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The arrival of Brett Lawrie....

 ... seems, at this point, to be just days away. Personally, I would have had no objection if they'd waited until September 1. I'm not wild about rushing 21 year olds to the majors, and the Travis Snider Experience hasn't done anything to change my mind. But there's nothing to be done now. I told y'all back in March that if Snider could hit .337 in six weeks at Las Vegas, Lawrie was quite capable of hitting .360 in the same time span and that if he did, it would be awfully hard to leave him there.

Speaking of Las Vegas...

               Age   G  PA   AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI  SB CS  BB  SO  BAVG  OBP  SLG    OPS  TB GDP HBP  SH SF IBB
David Cooper    24  36 165  147  25  59 19 0  3  39   0  0  16  12  .401 .455 .592  1.046  87   2   0   0  2   1
Eric Thames     24  36 167  146  27  50 17  2  6  30   3  2  17  30  .342 .419 .610  1.029  89   3   3   0  1   5
Travis Snider   23  34 162  144  27  41 11  0  1  23   6  0  15  27  .285 .358 .382   .740  55   3   2   0  1   1

I wasn't very keen on the decision to send Snider back to AAA, thinking that if this kid really is your left fielder of the future, at some point he's going to have to solve his problems at the major league level. But maybe he's not the left fielder of the future. Maybe he's just this organization's most ridiculously over-hyped prospect since - I dunno, Eddie Zosky? - who was rushed to the majors for no good reason whatsoever, well before his due date, by a doomed management regime desperate to show the fan base that there really was something to get about excited about in the days ahead.

As is well known by now, I never drank the Snider kool-aid. I never thought he was going to be a great major league hitter. But I did assume he would develop into a solid corner outfield bat, and I still think that's the most likely outcome. But while a 21 year old does have more time and space to grow and develop than a 23 year old or a 24 year old - that's why we're much more excited, and rightfully so, about Brett Lawrie than we are about Eric Thames - there's this as well. Not all 21 year olds develop. Some simply remain what they are. Snider has always looked like a much better prospect than David Cooper (called a "non-prospect" on this very site not too long ago.) But Cooper appears to be the one who eventually figures out how to adjust to a new level and have success. Snider's history is that he has initial success, and then the level adjusts to him. He's still only 23 years old, but perhaps at long last he's going to have to actually earn his next chance. And right now, Cooper and Thames (and Loewen, for Chrissakes!) are kicking his butt.

Kyle Drabek and Josh Tomlin gave us a fascinating pitching matchup last week, as was anticipated at the time. Drabek, of course, has a power arm and electric stuff and Tomlin... no one seems to know exactly why he's so effective. Rotoworld keeps waiting, if not outright cheering, for him to fall on his ass. Drabek, of course, leads the AL in walks allowed with 45. Tomlin has walked just 11 men all season. That's the obvious difference between them, and it's more than enough. But Tomlin has also been much harder to hit than Drabek - he's allowed just 57 hits in 71.2 IP. AL batters are hitting .265 against Drabek (league average is .252) and just .213 against Tomlin. How does that happen?

Some of it, no doubt, has been the warm embrace of the gods and goddesses of BABiP. But not all of it. Tomlin has earned some of this huge advantage. When AL hitters are ahead in the count, they hit .291/.463/.484; when the count is even, they hit .259/.264/.402; and when the hitter is behind, they hit just .210/.218/.302. It's really that simple. This game revolves around controlling the strike zone - that's why Corey Patterson never became a superstar - and Josh Tomlin controls the strike zone. He's faced 281 batters this season, and he was ahead of the hitter when the at bat was resolved in 113 of those plate appearances (hitters went .152/.159/.268); the count was even 90 times, the batter was ahead just 78 times. Drabek has faced almost the exact same number of hitters (286 batters), but he was ahead of the hitter just 59 times, and he was pitching from behind more than half the time (145 plate appearances.) Tomlin really has been extremely fortunate on his balls in play, of course, and that's unlikely to last forever. But as long as he works ahead of the hitters, I don't see why he can't continue to be successful.

Drabek hasn't been very effective even when he works ahead of the hitters - AL batters are hitting .276/.288/.448 against Drabek when they're behind in the count. When the batters are ahead, they're hitting .245/.476/429 - all of which suggests Drabek simply doesn't yet know what he's doing out there.
This, That, The Other... | 18 comments | Create New Account
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rtcaino - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#236148) #
This, That, The Other...

Not sure if this was intentional, but the tenth addition of Bonnaroo will occur this upcoming weekend in Manchester, Tennessee. It will be held in the This, That and The Other Tents as well as on the Which and What Stages. The festival will feature Buffalo Springfield (with Neil Young and Stephen Crosby, among others), Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Robert Plant, The Strokes, Matt & Kim, and Girl Talk. 
rtcaino - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#236149) #
Lawrie on the 7 day DL, retroactive to June 1.:

rtcaino - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#236150) #
the tenth edition* of Bonnaroo
Magpie - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#236151) #
The festival will feature Buffalo Springfield (with Neil Young and Stephen Crosby, among others)

Stephen Crosby? Stills, surely...

But come to think of it, David Crosby did sit in for an absent Neil Young when the Springfield played at Monterey Pop. Crosby was also the uncredited co-writer of "Rock and Roll Woman," a Stills track that Young doesn't even appear on (and that is Crosby singing the high harmony....)
TamRa - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#236152) #
"I dunno, Eddie Zosky?"

I may be forgetting someone but just off the top of my head, I'm gonna say Felipe Lopez (he of the "kinda like A-Rod or at least Tejada" comparisons) would be the guy you are looking for.

Here's my curiosity about Lawrie - the Jays are going to have to do something they don't prefer to do:

1. bring him stright to the majors when he's healthy (and if they want his first game to be on the road that gives them a one-game window if they do that)

2. his first game in the majors is a home game

3. they wait until the 17th when they travel to Cincinnati.

My guess - assuming he's able to play at the end of seven days - is that he'll debut Friday night.

Other notes:

Yunel Escobar's OPS over the last 26 games is 1.003

Juan Rivera's OPS since May 7 (the day Lind last played before this weekend) is only .655 which is lower than his overall season mark. So much for the thesis that getting to play 1B woke him up.

The incoming Royals are 9-21 in his last 30 games.

Mike Green - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#236155) #
Bonnaroo is great, and you can listen in air-conditioned or ceiling-fanned comfort at

Thames showed a lot during his stay (and I would be happier if he was sharing the DH job with Encarnacion or Rivera at the big-league level, and playing the outfield once a week or so).

rtcaino - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#236156) #
Stephen Crosby? Stills, surely...

ahem. of course.

Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Young, Risk Rosas and Joe Vitale.

you can listen in air-conditioned or ceiling-fanned comfort at

ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#236157) #
Bill James wrote one year in the Abstract that hitters don't learn to hit at the major league level. Snider's rocketing from A to the majors in 5 short months was a good strategy if the team was going to hype him and unload him, but a bad strategy for actually developing him as a hitter. As you note, he exited each level before the pitchers adjusted to him which gave many an unrealistic assessment of his performance.

Now he's a 23 year old with some holes in his swing that pitchers exploit. I have no reason to think Chad Mottola's not a good hitting coach, but I wonder if Snider would be better served by spending time with Justin Mashore at Manchester. He's done such a great job with Gose and d'Arnaud, and Snider has never really excelled at AA. That may be the level he needs to be at to learn.
Dave Till - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#236158) #
I noticed something interesting today: after 59 games, the Blue Jays and Red Sox have scored and allowed exactly the same number of runs each: 290 scored, 262 allowed. Wowzers!

greenfrog - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#236160) #
Does that identical run differential say anything about Farrell's lack of managerial experience, given that the Jays currently sit 3 games behind Boston? Or is the sample size too small? I can't help but feel that there have been at least a couple of games this year where questionable managerial decisions contributed to a Jays loss. But then, I'm sure Boston fans feel the same way about some of Francona's decisions...
BlueJayWay - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#236161) #
I don't know if I'd lay that on Farrell.  The Jays have underperformed their pythag for years.  In fact, it wouldn't really feel like the Blue Jays anymore if their record weren't worse than the runs scored/allowed ratio would seem to indicate.
TamRa - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#236162) #
Farrell himself noted at least one game he feels like the loss is squarely on him and three others which are arguably so. i don't know if I've ever heard another manager publiclly say "that one was on me"

What makes it more interesting was that in at least one case he said he brought in Dotel when he shouldn't have.

I find that refreshing, and promising for the future.

Magpie - Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#236164) #
Does that identical run differential say anything about Farrell's lack of managerial experience, given that the Jays currently sit 3 games behind Boston?

Probably not. Boston is 9-7 in one-run games, the Blue Jays are 8-11. One-run games are decided more by random chance than anything else. In close games, dumb luck is more important than managerial experience, quality of bullpen, strength of bench...
China fan - Monday, June 06 2011 @ 08:02 AM EDT (#236170) #

Magpie, your analysis of Travis Snider is very interesting.  I'm still optimistic that, at the age of 23, he has time to rebuild his swing and figure out his mechanics and live up to his great potential.  But as you point out, it might never happen.  We shouldn't just assume that great potential will automatically translate into great results at the major-league level, and we shouldn't assume that mechanical issues are solved by giving a prospect 700 major-league plate appearances and hoping for the best.

And, in retrospect, I think it's increasingly clear that Cito Gaston did not deserve the verbal attacks from many fans for his "treatment" of Snider last year.  He wasn't just perversely "jerking him around" because of his "anti-rookie bias."   I think Gaston spotted the same flaws that Anthopolous and Farrell finally acknowledged this year when they sent Snider to the minors.  Yes, Snider managed to hit some homers and doubles in 2009 and 2010, and his numbers looked adequate, but I suspect he was getting into bad habits and resisting the coaches when they tried to fix it.  I think Gaston saw this and tried to reduce the pressure on him and send messages to him, but nothing worked. Quite possibly Gaston didn't even agree with AA's decision to promote him to the majors at the end of July 2010, but that was ultimately AA's call.  Now we'll see if Las Vegas works.

scottt - Monday, June 06 2011 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#236171) #
Does that identical run differential say anything about Farrell's lack of managerial experience, given that the Jays currently sit 3 games behind Boston?

I think that says absolutely nothing in itself. Had Farrell made "better" decisions--better in hindsight anyway--the Jays would have a better run differential. Unless you think someone a manager can pull runs from blowout wins and save them for closer games.
scottt - Monday, June 06 2011 @ 08:09 AM EDT (#236172) #
I meant to say "somehow".
TamRa - Monday, June 06 2011 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#236228) #
regarding my long-running exchange with uglyone regarding 2B.

one of my major points in that discussion was the lack of potential high end replacement options. Assuming Hill does walk, and assuming he can play an at least average 2B - Ian Stewart might be a decent buy-low option if/when the Rockies get tired of waiting.

Although I do have to wonder, if you can't hit well in Denver...
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