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I was just about to post a thread exactly like this myself, as I've had the MLB Network on in th background all day. but I see in another thread that valued Bauxite JustinD has already beaten me to it. Over to you,. Justin ...

"Don't know where else to post this, but thought this might spark some baseball talk. Been watching the MLB Network and they're doing a Top 10 Right Now segment where they break down the Top 10 at each position. So far, from what I've seen ...

  • #1 Top Now RF Jose Bautista
  • #3 Top Now SS Yunel Escobar
  • #6 Top Now 3B Bret Lawrie

Kelly Johnson did not make the top 10 list at 2B and was not even a just missed the cut, but Aaron Hill was, which I didn't agree with. I'll take Johnson over Hill any day. Larry Bowa also didn't list Escobar at all on his top 10 SS, which he attributed to the Braves not wanting him at all and not being able to play for Bobby Cox.

Haven't seen top 10 1B, DH, CF, LF or C. Figured Rasmus and Arencibia could conceivably crack the top 10 on those lists, but that's about it."

bauxites? Your thoughts? 

"Justin" Time ... Some Real Baseball Talk! | 33 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
92-93 - Sunday, February 26 2012 @ 06:58 PM EST (#252280) #
Those seem like very fair rankings. Tulowitzki & Reyes are the clear SS leaders, but behind them there's a few guys you could argue are #3 now that Hanley has moved off the position - Escobar, Alexei Ramirez, Elvis Andrus, etc. It depends how much you value defense and trust the advanced metrics.

At 3B it's reasonable to say you'd rather have Longoria, Beltre, Zimmerman, ARod, Youkilis, Sandoval, and Wright over Lawrie for this season, obviously without considering contract details.

Leaving KJ out when there's 9 guys in Utley, Kinsler, Zobrist, Phillips, Uggla, Cano, Pedroia, Weeks, and Kendrick for sure ahead of him is fine by me.

Arencibia & Rasmus need to earn their way onto such a list, and Encarnacion would clearly be a top 10 DH.
Kelekin - Sunday, February 26 2012 @ 09:55 PM EST (#252285) #
Top 10 DH seems like a silly list.  You're more likely to be in the Top 10 DH than not.
JustinD - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 12:56 AM EST (#252290) #
They did DH by team, so Toronto came in 8th. I'm not sure I disagree with the result, but the method they used to get there I found off. Joe Sheehan said that Encarnacion would be the primary DH, but that Travis Snider was our best bet at the position. In what universe is Thames or Encarnacion a better LFer than Snider? It's one thing if he said with Gose in the wings, Rasmus will move to LF and Snider if the best DH going forward. But they just thought that Snider should be the starting DH this year right now, as was the theme of the program.

And after they year Johnson had last year, I don't think it was wrong for him to be left off the top 10 list at all. I just found it odd they listed Hill as a just missed the list over him, especially since Johnson is 1 year removed from a great year and Hill is 2 years past his. I can see both of them having bounce back years this year though. From Johnson as that just sort of seems like what he does, one year good, one year bad. A Vernon Wells of the 2B world if you will. And Hill could benefit from that getting out of the AL East, but come to think of it, those staffs he's going to face out west are pretty good.

ColiverPhD - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 08:08 AM EST (#252292) #
Fresh starts this season both by Johnson and by Hill will be true indicators.  I am looking forward to compare and to contrast their statistics at the end of the season (or even on a month-by-month basis).
ColiverPhD - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 08:11 AM EST (#252293) #

Very quick Jesus Figueroa returning as the Blue Jays batting practice pitcher this season?  He has been with the Jays since the Exhibition Stadium days.

He is not on the website this season...

Ryan Day - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 11:11 AM EST (#252296) #
John Lott said last week that Figueroa was having visa issues and was going to be a late arrival to camp, so I assume he's still got the same job. (as long as he eventually gets his visa sorted out, that is)
ColiverPhD - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 12:30 PM EST (#252298) #

Thank you for the update, Ryan.  This has happened to Figueroa before.  A couple years ago, he was delayed because he had a tourist visa and it had to be changed to a working visa.  It is good that he is returning.  He plays an understated but a valuable role.

Figueroa has been with the Blue Jays since 1989...the only uniformed member left from the Exhibition Stadium days.  Now that is a survivor!  Just think of the number of managers he has worked under...from Jimy One-M to the present!

The few times that he has been mentioned in the Toronto newspapers he has been referred to as a "former major league leage pitcher".  He was an outfielder in the show for one season (1980) for the Cubs, mostly as a defensive replacement.  He ended his career as an outfielder for Knoxville in 1983.

For some reason, his profile is never in the official media guide...he is the mystery man for the Blue Jays but he is always the bullpen, pitching batting practice, hitting fungos, catching the occasional pitcher in the bullpen as a lefty, enjoying both World Series parades, and jumping out of the dugout in Boston to congratulate Junior Felix on his inside-the-park grand slam in 1989.

Mike Green - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 02:27 PM EST (#252301) #
Adam Lind  gives the scoop on the state of his back.  The headline "Lind has Bautista's back" makes me want to respond "give it back, Jose's a better hitter". 

The money quote from the article is that some days Lind's back still bothers him.  I would feel so much better about this year if Lind was sharing the DH role with Encarnacion.  That way, if his back was bothering him on any particular day, he could gracefully tell Farrell and rest it.  We already know how Lind performs when his back is hurting. 
Beyonder - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 02:39 PM EST (#252302) #

Baseball America just posted a list of players who missed out on its top 100, but who received votes on their 8 judge's individual Top 150 Lists.  The six Blue Jays listed are: Drew Hutchison (5 votes out of 8 possible votes, highest rank of 84), Deck McGuire (5 votes, high of 105), Justin Nicolino (8 votes, high of 83), Aaron Sanchez (6 votes, high of 87), Noah Syndergaard (6, 90), Asher Wojciechowski (1, 136).

Add to this the four players (D'Arnaud, Marisnick, Gose, and Norris) who made the Top 100 list. 

92-93 - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 04:03 PM EST (#252307) #
So not only has Adam Lind sucked the last 2 years, he still isn't healthy and might never be again. But hey, who cares, we got Ben Francisco to DH I.C.E.
uglyone - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 08:59 PM EST (#252313) #
Last 2 years wRC+ for 2B, min. 700pa (33 2B qualify - i.e. generally speaking all the starting 2B or borderline starting 2B of the last 2 years):

1) R.Cano: 137
2) D.Pedroia: 133
3) R.Weeks: 128
4) I.Kinsler: 124
5) C.Utley: 124
6) D.Uggla: 122
7) B.Zobrist: 117
8) K.Johnson: 111
9) B.Phillips: 110
10) N.Walker: 109
24) B.DeWitt: 90
25) S.Schumaker: 87
26) M.Ellis: 87
27) A.Kennedy: 79
28) C.Barmes: 79
29) A.Hill: 78
30) G.Beckham: 77
31) R.Theriot: 77
32) C.Figgins: 71
33) O.Cabrera: 66

33 second basemen also had 1000pa over the last 3 years, here's how they rank:

1) C.Utley: 133
2) R.Cano: 132
3) B.Zobrist: 128
4) R.Weeks: 127
5) D.Pedroia: 124
6) D.Uggla: 119
7) I.Kinsler: 119
8) B.Phillips: 107
9) H.Kendrick: 107
10) M.Prado: 107
11) N.Walker: 106
12) K.Johnson: 106
23) A.Hill: 92
24) P.Polanco: 91
25) C.Figgins: 90
26) A.Kennedy: 90
27) M.Ellis: 86
28) D.Eckstein: 86
29) G.Beckham: 86
30) R.Theriot: 80
31) J.Lopez: 78
32) C.Barmes: 78
33) C.Getz: 73

32 second basemen had at least 400pa last season, here's how they rank:

1) D.Pedroia: 134
2) R.Cano: 133
3) B.Zobrist: 131
4) I.Kinsler: 128
5) R.Weeks: 127
6) H.Kendrick: 120
7) B.Phillips: 119
8) C.Utley: 116
9) J.Weeks: 110
10) D.Uggla: 109
18) K.Johnson: 93
23) J.Keppinger: 85
24) R.Theriot: 84
25) A.Miles: 82
26) D.Barney: 79
27) A.Hill: 79
28) A.Kennedy: 74
29) G.Beckham: 71
30) M.Ellis: 70
31) C.Getz: 70
32) O.Cabrera: 56

Johnson's borderline top-10, but couple that borderline status with an awful year last year and there's no reason to include him in there right now.

Aaron Hill is a bottom-10 second baseman, arguably bottom-5.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 11:10 PM EST (#252315) #
If you have a back problem, you will always have a back problem.   Athletes are no different than the rest of us. 
ayjackson - Monday, February 27 2012 @ 11:23 PM EST (#252316) #
I had back troubles in my mid-20's.  Haven't had a trace of them in the ensuing 15 years.
TamRa - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 12:45 AM EST (#252318) #
"So not only has Adam Lind sucked the last 2 years, he still isn't healthy and might never be again. But hey, who cares, we got Ben Francisco to DH I.C.E."

don't be too very shocked if, on days when EE plays 1B and Lind rests, it's not Davis who makes it into the starting lineup (assuming the opposing pitcher is a lefty)

BalzacChieftain - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 09:48 AM EST (#252325) #
You would think that the last thing you would want to tell the media at the start of Spring Training is that your back still bothers you when that was the admitted cause of poor performance the season prior. "Hey guys, I sucked last year because my back hurt. Day 1 back at camp, and my back still hurts. Get ready for another bad season."
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 09:51 AM EST (#252326) #
Another reason to get better turf/natural grass in Toronto. Who knows how much it is contributing to injuries (obvious or hidden) among Jays players?
Anders - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 12:28 PM EST (#252330) #
don't be too very shocked if, on days when EE plays 1B and Lind rests, it's not Davis who makes it into the starting lineup (assuming the opposing pitcher is a lefty)

At some point, most likely next year, it becomes logical to move Bautista to first and Rasmus to RF with Gose playing CF, so hopefully this isn't a long term problem. For all the value Bautista has with his arm, his range isn't great, and he will be 33 in 2013.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 02:17 PM EST (#252334) #
As I have said before, I think that it's logical to do this in 2012 with Snider and Thames both being given a shot in the corner OF slots (provided Snider is healthy in spring training).  Of the three players (Snider, Thames and Lind), I think that the first two are more likely to be valuable players for a pennant-winning club at some point, and as Anders alludes to, Bautista's natural long-term position is first base.
Sister - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 02:29 PM EST (#252336) #
Per Rotoworld, Litsch has shoulder inflammation:

"Jesse Litsch has been shut down for the next seven days due to inflammation in his shoulder.

Litsch paid a visit to Dr. James Andrews on Monday and was recommended rest. If the situation doesn't improve after seven days off, the Jays will examine the issue further. "

The injuries are already mounting days into Spring Training. That bullpen depth looks like it will help already.

greenfrog - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 03:03 PM EST (#252339) #
One bullpen sleeper (maybe for later in 2012) is 25-year-old Evan Crawford, who had a nice year at AA in 2011, including 10.9 K/9 IP (walks still a bit high at 3.7/9 IP). He could be a useful power arm if injuries lead to an opening. Nice to have Carreno and Crawford around as depth options.
ayjackson - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 06:22 PM EST (#252348) #
Bautista might have the agility and dexterity to make a good first baseman, but at 5'11", he doesn't have the size and reach you'd like to see there.  Ideally, his position move would be to DH, but I don't think I'd want to suggest that to Jose for the next 3 years.
hypobole - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 06:28 PM EST (#252349) #
There are only 5 lefties on the Jays 40 man. Starters Romero and Cecil, relievers Oliver, Perez and Crawford. If either Oliver or Perez are injured or implode, Crawford could be invaluable.
Thomas - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 06:31 PM EST (#252350) #
If you think Toronto's injuries are discouraging, Scott Sizemore, Oakland's projected starting 3B, tore his ACL during the team's first full workout and will miss the entire season.

That's about as discouraging as it can be. You have to feel for him.

Chuck - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 06:41 PM EST (#252351) #
Joel Zumaya is also toast for the season. It seems unlikely that the promise he showed as a 21-year old fireballer, 6 years ago, will ever be realized.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 06:47 PM EST (#252352) #

Bautista might have the agility and dexterity to make a good first baseman, but at 5'11", he doesn't have the size and reach you'd like to see there.

According to BBREF, Steve Garvey was only 5'10", Keith Hernandez 6'0", Don Mattingly 6'0"...

Sure, you'd love Bautista to be half a foot taller, but I don't think his height disqualifies him for the position. Subjectively, it seems to me that the majority of poor infield throws are low rather than high, making scooping a more important skill than reaching.

hypobole - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 08:54 PM EST (#252357) #
Extra height doesn't just help reaching up for bad throws, it also allows the 1st baseman to stretch out and catch all throws a split second earlier than a shorter player would.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 28 2012 @ 09:19 PM EST (#252358) #
What Bautista might concede with his height he might more than take back with his arm, starting 3-6-3's, fielding bunts, taking cutoff throws, etc.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 09:29 AM EST (#252364) #
ZiPS has Bautista projected as an average defensive first baseman.  I am pretty sure Bautista would be considerably better defensively than Adam Lind at first, and that Snider would be better defensively than Bautista in right (at this point in their careers). 
John Northey - Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 09:51 AM EST (#252365) #
Interesting at Baseball Prospectus - - they list both Rasmus and Alvarez as breakout candidates. They only list 14 so to have two of them on the Jays is quite the achievement.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 01:43 PM EST (#252374) #
It seems a bit strange to consider Rasmus a breakout candidate, since you could say he broke out in 2010 with an excellent season. Expecting him to bounce back to that level is reasonable, but more than that seems overly optimistic - that'd make him an All-Star, if not an MVP candidate.
TamRa - Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 08:02 PM EST (#252386) #
Not that I'm predicting it - but look at what everyone thought of Jacoby Ellsbury one year ago today.

that's the thing about tools v. stats v. scouting (i.e. mechanics and such)

If a guy is well regarded as being a very talented guy, that's 1/3 of the battle. If the scouts think the guy is in the right place to succeed, then that's 2/3 and it kind of trumps last year's stats.

But suffice to say that no one thought last February that Ellsbury would be an MVP candidate. Even if you lay aside the things that hampered him in 2010, the two years previous to that were just average-to-slightly-above for CF.

I think we have a tendency to beat up on guys too much for a bad year in the last previous year when we know the talent is there.

Another comparison I like to make: Brandon Morrow and James Shields. One year ago he was a guy with a career ERA+ of 102 and ERA of 4.25 - plus he was coming off his worst year of his career despite being healthy enough lead the league in hits allowed.

NO ONE (except maybe the equivalent of myself among Rays fans) would have looked at him and confidently predicted the season he had in 2011.

As far as I know, he's never gotten the praise that Morrow has for his sheer talent. I think Morrow can take just that kind of leap without too much wishcasting.

I'm sure there are other potential examples.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 09:16 PM EST (#252389) #
I'm not sure Shields is a great comp for Morrow. After a passable rookie season in 2006, Shields had three solid years as a SP for the Rays (at least 215 IP/year, ERA+ of 117, 124, 105, BB/9IP of 1.5, 1.7, 2.1). In his a down year in 2010, he still exceeded 200 IP and his K rate jumped from 6.8 K/9 IP to 8.3 K/9 IP while his control remained more or less constant. So Shields actually showed a lot in terms of durability and performance prior to 2010. A pessimist might have thought that Shields was done after 2010, but an optimist might have seen the potential for a solid year in 2011 based on his 2007-2009 seasons.

I like Morrow quite a bit, but to date he's been a different type of pitcher: a power arm with tantalizing potential (showing flashes of dominance) but with significantly worse control (4.5 BB/9 IP career, albeit with an improving trend over the last three years). His innings are going up, but it remains to be seen whether he can match Shields in terms of control and durability/health.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 10:23 PM EST (#252390) #
Colby Rasmus joins a legion of players who were rushed to the Majors too soon (at 22 he should repeat AAA, for at least half the year).   If you consider, 2011 as his worst season, he could be like his 2009 season or his 2010 season, better than both or an Ellsbury-like breakout year.   To dis him because he's human is ridiculous and in bad taste. 
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