Baseball can often produce an unexplainable outcome, leaving many to wonder why it occurred in the first place. The Toronto Blue Jays, who endured a season of extremes in 2022, are likely to ponder that question involving Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s bizarre offensive performance this winter.
Gurriel had been known for his power through his first four big-league campaigns, slugging .492 with 63 home runs across 347 career games. But then, unexpectedly, the 29-year-old experienced a sudden power outage this past season and couldn’t replicate any of his previous career marks.
As a result, the 6-foot-4 right-hander posted career lows in home runs (five), slugging percentage (.400) and isolated power (.108) over 493 plate appearances in 121 contests. He still enjoyed a productive showing, however, hitting for more contact (.291 AVG, .346 BABIP) and producing a 114 wRC+ score – seven points higher than last season’s mark (107). His strikeout rate (16.8 per cent) was also much improved, producing a career-best clip.
Those were all positive developments for Gurriel and the Blue Jays, though the reason behind his slugging metrics declining remained unclear. But perhaps it was caused by an injury. After the season, the team revealed that the veteran outfielder underwent surgery on his left hand to repair his hamate bone, which had previously gone undiagnosed until earlier this month.
While speaking to reporters during his end-of-season …
Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation