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The Jays predictably lost the two tough games against the Rays to lose their series. The Royals have lost seven straight, and six at home, to sit at 3-9. So, hey Jays fans, it could be worse.

It's the weekend, so let's get down to business with a quick advance scout.

It's a four game set, the Jays only visit to KC for the year.

Friday: Kyle Drabek v. Luke Hochevar

Last year's ERA of 4.68 was the best line of Luke Hochevar's four full big league seasons, which has to be a disappointment for 2006's #1 overall pick. He was better in the second half of 2011, but has not fared well in his first two starts of 2012, albeit with some bad luck. He got shellacked by Cleveland in his last start, exiting after a Carlos Santana liner struck his ankle and ended up being the final out of the fourth; of course by this point he had given up 7 runs. Kyle Drabek was actually taken 17 spots after Hochevar in the 2006 draft, and at this point, without hometown bias, I think it's clear who possesses more potential upside. Hochevar blazes a fastball in there at 93 MPH, which he augments with a cutter, slider, curve and change, which he throws in roughly that order according to PITCHf/x. The slider is easily his best pitch, and is probably one of the best sliders in the game. Rajai Davis is 3/11, Joey Bats 2/9 with a homer, Adam Lind 3/11.

Saturday: Drew Hutchison v. Luis Mendoza

Let's face it, all any Jays fans care about in this one is Hutchison, who is scheduled to make his big league debut. Hutchison signed in the 15th round of the 2009 draft for $400,000, about 3rd round money. As you must know at this point, he's basically been lights out, and possesses an about average velocity fastball that he spots extremely well. He's only 21, and it's unclear what the Jays plans for him are beyond this start - he doesn't profile as an ace, but could be an above average major league pitcher. Our own Marc Hulet has this take at Fangraphs:

"The right-hander has above-average control for his age and he mixes his pitches well. Hutchison can reach 93-94 mph with his four-seam fastball but he tends to work with a two-seamer in the 89-91 mph range with good movement. His second best pitch is a changeup and itís a potential strikeout pitch. The third weapon is a slider, which remains inconsistent."

His opposite number is Luis Mendoza, who is 29 and has a FIP of 5.5 in 100 or so major league innings, barely striking out more than he walks. Look at the chart. He's given up 10 runs (6 earned) in 9.2 innings with a 3/8 K/BB ratio. He throws a fastball/curve/change, with the fastball dialing up to 92.

Sunday: Ricky Romero v. Danny Duffy

I actually like Danny Duffy a bit - he's a hard throwing 23 year-old lefty that needs to come to grips with commanding his pitches better. He had a pretty rough go of it last year, and while he doesn't project as ace material, he has enough raw talent to get a bunch of shots. An A's blog did a much better job profiling him than I am prepared to do at this juncture/ever.

Monday: Brandon Morrow v. Bruce Chen

Morrow and Chen are kind of opposites - hard/soft stuff, young(ish)/old(ish), righty/lefty - but wouldn't you know it, Chen has been the more successful of the two over the last couple of years, basically putting up 150 innings of solid, slightly better than league average stuff in each season. Chen doesn't overpower - his fastball reaches 86 on a good day, but he's had success with his 81 MPH slider, which he throws in addition to a curve and change. Somehow no current Jays has more than 5 ABs against him.


Expect to see something along these lines:

Alex Gordon LF
Chris Getz/Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Frenchy RF
Mike Moustakas 3B
Brayan Pena/Humberto Quinero C
Mitch Maier CF
Alcides Escobar SS

Maier handles CF while Lorenzo Cain is on the DL... Yes, you saw that correct, Alcides Escobar and Yuniesky Betancourt, who COMBINED for a .561 OBP last year, sometimes both play in the Royals lineup. Jeff Francouer but up a .329 OBP last year, his best mark in four years, or the joke would be even better. The highly rated Mike Moustakas hasn't really produced in the bigs yet - he hit .263/.309/.367 last year in 365 PA, while Pena and Quinero both have career OBPs below .300, so basically the Royals regularly run out a major league lineup that features maybe five players whose true-talent OBP (if such a thing really exists) is around or below .300. Good luck with that guys.

Infirmary: Lorenzo Cain CF (groin), 15-day DL, Felipe Paulino SP (forearm), 15-day DL, Joakim Soria CL (UCL), out for season. Everyone but the Mexicutioner is expected back relatively soon.

Song to Advance Scout By: In celebration of getting to face the Royals, Bounce by MSTKRFT (featuring N.O.R.E and ISIS). The video is suggestive/schlocky but is also a music video. And they are Canadian!

Chart: Get your 2012 numbers here! Sample size caveats apply/blow the bloody doors off. Hutch's numbers are from AA.

Advance Scout: Royals, April 20-23 | 94 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#254810) #
Adam Lind has faced Bruce Chen 3 times and is 0-3 with 2 strikeouts.  However, their last names both have four letters and Monday is April 2(strikeouts)3(at-bats), so a Lind lefty breakout is a foregone conclusion. 
smcs - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#254812) #
If Adam Lind is in the lineup on Sunday to face Danny Duffy, I'll eat my hat.
uglyone - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#254814) #
you need to keep starting Lind, and keep him in the heart of the lineup, because if you dare make him doubt that he's a fulltime starter he might not hit as awesomely.
Mike Green - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#254815) #
Luis Mendoza's career ERA (in 108 innings) is a very lucky 7.21.  Is 7.00 the other Mendoza line?  He did have a nice half-season in Omaha last year, which is, I guess, how he got the spot in the Royal rotation in 2012.
greenfrog - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#254816) #
I think pitchers should have their own line. Some possibilities:

- 6.00: the Jo-Jo line (Jo-Jo Reyes / career ERA 6.05)

- 5.75: the Burres line (Brian Burres / 5.75)

- 5.00: the Towers line (Josh Towers / 4.95)

- 50.00: the Melancon line (Mark Melancon / 2012 ERA of 49.50)
sam - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#254821) #
We're a month and change away from the draft and that means we're about two-three weeks away from the draft being on every baseball fans mind, then quickly departing before making a strong return on July 13, 2012 at 4:59pm. So the Jays have lots of picks in the first couple rounds and one of the higher bonus pools to draw on so we'll be sure to see at least a few new prospects to the organization. A couple sites have already mocked the draft. Check them out.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that come up when you type mock draft mlb into google.

Unlike past years there's probably not the star power in the first pick that we've seen in the past. Mark Appel, Brian Buxton, and Lucas Giolito appear to be the front runners. All come with some question marks. Appel has grade A stuff, but doesn't strike people out and has racked up some serious pitch counts. Buxton is a five tool HS OF. He looks the real deal with Keith Law giving him two 80 grades for his arm and speed with potential future power. But HS outfielders are a difficult bunch to project and if his bat is the main question in his game that's a little scary for no. 1. Giolito is currently not pitching due to an elbow injury. Apparently it's a strain and doesn't need surgery, but it is worrying. There's a catcher out of Florida who apparently is the real deal as well, but perhaps not no. 1 calibre.

The draft is particularly deep in toolsy HS outfielders/infielders. I don't know if all of them grade out as first round talents, but it will be interesting to follow a lot of these guys considering the new signing rules. In the past most of them might have been drafted in the supplementary-5th round and signed for first round money, but that's not going to happen this year.

There doesn't appear to be any consensus on who the Jays might draft with their first round picks. I would hope the Jays continue to pursue high end pitching prospects and stay away from some of the "safe" college players. With that being said, there are a few wild cards in the draft that have slipped for various reasons that could appeal to the Jays.

1. Lucas Giolito RHP HS Cal.

Giolito is the top HS arm in the draft and one of the better ones in past years. I'll spare people the scouting report. I don't know if I see this happening. He's a top talent and one expects that he gets drafted quite high despite the injury fears. If he doesn't go high, I expect he'll go to college and barring serious injury will have a shot at no. 1 when he comes out in his junior year. One option though, if he does fall is the Jays select him and spend the money they would spend on the two first round picks on him.

2. Victor Roache OF/Georgia Uni.

An elite college bat who prior to hurting his wrist was being discussed as high as no. 2 or 3 in the draft. He might be a guy to watch out for and would likely sign in chosen in the first round.

3. Lance McCullers RHP HS Fla.

Was projected to be in the discussion at no. 1 last year, however, questions of effort level in his delivery, control, and lack of tertiary offering have pushed him way down pseudo-scout draft boards. The fastball-slider combination is apparently incredibly dynamic (perfect game had him at 100mph last August) and the Jays have been know to draft guys who have been on the "radar" for a while but since fallen. He might also be a guy you target with one of the first rounders and trust the development team to teach him how to pitch.

4. Matt Smoral LHP HS Ohio

Is big LH HS pitcher with pretty dynamic stuff. Recently hurt his foot and could fall.

5. Marcus Stromen RHP Duke Uni.

Small guy, but top end stuff that many feel has him destined to the bullpen. Flash Gordon seems to get thrown around a lot when talking about Stromen.
Richard S.S. - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#254823) #

I like the fact that Drew Hutchison is the first of the "Young Guns" to get called up.   We need to see what these kids are made of before any trades are made.   Before McGowan returns in late, late May to very early June, Hutch could get as many as 8 Starts.   After pitching 149.1 innings in 2011, and only 16.2 IP this year, he should be good for another 162.0 - 164.0 innings up here, if needed (approximately 23 starts of 7.0 IP).  

If our pitchers can limit the HRs they give up a lot more than they do now, we would be doing better.   If someone, who's supposed to be managing the bullpen better, can keep track of who needs to pitch more often, we would be doing better.   If Bautista can figure out his problem (study/compare his stroke) before it becomes a lost season for him, we will win a lot of games.   Right now, everyone is trying to do too much because no one else is really doing anything, and that's got to change.

ayjackson - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#254824) #
Great job by Drabek inducing the inning ending triple play.
sam - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#254825) #
Drabek of old starting to rear its ugly head.
sam - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#254826) #
Anyone else picking up on how the Jays are not letting Arencibia call the games?
Mike Green - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#254827) #
A 1-1 pitchout with Drabek having difficulty throwing strikes and Hosmer at first?  The cost seems higher than the benefit.
sam - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#254828) #
I agree Mike Green. I don't think they send Hosmer anyway with Drabek's control problems. the likelihood of a walk there is quite high.
StephenT - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#254830) #
Ages as of July 1, 2012, youngest to oldest:

21: DHutchison, AGose
22: HAlvarez, BLawrie
23: AHechavarria, Td'Arnaud
24: TSnider, KDrabek
25: JCarreno, DCooper, EThames, ECrawford, CRasmus, BCecil
26: JPArencibia
27: ALaffey, LPerez, RRomero, BMorrow
28: CVillanueva, ALind, SSantos
29: JMathis, EEncarnacion, YEscobar
30: DMcGowan, KJohnson, BFrancisco, CJanssen
31: MMcCoy, JBautista, RDavis
34: JFrasor
37: FCordero
41: DOliver
45: OVizquel

(I just put this together for my own interest and thought I would share.  It's based on looking up the birthdates.  Sorry if I've made any errors.)
BlueJayWay - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#254831) #
Ugh.  6 walks for Drabek in 5.1?  Against the Royals?  I hope this isn't going to rear its ugly head again.
smcs - Friday, April 20 2012 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#254832) #
John Farrell's in-game management continues to be...less than stellar. Not pinch-hitting for Adam Lind with the bases loaded and a lefty brought in to face Lind is just bad. Especially when compounded with pinch-hitting for Thames two batters later when its 2nd and 3rd with 2 out.
Jonny German - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#254836) #
Especially when compounded with pinch-hitting for Thames two batters later when its 2nd and 3rd with 2 out.

And yet a further head scratcher is that pinch hitter being Mathis, a guy with a career OPS+ of 52.

Again we are left to ask, Why is Ben Francisco on this team?
robertdudek - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:34 AM EDT (#254837) #
Chen doesn't overpower - his fastball reaches 86 on a good day, but he's had success with his 81 MPH slider, which he throws in addition to a curve and change. Somehow no current Jays has more than 5 ABs against him.

In his last start, Chen fastball sat between 86 and 89 and topped out at 91 (according to Gameday pitch-by-pitch).
92-93 - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:55 AM EDT (#254838) #

In his last start, Chen fastball sat between 86 and 89 and topped out at 91 (according to Gameday pitch-by-pitch).

And according to Rex Hudler, he chews his gum with confidence.

TheBunk - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:00 AM EDT (#254839) #
Two years on and that 2010 first round looks pretty underwhelming, at least in terms of who was available for the Jays to pick. There's a few guys who(so far) have turned out better than Deck who would have made better picks but it wasn't anything egregious considering the lack of talent available.
TheBunk - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:04 AM EDT (#254840) #
whoops, wrong post to reply to.
scottt - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 06:11 AM EDT (#254842) #
Mathis hitting for Thames is purely a defensive move so that Davis can go to LF since JPA is already out at this point.

Does Francisco play 1B?

Paul D - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#254843) #
Mathis hitting for Thames is purely a defensive move so that Davis can go to LF since JPA is already out at this point.

This doesn't make any sense to me.  If you want to make the move for defensive purposes... make that when your team is playing defence. 
Chuck - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#254844) #
Farrell seemed to be more inclined to evaluate Mathis based on his 10-odd PAs as a Blue Jay rather than his 1300-odd as an Angel. If Francisco does not bat in that instance (with Matthis coming in for defense after the fact), and with Lind seemingly no longer limited to a platoon role (though he should be), then I echo the oft asked question: just what exactly is Francisco doing on this team?

Oh, and if there is a more moribund team than the Royals, I need to see them (I concede that the Astros and Pirates probably answer my question). Yes, I know, The Process, The Process, The Process, first round pick, first round pick, first round pick.... Lots of dreck to wade through between Hosmer and Gordon at-bats.
Chuck - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#254845) #
And Billy Butler. He's a perfectly cromulent DH.
Anders - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#254848) #
In his last start, Chen fastball sat between 86 and 89 and topped out at 91 (according to Gameday pitch-by-pitch).

This may be the case. I usually look at PITCHf/x data from Fangraphs, where for the last three years his fastball has gone 86.2/85.8/86.2

greenfrog - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#254850) #
Perhaps Chen went to see Bartolo Colon's doctor in the off-season.
See-Hech-In-July - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#254852) #
I hate the Tampa Rays because they always expose the Jays of how far back they really are to winning the divison.

Farrel to me seems his biggest weakness is managing pitchers on the mound, which is odd considering his background.

AA knows that Lind has tanked and is trying to get any kind of value out of him before they have to swallow the 12 million. The failure of Lind this year is basically making the Jays a .500 team at best this year. Can't have that little production from your 1B.

If Bautista keeps the dramatics on every time he gets a bad call, the umps are going to stick it to him more for showing them up.

AA has tough decisions in the next couple of weeks that will make or break the season. Only good thing is that their is no Jayson Nix on the roster this year.
Thomas - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#254853) #
A couple of weeks ago there was a small discussion in one of the Snider v. Thames v. Others threads about whether there was a place for both Snider and Thames on the roster and the issue came up of how much a GM provides direction for his manager in the deployment of the 25-man roster on the field.

While I can't imagine that Anthopolous would let Farrell sit Lawrie for seven days straight, for example, I can't imagine this is how he envisioned Francisco would be utilized when he acquired him and gave him a spot on the team.
greenfrog - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#254855) #
I didn't catch last night's game, but why in tarnation would Mathis ever be pinch-hitting for anyone? He's, like, the worst hitter in baseball. That's like inserting Bengie Molina to pinch-run.
christaylor - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#254856) #
Thames ought to be gifted another week at most. No power, little glove, all round unimpressive. It is getting clearer that the offense isn't quite what many of us thought it would be. If is hasn't been said around these parts yet, it needs to be -- free Travis Snider. Spell him with Davis against tough lefties. Thames just is not good enough to play LF. He's Shannon Stewart the second time around.

Let Lunchbox show what he can do - for all the messing around the org has done, he deserves the ABs. Thames has not. Give Thames the road trip, but I have had enough of this...
Anders - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#254857) #
I didn't catch last night's game, but why in tarnation would Mathis ever be pinch-hitting for anyone? He's, like, the worst hitter in baseball. That's like inserting Bengie Molina to pinch-run.

Well this is what happened - Rajai Davis pinch ran for JP Arencibia, so Mathis was coming in for defense the next inning regardless. The Jays bat around a bit, Eric Thames' spot in the lineup comes up. There's a lefthander, Jose Mijares on the mound (who already faced Lind, who's worse than Thames against lefties), so rather than let the lefthanded Thames bat, they bring in Mathis, a righty, to hit fo him, since this way Mathis plays catcher and Davis goes to left.

I am not sure why they wouldn't have let Francisco hit for Thames and then brought in Mathis. I guess you could make the argument that the expected level of production difference between Mathis and Francisco was small enough, in a one at bat sample size, that it wasn't worth it to burn Francisco (they would have just brought Mathis in to replace Francisco after that at bat), and leave 1 guy on the bench. I am not sure I agree with that.

I do agree with the question of why bother having Francisco on the bench if you're not going to use him in obvious situations.

PeteMoss - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#254859) #
Why does Thames not deserve a proper chance? You are advocating the exact same screwing around with him and as they gave to Snider. Its been 13 games. Yanking a guy after 35 ABs is beyond ridiculous.
Jonny German - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#254860) #
Career vs left handed pitching
B Fran .262  .344  .428, 487 PA
Mathis .210  .275  .337, 413 PA
Thames .211  .250  .389,  96 PA
Lind   .221  .265  .346, 669 PA
Beyonder - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#254861) #
Thank you PeteMoss for saving me from typing that. I agree with that %100. Much more important than getting the Snider vs. Thames debate right is settling on a consistent approach to evaluating talent at the major league level. I complained bitterly when Travis was jerked around last year, and thought we should have stuck with him through his struggles in order to find out what he could do with a full audition. That ship has sailed though -- management has made its choice. Now I want to see them follow through on that choice by seeing what Thames can do with a substantial window of at bats. Give him 250 at bats, and if he's bombing at that point, then send him down. Otherwise you're just wasting precious audition time on the big club.
scottt - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#254862) #
Francisco does not play 1B, I suppose if he hits for Lind then Visquel takes 1B.  Didn't we see something like in one of those extra innings game?

Ideally, the 5th outfielder would  be a right handed bat that can play 1B as well as LF.

As long as Lind does not start against lefties, I don't really mind if he stays to face the bullpen lefties. Ideally Bautista would move to first and Francisco would play the field, but I just don't see that happening.

smcs - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#254863) #
I do agree with the question of why bother having Francisco on the bench if you're not going to use him in obvious situations.

I can just imagine AA sitting at home watching the game and thinking the exact same thing.
Mike Green - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#254865) #
Arencibia's at-bat in the eighth was encouraging. With Rasmus on 2nd, he swung at strikes and not at balls and on a 3-2 pitch in a good spot, he didn't try to do too much with it and lined it up the middle.  A nice piece of team-oriented hitting.  I felt that he earlier could have blocked the wild pitch quite easily if he had stayed down, but he has made some strides with this generally, and if he brings a discipline to both the defensive and offensive elements of his game, he will get plenty of love.

sam - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#254867) #
I think Mike Green is on to something here. At the end of the day, I don't think Arencibia will be evaluated on his stats. The position demands feel and dedication to the subtleties of the game. It is those little things that are truly valued and hard to quantify, but amount to wins at the end of the season. The ball that skips over your glove on consecutive occasions on a play at home, or balls that are block-able that get by you with runners in scoring position. Proper set up behind the plate and the calling of a game are things we take for granted, but if a catcher is found lacking than it adds up over the course of a season. It seems like the Jays are taking the game calling away from Arencibia is crucial situations. He often lunges at the ball too, dropping down to a knee to catch the ball. It's bad form and closes the body to being able to block a pitch. I don't actually see the defensive improvements people seem to be talking about.

His hitting is obviously an issue, but more than that if he's not going to control the strike zone than that's going to spell his time with the Jays.
robertdudek - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#254868) #
I beg to differ on the Royals being moribund. They are far from it. They definitely need a new manager and possibly a new GM. The Yuniesky fetishism is beyond maddening (one of the worst regulars in MLB when he was a regular - a horribly lackadaisical fielder), the decision to send down Giavotella was bad.

But this team has talent. Duffy has an electric arm and the bullpen is pretty good too. Salvador Perez is also an exciting talent and losing him for the first half of the year was a big blow.

sam - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#254869) #
By the way, if Hutchison wants to curry favour with his new teammates and management he should probably hit one of the Royals' better players tonight. Re: response for plunking Bautista last night.

That, or win the ball game.
92-93 - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#254874) #
"Why does Thames not deserve a proper chance?"

Because somebody with a much higher ceiling than him deserves the same chance and still hasn't gotten it yet.
92-93 - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#254875) #
"As long as Lind does not start against lefties, I don't really mind if he stays to face the bullpen lefties."

Lind has been fine against LH starters throughout his career. It's the lefty relievers who destroy him.
stevieboy22 - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#254878) #
"Because somebody with a much higher ceiling than him deserves the same chance and still hasn't gotten it yet."

Snider's had 800 major league at bats... Its not true to say he hasn't had a chance...

I'm not prepared to give up on Snider.. But I have no issue with giving Thames a shot...

Snider will get an opportunity this year at some point... There is a 95 percent chance that one of Lind/Thames/Encarnacion/Rasmus/Lawrie will either get sent down or have a reduced role due to not hitting OR one of them will get injured and the Jays need to make a callup...

I would gladly bet Snider will end up with at least 200 at bats before this season ends..
christaylor - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#254880) #
Thames is just a place holder. By all rights Snider should have had the job from day one and not had his last option burned.

As mentioned in the other comments, Snider's ceiling is much higher than Thames. Plus, Snider could hit like Thames is right now and still be a substantially better player, his defense is just that much better.

Thames is exactly the they of player a team jerks around and should jerk around - that'll be his career. I see empty batting average and not much else, at best... Snider has spent his month proving nothing because of AAs silly idea that Thames ought not to lose his job.

The cry of sample size doesn't work here... watch Thames hit, now that teams have bothered to prepare for him, he is being man-handled at the plate. Snider is younger and better, if the management has made a decision, this is bound to look worse in hindsight than dealing Napoli.
christaylor - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#254881) #
Q: whose wOBA is higher, Thames or JPA?

it is nearly May, in my mind the guy who never should have had the job has played himself out of the job. Give Snider a chance to do the same. He is wasting away in Las Vegasville...
Gerry - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#254882) #
Hutchison had an inconsistent start tonight. He showed flashes of his good command but in general his command deserted him after the first.

I think Hutchison deserves at least one more start but it could be he needs more work. He was inconsistent with his delivery tonight but that could be nerves as much as inexperience.

Some of the big damage against him tonight was by lefties and Hutchisons low fastball can be hit hard by lefties. He might need to develop his change a bit more to be effective against left handed hitters.
dan gordon - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#254883) #
Nice to see Rasmus hitting like he did back in 2010.  This is the guy AA figured he was getting in the trade.  If you look at Rasmus' stats year by year, and consider how young he was for the level he was playing throughout his pro career, he looked like a budding star until last year.  Bad years happen.  In 2010 he was one of the best all-around centre fielders in mlb at the age of 23/24.  I was amazed at the large number of people who considered him a bust at such a young age, after just 1 bad season.  I think he has a decent chance to be a star for a long time.  
BlueJayWay - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#254887) #
Santos to DL with shoulder inflammation.  Do not like that.
uglyone - Saturday, April 21 2012 @ 11:47 PM EDT (#254891) #
Thames has hit safely in all of his last 9 starts. That's 9 of 11 starts on the year.

a homer or two and his stats would look just fine. and you know the homers are coming.

weird how much hate he gets. Snider got over 200ab of this level of hitting last year before being sent down.
Jonny German - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#254892) #
I don't get the hate for Thames either, and particularly the sentiment that he doesn't have much upside. I cut him slack for being older than an ideal prospect, because of the injury issues in college and early in his pro career. I don't hear people slagging him for being injury-prone so maybe they're just unaware of that. This is not a guy who languished for years in the minors, he was a very good hitter whenever healthy.
sam - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 12:11 AM EDT (#254894) #
The Santos DL is a bad omen. I'm sure the Jays will downplay the seriousness of it, but I'd be very worried.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 12:14 AM EDT (#254895) #

Travis Snider's only full year he ever played was in Lansing 2007.   Since that year he's never played a full season anywhere else.   This year he gets his full year at Las Vegas.   He needs to be a consistent "monster" with the bat this year.   Decisions on him will be made this offseason.   I fully expect he's with the Team, full time, next season.   Eric Thames will get his full year with the Team, this season.   He needs to prove he's a bonafide Player.   Decisions on him will be made this offseason.

On another subject, Santos is on my fantasy team.   We draft 25 - 15 batters, 7 starters, 3 closers.   We replace only 5 at midseason and that's it.   I've been in this pool for 15 years and it's interesting enough to stay with it.  

92-93 - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 01:43 AM EDT (#254899) #
Thames was not "very good" in AA as a 23 year old. Here's some context:

Thames, 23, AA .288/.370/.526 121:50 K:BB (573PA)
d'Arnaud, 22, AA .311/.371/.542 100:33 K:BB (466PA)

Thames doesn't have much upside because he doesn't have any tools that grade out as above average, and he plays a position that is easily replaceable and from which you expect a higher degree of offense. He had a nice season at AA, but so did Moises Sierra & Michael McDade, and nobody is singing off the rooftops to give them an opportunity. If these guys forge out MLB careers you are happy to have them, but you don't go out of your way to find out what you have in the player in anticipation of something huge down the line.

And batting him 5th ahead of guys like Encarnacion, Lawrie, and Rasmus is just silly.
stevieboy22 - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 02:32 AM EDT (#254900) #
A few points on this:

- That was also Thames first full season of professional baseball.
- His statline is almost equal to D'Arnauds. Who is considered one of the top 25 position player prospects in baseball. Granted D'Arnaud plays a premium position.

Let's compare his statline to the other two players you mentioned.

Thames, 23, AA .288/.370/.526 121:50 K:BB
McDade, 22, AA .281/.321/.457 104:28 K:BB
Sierra, 23, AA .277/.342/.436 93:39 K:BB

Thames has an OPS around 100 points higher than both those guys... That's not to say the other two are slouches. All three of those players have a shot at being major league regulars....

"If these guys forge out MLB careers you are happy to have them, but you don't go out of your way to find out what you have in the player in anticipation of something huge down the line."

Thats what the jays are doing, they aren't going out of there way. And thats what Thames is trying to do right now, forge out a major league career. I think the plan all along was to have Snider in AAA for 2012. And it's probably in part why they tried to sign Beltran. But now they are going with Plan B, giving a guy a chance to "forge" out a career.

I don't hear anyone singing off the rooftops to give Thames a chance. The chatter is moreless giving an "okay" prospect a chance and seeing what he can do.
TamRa - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 03:59 AM EDT (#254901) #
I love Rasmus, I love Snider, and I love Thames I'd like to see all of them succeed. I was infatuated with Thames just from reading the reports about how his college career was derailed and the potential sleeper-ness of the pick.


I have no doubt, based on the opinion of professional baseball talent evaluators, that Thames ultimately is not in the same league with the other two in terms of ceiling. Things happen and he might yet end up with the best career but on projection, he has to be the lesser priority.

I have no problem with him getting a clean shot while the team reassures itself that snider has found his groove. Say 6-8 weeks at a minimum. But unless he's playing great baseball, including in the field, at some point in time the sword is hanging over his head.

To me, the average Thames year is going to be somewhere between what BJ Upton did last year and what Logan Morrison did last year, except with more of the OPS coming from BA, and obviously with worse defense. A good little useful hitter to have on your team but not a difference maker.

Not to say there isn't a certain potential to exceed expectations because I think he DOES have that working for him.

Snider, OTOH, I think still has the ability to hang around the neighborhood Michael Morse found himself in last year. And for several more years than I expect Morse to be there.

Ditto Rasmus, BTW. I don't think 2010 will be the best offensive year of his career at all.
CSHunt68 - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#254902) #
I don't think, at this point, Snider belongs in the same sentence as Rasmus.
bpoz - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#254910) #
I think AA is the boss & Farrell with his player development background probably makes a nice fit for a young team that is developing ML experience.

If Thames had a significant playing edge than Snider in 2011 then there is probably a policy or philosophy that he should not lose his job in Spring training.
I am not sure what Snider is supposed to learn at AAA but he has more BBs than Ks. Maybe he is/has learned something. I am just happy that his wrist injury or what ever ended his 2011 season seems to have healed.

IMO B Francisco & O Vizquel have some role that we have not yet figured out.
uglyone - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#254920) #
"Thames was not "very good" in AA as a 23 year old. Here's some context:

Thames, 23, AA .288/.370/.526 121:50 K:BB (573PA)
d'Arnaud, 22, AA .311/.371/.542 100:33 K:BB (466PA)"

That's some interesting context, sure, but you same to have made one strange ommission to that context.


T.D'Arnaud (22): 466pa, 33bb, 100k, .311/.371.542/.914
E.Thames (23): 573pa, 50bb, 121k, .288/.370/.526/.896
T.Snider (22): 85pa, 2bb, 21k, .296/.306/.543/.849
T.Snider (20): 423pa, 52bb, 116k, .262/.357/.461/.818

Not sure why we wouldn't add him to the "context".

And here's more context:


E.Thames (24-25): 438pa, 5.9bb%, 21.9k%, .313babip, .262/.314/.441/.755, .326woba, 103wRC+
T.Snider (20-23): 877pa, 7.5bb%, 26.9k%, .315babip, .248/.307/.423/.730, .318woba, 93wRC+
T.D'Arnaud (----): ---


E.Thames (24-24): 241pa, 9.5bb%, 17.0k%, .406babip, .352/.423/.610/1.033, .435woba, 150wRC+
T.Snider (20-24): 620pa, 10.7bb%, 18.4k%, ~.400babip, .346/.419/.578/.997, ~.435woba, ~150wRC+
T.D'Arnaud (23-23): 59pa, 11.9bb%, 16.9k%, .244babip, .212/.305/.227/.532, .289woba, 73wRC+


E.Thames (23-23): 573pa, 8.9bb%, 21.1k%, .327babip, .288/.370/.526/.896, .393woba, 142wRC+
T.Snider (20-22): 508pa, 10.6bb%, 27.0k%, .333babip, .269/.348/.476/.825, .367woba, 122wRC+
T.D'Arnaud (22-22): 466pa, 7.1bb%, 21.5k%, .365babip, .311/.371/.542/.916, .402woba, 150wRC+


E.Thames (22-22): 220pa, 9.5bb%, 18.2k%, .379babip, .313/.386/.487/.873, .396woba, 151wRC+
T.Snider (20-20): 66pa, 7.6bb%, 33.3k%, .371babip, .279/.333/.557/.890, .403woba, 151wRC+
T.D'Arnaud (21-21): 292pa, 6.8bb%, 21.6k%, .312babip, .259/.315/.411/.726, .332woba, 107wRC+

See, the thing here is that Thames has simply been as good or better than Snider at every level so far.

And yes, Snider was younger, but at the same time Snider didn't have most of his 20, 21, and 22 year old seasons wiped out due to career threatening injuries, like Thames did, so at least in terms of experience they were very even.

And of course, D'Arnaud has only had one season at their level, so he's a much iffier offensive projection.

Now let me be clear - what Snider is doing right now in Vegas is phenomenal, and he definitely deserves a callup sooner rather than later. He also provides good defensive value in LF while Thames is a pure DH through and through. I also agree that Snider has more upside than Thames.

But IMO Thames shouldn't be the issue here. He's a good prospect who clearly deserves a shot.

The guys in the crosshairs should be Lind and Francisco, not Thames.

In fact, I feel guilty because I keep hoping to hear that Lind's back is acting up and that he's in store for a lengthy DL stint, because that would clear up the mess in the best way possible.

EE to 1B, Thames to DH, Snider to LF.

As for which one of Lind or Francisco keeps the utility bench spot - I'm not even sure which one I prefer. Both have been similar quality hitters the past couple of years, but Francisco can actually hit both lefties and righties, while Lind can only hit righties, and francisco has a modicum of defensive value, while Lind does not.

So yeah, here I am hoping for a Lind injury, because it bugs the hell out of me that the only way people can root for one good prospect like Snider is to start hating on another good prospect like Thames.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#254924) #
It's says a lot about The Globe and Mail's baseball coverage that it misspelled Hutchison's name in today's headline ("Hutchinson makes winning MLB debut"). Sheesh. I've noticed a lot of crap copyediting lately in the G&M.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#254926) #
Of course, a rant about copy editing probably shouldn't include typos:)
electric carrot - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#254929) #
I'm a strong advocake for prof-reading.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#254930) #
Copy editing, prof-reading, fact-chequing...its all important.
TamRa - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#254933) #
"I don't think, at this point, Snider belongs in the same sentence as Rasmus."

A month ago - heck a week ago in many cases - a lot of Jays fans insisted that they did belong together, under the heading "busts"

mathesond - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#254934) #
A month ago - heck a week ago in many cases - a lot of Jays fans insisted that they did belong together, under the heading "busts"

Jays fans - what do they know, anyway?
Chuck - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#254935) #
Does anyone know if Bourgeois really goes through life calling himself Booshwa, or is this a Buck Martinez thing?
greenfrog - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#254936) #
Bourgeois, Francoeur, Boucher...why not just call them all Frenchy?
Chuck - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#254937) #
I remember when I heard the name Nap Lajoie spoken aloud after having often read about him as a kid. The pronunciation I heard was more than a little shocking because it was neither a poor French pronunciation (a la Booshwa) nor an obvious anglicization (a la Mark Belanger). It was pure invention.

Mike Green - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#254941) #
The home runs to Hosmer and Gordon surrendered by Hutchison didn't really bother me.  The pitches had some downward plane and weren't in a terrible location; it's just that Hosmer and Gordon are both very strong hitters.  What works in A+ ball will not work against some major league hitters; I am confident that Hutchison will learn the intricacies of major league pitching, but whether it will happen in 2012 is an open question. 

On another note, the time is coming soon when Farrell ought to say to Brett Lawrie that he is an essential part of the lineup and stick him in the 2, 3, 4 or 5 slot in the batting order and leave him there. 

scottt - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#254945) #
Where Lawrie hits shouldn't matter. For the time being the 2 best right handed bats are Bautista and EE. There's also  4 left handed bats in the lineup and they don't intend to bunch those.

Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 22 2012 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#254954) #

Morrow verses Chen with a three-game winning streak on the line, and you're all worrying about something that won't change before June.   After that we have three games at Batimore, returning home for three games verses Seattle, all games are winable.   Of all our losses, one was a result of poor offense (Carreno's start), and it's still not that much better.  Three were Blown Saves, one by Santos (12th inning win), and two (Oliver and Janssen) because he was on Paternity Leave and as such , not available, as he's not again.   And two were by Starters not performing well (both were hammered - 6 ER) - one named Morrow.  

Baltimore draws 50,135 fans in three games in Toronto (when in the week does not matter).   Toronto travels to winless (at home) Kansas City and draws 77,760 in three games.   Toronto fans should be shamed. 

mathesond - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#254956) #
You have shamed me, Richard. It was wrong of me to consider myself a fan when, instead paying money to see the Jays play the Orioles, I went home after my 11-12 hour days at the office and tended to my ill wife while watching the games on TV as entertainment. I can no longer call myself a Jays fan, I will switch my allegiances forthwith. Thank you for showing me where I went wrong.
John Northey - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#254957) #
Richard, when in the week matters a LOT when it comes to attendance. Weekend vs weekday is a major difference maker when it comes to crowds. Quality of opponent is also a major thing, although in this case (Toronto vs Baltimore as an opponent) it isn't as neither team is a big draw right now.

For comparison, Tampa had 77,044 over the weekend despite being a team that had an amazing run to get to the playoffs last year. For comparison, Houston (a terrible team expected to be worse) had 79,780 this weekend. Time to move Tampa.
BlueJayWay - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#254958) #
Speaking of Toronto fans, the TV ratings continue to grow, and are up 54% over last year
BlueJayWay - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#254959) #
freaking bb.  Have to cut and paste link.
Mike Green - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#254960) #
Apparently, mathesond, you are not alone.  If things continue at this pace, the Jays will have the second highest TV viewership in the majors behind the Yankees this year. 

My family does not particularly enjoy watching a game at the dome, preferring a minor league or spring training game in person or watching the occasional major league game in High Def.  We are shameless.
Mike Green - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#254961) #
Coke to BJW.
rtcaino - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#254962) #
Royals also had a promotion for the Saturday game (a hat and a shirt, iirc).
Ryan Day - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#254965) #
So this is kinda weird: Brett Lawrie has not hit a double yet. In fact, he's the only hitter (aside from Vizquel, who has 9 PAs) without a double. His only extra-base hits are two home runs.

Not that it means anything, but it's surprising, since I expected him to be more of a doubles sort of hitter.
Richard S.S. - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#254966) #
If the kind and gentle beings who deign to post on this blog, even rarely, are not Fans, then no one is. Enough mush.
I don't fully understand the economics benefits of TV viewership verses fannies in the seats at games. Toronto has how many people? Only 50 K fans at any three-game series should be a concern. Middle of the week and quality of opponent are just excuses for not doing the right thing.
I thought 60 K fans for any three-game series should be a concern.
Mike Green - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#254968) #
He hit 8 doubles, 2 triples and no homers in the spring.  He is always going to hit his share of doubles because he comes out of the box so fast.  A line drive down the line is almost always a double unless Frenchy is playing him that way or something. 
John Northey - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#254970) #
I think 60k+ fans per series will be a minimum for summer and if the Jays get into contention (ie: playing for a playoff slot in late September). However, until the Jays actually are a first place team late in a season 20k per game for midweek April games is just not going to happen on a regular basis. April is a dead zone for crowds - the roof is closed the vast majority of the time, kids are in school, hockey is on TV non-stop. Even US teams have troubles drawing in April mid-week.

Baltimore 3 game mid-week vs Yankees: 73,056, Sunday before that vs Minnesota: 14,738 (ouch).

ChiSox 4 game mid-week vs Baltimore: 50,653 (remember, 4 games not 3 - sub 14k every game)

Cleveland: 4 games since opening day: 47,905 total including 2 on weekend, just one game over 11k, 2 sub-10k

Washington off to a great start (12-4) with top young talent and in 1st place yet their 4 mid-week numbers are all sub-20k.

Miami: new park, signed major free agents, expected to contend, tons of hype, 23-25k per mid-week game.

So, wait until this team actually is fighting for something late in a season to expect crowds to jump in April. If we still see sub-20k regularly in July then I'd worry. The TV ratings though are a fantastic sign for the Jays ownership - more eyeballs = more dollars immediately with sponsors = more value the Jays provide to them. That strongly encourages them to build on that hope via more money for payroll mid-season or next winter.
Moe - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#254971) #
Remember there are also differences in how attendance is counted. Iirc, the Jays only count paid tickets and not give-aways. Many other teams are not as stringent, in fact there was an article last week that the BoSox will hand out and count free tickets to keep the "sell out" streak at Fenway alive.

robertdudek - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#254992) #
Not that it means anything, but it's surprising, since I expected him to be more of a doubles sort of hitter.

I've noticed that the pitchers have gotten ahead of Lawrie very often (hint to Jays hitting coach: encourage Lawrie to rip on first pitch fastballs more often) As such, with two strikes they are working the outside corner with him and he has been very disciplined in poking the ball to rightfield for lots of singles.
electric carrot - Monday, April 23 2012 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#255013) #
Not sure I recall the Jays winning four in a row all of last year.  Certainly not on the road.  Nice going guys!

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 12:13 AM EDT (#255016) #
Blue jays won 6 in a row: 10 May - 16 May 2011 being 2 at home to Boston, 3 at Minnesota and 1 at Detroit.   4 in a row at home 27 May -30 May: 3 verses Chicago (AL) and 1 verses Cleveland.   5 in a row, but with the All Star Game in between: 3 at Cleveland, then 2 at home to New York (AL).   With that making this the last time Toronto won more than 3 in a row (incidentally only 4 times were 3 games in a row won).  
hypobole - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 12:39 AM EDT (#255017) #
Personally, I like the Jays taking more pitches for a number of reasons, but especially a kid like Lawrie who is still learning what each pitchers repertoire looks like. Lawrie had 17 PA's vs KC.

Swung at the 1st pitch only once (fouled it off). That PA ended with a flyout on a 2-2 count.

The other PA's were 9 1st pitch balls and 7 strikes.

When he took the 1st pitch for a ball, he was 3 for 8 (2 singles, 1 triple)w/ 1 K and 1 BB. He finished his PA ahead in the count 7 times and twice even.

When he took the 1st pitch for a strike, he was 2 for 7 (2 singles) w/ 1K. He finished his PA ahead in the count twice, 3 times the count was even and only twice did he end his PA behind in the count.

I think whatever instruction he's been given, it seems to be working.
Mike Forbes - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 01:10 AM EDT (#255018) #
Sweeping lesser teams is the way to the top. The Jays always used to have a lot of problems with playing down to their opponents level. If they want to make a push this year they have to keep doing this to the lower lights.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#255020) #
Always nice to look at and see the Jays at the top. Yes, tied with the Yankees but top is top.

The AL is interesting. Rangers ahead of the pack, then 4 teams at 10-6, the Jays, Yankees, Tigers and White Sox. So if the season was over today the Jays would be either AL East champs, WC1 or WC2 depending on tiebreakers. Now if that can just be the case on September 24th as well...
Gerry - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#255021) #
I wonder is Casey Janssen is hurt.  He hasn't pitched in a while (April 14th) and I haven't seen him warm up even.  Also when John Farrell was asked why Drew Hutchison had been sent out for another inning on Saturday his answer referenced the schedule and issues in the bullpen.  The full crew of team reporters is not with the team in KC, perhaps they will be in Baltimore and we will hear more about this.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#255023) #
Good catch Gerry. Checking (preview of tonights game) I see...
Cordero: used in 3 of the past 4 games, 4 games total over past 8 days
Crawford: 4 days of rest
Frasor: 4 days of rest
Janssen: hasn't pitched in at least 8 days
Oliver: 2 days of rest, 1 appearance in 8 days
Perez: 3 games in 8 days (normal usage)
Villanueva: 2 days off between appearances, currently on 2 days rest.

So Cordero is the current favorite, followed by Perez while everyone else is in the doghouse it seems. Very odd. Not a good way to keep the pen sharp and ready.
Nolan - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#255027) #
"Does anyone know if Bourgeois really goes through life calling himself Booshwa, or is this a Buck Martinez thing?"

Also, am I the only one who wonders about Bautista being referred to as Bowtista? I assume I must be wrong as everyone on Sportsnet pronounces it the same way, but I always want to pronounce it in the same way as Tony Batista - and yes, I realize the extra "u" is the likely culprit.

92-93 - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#255029) #
It's a tremendous mistake to leave your roster shorthanded for 10 days if a guy can't pitch, especially if you're making in-game decisions because of it. There is no reason for a 7 man pen to be overworked in April when every starting pitcher has gone at least 5 innings per start.
Thomas - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#255030) #
It's a shame there's not a part of a team's roster where you can transfer players who are injured and still maintain control of their rights, while also allowing the team to add another player to the active roster to take that injured player's place.
Jonny German - Tuesday, April 24 2012 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#255031) #
Speaking of... I don't think I've seen any discussion of Santos here. Checked Rotoworld and their story via Ken Fidlin and Barry Davis is that Santos saw Dr. Lewis Yocum in LA. MRI showed no structural damage and he's now on a "no throw" program for 10 to 14 days and then will be re-evaluated.
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