Troy Tulowitzki's arrival
Troy Tulowitzki had his best game at the plate (so far?) in his very first game after getting traded to Toronto from the Colorado Rockies. A big debut to match a big trade. Hopefully we'll see more of this from Troy in the playoffs.
Although Tulo has not been with the Blue Jays for very long, he's already made quite a few highlights, and it was very difficult to pick one as his top defensive play. Ultimately I picked this one because it shows off both his range and his arm. I can't see Reyes getting to the ball or making the solid throw even if he did get there.
Troy Tulowitzki wasted little time in getting himself his own high exit velocity home run, and this one wouldn't have been out of place in the series of absolute bombs by Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion, as it also topped 110 mph off the bat.
Kevin Pillar's transformation into Superman
Kevin Pillar has been mostly about amazing catches in the field. But how about hitting two home runs in one game off Max Scherzer? I'd say that's pretty good for a glove-first outfielder.
Kevin Pillar has been an ongoing source of defensive highlights, but when it comes to spectacular catches, you really can't leave out these two. And we didn't even show you any of Pillar's amazing baserunning!
Yes, even Kevin Pillar has had a monster shot, although there's no statcast to tell us just how hard it went. Even if it wasn't quite the hardest home run hit in Rogers Centre this year, Pillar hit his shot in an important game against a very good young pitcher.
The Russell Martin signing
Despite the fact that the Blue Jays already had the lead, and therefore this home run did not grant Martin a huge amount of WPA, this is the home run that Blue Jays fans are most likely to remember given the situation and the intensity of the playoff race at the time.
Russell Martin led the league in throwing out runners trying to steal in both 2013 and 2014, and shared that honour with Alex Avila in 2011. He might finally be building up a Yadier Molina-like reputation, though, as he's "only" second in the amount of thieves cut down this year. The reason I chose this particular steal is that Betts, one of the fastest players in the game, has only been caught stealing six times. Two of those were on throws by Russell Martin. Fun fact: Mookie Betts trails only Kevin Pillar and Ben Revere in Fangraphs' baserunning statistic, and we can't ask Martin to throw those guys out, now can we?
Remember when Russell Martin was slumping early in the season? He broke out of it in a big way by hitting two bombs, both opposite field, in a game against the Braves.
Ryan 'frickin' Goins
Have a day, Ryan Goins. One of the most incredible catches of the season and a walk-off home run in just one game. Despite the fact that this was not a game against the Yankees, it is a contender for game of the season for me, personally.
I think David Price might have a new favourite baseball player, and his name is Ryan Goins. Here's one, here's two, here's three and here's four incredible defensive plays Goins made behind Price, which is why, in the clip above (watch it til the end), Price reacts the way he does when Goins makes his fifth great play in support of Toronto's new ace. That look on Price's face is the reason I chose this particular clip, because, realistically, you could have twenty clips of Ryan Goins playing defense in this spot. Scratch that, I think I've counted fifteen contenders in September and August alone.
Ryan Goins might not be a power hitter, but he still hit this ball really hard, a no-doubter to one of the deepest parts of the Rogers Centre. And he did it on my birthday too, so he gets bonus points from me for that. Incidentally, this game was David Price's first start for the Blue Jays. Is there something about Price that makes Ryan Goins play like a star?
Stay tuned for the next part of this series, as it's simply impossible to capture and contain the magic of the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays within one or even two articles.