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Here, in one large indigestible lump, is my summary of the Jays' month of July, which was about as much fun as watching the Dental Procedures Channel. I hope you find it enjoyable, or at least tolerable.

Stats listed are BA/OBP/SLG for July.

Dave Berg, MIA
He was gone all month, and I didn't even notice. Erm, welcome back, Dave.
Grade: Ouch

Mike Bordick, SS
He's out of phase. When everybody else was hitting up a storm, Bordick was hitting like, well, Mike Bordick. Now that the rest of the team is slumping, Bordick is on a tear: he batted .342 in July. He's not going to hit like this for long, of course, but he's a superior defender. Will be in the field whenever Halladay and Lidle are pitching, as they give up tons of ground balls. He's still planning on retiring after the season, I assume, so the Jays will have to decide what to do in 2004. Adams won't be ready, and Woodward isn't likely to get better at short than he currently is. Can Howie Clark play short?
Grade: A

Howie Clark, IF
Howie's problem is that there are lots of guys like him floating around. The Jays have three other players with roughly the same skill set (Berg, Bordick and Woodward), and they could find five more of them in the offseason if they beat the bushes. Howie's no worse than any of the others, and deserves to play somewhere. I suppose he could go back to Baltimore. The Tigers would welcome him with open arms.
Grade: C+

Frank Catalanotto, OF/1B
I was afraid that this was going to happen. Cat's value was mostly based on a high batting average; now that he's slumping and not making good contact, he doesn't really bring anything to the party. His OPS for July was .576, which is Homer Bush territory. I assume that he'll bounce back soon, but the Jays will eventually need to find playing time for Jayson Werth and Gabe Gross, and Cat is the guy who's likely to lose out when that happens. Why on earth are the Jays playing Cat at first, when they already have Phelps, Wilson and Kielty if Delgado is hurt? My guess is that the Jays are trying to showcase him.
Grade: F, alas

Carlos Delgado, 1B
Went into a long homer drought in July, but still managed to bat .330 and reach base at a .422 clip. Only drove in 17 runs (only!), but that was mostly because Johnson and Catalanotto weren't on base in front of him as often. I still think someone will catch and pass him in the MVP race, as Giambi did in 2000, but he's the best hitter in the American League right now. Funny, nobody seems to be complaining about his salary any more, except for those people who argue that no team can win with one player collecting a large percentage of the total team salary. (They're right, but for the wrong reasons: a team needs more players playing at Delgado's level in order to win, and these guys usually don't come cheap, unless your farm system has just produced a bunch of them.)
Grade: A+

Eric Hinske, 3B
Slowly returning to his 2002 form. His batting average is still below his Rookie Of The Year levels, but he was probably hitting a bit over his head that year anyway. He's drawing lots of walks, and his power numbers are good, so I wouldn't worry about him. I think he'll be a valuable contributor for the length of his contract.
Grade: B+

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Has suddenly morphed into Cesar Izturis: the O-Dog is making spectacular defensive plays at second base, but his slugging percentage was .306 (it was .246 before his July 31st home run). He scored four runs all month, and drove in four (two on the last day). Even Tomas Perez hit better than that. I like the O-Dog a lot, and I think he'll snap out of it - but, like Johnson, he's going to have to learn how to adjust to changing pitching patterns.
Grade: C-, mostly for defense

Reed Johnson, OF
Yes, he's a hustling ballplayer who knows how to do the little things right. I love watching him play. But, right now, he's undergoing the first real test of his major league career, as pitchers are starting to adjust to him. As a result, he's completely stopped hitting for power - he had three extra base hits all month, all doubles, which is roughly Otis Nixon's level of production. And he only walked three times all month. If he succeeds in adjusting, he'll have a productive career as a fourth outfielder on a good team, or as a starter on a team that desperately needs outfield help. If he doesn't adjust, he becomes the new DeWayne Wise. My guess is that he'll adjust, but it's only a guess.
Grade: D+

Bobby Kielty, OF/1B
.275/.373/.431 (Tor only)
Basically has exactly the same skill set as Shannon Stewart, but is younger and cheaper, and plays better defense. I don't see him getting any better than this, as there isn't any one thing he does particularly well. He hits for a decent average, runs well, plays good but unspectacular defense, and steals an occasional base. Eventually, he's likely to be caught and passed by some or all of the cast of They Came From New Haven, and he might not be happy in a utility role. For now, though, he's doing just fine.
Grade: B+

Greg Myers, C
The Magic Pixie Dust that turned Myers into a Carlos Delgado bat-alike is slowly burning off. However, I think the lefty half of the Frankencatcher platoon has actually improved his hitting skills this year. His average is still decent, and he can whack the occasional long ball. Basically, he's turned into Ernie Whitt (or Darrin Fletcher when he was good), and that's a long long way from Huckabyland (a happy place where baseballs frolic freely, knowing that they are not in danger of being beaten up by mean people carrying big sticks). When Cash or Quiroz comes up, Myers will be given the opportunity to stick around as a combination lefty bat and mentor, if this is something he wants to do.
Grade: B+

Josh Phelps, 1B
The moral: you can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without a job. Struck out in 9 of his 26 plate appearances, but bashed a home run on July 31st, to remind people that he still exists. Now that the Jays aren't going anywhere, they should play Phelps every day to see if he can make the necessary adjustments; he won't be able to do that sitting on the bench. If the Jays give up on Phelps, they'll have to sign Delgado, unless they believe that John-Ford Griffin can take his place. I blame Baseball Prospectus - their cover jinx is working overtime again.
Grade: D-, based on small sample size

Shannon Stewart, erstwhile LF
It was time for him to leave, but I'll miss him, despite his well-documented misadventures in left field. He was a consistent .300 hitter, and he quietly showed up and did his job every day. I wish him luck in Minnesota, and wherever he winds up in 2004 (my prediction is Baltimore, which is where old Jays seem to go when it's time to put them out to pasture). Didn't play that well in July, which makes it easier to watch him go.
Grade: C, plus a nice farewell lunch

Vernon Wells, CF
Right now, the only thing standing between Vernon Wells and an MVP award is his low walk totals: he only drew six all month. He doesn't draw many walks because he usually finds a pitch he can hit hard. I assume his walk totals will go up as pitchers start to pitch him more carefully, but he won't draw many walks as long as he is batting ahead of Delgado. If you factor in age, offensive and defensive performance level, and length and value of contract, V-Dub might be the most valuable player in all of baseball right now: there are players that are better, but they all cost a lot more, and none of them are signed through 2007.
Grade: A

Jayson Werth, OF
Has a spectacular collection of tools: he's got power, good speed, good range in the outfield, and a really impressive throwing arm. Unfortunately, he's shown no evidence of being able to consistently hit major league pitching. Unless he untracks his bat soon, he'll get passed by the impending tsunami of outfielders, and his career path will follow that of DeWayne Wise. Or he'll wind up back in Baltimore.
Grade: F

Tom Wilson, C
A spectacular meltdown, after a solid season so far: in July, the other half of the Frankencatcher platoon hit .188 with no power or walks. And it's not as if his defense is making up for his bat. Perhaps he's checked out the Baseball America web site and discovered that Kevin Cash is starting to hit a little better in Syracuse. It's hard to do well when you're hearing footsteps behind you.
Grade: F, again alas

Chris Woodward, ex-shortstop
Sometime soon, Woody has a career choice to make. He can either accept the utility role he was born to play, and make a substantial contribution to a winning team as a bench player who can play all four infield positions passably, sub in the outfield in an emergency, or deliver a big hit off the bench when needed. Or, if he wants to be a starting shortstop, he can try to hook up with one of the teams that needs anything remotely resembling a major league hitter at the position - Detroit, for example, would be thrilled to have him in their lineup. Drew only two walks all month - this, and his habit of dropping the odd baseball or two, suggests that he is pressing a bit. I predict he'll wind up replacing Deivi Cruz in Baltimore, and being interviewed by Richard Griffin for a future Jays-bashing column. The good news: if the Jays get rid of Woody, we'll no longer have to watch that horrible commercial in which Woody, dressed as a Mountie, "sings" while paddling a canoe.
Grade: C-

Actually, the pitching hasn't been any worse this month than it's been before - the basic problem is that the offense is no longer bailing out the pitchers by scoring 10 runs a game. This doesn't mean the pitching is actually good, of course. 16 different pitchers appeared in at least one game this month, which is a damning statistic in itself.
Stats listed: IP, H, BB, K, ERA.

Juan Acevedo
7.2 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 7 K, 7.04 ERA
Joe Torre must have been smoking something when he made this guy the Yankees' closer in Rivera's absence. Acevedo isn't afraid to challenge hitters or work high in the strike zone, but he is, shall we say, still a work very much in progress. I wouldn't trust him with the game on the line, but I'd keep him in the system - after all, it's easier to teach a hard thrower to throw strikes than to teach a control artist how to throw hard.
Grade: F, but with encouragement

Doug Davis
4.0 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 SO, 6.75 ERA
Just doesn't have major league stuff. But we should have known that already - after all, he was released by the Texas Rangers, whose team ERA is something like 14.71. Infuriating to watch, as he nibbles, nibbles, nibbles and nibbles. Is a perfect fit for Milwaukee - he has low salary expectations, and doesn't seem to cause problems.
Grade: Goodbye forever!

Kelvim Escobar
36.0 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 21 SO, 4.50 ERA
Is the pitching equivalent of the MG. You must have seen them - those zippy little convertibles, usually painted British Racing Green (with an aging man, complete with comb-over, at the wheel). When everything's working, they blow everything else off the road, and look extremely stylish while doing it. But, if you talk to any MG owner, you'll discover that it causes more problems than it's worth: something's always breaking down or going out of alignment, which means that the car spends most of its time sputtering along at a sub-par rate of performance.
When you average out Kelvim's good moments and his bad moments in July, you get a mediocre pitcher. I'm not sure I'd offer him arbitration at this point - he is likely to demand, and command, a multi-million dollar salary, and is just as likely not to earn it. But Escobar could put it together at any time - heck, Loaiza did it, and Loaiza has only half of Kelvim's stuff. As I've said before: under no circumstances should this man be allowed to pitch for the Yankees, as the Bronx would just eat him up.
Grade: C (or, more accurately, A in some subjects and D- in others)

Roy Halladay
46.0 IP, 35 H, 3 BB, 27 SO, 2.15 ERA
Wonderful, of course. His K/IP ratio is down, but I don't think it's anything to worry about: when Doc goes on short rest, he doesn't get strikeouts because everybody's too busy hitting a four-hopper to second on the first pitch. I'm glad that the Jays aren't starting Halladay on three days' rest any more, as the effects of overwork take a long time to show up. Won't win the Cy Young unless he continues his win streak and/or wins 25, as the voters will likely prefer Pedro, one of the A's trio, or (gack) Loaiza. But I wouldn't trade the good doctor for any of them, and I'm pleased as punch to hear that the Jays are interested in signing him long-term.
Grade: A+

Mark Hendrickson
28.2 IP, 38 H, 7 BB, 16 SO, 4.71 ERA
You've got to hand it to him. How many times has he been threatened with professional extinction? I think he's survived about five "perform or else" starts; in his last piece of brinkmanship, he was sent down for two starts, then came up and shut the Yankees out for seven innings. I'm not a big Lurch fan - I still think that he doesn't have enough stuff to be a productive major league starter - but he's managed to keep his job into July, and he's seen off Doug Davis, who occupied the same ecological niche. And, what the heck: somebody's got to become this generation's Jamie Moyer, and Lurch could be the guy. You never know.
Grade: C-

Jason Kershner
19 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 14 SO, 1.89 ERA
I'm still not convinced that J-Kay is the real deal, but all his July numbers look great. He seems to do better when stretched out a bit. I'm not sure about starting him - look what happened to Lance Painter: one five-inning start, and kablooey. Unfortunately, he'll probably be used in short relief, which isn't his best role, thanks to Tosca's insistence on using his entire bullpen every game in order to get multiple platoon advantages.
Grade: A

Cory Lidle
27.1 IP, 39 H, 15 BB, 10 SO, 7.90 ERA
He's got to be injured - either that, or he's completely lost his confidence. Is allowing almost exactly two baserunners an inning. It must be hard to go out there in your walk year, knowing that a series of bad outings is likely to cost you millions of dollars at the bargaining table. Will probably be pitching in Texas next year; the Jays can't risk offering him arbitration, so they won't get anything for him when he walks.
Grade: F

Aquilino Lopez
11.0 IP, 12 H, 8 BB, 12 SO, 4.09 ERA
I'm surprised - he didn't lead the team in appearances this month. I could have sworn he was in every game in which the Jays had the lead in the middle innings, had the lead in the late innings, were close to having the lead in the late innings, or all of the above. I suspect that he's grateful that Miller and Kershner have taken a step forward - it's not easy being the only bullpen pitcher your manager trusts.
Grade: B-

Trever Miller
10.2 IP, 6 H, 4 BB. 12 SO, 2.53 ERA
Has evolved into an excellent spot lefty: his numbers look just like Dan Plesac's used to. He'll get lots of work. Looks just like Graeme Lloyd, except that Lloyd's demeanour had a more funereal quality. If he breaks down, the Jays can always find three more like him.
Grade: A

Cliff Politte
2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
Will probably be thrown back into the closer's role, since nobody else seems to be able to do it. Did okay in his first two trips back. But the wolves await, and they're hungry.
Grade: Too early to tell

Dan Reichert
2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
In his two innings of work, Dan The Man gave up three walks, two hits, one hit batsman - and no earned runs, preferring to foul other birds' nests. One pitch sent him out of town - that plunking with the bases loaded against the White Sox. Joins Brian Bowles, Jeff Tam, Scott Cassidy, Josh Towers, and a cast of thousands in Syracuse reminiscing about the major league life and waiting for The Call.
Grade: AAA (as in Triple-A)

Scott Service
8.2 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 8 SO, 6.23 ERA
His high BB/IP, K/IP, H/IP and HR/IP suggests a pitcher who flings the ball with abandon in the general direction of home plate, as opposed to a finished pitcher - which is surprising, since he's ancient. (Mind you, from my own experience, I know full well that age does not necessarily bring wisdom.) Is the Wernher Von Braun of pitchers; as Tom Lehrer once put it, "When ze rockets go up, who cares where zey come down? That's not my department, says Wernher Von Braun." Okay, maybe I've stretched this metaphor a bit too far.
Grade: D-

Tanyon Sturtze
5.2 IP, 12 H, 2 BB, 5 SO, 14.29 ERA
At this point, has devolved into a bad joke. Not even trusted with mop-up work. Will not make it through the season. Before his 1 2/3 innings of shutout work on the 31st, his ERA for the month was over 20. Needs to be given a fresh start somewhere else, and soon. Right now, the best way for him to prolong his career would be to fly to Syracuse, sneak into their bullpen, and shoot Bob File in the arm.
Grade: F

Jeff Tam
5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3.18 ERA
The biggest difference between major league pitchers and minor league pitchers is command, not stuff. Tam, like many minor leaguers, has the stuff, but isn't sure exactly where to put it. That's why he, too, is now a minor leaguer. Probably needs a change of scenery, as he's unpopular with the Toronto fan base, to put it mildly; at his "peak", he could empty the SkyDome faster than a bomb scare.
Grade: Goodbye, hopefully forever

Corey Thurman
6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1.42 ERA
Pitched well, yet got sent out anyway. Did he criticize J.P.'s wardrobe or something? I assume that the Jays want to have him start regularly in the minors in order to gain experience - but, if that's the plan, why bring him up to sit on the bench for two weeks, send him right back down again, then bring him right back up? Show him a little love, people!
Grade: 500 frequent flier miles

John Wasdin
5.0 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 5 SO, 23.40 ERA (these are not misprints, folks)
Wayback, wayback, wayback... gone! A general rule of thumb: if your ERA is 9 runs worse than Tanyon Sturtze's, don't bother signing a long-term lease in Toronto. In all probability, Wasdin's future consists of purchasing a copy of "What Colour Is My Parachute?" and posting resumes on
Grade: F (I'd give an F-, if such things existed)

Blue Jays Report Card for July 2003 - Hitters and Pitchers | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Coach - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#95743) #
Great stuff as always, Dave.

Thurman is finally getting his chance; he'll start tomorrow night in place of the mercifully demoted Wasdin.
_Jabonoso - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#95744) #
Are we running amok? We are not in any race and still are giving playing time to a lot of characters that are neither performing nor that they should be there by default ( Phelps, Werth lack of playing time, Lopez abuse, and too many good starts lost to those trolls in the pen )
_Wasif - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#95745) #
Vern's looking more and more like a right-handed version of Garret Anderson (with power at a younger age)..both have nice, compact swings, neither is prone to swinging wildly at pitches well out of the strike zone, and both make "good" contact. And yet that last attribute is a double-edged sword, the one that prevents either player from drawing walks at a Ruthian pace.
_R Billie - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#95746) #
I don't think Werth has a large enough string of consecutive at bats to even conclude that he was on the team, let alone that he has to get it going. How much of Werth's 2003 season has been wasted? He has only played 38 AAA games for 129 at bats. As a baseline, Cash leads the SkyChiefs in games played (86) and at bats (299). But he's been getting all that valuable big league experience riding the bench too. A total of 26 games and 48 at bats. And I think most of those appearances were spaced several games or even several weeks apart. They've basically wasted him which I don't understand at all since tools-wise he has the best package among the organization's outfielders.

I also have to question calling Escobar mediocore in July. In the six starts he made, FOUR of them were quality starts and one of them would have been a quality start if the Jays had a bullpen that could strand inherited runners (7.2 ip, 4 er versus Baltimore). He had one disastrous start against the Yankees which skewed all of his numbers up (1.1 ip, 5 er). And he following that with 7 ip, 1 er versus Boston. Despite his solid pitching for the most part, his record was 1-1 for July because the pen and offence have disappeared.

Call me crazy, but I'll take a guy who gives you 5 quality starts and one disastrous start any time. If you take away that disaster, his numbers are 1-0, 3.38 era, 34.2 ip (averaging nearly 7 per start), 35 hits, 1 homer, 13 bb, 20 k. Kelvim has been head and shoulders above anyone in the rotation not named Halladay. He's their only legitimate starting pitcher outside of Doc. To continue to bag on the guy smacks more than a little of bias to me...EVERYONE has one or two bad outings in a month.
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#95747) #
. Kelvim has been head and shoulders above anyone in the rotation not named Halladay.

Now *there's* a complement. Given the Jays rotation, that's like being called the prettiest girl in the leper colony.

_R Billie - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#95748) #
Hey you have to start somewhere. I'm just saying combined with his last stint in the rotation in 2001, Escobar's earned a bit of respect as a starter. Just because the Jays chose to use him in the worst way possible for their team from the time JP took over until earlier this year doesn't mean we should ignore his overriding trend as a starter. He's good, whether compared to this team or the majority of starters in the league at large.

In 15 starts this year, including a couple where he was limited by pitch count early on, 8 of them (53%) have been quality starts and he has gone at least 6 innings in 10 of them (66%). If you throw out the pitch count limited starts the second percentage improves to 76%.

To compare, 13 of Javier Vazquez's 23 starts (57%) have been quality and he's gone at least 6 innings in 18 of them (78%).

In other words, within spitting distance. Obviously Vasquez has better control, but he's also going to cost significantly more in a free market than Escobar would. I'd say the closest comparison to Escobar as a starter would be Russ Ortiz. And I don't think there were many that were objecting when Toronto was inquiring about getting the $6 million man this past off-season. The only difference between the two is that Ortiz joined the league in his mid-20's after lots of college and minor league experience while Escobar was rushed up at the age of 21.
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#95749) #
I'm not saying Escobar hasn't pitched well. I just think there's better ways to describe his success than being the 2nd best starter for the Jays. :)

Pistol - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#95750) #
FWIW Escobar's DIPS ERA is 3.61 this year. Halladay is at 3.71. I imagine as a starter Escobar would be even better (since he was a mess at the beginning of the year).
Craig B - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#95751) #
Jays' month of July... was about as much fun as watching the Dental Procedures Channel

Are you kidding? It was as much fun as being the star of the Dental Procedures Channel.
_Ryan - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#95752) #
Mmmmmmmm... Novocaine.
_Dr B - Friday, August 01 2003 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#95753) #
I can totally understand why Mr Tam wore out his welcome, but I think he was a bit unlucky to be demoted at a time when he wasn't really doing too least in comparison with some others on the roster. Faint praise I know. The same thing happened to Doug Linton. Unlike Linton, however, who has been mediocre in AAA, Tam has been dominant; I would not be surprised to see Tam back up at some point.
Gitz - Saturday, August 02 2003 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#95754) #
They Came From New Haven

Terrific stuff, Dave, as is the rest of this.
_Simon - Saturday, August 02 2003 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#95755) #
Good stuff Dave. This is a great website. I must admit I've been lurking for a long time and have finally worked up the courage to post.

I enjoyed the shooting File in the arm line. As the They came from New Haven. Carry on with the good work.
Mike D - Saturday, August 02 2003 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#95756) #
Good to have you on board, Simon! Feel free to share your thoughts whenever you like -- it'll only make it more fun.
Blue Jays Report Card for July 2003 - Hitters and Pitchers | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.