2015 Recap: Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays (93-69, first in AL East)
The Blue Jays fell short of winning it all, which was what they were going for when they acquired David Price and Troy Tulowitzki.
They didn’t play particularly well in the postseason despite being the trendy pick to win it.
They won two games against the eventual champions the Kansas City Royals, but it really wasn’t that close.
The Blue Jays dropped the first two games at Kauffman Stadium. They scored a combined three runs in the two games. They were shutout by Edinson Volquez and the Royals’ bullpen 3-0 in game one and Price got roughed up for five runs in a 6-3 loss in game two.
The Blue Jays got off the schneid in game three with three home runs after not hitting one the first two games. They tagged Johnny Cueto for eight runs including a three-run bomb by Tulowitzki and won the game 11-8.
The blow to the series and the season came in game four when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gave up four runs in the first two innings. The Blue Jays managed two runs in the fourth inning against soft tosser Chris Young and that’s all they would get as the Royals routed them 14-2.
The Blue Jays responded by winning game five, but the 3-1 deficit was too much to overcome. The vaunted Blue Jays’ offense hit just .234 and slugged .386 in the series and they got outscored 38-26.
The Blue Jays were also fortunate to win the division series against the Rangers. They lost both home games and were in a quick 2-0 deficit. They won the next three games thanks to six home runs and 19 runs scored.
The Blue Jays’ pitching staff had 4.81 ERA in the postseason.
All in all, it was still a banner season for the Blue Jays.
For the first four months of the season, they weren’t going anywhere except for another .500 record and another third place finish in the AL East – a common occurrence the past 21 years.
They had to do something. They were 50-51 before they acquired Tulowitzki and Price. They finished with 93 wins – the most wins in a season since 1993.
They won their first division title since ’93 and they made the playoffs for the first time since ’93.
It was like Joe Carter just won the World Series all over again.
The Blue Jays were the most entertaining team to watch. Rogers Centre was an event and a crazed atmosphere. It was loud; it was rambunctious; it was always sold out.
And why not with that offense, which was great even before the Blue Jays acquired Tulowitzki. He hit only .239 with a .380 slugging percentage in 41 games with the Blue Jays.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in the offseason and won the MVP thanks to 41 home runs, 41 doubles and 123 RBIs while being one of the premiere defensive third baseman. Jose Bautista hit his usual 40 home runs and Edwin Encarnacion quietly hit 39 home runs.
This is who the Blue Jays are.
Postseason: Lost in the American League Championship 4-2 to the Kansas City Royals
3B Josh Donaldson: G 158, AB 620, HR 41
CF Kevin Pillar: G 159, AB 586, HR 12
RF Jose Bautista: G 153, AB 543, HR 40
DH Edwin Encarnacion: G 146, AB 528, HR 39
SP Marco Estrada: GS 28, IP 181.0, W-L 13-8
Biggest Need: Left fielder
The Blue Jays acquired Ben Revere from the Phillies and he ended up with 242 plate appearances in left, the most on the team. He hit .319 in 56 games. Chris Colabello had 129 plate appearances because he hit .321 with 15 home runs and a .520 slugging percentage in 101 games. Danny Valenica was explicitly the left fielder for 104 plate appearances and hit .296 with seven home runs and a .506 slugging percentage in 58 games. Valencia was sent to Oakland. Eight other players spent time in left. The defense in left was subpar and was enough to make it the least valuable position on the team.