Tuesday, April 28, 2009

John McDonald: The Forgotten Man in '09

John McDonald is quite possibly the most popular Toronto Blue Jay amongst fans. On opening night when he was introduced, he received a raucous cheer, rivaled only by Roy Halladay. The slick infielder has been a defensive wizard, patrolling the infield for 5 seasons with the Jays, but has become a forgotten man in Toronto's early success in 2009.

This year, McDonald has not cracked the starting lineup even once, mainly being used as a defensive replacement in blowouts and occasionally as a pinch runner. The team would like to get him into games, but with the incumbent shortstop Marco Scutaro having such a great start, McDonald has ridden the pine.

The issue behind Johnny Mac's lack of playing time is his career .236 batting average, including a paltry .210 in 08. With the club swinging the bats so well, offense is not a concern, so McDonald should be getting starts despite his weak bat. The foremost reason why he's not starting is the fact Toronto would have no lead off hitter in the absence of Scutaro. It's already a stretch to have Marco at the top of the order, so if McDonald started in place of the incumbent, who would be the guy? McDonald has a career .275 on base percentage, so he's not a good fit there.

In the absence of a prototypical lead off guy, the Blue Jays human highlight reel has become a forgotten man.

What a shame.

1 comment:

Ian H. said...

I love to watch J-Mac as much as the next fan, but as long as Scutaro can keep this up, McDonald won't be seeing much playing time. I imagine Cito will give him a day off soon, though.