Toronto Blue Jays fans, it’s time to get to know Ryan Goins, the man who will be patrolling your keystone position in 2014. If you don’t know much about him, you’re not alone. Shortstop and double-play partner Jose Reyes almost just went on the DL with a strained neck doing the same double-take.
With no free-agent-signings or action on the trade-market to speak of, GM Alex Anthopoulos is showing a level of faith in Goins that very few envisioned going into the offseason. The boss seems unfazed by the Blue Jays’ 2014 microscope, ready to go into battle with what he has already built. Poker face or not , Anthopoulos’ once upper-echelon-status of rising MLB general managers is in danger of crashing into the unemployment line if the season blows up in smoke.
In only 119 big-league at-bats, Goins managed to impress those who still came out to the ballpark in September, the ones who didn’t completely abandon the bus and hitch a ride to Toronto Maple Leafs training camp. His memorable display on defense, combined with timely yet streaky stints of production, left a positive imprint for the future. The question now becoming, does that performance extend into 2014?
Goins, who was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2009 amateur draft, is a career .273 hitter in the minor leagues, backed up by a solid OBP of .330. This is where the positive-attribute trail turns cold. In 519 games and 2165 plate appearances, the 26 year old has displayed very little power (career isolated power: Slug/.Avg of 0.92) and below-average speed with a whopping 30 career stolen bases.
The Jays are not in need of a world-beater, however, banking on the late-bloomer potential of Goins is not the investment the city of Toronto is looking for. With Munenori Kawasaki better at post-game interviews than knocking runners in, and Maicer Izturis earning every bit of his journeyman label, Anthopoulos and the Jays might just be regulars at the craps tables.