In order for the Toronto Blue Jays to have a bounce-back season after a disappointing showing in 2013, it would be an understatement to say that everyone in the lineup needs to produce on a daily basis. However, for one player in particular, a career year is very much in order if the Jays want any chance of playing playoff baseball come October.
Melky Cabrera, who currently owns a batting average of .434, is enjoying a fantastic Spring Training and the Jays hope he can transfer this early success into the regular season, which starts on March 31 in Tampa Bay. Cabrera stayed hot at the plate on Saturday afternoon as he managed to dominate the pitching of the Detroit Tigers. The native of Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic went 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI, and showed that he is still very much worthy of a spot toward the top of the Jays’ batting order.
On paper, the Jays arguably have one of the best top halves of any batting order in MLB. They possess speed, power and a lot of experience. The one thing they are lacking is consistency. This is where Cabrera can make a huge difference, assuming he will be batting in the second spot of the order. He may not hit a ton of home runs like those who will be hitting behind him in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but Cabrera has the ability to make solid contact with any pitch thrown his way. This is exactly what the Jays need in order for the likes of Bautista and Encarnacion to have someone on base when they are up to bat, and for Jose Reyes to turn on the jets and score a run all the way from first base.
If Cabrera is swinging a hot bat, others will follow suit. Coming off of a disappointing season where he went down with a couple of injuries and was forced to shut things down, Cabrera is looking to finally make some noise in Toronto. This is something that everyone was looking forward to when he agreed to sign a two-year deal with the Jays worth $16 million. If he can consistently spray the ball in all areas of the ballpark, those who hit in front of him and behind him will be successful as well. Cabrera is truly the x-factor within the Jays’ batting order, especially if he is responsible for holding down the always important two-hole in the lineup.