Many smart and calm people are quick to point out that the Jays, despite all the hand wringing, sport a decent record and continue making a decent account of themselves in the AL East.
The offense, powered by the One Man Gang, is the only aspect of the team that rates evenly slightly above average. The pitching is middle of the road (with the bullpen ahead of the starters) and the defense is merely adequate.
Merely adequate isn't all bad, when the litany of injuries and Encarnacioning is considered. The Jays manage to put out a league-average defensive club at worst for most nights. Comically early as it is, I thought I'd take a look at how the advanced metrics view the Jays so far in 2011 with some commentary of my own to follow.
I cut off the innings played limit at 45 to, um, ensure John McDonald was included. Science!
Safe to say EE isn't a very good defender at third base. SHOCKING, I KNOW. Whoever could see that coming when the team shoehorned him in there with a week remaining in spring training? WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE?!?
Okay, with that out of our systems, we can move on. John McDonald, good at things! There is some slight disagreement regarding his play at third base but the sample is so tiny as if to render it useless. Short and second show his skills once again. Does that mesh with our collective view of John McDonald? I'd say so.
So Jose Bautista is good at baseball. Even baserunning! His legendary throwing arm is stuff of, err, legends. It also rates slightly behind Eeyore Rivera according to both Dewan and UZR. That is...less believable.
Both systems value Rivera's defense highly, mostly on the strength of his arm. His range might be negligible but his arm seems accurate and his release quick. Hard to ask more of a guy brought in to be Not Vernon Wells.
Both systems cast Yunel Escobar in a negative light with UZR fingering his lackluster range as the culprit. I can't say I disagree with this too strongly. He's fun to watch but I think we might see him at third base before all is said and done.
The Travis Snider number really distresses me. He looked so good out there this year, limiting extra bases and showing off the great work he put in during the offseason. Luckily, this is a tiny enough sample size from which I can cherry pick the numbers that suit my agenda.
On an unrelated note: Rajai Davis just isn't that good.
Any other thoughts on what you see here or the Jays defense in general? The Gordie Dougie crowd can rest easy in knowing that even if the Jays bring up Lawrie and he's terrible, he won't be worse than the alternative!
I'd like ot know your best (yet most realistic) defensive lineup if the Jays had a one-run lead to protect in the 9th. Do your worst.