Ex-Files: Checking in with former Blue Jays still in playoff hunt

From left, Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Castro and Melky Cabrera. (AP Photos)

The Toronto Blue Jays are all but eliminated from the post-season race. Sure, they have a mathematical shot to squeak in to the October dance, but with FanGraphs listing their odds for a wild-card spot at exactly 0.0 per cent, that doesn’t seem likely.

This is disappointing for fans, but it likely stings nobody more than players in the Toronto clubhouse who’ve spent the previous two Septembers playing pressure-packed, meaningful baseball.

With that in mind, we use our latest edition of the Ex-Files to check in on some former Blue Jays who are still in the 2017 playoff hunt.

Past 2017 Ex-Files: April | May | June | July | August

Edwin Encarnacion
33 HR | .256/.381/.501 | 2.3 WAR

This list must begin with Encarnacion, who seems to have finally found his power stroke. The 10 homers he blasted in August represent the most Encarnacion has hit in any month this season. He’s in quite the enviable position, too, as cleanup hitter for an Indians club that’s won 15 straight and currently looks like the best team in baseball.

Miguel Castro
2.65 ERA | 54.1 innings | 29 strikeouts | 19 walks | 95.7 m.p.h. average fastball

The Blue Jays included Castro in their 2015 deal with the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki and after struggling in the The Mile-High City, the 22-year-old right-hander is now enjoying a breakout campaign with the Orioles. Baltimore acquired Castro on April 7 for a player to be named later and he has justified the move by logging more innings in the second half than any reliever on the team.

Adam Lind
11 HR | .303/.359/.500 | 0.7 WAR

Nationals manager Dusty Baker has used Lind sparingly this season and it’s worked to great success. The left-handed batter has been a prime bench option for the dominant Nationals, hitting .341 with three homers and 11 RBI in 41 pinch-hit at-bats. Lind, 34, has played first base and left field this season and will be a free agent in the winter.

David Price
3.82 ERA | 66 innings | 63 strikeouts | 22 walks | 94.2 m.p.h. average fastball

Price, currently on the DL, is working his way back from a left elbow issue. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions and is set to undergo an important test this Saturday when he faces hitters in another session. With the minor-league season over, there may not be enough time for Price to build up stamina as a starter, meaning he could pitch out of the Red Sox bullpen in the post-season.

Joe Smith
3.21 ERA | 47.2 innings | 63 strikeouts | 10 walks | 89 m.p.h. average fastball

A solid trade deadline addition to the Indians bullpen, Smith has held batters to a .186 average in 12 innings with his new club, helping carry the load while Andrew Miller is on the DL. Perhaps Smith’s most memorable moment came when he wore the wrong pair of pants for a game during Players Weekend.

Eric Thames
28 HR | .235/.348/.506 | 1.4 WAR

The positive narrative surrounding Thames earlier this season has largely disappeared as the slugger severely regressed. Since May 10, he’s batted .201 with 15 home runs, 30 RBI and a pedestrian .731 OPS over 90 games. Not good news for a Milwaukee team fighting to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Brett Cecil
4.15 ERA | 56.1 innings | 54 strikeouts | 15 walks | 91.7 mph average fastball

The left-handed reliever has been terrible since the all-star break, posting a 5.57 ERA and allowing at least one hit in 16 of his 22 appearances in that span. As a result, the Cardinals, who are fighting for the second NL wild-card spot, have limited Cecil to mostly low-leverage innings of late.

Melky Cabrera
17 HR | .296/.334/.446 | 0.3 WAR

The contending Royals acquired pending free-agent Cabrera just prior to the July trade deadline. It was among several moves the club made in an effort to foster one final playoff push before a looming rebuild. Cabrera has been a key contributor, posting an .807 OPS with four homers, nine doubles and 21 RBI in 36 games since landing in Kansas City.

Francisco Liriano
5.85 ERA | 92.1 innings | 78 strikeouts | 51 walks | 92.8 m.p.h. average fastball

Liriano’s numbers since joining Houston: 13 hits allowed, eight walks, six earned runs and four strikeouts over 9.2 innings. The AL West-leading Astros are so good, however, that production from the lefty reliever is almost an afterthought. The question now becomes does the pending free-agent with sporadic command issues even make the post-season roster?

Brandon Morrow
2.48 ERA | 36.1 innings | 40 strikeouts | 8 walks | 97.7 m.p.h. average fastball

Morrow’s feel-good season keeps getting better — according to FanGraphs’ pitcher WAR, he’s been the Dodgers’ second-best reliever in 2017. Morrow has been relied upon heavily since the all-star break and even picked up his first save since May 10, 2009.