glimpse into the clubhouse a little bit. If this came up a week ago, and it is an idea worth trying, why did it take so long? The club has been struggling for a while, especially at the plate. Why did John Gibbons not fill this card out a while ago? Now, that is not to suggest any kind of discontent or contention between players and the manager. Not at all. But, those who would have Gibby’s head job would pick up on that as a sign that he’s “lost the clubhouse”.

Instead, DeMarlo Hale, as acting manager (while Gibby serves his suspension), is the one to put the players’ wishes into action. It will be interesting to see if it works. It will also be interesting to see if Justin Smoak in the cleanup spot and Troy Tulowitzki batting 6th is going to produce. I would be remiss if I did not point out that Russell Martin, who was one of those requesting the lineup, is batting 8th. It would be easy for him to let his ego demand something more. But, he’s not that guy. He also knows how much he’s struggled this year.

 

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

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Shaun Doyle

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.