Why the Blue Jays have struggled

Beyond poor pitching, Toronto's snakebitten offense is to blame for slow start

Updated: April 26, 2013, 2:09 PM ET
By Dave Cameron | ESPN Insider
Jose BautistaAP Photo/Orlin WagnerJose Bautista and the Blue Jays are striking out in 21.2 percent of their plate appearances so far.

After winning the offseason by acquiring stars like Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey, the Blue Jays came into the 2013 season with high hopes. The AL East was as open a race as it has been in years, and Toronto looked poised to make the leap into being a strong contender.

However, with the first month of the season nearly in the books, the Blue Jays are in last place, and at 9-14, they're already 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Red Sox.

Even with struggling pitchers like Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, the biggest letdown has been on offense. The Blue Jays rank 28th in the majors in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) -- which compares a player's total offensive value to the league average -- ahead of only the lowly Marlins and equally struggling White Sox.

It might be tempting to point to the ridiculous strikeout percentages of Colby Rasmus (42.9 percent), J.P. Arencibia (38.6 percent) and Brett Lawrie (32.5 percent) as the problem -- especially because all three are posting on-base percentages below .290 -- but a deeper dive into the numbers suggests that the whiffs are not the issue.


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