Tag Archives: Juan Rivera

5 errors for E5

If there’s anybody out there who still thinks that ERA is a good stat by which to assess the abilities of a given pitcher, last night’s outing by Jo-Jo Reyes should serve as a nice nail in ERA’s coffin.

He pitched 2-2/3 innings and didn’t give up an earned run. Sounds good, until you realize that he started the game, pitched horribly and gave up six runs which, because of the rule that states runs can’t be charged against a pitcher if an error is committed on what would be a third out, weren’t charged against him.

I know he doesn’t have any options left, but how many chances are the Jays going to give him to keep proving he can’t cut it at the major-league level?

But this post is not meant to be about Reyes. This post is meant to be about the guy who committed the error with two outs.

I know John Farrell said, near the end of spring training, that Edwin (E5) Encarnacion had worked hard over the off-season, improved his footwork and really picked up his defensive game and, because of all that, he’d be playing third base. But, as I said at the time, E5’s problem is not his glove, it’s his arm.

Again, let me reiterate that Texas’s 6-run third inning last night was almost entirely Reyes’s fault. But if E5 doesn’t make a poor throw to first to allow Texas to keep the inning going, none of those six runs score.

I am not a big believer in errors or fielding percentage as a method of evaluating a player’s defensive abilities, but sometimes it can be used a decent shorthand, so I’m going to do it right now:

So far this year, in 58 innings at 3B, Encarnacion has been charged with 5 errors and has a fielding percentage of .615.

I don’t care what you think about fielding percentage or sample sizes or whatever — that’s a horrendous number.

So what to do with E5?

His bat’s nice enough that it’s worth keeping in the lineup, so how about he be used in the manner he was intended to be used in when he was brought back? Wouldn’t the Jays’ lineup look a lot nicer with E5 as the DH and occasional first baseman?

Of course, such a move would open up a hole at third and with the way Juan Rivera’s been swinging the bat lately, we’d want to keep him going, so why not go with an alignment much more like what we saw in spring training?

Encarnacion as 1B/DH, Rivera in RF Jose Bautista at 3B?

That’s what I would do anyway. I know it’s not perfect, but I don’t know how much more of E5 at 3B I can handle. It’s kind of like watching Reyes holding a spot in the rotation.

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Nixing E5

Watching the Jays lose last night, I came to a realization. It’s probably not what you’d expect from someone watching a game like that. I didn’t realize that OHMYGODTHEBULLPENSUCKSWHAAAA or anything else alarmist that seems, based on my #Jays and #BlueJays searches on Twitter*, to be the common theme today.

(*And if you’re the sort who uses hashtags, I suggest you stick to #BlueJays, lest you get lost in all the chatter about Air Jordans.)

Bullpens are going to lose games, teams are going to blow big leads. It sucks, but it’s a 162-game season. These things happen and I can basically guarantee the Jays will be on the opposite end of games like this before the season comes to an end.

When Toronto bought Jayson Nix just before the season began, I wasn’t really moved in either direction. “It’s a depth move,” I thought. “Nix is just a warm body to provide some protection in case of injury/whatever.”

I don’t think I was wrong to think those things, but…

Nix has played pretty well so far this season. Small samples sizes to be sure, but his OPS is at 1.058 right now. According to Fangraphs, he’s amassed 0.4 WAR through just 8 games. Doesn’t seem like much, but extrapolate it over a whole season and he’s putting up goddamn superstar WAR numbers at that rate.

Now, obviously, Nix is incredibly unlikely to keep playing at this level throughout a whole season. And that’s why I’ve been skeptical of the amount of playing time he’s received so far.

But then it happened.

Leading off the bottom of the third inning, Ichiro (!) hit a weak grounder to third. Ichiro (!) specializes in turning hits like these into, well, hits.

Nix those, fielded the ball cleanly, turned and fired a bullet to first, beating Ichiro (!) to the bag.

It was a nice defensive play and the chances Edwin (E5) Encarnacion makes that throw cleanly are slim to none. Nix made it look easy.

And that’s when I realized that I’m more than happy to see Nix man third every day until he proves he can’t.

With Nix fielding and hitting well, E5 not fielding well and Juan Rivera playing like a turd, it seems pretty clear to me what needs to happen: Nix plays third, E5 DH’s and Rivera rides the pine.

I understand the argument that Rivera needs to play so he can raise his value and become possible trade bait. But just because I understand it, doesn’t mean I like it. I’d much rather see the Jays use a better lineup than handicap their chances at a win in the hopes that maybe someday somebody will take their unwanted player.

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