Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine

The Jays took the first two games of this extended series but the odds are more even for these next two. Toronto have the home field advantage but the Phillies are throwing their best two pitchers this year, Cliff Lee and AJ Burnett. The Jays respond with the senior members of the rotation, Mark Buehrle and RA Dickey.

Adam Lind should return tomorrow, there was no need to activate him today with Cliff Lee on the mound for the Phillies. The status of Dioner Navarro and Brett Lawrie is unknown at this point. The Jays bench will be down to one if they are unable to play.

The AL East is really tight right now. Can some team , and maybe the Jays, go on a run to take command?

Update 3:45pm: Navarro is back in the lineup tonight. Lawrie is on the bench. Kratz is DH, he would have caught Lee in Philly last season. Bench, other than Lawrie, is Thole and Getz.

Phillies at Jays | 93 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#285924) #
Gibbons has Kratz hitting 5th and Navarro hitting 6th; I guess the thinking is that Kratz knows Lee well and should be able to hit him better.  I wonder if there are studies on how catchers hit pitchers the year after catching them. I don't recall anything off the top of my head.
scottt - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#285925) #
Here, the worse case scenario is Lee pitches a complete game, so there's no points in breaking the left handed hitters.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#285926) #
As always, the latest BR Preview... (where they have Hutchison and Happ listed in the a 10 man pen which might be Gibbons dream)
No rest: Loup (2 days in a row, 3 of past 4, 4 of past 6, really deserves a day off), Stroman (2 of past 3 days, should be off today)
1 day: Rogers (5 days off before that 21 pitch game), Delabar (past 8 days show 2 days off after each game so probably tonight off), Cecil (1 day off after 2 straight, should be available)
3+ days: Redmond (3 days off), Jenkins (3 days since he threw 1 pitch), Santos (4 days off)

Double checked and Jenkins is there today. Really don't see why, as Jenkins, Redmond, and Santos must be wondering how to get splinters out of their butts after that much rest.  I suspect Cecil is the closer for tonight, Redmond the setup along with Delabar while Jenkins and Santos are to be used in case of emergency, maybe after Rogers.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#285927) #
What a great pitching duel this is.

Two guys who aren't just super efficient pitchwise, but don't waste a second between pitches.

This game might make it in under the two hour mark.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#285928) #
If buck is right and gibbons is taking buehrle out on 100 pitches heading into the 8th with a dominant shutout going and the bottom of the order coming up, i'll be less than imoressed.
scottt - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#285929) #
Shawn Camp. Long time no see.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#285930) #
With a 7-0 lead (OK, now 10-0), Gibbons can safely remove Buehrle any time he pleases...
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#285931) #
Actually, it's a perfect time for Sergio Santos.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#285932) #
Yep, the long 9 run (and counting) inning has changed the equation, agreed.
CeeBee - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#285933) #
That was a rather nice half inning. The offense is certainly picking it up as are the starting pitchers.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#285934) #
And how good was it to see francisco get one off not just a lefty, but cliff lee? And all his at bats were good, long smart at bats for that matter.

I know it's all likely flukish but man francisco looks like a hitter to me.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#285935) #
In one way, Francisco's performance is flukish.  His .375 BABIP is definitely that.  On the other hand, his W rate is much higher because he has been swinging at many fewer pitches outside the zone so far.  It would not be shocking for an almost 27 year old power hitter to improve his strike zone judgment significantly, and maybe that is what is happening with Francisco.  
McNulty - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#285936) #
This game reminds me of the first game of the Giants series in early May last season. Misplayed balls, opposing fielders tumbling all over the place.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#285937) #
With Bautista and Encarnacion as examples, is it possible Juan Francisco is another budding power hitter?

I'm not that superstitious but, the 4-game wining streak coincides with Marcus Stroman being called up. Until it's shown he's not the rabbit's foot, I'm not moving Stroman down. So who goes when Lind returns?
Cracka - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#285938) #
Fun night. Francisco hit his first career homer against a LHP (he has 35 vs. RHP). Tolleson is now tied for the team lead in triples and has 5 hits -- all for extra bases -- in 12 PA. Getz/Goins/Diaz/Izturis/Kawasaki have 6 extra base hits between them this season. Our trio of catchers now has 50 hits between them (with some coming as DH). Buehrle becomes the first 6 game winner in the AL. None of these things would have been remotely predictable a month ago... has been a interesting season for sure.
greenfrog - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#285939) #
Richard, your "Mark Buehrle, 2014 Cy Young winner" prediction isn't looking half bad (a month into the season, anyway). With the Jays' offense, he could end up with a healthy win total this year.

Kevin Seitzer must be pretty pleased with his charges at the moment.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#285940) #
I just want to give a shout out to our CHEAP BENCH.

Many people wanted the Jays to spend money on bench players this year - and admittedly it wouldn't have been a bad idea necessarily - but I was happy to go with a dirt cheap bench this year and keep rotating through to find the hot guys mainly because I was just compeltely sick of spending money on the likes of Davis, Izturis, Bonifacio, MacDonald etc. just to end up having crappy benches that cost a pretty penny.

But the cheap bench is working out pretty dang well so far. There's been plenty of misses (Goins, Sierra, Diaz, Kawasaki), but even more hits (Francisco, Tolleson, Getz, Thole, Kratz, Gose). And there's more potential useful guys to try yet if these guys' luck runs out - guys like Pillar, Mastroianni, Godaert, Johnson.

I love it. No need to spend money on crappy role players. Good GMs can always end up finding them for peanuts, if they're willing to continually work at grabbing more potentially useful options.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#285941) #
I wouldn't discount the DFA of Moises Sierra and Jeremy Jeffress. This was (finally) a signal that we weren't just going to keep assets on the roster if they aren't performing. It makes it considerably easier to try and find the hot hand.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 07 2014 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#285942) #
Yep. I was impressed with those short leashes. Goins and Diaz too.

Stubborness with your first choice is a killer when you're dealing with fungible parts, and that's been a problem with the Jays in the (recent) past.

I've noticed that Tampa seems to do this most every year - they'll end up dropping 1 or 2 of their first choice bench players and 1 or 2 of their first choice relievers within the first month, and tap into a hot hand somewhere else to replace them.

I'm damn glad the Jays are doing something similar.
John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:11 AM EDT (#285943) #
Agreed that it is nice that AA was willing to cut bait.  Still, very annoying that Sierra has twice as many hits (4 in 5 AB) for the White Sox as he had for the Jays (2 in 34 AB).  Meanwhile Jose Abreu is paying off big time for the ChiSox with a 254/315/604 line so far (12 HR)
uglyone - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:21 AM EDT (#285944) #
Annoying, but not as annoying as Francisco's performance must be to milwaukee fans.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:28 AM EDT (#285945) #
My Mark Buehrle prediction was "tongue in cheek", but it's looking better every time he pitches.

The Jays should be considered "off to a slow start". The Season started with 4 Away games in which the team went 2-2. There was a possibility of being 3-1, but both Offense and Relief turned that down. Next came 6 Home games in which they went 3-3. There were possibilities of being 4-2 or even 5-1, but pitching issues and inadequate offense stopped that. Next came 9 Away games in which they went 5-4. There were possibilities of going as well as 8-1, but offense ignored one game while Relief collapses ended two more from occurring. Next followed 6 Home games in which they went a sad 2-4. There were possibilities for a 5-1, except relief had issues with that happening. Next came 8 Away games in which they when 4-4. There were possibilities for 8-0, but relief squandered 3, while offense was absent from another.

It all right to moan about what might have been, but all through that the Jays never fell out of the thick of the race. The Starters are pitching better and longer into games. The Offense is becoming more consistent and possibly capable of out-hitting everyone. The Defense remains good and very effective. Relief is starting to come around. Gibbons just has to stop using all his best relievers in the same game.

If most things are working, the Jays could win a lot of games, more than most people think.
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 06:29 AM EDT (#285946) #
Steve Tolleson looks like he might be a useful player.  Five extra-base hits in his first four games, and I guess he's the back-up OF at the moment too.  Yeah, he's 30, but there are a few hints in his career that suggest he can hit.  His 2010 numbers for Oakland were pretty good, although he failed to repeat it for Baltimore in 2012 in his only other major-league stint.  In the minors, at AAA, he had good numbers in 2013 and 2011 and 2010.  He knows how to get on base, his OBP numbers have always been good, and he has some pop. His infield/outfield versatility could keep him around.  And if the Jays pitchers show that they can thrive without absolutely stellar defence behind them, Tolleson has a definite edge over Goins and Diaz.

It looks like the Jays want to keep 3 catchers for a little longer, since Navarro is still running poorly.  So I would guess that Jenkins is demoted when Lind returns, and then a few days later Kratz could be demoted to make room for Janssen.  The bench then will be Francisco, Thole and either Getz or Tolleson.  Not a perfect bench, perhaps, but a pretty good one.  If the rotation is still pitching well and pitching deeper into games, the surplus then becomes the long men in the bullpen:  Redmond, Rogers and Stroman. That's when a trade becomes possible -- especially if the Jays want to make room for Stroman in the rotation.
Jonny German - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 06:59 AM EDT (#285947) #
"The bench then will be Francisco, Thole and either Getz or Tolleson. Not a perfect bench, perhaps, but a pretty good one."

Or a pretty terrible one, if you ever need a real backup outfielder. Since 2009 Tolleson has appeared in a grand total of 1 game in CF (handling the ball once), and 2 games in RF (handling the ball twice). I'm all for giving the guy a shot at 2B given the alternatives, but expecting him to be a legitimate backup OF is silliness.

Kevin Pillar makes a lot more sense on this roster than the 8th reliever. If the team can't bring itself to part ways with Rogers, Happ, or Redmond, they can simply demote Stroman. It would be very handy to have him ready to step into the rotation in case of injury or Happenstance.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 07:32 AM EDT (#285948) #
I'd be looking to deal both Happ and Lind for whatever we can get at this point. Even if that is nothing. Francisco looks like a cheaper, healthier, more flexible version of Lind who could more properly be platooned.

Then I'd have Pillar and Francisco platoon as DH, Kratz, Diaz, and Gose (for pinch running and keeping Rasmus fresh) as the bench. Give Stro-show a shot at Happ's slot in the rotation with Jenkins behind him.
Jonny German - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#285949) #
Are you ditching Thole or did you forget about him?
ayjackson - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#285950) #
I think they could slip Redmond down to Buffalo if they were so inclined.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#285951) #
On a May 6th podcast Buster Olney said (while speaking with Cherrington) only the Blue Jays have a plus run differential.

At so point in time that will turn into a Blue Jay advantage.
John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#285952) #
It is a challenge to figure out the best roster.  Agreed that Lind & Happ seem like spare parts that are more expensive than other options that seem just as good in Francisco and Stroman.  Rogers could be sent away easily too as he is a #7/8 guy in the pen right now and is probably the #8 or 9 choice for the rotation.

Rotation: Buehrle, Dickey, Hutchison, McGowan, Stroman (with backups Redmond, Jenkins, Hendriks, Nolin, Sanchez, McGuire, Hill [recently promoted to AAA], etc.)
Bullpen: Loup, Cecil, Delabar, Santos, Redmond, Wagner, Janssen (once healthy) or one of the starting backups.

CA: Navarro/Thole
1B: Encarnacion
2B: Getz/Tolleson
3B: Lawrie
SS: Reyes
LF: Cabrera
CF: Rasmus
RF: Bautista
DH: Francisco/Kratz
OF: Pillar

Still limited on the bench but a 3rd catcher, outfielder and infielder to go with the backup catcher isn't a bad thing as long as Kratz can hit (replace with Diaz or Goins if he has issues).
TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#285953) #
On the other hand, his W rate is much higher because he has been swinging at many fewer pitches outside the zone so far.

Andrew Stoeten had a good post about this yesterday, and he brought up the issue of when we can expect Francisco's O-swing rate (now at 27%, far below his career average) to stabilize. I discussed this back in the Pittsburgh thread and said of his new O-swing rate: "That's a really positive indicator, and it's also a statistic that tends to stabilize early in the season, which gives some assurance that it's not a small sample size issue."

As Stoeten notes correctly, it's hard to find any confirmation of the stabilization point online. I remember, though, some discussion of this (I *think* it was actually in a podcast between Rany Jazayerli and Joe Sheehan) around the end of April 2012 with respect to Albert Pujols' first season in LA. He had that terrible first month, and the natural reaction was to say, "Don't worry, it's still early, he'll be fine," but a look at his O-swing % showed that things weren't fine -- there was a marked increase in his rate and because, it was explained, that stat stabilized relatively early, it was a bad omen for the Angels.

That’s how I remember it, though there’s always the chance I’m misremembering. But we can just figure this out ourselves, can’t we? I think we can if we start with the fact that Swing Rate is known to stabilize after 50 PAs (according to FanGraphs). From there I’m making an assumption that the same sample size needed for Swing Rate to stabilize would be needed for O-Swing Rate to stabilize (if that seems like a mistake, then let me know, and also feel free to ignore what follows). So if half the pitches a batter sees are out of the strike zone, then doubling the number of PAs from 50 to 100 should work as a rough estimate of when the O-Swing Rate stabilizes. Well, OK. Now in Juan Francisco’s case, 59% of the pitches he’s seen thus far have been out of the strike zone. So that actually works out to 85 PAs in his case. He’s currently at 68 PAs, which means he’s getting close. Not there yet, however, so caution is still in order.

There’s also the issue of walk rate. Francisco is at 11.8%, again far above his career norms, and a very good rate, especially when combined with his power. Stoeten cites a couple of articles from a few years ago showing that the walk rate stabilizes around 170 or 200 PAs. However, according to this, seemingly current, page at FanGraphs, stabilzation of the walk rate comes at 120 PAs.

If we include his AAA numbers this year -- 50 PAs with a 12% walk rate -- I guess he’s pretty much at 120 PAs in total. We shouldn’t really do that, of course, but it is fair to point out, I think, that even his AAA walk rate is far above his previous AAA rates, so it’s a very positive sign at the very least.
scottt - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#285954) #
Is Francisco better than Lind? Lind was hitting just fine when he went down.

Optimally, guys are bounced back to Buffalo depending on what regular needs some rest.
It's nice to have both in the lineup when Lawrie is ailing.

John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#285955) #
Fun watching Francisco. Just went back and re-read a few comments from MLBTradeRumors at the time...
  • Encarnacion 2.0, just watch
  • I was afraid this would happen. Somehow they'll make him into a 40 homer guy with respectable on-base stats. (Not entirely serious, but also not entirely sarcastic.)
  • I get this feeling like he's going to break out with Toronto like Bautista and Encarnacion. Similar type player. All three were third basemen that struggled defensively and could never find consistent home run power. That would be a dynamic trio at the heart of the lineup if Francisco lives up to his potential.
  • I remember thinking this guy was a star a few years back. He's got the type of light tower power you can dream on.
  • Toronto is a launching pad and this guy has 80 raw power. He'll K 200 times in a full season, but he might hit 40 HR in Toronto.
  • I remember someone, maybe from fangraphs, saying Francisco is the type of guy the Jays have a lot of success with. Nice that he's only 26 and can backup Lawrie at 3B. I wonder where he fits on the roster though. We already have one 1B who has extreme platoon issues. Maybe this means they can trade Lind to fill another hole.
  • Plus my comments... #284130 which I pointed out age 26... which is EE, which is Francisco with age 27 Bautista mixed in ... 227/296/422 225/320/410 238/313/405 ... it is F/E/B ... so far this year Francisco is 276/368/534 vs EE last year 272/370/534 Bautista 2012 241/358/527 ...
  • Meanwhile in Milwaukee... Overbay won the position and is hitting 242/324/323 for an 80 OPS+
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#285956) #
"....Or a pretty terrible one, if you ever need a real backup outfielder....   Expecting him to be a legitimate backup OF is silliness...."

Nobody expects Tolleson to be a "legitimate" or "real" centre-fielder.  The real backup outfielders, of course, are in Buffalo, just a short drive away.  If you need a backup CF for a couple of innings because of a mid-game injury, you put Bautista or Cabrera there.  They can do the job for a few innings, and then you bring in Gose for the next game if your CF is seriously injured.  You don't need a defensive whiz sitting on the bench just in case of an OF injury.  I don't see why the bench has to be the perfect solution for every conceivable in-game injury.  That's what Buffalo is for.
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#285957) #
".... Since 2009 Tolleson has appeared in a grand total of 1 game in CF (handling the ball once), and 2 games in RF (handling the ball twice)...."

Last year alone, he played 23 games in the OF at the AAA level, handling the ball 43 times.  I'm sure he can handle LF for 3 or 4 innings if there's an injury to one of the Jays outfielders.  You put him in LF and shift Cabrera over to CF or RF, depending where the injury is.  Not a perfect solution, but adequate until Gose or Pillar can be promoted to replace the injured outfielder.
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#285958) #
Juan Francisco:  is he the reincarnation of Matt Stairs?

(Yes, I know that Matt Stairs isn't dead.  He also couldn't play 3B.)

Jonny German - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#285959) #
"You don't need a defensive whiz sitting on the bench just in case of an OF injury."

Uh-huh. And yet 29 out of 30 major league teams do carry at least one legitimate backup outfielder on their major league rosters.
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#285960) #
Many of them also have 8-man bullpens on occasion too.
John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#285961) #
Roster construction is tough.  With Lind back soon...
  • Francisco clearly belongs up here.  He has played 10 games in LF in the minors, might he be able to convert like Bautista did, from 3B to OF while still backing up 3B/1B?  A guy who hits like he has who could play all 3 positions would be very useful. 
  • Lind is limited to 1B/DH at this point, but he was hitting very well before getting hurt
  • Tolleson is off to a good start, never had much of a shot at the majors (141 PA lifetime over 3 seasons, 2010/12/14) but has hit well in the minors (282/371/407) and had an 807 OPS in AAA last year with over 100 lifetime games at 2B/SS/3B and 84 in LF and 25 in CF - Tony Phillips type, potentially a guy who can play everywhere who has decent speed (122 SB in minors vs 50 CS) and a decent bat.
  • Getz hasn't hit much lifetime, just a 69 OPS+ over 1564 PA, mostly at 2B (6 games lifetime elsewhere in majors, 15 games in LF in minors plus 59 at SS and 6 at 3B).
  • Kratz has hit well so far (111 OPS+), can catch and play 1B (30 games in minors) and even pitch a bit (5 games in minors, 6 IP)
  • Meanwhile we have other bit players in Goins, Kawasaki, and Diaz in AAA plus Gose & Pillar for the outfield.

Right now I can certainly see the Jays using Tolleson as the CF/LF/RF/SS/2B backup while Francisco covers 3B/1B and Kratz DH/CA/1B once Lind comes back. Not ideal perhaps, but in the event of an injury Gose & Pillar aren't far away.  Funny thing is Getz is just a +2.2 UZR/150 lifetime at 2B but +19 this year. 

  • 2B defensively has been great for the Jays with +17 or better UZR/150 for Goins, Izturis, Lawrie and Getz, Tolleson at 0 and horrid (-30 or worse) for Kawasaki and Diaz. 
  • SS also has been great with 38+ UZR/150 for Goins and Diaz while Reyes is at +7 (normally a very good figure but looks poor vs the other 2).  
  • 3B sees a +27 for Francisco and a +5.2 for Lawrie (low for him)
  • 1B sees a +17 for Francisco, while Lind and EE are 1.5 and 0.1 respectively
  • OF is a nightmare though... with the 3 backups doing well (Sierra, Gose, Diaz all +10 or better) while the regulars suck (-12 -25 -26 for Cabrera Rasmus Bautista respectively)

Clearly so far the only defensive issues are with the 3 guys who nothing can be done about - the 3 regular outfielders.  The infield and all backups (outside of Kawasaki and Diaz at 2B) have been, on defense, fantastic.

So I'd risk it with Tolleson as the only backup for the OF/SS most of the time as in the event of injury there are options but I'd rather keep those guys playing everyday and staying at the top of their games.  I think Tolleson should do OK out there and given the poor defense we're getting as is why not?
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#285962) #
I noticed at the start of the season how much spring Rasmus and Cabrera had in their steps.  To my eye, they are both off a little bit since then and it will get worse if they don't get the occasional day off (maybe one-two games a month).  It would be good for Bautista as well.  The same is true for Reyes on the turf. 

The cost of not having a bench with positional depth would be felt in July and August.   In each of the last 2 years, the club faded spectacularly in July and August, and it was my view that the lack of positional depth was a contributing factor (although not necessarily the only one).  The injuries have tended to pile up, and it might be that additional rest would help ameliorate that to some degree.  I am not suggesting that the starting pitching injuries of June, 2012 have anything to do with positional depth, of course.

Lylemcr - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#285963) #

The Jays are not trading Lind or Happ.  Their stock is low and they would be better to see if thier value increases.  For Happ, the Jays really need that 6th starter.  And for Lind, his value is limited expecially with Morales still available in the free agent market.

If the Jays want to make room for Stroman, they will demote McGowan or Happ to the bullpen. 

On the other hand...  When Janssen gets back, I see a potential trade coming from the bullpen.

Dave Till - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#285964) #

Some random thoughts:

  • Re bench construction: the Jays are now seeing the benefit of having an AAA team so close by. If they need another outfielder or pitcher, he becomes available that day. Las Vegas requires a travel day.
  • The Jays have had a relatively soft schedule so far: their interleague opponents haven't been overwhelming - Philly really looks awful - and they've already played Houston. This is better than last year, when the Jays played AL East opponents over and over again until they sank hopelessly out of contention. Against non-AL-East opposition, they've been able to sort out a few issues and still remain in the race.
  • Baseball is a funny thing. Four days ago, I was about to write off this team: on a big losing streak despite playing Pittsburgh, bullpen melting down, etc., etc. Now, things are looking much more promising.
  • While AA can be blamed for not landing a big-ticket starting pitcher free agent, you have to give him credit for finding useful replacement-level players to fill the bench. Francisco is looking quite useful.
  • And I think that Gibbons has done a good job managing this team. They're at .500 despite (a) no production from Reyes; (b) losing their closer; (c) losing Morrow probably for forever and ever; (d) losing their starting first baseman; (e) Lawrie bouncing in and out of the lineup due to random injuries; (f) a starting staff that normally can't make it through the 6th.
  • If Dustin McGowan can even come close to keeping this up, he'd have to be the odds-on favourite for the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Who the heck else would you give it to?
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#285965) #
And as for Francisco being the return of Matt Stairs, you have to look at their minor league records to see the huge differences.  Here is Stairs. Here is Francisco.  Stairs had terrific control of the strike zone from his early 20s in the minors.  Francisco had poor control all the way. 

Does it occasionally happen that a player will take a big leap forward in this regard at or around age 27?  An example might be found from one of Francisco's BBRef comparables- Jayson Werth.  Werth had a comparable K rate to Francisco (but a somewhat better W rate) through age 26.  He cut his K rate a little, added a little pop and went from being a useful player to being a star.  Francisco isn't going to hit .300 like Werth has, but he can certainly be a useful player.  
uglyone - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#285966) #
I don't get what i'm hearing here about lind.

Lind is a 30yr old solid defensive 1B who posted an .850+ops last year, has a .950+ops this year, is a career ~.800ops hitter and a career ~.850ops hitter vs. LHP. He costs $7m this year, with 2 club options at the same price.

Why on earth would we ditch him? And how is his value low?
uglyone - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#285967) #
As for roster construction, i really don't think we have any choice other than to go with 3b Francisco / 2b Lawrie (vs. RHP at least) until it proves it can't work. You can't take either bat out of the lineup now, and the distinct possibility that the move may not even be a defensive liability makes the upside here too good to not give it a try, IMO.

If francisco cools off, or the defense falls apart, then we end the experiment but for now imo we have to try it.

My Roster:

1. SS Reyes
2. LF Cabrera
3. RF Bautista
4. DH Encarnacion
5. 1B Lind
6. 2B Lawrie
7. CF Rasmus
8. C Navarro
9. 3B Francisco

B. UT Tolleson
B. OF Pillar
B. IF Diaz
B. C Thole

You don't necesarily have to sub out all three lefties every time we face a LHP but we're able to if we want, while insuring a defensive upgrade at least. Diaz as a regular late inning defensive replacement for Francisco would obviously be a feature of this roster.

That being said, this roster could still clearly use one legit DH-quality lefty-masher to complete the bench.

And I agree the sacrificial lamb from the 'pen has to be Rogers..... Wagner, Stroman, Nolin, Hendriks, Stilson in AAA provides more than enough cover for pitcher injuries, both SP and RP, if we happen to lose Rogers to a claim.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#285968) #
Lind is, at this point, a very fine platoon player.  He's a passable but below average fielder at first base (and very slow) but has killed RHP in 2013 and so far in 2014.  He can't hit lefties a lick and you absolutely have to platoon him.

Is that valuable?  Yes.  Is it worth $7 million per year?  Maybe.  The reason I say maybe is that you don't really know how his back is going to hold up and whether he will be able to give you 350 or 500 productive PAs in a season, and whether his back troubles will cause him to lose some productivity. 

Personally, I'd be just as happy with a roster including both Lind and Francisco if the club could whittle down its need for low leverage relief help.  Francisco gets in some PAs when Lawrie or Lind is injured and pinch-hitting for Getz/Tolleson/Diaz/Goins/Kawasaki or whoever the club has playing the middle infield other than Reyes. 

uglyone - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#285969) #
Ach that bench utility spot was supposed to read Kratz/Tolleson.

Kratz might be a better platoon partner for Lind in the end.
PeterG - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#285970) #
last night notwithstanding, Kratz is not nearly adequate as a platoon player.....he hits the odd HR but his average generally hovers around..200 and OBP below .300

as for Lind, now that we have Francisco, I would try to package him in a trade with an excess pitcher to see if we could get a good young 2b or even an OF that we may need next season. I do not like Lawrie at 2b.

John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#285971) #
Just was at the Jays website and noticed team leaders... who would've bet on Cabrera leading the team in stolen bases on May 8th?  3 for him vs 2 for 3 others including Encarnacion.  Cabrera also leads in triples with 2.  Bautista has twice the walks (34) of anyone else on the team.  EE has 17, which is nearly double the #3 guy Lind (9).  Rasmus has been the air swinger with 42 K's vs EE in the #2 slot with 28.  Thole is still hitting 400 and has one more hit than Reyes in 39 fewer AB's.
uglyone - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#285972) #
Just wanted to look closer at the Joey/EE comps for francisco.


Encarnacion (22-26): 2181pa, 9.2bb%, 18.1k%, .187iso, .262/.345/.449/.793, 103ops+
J.Bautista (23-27): 1634pa, 10.0bb%, 21.4k%, .159iso, .239/.324/.398/.722, 89ops+
J.Francisco (22-26): 771pa, 7.0bb%, 33.6k%, .189iso, .243/.300/.432/.731, 96ops+

Unfortunately Juan doesn't stack up that well, aside from in raw power. His approach and contact rates are nowhere near as good.

That being said, the guy i've seen in a jays uni seems to be more than capable of a good approach...and there may be something to the fact that francisco is much less experienced than those two were.

The other two showed improvements in approach with more experience:


23: 96pa, 7.3bb%, 41.7k%,
24: 31pa, 9.7bb%, 22.6k%
25: 469pa, 9.8bb%, 23.5k%
26: 614pa, 11.1bb%, 16.4k%
27: 424pa, 9.4bb%, 21.4k%


22: 234pa, 8.5bb%, 25.6k%
23: 467pa, 8.8bb%, 16.7k%
24: 560pa, 7.0bb%, 15.4k%
25: 582pa, 10.5bb%, 17.5k%
26: 338pa, 10.9bb%, 19.8k%

But even then, francisco lags far behind:

22: 25pa, 12.0bb%, 28.0k%
23: 59pa, 6.8bb%, 33.9k%
24: 97pa, 4.1bb%, 24.7k%
25: 205pa, 5.4bb%, 34.1k%
26: 385pa, 8.3bb%, 35.8k%
27: 68pa, 11.8bb%, 30.9k%

So the EE/Joey comps don't work so well for francisco, unfortunately.

To end on a postive spin, though, his bb% has moved up above average ever since he started getting more regular playing time last year, and has been above average to good the last two years.

APR '13: 67pa, 4.5bb%
MAY '13: 48pa, 8.3bb%
JUN '13: 75pa, 8.0bb%
JUL '13: 87pa, 10.3bb%
AUG '13: 72pa, 11.1bb%
SEP '13: 36pa, 5.6bb%
APR '14: 41pa, 12.2bb%
MAY '14: 27pa, 11.1bb%

Aside from that SSS blip in sept last year when he was reduced to pure PH duty, that's a very steady rise in BB rate up to a very good level ever since he started getting regular mlb at bats.

Maybe he was trying to impress with homers in his earlier callups, and hacked at everything. Maybe last year an mlb quality hitting coach helped him make an adjustment. Maybe it's all just SSS fluke.

Thing is he sure LOOKS like the kind of guy who knows how to work a count to my amateur eye so far.

Given all this, i think i'll stay bullish on francisco until he starts hacking at everything off the plate again.

And just to check one more thing.....his last 3yrs milb platoon splits....


V. RHP: 256pa, .968ops
V. LHP: 127pa, .811ops

Still a pronounced split but maybe there's still a chance he isn't completely useless vs. LHP.
James W - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#285974) #
Who the heck else would you give it to?

Grady Sizemore's got a pretty similar narrative. And he's done about as well as McGowan has, so far.

smcs - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#285975) #
If Dustin McGowan can even come close to keeping this up, he'd have to be the odds-on favourite for the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Who the heck else would you give it to?

Derek Jeter.
Jonny German - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#285976) #
"Derek Jeter."

Jerry? Jerry Howarth? Is that you?

uglyone - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#285977) #
Not sure if it's been mentioned, but Lind is officially activated, Jenkins sent down to make room.

4 man bench, 7 man bullpen.

The more interesting decision will come next week when janssen is back, though i bet stroman gets sent down then.
John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#285978) #
Without a trade I'd bet on Stroman going down too. I keep expecting someone to try to get Happ out of the Jays for cheap.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#285979) #
I would prefer if Stroman stayed up and stayed in the major league bullpen rather than racking up more innings in a starting role in Buffalo.  We'll see if everyone in the pen is healthy and still in the organization when Janssen is ready.

Tonight's lineup has all lefties in slots 5-9 in the lineup.  Lefties have hit quite a bit better against Burnett over the last 3 years, but the lineup does make for a rather inviting target for OLFOGYs (Old Lefthanded Five Out GuYs).  Where is Jesse Orosco when you need him?

PeterG - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#285980) #
stupid waste of an option year if Stroman goes back this soon......I didn't want him called up in the first place.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#285981) #
I don't agree with that.  Stroman is expected to contribute in 2014; he is not being given just a look-see like Nolin was last year.  He's going to be back up before September anyways (knock on wood), so I am not worried about the lost option year. 
John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#285983) #
If not Stroman then who goes down when Janssen is back?  Redmond or Rogers makes the most sense, but would the Jays do that?  Or do they send down Kratz as 2 catchers is probably enough once Navarro is back to 100%.  There really isn't room for both Lind and Francisco you'd think but both have hit extremely well so what to do?

Stroman is the path of least resistance for AA to send down, Rogers is probably the most logical candidate with Redmond close behind but they could lose them for nothing if that happens.  Kratz is next to shrink the bench a bit.  I'm hoping Rogers or Happ is dealt even if it is for pennies on the dollar.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#285984) #
Yes. If Stroman gets sent down, he'll be back up soon. Someone on the ML roster will get hurt or be ineffective. Pretty soon Stroman will be in the majors to stay (if he's not already).
greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#285985) #
That was "yes" to MG's post.
TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#285987) #
APR '13: 67pa, 4.5bb%
MAY '13: 48pa, 8.3bb%
JUN '13: 75pa, 8.0bb%
JUL '13: 87pa, 10.3bb%
AUG '13: 72pa, 11.1bb%
SEP '13: 36pa, 5.6bb%
APR '14: 41pa, 12.2bb%
MAY '14: 27pa, 11.1bb%

Oh, very good research, Uglyone. That's almost a full year (July to early May) of a solid walk rate. Definitely enough to say there's been a significant improvement in his approach.
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#285988) #
Gibbons, when asked if Stroman will be sent down when Janssen comes back, uttered the following comment: "He could. But I wouldn't bet on it."

I presume Kratz will get sent down. He's only on the roster now because Navarro is not completely recovered from his injury.  Janssen will not be returning to the Jays bullpen until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest.   By then, Navarro's health should be fully recovered, so Kratz becomes expendable and he gets sent down to make room for Janssen. 

Of course that still leaves the team with a 3-man bench and 8-man bullpen but we'll leave that debate for another day, it's been debated endlessly already....

greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#285993) #
Among the reasons for the Rockies' surprising success this year:

Tulo: 3.3 fWAR
Blackmon: 1.9 fWAR
Arenado: 1.5 fWAR

That's a staggering 6.7 fWAR from three of their position players after just over a month of play. No other team can touch that.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#285995) #
Colby is just unconscious right now.

On the minus side, he may be headed for a big payday in free agency.

On the plus side, the Jays might just get a draft pick when another team signs him, as a 30 HR quality CF has to be worth at least 1/$14-15m.

Assuming, of course, that he doesn't sign with the Jays during the season.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#285997) #
WAR penalizes the runner for a CS.  Josh Thole makes the case that it sometimes should be at least split with the batter.
TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#285998) #
As for roster construction, i really don't think we have any choice other than to go with 3b Francisco / 2b Lawrie (vs. RHP at least) until it proves it can't work.

Absolutely. It's the perfect solution staring them in the face. Potentially, of course, since we'd have to see how it played out. But to go from Goins or even Getz (basically replacement level) to Juan Francisco, and all he might be, is just too great an opportunity to pass up.
scottt - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#285999) #
Yes, I'm pondering what you're pondering.

However, I still don't want to see Lind starting against a lefty. Francisco neither.

TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#286000) #
The other thing about Francisco and Lawrie is it wouldn't have to be a strict platoon based on LHP/RHP. You could also make decisions based on the Jays' starting pitcher on any given day. Maybe with Buehrle on the mound where you're expecting a lot of balls in play, especially to the left side, you go with Lawrie at 3B and Getz at 2B, a defense-first lineup. Fall behind and you can pinch-hit for Getz in the 6th. There's so much flexibility available with this option that they'd be crazy (in my opinion, of course) not to go with it.
TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#286001) #
Gibbons, when asked if Stroman will be sent down when Janssen comes back, uttered the following comment: "He could. But I wouldn't bet on it."

I presume Kratz will get sent down.

The thing is, he said something similar about Kratz -- something about wanting to keep him around as a DH/C against LHP. This, too, affords a lot of flexibility -- it not only solves the DH problem vs. LHP, you can also pinch-run or pinch-hit for the starting catcher more freely with three catchers on the roster.

From his comments and non-use of certain pitchers, it seems pretty clear that Gibbons would rather have a 4-man bench and 7 relievers. I suspect a bit of tension between the manager and GM on this one.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#286002) #
I think Stroman is making the Jays' decision for them. He looks too good to send down.
Gerry - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#286003) #
Former Jays prospect Sam Dyson is on the DL in AAA. His jaw was broken in a fight with teammate Chris Hatcher in a bar after a game.
snider - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#286004) #
Ruth, Gehrig, Francisco. I could get used to this.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#286005) #
Google Translate tells me that "Fila del asesino" is the phrase you want for Bautista, Encarnacion, Francisco.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#286007) #
The Dominican connection on the Jays is amazing. Consider tonight's lineup 1-5:


Doesn't get much better than that.
PeterG - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#286008) #
Rasmus should be traded in July if not in serious pennant (not playoff) contention. No way he will be worth the 15 mil some team may give and I seriously doubt Jays would qualify him at that amount. Hope he can put up some stats in the meantime.....I am not at all pleased with his D in centre so far this season..
scottt - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:31 PM EDT (#286009) #
Kratz could probably replace Rogers in the pen.
If Rogers is lost on his way to AAA, there's no shortage of pitchers for the 6th starter role, anyway.

whiterasta80 - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#286013) #
I'd qualify Rasmus assuming he is playing at his current level and is healthy. I'm hoping that Rogers is the one that gets the hook when Janssen comes back. Much like Sierra and Jeffress it's time we stopped trying to keep assets at the cost of performance.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#286014) #
If Janssen, Cecil, Delabar, Loup, Santos. I'd keep Stroman as he'll be Starting for us soon (by August 1 at the latest). As such he's also suitable in long relief.

Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond will fill the last (1) Bullpen spot. Based on their season to date, I don't know who should be kept and who gets DFA. Rogers didn't do his cause any good tonight.
TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#286015) #
Hmm… I didn't know the background here. This is from John Lott's post-game story:

Even as Encarnacion struggled early, he made a behind-the-scenes contribution that would prove constructive. He was instrumental in luring Francisco, a fellow Dominican, to the Blue Jays. After Francisco was released by Milwaukee in late March, he drew interest from several clubs. Encarnacion gave him a call. He wanted Francisco in Toronto, and wanted to keep him away from other AL East clubs whose right-field fences are inviting for left-handed power hitters.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Encarnacion said, explaining that they had been teammates in Cincinnati. “He had a couple more teams to [explore]. So when I called him I asked him to come here because [the Blue Jays] can give him the opportunity to play here at this level. He knows he’s a big-league player, so I try to bring him here so he can help us to win games.”
John Northey - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#286016) #
Right now it looks like Stroman is filling the role Wagner had - not quite setup but darn close to it. A guy the manager trusts in pressure situation who can go 2+ if needed.

I'm liking the team more and more as the year moves on.  Rotation is solid in the front 4, the pen has Janssen coming soon to go with Cecil/Loup/Delabar and now Stroman.  Rogers almost has to go I think at this stage as he and Redmond are basically filling the long man role and Stroman can fill it as well.  Santos is frustrating and should be put into the 'only massive spread in score or inning eating situations' role that is Rogers' right now.

Lineup is scary good with an issue about how to keep the best on the field.  2B the only real weakness but Tolleson might be solid and a mix/match with Lawrie at 2B a couple times a week might do the trick to keep both him and Francisco in the lineup.  Lind appears A-OK so now I almost feel sorry for other clubs.  Glad AA didn't shell out for Morales...boy he should be furious with his agent and himself for not accepting the qualifying offer.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 08 2014 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#286017) #
Agreed, the team looks very good right now.

I think Stroman is a cut above Wagner. If he keeps pitching like this, Stroman will be in the Cecil/Delabar/Loup class of late-inning go-to pitchers for Gibbons.
92-93 - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#286018) #
"Many of them also have 8-man bullpens on occasion too."

Are any of them in the AL, and carrying the 8 man bullpen without a 4th OF?
Jonny German - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#286019) #
I thought Tolleson looked pretty smooth retrieving the ball he booted in right field.
uglyone - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 03:04 AM EDT (#286020) #
I mean seriously, can we dump Rogers already? The man is awful at baseball.
katman - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 03:57 AM EDT (#286021) #
I wouldn't dump Esmil Rogers outright. He has the stuff, and this summer in the Dominican he showed real potential. He's still at an age where he could put it together.

Having said all that, if we send him to AAA and someone claims him, I'm OK with that. It gets too expensive to keep him in terms of opportunity costs. Let Hendriks or Jenkins take that place if we need them later (heck, or Stroman). Meanwhile, keep Stroman up because the pen needs him.

Kratz stays at least until Navarro is better, and actually, DLing Navarro seems like a good idea right now with the other 2 hot. Watching him run was painful, and he needs to get better. We need Navarro in good shape for a whole season.

Francisco won't be the next EE or Jose, but I agree that he has shown real and not illusory improvement. If playing him at 3rd sometimes is what it takes, then fine. No way I want to risk losing him.

That means Rogers for Janssen.
John Northey - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 07:34 AM EDT (#286023) #
Katman - agreed completely.

Stroman is showing a lot - I agree with greenfrog that Wagner isn't as good as Stroman, but of course that is how it should be given Wagner cost the Jays nothing and Stroman is seen as a top pitching prospect.  Kind of nice to see the Jays break him in via the pen before putting him in the rotation.  Maybe leave Happ in the rotation until mid-season or so if he does OK, perhaps even the full season then move Stroman in next year.  The rotation could see some real tough decisions with the guys in the high minors tearing it up. 
AAA & AA ERA's sub 2: Hendriks (1.01), Boyd (1.41 but due to A+ as a 6.14 in AA)
ERA's sub 3: Nolin (2.34), Stroman
ERA's sub 3.5: Lawrence (3.16), Sanchez (3.05)
In A+ you can add Norris at 0.63 as one to watch.

That is 7 pitchers who are doing extremely well (ERA wise) in the minors for the Jays who could potentially all reach in 2015.  Nice.
Mike Green - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#286026) #
The pitching matchups for the Angels' series are kinda funny:

McGowan vs. Richards
Happ vs. Skaggs
Hutchison vs. Weaver
Buehrle vs. C.J. Wilson

The only thing that the club needs immediately is a 4th outfielder to allow Gibbons to rest players confidently, and to ensure a platoon partner for Lind.  There is a roster issue, but it does seem to me to be solvable.

Jonny German - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#286027) #
"There is a roster issue, but it does seem to me to be solvable."

It's as simple as sending out Kratz in favour of Pillar, no?
Mike Green - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#286028) #
That would work for the very short term if Navarro is ready to play.  He did seem to be.  I was thinking more about what happens when Janssen returns, but that could be dealt with next week.
JB21 - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#286031) #
So, the Jays are now 3rd in the league in runs scored, 2nd in HR's, 7th in BB%, 8th in K% (meaning they don't strike out much), 2nd in ISO, only 17th in BABIP, and second in my personal favourite stat, wOBA.

In HR's, ISO, and wOBA the Jays are second to only the Rockies.

ayjackson - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#286033) #
I love that they're doing it with a sustainable BABIP and (before last night) a sustainable hr/fb rate.

I'd keep Rogers over Redmond. I think the latter has a better chance of clearing waivers too.
uglyone - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#286035) #
Yeah BABIP crushed us last year. .284 was second worst in the AL, fourth worst in mlb.

This year it's is rebounded as expected....though it's still slightly below average. Luck could bump our .293 up closer to .300 pretty quickly.

Also nice to see the Red Sox' ridiculously lucky .329babip from last year, which was first in baseball by a country mile, bounce back down to a more typical .301 this year. Man oh man the red sox were lucky last year.
Mike Green - Friday, May 09 2014 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#286036) #
HR/FB rate for batters does not have the same range as for pitchers. If you field a lineup including Bautista, Encarnacion, Francisco, Rasmus, Lawrie, Cabrera, and play in the RC, you can expect to have an above-average HR/FB rate. None of the individual marks is really significantly out of sync with career norms.  Francisco has a rate of 29% (career 22%), Bautista's 22% is entirely consistent with his record of the last 4 years, Rasmus' is up noticeably, Encarnacion and Navarro are significantly off. 
Phillies at Jays | 93 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.