In the mid-1990s, the Colorado Rockies fielded a group of hitters known as the Blake Street Bombers, with Vinny Castilla. Dante Bichette, Ellis Burks, Larry Walker and Andres Galarraga -- and when they played at home, their games seemed to be different from baseball played anywhere else. No pitcher was safe, no lead was safe, with the Colorado hitters in attack mode from the first pitch and baseballs pinballing all over the park.
This brand of baseball sort of went dormant … until last season, in Toronto. No pitcher was safe. No lead was safe. The Blue Jays' hitters were in attack mode from the first pitch onward, and by season’s end, Toronto averaged a full run more per game than all but six other teams. The Blue Jays scored 891 runs, 127 more than the team that finished second in this category, the Yankees. Toronto clubbed 232 homers, 71 more than the Boston Red Sox and nearly 100 more than the San Francisco Giants.
The Blue Jays' team OPS was .797, which means they basically fielded an entire lineup that was a combination of Jose Altuves and Todd Fraziers.
So for Part 5 of our series in which we rank the team units based on the input of rival evaluators, the No. 1 team among the top 10 lineups is fairly apparent.
The Blue Jays have a puzzle of pitching to sort through as they construct their defense of the 2015 AL East title, but John Gibbons’ offense will basically be the same, with MVP Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki among the top five spots, in some sort of arrangement. Russell Martin catches, and the Blue Jays had excellent first-base production as well, from Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak.
The Jays will go into spring training envisioning a platoon of Michael Saunders and Dalton Pompey in left field.
There is no relief from this group, and there are bound to be some epic at-bats in great innings when the Jays face the revamped bullpens of the Yankees and Red Sox in 2016.