DINGERS FROM THE 6IX
by Quinn Sweetzir
It’s safe to say that at 67-77, the Blue Jays 2017 season has gone rather poorly. Team team is all but guaranteed to miss the postseason, and at 11 games below .500 with the club only getting older, the immediate future looks somewhat bleak.
Although the Jays have performed rather poorly this season, I decided to determine how much worse this team could theoretically be. Over the course of the this disappointing season, 60 different players have suited up for the Blue Jays at some point this season.
These players have had various degrees of success, so I decided to handpick 25 of the worst 2017 Blue Jays in order to determine just how much worse this season could be going. After analysis of some very rough state lines, I have put together a 25 man roster of the worst possible 2017 Blue Jays imaginable.
Leading off we have ian Parmley, who recorded -0.1 fWAR in 4 PA for the Blue Jays this season. Despite the small showing, the minor league centerfield is leading off due to having some of the better speed in this hypothetical lineup. On deck is Kendrys Morales, who despite putting up a passable 97 WRC+, has been so ineffective in other areas of the game that he is deserving of a spot on this roster. Up third is Michael Saunders, followed by cleanup hitter Ryan Goins, who’ve managed to produce an unexceptional -0.6 (including his time with the Phillies), and -0.7 fWAR respectively. Following up these two is the power hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was so terrible the Blue Jays decided to cut him in favor of Luke Maile and his -22 WRC+. After this comes a series of infielders who have combined to produce a staggeringly bad -1.7 fWAR, and an outfielder despite leading the Blue Jays in WRC+ over 5 PA, managed to produce a -3 WRC+ in AAA before his season ended with an injury.
Given that this team has carried 8 relievers for most of the season, I decided that doing so in this hypothetical roster would be appropriate as well. All three of Alford, Maile, and Ohlman have produced negative fWAR to this point in the season and how else could you make as terrible roster as possible without including 3 catchers. Plus, it’s fun to imagine just how much worse this bench could be without a true infielder!
Performing the duties of ace on this abysmal team, is starter Nick Tepesch, who’s -0.4 fWAR makes him the perfect candidate for the number 1 starter's role. Coming up behind him is Mat Latos Casey Lawrence, who combined for 5 April starts and ERA’s of 6.60 and 7.94 respectively. Bringing up the rear of this rotation is Mike Bolsinger, who recorded a 5.61 ERA in 5 starts with the Jays, and Cesar Valdez, who managed just 1 quality start and a replacement level fWAR in 3 opportunities.
The final piece of this team is our bullpen, which features plenty of pitiful arms which manager John Gibbons should have at his disposal. Our 2 best relievers are Jason Grilli and JP Howell, who combined to produce a staggering -0.9 fWAR. Following them is the rather unimpressive Chris Smith, who recorded a 5.40 ERA in his brief action this season. Also available to Gibbons is Glenn Sparkman, and Taylor Cole, who each produced impressive ERA’s of 63.00 and 36.00, good for worst, and second worst among Jays relievers this season. Of course, we also have an extra pair of lefties in this bullpen, consisting of Jeff Beliveau and Matt Dermody, who have produced a unremarkable -0.2 and -0.4 fWAR this season. Lastly, as this club's long man, Lucas Harrell and his his 7.11 ERA seems like a solid candidate for the job.
This hypothetical team of players I’ve assembled would win roughly 42 games based on individual WAR’s produced by players this season. This team would be awful, no matter how you slice it.
But the point of this article was to show that although the Jays are not in contention for a playoff spot, and have had a rather disappointing season overall, it could be a lot worse. Nearly everyone, myself included, has been and will continue to be quick to criticize various players and aspects of the Jays ball club this season. That said, I hope that all of us agree that changes need to be made and that the club has better fortunes moving into next season!