George Springer was yelling at the ball to come down, wanting it to hit the turf.
With a blooper aimed at right field in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Mariners, the Toronto centerfielder gave the afterburners a boost as the ball dropped and rolled past Stephen Souza Jr. in the outfield. Scoring all runners on base, Springer finished second on the bloop-shot, slipping to third with a narrow three-point triple.
“I followed [Santiago Espinal]”, Springer said after the game. “Obviously the goal is to get him home, so once I saw him go, I just went and drew the pitch.
It was Toronto’s first hat-trick of the season and the Jays were the last team to record one in 2022. But this three-goal shortage is nothing new. The Toronto Blue Jays don’t hit triples, and they haven’t in a while.
Since 2015, the Jays have the fewest hat-tricks in baseball (95), nearly a third of the number the Diamondbacks lead (281). The Jays have been in the bottom five in team triples for the past three seasons and 22 individual players had more triples than the entire Toronto roster in 2017, a year the Jays had the fewest. triplets. already.
Toronto’s lack of triples isn’t a sign of offensive incompetence, they’ve been one of the best batting teams in the dry triples years. It’s just a weird quirk and part of it could be down to where they play.
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Triples are inherently weird. The ball must go past a defensive player, make a weird bounce, slip under a glove, or find a deep cavern in the stadium. Rogers Center is not weird at all. The outfield wall is even and predictable, there are no odd corners in the carom or cavernous holes to hide in. In Arizona’s Chase Field, home to baseball’s best triples team in recent years, there are sharp corners in center field that measure 413 feet from home plate. Rogers Center has a rounded exterior wall and the farthest point is 400 feet from the house.
But, even with its predictability, the Rogers Center doesn’t absorb all the triples on its own. Toronto home park is 9th worst stadium for triples by Baseball Savant park factors over the past three years. So, surely there is another explanation?
The obvious answer would be team speed, but only two of Toronto’s 2022 regular hitters (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk) rank below the league average in sprint speed. According to FanGraphs overall base running stats, the Jays are the sixth-best team in baseball when running around bases. The 2022 team isn’t an anomaly either, as Toronto ranked fastest team in baseball in 2020, a year in which they came last in team triplets.
It’s probably not organizational philosophy either. Manager Charlie Montoyo preaches aggression and cheers as he takes the extra base. General Manager Ross Atkins also told the New York Times he was “not happy” with the team’s lack of three-base hits in 2018.
Sure, Springer has struggled with leg injuries lately, but in his last 173 games with Houston he hit five triples. In both seasons with Toronto? Two triplets. Marcus Semien had seven triples in his last full season with the Athletics before joining Toronto last year. In 2021, he had two.
The park of the house seems to be the most important factor, but there is something inexplicable at work here. Like the Bermuda Triangle for triplets, what happens in Toronto is both mysterious and fascinating.