But it has not been the fault, in the least, of the Blue Jays’ offense. Toronto actually leads all of MLB in runs scored with 223 (next-closest is 205 while the Twins are a very solid ninth at 183).
Most of the damage has been done by mashers such as Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but Toronto is getting some supplementary help from some surprising sources: namely, from three former members of the Twins organization — Chris Colabello, Danny Valencia and Steve Tolleson.
All three were in the lineup Thursday when Toronto bashed its way to an 8-4 win over the Angels. And get this: Colabello started and played right field while batting cleanup for the best offense in baseball; Valencia batted seventh and played left field — and hit a home run. Tolleson went 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored while starting at 2B.
Colabello, you’ll recall, showed some big power (and also big holes in his swing) as a journeyman with the Twins in 2013 and 2014. The Jays picked him up this year, and in a limited sample — Colabello is often best in limited samples — he’s hitting .356 in 59 at bats with a .907 OPS.
Valencia finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting as the Twins’ regular third baseman in 2010; by 2011, he had regressed and by 2012 he was dispatched to Boston. He’s since played for Baltimore, Kansas City and now Toronto, gaining a foothold as a situational hitter. Like Colabello, he has exactly 59 ABs this year and has a .339 average with an .858 OPS.
Tolleson was drafted by the Twins in 2005 but never made it to the bigs with Minnesota. Oakland picked him up in 2010, and since then he’s had 326 career at bats with the A’s, Orioles and now the Jays. In limited action this year he has eight runs scored and a .794 OPS in 40 plate appearances.
This is not at all to suggest the Twins should have kept any of these players. Rather, it’s just to note both the oddity that all three found their way into the same lineup for the best offense in baseball … and to point out how some organizations have done well picking up situational hitters and squeezing value out of them.