Blue Jays Thoughts: LF Baserunning, Arencibia to 1st, Snider & Matt Stairs

Three disconnected Toronto Blue Jays thoughts regarding Base Running metrics, Matt Stairs pimping Travis Snider’s opposite field power and the impending move of J.P. Arencibia.

LF Baserunning Comparison


I don’t know how many LF comparison articles I’ve seen this off-season that go along the lines of:

[blockquote align=”center”]Thames is worth 0.9 WAR but his fielding sucks, with a -7.9 UZR. Snider had an overall 0.3 WAR with a 3.9 UZR fielding score.[/blockquote]

If you live by WAR you gotta die by WAR, that’s what I say. And Fangraphs WAR includes base runs above and below average. I’m not saying that I’m on board with this, I just find the lack of base running comparison a glaring omission from the WAR comparison crowd. Anyways, here we go.

Fangraphs: BsR (base runs) derived from UBR, which is an offshoot of UZR. Does not include SB/CS data – FG Stat Summary


Baseball Prospectus: BRR (base running runs), includes ground advancement, sb, air advancement, etc – BP Stat Summary




Player FG BsR BP BRR
Snider 1.4 1.5
Thames 2.4 4.5

Take these with a grain of salt, assign them value or throw them out the window. Simply food for thought.


Travis Snider: Best Opp Field Power According to Stairs


Hat tip to Tom over at Bluebird Banter. He wrote up a summary of a Matt Stairs MLB Radio appearance, in which Stairs said:

[blockquote align=”center” cite=”Matt Stairs” citeLink=””]… said that Travis had the best opposite field power of any player he’s seen.[/blockquote]

This blew my mind. Stairs has been around the game forever, has played for just about everyone and is a quasi expert on the power game. Yet I don’t recall Snider mashing to the opposite field to the point of being considered the best ever. Shooting over to Hit Tracker, it’s easy to look up Snider’s HR data. Low and behold, Travis hasn’t hit an opposite field HR in two years. Back in 2009 he hit four HR to the opposite field, although the average distances clocked in at 344, 360, 365 & 400 feet. Snider must take an amazing batting practice, as his in game data hardly comes across as an opposite field monster. He’s certainly no Jim Thome, hitting opp field 450 foot shots.

J.P. Arencibia – Impending Transition


The comments section of our recent Blogger Roundtable has a mini discussion going on regarding Arencibia and shifting over to 1st base once Travis d’Arnaud is called up to the show.

The majority opinion, which I hold, is that Jays would maximize J.P’s value by dealing him as a catcher. If he stays, the Jays could always turn him into a Napoli like 1B/C/DH speciality player. In this scenario the Jays could consider giving J.P. platoon duty at 1st with Lind, spot starts behind the plate and DH appearances in favourable match-up situations.


It’s no secret that Adam Lind struggles vs southpaws, including a very poor .117/.159./.182 line in 2010 and a lowly 3 HR in 140 AB in 2011.

On the flip side, J.P. has a historically posted a slightly better slugging percentage and a better K/BB ratio vs lefties in the minors, as well as having a monster 2011 season vs LHP in the majors.

These stats include (minors) 7 HR in 120 AB in 2009 AAA Vegas and a 8 BB vs 12 K rate vs southpaws in 2010’s AAA stint. And an amazing 9 HR in only 108 AB in a Jays uniform last season.

Value either way

Optimally Arencibia is dealt after d’Arnaud proves himself. However, the Jays are sitting in the drivers seat, as cost controllable catchers with power are a rare commodity. If the price isn’t right I could live with J.P. in the Napoli role in 2013.


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