Michael Saunders is a 29 year old, lefty swinging outfielder for the Blue Jays. At one point we had dreams of a 20/20 season coming from him, after all he went 19/21 in 2012, but since that successful season it’s been injury after injury for the outfielder. He’s healthy now, but for how long? Let’s look at what he brings to the field.



The last two seasons Saunders has appeared in 87 games. In 2014 he missed 75 days with a strained oblique and A/C joint inflammation. In 2015 he missed 170 days with a knee issue that led to surgery. That’s some scary bad medical history. Going back a bit, he also missed 18 days in 2013 due to a sprained shoulder. And so it has gone for Saunders who is seemingly always hurt.

In seven big league seasons he’s appeared in 80 games just three times.

No matter the talent, his track record results in a “F” in the health category.


Yes, Saunders went 19/21 in 2012.

Since then he has gone 20/17… but in 219 games.

I’m not going to say he couldn’t go 15/15 in 2016 since he could, but boy, would so many things have to go right that simply haven’t gone in his direction in the recent past.

Saunders has an 11.1 percent HR/FB ratio, slightly better than the league average, in his career. He has a 39 percent fly ball rate, five percentage points above the league average. Twenty homers is doable with full-time work. Despite all this talk of 20 homers, Saunders really doesn’t drive the ball very well. In fact, his career .382 SLG is horrible, well below the league average of .408 since his career began. He’s also the owner of a .151 Isolated Power mark, and the league average since 2009 is .154, He just doesn’t drive the ball very well. Sorry.

Saunders owns a .290 career BABIP. That’s below the league average by a tad. He owns a 19.4 percent line drive rate. That’s below the league average by a tad. Saunders is a career .230 hitter by the way, well below the league average. There’s not even a split you can take advantage of as he’s hitting .227 against lefties and .232 against righties in his career. He stinks no matter who is on the hill.

Saunders doesn’t get on base. For his career his OBP is .301. That’s terrible. He’s been much better of late with a .329 mark his last 219 games, though that’s still only about .010 points above the league average. Still, we could totally live with a mark at that level.

As for the steals, how can we know where he is at physically? I know that running is part of his game, but how could the coaching staff be encouraging him to run given all the setbacks he’s bad? This spring, in 17 games, he didn’t attempt a steal. He didn’t attempt a steal last season in nine games. In 2014 he stole four bases on nine attempts (horrific).


Ideally the Blue Jays would like to see Jose Bautista in right field and Kevin Pillar in center. As for left they would probably like Saunders to run with the job but they also have Ezequiel Carrera that they could turn to and Dalton Pompey is biding his time at Triple-A. Unless Saunders gets off to a hot start he’s not locked into a starting role with any level of confidence.


Saunders went 19/21 once.

Saunders hit .318 with a 1.011 OPS in 17 Spring Training games this season.

Saunders also has 87 games of action the last two seasons in the bigs, doesn’t appear likely to run much anymore and he cannot produce in the batting average category. Why is that intriguing?

If Saunders is on your roster in a mixed league, fine. If you’re dropping established players to add Saunders because he produced in Spring and hit a homer on April 4th, don’t fool yourself. Saunders cannot be trusted in any format, and really the only people who should be depending on him are those that drafted him as a depth outfielder in AL-only leagues. I can’t believe I just used the word “depend” when referencing Saunders. I need to go back to the drawing board.

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