To merely say this Blue Jays season has been a disappointment would be an understatement.
Uncharacteristically bad performances, tough luck and injuries have all added up to produce a 2013 season worth forgetting for many baseball fans north of the Border.
Lost in all of the failure is the fact that one Blue Jay is currently having what could be a franchise record setting campaign on the bases, and he’s been doing it with a limited amount of playing time thus far.
In 2011, Toronto acquired Outfielder Rajai Davis who was 1 season removed from putting up arguably his strongest season in the Bigs. With Oakland in 2010, Davis hit .284/.320/.378, hit 28 Doubles and stole an even 50 bases in 143 games.
In his first 2 seasons as a Blue Jay, Davis was been plagued with inconsistencies on both sides of the baseball showing, at times, brilliance (think the play simply known as “The Catch”) and foolishness in his approach at the plate.
2013 has shown a return to form for Davis who has stopped trying to pull the ball opting to use the entire field in an attempt to hit for a higher average.
The results? A higher BA that’s been hovering around .280 with the power numbers taking an expected drop… Which is fine because a higher batting average equals more opportunities to do what Rajai Davis does best.
As of August 22nd, Davis has ripped off 40 bases on the season, 10 shy of his single season high of 50. Although the Stolen Base total is awfully respectable, what;s really incredible is the fact that Davis has reached the total in a mere 259 Plate Appearances.
In 1984, former Blue Jays Outfielder Dave Collins stole a club record 60 bases in a single season. It took Collins 492 Plate Appearances to accomplish the feat which has stood as a Blue Jays record for nearly 30 years.
At the same point in that record setting season (August 22nd), Collins had recorded 41 SB’s on the season. The South Dakota native would steal 19 additional bags in the final 30 games of the season to set the Blue Jays club record.
Rajai Davis has 33 games left to take a serious run at the record and with the recent injuries to Colby Rasmus & Jose Baustista, coupled with the fact that on Thursday, the Blue Jays confirmed that Melky Cabrera would be shut down for the remainder of the season, one would have to like his chances at rewriting the record books.
If you think 33 game’s aren’t enough to catch Collins, keep in mind that Davis has swiped 2 (or more) bags in 8 separate games this season, highlighted by a July 28th game at SkyDome that saw the Blue Jays speedster rip off 4 bags in a 2-1 Toronto win over Houston.
It’s been a rough season for this team and it’s fans but perhaps Rajai Davis can shine a little light on this final month and a bit of Blue Jays baseball. If anything, it gives us something to cheer for down the stretch.