There isn’t much for Blue Jays news out there today, and considering it is Thanksgiving on the other side of the border (Happy Thanksgiving to our US friends), I’m not expecting much for news today.
I figured I’d ask a question: Which player in Blue Jays history for whom you had little in expectations, out performed your hopes the most?
The obvious answer is Jose Bautista, we figured he was a platoon player, he could hit lefties, but shouldn’t be out there against right-handers (and for some reason we were using him as a leadoff hitter early in his Jays career), but he turned into Jose Bautista. I remember the ‘we hate Jose Bautista’ facebook page, so I wasn’t the only one that didn’t see his potential.
Putting Bautista aside, I’ll go with Marco Scutaro. When we traded for him, I thought he was roughly a replacement player, a little better with the bat than John McDonald, but not much more than that. We had Aaron Hill and David Eckstein, so Scutaro looked like a bench guy.
Eckstein turned out to be pretty bad, then his biggest hit of the season was an elbow to Hill’s head, putting Aaron out of the lineup and Scutaro into it.
Marco turned out to be great. He put up a 2.9 fWAR in 2008 and a 4.2 fWAR in 2009, did a great job in the leadoff spot. And he was a lot of fun to watch. His teammates seemed to like him. And he was a very ‘heads up’ player:
If you want to back a little ways, Rance Mulliniks came over in trade from the Royals after spending 3 years with the Angels and two years with the Royals, a playing as weak hitting shortstop (he had a career .232/.288/.309 batting line). Who figured he could be a very good platoon third baseman? Well, Bobby Cox figured he could. And, then new, hitting coach Cito Gaston worked with him. He learned to pull the ball, and, being a smart player, he learned out to control the strikezone.
He spent 11 seasons with the Jays, hitting .280/.365/.424. In his 6 year prime he his .293/.374/.458. And he played very good defense at third. He looked like an accountant, but he was smart and he figured out how to get the most out of his ability.
So give us your choice of the Blue Jays player that exceeded your expectations the most? Let’s say other than Bautista, because he’s too obvious for many of us.