While the Blue Jays are known for their prolific offense, the most impressive element of their team is their defense, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com argues. Gammons names catcher Russell Martin, second baseman Ryan Goins, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, third baseman Josh Donaldson and center fielder Kevin Pillar as elite-caliber defenders. Manager John Gibbons believes Tulowitzki’s defense is so great that it cancels out the offensive struggles he has had since Toronto acquired him from Colorado last year. “I don’t care if he doesn’t get another hit all season. His defense is that good,” Gibbons told Gammons. “I’ve never seen anyone who can throw from more angles and positions that Tulo. He’s a big man, but he plays like a little guy. His athleticism is beyond belief,” Gibbons continued. Tulowitzki has indeed been a significant defensive asset throughout his career, and he long paired that with excellent offensive skills as a Rockie. The 31-year-old has hit a paltry .119/.224/.262 with a soaring strikeout rate (28.9%) in 49 plate appearances this season, however, which wouldn’t necessarily be concerning if not for a disappointing .239/.317/.380 output in 41 games as a Blue Jay in 2015.
Here’s more from around Major League Baseball:
- Rangers left fielder Ian Desmond has hit a stunningly poor .109/.180/.109 in 50 PAs and put up a league-worst -0.6 fWAR this year. On his difficulties so far, Desmond says (via John Henry of MLB.com), “Obviously, the results aren’t there. I’ve just missed a couple balls. I’ve made some good in-game adjustments. But I’m trying to evaluate my swing on a daily basis and not necessarily rely on results alone.” It’s perhaps worth noting that, in addition to his weak production, Desmond’s hard contact (16.1 percent) and line drive rate (9.7 percent) have plummeted to career worsts in the early going this year. That’s not particularly encouraging after Desmond experienced a stark offensive decline last season, and what he has given the Rangers certainly isn’t what they had in mind when they signed the ex-Washington shortstop to a one-year, $8MM deal in February.
- Nationals outfielder Ben Revere is aiming to return to game action from an oblique injury by his 28th birthday (May 3), he told Bill Ladson of MLB.com. At the very least, Revere would like to resume baseball activities by then. Revere left the Nats’ opener after he felt pain on the right side of his stomach and had difficulty breathing, and the team then placed him on the 15-day disabled list April 6. At 9-1, the Nationals have clearly held their own without Revere, but he could boost an outfield that has gotten little production from players who aren’t named Bryce Harper. Michael Taylor, Revere’s replacement, has compiled a terrible .154/.171/.231 line in 41 PAs and has already accounted for -0.3 fWAR.
- The Indians aren’t ready to activate right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall from the 15-day DL because he hasn’t performed well enough during his minor league rehab assignment, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. “He thinks he’s pretty close to being ready, and I kind of told him that before he went out [for his latest rehab game], that, ’I’m not trying to be harsh or critical, but when you come back, you’re taking somebody’s job, and you need to be ready,'” said manager Terry Francona. Chisenhall, who hit a meager .246/.294/.371 in 362 PAs last year, is currently rehabbing a left wrist injury in Double-A. When he returns, he’ll join an outfield stable that has prominently featured Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd and Jose Ramirez so far this year.