The anticipation amongst Toronto Blue Jays fans had reached it’s pinnacle when spring training finally commenced some two weeks ago. Fans north of the border were frothing at the mouth to see the newly acquired Blue Jays pimp their new spring training uniforms. They waited patiently through the doldrums of the Canadian winter to see the likes of Jose Reyes, R.A Dickey, Josh Johnson and Lance Zawadzki.
Yes, that’s right Lance Zawadzki. What you hadn’t tabbed good ol’ Lance in your fantasy draft? You weren’t aware he is earmarked as the Blue Jays opening day second baseman? OK, I might be exaggerating just a little on this one, but in all seriousness Zawadzki is turning heads in Dunedin with his hard-nosed play to date.
In the winter move that went unnoticed Alex Anthopoulos signed Zawadzki to a minor league deal in mid-December after he was granted free agency by the St. Louis Cardinals. The signing at the time I assume was for minor league depth in triple A Buffalo.
The 27-year-old Zawadzki was drafted three times before finally signing with the San Diego Padres in 2007. He had a cup of coffee in the major leagues with the Padres in 2010 after Everth Cabrera went down with an injury. In his debut, Zawadzki batted .200 in 20 major league games before returning to the minors and has not played in the majors since. In his 20 major league games Zawadzki played three infield positions manning second, third and shortstop.
Zawadzki has spent the last four spring trainings with a different team, but this may be his most impressive spring yet. In nine games with the Jays, Zawadzki is batting .462, 1.303 ops and six hits, which includes a grand slam and a stolen base to his credit.
It’s doubtful that Zawadzki will maintain his torrid pace or even break camp with the big club, but he has definitely put his name in the conversation. There is no question Zawadzki will be making the quick trip from Buffalo to Toronto at some point this summer.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.