Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Once more, we assess the work of This Year's Crew, and as always we salute the great Dave Till who used to provide this very service on a monthly basis. Monthly!

I know I am not worthy to... dust his keyboard?


A great many players tried on the uniform briefly this season. I'm pretty sure that no one likes the small sample more than I do, but even I see little point in grading a pitcher on 5 innings or so. Although, speaking of small samples... Isn't it spooky that after treating the great Roy Halladay himself as his personal batting practise pitcher for ten years, Johnny Damon has now turned Ricky Romero into his new whipping boy? If Johnny does sneak into the Hall of Fame, he'll owe it to whoever was the Blue Jays best pitcher. "Thank you, Roy. Thank you, Ricky. I know I wouldn't be here without you..."

Anyway we're giving an INC for Incomplete to David Purcey, Rommie Lewis, Wil Ledezman, Brian Tallet, Trever Miller, Chad Beck, Scott Richmond, Danny Farquhar, and P.J. Walters. Likewise to Brian Jeroloman, Darin Mastroianni, and Chris Woodward. Everyone else is fair game.

Here's what the grades mean to me:

A - Outstanding
B - Good
C - Average
D - Below Average
E - Fail. (Replacement Level)
F - Epic Fail

We'll begin with the front office...

Alex Anthopoulos B
First of all, I'm not even going to think about the draft. It's going to be at least five years, and probably more like ten, before we can say whether he did a good job with his 2011 draft picks. Until then - it's just a waste of time, idle speculation, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Here, we care only about what he does with the major league team. Last season, his success was built mostly on the economical veteran talent he hauled in to plug holes while the kids developed. These were eventually converted into draft picks for the most part. (One of them was magically exchanged for one of the best shortstops in the AL, which was a very slick move.) That part of his strategy didn't work nearly as well this time around (two words - Corey Patterson. Two more - Jayson Nix.) I also didn't think much of the idea of quickly sending to the minors players who were supposed to be fairly central parts of the team - Litsch, Snider, Cecil, Janssen. Two rotation starters, the left fielder, a key setup guy - how did that work out, anyway? I guess Janssen at least came back and demonstrated that, yes, he should have been in the majors all the while. But to the heart of the matter - the central part of Anthopoulos' season was the three Very Big trades he was able to make, trades which impressed just about everyone in the game. The Vernon Wells deal was his version of Ricciardi dumping Raul Mondesi's contract, except it was an even more impressive feat (it was a much bigger contract!.) The Lawrie trade was his version of Ricciardi's deal for Eric Hinske - he gave up a key pitcher from his team for the third baseman of the future. But again, what Anthopoulos did was more impressive as Lawrie looks quite a bit - quite a bit - more promising than Hinske (of course, Shaun Marcum is a little better than Billy Koch.) Finally, he turned a whole bunch of relief pitchers into centre fielder Colby Ramus, who likewise has a chance to be really good. It certainly looks like the team is making progress, heading in the right direction. But I still need to see them win more than 85 games before the grades get better.

John Farrell B-
I want to give John Farrell some benefit of the doubt - he was a rookie manager, and he was following a very accomplished and successful veteran manager.  I would want to give him much more time to grow into the position. There were things he did not do as well as Gaston. Heavens, what a shock. But he seems to have had no problem gaining and keeping the respect of his players, which is always Job One. Always - if a manager can't do that, nothing else matters - how shrewd a judge of talent he might be, how well he manages the bullpen, his game strategies. None of it will mean a thing. I think Farrell did just fine there, as far as I can tell. He was, many commented, much more willing than his predecessor to try small ball tactics. This seemed to drive some people crazy, which is pretty funny when you think about it. Gaston used to get criticized for not using these tactics enough. In fact, Farrell used these tactics just slightly more often than Gaston, and naturally people suddenly remembered just why it is they don't like the small ball game. Oh, to be a manager! Everybody thinks they can manage a team better than the guy who has the job, and everybody is always wrong. I do think it's generally pretty useful simply to show the other teams that those cards are available, and might get played - I also think encouraging young players to be aggressive on the bases helps them learn what they can and can not do. As it happens, Farrell's Blue Jays ran the bases rather well - at least compared to all the other teams in the league.  My biggest concern, by far, with Farrell's first season was the stagnation of Morrow, the regression of Cecil, the failure of Drabek to develop. Turning young arms into major league pitchers is a tricky and chancy business, and Cito Gaston happened to be very, very good at it. A tough act to follow, but based on his resume and experience I expect Farrell to have some talent at this rather crucial part of the job. But talent isn't much use unless you turn it into results on the field, and there wasn't enough of that this year.

The Players

Jose Bautista A+
Over the entire season, he was the most powerful offensive force in the game. He was considerably better than he had been in his magnificent 2010 breakout season. That was the easiest grade to figure this year. So let's talk about his second half, which seems to have some people a little worried. Just as it was unreasonable to expect 54 HRs again, it was and is unreasonable to expect him to repeat the first two months of this season. But he did hit "just" .261/.420/.493, with 12 HR and 38 RBI in 61 games after the Break (which would be 30 HR, 100 RBI over a full season.) So while he was still a very good offensive player in the second half, it was also obvious that the league had made some fairly drastic adjustments in how they were approaching him. I'm not particularly worried. I think Bautista simply hasn't quite finished the process of adjusting in response. I'm also pretty damn sure  that switching from third base (March) to right field (April) to third base (July) and back to right field (August) didn't help him very much. Neither did a couple of minor injuries, but I'd really like to see the team's best player spend an entire season, from training camp to the final game playing the same position. Can we please cut it out with this crap? Just because he can doesn't mean that he should. Incidentally, Bautista was one of the most aggressive baserunners on the team, and it generally worked for him. He took tons of extra bases, and really didn't run himself into very many outs. Now, he may have been one of the luckiest baserunners in the league as well, because he was getting away with some pretty goofy stuff, but all's well that ends well.

Brett Lawrie A

I'm not sure if this was the most exciting arrival on the scene ever by a young Blue Jays hitter. Carlos Delgado's jaw-dropping performance in April 1994 resonates pretty loudly for me - the 8 homers in 13 games, some of them hit so far they probably should have counted them twice. But, still, Brett Lawrie... whoa! Wow. That was impressive. What's especially exciting is the thought that we really don't know what kind of hitter Lawrie is going to become. He might hit 40 homers. He might hit .340. He might do both of those things (Delgado did both!) He might steal 40 bases! (Delgado never did that!) The future is ripe with possibilities, all of which are extremely delightful to contemplate. I also thought his performance at third base was very encouraging. It was a little raw, as you might expect from a 21 year old who hadn't played the position before this year. But he has the tools, as they say.

Ricky Romero A

Significantly improved his performance for the third year in a row. Hard to ask for more than that. Anyway, what he really needs to work on now is his run support. The team went 18-14 in his 32 starts, and they scored a measly 30 runs in the 14 games they didn't win. Romero pitched much better than the 15-11 record. He reduced his hits allowed very dramatically, and I'm not sure he can sustain that. But he gave up quite a few more home runs than he normally does, and I expect he will improve that. (Unless both of these changes were the direct result of some change in his approach.) He is one intense and driven individual, isn't he - he competes out there. He also does all the little things that support his game. He fields his position like a quick and hungry cat and  he holds baserunnners very well. In the past, Romero has practically eliminated the other team's running game completely. Not so much this year, though - teams were much more successful running against him in 2011. There were 18 stolen bases against him this year, which is actually not all that many - but after just 13 steals in his first two years combined, it was more than a little startling. I'm going to lay much of that on his personal catcher - teams were willing to challenge Arencibia, and they were getting away with it.

Yunel Escobar A-
He made it all the way back to the level he performed at for most of his Atlanta career. That makes him one of the best shortstops in the game. He's one of those guys who's simply not as fast as he looks - he really has just average speed, but he's generally used in those offensive roles that call for speed. His defense is still quite good enough. I think he's lost a step in the field, but his positioning and reliability have improved. A year ago, I was commenting how strangely raw he seemed for a guy who'd already been in the majors for five years. This year, he was nowhere near as flashy - he was solid and dependable. He still doesn't run everything out, which is irritating sometimes - but really, running out a pop fly to Derek Jeter isn't competing - it's pretending to compete, it's putting on a show, it's slightly fake in its own way. I thought Escobar was a much more alert and reliable player this year, I thought there were not nearly as many Alex Rios ("Just what is he thinking about out there?") moments with him. Just wish he could stay in the lineup a little more - he missed 29 games, mostly with a series of fairly minor hurts.

Casey Janssen B+
The best relief pitcher on the team. Two years ago I was writing that "I don't believe in him. He's just too easy to hit." But he took a major step forward in 2010, as he found a way to strike batters out. He maintained those gains, and built on them in 2011, reducing both his hits and walks allowed. A lot of fun to watch.

Jose Molina B
Also fun to watch - his batting stance is the closest thing to Tony Batista you young ones are likely to see, and it's entertaining in a weird way to watch a man this slow running. If "running" is really the word we should be using to describe his method of locomotion. Completely out of the blue, he went and had the best hitting season of his long career, although he faded quite a bit at the end of the year. Just in time, as age is continuing to grind away at his defensive skills.

Henderson Alvarez B
I have to think that given more exposure, the league will catch up to this kid. It will happen soon, and it probably won't be pretty. He's mainly a two-pitch guy and to succeed as a starter with just two pitches, both of those pitches need to be awfully special. Otherwise you're someone like Jim Clancy, who was really good sometimes and really frustrating sometimes. Brandon Morrow also fits this description. So with that caveat , let's be happy that a) it hasn't happened yet, and b) he's reportedly working very hard on coming up with a reliable third pitch. I really don't like seeing 21 year olds in a major league rotation - I'd prefer to baby their arms for another year or two. But I really, really like pitchers who walk just 8 batters in 56.2 innings.

Mark Rzepczynski B
Now with St. Louis, and he's been so effective as a LOOGY that he may never start again in his life. Tony LaRussa's probably not the guy to try it, anyway.

Kelly Johnson B
Got off to a slow start in the AL, but soon settled in and demonstrated the broad range of skills that should make bringing him back one of the top priorities for Anthopoulos this off-season. He gets on base - he was born to be a number two hitter - and he provides a little left handed pop. He came to second base rather late in life, and he's only an adequate defender. At best. Maybe Butterfield can help him out, maybe he can't (Encarnacion!, people!). But if he doesn't come back, this team has a great big hole in the lineup, and at the very same position that two of their division rivals have filled with a certifiably great ball player. And Zobrist and Roberts aren't chopped liver, now that I think on it.

Jason Frasor B
Now with Chicago. There were good times, there were bad times. I made him my personal whipping boy for a while there, and I kind of regret that. He was a pretty good pitcher for this team. He always took the ball, and he always had that heater. It wasn't always enough, but that's true for everyone. But on the whole, it was a nice run. Good luck to him.

Joel Carreno B
One doesn't want to get too excited about 15.2 innings, which is why we're not going to grade him higher. But he was outstanding, and certainly looks like he should be expected to be a part of next year's pen.

Edwin Encarnacion B-
Not playing third base clearly agrees with him - heaven knows, him not playing third agrees with me. And everyone else, I'm sure. Encarnacion hit .220/.295/.398 as a third baseman, which severely dented his season stats. As a DH/1b, he hit .298/.355/.487 with 14 HRs in 93 games. Let's hope that they stop screwing around with him, let him DH and play a little first base, and be a hitter. I know I'd like to see what happens. So we make a wish - in the future may we only see Encarnacion (and Bautista) at third base in an utter emergency, when it's the fifteenth inning and there's no one else available.

Carlos Villanueva B-
He pitched very well out of the pen, so naturally they put him in the rotation until he stopped pitching well. Stop screwing around! Do not mess with something that's actually working. These people will just make you crazy sometimes. Well, now we know, anyway. I suppose it's useful to have discovered that. Going forward, he should be a very useful part of the bullpen, especially with his capacity to work multiple innings, but that's all. He should only be an emergency starter.

Octavio Dotel B-
Now with St. Louis. One of the game's foremost ROOGYs, of course. It's such a very odd thing for a pitcher to be - Scott Richmond is another - that managers often have trouble believing that this is what the guy really is. And so they just have to see it for themselves, with the generally dire results that inevitably ensue. Yes, that's what he is. He's quite good at it, but never forget what he is...

Eric Thames B-
An interesting player, a fun player. He's an adventure in the outfield, mixing up spectacular plays with bizarre screwups. But he never stops hustling, and you can actually see him improving his game. He's not a base stealer, but he's easily the most aggressive baserunner on the team - yes, even more than Davis - and he's really good at it. Just a terrific baserunner. Based on his rookie season, he doesn't have quite as much bat as you'd want from a left fielder. But he's got more than enough bat to be in the lineup. And because he's still just 24, and because injuries have set his development back, he may be capable of growing quite a bit from this point. I don't mind finding out, anyway. I would assume he's the incumbent in left, and that someone is going to have to wrestle the job away from him. I would hope so, anyway.

Frank Francisco B-
One wonders if the injury that cost him the first couple of weeks of the season lingered for a while. Because this is a tale of two quite different campaigns. As awful as he was before the All Star Break (5.92 ERA, 31 H and 14 BB in 24.1 IP), that's how brilliant he's been in the second half. Although, it would be more accurate to say that he alternates good months with bad ones - his monthly ERAs are 1.69, 8.68, 1.08, 5.59, 0.00 (!), 3.00. I'm not all that wild about him, but I still like him more than Kevin Gregg, at least.

Jesse Litsch C
He seems to get fatter every year, doesn't he? Well, he can get away with that as a relief pitcher. It wasn't going to fly as a starter. He really wasn't all that more effective working out of the pen - but he was more effective, and he can essentially give the team... well, exactly the same thing Villanueva gives them. A solid reliever, who can go more than one inning. With this group of starters, you probably need to have a couple of those guys around.

J.P. Arencibia C-
Played an awful lot like Rod Barajas did when he was here, which seems strange because they don't look remotely similar. That's not particularly good, but I don't mind cutting Arencibia some slack. He was a rookie, at the most demanding defensive position on the field, coping with the struggles of - what was it, thirty different pitchers - and did I mention he was a rookie? He hung in there, and he hit some home runs, and all credit to him. But I don't see how he can possibly hold off Travis d'Arnaud, who should be climbing all over his back by this time next year. Arencibia needs a good season with the bat - just adding 20 or 30 points to his BAVG will do it, not that such a thing is easy or anything - so he can be traded somewhere and continue being a regular.

Adam Lind D+
Who the hell knows? Lind's 2010 season was ruined by a two month slump. This year's slump lasted three months. Go figure. He just stopped hitting at the end of June. Was he hurt? We know he was hurt in the first half of the season - he missed 25 of the team's 82 games - but in the 57 games he'd played, he'd been just great. Really - because he's been so bad these last few months, it's easy to forget how good he was for the first three. But he was. It was 2009 all over again - through the end of June, he had 16 HRs and 49 RBI - in just 57 games. He was hitting .312/.361/.569. And then it just stopped, completely and totally. Over the final three months, he hit .210/.249/.349 with 10 HR and 37 RBI. You might take that if he was a really good defensive player at shortstop. But he isn't even a good defensive player at first base. His defense was not at all the disaster I had been fearing, but calling it "good" is setting the bar very, very low. Anyway, I've seen all I want to see. I would much, much rather see Encarnacion and Cooper splitting 1B and DH between them next season.

Brandon Morrow D+
Ted the Tease is gone, but the feeling lingers on. Morrow doesn't really throw as hard as... oh, let's say Brad Mills. Mills is throwing much harder, Morrow's ball just gets where it's going a lot quicker. That's why we say Morrow throws hard - he's got that kind of magical arm. I'm beginning to suspect that his ball is just too damn easy for the hitters to see. We can measure the velocity of the pitch, but we can't measure what the pitch looks like to the hitter (and it looks different to every individual hitter.) B.J. Ryan could blow his 89 mph fastball past major league hitters because they had trouble picking up the ball out of that funky delivery. Shaun Marcum can blow his 85 mph heater past major league hitters because he's so good as destroying the hitter's timing. Morrow doesn't seem to be doing either of those things. He just throws a ball hard. And at this level, as Ron Gardenhire noted, "hard, hard, harder just gets hit, hit, hit." Sometimes I think Morrow is pitching like Ted Lilly or A.J. Burnett - you know, like a knucklehead. Well, Burnett really is a knucklehead, and Lilly was kind of weird in his own way. But Brandon Morrow is not even remotely like that, not in the slightest. He's a really impressive young man, intelligent, hard-working, dedicated, coachable. And he knows what he needs to do, and he's trying to do it. He ought to be better than this. But he isn't.

John Rauch D+
Didn't have a particularly good year, even by his own fairly modest standards. You have to like the way he goes right after the hitters. It's hard to like the way the hitters go right after him, though. Too many balls over the fence.

Brett Cecil D
Despite the gruesome W-L record, he's been... well, actually he hasn't been all that good since returning from AAA (3-9, 4.30 with 72 K, 31 BB and 98 hits allowed in 102.2 IP.) Kind of mediocre, but on this team that still makes him one of the better starting pitchers. I thought yesterday's game demonstrated, in technicolor and stereo sound, Brett Cecil's two biggest problems, as a pitcher in general, and this season in particular. First, he can't keep the baseball in the damn park. He's now allowed 22 homers in 123.2 innings. He's done this before - he gave up 17 dingers in just 93 IP as a rookie in 2009, but he seemed to have licked the problem last season. It's come back, and there's no defense that works against it. And all the hits he allowed yesterday were to RH batters. Cecil has always been, and continues to be, extremely tough on LH batters, but the RH fellows generally have their way with him. They've accounted for every home run he's allowed this season. I assume Cecil will be competing for a starter's job next spring, but becoming a LOOGY may be his destiny.

John McDonald D
I think Johnny Mac really missed Cito Gaston. In his two full seasons playing for Gaston, he actually showed totally unexpected development as a hitter. (Last season, John McDonald had a higher slugging percentage than Lyle Overbay, Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, and Edwin Encarnacion.) But with Gaston gone, he reverted to being John McDonald. He was still a better hitter than Mike McCoy or Jayson Nix, but that's setting the bar pretty low.

Shawn Camp D
Got off to a solid start, but pitched so badly in mid-season that it's a little surprise that he wasn't designated for assignment. It was pretty hideous - from May 29 through August 4, he allowed 39 hits in 22.1 innings, and posted a 8.87 ERA. Yikes. It certainly looked like his nice three year run here was coming to an end. But he started getting his game back together in August, and has been pitching just as well as ever these last few weeks. He'll probably have to prove himself one more time next spring.

David Cooper D
Look, I believe in David Cooper. I believe in him more than just about everyone else does, that's for sure. First of all ... I just love his swing. I believe in that stroke, I think it plays at this level, I like it more than that of any of the other LH batters knocking on the Blue Jay door (Snider, Thames, Loewen) I don't know that Cooper has as much "talent" as any of those guys. But I also think this is a kid who learns from what happens to him in the game, and adjusts and grows and builds upon what he has. So I think he is going to get absolutely everything that there is to get out of his talent. And by the way - he doesn't remind me of Lyle Overbay at all. Not in the slightest. Overbay is much bigger and stronger - but I think Cooper will hit for more power (and a better average) in the majors than Overbay, and also be nowhere near as smooth and polished around first base. His grade is docked because of that ugly 4 for33 performance he submitted during his first exposure to the majors. (The grade is kind of an F for his first tour, a C for his second...)

Zach Stewart D
Now with the White Sox. Didn't really make much of an impression on me, as I missed all three of his Jays starts - a good one, a bad one, and a decent one

Luis Perez D-
He was having himself a pretty decent rookie season, seemed to staking his claim to a bullpen job... so they had to try him as a starter, and shortly thereafter he was totally messed up. He's been really, really awful for the last few weeks. In September, he's allowed 22 hits and 17 ER in just 9.1 innings, which has ruined what had been a promising rookie year. Will be fighting for a job in the pen next spring, one assumes.

Juan Rivera D-
Now with the Dodgers. Played quite well for them, too. I had the feeling just about everyone actually resented him even being here, being part of the team. He was seen from day one as a punishment we had to endure, a cross we had to bear, in exchange for the heavenly reward of being liberated from The Wells Contract. What a situation for someone to try to play baseball in. No wonder it didn't work out for him here.

Dustin McGowan D-

I know I'd rather be lucky than good (being good was never as much fun, for one thing.) We know that Dustin McGowan has the arm and the determination and the character to be good. He needs to be lucky. Unfortunately, there's a large black cloud that hovers over his head, that follows him around wherever he goes. It's a harsh thing to say, but let's face it - sometimes the Deity is simply a spiteful, malevolent bitch. It actually amuses her to bless a young man with an electric pitching arm, and then subject that same young man to Tommy John surgery, diabetes, labrum surgery, knee surgery, rotator cuff surgery. Perhaps she thinks it builds character. Well, enough already - Dustin's built his character. Could you possibly give him a break? But until that black cloud actually disappears...

Adam Loewen D-
An interesting problem for Anthopoulos to solve. Loewen clearly has quite a bit of talent. But he's extremely raw and he still needs quite a bit more time to develop and polish his game. This is completely reasonable and should not be unexepected. As a position player, he's had just three professional seasons since high school. He should probably be at AA by now, maybe getting his first looks at AAA at this stage. If he's coming along really fast. But his unique story had placed him in an entirely different situation, which included rushing him through the minors with all possible haste - as fast as it could possibly be managed. The clock has always been ticking and now midnight is upon us. He's out of options, and he's just not ready to be an everyday player. He might be an okay fourth outfielder, if you wanted to cut Davis loose - except Loewen would really be better served by another year in the minors. He needs to play another full season, and then take over as the fourth outfielder in 2013. I don't know if Anthopoulos can thread this needle, but I think Loewen's worth the attempt.

Corey Patterson D-

Now with St. Louis. He doesn't seem like a head case, but has anyone ever done less with more? Oh, probably. All those classic tools, all that classic talent... I so much prefer Dustin Pedroia's type of tools and talent. They're better for baseball. He's not a completely awful player, but he will drive you crazy. I won't miss him, and neither will you.

Rajai Davis E

I liked watching him run the bases, but he left his bat in Oakland. Hard to be useful without a bat. If he remembers to bring it with him next year, he's a handy spare part. With two starting outfielders who hit left-handed, his RH bat and his speed would make him a good guy to bring off the bench. But only if he brings his bat with him this time.

Aaron Hill E
Now with Arizona. Just a mystery what happened to him. I've heard that he didn't get along all that well with Gaston, but things didn't improve under the new guy. 

Mike McCoy E

It rather looked as if they were auditioning McCoy for the Johnny Mac utility role. I think he failed the audition. His speed is nice and he's versatile enough to play almost everywhere. However what's most important for this particular role is that he be able to play shortstop. Especially with Escobar's tendency to come down with minor hurts that knock him out of the lineup. McCoy's just not reliable enough defensively to play shortstop for more than an inning or two. And he's an even bigger zero with the bat than McDonald. He's supposed to have on-base skills, but when your OBPct. is .300, I'm not sure that "skills" is the word we should be using.

Travis Snider E

Now what? Let's suppose he really does have more talent than Thames, or Cooper, or Loewen. Who cares? Talent is useless, utterly useless, unless you can actually turn it into results on the field. Snider has talent all right, but he also holes in his swing you could drive a truck through, and there are pitches he has no idea what to do with. The time is now for Travis Snider to take charge of his talent. It's on him. No more blaming J.P. Ricciardi - this is for me - for rushing him to the majors way before his time. No more blaming Cito Gaston - this is for many of you! - for not playing him every single day. It's all on Travis now. Now or... somewhere else. As is probably well known, I've never bought the Snider kool-aid, I've always thought he was ridiculously overhyped by the previous regime and a very hungry fan base. That said, he also seems like a really good kid, who really wants to do well. I hope he does it here.

Kyle Drabek E
Never looked remotely like a pitcher to me, which is shocking to anyone who remembers his father. Doug Drabek was a pitcher. Kyle Drabek is a kid who stands out there and throws. Maybe it'll be a strike, maybe it won't. (Probably it won't.) Maybe they'll hit it, maybe they won't. It's not like I have a clue what's going on. I'm just throwing the ball.

Colby Rasmus E
He's got all the tools, as they say. He's played well at the major league level. He just turned 25, and I think he can become a player very comparable to Lloyd Moseby. Which would be swell. But his performance in Toronto? He stunk. He was just awful. The grade flatters him.

Jo-Jo Reyes E

Turned out to be exactly what he had always been. A guy with a good arm who can't pitch in the major leagues. Who knew?

Brad Mills E
Too bad he can't pitch against Baltimore all the time. Pitchers like this always need a sizeable adjustment period at the major league level, but they struggle so badly during that adjustment period that it's very difficult to live with them while they're... adjusting. I kind of like him, but he needs to spend a year or two as the seventh man in a major league bullpen before anyone gives him another chance to start at this level.

Jayson Nix F
Unspeakably awful. The fact that he made more than 150 plate appearances made it especially agonizing. I get the shakes just remembering...

Dwayne Wise F
Better than Teahen.

Mark Teahen F
Better than me.


Blue Jays Report Card | 101 comments | Create New Account
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John Northey - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:57 AM EDT (#244703) #
Thanks Magpie. I'd have waited till the season was officially over, but really at this point they could play members of the AAGPBL and few would notice.

Interesting to check B-R and see who did the worst for WAR - IE: if you signed a 'replacement level' player instead of player XYZ you would've done better.

Sub 0's....
Pitchers in order from worst to 'best': Mills, Tallet (0.6 lost in one appearance? Wow, that was bad), Reyes, Ledzma, Lewis, Drabek, Purcey, Perez, Farquhar. 3.2 wins below replacement level between them.

Hitters in order from worst to 'best': Rivera (1.2), Davis (0.9), Snider (0.8), Rasmus, Wise, Hill, Woodward, Teahen, Loewen. Morrow got a -0.1 as well, but pitchers you can always forgive for having a really bad bat. Net lost from this group? 4.9 wins.

So for sub-replacement level players we saw the Jays lose 8.1 games. Wow. Think about that, with 1/2 decent AAAA players (Nix was a 0 for example) the Jays could've had 8 more wins. That would put them right there with Boston & Tampa Bay. Just by fixing the bench and backups so they were REPLACEMENT level. Quite amazing.

The CF position was a big-time black hole. Davis, Rasmus, Patterson, McCoy, Wise, Snider, Loewen, and Mastroianni shared it. Total Zone Runs puts them defensively at a -7. Their bats...ugh. Lets just say the WAR for that group (counting time elsewhere) was a net -1.7 wins. Patterson by far was the 'best' at 0.9 WAR. Patterson. The best we had at that position this year. Patterson. ::shakes head::

If Rasmus in 2012 can just play like he did his first two major league seasons (average of 3 WAR) then that is a potential 4.7 WAR improvement at one position (very roughly). Nearly 5 wins improved if a guy who is entering his prime can just play like he did as a rookie.

Yeah, there is hope here.
Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 05:35 AM EDT (#244705) #
Patterson. The best we had at that position this year. Patterson.

I hadn't thought of that, but you're quite right. Corey Patterson was, quite clearly, the Jays best centre fielder this past season.

Kind of says it all.
TamRa - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 05:45 AM EDT (#244706) #
I see several i'd revise upward:

Janssen, easily an A, A- at least

JPA - hitting the 3rd most homers by any rookie catcher EVER, hitting the most by any Blue Jays catcher EVER, while being at least average everywhere else except batting average...has to rate a C+

Morrow - I think you might have too high a standard for average. if we measure Morrow against what he's capeable of, the results kinda fail....but if we measure him against what an average AL pitcher is, he was kinda like that.

Luis Perez - I don't think that late swoon (after that one horrendously bad start) should knock him down quite this much - I'd give him a C-

McGowan - for a guy who looked fairly good in 3 of his 4 appearances, against good competition, and after 3 years away from the majors - one step above "fail" seems harsh. You might give him an "incomplete" - but if he's going to get graded I'd give him a D+ just for the difficulty of the assignment.



Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 06:23 AM EDT (#244707) #
[Arencibia]...has to rate a C+

I did feel unsure giving him a C minus, which is pretty much the maximum I can imagine for someone with a .280 OnBase percentage who doesn't play great defense. His season reminded me of Barajas' year in 2009, but with somewhat inferior defense. And Barajas I gave a D plus to. I thought I cut Arencibia a lot of slack for being a rookie, and I felt I was doing wrong. That I shouldn't cut him any slack for that at all.

Because the game doesn't care. The game doesn't cut anybody any slack. The game doesn't care if you're 20 years or 30, if you've played for fifteen years or fifteen minutes, if you've had five shoulder surgeries, if you've got any cartilage left in your knees. The game just doesn't care. Did you do the job or not, and how well did you do it. That's all that matters to the game, down there on the field, among the other players.
China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 06:32 AM EDT (#244708) #
Brilliant analysis, Magpie, and I agree with almost all of it.  One question about Kelly Johnson.  As you noted, Johnson has "...demonstrated the broad range of skills that should make bringing him back one of the top priorities for Anthopoulos this off-season...."   His return in 2012 would certainly plug a hole in the lineup.  But the question is how to do that.  Nearly everyone is assuming that the most logical step is to offer him arbitration, so that the Jays get a draft pick if he leaves.  But this seems such a passive approach -- especially if, as you say, bringing him should be "one of the top priorities" for the Jays.  If he's a top priority, if he is the potential solution at 2B, why sit back and just pray that he doesn't get a multi-year offer from another team?  Why should AA allow his 2B to be decided by the whims of the other GMs in the league?  Yet all the analysis suggests that this is exactly what AA will do.  What am I missing?  I realize that AA loves him some draft picks, but will draft picks always be prioritized over the holes in his lineup, now and forever?
Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 06:38 AM EDT (#244709) #
if we measure [Morrow] against what an average AL pitcher is, he was kinda like that.

Kinda, but not quite. An average AL starter has a .500 record and a 4.24 ERA. Morrow is close to that - he's got the .500 record, but he's clearly a step below that level. Half a run is a lot - it's the difference between Verlander and Romero.

I really cut McGowan as much slack as I could, too much I think, and I thought I railed rather vigourously against the evil spirits that have persecuted him. But a starting pitcher who hasn't gone more than five innings, who's walked 10 guys and allowed 12 runs in 17 innings... and I didn't give him an E? I'm turning into a sentimental, soft-hearted fool in my old age.
Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 07:14 AM EDT (#244711) #
What am I missing?

I sure don't know. In his brief time as a Jay, Johnson's got an OPS of .806, which is just slightly above his career average of .785. His average year is .785? In the entire history of the franchise, only two second basemen have had a better OPS in a season: Alomar (four times) and Hill (in what now looks very much like a fluke year.) Only 7 second basemen in the majors have done better this season, and are any of them - Cano, Pedrioia, Kinsler, Weeks, Zobrist, Phillips, and Kendrick - going to be available this winter?
Thomas - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#244712) #
Well done, Magpie. A very good summary and insightful comments. The fact I agree with the majority of the article is evident to me by the fact that the strongest reaction I had when finishing the piece was that Janssen's grade should have been higher.
Thomas - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 08:04 AM EDT (#244713) #
I probably would have dropped Farrell's grade, as he didn't impress me particularly this year. However, I agree there are positive signs and I'd give him time to grow into the position.
AWeb - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#244714) #

I like Snider as the fourth OF next year, since his defense has apparently improved a great deal, and he's played all three positions out there (Loewen's adventures in LF in his first start out there showed how hard it is to play different OF positions if you haven't prepared for it your whole life). Throw in basestealing...I'd like to see him force the issue at the ML level, since if it isn't apparent to everyone yet, AAA Vegas numbers mean almost nothing. Of course, he's another LH hitter...this team needs a few Switch-hitters.

Not sure what anyone sees in Cooper...he hasn't hit well (.813 OPS in Sept, but OBP at .313), and has been a butcher at first, with 4 errors in 88 innings - that's Encarnacion-type error rates, except at first base. Hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see much. Lind I would give a D- or E...2-3 months of awful slump each year means he just isn't very good at being a major league player, part of which is being able to not stink when banged up a bit and being able to bring something to the table when the hits aren't falling (walking would be nice). Not much wonder so many Jays fans are hoping for Fielder or Pujols.

Jays time only, Aaron Hill had to be an F, and I hope he wins the WS MVP. Rivera deserves the same.

Sadly hard to find an underappreciated player this year, who is having a sneaky good year. 1 good starter - that sums up the year pretty well for the pitching staff.

China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#244716) #

I have one quibble with Magpie's analysis of Carlos Villanueva.  I think he's too harsh on Villy's role as a starter.  Villanueva started 13 games for the Jays this season. Of those 13 starts, only 4 were mediocre or bad.  And of those 4 bad starts, 3 were near the end of his starting stint, when he was fatigued or injured.  The majority of his 13 starts were quality starts, or very near to it.  If his injury was a factor in at least a couple of the bad starts, it's fair to say that Villanueva was generally a good starter for the Jays, and he deserves a chance to compete for a starting job in spring training next season.  Even if he gets edged out by Alvarez or McGowan for a rotation slot next season, I wouldn't hesitate to bring him back as an injury replacement next season, if he can perform as he did for most of those starts this year.

Spookie Wookie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#244717) #
I agree with China fan regarding Villanueva. Great article overall, but I strongly disagree with that one. Villanueva was 6-3, 3.67 ERA, .648 OPS against, averaging 6 innings per start, in his first 9 starts. He might have got tired or injured as a result, but he did better than anyone could have reasonably hoped for until that point.
Mike Green - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#244718) #
I'd give Lawrie an A+, and Cecil a C-.  For all his troubles, Cecil's ERA+ was 93, just a smidge below average for a starter.  Obviously he can be, like Morrow, better than that.
bball12 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#244719) #

Magpie - that was an excellent analysis and assessment.

I dont think I could find a single item on there that I disagree with.

Bravo!

 

 

Dave Till - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#244723) #
Thanks for the shout-out - I think you are doing more with the Report Card format than I ever did. Great article - I agreed with almost all of your grades and comments. Some thoughts:

Alex Anthopoulos: He has a very difficult task - his front office and scouting team has to outwork and outthink the Sox, Yankees and Rays. And the Sox and Yankees have virtually unlimited budgets. I am impressed by what AA has done, but I fear that it is Mission Impossible. At some point, Rogers will need to loosen the purse strings.

Jose Bautista: He's not a lucky baserunner - he's a very smart baserunner. Watch him slide on a close play - he's mastered a couple of tag-avoidance slides. Alomar was the only other Jay that I remember as having that ability. It's just one more reason to be grateful that Joey Bats is a Blue Jay. I think that his second half - .261/.420/.493 - is what we can expect going forward, at least until age starts to eat away at his skills. He will earn his contract and then some.

Brett Lawrie: I love to watch him, and he couldn't have gotten off to a better start, but there are two red flags to take note of. One is that the league was starting to catch up to him a bit in September: his batting average and slugging percentage were both significantly lower. (Of course, he was at superstar level in August; his September OPS, .804, isn't exactly bad.) He has a broad range of skills, so he won't go all Josh Phelps on us, but there is likely to be a bumpy road ahead of him. The other is injury risk - players who play all-out generally wind up tearing or rupturing something. I, unfortunately, predict a long stay on the DL at some point in 2012, unless he has Ripken-like durability. But, hey, maybe he does. Who knows, he might even be able to fly.

Yunel Escobar: I think that the Jays have handled him well. Sometimes, he doesn't run out routine grounders, and that probably costs him two or three hits a year. When he does that, somebody probably tells him that running out more of those balls would be a good idea - and the Jays put him back into the top of the lineup to go 2-for-4 again.

Jose Molina: Bengie was even slower than Jose is. I am 51, not an athlete, and have cranky knees, but I think I could outrun Bengie.

Henderson Alvarez: You can get away with two pitches if they both have good (and non-identical) movement, and if the hitter can't tell one from the other until they're on top of him. Hey, it worked for Koufax and Guidry! But, yes, I'd rather see a third pitch. But it's better to have two good pitches than eight so-so ones (hello there, Miguel Batista, wherever you are).

David Cooper: I don't yet believe in him - his defense needs some work, and I don't know whether he can hit consistently at the major league level. But then I don't know about Lind either. I'm glad I'm not a GM. (The best thing about Lind's defense is that we didn't really notice it. He's not like Encarnacion at third, for which every play is an adventure.)

J.P. Arencibia: I stopped thinking about him as a rookie, which I guess is a good sign.

Colby Rasmus: I'm willing to cut him some slack, since he did get hurt. I do want to know, though, whether he actually wants to play in Toronto. Some people who are traded here hate it here, and want out out out. It's important for AA to know which players equate playing in Toronto with being sentenced to hard labour in Siberia. (Which is why signing Canadians is a good thing. For them, Toronto is their team.)

Anyway, this is getting long. Congrats again.

hypobole - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#244724) #

Not sure what anyone sees in Cooper...

Other than the fact he led the PCL in hitting in his first year in the league.

I'm with very much with Magpie on Cooper. For me, three stats really stuck out in his 1st stint in the bigs that showed a kid pressing and trying to do too much. Vegas/Toronto: LD% - 23.4/6.7, IFFB% - 4.2/30.0, BABIP - .381/.103.

That being said, he  needs more time in Vegas, if only to work on his defence which is clearly not major league ready. But I'd much rather have him ready for call up if needed than some failed veteran.

greenfrog - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#244725) #
Good writeup, with very defensible grades.

I'm definitely not sold on Rasmus yet. He just looks messed up to me. While he's athletic and puts a good swing on a ball every so often, driving it for extra bases, more often than not he seems to hack indiscriminately. He's poor at hitting the ball the other way, and doesn't seem to control the strike zone very well. His defense has been inconsistent, and his comments to John Lott suggest that he may have some makeup issues as well (hard to tell a whole lot from a few brief quotes to the media, though). He still has time to sort himself out, but that seems unlikely to happen until he develops a consistent, effective approach (both physically and mentally).



Jonny German - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#244726) #
What do the Rasmus doubters think of his 2010 season? He was best offensive centre fielder in the majors. That was last year. At 23 years old. I think he's more likely than Lawrie to be very good next year.
Ryan Day - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#244729) #
Rasmus also seems to have difficulties getting along with coaches and/or taking advice; there was an interview in the Post recently about him and Farrell apparently being on different pages about what he should be working on. It's possible that his success in 2010 convinced him he doesn't need anyone's help.

He's certainly got talent, and I think his chances of bouncing back are strong. But he's been awful - really awful - with the Jays and might be a difficult personality, so you never know.
greenfrog - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#244730) #
I'm just commenting on how Rasmus looks to me. He definitely had a great 2010 season, and certainly could rebound. Heck, EE looked *awful* early on this year, but completely turned it around in the second half. Interestingly, one thing (to my untrained eye) that helped EE's turnaround has been his ability to drive the ball to right-centre. Rasmus, on the other hand, seems determined to pull everything on the outer half - danged if a slew of popups and rolled-over grounders is going to deter him. Someone should send him some video of Adrian Gonzalez gracefully driving pitch after pitch (with power) to left.
John Northey - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#244731) #
With Rasmus and coaching - I'd be hunting for a coach who is good who gets along with Rasmus (ie: someone he'd listen to). It won't be easy, but if you find someone who can work with him it would be worth paying him a couple hundred thousand a year to sit around and keep Rasmus at his best. Find out who his baseball heroes are/were and work with that.

Of course, I feel teams should try doing that with virtually all players on the ML roster as $100k each would be 'just' $2.5 million which is not that much in ML terms.

Mike Green - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#244732) #
For his 3 year career to date, Rasmus is at .252/.324/.435.  He turned 25 last month.  There have been questions about his personal qualities affecting his development path, but who knows how those will play out over the coming years with (hopefully) increasing maturity.  He obviously has talent and is young.  You think about  the development of very talented players like Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young and Travis Snider when considering how Rasmus might go. 

Personally, if asked to choose between Lawrie's and Rasmus' numbers in 2012, I'd take Lawrie without a hesitation. 

Gerry - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#244733) #

I think people are reading too much into that Rasmus article.  Rasmus is a shy, nervous type who seems to be lacking in self-confidence.  He was burned by some of the media in St Louis and probably doesn't want to share too much of himself publicly.  Rasmus may well know exactly what he needs to work on but didn't want to share that with John Lott.  From the story it's not that Lott said the coaches want you to work on X, is that right.  Lott asked an open-ended question and got a non response.  That could be interpreted at least two ways.

This is where our read of things from a distance fails, we don't know what is going on in a players head.  When we infer we are guessing.

bball12 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#244734) #

I thin it is pretty clear that Rasmus has the potential to be one of the most productive CF's in baseball for many years to come.

It remains to be seen if he will attain that level.

 

China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#244735) #

Gerry, the article by John Lott is very clear that Rasmus was asked specifically about Farrell's hitting advice, and Rasmus answered that he wasn't following that advice. Here is the relevant excerpt:   "Even after a reporter told him what Farrell had said, Rasmus insisted he was 'not working on anything.'"

Lott is normally a very straight-ahead reliable reporter who doesn't twist things or misquote people. This is what made it such an unusual and disconcerting interview.  Lott summed up the interview by using some unusual words to describe it, calling the interview "fraught with ambiguity and angst."  This suggests that Rasmus is a very difficult personality, evading questions and apparently ridden with angst or unhappiness about something.  It's really not a good sign for the future.  I would definitely interpret this as more than just shyness or nervousness.

Here's the full article, so that people can judge for themselves: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/09/22/rasmus-ready-to-start-fresh-in-2012/

BlueJayWay - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#244736) #

Rasmus had a very good year overall in 2010, but check out his monthly splits for that season.  Extremely hot and cold.

Anyway, yes, it is obvious Rasmus has a lot of talent in the glove and with the bat.  I'll bet on talent and always give another chance.  He will go into next year as the Jays CF and I am expecting a good year.  The good thing for the Jays is, he's not signed to a Crawford contract.

China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#244737) #
One more tiny quibble with Magpie's analysis: I think it's a bit unfair to describe DeWayne Wise's season as "epic fail." He was not acquired for his hitting. He was acquired strictly for his defence. The Jays have a lot of very young pitching prospects on their September roster, and -- after the injury to Rasmus -- they wanted a CF who could catch the ball. They didn't want someone like Loewen to be running around centre-field, failing to get to catchable balls, when the Jays are trying to assess the ability of their young pitching prospects. They didn't want centre-field to be a distraction to the young pitchers. So they acquired a guy with strong defensive skills for the few games in September when Rasmus was unavailable. Wise has done exactly what he was supposed to do: shore up the outfield defence and help the young pitchers. As a bonus, he's managed to hit 2 home runs in 30 at-bats, and (if you're determined to judge players by small sample sizes) his SLG of .400 is better than that of Rasmus, Hill, Snider etc. Not really an epic fail if he's judged by the criteria that led to his acquisition.
Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#244738) #
Wouldn't Rasmus seem more himself in bib overalls, with bare feet and a piece of straw sticking out his mouth? He's from the same tiny place in Alabama that Tim Hudson of the Braves came from - they had to go across the state line into the mighty metropolis of Columbus Georgia (roughly the size of St Catharines) just to get born. Hudson at least went to Auburn for a couple of years. Rasmus came out of high school into the world of professional ball. Maybe he's still adjusting. Maybe he's just naturally suspicious of all of the fast talking big city folk he has to cope with. Who knows.

But I can see why he might not have hit it off with Tony LaRussa.
Gerry - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#244739) #

Ok, I went back and read the article again and I stand corrected on that point.  But in the story Rasmus says he is eager for the season to end.  I think it has been a disappointing season for Rasmus and he just wants to put it behind him.  He likely understands what he is being told but he will work on it over the winter and into next season.

The above is a guess or inference, depending on which you prefer.  I still stand by main point, don't read too much into one interview with a player who is shy generally.

Dave Till - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#244740) #
I think I mentioned this in another thread - Job One for a manager is to earn the respect of his players and motivate them to play their best. That's the only really hard part of a manager's job - the other stuff isn't that hard to figure out. (For example: I'm no baseball expert, but I can usually figure out, just by watching TV, when it's time to change the pitcher.) Colby Rasmus is an exceptional talent - how many players can hit for power and play centre field well? His upside is to become the next Vernon Wells (the edition that was earning Gold Gloves and not being paid one squillion dollars). Figuring out how to get Rasmus from where he is to where he could be is what managers and coaches get paid all that money to do.
China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#244741) #

Gerry, I agree with your point that we shouldn't infer too much from one interview. Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe he just hates interviews in general and says stuff that he doesn't really mean.

However, I don't think the interview is totally meaningless. It does suggest that there are some issues with Rasmus that will be tricky for the Jays to decipher and fix. In addition to his apparent refusal to accept Farrell's hitting advice, he also sounded very strange when he said that he was "riding out" the season and wouldn't try to adjust his swing until the off-season. If he's serious about this, it suggests that he never wants to work on mechanical swing issues until the season is over -- which precludes any possibility of mid-season adjustments. You really don't want players who prefer to "ride out" a season, rather than trying to work on stuff. They should always be trying to improve, no matter what point in the season it is, no?

I agree that Rasmus is still very young and raw, and he has lots of time to figure it out, and his rookie season is grounds for huge optimism for his future. But at the same time, there are warning signs of potential dangers ahead, especially if the Jays don't manage to figure out his psychology.

Dewey - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#244742) #
Coupla comments.  Enjoyed the report thoroughly.  The are puzzlements mostly.

Magpie, you seem a bit bothered about cutting JPA some slack because heís a rookie, but not about cutting Farrell some slack because heís a rookie manager.  Right?
*
But I don't see how he can possibly hold off Travis d'Arnaud, who should be climbing all over his back by this time next year.

Why are you convinced of this?  (Iím not saying it might not be so;  but what if the díArnaud hype is just like the Snider hype?  Did JPA give you a hard time once?  You do seem to have it in for him a bit.)

*
Escobar's injury-proneness reminds me of Vince Carter, in his lying-motionless-on-the-court-look-at-me-Iím-badly-injured mode.  And yet, sometimes he is injured.  Different people do have different levels of pain tolerance, and different needs about making that known, it seems.

*
 
Kyle Drabek E
Never looked remotely like a pitcher to me, which is shocking to anyone who remembers his father.


Agree entirely.  In fact, I think Drabekís name is a curse (and the ever-present comparison, explicit or implicit,  to his father).  I have no confidence that Drabek will ever be a valued member of a Jays rotation.



Chuck - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#244744) #

Wouldn't Rasmus seem more himself in bib overalls, with bare feet and a piece of straw sticking out his mouth?

I wonder if his home has a cement pond.

katman - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#244746) #
I, too, think the Wise grade is wrong. He did what he was brought here to do. Within his role (defensive outfield replacement), I'd give him a B. By definition, of course, those within this role can't be higher than C or even C-, relative to guys like, say, Granderson. Which makes their average rating what? A D-?

I'd consider narrowing the frame to their roles, and grading accordingly, as a split system for non regulars. So, DeWayne Wise, B (in role)/D+ (acknowledges "fringe major leaguer").
92-93 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#244747) #
In the middle of June last year, Colby Rasmus was having an incredible season. He was right up there with the NL OPS leaders. On June 15th he was hitting .298/.401/.596. He hit a respectable .261/.332/.431 the rest of the way, .265/.351/.435 after the All Star Break. 2010 was a massive success for him. Even in 2011 he was hitting .246/.332/.420 before he was traded to the Jays; nothing amazing but a solid line from a decent defensive CF and a definite upgrade over what we saw at the position this year. I don't put much stock into his end of 2011 #s with the Jays, and it wouldn't surprise me to see AA try and secure some team-friendly options for Rasmus' FA years by guaranteeing him a 2012-2014 contract, his 3 arbitration years.
Mylegacy - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#244749) #
Old guys - like me, remember The Three Supremes - led by the uber-talented Diana Ross.

This year the Jays introduced us to The Magnificent Seven - five rookies and two old(ish) crocks.

All seven are going to be a HUGE part of our "Future of Continual Contention". Romero showed he's a rock. Clearly, an Ace (or co-Ace) on any mans contender. The other (old) crock who will be a rock is McGowan. Finally, healthy (fingers crossed) he combined with Romero and Baby Cheeks Alvarez to give us a CONTENDER QUALITY one-two-three going forward. I'm convinced these guys are "it." Add to the pitching picture the starter converted to reliever Carreno and  we see another serious piece of our future. Not only him - but what it portends for our long list of good starters who will not be able to cut it as starters in the show.

Position player wise, we've a rookie catcher who has over 20 homers and for a rookie he's been (to my bloodshot eyes) better than adequate. For a rookie starter at catcher -  more than we've a right to expect. IF this kid can hit .265 - with his power - he'll be a top five catcher. If d'Arnaud wasn't on the horizon, we'd be deliriously happy with a guy who'll peak out at close to 40 dingers. Throw in Lawrie and Thames and we've two more birds of hope - with interesting upside.

The years only horror stories have been the perplexing trials of Morrow and Drabek. To me the two of them seem like brothers. Both of them have electric stuff - Morrow's stuff is great but too up in the zone - Drabek's stuff is otherworldly - but obviously physics works quite differently on his home planet - he has no idea when these wonderfully thrown missile's are going. BOTH - of these guys are possible stars or busts - Morrow is closer to stardom being half a bubble out of plumb (as my carpenter friend would say) while Drabek, alas - is much closer to the doors of Hades than the gates of the Rogers Center. BOTH will be fascinating to watch next year.

The REAL story of the 2011 Jays has been - the nothing short of spectacular - development of the minor league system. I've NEVER seen the like of our sytem down there. It is good beyond words - even for an old wordsmith like myself - the language just doesn't provide the adjectives necessary to do AA's Babies credit. I'll settle for WOW!



TamRa - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#244750) #
here's the problem I see with the various reactions to the Rasmus article:

they all assume that Farrell's coments must be taken at full value.

How many times this season has Farrell told up bluntly "we're not doing that" and three days later they do it - or whatever?
Farrell saying "we're working on some things" is boiler-plate manager-speak cliche. It might well be true, but it will be SAID whether it's true or not.

also, in the most legalistic sense, EVERY player is "working on some things" EVERY day - it's the nature of the beast.


China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#244752) #

Farrell didn't just vaguely comment that "we're working on some things." He was awfully specific about exactly what Rasmus needs to do. From the article: "John Farrell said the Jays want Rasmus to stop trying to pull the ball on every swing. He needs to use the whole field and refine the timing of his leg kick, which serves as the trigger for his swing, Farrell said."

This is more than just boilerplate, this is a detailed analysis of the flaws that are damaging Rasmus's hitting this year. You'd think that a 25-year-old player would want to try out the advice, instead of talking vaguely about how maybe he'll do some work in the off-season, if he doesn't get too tired....

greenfrog - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#244753) #
From today's Fangraphs chat with Dan Szymborski:

Comment From Guest: Dustin McGowan has made a few starts and if the jays keep him as a starter, what kind of production should one expect?

Dan Szymborski: League-averagish, low innings.
TamRa - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#244757) #
those are observations, likely in consultation with team coaches and scouts, and there's likely a similar report on Lind, Thames, Snider, Esco, and others. In fact, it's pretty much the same sort of thing a decent sports writer could get out of any team's scouts about their own players or the opposition.

that doesn't necessarily mean they have him out there (particularly given the nature of his injury) doing hours of extra BP to try to fix it in September. it could just as easily be an agenda for ST.

Giving an analysis of what needs doing is not necessarily a decleration that they are drilling him on it NOW.


92-93 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#244758) #
I agree that a lot can be read into the Lott article. If you've been reading him consistently you know he tends not to imbue his stories with such a clear opinion. China Fan, I came across this blog entry the other day that pertains to what you're talking about. A Very Different Colby Rasmus Coming In 2011
ogator - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#244759) #

Does Rasmus want to stay in Toronto?  Well, I doubt he reads Battersbox but some of the comments about him are damned close to racist or classist or ruralist or some ist that I can't quite put my finger on.  The comments poke fun at Rasmus for who he is or where he comes from.  The comments aren't intended to throw light on his swing or his defence or his work ethic.  Some of the comments intend to make people laugh at Rasmus as if he is the butt of some condescending joke.  It's funny how a flurry of internet comments can swell into a cloud of civic disenchantment.  I don't know if he will be a good player next year or not, but I'd hate to see him want out of town because he perceives that people from the big city think that somehow they are better than he is because city people are more sophisticated.  I haven't seen enough of him to know about him as a player but I think people need to cut him a little more slack before they start posting public comments intended to ridicule him as a person.

 

 

greenfrog - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#244760) #
Wow, it's not surprising that Rasmus wants a break from more meddling with his approach. It sounds as though the Cards wanted him to completely overhaul his approach (even body type) for 2011.

But I don't really see that Rasmus has to choose between being an all-fields slap hitter (a la Brett Gardner) or a dead pull hitter with power. Why not work on driving the ball to all fields with authority? He seems athletic enough to pull it off (no pun intended).
China fan - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#244761) #

That's a frightening article, 92-93.  The Cardinals had the best-hitting centre-fielder in the majors, with a .859 OPS and 23 homers in 2010, and their absurd plan was to radically transform him into a slap-and-run hitter.  Even Rasmus didn't believe in it:  "He was joking yesterday that it was gonna be a learning experience this year....  He is working the abs but nothing else in the weight room. Gonna try to be a Brett Gardner slap it and run."

It does help to explain why Rasmus might be cynical about adjustments.  But you'd also think that he'd want to abandon the "slap-and-run" thing as quickly as possible, rather than waiting for the off-season.

Mike Green - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#244763) #
A reverse Edmonds.
Mike Green - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#244764) #
but he left his bat in Oakland

I would have rather if he left his heart in San Francisco...
Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#244766) #
Jays want Rasmus to stop trying to pull the ball on every swing.

That's interesting, because Rasmus' father once said exactly the same thing about Colby. I'll try to find the link - he was talking about the difference between his two boys. The other had just been drafted, and Rasmus senior said he uses the whole field and Colby tries to pull everything.
hypobole - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#244767) #

 I haven't seen enough of him to know about him as a player but I think people need to cut him a little more slack before they start posting public comments intended to ridicule him as a person.

There is NO need to ridicule him because of where he grew up.

Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#244769) #
NO need to ridicule him because of where he grew up.

Oh, agreed. And it's not just where he grew up. It's where he chooses to live, with his wife and child. Which suggests to me that Rasmus isn't someone who was so impressed by the big cities he's had to go to work in that he wants to stay there. He prefers his little town, and I would assume that he's more comfortable there. Which is fine.

I think this is on me - I made the bib overalls crack, because... well, I hear his voice, and I look at his face, and I hear the banjo music from Deliverance. Of course it's dumb. We make judgements about these people based on the most trivial things. How he carries himself during the game. The way he talks to a reporter. The expression on his face. (A lot of fans in other cities simply despise Jose Bautista, and I know it's because they see his game face and the way he barks at the umpires, and they see someone who looks angry all the time.) It's part of the ongoing attempt to make sense of these people, to understand them in some way, and especially when they're new to us it's an attempt that we're always going to be building on the most silly and trivial things.
Flex - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#244771) #
I believe I just heard Paul Beeston on the Fan590 say that the Jays were going to aim to be "special" next year. He said people were "tired of 'next year' and 'next two years'" and that it was time to do something.

I'm paraphrasing from memory, but I think that's fairly significant.
greenfrog - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#244773) #
"well, I hear his voice, and I look at his face, and I..."

I believe this is how O-Dog got into trouble with Ricciardi, back in the day.
Jonny German - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#244774) #
You can hear Beeston talking to McCown here:

http://www.fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20110926_172910_5356

Nothing I'd take very seriously.
grjas - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#244775) #
After all the comments in the last few threads on the Rasmus interview, it was beginning to sound like Colby was Alex Rios in a straw hat and a corn cob pipe. Having read the article, it's not that bad.

 "Iím just going out there and hitting. Trying not to think too much. Thatís where I got in trouble in the beginning....Iím just ready for next season to come ó ready for this off-season, clear my head, come back next year, start with this team and then I think Iíll do good.... Everybody always tries to put these expectations on me. I donít say anything, I just go out there and play the game.Ē

Can't say that's cause for panic.


Flex - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#244776) #
I listened to the interview again. I admit ó "I think we're all tired of waiting for 'next two years,' 'next three years.' We've gotta be something next year" ó is no guarantee of definitive action. But at least he's acknowledging the apparent frustration amongst the fandom.

I also think, given it's the last year of his 3-year extension, he'd probably like to go out on a high.

Mylegacy - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#244777) #
Firstly, between his father and the Cards and now the Jays - I feel for Colby. Clearly, if they tried to get him to lose weight, don't do weights and become a slap hitter - they are nuts. If I was the kid I wouldn't listen to anyone but my inner muse - all this does seem to help us understand where he is coming from.

Secondly, Colby may well be the third best CFer in the organization. I strongly suspect Gose will leave him in the dust figuratively and literally very soon. IF Gose can't - Marisnick will.

Rasmus is just holding CF until Gose is ready - at that point the question will be who do you want for our LFer - Rasmus, Thames, Snider, Sierra, or other.
bball12 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#244778) #
Mylegacy - youre optimism is admirable.

I really like both Gose and Marisnick too.

Howevere - Gose has yet to hit above .262 in his 3 full years of pro ball - with a 2.5x to 3x K to BB ratio

And Marisnick has yet to experience AA ball - a whole different ballgame at AA level.

I would bet on both to make it - but not necessarily as soon as some might think.




Dave Till - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#244779) #
I'd much rather have Colby Rasmus out there than Rajai Davis or Corey Patterson. He covers enough ground in center.

As for the issue of Colby and his native Southland: my concern is that he might find Toronto's climate less than wonderful. April in Toronto requires a certain inner strength and tolerance at times, even for those of us who grew up here - especially on those days on which ankle-deep icy water has accumulated at every street corner. Rasmus might take one look at this and demand to be traded somewhere warm.
bball12 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#244781) #
Dave - I dont think Rajai is all that bad actually.

As for Patterson - I rather leave the spot empty if that was the only alternative.

Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#244784) #
I rather leave the spot empty if [Patterson] was the only alternative.

Well, there's going to be a lot of balls falling in the gaps...

I'm still wrapping my mind around the appalling fact that Corey was the team's best centre fielder this season. I'm pretty sure that means this was the worst performance by Blue Jays centre fielders ever. Bosetti was better than this. Moseby, at the beginning before he learned how to hit, was better than this. The only year that can compare is Year One, when Gary Woods played CF for 57 games and was actually worse than this year's guys. (But Bob Bailor got 46 games in CF, and he was pretty good that year.)

What's Corey doing in St.Louis? He does two things: he's a pinch-hitter and a defensive replacement. I kid you not. By now you're thinking: a) the National League is weird, and b) the Cardinals are a contender? But someone's got to bat for the pitcher, and someone needs to replace Berkman in RF after his last at bat. That's Corey's job.
bball12 - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#244785) #
Magpie
I think it was mentioned in an earlier post

Patterson - Davis - Rasmus - McCoy  - they must have constituted about 98% of the games played in CF.

Yikes!

I think next year you see Rasmus and Davis holding down CF - and doing much better - (not that it would be that hard to do given this years slopfest)





Thomas - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#244786) #
But someone's got to bat for the pitcher, and someone needs to replace Berkman in RF after his last at bat. That's Corey's job.

Well, he's not doing a very good job at it, as he's putting up a .438 OPS over 51 at-bats, which includes a .173 OBP and four doubles. What's truly surprising about Patterson is that he's logged more innings for the Cardinals in CF than in RF (44 to 43).

As for the other two players, Rzepczynski has a 3.92 ERA over 20.2 innings. He's struck out 26 and walked 9, but unfortunately has taken 3 losses in 27 appearances, including two in September. Octavio Dotel has been the big success, with a 3.18 ERA over 22.2 innings. He's also appeared in 27 games, but has struck out 30 and walked only 5 with a WHIP well below 1.00. He's 3-2 with two saves.

TamRa - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#244787) #
That's a frightening article, 92-93.  The Cardinals had the best-hitting centre-fielder in the majors, with a .859 OPS and 23 homers in 2010, and their absurd plan was to radically transform him into a slap-and-run hitter.  Even Rasmus didn't believe in it:  "He was joking yesterday that it was gonna be a learning experience this year....  He is working the abs but nothing else in the weight room. Gonna try to be a Brett Gardner slap it and run."

Indeed. kinda reminds me of how another organization felt about a certain young batting champ about 15,16, years ago.....

This actually makes me MORE optimistic that he will rebound nicely next year
Magpie - Monday, September 26 2011 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#244790) #
how another organization felt about a certain young batting champ about 15,16, years ago....

Who do you mean? Obviously not Olerud, whose story is the exact opposite.
TamRa - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 12:57 AM EDT (#244793) #
it's not the details of what KIND of change I'm refering to - it's taking a guy who'd proven himself darn good doing it one way and asking him to do something different, and getting down on him when it didn't fly
Magpie - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 03:05 AM EDT (#244797) #
it's taking a guy who'd proven himself darn good doing it one way

He wasn't doing that well anymore. Olerud's slugging pct had fallen all the way to .404 because he was getting eaten up pitchers busting him inside. He needed to learn to pull those pitches.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#244805) #
As for the issue of Colby and his native Southland: my concern is that he might find Toronto's climate less than wonderful. April in Toronto requires a certain inner strength and tolerance at times, even for those of us who grew up here - especially on those days on which ankle-deep icy water has accumulated at every street corner. Rasmus might take one look at this and demand to be traded somewhere warm.

Maybe, but this is a potential issue with most players.  A huge percentage of US-born players are from southern California.  Then of course you have the Cubans, Dominicans, etc.  Nobody seems all that concerned with this generally, so why worry over Rasmus?
DaveB - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#244873) #
The Cardinals tried for years to take some of the air out of Rasmus' batted ball profile, starting with hitting coach Hal McRae from at least 2008 when Rasmus first went to big league camp as a non-roster invitee. They wanted then, if not even earlier, to turn their fly ball-hitting pull-hitter into more of a line drive, ground ball hitter. That attempt and Colby's subsequent assignment to AAA marked the start of Tony Rasmus' public feud with LaRussa. Tony Rasmus' comments about the Cardinals wanting in 2011 to turn Colby into a "Brett Gardner slap hitter" are a product of his vivid imagination.
bball12 - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#244886) #
Dave - I agree with you on that.

I dont think any manager (especially someone like LaRussa who is a prolific winner) - would try to make Rasmus into a "slap hitter"

That just seems silly to me.



bball12 - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#244888) #
To add to that - being a slap hitter that produces would be alot better than the garbage Rasmus put up this year.

Silly comments always have a way of coming back to you.

Spifficus - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#244890) #

especially someone like LaRussa who is a prolific winner

He's also a drunk driver. Aren't those warriors awesome? (Yeah... I'm just not a huge LaRussa guy... in part because he was caught passed out behind the wheel at an intersection.)

To add to that - being a slap hitter that produces would be alot better than the garbage Rasmus put up this year.

... with the Jays... and really mostly after injuring his wrist trying to make two plays in the field to show off his inner warrior (a still bad .632 OPS before, but a horrific .326 after).

bball12 - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#244891) #
Spifficus - wow - hardcore.

Loving the warrior thing eh?







Jonny German - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#244892) #
Silly comments always have a way of coming back to you.
Spifficus - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#244893) #
Heh. I disagree with its virtue (warriorism can be as much a detriment as a blessing), but that doesn't mean I can't be amused by it.
bball12 - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#244894) #
LOL - That was good Johnny
I will gladly accept the vitriol and ridicule for having a warriors spirit. Especially when it is delivered in such a witty manner.
To me - that is way better than passively accepting mediocrity and blaming everyone but yourself for lack of performance.

And Spiff - I agree with you - maybe we can get LaRussa a life sentence for this horrible crime  - and abolish his life record of achievement.
Sounds rational to me.

Rough season huh guys?










Spifficus - Tuesday, September 27 2011 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#244896) #
I dunno. I've seen a lot in this season to like; there's been a lot of talent added and a lot of progress made. There have been some setbacks, too, but that's true of every year. Overall, it's been a step in the right direction.
bball12 - Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 05:36 AM EDT (#244901) #
Spiff - all sarcasm aside - I feel the same way

From AA's excellent trades - to Bautista (again)  - to the rapid emergence of Lawrie - the explosion of talent in the minor leagues - Esco - Romero - and some potential future surprises like Thames - there is alot of good momentum to build on and alot to look forward to.

One blockbuster position player trade and a hard push (and a little luck) for mound talent - and many may be very surprised next year.

My advice for AA would be to remain hyper aggressive on the trade front - stay away from retreads no matter what pain you may incur - lower the hype level a tad - and build more balance into the offense.

Do that - and we could be watching Blue Jay playoff baseball around this time next year.










 

China fan - Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#244902) #
It's rather incredible that the 2nd-best pitcher on the Jays staff is a 21-year-old kid who started the season in A-ball. If the Jays can get similar breakthroughs from Hutchison and Molina at some point next season, they won't need to spend anything on Darvish or anyone else. Morrow becomes the 5th starter, Cecil and McGowan go to the bullpen -- problems all solved!
bpoz - Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#244908) #
bball12, I find your comments valuable. If you do not mind, and with deep respect I would like to express some observations I have made regarding you.

IMO you are passionate. You may not remember this, but a long time ago the Jays lost a game to Baltimore. No TVs or Computers were in danger because the game was radio only. A Baltimore pitcher named Tippy Martinez picked off 3 base runners off 1st base at a crucial time in the game.

I believe you have very high standards. This because you criticize play & effort that is below your personal standard. We see the same things on the TV but our reactions vary, which is completely understandable. The way you describe what you saw is honest and the reactions of Bauxites is also honest and I see no problem with that, especially since I feel it is in decently good taste. They are passionate too.

You said I believe that you have seen New Hampshire play for many years and of course you have seen the Jays play for many years. I really appreciate your opinion on our AA hitting prospects and realize that that opinion has high standards. I guess if a guy has a flaw that AA pitchers exploit, then the ML pitchers may exploit it worse. When your words take some shine of our valuable prospects...well we don't like it. But we like you.

You had to have enjoyed the NH team this year. I hope so and congratulations to the team & their fans. I always like to hear your player evaluations, and since it is development, we may witness success in weak areas over a few months of the season, that you alerted us to.
bball12 - Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#244912) #

bpoz - that is really very kind of you to say - and I sincerely appreciate that.

I have grown up with the game - including family - my entire life.

I love this game and always will. You are right - I am very passionate about it and try to express what I feel.

Sometimes its harsh - but I always try to be objective.

You may have also noticed that I am much softer in my assessment when it comes to guys in the minor leagues. They are still young and learning - and I think they deserve that type of treatment.

I love(d) watching them in Auburn and New Hampshire and Dunedin and Vegas.

As for guys in the big time - that is different. I prefer direct and to the point. Its a business as well as a sport.

More important than any of that stuff - I read every post here - and even if I dont agree - I find myself frequently learning new things from the posters on this site.

Very intelligent contributors - no nonsense - and good senses of humor. It is pretty unique amongst baseball sites and I believe also very well controlled. 

This site is a gem in my opinion - and I love coming here and reading, thinking and learning. Very thought provoking on just about every topic.

I think we all have a heck of alot to look forward to this off season and next year.

Thanks again for your kind words and Go Jays!!! -  (and please pray that the Yankees and Red Sox get annihiliated)

 

 

 

bpoz - Wednesday, September 28 2011 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#244942) #
bball12 in 1991 I lived in an apartment building right beside Maple Leaf Gardens called the Maples. I went out to Young St, just around the corner and joined the celebrations when we clinched.

In 1992 when Alomar hit a Hr against "Ech", I watched it with my family, that was a great game. The 1992 & 1993 championship winning games, I watched alone in another Toronto apartment, my wife is not a fan but she bought me a WS 1992 championship sweatshirt. My point is that I believe sharing a championship with others is a great experience.

So I hope you got that with the Fisher Cats.
Mike Green - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#245024) #
There is something unfair about assigning letter grades to players, managers and general managers, but not to owners.  How about a remedy?

Rogers- D-, there was no indication of significant meddling in Anthopoulos' decision-making which spares them an F, but on the key point, willingness to do what it takes to win, the signs have been ominous.  Going into 2012, I'd feel a lot better about a club that had Aaron Hill as a second baseman than one that had Rogers as an owner. 

I'd up Anthopoulos' grade to a B+ on the basis that failure to win with a payroll of $61 million in the AL East only means that he has not yet matched Andrew Friedman.  That still gets you a B+ in my book.

bball12 - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#245025) #

Mike - I think B+ is a bit much

A for trades - no question about that one. (Just getting rid of Wells gives him an A for the year. I still dont know how the heck he was able to pull it off)

C for handling of the team - noone is perfect - but he made a few too many trips to the retread well and it was ugly.

He also didnt handle some of the youngsters well.

Averages out to a B from my perspective

 

 

MatO - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#245031) #

A for trades - no question about that one. (Just getting rid of Wells gives him an A for the year. I still dont know how the heck he was able to pull it off)

For that Angels GM Tony Reagins deserves a Blue Jay A, since he apparently instigated the deal after failing to sign Carl Crawford who is ironically the new "Vernon Wells".  Imagine that.  Your main target in the off-season is Carl Crawford with Vernon Wells as your backup plan.

Mike Green - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#245032) #
MatO, it is unseemly for middle-aged men to chase the Easy A.  :)
bpoz - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#245045) #
bball12... a "C" for retreads. Maybe you are being generous. Maybe not.

I want to say something positive about using retreads.
My list of factors below.

1) Most were ML players. We all know their names without too much disagreement. So there was a chance they could have produced better.
2) J Rivera was forced on him. When the time came he dumped him and paid some of his salary to LAD. He could have DFA'd him but there may have been some reason why not.
3) While not ML retreads Nix & Reyes were given a decent opportunity to produce.
4) Tallet, T Miller & W Ledezma were ruthlessly DFA'd IMO.

I am sure that to a lot of people AA was buying time until some youngsters developed up to AA's development standards to get their shot, IMO. Some did do just that.

So IMO the retreads were treated reasonably well. And letting them go was CLEAN with no side effects, PR & $ wise.

It is too bad that TB got in with only 91 wins. He had to keep J Rivera for a while IMO. I do not know if there was a better way to handle 3B, given that IMO J Bautista was not going to play there. AA did spend big on the pen IMO, so that was a positive.

Other than Tallet, T Miller & W Ledezma all were treated quite well IMO. I hope I have not forgotten anyone.
IMO those 3 LH relievers may have been OK but they would have taken Innings from B Mills, R Lewis and L Perez. Mills & Perez were starters, so I am wrong about that. OK I don't know what AA's reason was.

My take on his end of season statements is that he will not use any more Retreads. Except maybe M Teahen, but he could be DFA'd or given to someone. I am not sure but giving an established, well paid ML player like M Teahen so few ABs (like he is getting now) could be bad PR and may also cause club house friction.


John Northey - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#245060) #
If I owned the Angels I'd be seriously questioning my choice as GM. To have Crawford (who flopped) as your #1 choice and Wells (who flopped) as your backup choice you just look very, very bad.

The Angels had 7 of 9 regulars with a 100+ OPS+ plus super-sub Izturis (2B/3B/SS with a 104 OPS+ over 494 PA). The two who didn't reach it REALLY didn't - Wells (83 $63 mil over next 3 years) and Mathis (37 but no cash committed beyond 2011). Easy spots to improve on one would think (LF/CA).

In truth, looking over the Angels it looks like the GM just had that one BIG blind spot. So if he tries to sign a 30+ year old OF again the owner should just say NO and they'll be OK.
John Northey - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#245064) #
Should add in that Mathis had a 37 OPS+ in 2010 as well. Consistent. 200+ PA for 4 years running (195 the 5th year). Lifetime 50 OPS+. He makes John McDonald look like a hitter - his worst is a 41, lifetime 59.
Paul D - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#245067) #

John, I believe that Mike Napoli's "Mathis Number", the number of at bats he'd have to go hitless to have the same OPS as Mathis, was 416 this year.

vw_fan17 - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#245087) #
The Angels had 7 of 9 regulars with a 100+ OPS+ plus super-sub Izturis (2B/3B/SS with a 104 OPS+ over 494 PA). The two who didn't reach it REALLY didn't - Wells (83 $63 mil over next 3 years) and Mathis (37 but no cash committed beyond 2011). Easy spots to improve on one would think (LF/CA).

In hindsight, keeping Rivera and Napoli and letting Napoli play C, defense be damned, may have been enough to get the Angels into the playoffs this year.. Rivera outhit Wells (701 OPS to 660) and Napoli, well, he crushed what Mathis was able to do... Heck, in the 60 games he played at C, Napoli hit BETTER than Bautista: 364/449/643 - 1.142 OPS.. Overall, in 369 PA, 1046 OPS. If his defense was THAT atrocious, I doubt the Rangers would have let him play 60 games..


Magpie - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#245149) #
Not that it would ever have happened, but Crawford in Anaheim and Wells in Boston would probably have worked out much better for both teams. As it was, both players ended up in home parks where they'd never hit very well, and kept right on not hitting there. (Wells is also much better suited to playing LF in Fenway than Crawford.)
John Northey - Friday, September 30 2011 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#245159) #
Interesting to check Wells road vs home split
sOPS+: home-52, road-108
If he hit as well at home as on the road Wells wouldn't have been great, but would've been useful.
VS LHP: 123 sOPS+
vs RHP: 61 sOPS+

He only played 11 games in CF and had a sOPS+ of 26 (!) when he lead off an inning it was 36 over 143 PA.

Ick. I think Wells would like to forget 2011 ever happened.

Crawford? 97 sOPS+ in Boston, 88 elsewhere. Don't think Anaheim would've helped.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, October 01 2011 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#245166) #
If I owned the Angels I'd be seriously questioning my choice as GM.

Heh.  It seems the Wells trade is what got him fired.
Magpie - Saturday, October 01 2011 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#245174) #
Don't think Anaheim would've helped.

You're right - it's one of the parks where Crawford's hit worse than he has at Fenway. (Wells has been even worse at Anaheim, but better than Crawford at Fenway.)

Strangely, the AL road park that both players like best? Safeco in Seattle. Two quite different hitters, but they both like the same pitcher's park. Think that might have anything to do with the Mariners' pitchers over the years?
uglyone - Sunday, October 02 2011 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#245196) #
I don't get the Corey Patterson grade (or hate).

This is a guy who we picked up on a minor league contract and wasn't even expected to make the team (with Davis and Podsednik ahead of him), and he turned into a valuable above-average CF AND LF for us as pretty much a fulltime starter.
uglyone - Sunday, October 02 2011 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#245197) #
Secondly, Colby may well be the third best CFer in the organization. I strongly suspect Gose will leave him in the dust figuratively and literally very soon. IF Gose can't - Marisnick will.

Age 20

  • C.Rasmus (AA): 128gms, 18/21sb, 12.6bb%, 19.4k%, .300babip, .275avg, .381obp, .551slg, .932ops, .414woba, 152wRC+
  • A.Gose (AA): 137gms, 70/85sb, 10.6bb%, 26.2k%, .332babip, .253avg, .349obp, .415slg, .763ops, .364woba, 124wRC+
  • J.Marisnick (A): 118gms, 37/45sb, 8.2bb%, 17.4k%, .371babip, .320avg, .392obp, .500slg, .892ops, .413woba, 160wRC+


  • I like Gose and Marisnick, but Rasmus was a studly stud prospect, much better than those two, and followed it up with being the best offensive CF in MLB at age 23. Rasmus is a much, much better bet than those two, and it's not really close.
    Magpie - Sunday, October 02 2011 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#245199) #
    he turned into a valuable above-average CF AND LF

    No he didn't.
    Mike Green - Sunday, October 02 2011 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#245201) #
    Uglyone, that is not quite an objective account of Rasmus vs. Gose. Rasmus was indeed the better prospect as of age 20, but Gose is (if reports are accurate) a much better defender and also has developed into an effective base thief. Rasmus' major league career to date taken as a whole has not lived up to the promise of his age 20 season in double A ball. He is young enough that he may yet do so.
    DaveB - Sunday, October 02 2011 @ 11:29 PM EDT (#245203) #
    It's also not quite an objective account of Rasmus vs. Marisnick because of a misleading age-level designation. Rasmus turned 20 in August of his first full season (2006). In 78gp at Quad Cities (before being promoted) he hit .310/.373./.512, 11HR, stole 17/22 bases, had 8.5% BB, 16.1% K. Marisnick turned 20 on March 30th of his first full season. In 118gp at Lansing he hit .320/.392/.496, 14HR, stole 37/45 bases, had 8.2% BB, 17.4% K.

    At four and a half months older than Rasmus, in the same league, with almost exactly the same prior pro experience (62 games for Rasmus, 69 for Marisnick), Marisnick was a nearly identical hitter, a more willing and efficient base-stealer, and a better defender in CF.
    uglyone - Monday, October 03 2011 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#245204) #
    Whoa whoa, rasmus was ALWAYS graded an excellent defensive cf as a prospect, i daresay better than marisnick.

    Let's not rewrite history...rasmus was a superelite prospect, with a full 5 plus tools. ranked #5 by ba after that 20yr old season, and #3 the following year.

    and if being the best offensive cf in baseball at age 23 is him "not living up to expectations", then i think that tells us everything we need to know about his prospect status anyways.
    TamRa - Monday, October 03 2011 @ 01:21 AM EDT (#245205) #
    and if being the best offensive cf in baseball at age 23 is him "not living up to expectations", then...

    ...then expectations are irrationally too high. IMO.

    I'm with ugly on this whole discussion except that I harbor the illusion that Marisnick is at least in the same neighborhood (potential wise) as Rasmus (albeit not as highly praised at this point)

    If you infer from that that I like Jake's potential much more than I like Gose's potential - you'd be correct.

    In my ideal situation, from 2015 onward our outfield is Snider-Rasmus-Marisnick (and Bautista is the DH for as long as he stay here and effective)  I Like Gose fine, but I have as much hope that Crouse hit's his ceiling as I do for Gose.

    hypobole - Monday, October 03 2011 @ 01:45 AM EDT (#245206) #

    Rasmus' major league career to date taken as a whole has not lived up to the promise of his age 20 season in double A ball.

    I'm with Mike on this one. Rasmus has an OPS+ of 103 after 3 seasons in the majors with last years excellent,132 sandwiched between 89's . His career to date as a whole has not lived up to the promise he showed in 2007. Not saying he didn't have a great 2010, not saying it won't in the future, but it hasn't so far.

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