Your! Call: Which area do the Jays most need to improve?

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Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
4/25/2013 1:38:01 PM
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The first 22 games are nothing but the opening lap in Major League Baseball's 162-game schedule, but it would be hard to call the Toronto Blue Jays' 9-13 start anything but disappointing.

The team made a major splash during the off-season with both trades and signings and is expected to be a major contender in the American League. However heading into a weekend four-game series with the New York Yankees, they are dead last in the East Division.

The question at this early point of the season is, what is the Blue Jays' biggest area of need for improvement?

One of the places where the Jays have struggled the most is offence.  As a team, they are currently batting .225, which has them second last in the Majors, ahead of only the Miami Marlins.

Power has not been an issue; J.P. Arencibia is leading the American League with eight home runs, while Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus are also off to great starts hitting the ball out of the park.

Average-wise though, those same hitters have stumbled out of the gate with Encarnacion currently sitting at .210 and Bautista hitting .190.

This is one of the areas where newly acquired shortstop Jose Reyes was expected to have the greatest impact but he suffered a badly sprained ankle after appearing in just 10 games and will not return to the lineup until after the All-Star break.  He was hitting .395 at the time of his injury.

Defensively, the Blue Jays have committed an American League-high 16 errors which has also led to them leading the League surrendering 14 unearned runs.

The bullpen, led by closer Casey Janssen, has been superb.  Janssen has converted all six save opportunities and has been bolstered by strong relief work by Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar, Esmil Rogers and Darren Oliver.

Where the Jays have struggled in this area has been their starting rotation. Fifth starter J.A. Happ is the only one boasting an earned run average under 4.00, registering at 3.68.

Only half of the starts made by the staff have been quality starts, which are starts of at least six innings pitched while surrendering no more than three earned runs.

The Jays have lost five of the seven series they have played so far this season, earning a 2-1 series win over the Kansas City Royals and a 2-2 split with the Chicago White Sox.

They have already lost divisional matchups at home to the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees as well as a road series against the Baltimore Orioles.

With the talent the Blue Jays have assembled, it's impossible to think they won't start to see an upswing in play and results as the season moves on.

Our question to you is, at this early point of the season, what is the Blue Jays biggest area of need for improvement?

As always, it's Your! Call.

R.A. Dickey (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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