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The Lansing beats were hitting Bowling Green like a home run Tuesday night but that was the only good news as the other three affiliates lost their games by a single run.


Gwinnett 3 Buffalo 2

Buffalo, NY
- Darin Mastroianni led off the game with a home run for the Herd. Munenori Kawasaki plated the other run with a single in the fifth. Mastroianni tried to get the Herd back on even terms with a single and stolen base in the eighth but was left stranded. Ryan Goins had the other two-hit game for Buffalo while Dan Johnson walked twice. Anthony Gose was 1-for-4.

Sean Nolin
(2-2) shutout the Braves over five innings but his luck ran out in the sixth as he was charged with three runs in 5.1 innings. The lefthander surrendered seven hits and four walks while striking out three. John Stilson allowed one of three inherited runners to score, giving up a hit and a walk but whiffing two in 1.2 innings. Lefty Rob Rasmussen had two perfect innings, including a strikeout.


Reading 3 New Hampshire 2

Manchester, NH
- Aaron Sanchez managed to carry a no-hitter with two outs in the fifth inning. However, walks continue to plague the Barstow, California native. He walked four batters and the fourth walk was followed by a double and single that gave the Fightin' Phils a 2-1 lead. Sanchez finished up with five frames of two-run ball on two hits and matched his four walks with four K's. Lefthander Tony Davis put up two scoreless frames and erased a single by picking off the runner. He also struck out a pair. Scott Gracey (1-2) served up a solo meatball in the eighth to take the loss. He also walked a batter in his two innings of work.

Gabe Jacobo put the Fisher Cats in front with a solo home run in the second innning. Ryan Schimpf brought in the second run with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the seventh. Schimpf had no official at-bats in this one thanks to three earlier walks (one intentional) and he added a stolen base. Jonathan Jones walked twice and stole twice. Kevin Nolan, Michael Crouse, Andy Fermin and Pierce Rankin all had singles while Kenny Wilson reached with a base on balls. Brad Glenn struck out three times and went 0-for-4.


Palm Beach 1 Dunedin 0


Jupiter, FL
- Taylor Cole (3-1) deserved better. He allowed just one run on just four hits and a hit by pitch in seven innings, striking out five while getting nine groundball outs. Blake McFarland worked a one-hit ninth with a strikeout.

The D-Jays outhit the Cards 9-5 and had a chance to pull this one out by loading up the bases in the ninth with nobody out. However, Nick Baligod hit into an unusual 4-2-5 double play and Gustavo Pierre struck out to end the game. Derrick Chung had a perfect night at the plate with two hits and two walks but was picked off at first. K.C. Hobson was also aboard twice with a double and a walk. Pierre doubled while Dwight Smith Jr., Dalton Pompey and Christian Lopes all had singles.


Lansing 10 Bowling Green 0

Bowling Green, KY
- Dawel Lugo, clearly upset about being snubbed in yesterday's 3 Stars selection despite a four-hit night, made a statement to the naysayers by smacking a ball over the wall to lead off the fourth inning. D.J. Davis, who was named yesterday's second star, expressed his appreciation for the coveted honour by going deep for a two-run shot in the fifth inning. That was followed by a Lugo RBI single to cap off the three-run rally. Another run scored on a wild pitch in the sixth. After a sixth inning run that came about on a wild pitch, the Lugnuts poured it on in the ninth by matching their five run output over the first eight innings. Derrick Loveless took one for the team with the bases loaded, Jason Leblebijian singled home another run before Santiago Nessy cleaned house with a three-run double. Lugo, Davis and Nessy supplied nine of Lansing's 15 hits with three apiece with Davis also drawing a walk and stealing a base. L.B. Dantzler had two hits and a walk. Leblebijian, Dickie Thon Jr., Mitch Nay and Justin Atkinson all singled and walked with Thon also swiping a base. Loveless also walked to also get aboard twice.

Matt Dermody
(2-0) was dominant as he scattered four hits over eight scoreless frames against the Rays affiliate. The lefthander walked one but struck out six while keeping the infield busy with a groundout/flyout ratio of 14.1. Roberto Espinosa had a three-up, three-down ninth with three groundball outs.


*** 3 Stars!!! ***


3. Dawel Lugo, Lansing - Lugo is hitting .381 over his past 10 games after a .224 batting average in April.


2. D.J. Davis, Lansing - Earned his second #2 star selection in as many nights and is 8-for-15 over his last three contests.


1. Matt Dermody, Lansing - Brought his earned run average down to 2.04 as he continues the transition from reliever to starter.


Tuesday's Linescores


Wednesday's Schedule & Probable Starters...

Reading @ New Hampshire, 10:35 am ET - RHP Deck McGuire (3-4, 3.40).
Lansing @ Bowling Green, 11:35 am ET - RHP Jeremy Gabryszwski (2-2, 3.73).
Dunedin @ Palm Beach, 6:35 pm ET - RHP Ben White (2-1, 2.65).
Gwinnett @ Buffalo, 7:05 pm ET - LHP Ricky Romero (0-1, 6.00).


Extra Innings...

Aaron Sanchez
is featured in the Eastern League notebook on MiLB.com.
Dermody - How Ya Like Him Now | 63 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Ron - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 12:58 AM EDT (#286228) #
This is the 5th year of professional baseball for Sanchez and he still can't find the strike zone without a binocular. It's frustrating watching guys that can't throw strikes on a consistent basis.

This is what Keith Law said after the AFL last year:

|The Blue Jays' top prospect had an up-and-down year around minor injuries and a failed experiment with a sinker, but Toronto could at least look at his premium stuff and feel confident that he was advancing toward a spot near the top of their major league rotation. Unfortunately, Sanchez's delivery has gone backward in the past year, with a shorter-than-ever stride and a very upright release that causes his fastball to stay up and hurts his command of all pitches."

Did the Jays try to tweak/change his delivery during the offseason?
uglyone - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:01 AM EDT (#286229) #
meh, don't listen to Keith Law.

He's the one who swore up and down that Sanchez was a better prospect than Syndergaard, only when Noah was still a jay of course, despite the numbers.
Lugnut Fan - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 05:40 AM EDT (#286231) #
I'm on board with Sanchez being a better prospect than Syndergaard too uglyone. Noah's secondary offerings are better than they were, but can still be inconsistent. It's amazing how peoples views change when you get an NY on your cap.

The Jays did mess with Sanchez's delivery last season. They kept him more upright to try and help him gain more control. I believe it was the way they were trying yo limit the movement in his FB. Gerry probably has more insite to that than I do. He's still learning to try and harness that. I think he will continue to struggle with command, but many other dominant pitchers struggled with that as well.
jerjapan - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#286236) #
Any advice from Bauxites for someone planning a weekend in Buffalo?   We are looking for a good place to stay near the park, but also hoping to find cool restaurants, bars and neighbourhoods to explore.  Cheers!
uglyone - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#286238) #
LugnutFan - no problem with your take on the comp....my issue is with Law's typical flipflop as soon as Noah was no longer a jay.


On another note - pretty sure i read on twitter last night that nolin ran into a "leg issue" last night and had to be pulled.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#286243) #
milb.com has a piece on Daniel Norris.  Apparently his delivery is more consistent and he has a new healthier diet.  I wonder if the club was involved in the diet change.
ayjackson - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#286249) #
It's conceivable that Norris will be outperforming Sanchez at AA by the end of June.
eldarion - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#286252) #
When you consider how badly Norris was struggling at the start of last season, he's had an incredible turn around. And yes, his performance could surpass that of Sanchez by the end of next month. Amazing. Good on him. Our Beede-replacement could end up being better than Beede himself.
Ron - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#286255) #
Whatever the pitching staff/Jays are doing with Sanchez isn't working. It's hard to find guys that had success with such poor control. The most obvious example is Randy Johnson who wasn't able to limit his walks until his late 20's. We will probably never see another pitcher with Johnson's career path. The current player with a fairly high walk rate (not as bad as Sanchez though) is Gio Gonzalez.

Sanchez has regressed in almost every area this season. This is a huge red flag.
Lugnut Fan - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#286256) #
I don't know if he has regressed Ron.  7.3 K/9, 1.3 WHIP and 3.12 ERA aren't bad numbers.  The walk rate is high and that has to be fixed, but I don't know if you can say that players with command issues haven't had MLB success.  Clayton Kershaw, who's walks per 9 were around 5 in the minors and when he first came to the majors and Justin Verlander who's walks per 9 were around 4 when he first came up  have turned out okay.
Ducey - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#286257) #

The Jays' Beede replacement could be none other than Beede himself.  He is ranked right around where the Jays will be drafting.

metafour - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#286258) #
I don't know if he has regressed Ron.  7.3 K/9, 1.3 WHIP and 3.12 ERA aren't bad numbers.  The walk rate is high and that has to be fixed, but I don't know if you can say that players with command issues haven't had MLB success.  Clayton Kershaw, who's walks per 9 were around 5 in the minors and when he first came to the majors and Justin Verlander who's walks per 9 were around 4 when he first came up  have turned out okay.

This.  The panic on Sanchez is a bit overblown at this point.  He's only a ~half year older than guys like Carlos Rodon and Jeff Hoffman who are Top 3-5 caliber talents in this draft, and both of those guys have had control/command issues this season leading right up to the draft (Hoffman is obviously now injured).  He's not even 22 yet...as frustrating as it is, it is still too early to proclaim that his clock is ticking.
Beyonder - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#286259) #
Am I right in recalling that you cannot draft the same player twice? At least not without his consent?
metafour - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#286260) #
Am I right in recalling that you cannot draft the same player twice? At least not without his consent?

The player has to give consent, which I believe Beede has in fact done.  It would be a ridiculously stupid decision for him to limit his options by telling the team with the 9th and 11th overall picks that they cant draft him.  Either way; most of the draft writers seem to be implying that the Jays wouldn't draft Beede again...although its hard to tell whether they're just guessing there or whether they've got some real info.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#286261) #
LF, Kershaw's W rate was 2.79 in AA at age 20 and 3.57 in the majors at age 22. He didn't really have a control problem at all.  Verlander was drafted at age 22 and immediately posted a W rate under 2 in the minors.  In his first full major league season at age 23, he had a walk rate under 3.  He also did not have a control problem.

The germane comparisons are pitchers like Koufax, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Bobby Witt, Sam McDowell who had real control problems and most of whom did overcome them at some point or the other.  There probably is a pitcher who has had this level of control issue in the minors and who eventually succeeded in the majors since Randy Johnson but I can't think of anybody. A BBRef Play Index search gives me pitchers who struggled with their control in their rookie seasons in the majors (like Aaron Harang, Jon Lester, Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Dempster) but had decent or better control in the minors. 

PeterG - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#286262) #
Yes, that is correct. You need his consent.

And on Sanchez......the panic on here is way overdone....Apart from a couple of more walks per outing than is desirable, he is having an excellent season so far. He does not give up many hits and most balls in play are on the ground. After his ST and being in Montreal, NH is probably a bit of a letdown.......nothing to worry about here....and as much as I like Norris, the chance he will outperforming Sanchez in AA in a month is near zero.....There will be a hiccup at AA and he may not even get there till July....and who knows, Sanchez might be in AAA.

metafour - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#286265) #
Max Scherzer had a 4.89 BB/9 in AA at age 22.  It was 3.74 the following year in AAA, so still not great.
Jeff Samardzija had a 4.97 BB/9 in AA at age 23.  It was 3.86 the following year in AAA, so still not great.

Lugnut Fan - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#286270) #

Hi Mike,

Verlander did have the good command in the minors, but when he first came up to the majors he really struggled with command initially and his BB/9 were fairly high.  This was most likely do to more patient hitters at the MLB level.  His walk numbers don't really reflect it, but he's struggling a bit with command this year as well as his K rate is down and he will still hit 100 pitches in the 5th.  It seems like he goes to deep counts on everyone.

I hate to comp a minor leaguer to anyone, but despite Kershaw posting the 2.3 BB/9 rate in AA in his age 20 season, he also made his MLB debut and saw his BB/9 rate spike up to 4.3.  His WHIP was roughly 1.5 as well.  His age 21 season for the Dodgers, his BB/9 spiked up to 4.8, again probably due to more patient hitters. 

Something has definitely clicked for both and I credit the secondary offerings.  If Kershaw or Verlander get ahead of you, the breaking stuff can be near unhittable so alot of hitters try to swing early.  The thing is that their fastballs are so good, they're swing and miss pitches.

I don't know what the long term future for Sanchez is obviously and I hate to be comparing him to people that have won Cy Young awards, but it wouldn't surprise me to see his BB/9 drop considerably over time.

Mike Green - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#286271) #
It wouldn't surprise me either if Sanchez found his control.  I think that he's more likely to do it as an ace reliever. 

The Samardzija/Scherzer comparisons are a little better, but still miss the mark.  Both had control issues some years in the minors and not other years.  Sanchez has had control issues every year since he was drafted in 2010.  Even in the GCL with an ERA well under 2, he walked 12 batters in 19 innings.  All that one has to do is look at the big club in 2014 to see how important control and command is. 

I really get it that Sanchez has great stuff.  The control and durability issues can be overcome, but frankly the odds that he is a Cy Young candidate in 2020 are about 10%, and the odds that he is not in the big leagues are probably at least 15%. 

ayjackson - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#286272) #

A couple points on Sanchez that are noteworthy, though not necessarily relevant to the issue of whether he will find his control...

1. His fastball has incredible life. He's having trouble keeping it in the zone by the time it gets to home plate.

2. He is throwing almost exclusively fastballs, at least according to a recent scouting report (BP?) that noted he didn't throw an offspeed pitch until the fourth or fifth inning.

uglyone - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#286276) #
I'd feel better about staying paitence with his BB% if he had elite K%....but he doesn't.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#286277) #
A good question also is umpires. When a pitcher has major movement on their pitches (well beyond the normal) then minor league umps can have issues with calling it as well. 
  • Romero's first 3 years in the majors had lower BB/9 figures than his last 2 minor league seasons
  • Stieb in his one full minor league pitching season had 3.7 BB/9 which he didn't do worse than in the majors until his 7th season

Just a couple of cases that came to mind right away.  I suspect anyone who has success in the majors tends to do better in the majors for control than the minors due to that factor.  Tricking hitters often means you are throwing stuff that can trick umps as well.  For extremely good control pitchers you see it too - Jimmy Key in the majors was at 2.3 BB/9 vs minors 2.8 (2.8 and 3.5 the two minor league seasons before reaching).  Greg Maddux was 1.8 in the majors, 2.7 in the minors. 

Of course, you also get guys who just get worse in the majors too - those are the flame outs.  So how to know if Sanchez is a likely flame out or success? I don't think walk rate is the key.  Hard to say what is though, but K rate has always been critical as if you cannot fool the minor league hitters you are doomed in the majors (generally).

Mike Green - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#286278) #
A question: how many starters with a walk rate over 4.5/9IP for a minor league career of over 300 innings have been successful in the major leagues in the last 20 years? At this point, Sanchez has thrown 299 innings with a walk rate of 4.85. Even if you lower it to 4.0/9IP, I suspect that the number is still quite low.  Even with Ricky Romero's walk rates over 6 the last two years in Buffalo, his career walk rate is still under 4 in the minors.  Gio Gonzalez snakes under the 4 mark as well.

To partially answer my own question, Darryl Kile had a walk rate of 4.90 in the minors at a young age and matured into a good major league pitcher.  Shawn Estes had a walk rate of 4.55 in the minors and did have a major league career. Russ Ortiz had a walk rate of 4.28 in the minors and did have a major league career. Al Leiter had a walk rate of 5.46 in the minors and eventually had a good career.  Chan Ho Park had two short seasons in the minors (210 Innings) with a walk rate of close to 6 and did have a decent major league career. 

Ron - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#286279) #
Wow I come back to this thread a couple hours later and have almost nothing new to add.

Besides the increase in walks, his K/9 has fallen from 7.8 last season to 7.3 this season. I don't want to just focus on the negatives so I'll add he is really stingy with the HR's. In almost 300 Innings, only 14 have gone over the fence.
Ron - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 05:51 PM EDT (#286280) #
Mike, another name I would throw out there is Daniel Cabrera. He couldn't find the strike zone without a map in the Minors and Majors but he was able to stick around for 6 seasons. I found out he is currently pitching in Japan. His BB/9 rate was only 2.8 last season but he is back up to 5.3 so far this season.
92-93 - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#286281) #
Yikes, Mike. Maybe Sanchez & Stroman for Samadzija doesn't look so bad after all.
ayjackson - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#286282) #
AJ Burnett looks like a good comp for Sanchez. He had some incredible walk rates in the minors. He had 5.5 bb/9 through his Age 22 season at AA, with similarly low hit rates.
Hodgie - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#286284) #
I prefer to believe that Sanchez is just playing the long game. Much like the savvy veteran that sets up a hitter early in the game with specific pitch sequencing and location, Sanchez is simply taking a longer view and setting up all MLB hitters right now before he explodes onto the AL scene and renders hitters helpless as he paints the corners with his fastball and drops jaws (and bends knees) with his hammer curve at will. The AL wont know what hit them.....
Gerry - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#286285) #
I have no problem with pointing out that Sanchez walks too many. His fastball does move a lot. But if you point out the walks you have to talk about the good side of all that movement, namely the lack of hits allowed. Last year Sanchez gave up 63 hits in 86 innings. This year its 32 and 43. In the AFL he had similar stats and again in spring training. And thats from a pitcher who gets a lot of ground balls and has to suffer minor league defenses.

Pitchers develop all their careers, new pitches, new approaches, different grips. I think it is far too early to write off a 21 year old pitcher because he walks too many. He has had some problems with control this year but he has time to fix them.

When I saw Garrett Richards pitch against the Jays I was reminded of Sanchez. Richards throws hard but the ball moves a lot and he has trouble controlling it sometimes. He ran into some walk problems against the Jays. He has walked 20 in 45 innings this year but his WHIP is 1.11. Wouldn't you be happy if Sanchez in 2 years was Garrett Richards?
PeterG - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#286290) #
Yes....would be happy. Sanchez and Stroman for Shark would not be a good trade imo nor would any involving Norris or Tirado.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#286295) #
Despite Richards' control issues, his W rate was under 3 in the minors.  Burnett is somewhat similar to Sanchez, but struck out many more in the minors. 
dan gordon - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 12:44 AM EDT (#286301) #
I think there are a lot of pitchers who have had control problems in the minors who went on to be good mlb pitchers. Just went through the A to M portion of my 2006 Baseball Register, and found 8 or 9, and I was looking quickly, so probably missed 1 or 2. Found Burnett, Glavine, T. Gordon, M. Hampton, T. Hudson, S. Kazmir, T. Mulholland, J. Lackey in his 1st 2 years, but then he found the zone, M. Cain had poor control in his AA and AAA seasons. Then I just quickly thought of Sabathia and Zito, and Smoltz walked 81 in 130 innings in AA. Most of these guys didn't walk as many as Sanchez has, though. On the other hand, Sanchez is very young, and has been, for his level. He's 21 in AA with an ERA of 3.12.

The thing that discourages me about Sanchez is the strikeout to walk ratio, which is one of the best predictors of a young pitcher's future development. Sanchez has not been putting up really good ratios, which to me is a red flag, but then you have to weigh in his age as well. Not an easy thing to try to project how he will end up.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#286306) #
Most of those guys aren't really germane to a discussion about Sanchez, Dan.  Sanchez has had persistent severe control problems.  He will be turning 22 in July.  He is in double A ball. Glavine and Gordon were in the majors by age 21; Glavine had a lot better control than Sanchez (W rate of 3.91 in the minors).  Gordon had serious control problems in his teens, but at age 20 put up a 3.25 W/9IP.  Hampton, Hudson, Kazmir had much better control records in the minors.  Smoltz walked 31 in 96 innings in the FSL at age 19 and 37 in 135 innings in AAA at age 21; Sanchez is nothing like Smoltz.

Mulholland is a good example.  He had poor control through age 24, and eventually found it.   Mulholland, Darryl Kile, Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson.  Nolan Ryan.  It does happen sometimes that pitchers will find their control in their mid 20s or even later. It doesn't happen often though. 

TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#286309) #
HmmÖ For every hot prospect who eventually goes bust, there comes a conversation like this one. One side holds out hope while the other side explains that things ain't looking so good. There's disagreement but also a kind of turning point in how the player is viewed. Obviously no one really knows what the future holds for Sanchez, but I think Mike Green has a very solid case that the numbers this year spell trouble.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#286310) #
From a development perspective, I think that the club would be better served by giving him a longer leash if it wants him to be a starter.  If he runs into trouble in the 5th inning say, and walks 3 batters and gives a couple of hits, and has thrown 87 pitches, let him stay in there into the 6th and see if he can right the ship. 

In an milb.com interview, Sanchez obliquely blamed the cold weather for his control problems this year.  Which would make some sense if he had had good control previously when pitching in warm weather climates.  He needs to take some ownership of the problem

Incidentally, I hadn't realized that Bob Gibson had major control issues in the minors.  At age 21 he walked 61 in 85 innings and then 163 in 325 innings at triple A at 22-23.  He led the league in walks his first full major league season at age 25, but was effective, and got progressively better after that.  There is a good role model for Sanchez.  Alas, I can't see Sanchez with a glare.

Lugnut Fan - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#286314) #
Absolutely on board with your take there Mike.  I would like to see Sanchez and honestly see all of the guys go longer than they do.  In Lansing, it is rare to see a prospect go more than 75 pitches in an outing and if they throw 30 in an inning, their night is done.  Does this lead to a reduction in injuries?  I'm not so sure, but I know that there is value in having the line up turn over twice or so as well as letting them pitch out of jams.  The majors isn't the place to be learing those things.
sam - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#286324) #
To pick up a bit on what Lugnut Fan is saying and the work Gerry did prior to the season starting--the Jays have clear development issues on the Farm. I look thoroughly at the draft each year and get excited about the guys the Jays' select. Some legit prospects with good tools, but time and time again they've been unable to develop any of these guys. The Jays seem to be big fans of completely re-working guys deliveries and approaching prospects with kid gloves. Let the kids pitch and make incremental adjustments. There should be more division one prospects then there are in the Jays organization right now.
uglyone - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#286325) #
Hutchison, Syndergaard, Stroman, Sanchez, Norris (Loup, Nolin, Desclafani, Nicolino, Woj + a crapload of pitching talent at the lower levels) all taken in the last 5 drafts.....not sure many teams can match our recent pitching drafting, especially teams without top-10 picks.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#286331) #
It's kind of interesting that despite all those drafts, it's been the pitching that has been lacking for the Jays this year (for example, they've allowed the third-most earned runs in the AL this year).

And they traded away the player who turned out to be their best positional prospect during that period (Gomes). Was it Cleveland's more robust analytical staff that helped identify Gomes as a player worth acquiring?

Incidentally, Aviles is having a nice 2014, too (115 wRC+ in a SSS of 97 PA).
Mike Green - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#286332) #
Apparently Kevin Cash's move from the Jay to Indian organization just prior to the Rogers/Gomes trade had a fair bit to do with it.  Cash thought highly of Gomes' catching ability and felt that he was stuck behind Arencibia...
jerjapan - Thursday, May 15 2014 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#286339) #
Can we just move on from the Gomes / Rogers trade please?  I can't recall the last time someone brought up the Wells deal, or Delabar, or Rasmus, Gose, Morrow, Santos, snider to lincoln to kratz and a lefty prospect .... trades involve risk.  You win some, you lose some, but AA is still a net winner in my books. 
Hodgie - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#286357) #
"And they traded away the player who turned out to be their best positional prospect during that period (Gomes). Was it Cleveland's more robust analytical staff that helped identify Gomes as a player worth acquiring?"

It is natural as a fan to be upset at losing a player that could be contributing to the Jays right now but I don't understand the obsession with finding fault for the Gomes transaction considering how often the Jays have been on the other side of that very situation (Bautista, Encarnacion, Francisco). How many more examples does a fanbase need to realize that sometimes things like this happen? It is certainly not Bagwell for Anderson.

As for analytics, exactly what would the Indians have seen in Gomes' 1000+ MILB PAs (mostly as an older player) to realize that Gomes would become the best catcher in MLB last season and why did no other organization see the same thing? The answer of course, as already pointed out by Mike Green, was it has nothing to do with analytics and everything to do with the opinion of one scout. Ironically, there are posters skewering AA's assumed inclination for scouting in this thread. I will also point out that despite his successful start to this season, Mike Aviles remains a marginally better than replacement level player and an asset no-one should ever be afraid to part with.

TangledUpInBlue - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#286360) #
... to realize that Gomes would become the best catcher in MLB last season

No oneís suggesting the Indians knew he was an all-star (whether the decision was driven by analytics, scouting, or whatever combination thereof). They were intrigued enough to trade for him is all.

... why did no other organization see the same thing?

Well, thatís why you have an analytics department -- to see things other teams donít. Not that we know anyway that other teams werenít interested.

The answer of course ... was it has nothing to do with analytics

Again, we donít know that. One presumes that if you have an analytics department, youíd consult them before making a trade. And wasn't Kevin Cash's input related to the quality of his defense? So perhaps the analytics guys looked at his offence. (Perhaps they looked at his defence, too.) Take a look at Yan Gomesí FanGraphs page and you can see how one might conclude he had the potential to be a quality major league hitter. Obviously, analytics departments have access to more than just the FanGraphs website, so who knows what they knew. (The analytics guys arenít allowed to talk to the press and explain their genius.)

Finally, itís entirely possible the Indiansí analytics department played no important role in the Yan Gomes trade, and no one has suggested otherwise. Greenfrog posed a question and thatís all. Fair question, too, even if we can't hope to answer it.
Hodgie - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#286361) #
The question in and of itself is completely fair. It is the general tone of the conversation in these parts in relation to Gomes (and Aviles) and the need to find egregious fault in the transaction that astonishes me. Our scouts should have known better. Wait, no, if only our analytics department were better. Now, if only the Jays had the foresight to use someone like TangoTiger as a consultant.....

Let me ask what is more plausible? The Cleveland Indians have been able to devise a unique analytical device that was able to identify their starting catcher needing only 1200 PAs spread out over 6 minor league levels or they took a flyer on a player based on a scout's recommendation? I mean, Gomes was so well thought of it only took the inclusion of a replacement level player in Aviles to cement the deal.

Mike Green - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#286363) #
FWIW, I didn't care for the Jays' handling of their catching situation (prior to this off-season).  I personally think that it was just a case of falling in love with a player (Arencibia) and giving him too many chances.  Sometimes players with tremendous power  develop better strike zone judgment  in their mid 20s (see Francisco, J).  Catchers with good arms often refine their other skills with time.  My opinion was that Arencibia was not likely to do either any time soon, but that opinion was based on a very subjective and long-range judgment about his personal qualities.  I felt the same way about him as I did about Delmon Young when the Rays traded him, although not with quite the same force.

I doubt very much that analytics would help you decide that Gomes would likely be a better catcher than Arencibia in 2014.  It might help you understand that there was a pretty good chance that he would be as good or better as a hitter because of his better control of the strike zone.  It's not really very sophisticated though.  You can look at their raw numbers in the high minors at ages 22-24 in the same parks and come to that conclusion.  I do think that scouting could help tell you whether Gomes had a decent chance to be a capable major league catcher and accordingly whether he ought to have been given more work there in the minor leagues. I believe that Marc Hulet was saying something to this effect on this very website at the time, but my memory may be wrong...

Oceanbound - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#286364) #
I do agree that the constant bringing up of Gomes in threads is getting tiresome. It may have been a bad move. I don't really fancy hearing people harp on about it all the time though.

Also, I looked up the thread when that trade happened, and was reminded of the times when this team actually signed Jamie Moyer's skeleton and gave JoJo Reyes infinite starts, so please don't make the same mistake I did.
John Northey - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#286366) #
Actually, with Gomes I see it as a clear case of AA not listening to the right person.  Kevin Cash clearly saw something in Gomes that he really liked, thus when we went to Cleveland he said 'get this guy' and they did.  If the Jays paid attention to Cash they'd have given Gomes a lot more playing time in the minors and figured out that he was far better than JPA.  He might still have been traded, as they had d'Arnaud who was a super-prospect at the time.  Lets check a few items...

d'Arnaud: currently hitting 196/274/314 (68 OPS+) BA ranked him a top 100 4 times peaking at #17, 1st round pick (#37 overall)
JPA: currently 'hitting' 140/190/246 (19 OPS+) BA had him at #43 once, BP had him in the top 50 twice, 1st round pick (#21 overall)
Gomes: currently hitting 268/311/480 (124 OPS+) never was a top 100 prospect via anyone, 10th round draft pick.

So basically at no point before he played in Cleveland was Gomes viewed as being a strong prospect, and he was a lower round draft pick (by the 10th round odds drop like a stone of reaching the majors let along being successful with a few very big exceptions like Pujols and Piazza or for Jays Jeff Kent and Orlando Hudson).  I'd say Cash really showed his stuff there - noticing that Gomes had the ability to be a productive ML hitter and catcher.  Finding coaches and scouts who can see things no one else does is critical to being a top organization and the Jays made a major error not figuring out that Cash was someone who caught onto things that others didn't.  That was the real loss, far more so than losing Gomes.
TangledUpInBlue - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#286367) #
Now, if only the Jays had the foresight to use someone like TangoTiger as a consultant.

Actually, I think they do. Or have done.

devise a unique analytical device that was able to identify their starting catcher

Again, no one's suggesting they knew he was going to be their starting catcher. He started the season in AAA for goodness sake. The second point is you're exaggerating what might be required of the Indians' analytics department. All that would have to happen is for their analysts to value Gomes more highly than the Blue Jays (using analytics, their scouts, or whatever) did. Once that happens, a trade becomes pretty easy. Now obviously I can't tell you what it was they might have identified in Gomes since I don't know what they know. On the other hand, we do know how analytics has been used in the past by certain teams to get the edge on others, so it's not some whacky idea that it might be happening now too.

Also, I don't get this point:

I mean, Gomes was so well thought of it only took the inclusion of a replacement level player in Aviles to cement the deal.

Describing Aviles as replacement level is saying that the deal was largely Gomes for Rogers. Rogers had had a pretty good year for the Indians in relief, so yeah, I'd say "Gomes was so well thought of" by the Indians. (Not sure that gets us anywhere, though.)

Finally, though, you're probably right! Right insofar as Kevin Cash was probably the key factor. But we don't know that he was the only factor and if he wasn't the only factor, we on the outside don't really know who all gets the credit and how much.
TangledUpInBlue - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#286369) #
Here's a ranking of catchers' pitch-framing skills:

http://statcorner.com/CatcherReport.php

If I had to imagine a way that the Indians might have used analytics in assessing Yan Gomes, and gotten an advantage on the Blue Jays, I'd guess that it was maybe more on the defensive side. This is a relatively new area for sabermetrics and so it's the type of thing where a strong analytics team might have the edge. When Jose Molina was with the Jays, no one talked about his pitch-framing genius. That all happened after he'd joined the Rays, and the Rays acknowledged that that was why they'd signed him. So perhaps in this area, the Rays knew more than the Jays, and valued Molina more highly. Given that Gomes' defence was seen as his chief weakness (you can see he's now near the top of the pitch-framing list), it seems plausible the Indians could've had a similar advantage on the Jays.
Ryan Day - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#286370) #
Maybe the Indians' analytic department didn't like Gomes at all, but the Indians made the trade anyway. Maybe the Indians have a fortune teller who saw a great future for Gomes in bird entrails.

It's an entirely hypothetical and largely useless discussion, because no one knows what the analytical team does or how much impact their findings have on the decision-making process. You may as well try to evaluate clubhouse chemistry.
TangledUpInBlue - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#286371) #
Apropos of all this Gomes talk, here's a nice little piece from Shi Davidi, including some quotes from Anthopoulos:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/gomes-not-the-same-player-jays-traded-away/
Hodgie - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#286372) #
Sorry TangledUpInBlue, that is what I get for using sarcasm without a sarcasm font, I was fully aware that the Jays have used Tango's expertise in the past. My point is everything about this transaction is overblown and the constant re-visiting of it has become mundane, with the most plausible explanations constantly discounted in favour of those that would otherwise show some monumental failing within the organization that should have been easily prevented.

Cleveland was fortunate in that the trade has fallen in the 99th percentile of favourable outcomes. To wonder whether some unknown analytical process reviewing 1200PA+ minor league plate appearances or 480 pitches framed in 2012 was responsible for the Indians out-manouvering the Jays is a stretch.

uglyone - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#286373) #
Remember, the jays were ripped both for signing molina and then re-signing him. They insisted that his defensive value was worth the multi-year committment, while most complained about his weak bat.

Then when they decided they didn't want to re-sign him at age 37, they signed the 29yr old Mathis instead....and again were mocked for signing a "defensive" catcher. Mathis of course was also a highly rated pitch framer.

And the two had near identical years that year:

Mathis: 227pa, .642ops, +7.7df, +0.7war
Molina: 272pa, .641ops, +6.2df, +0.8war

interestingly, JPA always rated decently in pitch framing as well. He was actually 2nd only to molina last year in balls called strikes percentage.

Navarro and kratz also ranked in the top 10 of balls called strikes % with RISP last year.

I'd say the jays are all over the pitch framing metrics.

TangledUpInBlue - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#286374) #
OK, you make a good case, Uglyone. I'd quibble with Navarro, though. If you look at the 2013 figures in the link above, he looks like he's in the bottom quarter or so of all catchers. (Same for this year.) But given the Jays were kind of desperate this past off-season, I can see why they'd have taken him anyway, even if, as you say, they're well aware of the importance of framing. And, actually, I'm sure most teams are aware of it these days, so the interesting part is that the Jays have been on to this back when perhaps other teams weren't.
uglyone - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#286375) #
I'm having a bitch of a time copying and pasting urls from this tablet but if you google it there's an article that puts navarro top 10 with RISP, but yeah overall his rank isn't very good.
John Northey - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#286376) #
A good question on pitch framing now also is if the umps are going to start paying attention as well.  If they know certain catchers are great framers might they start adjusting their zone with those guys now?  They are marked based on how well they call the zone and if they know certain catchers are good at tricking them then they'd naturally start to go 'hmm...marginal with Molina here...think I'll call it a ball'.  Maybe not yet, but I'd think it would be coming (any good sources for pitch framing stats?).  So maybe now it is time to look for catchers with different talents and try to maximize those. 

My first thought in the next level of catcher measures is ability to call a game. Always been viewed as important but how the heck do you measure that?  Sample sizes for catcher/pitcher combos rarely get big enough (especially with more than one catcher) to ever get a good statistical measurement.  Perhaps there are tools to measure what was called, how often the pitcher shakes it off, how often it results in a good situation (ie: strike called, swing/miss, foul, pop up, weak ground ball) vs a bad one (line drive, ball, etc.).  No question that Buehrle has done better to start this year, but the pen has done worse so who can tell if Navarro is good/bad at it and same for Thole and Kratz.  But if a club can figure out how to measure that it might have an even bigger impact than pitch framing (which had a far bigger impact than anyone expected).
Hodgie - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#286378) #
Speaking of pitch calling and the Navarro/Buehrle duet, Jeff Sullivan posted this missive earlier in the week:

The Old Mark Buehrle's New Trick

Chuck - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#286379) #

My only gripe about the Gomes trade was the understanding, once he hit the majors, that he wasn't a good enough defensive catcher to play the position. That is the type of thing that is very different to evaluate by simply poring over numbers (either by fans or analysts), and the exact type thing that on-sight talent evaluators are best suited for. And they seemed to have failed pretty badly in their evaluation.

If those talent evaluators assert that Anthony Gose can be a major league hitter, I might take issue because I can analyze, perhaps poorly, his minor league hitting numbers. But if they say that Gose can play a top flight defense, I have to trust them because they are on sight and better equipped to guage that.

The Jays can't develop a major league catcher to save their lives, and when they finally do, he's dispatched to play for another team, partly, at least, because of presumed shortcomings.

TangledUpInBlue - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#286380) #
John, you might be interested in this:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/pitch-framing-and-a-peek-inside-the-industry/

In the comments, readers get into some of the same questions you have re. how umpires might react in the future, and how teams might already be anticipating this. There are also some links in there on pitch-framing stats, though I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for.
Ryan Day - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#286381) #
I'd say the jays are all over the pitch framing metrics

Unless they're not. Both Molina and Mathis started their careers in Anaheim, an organization that doesn't have much reputation for statistical analysis. Mike Sciosia got plenty of flack for playing Mathis over Napoli, often by people who claimed there was no evidence to back up his defensive reputation. And then, one day, there was evidence.

I'm not saying the Jays haven't used catcher defence stats, but teams have always used guys like Mathis and Molina, even if their benefits weren't quantifiable. Pitch framing wasn't discovered this century.
Chuck - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#286382) #
I have to trust them because they are on sight and better equipped to guage that.

Dewey, I meant on site. Total brain fart.

Mike Green - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#286383) #
Dewey, Chuck meant to type "gauge" too.  He's a really great guy nonetheless!



Dewey - Friday, May 16 2014 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#286384) #
Yeah, yeah. I've heard that 'nice guy' stuff on here before.

I'm inclined to believe this one though.

Cheers.
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