Blue Jays 2B, Cavan Biggio- Credit: DaveMe Images

Blue Jays & the Need for a Lefty Bat

The Blue Jays had a shopping list heading into the Trade Deadline and a lefty bat was on there. They came away without one and we look at if that’s a problem


Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase

 


The Toronto Blue Jays had themselves a Trade Deadline. It wasn’t as dramatic as the 2015 iteration, but it was pretty cool. They landed Jose Berrios and Joakim Soria in the final hours after adding Adam Cimber, Corey Dickerson and Trevor Richards previously. They checked off just about everything on their shopping list except one: a lefty bat. The question remains whether that was a necessity, or just something that would have been nice, but that they can live without.

 

Imagine the reaction if the Blue Jays had managed to land a lefty slugger like Kyle Schwarber or even a switch hitter like Jose Ramirez. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards and now manager, Charlie Montoyo will need to flex his lineup construction muscles (such as they are) to get the most out of every game.

 

With Cavan Biggio being the only regular left handed hitter – Joe Panik was sent to Miami in the Cimber deal and Dickerson has yet to play and the other lefty is Reese McGuire – Toronto looks to be in rough shape. Biggio is having a rather disappointing season thus far. He had been moved to third base, which was clearly not a good idea. He was also hurt (perhaps longer than we knew), which could also have contributed to his poor offensive performance. But, an OPS of .666 is a) not what we’re used to seeing from him and b) just not good enough.

 

Typically, left handed batters give their team an advantage against right handed pitching, among other things. Let’s take a look at Toronto’s 2021 splits to see if they’re at a disadvantage with their right handed heavy lineup:

 

Platoon Splits
Split PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO OPS
vs RHP 2788 395 675 123 7 120 382 215 599 .789
vs LHP 1070 135 247 53 1 40 125 95 230 .770
vs RHP as RHB 2181 344 544 98 5 107 332 165 477 .822
vs RHP as LHB 607 51 131 25 2 13 50 50 122 .673
vs LHP as RHB 918 129 221 46 1 39 119 80 185 .803
vs LHP as LHB 152 6 26 7 0 1 6 15 45 .563
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/3/2021.

 

Look at the lefty batters’ OPS against lefties: .673. That’s brutal. Digging a little deeper, looking at individual players, we see that Biggio has an OPS vs LHP of .517 (career: .735), McGuire’s is .493 (career .452). For his career, Dickerson’s OPS vs lefties is .713. According to our friends at Baseball Reference, the 2021 average OPS (against all pitchers) for MLB is .722, just to give you an idea. Looking at this, you would think that Toronto would love to have an upgraded lefty to hit against left handed pitching.

 

However, look at the following chart via Statmuse.com:


The surprising reality is that the Toronto Blue Jays are tied for 4th in MLB with a .769 (rounded to .770 by Baseball Reference, I guess) OPS against left handed pitching. We’ll gloss over the fact that they’re tied with Baltimore…

It would seem that the numbers from Baseball Reference better reflect the lefty bats that Toronto has had to rely on thus far in 2021, rather than the overall team need for an upgrade. If anything, this is just another example of the disappointing season Biggio is having. And, you hate to pin it on one player, but he is the most regular lefty and he’s having a down season. If he were putting up numbers that we were used to seeing, an OPS vs LHP nearly 200 points higher.

 

Could the Blue Jays have done themselves a favour by landing a left handed bat? Sure, but it wasn’t something that we should have classified as a need. It would have been great to add some thunder from the left side, if for no other reason than to shake things up and play matchups. But, the reality is that it wasn’t a priority.

 

The Toronto Blue Jays have one of the most productive offenses in baseball and a Trade Deadline move for a lefty bat would have been icing on an already sweet cake.

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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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.