May 3, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second basemanDevon Travis
(29) celebrates with second basemanRyan Goins
(17), right fielderEzequiel Carrera
(3), and right fielderMichael Saunders
(21) after hitting a grand slam during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Blue Jays Key Players To Watch:
- Second baseman Devon Travis has had a brilliant beginning to his 2015 campaign, especially for a player who was just trying to make the team in Spring Training. Now, he is one of the most important pieces to Toronto’s team puzzle. The Blue Jays’ brass have been looking for an every-day starter at second base for a number of seasons. Finally, they have their man. In his last 10 games, Travis banked 2 home runs and 7 RBIs as proof of his reliability. Recently, however, he has had a tough time getting hits, especially during the series against the New York Yankees where he went 2-for-13. Even with the slight dip, Travis is hitting .297 for the season, making him a huge threat to the Red Sox pitching staff.
- Catcher Russell Martin is absolutely on fire, since a slow start to his time in his home country. The native of East York, Ontario will have the home crowd buzzing with excitement, as he has hit .522, with 3 doubles, 4 home runs, and 5 RBIs, in the last 7 games. Martin even has a stolen base and crossed the plate 7 times in that time, as well. Martin’s excellent defense and ability to call a game has helped the Blue Jays’ young pitching staff, who have had a rough go of it in the Canadian media. Most games could have been immensely worse if Martin hadn’t coached his teammates in some mound visits. Look for Martin to be one of the major leaders for his team in this series.
- Outfielder Kevin Pillar is hitting very well, compared to 2013 and 2014 when he was called up from Triple-A Buffalo to fill spots left by injured veterans. In those previous seasons, Pillar hit .206 and .267, respectively, with a combined 57 strikeouts in 89 games. This season, however, Pillar is hitting .277, .286 at home and .313 in night games. In only 29 games, he has seemed more comfortable with the big club, especially at the plate, cashing in 14 RBIs. He only had 13 RBIs in 36 games in 2013 and 7 RBIs in 53 games in 2014. Pillar has also flashed the leather, making amazing catches in both left field and center field, rivaling highlight-reel moments by Betts in Boston. Pillar is on the rise, which can only help the Blue Jays fly high, too.
- First baseman Chris Colabello has come out of nowhere, granted in only two games, to become an impact player. After being called up, to play against the Yankees, Colabello had 6 hits in 8 at-bats, earning 2 doubles and cashing in 2 RBIs. He isn’t a completely new name to Major League Baseball, as he spent two seasons with the Minnesota Twins and their minor league system. Colabello has a total of 116 games in The Show; however, his respective .194 and .229 batting averages would not have necessarily predicted his quick start for the Blue Jays. With Michael Saunders being questionable, after a knee injury, to play today, it is likely that Jose Bautista, the face of the franchise, will likely move back to his normal position in right field, with Edwin Encarnacion moving into the designated hitter spot, leaving first base open to Colabello to show more of what he can do to spark the offense.