The Toronto Blue Jays have the youngest group of place gamers in baseball, and at instances, they very a lot present it. As of late, a few of their younger fielders’ inexperience on the diamond has been clear.
The Blue Jays are solely 18 video games into the 2021 season (with 11% of their common season schedule full), however some disturbing tendencies have emerged within the defensive division. Gamers like Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have struggled at their respective positions.
Particularly with Biggio, who in line with Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Common metric, is in a four-way tie for the worst numbers by a 3rd baseman this season. One other throwing error by Biggio towards the Crimson Sox on Wednesday night time virtually proved expensive, however reliever Rafael Dolis escaped the inning largely unscathed.
Simply because that play didn’t value the Blue Jays the sport doesn’t imply it couldn’t have. It additionally doesn’t imply these performs haven’t value the Blue Jays runs and video games already this yr.
In equity to Biggio, he’s enjoying third base full time for the primary time in his profession, however he hasn’t seemed snug on the place since Opening Day. Easy throws throughout the diamond trigger some followers to carry their breath.
It’s a weird scene to look at as a result of Biggio bounced across the diamond final yr and performed second base admirably for the Blue Jays final yr. However this yr, he’s been extra of a legal responsibility on the sizzling nook than a vacuum cleaner for floor balls.
This previous offseason, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins prioritized run prevention of their pursuit in offseason targets, and so they introduced in a plus defender up the center with Marcus Semien. And whereas it will’ve made all of the sense on this planet to signal Semien to play third base, the workforce gave him his choice of infield positions (other than shortstop), and he most well-liked second base.
Look throughout the Blue Jays infield and there are a variety of gamers out of place or don’t have a ton of expertise below their belt at their spots on the diamond. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has performed 47 profession video games at first base. Bichette has 85 video games within the area at shortstop. And Biggio has 23 video games within the large leagues at first base. They’re “studying on the job” on the highest degree.
However there lies the problem. Whereas defence isn’t simple by any means, the perfect fielders in baseball make five-star performs appear to be routine catches. A strong defensive workforce is extremely underrated, and what the Blue Jays are experiencing proper now could be a spell of inexperience, but additionally a variety of gamers out-of-position.
It’s the easy performs — the routine throws throughout the diamond, the scoops and tosses to first base — these are the performs that must be made. In any other case, the Blue Jays’ defensive miscues will proceed to value them video games.
Within the case of Biggio, is it too quickly to tug the parachute with regard to stationing him at third base? Blue Jays supervisor Charlie Montoyo most likely offers his beginning third baseman a bit of extra rope, however for the workforce’s sake, not an excessive amount of rope. As a result of Biggio is clearly battling the transition from second to 3rd base.
When a throw makes it throughout the diamond efficiently. pic.twitter.com/hihX5M6h73
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) April 22, 2021
In 2019, the Blue Jays had a considerably comparable situation with Gurriel Jr. when he seemed misplaced enjoying second base, unable to make easy throws to the primary baseman. The Blue Jays demoted him to the minors, had him bounce across the diamond, and he ultimately reemerged as a beginning left fielder with the workforce.
Gurriel Jr. appears to have his adventures within the outfield, however appears far more snug enjoying on the outfield grass than within the infield. Maybe a shift off the infield might work wonders for Biggio as properly.
The difficulty with that resolution is the Blue Jays all of a sudden lose the offensive manufacturing from a 3rd baseman and as a substitute flip to certainly one of their bench bats like Joe Panik or Santiago Espinal to take on a regular basis bats on the sizzling nook. That’s tremendous for now because the Blue Jays are working via a tonne of accidents, nevertheless it’s not a viable resolution for a contending workforce.
And whereas Guerrero Jr. is the participant with the largest physique of labor and most up-to-date expertise at third base, as tempting because it is perhaps to slip him again throughout the diamond, the Blue Jays must do every part of their energy to maintain Vladdy proper the place he’s.
Whether or not it’s a case of the “yips,” total inexperience on the place, or a little bit of each, Biggio is “going via it” proper now, and the one means for him to work out of it’s to maintain working at it. Behind the scenes, absolutely he’s taking lots of of floor balls at third, hoping to make these routine performs appear easy.
However for the Blue Jays, it’s not a state of affairs that requires quick consideration, nevertheless it’s one thing to maintain a really shut eye on. As a result of if Biggio and others like Bichette and Gurriel Jr. proceed to provide away outs, the Blue Jays may need some reshuffling to do.