Desmond Jennings punched an RA Dickey pitch in the hole in the first inning Wednesday, but Jose Reyes came up with the backhand and gunned out Jennings at first. The Blue Jays have improved from 27-36 to 39-38 and Wins Above Replacement (WAR) projects they would already be 44-33 if Jose Reyes and RA Dickey had been playing like they were the last two seasons when they were worth a combined 10 extra wins a season.
Instead, the Blue Jays plummeted into last place with Reyes on the bench with a badly strained ankle and Dickey struggling with an ERA over 5.00.
The Blue Jays are now the World Series contenders they appeared to be when they brought Dickey and Reyes to Toronoto in the offseason. Dickey showed his 2012 Cy Young form while retiring the first 13 batters Wednesday en route to a complete game two-hit shutout, and Reyes played in his first game since spraining his ankle April 12.
Over the last two seasons, Reyes averaged batting .312 with 34 doubles, 14 triples and 9 home runs while stealing 40 of 49 bases. His bat alone was worth an average of 5.3 extra wins per season according to WAR.
Dickey threw over 200 innings each of the last two seasons, averaging going 14-9 with a 3.00 ERA while striking out more than 3 1/2 times as many batters as he walked and giving up less than a hit and inning and less than a home run every nine innings. WAR says he was worth an average of 4.7 extra wins per season.
Put them together and Reyes and Dickey were worth an average of 10.0 extra wins per season. While they were worth no additional wins before Wednesday, if they revert to form and stay healthy they could give the Blue Jays an extra five wins the last half of the season and give the Jays a chance to play for a World Series.