Toronto Blue Jays 2010 Report Cards – Outfield

500 Level Fan continues with our quest to grade the 2010 Blue Jay roster.  Today – the outfield.

First a Toronto HR record, now an A+ grade from FLF (daylife.com)

Note 1: Report Card grades are based on Performance on an absolute basis, vs. the rest of the AL, and vs. Expectations

Note 2: Only players who received a significant amount of playing time are graded (meaning I’m not ranking DeWayne Wise)

Note 3: I am including Adam Lind in this post, even though he was primarily a DH.

Jose Bautista, RF

Production: .260 average, .995 OPS, 54 HR, 124 RBI, 7 errors, .981 fielding %, All-Star

Rank among AL OF (70 OF with 100+ AB): Average – 34th, OPS – 2nd, HR – 1st, RBI – 1st 

vs. Expectations: Average Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 10 HR, 35 RBI, .238 average, .729 OPS.  Blew away all career highs. 

There realy isn’t much to say about Baustista that hasn’t been said.  He shattered the Blue Jay record for HR in a season, set a career high in every major offensive category, and was at or near the top of the league in most categories.  The fact that his average finished at .260 when it was as low as .229 on July 1 speaks loads about his progress as a hitter.  He also showed incredible patience at the plate drawing 100 walks – and shockingly only 2 (2!!!) intentionally.  On top of that he played exceptional defense, finishing second in the league in OF assists with 12 – despite starting 45 games at 3B and one at 1B.  A banner year. 

Grade: A+ 

Vernon Wells, CF

Production: .273 average, .847 OPS, 31 HR, 88 RBI, 0 errors, 1.000 fielding %, All-Star

Rank among AL OF (70 OF with 100+ AB): Average – 26th, OPS – 8th, HR – 3rd, RBI – T9th 

vs. Expectations: Average season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 24 HR, 89 RBI, .280 average, .803 OPS.  Huge bounce back year. 

After being labelled as one of the worst contracts in baseball, Vernon Wells proved that he still had gas in the tank with a huge 2010.  Injuries and slumps had plagued him for the last three seasons, but in ’10 he was back to his early career form.  He ranked in the top-10 in many key offensive categories, and provided an error-free season in CF (though, admittedly, his range factor is far below average).  We had come to expect disappointment from Vernon.  He blew us all away.

Grade: A 

Travis Snider, LF

Production: .255 average, .767 OPS, 14 HR, 32 RBI, 3 errors, .979 fielding %

Rank among AL OF (70 OF with 100+ AB): Average – 40th, OPS – 25th, HR – T22nd, RBI – T47th 

vs. Expectations: Did not have a full season of MLB experience pre-2010. 

On the surface, Snider was a disappointment, but injuries cost him dearly.  After struggling badly last season – to the point where he was sent to the minors – he was expected to be a force in 2010.  But he got off to such a horrendous start (.125 average in late April) that a demotion was being questioned again.  However, on April 29th something clicked.  In a 14 game stretch starting that day he batted .385 with 4 HR, 11 RBI and a 1.187 OPS.  A wrist injuy cost him two-and-a-half months, and he struggled when he returned, but a big September (.289 average, 6 HR) gave us glimpses of his potential.  Essentially Travis finished in the top-25 in the AL in OPS and HR while playing only half a season.  The future is bright. 

Grade: B-   

Fred Lewis, LF

Production: .262 average, .745 OPS, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 3 errors, .983 fielding % 

Rank among AL OF (70 OF with 100+ AB): Average – 33rd, OPS – 33rd, HR – T35th, RBI – T41st  

vs. Expectations: Average season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 4 HR, 20 RBI, .277 average, .775 OPS.  

Lewis came over from the Giants in early April and instantly gave the Jays their first true leadoff hitter since the days of Shannon Stewart.  He was fairly consistent all season long, hitting for contact, and giving Toronto a speed threat on the basepaths (17 SB).  While it’s true he isn’t the greatest defender (below average arm, makes every fly out an adventure), and he might not walk enough to be a great leadoff man (38 BB), he was dependable until foot surgery ended his season. 

Grade: C 

Adam Lind, LF/DH

Production: .237 average, .712 OPS, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 0 errors, 1.000 fielding %   

Rank among AL DH (17 DH with 100+ AB): Average – 14th, OPS – 13th, HR – 6th, RBI – T4th 

vs. Expectations: Average Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 18 HR, 67 RBI, .283 average, .824 OPS.  Far, far below 2009. 

Adam Lind and Aaron Hill are easily comparable.  They both broke out last year, with each winning the Silver Slugger award and setting the bar high for years to come.  Then, they both flopped in 2010.  Lind was especially awful because he didn’t have any injury trouble to blame his struggles on.  After a .305 average, .932 OPS, 35 HR, 114 RBI season in ’09, Toronto’s DH dropped substantially in all categories in’10.  The counting stats were respectable, but not good enough for a full-time hitter.  It’s also hard to have a DH who can’t hit lefties, which he can’t as shown by his atrocious splits: .117 average, .341 OPS vs. LHP.  To be fair, he did have a much better second half (.267 avg, .807 OPS) all while trying to learn a new position 1B.  But if the real Adam Lind is the man we saw in 2010 and not Lind version ’09, the Jays are in trouble. 

Grade: D- 

Up next: the starting rotation.

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