Introducing Ryan Shealy

Lost in all of the ire directed at anyone daring to suggest that Michael Young belongs in a Blue Jays uniform was Toronto’s signing of first baseman Ryan Shealy to a Minor League contract.

Shealy, 31 years old, is an interesting scrap heap addition, but more because of the team’s situation at first base than anything of his own doing.  Assuming that Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion will split time between first base and designated hitter this coming season, the Blue Jays must be at least a little bit concerned that combined, the two have started a grand total of nine games at first base.

Shealy is somewhat reminiscent of former Blue Jays fans cause du jour Randy Ruiz, in that he’s positively raked at Triple A, but has never been able to land himself a consistent chance in the Show.  Unlike Ruiz, Shealy’s fielding numbers from his stops in Colorado, Kansas City and Boston suggest that he can also play good defense at first base, something that could give him an edge depending on how Lind and Encarnacion perform at their new position.

In 598 plate appearances over four years at the Major League level, Shealy has put up the following numbers:

7.7 BB%, 27.5 K%, .331 OBP, .424 SLG, .330 wOBA.

Meanwhile, in 1770 plate appearances at Triple A, Shealy collected an OPS of .901 with a walk rate of more than 11%.

That may sound like a guy who deserves a second chance at MLB play, but consider his career split against left handed pitching:

31.8 K%, .262 OBP, .292 SLG, .250 wOBA.

Not exactly an inspiring line, especially if there was any hope of him platooning with Adam Lind, who has also shown a weakness against southpaws.

Another interesting option to consider is that if Encarnacion plays third base to allow Jose Bautista to move into right field, Lind could then become designated hitter, opening up first base for Shealy.  But other than that scenario, it’s hard to imagine the Florida native cracking the Jays lineup.

Comments (11)

  1. They needed somebody to play 1B down in Vegas after losing Mike “why am I still employed” Jacobs, so that’s probably where he’ll be, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have some backup at 1B/DH – if one of Lind or EE gets hurt, there aren’t really any inspiring options on the roster to fill the void at the moment.

  2. BTW, open question to everybody: assuming the Jays start the year with Bautista at 3B, Lind at 1B, EE at DH, and Snider/Davis/Rivera in the outfield, how do you build your bench?

    Molina is a given as the backup catcher and Johnny Mac can cover 3B/SS/2B backup duties, but there are two more spots. Obviously a 4th outfielder is necessary (Patterson or Mastroianni?), and then what? Having a guy who can cover first base if necessary definitely wouldn’t hurt, especially given that every other position is covered already.

  3. i think things look good for Mr. McCoy, as he will get a good look. Whether he deserves it or not is another question.

  4. One more trip to the dry cleaner to get my suit cleaned because of the food I spilled on it after reading one more “if Encarnacion plays third base” sentence…

  5. Encarnacion was a better fielder than Michael Young last season.

    Rivera, Bautista, Lind and Encarnacion can all play 1B, so I don’t think Shealy is necessary even to keep on the bench for emergencies.

    I was thinking about this yesterday, and I might include it as a stray thought tomorrow, but if Jays trade Rivera, what about putting Mastro back at 2B, push Hill to 3B and let Bautista play RF. Or would Jays be better off simply with Mastro at CF, Davis in RF?

    I think that unless Mastro guarantees himself regular at bats at Major League level, he’ll start season at AAA.

  6. I wonder if the Jays really consider Mastroianni a serious option. He had a .390 OBP last year with 46 stolen bases in New Hampshire but it seems like he’s never really been considered a “top prospect” and he’s 24 – if he’s ever going to get a shot, now would be the time. I’d love to see what he can do but I remember thinking the same thing about Mike McCoy last year before watching him play like David Eckstein Jr. (albeit in very limited at-bats). Still, Mastroianni is a lot younger than McCoy, he’s been more successful over his whole minor league career (and he’s spent a lot less time down there), and he absolutely killed it in the AFL this past fall. I’ll be rooting for him in Spring Training.

  7. FREE RYAN SHEALY!!!

  8. My Prediction:
    AA trades Juan Rivera in a ménage à trois avec the Rangers and a-team-to-be-named-later. Sending Juan to Texas, Michael Young to ______, and ______’s 3rd Baseman to the Jays.

  9. Ty said “Molina is a given as the backup catcher and Johnny Mac can cover 3B/SS/2B backup duties, but there are two more spots. Obviously a 4th outfielder is necessary (Patterson or Mastroianni?), and then what? Having a guy who can cover first base if necessary definitely wouldn’t hurt, especially given that every other position is covered already.”

    deep bullpen? They have a billion bullpen arms, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept a short bench and just went with a deep bullpen, at least to start the year.

  10. It’s certainly been talked about before (though I can’t remember if anyone official said it or not) that the Jays could well go with an extra arm out of the pen and a shorter bench, and given the lack of an “impact” bench player, unless Farrell really likes having a bench, I would not at all be surprised if that was the case, especially because of their depth of relievers as well as young pitchers to whom they want to give exposure.

  11. Free ryan shealy

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