The Blue Jays Hit Like Albert Pujols

USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have been slightly disappointing offensively to date; they aren’t doing any better than one of the greatest hitters of all time.

Blue Jays fans are well aware that their favorite team hasn't been as strong offensively as expected in 2013. Injuries to Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie plus an ugly bottom of the lineup have turned a dangerous offense into an average one. This isn't news and more importantly it isn't a very interesting description of the Blue Jays' hitting this season. I figured a more interesting way to go about describing and understanding the Toronto Blue Jays offense would be to find the most comparable players to the Blue Jays' team stats. Essentially what I'm doing is personifying the aggregated performance of this offence. First is the most basic question.

Which Hitter Most Resembles this Blue Jays Team?

I'm afraid I had to give this one away in the headline, but it's just too good to withhold. Personally, I was blown away to note that the most comparable hitter to the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays was none other than Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. It says a great deal more about the struggles Pujols has had than what the Blue Jays have accomplished, but it still has some mind-bending effect. Below is the comparison between the Jays and Pujols:

Player

AVG

OBP

SLG

Isolated Slugging

wRC+

Albert Pujols

.242

.314

.418

.176

96

All Blue Jays Hitters

.252

.316

.416

.164

99

Pujols hits for a little more power and a little less average, but these lines are incredibly similar. Of all the years to have a whole team hit like Albert Pujols this is literally the only one that won't win you a World Series basically automatically. However, the one issue with this comparison is that the Blue Jays do not have a similar approach to Pujols, they are less patient and strike out more. This got me looking at plate discipline stats and led me to my next more specific question...

Which Hitter has an Approach that Most Resembles this Blue Jays Team?

After spending literally minutes mining through plate discipline data I was far less blown away to discover that the most comparable hitter to the Blue Jays team in terms of approach is the forgettable Omar Infante. When I think of Omar Infante's approach at the plate nothing in particular comes to mind, which figures given that Blue Jays have a very eclectic mix of patient hitters and absolute hackers, averaging out to very unremarkable plate discipline stats. Below is the comparison:

Player

O-

Swing %

Z-

Swing %

Swing%

O-Contact%

Z- Contact%

Contact%

Swinging Strike%

Omar Infante

29.7%

61.0%

45.3%

65.0%

90.8%

82.3%

7.9%

All Blue Jays Hitters

29.9%

63.8%

44.8%

68.8%

87.3%

80.4%

8.6%

The Jays swung and missed a little bit more than Infante, but I'm sure that can be blamed largely on Arencibia. It is kind of bizarre to see the Blue Jays plate discipline profile match up best with a guy who is more or less a contact hitter. The Infante comparison troubled me so I moved onto batted ball stats to see if I could find a name that struck me as a better personification of Blue Jays hitting...

Which Hitter has a Batted Ball Profile that Most Resembles this Blue Jays Team?

Looking at the batted ball data I came up with another name I did not expect, but can easily believe, old friend Lyle Overbay. Despite starting hot with the Yankees this year, Overbay seems fairly deep into his decline. He has been worth -0.6 WAR since 2010 so any comparison to the current version of Overbay is not a flattering one to say the least. Here's what Overbay looks like compared to your 2013 Toronto Blue Jays in terms of batted ball profile:

Player

Line Drive%

Ground Ball%

Fly Ball%

Infield Fly%

HR/FB

GB/FB

Lyle Overbay

19.7%

42.8%

37.5%

7.0%

14.0%

1.14

All Blue Jays Hitters

20%

42.4%

37.6%

11.1%

12.2%

1.13

The sad thing is that the only major difference between the Blue Jays and Lyle Overbay in batted balls is that the Blue Jays are popping up more and hitting home runs less. Other than that these lines are eerily similar.

Overall, this is more of a fun exercise than anything of substantial analytical value. If there is a conclusion, it is the player that hits most like the entire Jays lineup put together is some aggregation of Albert Pujols, Omar Infante and Lyle Overbay. Being a huge fan of fake names I would probably dub this player "Lomar Overjols" but there is a lot of comic gold there and I'm going to leave it to you guys to expand on that. The Blue Jays have been an approximately average offensive team this year with potential to do a lot better when they overcome some injuries. So far they've had to settle for Pujolsian offensive output. Hopefully they don't have to settle for that for long. Those two sentences just haven't come up very often in the last decade.

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