Predicting the Toronto Blue Jays’ Top 5 Offensive Producers in 2014
Top 5 Bats For Blue Jays In 2014
Although they're not favored to occupy the top of MLB's American League East division, the Toronto Blue Jays have one of the more interesting skill-sets when it comes down to their batting order. The Jays have both speed and power, a combination of characteristics that can undoubtedly prove deadly for opposing pitchers on any given day inside any given ball park.
The question is, can a team that underachieved on a great level last season manage to string together some consistent performances to help silence their many critics and show the baseball world that they are indeed an elite lineup? It will be that level of consistency that will eventually set them apart from their very talented AL East counterparts. The Jays will need to be dynamic in all facets of the game, and because their pitching staff will most likely be average at best, it will all have to start with their high-powered offense.
This doesn't just involve the club's big names everyone knows and loves. This is about having both the newbies as well as those in need of a breakout season not only step up to the plate, but step their game up as well. There were too many underachievers in 2013, and if a certain few can't find their game during this upcoming season, the Jays may very well be dismantled by the end of it.
Playing baseball in October can't be a dream for the Jays. It needs to become a reality. They have the talent to play deep into the fall season, especially on the offensive side of the baseball. Here is a prediction for the top five offensive producers for the Blue Jays in 2014 that will help them in their quest to play in the fall classic.
5. Dioner Navarro
Let's face it; at this point anyone is a better option than J.P. Arencibia. When the Jays brought in Dioner Navarro, they were looking for someone who can not only make solid contact with the baseball but someone who will also take a smarter approach at the plate than Arencibia did. Arencibia struck out a total of 148 times last season and only managed to put up a batting average of .194. For the Chicago Cubs, Navarro managed to bat .300 and only struck out 36 times. He is no doubt an upgrade at the catching position, and he will provide some solid pop towards the bottom of the batting order.
4. Edwin Encarnacion
Don't expect Edwin Encarnacion's numbers at the end of this season to mirror the monster stats he put up in 2013. However, he will still be an important and productive offensive power in the middle of the lineup for the Jays. Expect Encarnacion's home run total to decline but his overall RBI total could very well grow. If those who are ahead of him in the batting order stay healthy, he will be driving in runs all day long.
3. Colby Rasmus
When Colby Rasmus returned from injury late in 2013, he all of a sudden went home run happy. Rasmus has a sweet stroke and has the ability to drive the ball into the right field seats whenever he takes the plate. Expect a huge season from Rasmus in regards to his offensive numbers. He may also make a push to eventually bat towards the top of the order rather than the bottom, which has been his home for a number of years.
2. Jose Bautista
The Jays have the luxury of having some serious pop in the middle of their batting order, and it all starts with Jose Bautista. Joey Bats has one of the most electrifying swings in all of baseball, and if he can stay healthy and actually finish off the season without being sidelined, the sky is the limit for the native of the Dominican Republic. Bautista entered spring training in fantastic shape, and it looks as though he is poised to regain some of that home run magic we have all seen over the past couple of seasons.
1. Jose Reyes
Without Rajai Davis in the lineup, the Jays need someone to step up their game in the speed department. Jose Reyes still has the ability to steal at least 40 bases, and if he stays healthy there's no reason why he can't be a threat on the base paths for the Jays on a daily basis. Not only will Reyes make his mark by stealing bags -- expect his run production to be up as well. He has some fantastic hitters in Bautista, Encarnacion and Melky Cabrera who bat behind him and can drive him in for a run on any given at bat. If Reyes can play over 140 games for the Jays this season, expect some monster numbers out of the speedy veteran. No, he's not going to hit the same amount of home runs that Bautista most likely will, but his intelligence in the running game will pay dividends in a different way.