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I Take All the Blame: Jays Hitting by Position

Other than a slight uptick in slugging, the Jays team hitting wasn't really any different in August than in any other month.  The Jays continue to rank highly in team defense (Baseball Prospectus has them 4th in baseball in total defensive efficiency), and they continue to pitch great both from the starting rotation and the bullpen, so let's take a look at how the hitting breaks down. 

Position        |             Jays            |         League Average Production

C                     .248/.315/.396               .258/.322/.393

1B                   .267/.359/.402               .266/.346/.439

2B                   .277/.337/.381               .283/.339/.411

3B                   .248/.340/.376               .269/.339/.433

SS                   .266/.337/.337               .266/.316/.372

LF                    .252/.321/.378               .268/.338/.436

CF                    .280/.323/.440               .270/.335/.413

RF                    .284/.340/.437               .278/.357/.453

DH                    .228/.325/.377               .256/.341/.435


As you can see, the Jays are average at Catcher.  They get above-average production at Centerfield, thanks to Vernon Wells' greater power than the average player manning his position.  At all other positions, the Jays' production has been below-average, and at many of the positions, well below-average.  The biggest differences are at 2nd base (32 OPS points below average), SS (34 OPS points below average), 3rd base (56 points below average), and DH (74 points below average!).  Since the Jays are getting above-average defensive production at SS and 3rd base, those differences are somewhat more forgiveable (though 3rd base hurts).  But the Jays, a team built around pitching and defense, simply have to get better production out of their DH spot if they are to compete.  If they are going to sacrifice offense for defense at positions like 3rd base, the Jays have to at least approach average production at the spot where hitting is all you do. It's not clear (and unlikely to be clear based on September) whether Travis Snider is ready to play everyday, but it's hard to imagine him putting up worse numbers than Jays DHs have done thusfar.

Some of the fixes are easy - the Jays can get above-average production at leftfield just by playing Adam Lind there for an entire season.  At SS, the Jays have to decide whether they can stomach far-below offensive production at the position.  At second-base, third-base, and first-base, the Jays will be depending on the health and return to form of Aaron Hill, Lyle Overbay, and Scott Rolen (Joe Inglett has done a very nice job fillin in and is a great backup option).  But these numbers are not pretty.

Thanks to Calgary's very own Tegan and Sara for today's title.