By Jonny Adornetto @jonnyrants on April 11, 2014
After going 5-5 in the first 10 games of the season, things could be a lot worse for the Toronto Blue Jays. With a worse than inferior starting pitching rotation, wins are not easy to come by for a club that is desperate to get out of the AL East basement. However, these five players have managed to help salvage five victories over the past week and a half of baseball. Here's an early season ranking of the Jays' top five performers.
Alex Anthopoulos' flipping of the script on his club's catching situation has paid off. Although his current batting average of .257 doesn't quite impress, the fact that Dioner Navarro has only struck out once in 35 at bats so far this season says a lot about his solid approach at the plate. Navarro has also exemplified great defense while behind the plate and continues to show why he is a clear upgrade over former Jays' catcher J.P. Arencibia.
Like Navarro, Jose Bautista's .233 batting average isn't anything to crack a smile at, but the Jays' centerpiece is enjoying a decent start to 2014. The right fielder currently leads the AL with four home runs alongside teammate Melky Cabrera. Bautista is also leading all of Major League Baseball with 12 BB. Bautista is clearly a pitcher's nightmare as they continue to issue free passes to the heavy hitter rather than gamble by throwing strikes.
Maicer izturis has 10 hits in just 26 at bats so far this season, good enough for a solid .385 average. He has made his way up to the second spot in the batting order, setting the table for the likes of Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
Mark Buehrle is the lone bright spot coming out of the Jays' starting pitching rotation. While everyone else continues to go through the motions, Buehrle finds a way to get the ground balls he needs to get out of sticky situations. Buehrle is enjoying a 2-0 start with 14 Ks in his first two starts. If the Jays hope to stay afloat in the AL East, they need the rest of the starting rotation to take a page out of the book written by Buehrle.
It's not easy to fill in for someone like Jose Reyes at the very top of the batting order. However, much to everyone's surprise, Melky Cabrera has done just that. The left fielder has 15 hits in 45 at bats from the leadoff position in 2014 with four of those knocks clearing the outfield wall. Cabrera is a completely different player now that he is seemingly healthy, and the Jays are in a much better spot when he is on his game.
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