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The Season that Was: Emilio Bonifacio


Emilio Bonifacio was part of (a big part of, if you believe Shi Davidi and John Lott) the trade with the Marlins.

I was really looking forward to watching him play. He had 30 steals, with just 3 caught, in 64 games with the Marlins in 2012. Speed guys are fun, Alex wanted to make the team a little more 'athletic'. We heard that time after time. Of course, I don't know why being strong and able to hit the ball a long way doesn't make you athletic, but that's an argument for another day.

We were pretty happy to have him. And our prediction thread was pretty much a love in. I figured he'd hit:

100 games (maybe more if Gibbons likes him better than Davis as a pinch runner), .270/.340/.390, 5 home runs, 40 RBI and 55 steals. I also predict that Buck Martinez will drive us crazy mispronouncing his name.

As a Jay he hit:

2013 28 94 282 262 33 57 16 1 3 20 12 6 13 66 .218 .258 .321 .579
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Then he was traded to the Royals and hit:

2013 28 42 179 158 21 45 6 2 0 11 16 2 17 37 .285 .352 .348 .700
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

That pretty much describes our season, a bunch of guys that forgot how to play ball when they put on a Blue Jays uniform. Fangraphs had him at a 0.6 WAR in total, but didn't separate it by team. Baseball Reference did, they had him at a 0.1 WAR with the Jays and a 1.2 WAR with the Royals.

Combined he had a .312 BABIP, pretty close to the .325 he put up in 2012.

Emilio walked less than he did in 2012 ( 6.5%, down from 9.1) and struck out more (22.3%, up from 19.0).

He hit more line drives (19.9%, up from 16.6), fewer ground balls (53.5%, down from 57.7)  and more fly balls (26.6%, up from 25.7%). More of his flies left the park (3.8%, up from 2.2) but still not enough to be of interest. The kind of interesting number, in 2012 he was successful bunting for a base hit 52.4% of his tries, in 2013 he was successful 20.0% of the time (and I'd guess most of the times he was successful it was with the Royals).

A switch-hitter, he hit RHP (.247/.294/.355 with 3 home runs) better than LHP (.231/.295/.273 with 0 home runs).

He hit .230/.264/.331 with 1 home runs at Rogers Centre. .305/.376/.329 with no home runs at Kauffman Stadium. And .231/.286/.348 with 2 home runs on the road.

With RISP he hit .220/.253/.297.

By month Bonifacio hit:

April: .179/.222/.313 with 4 RBI  in 67 at bats.

May: .250/.266/.368 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in 76 at bats.

June: .172/.209/.428 with 2 RBI in 64 at bats.

July: .308/.400/.500 with 1 home run and 3 RBI in 26 at bats.

August: .270/.343/.348 with 8 RBI in 89 at bats.

September: .286/.343/.327 7 RBI in 98 at bats.

We traded him on August 14, for what turned out to be cash. You'll note that he had a pretty good month, with the bat, in July before the trade.

Defensively? Man, he was awful for the first couple of weeks, as a Jay. He seemed to make an error every game, at the season start. He did seem to settle down, but by then the damage was done, he made a very bad first impression as a fielder. As a Blue Jay second baseman he made 7 errors for a .973 fielding average, a little worse than the league average of .984, but then not horrible. Between the two teams, Fangraphs had him at a 0.9 UZR/150 at second base, about average. I thought he was looking better as time went on.

In the outfield, they had him at a -8.2 UZR/150.

I don't know why he was so awful early in the season. I have a hard time believing it was just before of the speed of the ball on the turf, but I don't know why the team wouldn't have a similar infield somewhere at their spring training home, so that players could get used to how the ball bounces.

The Jays were 34-36 in games Emilio started for them, better than the 40-52 they were without him starting.

His longest hitting streak was 6 games, that was as a Royal, he had a 5 game streak in August with the Jays.

His favorite team to face? Well, he had 3 great games against, you guessed it, the Jays, after the trade. He hit .364/.417/.636. He hit .308/.357/.538 against the A's.

Least favorite? He hit .135/.179/.243 in 12 games against the Red Sox.

No surprise, Fangraphs has him as a much better than average on the bases, putting him 5.7 runs better than the average base runner.

Honestly, I don't know what went on with him. It seems like things started badly and then it was hard for him to pull out of it. Noah tried to figure it out. As bad as he was, I thought the club gave up on him a little quickly, they wanted him for a long time and then gave up on him after a 3 bad months. And they gave up on him way to quickly at second base, at least in my opinion. He was less awful than Maicer Izturis defensively (hardly high praise) and his bat seemed to be coming around too.

It seems like that the Jays really wanted Emilio Bonifacio and Josh Johnson, in the trade with the Marlins and were happy enough to take Reyes, but took Buehrle to make the deal work. Now all the have left to show from the big trade is Reyes and Buehrle.

He seemed like a good guy and a good teammate, and there were flashes of the player we had hoped he'd be, but unfortunately, those flashes were too few and too far between.