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.
For a 30-year-old left-handed-hitting, fourth outfielder, Ezequiel Carrera has contributed a lot to the Blue Jays over the past few years. Since joining the Blue Jays in 2015, he's played an increasing role with the club (mostly due to injuries to the projected starting outfielders), culminating with career highs last year in all offensive categories.
Carrera has become a fan favourite in Toronto thanks to his hustle and general underdog status. Carrera started out the season, once again, as the Jays' fourth outfielder, after a solid spring training in which he hit .250/.388/.400 with a home run and three doubles in 40 at bats.
Carrera played more early in the season, getting 68 plate appearances in April and hitting .313/.333/.406. In May, he continued to play regularly, playing in 23 games and hitting two home runs among his 21 hits, batting .269/.345/.359 over the course of the month. While his playing decreased in June, he was more productive, getting on base more than ever and hitting a pair of home runs in just 32 at bats, posting a .281/.410/.469 line, while in July, he had just 41 plate appearances but hit .351/.415/.676 with three doubles and three home runs.
In the final two months of the season, he cooled off, hitting .237/.333/.303 from August 1 to October 1. All in all, however, it was Carrera's best year. He hit .282/.356/.408 with each rate stat being a career high. He also hit 10 doubles, a triple and eight home runs (all career highs). He also stole 10 bases, tying his career high from his rookie season with Cleveland in 2011, but unlike back then, when he was caught five times, this year, he was caught stealing just once.
The biggest downside with Carrera last year was his inability to hit left-handed pitching: he hit .086/.220/.114 in 42 plate appearances against southpaws. it's clear that the Blue Jays were sheltering him against lefties and that he didn't really have that many opportunities to damage his overall stats against lefties.
Carrera will be tendered a contract for 2018. He clearly fits in the Blue Jays' plans but as a fourth (or fifth) outfielder but I'm sure the Blue Jays will try to steer him clear of any left-handed pitchers they may come across.
Carrera now has just over four years of MLB service time and MLB Trade Rumors estimates that he'll get $1.9 million in arbitration.
Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: A-
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Check out the Handbook page for more information!