THE Sports & Swag Report

MLB: How much of a threat are Encarnación and the Blue Jays?

With the big splash that they made in free agency a year ago, 2013 was supposed to be a magical year for the Blue Jays. Many baseball experts picked the Jays to win the American League East, and a few of them went as far as, predicting a World Series appearance. Unfortunately, the magic never materialized.

It’s looking like the magic may have been placed on hold for 2014. They’ve just completed a sweep of the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. They’re also winners of 5 in a row, and 14 of their last 16. The Blue Jays are clearly the hottest team in the majors right now.

The Jays, also have two of the hottest hitters in the game right now. Edwin Encarnación and Jose Bautista. These two sluggers have combined for 33 of the team’s total of 83 home runs, which leads the majors.

Encarnación, had an incredible month of May. He came into May with just 2 round trippers. He ended May with 18. That’s 16 for the month, which tied Mickey Mantle’s American League record of 16, and was one shy of Barry Bonds major league record of 17 in a month.

While, the Jays have outstanding power throughout their lineup, they’re also pretty balanced. Jose Reyes, is finally healthy, and starting to get in the swing of things at the top of the order. Reyes, has always been one of the best lead-off men in the game when healthy. Even though, he’s only batting around .250 right now, expect that number to rise, giving the middle of the order more chances to drive in runs.

Outfielder, Melky Cabrera has also been a big surprise. Cabrera, has played with several teams, including the Braves and Yankees, but seemingly hasn’t been able to find a home. His .308 batting average and 8 homers will make it hard for the Jays let him go.

On the mound, R.A. Dickey was supposed to be the ace of the staff. He’s been ok (5-4, 4.30 era), but not up to par with past seasons. Mark Buehrle, on the other hand, has been terrific (10-1, 2.10 era). Buerhle, who seems like he’s be around 40 years, quietly leads the majors with 10 wins and would easily be the talk of the town if not for Encarnación.

There are still questions, but I think the Blue Jays may be THE team to keep an eye on. I think they were written off for this season due to their lackluster play in 2013. However, last season seems to be a thing of the past for them.

If, they can find another consistent starter to go with Buerhle and Dickey, keep Reyes healthy at the top of the order and have Bautista, Cabrera and Encarnación continue hitting the ball out of the ballpark, the Jays will not only win a mediocre AL East, but they could contend with Detroit and Oakland for the AL pennant……….




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