Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Ezequiel Carrera used the playoffs to maximize his value to the Blue Jays this season. The Jays’ fourth outfielder, Carrera stuck with the club at the beginning of the year, getting the nod over Dalton Pompey, who still had options remaining. With an outstanding April, Carrera was pressed into more duty in May and continued to hit, only seeing a downturn in June and finally coming down to earth in July and August when he hit a combined .153/.229/.224.
Still, Carrera rebounded down the stretch, hitting .304/.353/.457 in 22 games in September and August and was a favoured batter and fielder, over Michael Saunders and Melvin Upton when the playoffs came around.
With the kind of value that he gave the team with a .248/.323/.356 slash line and 0.7 rWAR (and 0.7 fWAR) at a salary right around league minimum, he was a pretty decent player to have on the bench. The only problem? He ended up playing too much in the aggregate, getting into 110 games and coming to the plate 310 times.
Zeke, 29, is under team control for three more years but is arbitration eligible for the first time in 2017.
Ezequiel Carrera (or ‘Zeke’ as his fans and teammates call him) got a lot more playing time through the middle of the season due to injuries to Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar. He had a .344 average across 32 at-bats in April, and a .432 over 26 AB with a .500 OBP in May. His hitting regressed after that, and he went .248/.323/.356 for the rest of the season with six home runs and 23 RBI over 110 games. One of his most memorable moments was a pinch-hit home run in the 8th inning which broke a 2-2 tie against Tampa Bay on September 12th.
Carrera reached a career-high walk percentage of 8.7%, but struck out at a 22.4% rate. His bunting skills were on display all season long, as he was fourth in the AL for sacrifice hits, and got nine base hits on bunts thanks to his speed. That speed also helped him steal seven bases, while being caught four times.
He seemed more comfortable defensively this season, with far fewer of those diving near-misses I came to expect from him last year. He made a few impressive catches of his own, and led the team in outfield assists, with eight. He even turned three double plays from the outfield.
He played in all nine postseason games, which is definitely not what we would have expected to hear a year ago. He collected 10 hits in 33 at-bats, good for a .303 average. His RBI single in the wild card tied the game (and was the only run in the entire game not driven in by a home run). He even hit his first career postseason home run, in Game 2 of the ALDS, as well as triples in back-to-back games in the ALCS.
Regular Season Grades
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