Blue Jay fans love steals. It’s the reason fans clamour for giving Dalton Pompey a chance or to sign Jarrod Dyson or even Trade Kevin Pillar for Billy Hamilton. Unfortunately, with the position player roster almost all but set, it’s not looking like we’ll be getting a lot of steals again next year. Stolen bases are down right now across the league and with record home run numbers it doesn’t look like speed will in demand any time soon. Still I asked myself “Who will be the next Jay to get 20 steals?”
It seems reasonable, it’s not like asking for the next Dee Gordon or Billy Hamilton, just 20 little steals, that’s all. But with steals down (2017 had the 4th fewest steals since 1980 with 1994 and 1981 being shortened seasons) only 17 players had 20 steals or more. Who was the last Jay to do it? That would be Kevin Pillar in his 2015 season where he snagged 25 bases in 29 attempts. Since then, Pillar is the only player on the roster with 20 attempts in a year with him being 15 out of 21 in 2017 and 14 out of 20 in 2016. Could Pillar do it again? Well, his success rate hasn’t gone in the right direction and with his OBP dropping to .300 last year he isn’t exactly looking like a good candidate in his age 29 season. Still he has the best chance on the current 25 man roster though.
How about our new additions Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk? Well, Graderson hasn’t stolen 20 bases since 2011 and his 2017 sprint speed now league average. So at 37 it is quite unlikely Granderson gets 20 steals this year. What about Grichuk? If he could get on base more could get to 20 steals? His sprint speed is up there with Carrera and Pillar and Grichuk said it himself he rarely had the green light and wants to run more. But even if you hope he gets the green light more he previous career high in stolen bases was in High A ball and even that was 16 steals so expecting 20 from him might not be realistic.
So what about in Buffalo, is our hope for a base stealing threat there? Well good news there are a couple of great candidates to bring us some great speed. First off, some serious injury issues would have to plague the Jays infield to get Jon Berti time but in 62 games last year he managed to get 23 steals despite a low .271 OBP. I imagine, since it’s his age 28 season, Berti won’t get a chance in the majors but weirder thing have happened before.
Next up is speedster Roemon Fields. Speed and defense is Fields’ game as seen from his steal totals of 48, 46, 44 and 50. Unfortunately power and low OBP have plagued Fields’ career until 2017 where he posted a .291/.355/.352 line for the Bisons. Having just turned 27 Fields is not exactly a young prospect but he certainly could find his way onto the roster if Pillar is hurt and the front office doesn’t think Anthony Alford is ready yet. Even if that doesn’t happen, another good AAA year could convince management to give him a chance as a bench player in 2019 with Granderson and Pearce up for free agency and Carrera possibly being traded or released this year.
How about Mississauga native Dalton Pompey? As late as 2016 Pompey had 20 steals in 101 games between Bisons and the Jays and has seasons in the minors with 38 steals (2013), 44 (2014) and 28 (2015). Unfortunately health has been a problem for Pompey the last few years with him limited to only 13 games last year due to concussion and knee injuries. Going into his last year where he can be optioned to AAA, the Jays front office will have to decide whether or not Pompey is still part of their plans with an already crowded outfield in AAA. But, if Pompey can be healthy and productive he might force his way onto this roster, if not this year then next year.
My most likely candidate would have to be Anthony Alford. As one of the Jays top prospects Alford has only gotten better with each year finishing with a .313/.389/.433 line across 3 levels in 2017. Atkins stated at the start of the off-season that Alford will start this season in AAA but it would not take much for him to hit his way onto the roster this year. Even then it’s expected Alford will be a starter in 2019 and despite missing time with injuries, he’s still managed to put up steal totals of 27, 18 and 27 over the past 3 years.
Anyways, who do you all think will be the next Jay to get 20 steals?
So who do you think will be the next Blue Jay to get 20 steals?
This poll is closed
It will never happen again, steals are dead, bring on the homers!