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Well, despite some meta-discussion on the most recent episode of the Boxcast (listen here!), I couldn't beat Dave and get the Advance Scout posted before the Boxcast. I'll just have to make up for it by being much better than the 'cast. Who am I kidding, like that's even possible.

I any case, the Jays world tour of the American League West continues as they stick around in the T-Dot to face the Arlington Rangers, before moving on to face the Anaheim Angels and the Freemont Athletics. Toronto was probably unlucky to only take two of three from Seattle, but hey, that's why they play the games. In any case, against their next opponent they'll probably be lucky to take one of three, as they are outgunned and outarmed against what is probably the best team in baseball. The home nine might have caught a break when Josh Hamilton left Sunday night's game against the Rays, but the latest word is that he expects to start tonight. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to beat them the old fashioned way.

Up, Up and Advance Scout


Monday: Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Drabek

Ah, what might have been. Darvish squares off against the pitcher he would have essentially replaced, Kyle Drabek. Apparently the Jays weren't actually that close to having been the successful bidder on Darvish, as their bid is reported to have been in the $20 million range. If you want to agonize some more, you can read what AA had to say about the whole thing yesterday. Richard Griffin has a few notes on Darvish and the history of Japanese players in MLB. Anyway, Yu the Pitcher. Darvish uses a translator, but does have a bit of personality (warning; this ad is awful). Tonight's game is also on ESPN in the States; I couldn't ascertain the last time the Jays were on national TV in the U.S., but it was a while ago.

Darvish has actually improved in each of his four starts, especially given that the quality of opposition he faced improved in each one - Seattle, Minny, Detroit, New York (I think that's a fair statement). He allowed 5 runs in 5.2 innings that first start, 2 runs (1 earned) in 5.2 the second, 1 run in 6.1 the third, and went 8.1 scoreless innings against the Yankees, striking out 10 and walking 2. If there's been one achilles heel for Darvish so far it's been walks, as he's allowed 15 in 26 innings, against 24 strikeouts. Darvish had impeccable control in Japan, so there's plenty of reason to think he gets the balls on base under control eventually. Everything else has worked out pretty decent for him so far, as he's let to allow a home run and is getting almost 50% of his outs on the ground, resulting in a cool 3.06 FIP (his xFIP is a run higher, but F- xFIP, seriously). Yankee Analysts has a nice analysis of Yu's stuff to date. In short, Yu throws five pitches (six if you count the two and four seam fastball seperately), although he relies most heavily on a 93 MPH four-seamer that reached up to 97 MPH in his last start against the Yankees. After that he throws a slider, cutter and curve in about equal measure, once every 7 or 8 pitches. The slider is probably the best of these offerings, as it sits between 80-84 MPH has late break away from righties. Darvish doesn't throw a change up, instead relying on a split fingered pitch in the high-80s that mimics his fastball arm action. Lefties have hit him better than righties so far, to the tune of .042 points of wOBA.

Tuesday: Neftali Feliz vs. Drew Hutchison


Aw who cares at this point. You do? Okay then, I guess. Neftali Feliz was acquired along with Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Salty in the Mark Teixeira trade. I wonder if the Braves would do that one again? Feliz takes the mound one day before his 24th birthday, though this is actually his fourth major league season, having pitched in 20 games in 2009 before becoming the Rangers closer in 2010 (for which he was the AL Rookie of the Year) and 2011, a role in which he was very successful, posting a 2.73 ERA in 131.2 innings while saving 72 games. Forward thinking organization that they are, the Rangers transitioned him to the starting rotation, where of course he will pitch more innings than that in two-thirds of a season. Texas moved Alexi Ogando, who had a 3.51 ERA in 169 innings to the bullpen to make room for him. So you see what I'm saying about the Rangers being pretty good. Anyway, since Feliz is making the transition from relief to starting, the team is managing his innings, and skipped his last start against the Yankees, though he did pitch an inning of relief. The idea is to have him available towards the end of the year rather than shutting him down when he reaches his innings limit. Which makes sense, although of course games in April count just as much as games in September in the standings. If you're unfamiliar with Feliz's stuff, the easiest thing is to say that he throws hard. As a reliever his fastball averaged 96 MPH, and there are reports of him hitting triple digits. As a starter he works under that, but at 94 MPH he's hardly a slouch in the stuff department; he ran his fastball up to 98 in his last start against the Tigers. In addition to the heater, which he's thrown almost 60% of the time as a starter (down from 80% of the time as a reliever), Feliz throws a slider and change up in about equal measure. Here's where things get a bit screwy with pitch classifications, as Fangraphs suggests he throws a curveball (which he's definitely thrown in the past), which Brooks says he hasn't. I don't know if this is just a problem with his slider being misclassified; I guess we'll find out tonight. The fastball and the change up are the money pitches in any event, so watch out for those. Rajai Davis is the only Jay with more than 2 at bats against Feliz, and he is 3/5, all singles.

Wednesday: Matt Harrison vs. Ricky Romero.

As mentioned, Harrison was a bit of a forgotten man in that Teix trade, and it's easy to kind of just think of him as a guy, but he isn't a slouch by any means. Harrison is a power lefty who runs his fastball up to the mid-90s (though he's still warming up this year, sitting at around 91) and features a wicked curve. He also throws a mid-80s slider and a low-80s change, though these are not plus pitches. Harrison started the season strong before getting knocked around by Tampa Bay, after which there was some speculation that he might have been tipping his offspeed pitches. Whither Cito. The Jays have hit him well though, as lifetime Rajai Davis is 2/10, Bautista 3/7, Escobar 3/5, Mathis 4/5, JPA 2/3, Thames 2/3, Lind 3/8 (please don't use this as an excuse to bat him cleanup, John Farrell).

Lineup

Hoooo-boy.

Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Josh Hamilton CF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Michael Young DH
Nelson Cruz RF
David Murphy LF
Mike Napoli 1B/C
Yorvit Torrealba C/Mitch Moreland 1B

Napoli and Torrealba split catching duties pretty evenly, with Napoli shifting to first for most other games. Mitch Moreland plays first base when Napoli catches. David Murphy starts in left and Hamilton plays CF against righties, while Craig Gentry plays CF and Hamilton starts in left against lefties. Gentry comes on as a defensive replacement for David Murphy in pretty much every game, shifting to CF while Hamilton takes LF.

Hamilton left Sunday night's game against Tampa with a sore back and expects to play on Monday. Hamilton is hitting .395/.438/.744, which I guess is okay... The Rangers had five 4-win position players in 2011, with Michael Young just missing at 3.8 fWAR, and this is with Nelson Cruz having a down year, by his standards. Cruz has started 2012 slowly too, hitting .247/.312/.376. Cruz is on a cold streak this last week, striking out or grounding out in nearly every at bat... I feel like Ian Kinsler gets lost in the shuffle a bit, but he's really one of the best players in the majors. His batting lines are generally good but not superlative - he hit .255/.355/.477 last year (with a .243 average on balls in play), but he's one of the best defenders and baserunners in the majors, and had a 30-30 season last year. He walks more than he strikes out, which is almost never (7 in 105 PA this year) and has massive power, regardless of position.

I don't normally delve too deep into bullpen stuff, but the Rangers' is excellent, allowing 13 runs in 57 innings (a 2.05 ERA), with a ridiculous 52/4 K/BB ratio. Alexi Ogando's been particularly good, 1 run in 10.2 innings with an 11/0 K/BB, while Mike Adams, Mark Lowe and Koji Uehara have also been great. Joe Nathan's proably been their worst reliever so far, allowing 4 earned runs in 9.2 innings, with a 10/1 K/BB ratio.

Jays Stuff: Some nice stuff from ESPN Fantasy about EE's hot start [Insider only, sorry!]. Meanwhile Brett Lawrie has been helping the Jays reach out to some, er, non-traditional fan groups by appearing at Victoria's Secret in the Eaton Centre this morning. He got presented with a pink sequined bat by Victoria's Secret model Elsa Hosk. Nice work if you can get it. [Some pictures - PG, this is a family site - here.] Money Quote: "we really want to meet Brett Lawrie, Chung said, although she admitted that he favourite Blue Jay was actually catcher J.P. Arencibia." To be fair, JPA is a looker.

Infirmary:
Just Hamilton, who as mentioned is scheduled to play as of this moment.

Song to Advance Scout By: In honour (hm, maybe not the right word) of Darvish's start, Japanese fusion (metal/electronic/punk) band Mad Capsule Markets (they sing in English) song Good Girl, which I would describe as being pop-metal.

Chart: Thanks to Fangraphs for your data, even if you do do stupid power rankings.

Advance Scout: Rangers, April 30-May 2 | 130 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
greenfrog - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#255424) #
Update: Hamilton will be sitting tonight. Still a very tough lineup, but I'm sure Drabek won't miss Josh and his 1.182 OPS.

https://twitter.com/#!/Evan_P_Grant/status/197046515519336448
Mike Green - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#255425) #
The Rangers have been very good so far this year, but they have been healthy.  Their starting lineup is on the other side of 30 and Hamilton's injury might be the start of a slow slide back towards the rest of the league. 

With Mathis 4/5 against Harrison, and it being the day game after a night game, I imagine that he'll get the start on Wednesday.   

Thomas - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#255431) #
Great job as usual, Anders.
Thomas - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#255433) #
I also wonder if this will be one of the times that Toronto fans famously boo someone for no apparent reason other than that they aren't a Jay anymore. ( The classic example of this was Shannon Stewart when he was a Twin and Oakland Athletic.) Darvish didn't choose not to sign with Toronto and it was completely out of his hand, but I could see a bunch of attendees tonight reacting as if he rejected the team.
Mike Green - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#255437) #
At least the organization didn't reprise the inane "Boo Matsui" campaign. 
92-93 - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#255438) #
I will be there, and I will boo, except I'm going to be booing Rogers' failure to invest in him and not Yu himself.
Mike Green - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#255440) #
Boos are usually reserved for players or managers rather than owners.  You'll have to get creative, or else your little voice may be misunderstood. 
uglyone - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#255442) #
now that you mention that Yu would most likely have replaced Drabek, that becomes an even more interesting comparison.

Basic Stats:

Y.Darvish (25): 4gs, 6.5ip/gs, 8.3k/9, 5.2bb/9, .333babip, 1.58whip, 2.42era, 3.06fip, 4.05xfip
K.Drabek (24): 4gs, 6.0ip/gs, 6.8k/9, 4.9bb/9, .226babip, 1.29whip, 2.25era, 5.24fip, 4.14xfip

Pitch Types & Usage:

Y.Darvish (25): FB 53.8% (93.0mph), SL 12.2% (82.8mph), CT 12.4% (89.8mph), CB 14.8% (75.5mph), CH 1.1% (86.0mph), SF 5.8% (88.0mph)
K.Drabek (24): FB 68.7% (93.5mph), SL 0.0% (--mph), CT 6.6% (90.9mph), CB 10.4% (80.4mph), CH 14.4% (84.9mph), SF 0.0% (--mph)

Batted Ball:

Y.Darvish (25): 27.3ld%, 48.1gb%, 24.7fb%, 5.3iffb%, 0.0hr/fb%
K.Drabek (24): 18.2ld%, 53.0gb%, 28.8fb%, 5.3iffb%, 21.2hr/fb%


Both guys have struggled with command. Drabek has had lots of BABIP luck but horrendous HR/FB luck, while Darvish has lots of HR/FB luck - despite giving up a very high linedrive % - but has had poor BABIP luck.

The massive difference in HR/FB explains why the two pitchers' FIP are so different, despite their ERA and xFIP being so similar. In general Drabek's batted ball data indicates opposing batters are getting much poorer contact against him than Darvish, but the HR/FB comparison throws a wrench in that conclusion.

In terms of pitches, Drabek is featuring a solid 4-pitch arsenal while Yu goes with 5 (can't really count his change as a pitch when he only uses it 1% of the time). Drabek has really honed his arsenal down this year and has really become a fastball/change pitcher for the most part, with a good does of curveballs and the occasional cutter. It's actually nice seeing his change in performance this year backed up by a change in pitch usage - he's pretty much doubled his use of the change, has leaned more heavily on his fastballs, and has dramatically cut down on his use of the cutter. Darvish uses the traditional japanese approach of throwing everything but the kitchen sink, and not relying too much on his fastball. Having too many pitches has worked against most japanese imports, so we'll see how Darvish evolves going forward. Both pitchers bring the heat averaging over 93mph on their fastballs and topping out in the high 90s.


HUGE test for Drabek tonight against an awesome Rangers' lineup. I'm nervous for him, but pretty excited to see if he can pitch well in this one - a good performance here and suddenly his start to this season starts to look like a legit breakout.
Mick Doherty - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#255444) #

Tonight's game is also on ESPN in the States; I couldn't ascertain the last time the Jays were on national TV in the U.S., but it was a while ago.

Me neither, my Canuckian (that's code here in the Lone Star state, for "Texan for "only Texan is a real compliment, ya'' know. C'mon, we gots room AND we gots better baseball than you here! Still, stay there. You -- even Yu! -- can't use Texan for real, cuz the only real Texans is us that was borned here!"

Prediction: first time in ESPN history that national game ratings in the United States will rank third highest on the planet; a higher percentage of the teevee watchers of this, that is will be watching from Canadn and from Japan to just embarrass ESPN ... they might win the slot (no, they won't, but bear with me on the side commentary) but will only be third on Earth in those country-soecific ratings.

Anyone who can name a time that has actually happened on ANY network TeeVee program will win the hird-most-significant prize we have here; not a No-Prize. not a Marv Albert memorial statue (the "Yessss!" prize) ... it's called the "Maybe-prize," which is ironic on aboiut 42 levels. Anyone want to give it a go???

Mike D - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#255445) #
Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Drabek or, A Testimony to Parsimony?
blu-j - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#255447) #
Anyone who can name a time that has actually happened on ANY network TeeVee program will win the hird-most-significant prize we have here; not a No-Prize. not a Marv Albert memorial statue (the "Yessss!" prize) ... it's called the "Maybe-prize," which is ironic on aboiut 42 levels. Anyone want to give it a go???

Can you repeat the question?
Chuck - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#255448) #
Interesting that Darvish always pitches out of the stretch. I can't remember the last SP who did that.
bpoz - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#255449) #
Lots of attention for YU. Poor guy.

uglyone - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#255451) #
so yeah, the kid looks kinda ok.
sam - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#255454) #
At some point it might be advisable to sit Jose Bautista for a couple games. It's clear he's not sucking for lack of effort or ability, but the frustration of failure can be almost debilitating and the very worst thing would be a prolonged period of suckage (which he's starting to approach) that absolutely saps his confidence and ruins his season. If he doesn't start hitting this series or early in the next, I think you sit him for the Saturday and Sunday games in LA and give him three days off to basically unwind.

It may also be a message to the team that their hitting performance has not been up to par (save Encarnacion, who has been sensational) and that they need to improve as a unit.
greenfrog - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#255455) #
"that becomes an even more interesting comparison"

To me, it looks like Darvish just needed a couple of starts to get settled in in North America (and with the different baseball). He was lights out against New York and he's been impressive tonight.

Drabek has also been impressive this year, but why compare the two? Had the Jays won the bidding for Darvish, the current rotation could have been Romero/Morrow/Yu/Alvarez/Drabek. That's a potential championship-calibre rotation in the here and now.
sam - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#255456) #
Cudos to Kyle Drabek for throwing his curveball frequently tonight. It's the difference between him being a frontline strikeout guy or being a mid-rotation groundball guy like Henderson Alvarez.
Mike Green - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#255458) #
Actually, it would probably be Darvish, Romero, Morrow, Alvarez, Drabek, but the point is a good one.

I would have thought that a 2-1 game in the 7th would have been too high leverage for Crawford at this stage of his career.  I guess the fact that Moreland bats left was enough. 

Magpie - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#255459) #
Interesting that Darvish always pitches out of the stretch. I can't remember the last SP who did that.

It also worked pretty well for Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series. But yeah, unusual.
Magpie - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#255460) #
At some point it might be advisable to sit Jose Bautista for a couple games. It's clear he's not sucking for lack of effort or ability...

I take your point, but he did have a month exactly like this back in 2010. It was June 2010, to be precise, and he hit .179/.324/.369 with 4 HRs, which is almost an exact replica of what he's done this April. He did OK the rest of the year.
Mike Green - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#255461) #
Crawford in a 2-1 game in the 7th, followed by Perez in a 4-1 game in the 8th, is something I do not understand.  Oh well.
sam - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#255462) #
Bautista sat June 16, the day before an off day after compiling two hits in his previous ten games. The month had four off days.
greenfrog - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#255463) #
Awfully polite of the Jays not to bid aggressively on Darvish. Very Canadian.
Mike D - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#255464) #
It'll be a flurry of articles over the next day or so about the missed Darvish opportunity and/or AA's conservatism and/or Rogers' frugality. Then, hopefully, Darvish will just become another feared opposition pitcher for the rest of his career. One can hope.

To media types who find they can't help themselves come November from speculating about the Jays' interest in free agents seeking even an eight-figure deal, never mind a nine-figure deal:

SPOILER ALERT for the 2012/13 offseason: The Jays will not sign any free agents to such a deal. They will acquire a few free agents on very cheap and very short-term deals for the bullpen and bench. They will lock up one or more of their own young players, and they may trade for a talented young cost-controlled player with performance and/or perceived character issues. The Jays will enter 2013 with a bottom-10 payroll.

And while we're at it:

SPOILER ALERT for the 2013/14 offseason: The Jays will not sign any free agents to such a deal. They will acquire a few free agents on very cheap and very short-term deals for the bullpen and bench. They will lock up one or more of their own young players, and they may trade for a talented young cost-controlled player with performance and/or perceived character issues. The Jays will enter 2014 with a bottom-10 payroll.

I could go on.
sam - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#255465) #
Mike D, do the Jays ever win?
Mike D - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#255466) #
Mike D, do the Jays ever win?

Hahaha. I won't spoil that, other than to say that the offseason will play out that way whether they win or not.

It may even make perfectly good sense for it to play out that way. But it will play out that way regardless of whether it does.
Richard S.S. - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#255467) #
You either blame A.A.'s lack of ability to determine talent, or Bautista's inability to ask for help for his suckitude.
sam - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#255468) #
Richard S.S. ... ?
BlueJayWay - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 11:10 PM EDT (#255469) #
When Tampa is down by one run in the late innings at home, do they ever go on to, you know, lose?  Ever?  Because it seems they always come back and walk it off.
See-Hech-In-July - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 11:10 PM EDT (#255470) #
I don't blame AA on the poor offense but Farrell for not dropping Lind down the order and putting EE behind Bautista, with lawrie ahead.

If you are not going to protect your franchise player Bautista in the lineup, then you deserve what they are getting.

Why isn't Perez and Villeneau the first pitchers in the game when within a run? Crawford should have been garbage time not Perez.

Lind may have chronic back problems that has affected his batting. Nothing that requires surgery, or DL, but affects his swing.
hypobole - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#255471) #
I will be there, and I will boo, except I'm going to be booing Rogers' failure to invest in him and not Yu himself.

At least you didn't get drowned out by all the empty seats. Yu-mania draws under 22,000. At least ESPN got to show the cavern-like charm of the the half-empty dome. FWIW, last Monday the Twins, 5-11 at the time and coming off a 99 loss season drew 32,000+.

Awfully polite of the Jays not to bid aggressively on Darvish. Very Canadian.

28 American teams didn't bid aggressively on Darvish either.

hypobole - Monday, April 30 2012 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#255472) #
You either blame A.A.'s lack of ability to determine talent, or Bautista's inability to ask for help for his suckitude.

Richard S.S. - by "you", you mean you? Because no one else thinks that way.
JB21 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#255473) #
That's just Richard S.S. being Richard S.S. He funny.
92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:31 AM EDT (#255474) #
Sure, using Crawford was a head scratcher, but this game is still on the offense, and the lack thereof. You aren't going to win many games when you're getting nothing out of the 1, 3, and 4 spots in the lineup.
Chuck - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#255475) #

I will be there, and I will boo

Is there not a fear that he will simply here Yuuuuuuu? They're not booing, they're yuing. Like Youkilis, Yu may be boo-proof.

92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:50 AM EDT (#255476) #
Sometimes I wonder if it's counter productive to give a slumping player a day to "clear his head". Is that really going to help him hit better the next time he plays? Wouldn't more ABs to correct his timing be the better solution? I see both sides of the coin, and Bautista's drive in his last AB would probably make me hesitate to sit him tomorrow night. Then again you don't want to give a guy on a hot streak the day off, so it's a delicate balance.

I'm actually more concerned with Escobar's bat than Bautista's thus far, and think Yunel might need the day off a little more. Maybe you put Lawrie in the #1 spot for a game and see if it forces him to take a few more pitches in an attempt to set the table.
See-Hech-In-July - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 01:23 AM EDT (#255478) #
I think Escobar's bat and OBP is affected by Hechavarria.

Escobar has seen first hand in ST that he is very close to taking over the SS position and that could be stealing his focus.

Job security will do that to you.
BalzacChieftain - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#255481) #

I was discouraged to see Farrell use his 7th man in the pen (Crawford) as his first option out of the pen last night, particularly when Oliver and Perez could have pitched to Moreland. I was even more surprised to see Farrell stick with Crawford after allowing the first home run when there were a slew of righthanded bats coming up. Just didn't make much sense.

greenfrog - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#255482) #
"28 American teams didn't bid aggressively on Darvish either"

Yes, totally true. But you could argue that no team needed him more (or was a better fit) than the Jays.

I actually hope that the team doesn't react to the Darvish non-signing by making an ill-advised free agent signing in the next off-season or two. To me, Darvish was a worthwhile gamble, but most big-ticket free agent signings don't fit this description. Remember when some were clamouring for Chone Figgins and Carl Crawford? There's a lot that can go wrong in the FA market. And while he looks great now, it will be take at least a couple of years before we know whether he was worth the investment.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#255483) #
Mike D, one thing puzzles me about last off-season.  There was a persistence of rumours (and not just from Toronto media types) that the Jays made a serious posting bid for Darvish and now there is a persistence of rumours that they bid about $20 million.  It seems likely that these rumours originate from inside the organization.  If so, do they believe that the 5-10 day lift to ticket sales is worth the cost to the club's reputation?  Or maybe there is no cost (when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose). 

For myself, if ownership is really stuck on a maximum payroll of $100 million (say), then I'd rather that they simply say so.  Bad times are coming, fans, and we will batten down the hatches, so that no matter how things are out there in the real world, you can still come to a ball game and forget your troubles. 

Sal - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#255484) #

During April, the most frustrating thing for me was watching Bautista and Lawrie consistently take the first pitch right down the middle for a strike. They need to swing at that and understand that it is OK if they fail more than two thirds of the time. I assumed the coaches would be point that out to them much earlier and they'd start swinging. It is May and it hasn't happened yet.

Darvish was good, but the jays batters helped him look better by being too passive early in the count.

Chuck - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#255485) #

I think Escobar's bat and OBP is affected by Hechavarria... Escobar has seen first hand in ST that he is very close to taking over the SS position and that could be stealing his focus.

Were Escobar playing well, wouldn't the exact opposite argument be used? Escobar has been highly focused due to the competition for his job. He hasn't grown complacent due to a misguided sense of job security.

You can spin this sucker any way you want.

bpoz - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#255488) #
Just for my own fun, I am doing a monthly who made the playoffs. For April NYY & Jays in a 1 game WC playoff. There are a few 11-11 teams so whomever goes 12-11 is in a tiebreaker with the Jays.

I agree that this means nothing.
Chuck - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#255489) #

For April NYY & Jays in a 1 game WC playoff.

You mean Baltimore and NY in a one-game playoff.

See-Hech-In-July - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#255490) #
Your point is valid too Chuck, but how Escobar reacts to Hechavarria is why many coaches like competition within their team to bring out the best or worst of them.

Braves questioned Escobar's attitude and Jays Vizquel said that Escobar had to work on his mental part of the game to become a very good ss.

Escobar thought in ST that at least Hechavarria didn't have a bat to go with that elite glove and now Hech crushes the ball the 1st few weeks in Vegas. Slumps for a week and then grandslam last night.

How ball players (NFL, or any sport) react to competition within the team varies. It's always viewed as a good gauge.

The Snider vs Thames ST competition worked out well for the Jays.

Chuck - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#255492) #

How ball players (NFL, or any sport) react to competition within the team varies.

You are ascribing a reason as to why Escobar is not hitting well. Could it just be that he is not hitting will just because? Does there have to be a reason more than that? Blaming his troubles on the emergence of Hechevarria seems a tad facile.

There are ebbs and flows to a player's season. I can't believe that psychological reasons are at the root of every down period.

uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#255493) #
During April, the most frustrating thing for me was watching Bautista and Lawrie consistently take the first pitch right down the middle for a strike.

I had no problem at all with watching them take first strikes. I love the greater number of pitches our guys are seeing this year.

What has been MUCH more frustrating IMO, especially with Bautista and Lawrie (though not only them), has been watching them after they take that 1st strike, then hack away at pitches far outside the zone to go quickly down 0-2. It seems they're incapable of taking that 2nd pitch, even though it's almost always out of the strike zone. If they're willing to take pitch 1 for a strike, they have to be willing to take pitch 2, because the pitchers are wasting that pitch consistently and Bautista and Lawrie keep chasing it.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#255494) #
With a month in the books, Farrell has to be willing to shake things up a bit offensively now, IMO. Both in terms of putting better producing players higher up in the order, and in terms of just shaking things up for the sake of it.

Escobar and his .257obp and .531ops simply cannot stay at the top of the order. He has to be moved all the way down to the bottom, IMO.

Bautista and Lind and their sub-.650 ops can't stay in the middle of the order, either. Lind doesn't deserve anything and should be demoted as far down the lineup as possible, and even out of it, really. Bautista deserves plenty of rope and is still maintaining a solid OBP so he should stay up near the top.

Nothing permanent here but I'd like to see farrell mix it up a bit and post a lineup looking something like this:

1) Lawrie / Bautista
2) Johnson
3) Encarnacion
4) Thames
5) Bautista / Lawrie
6) Rasmus
7) Arencibia
8) Lind
9) Escobar

Also, we shouldn't be hesitating to give more at bats to Francisco and Davis at Lind's expense (and Snider too, of course).
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#255495) #
It seems likely that these rumours originate from inside the organization.

That seems like a very big jump. To me, it seems much more likely they originate from those who peddle rumours.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#255498) #
I agree they should move Yunel down.  He was great for them up top last year, and I expect he'll get it together eventually, but right now I'd drop him down.  Just too much of a drain with the bad obp currently.  Bautista they'll probably leave in the three spot.  Lind should definitely be moved waaaayyyy down and sit against lefties in favour of Davis or Francisco, as uglyone said.  I'm almost thinking the lineup should be something like this:

KJ
Lawrie
Bautista
EE
Thames
Rasmus
Yunel
Lind
Arenciba

At least against righties.  Against lefties Davis goes in for Lind playing LF, EE plays first, Francisco DH.

Ryan Day - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#255499) #
Yunel was also lousy in 2010 - which is how the Jays acquired him - and Atlanta didn't have anyone ready to replace him. Sometimes, players just suck unexpectedly, for no obvious reason.

Speaking of Atlanta/Toronto shortstops, Tyler Pastornicky is off to a decent start to his career, hitting 262/318/393.

(Tim Collins has also had a solid start, cutting down on his walks considerably)
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#255501) #
In the idle musing dept., I wonder what it would take for EE to receive a qualifying offer from the Jays after the season. Would an 850 OPS do the trick? 900? 950? Or (using more conventional stats): 30 HR and 100 RBI? 35/110? 40/120?

Personally, I think he would have to have a breakout year, i.e., one significantly better than any of his previous seasons. In other words, one that is likely to entice some team to spend in the range of $10M+ annually on him for 3+ years, thereby making it unlikely that he'll accept a one-year deal in the $12-13M range. Hitting 35+ HR with a good OBP would likely get a lot of teams' attention.
Sal - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#255502) #

"I had no problem at all with watching them take first strikes. I love the greater number of pitches our guys are seeing this year."

If the first pitch is the best one to hit, then it should be the one they swing at. The job of a batter is to hit the ball or get on base, not to see more pitches and constantly bat with a pitcher's count causing the batter to expand his strike zone and flail at balls in the dirt or swing through fast balls at the shoulders. You maximize your chances of getting on base when you swing at the best pitch to hit during at an bat regardless of when it is thrown. That is why EE and Thames are doing well offensively.

92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#255503) #
.350/.500 over 600 PA should do the trick for EE. Josh Willingham got 3/21m as a 33 year old coming off a .246/.332/.477 season.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#255505) #
"In the idle musing dept., I wonder what it would take for EE to receive a qualifying offer from the Jays after the season. Would an 850 OPS do the trick? 900? 950? Or (using more conventional stats): 30 HR and 100 RBI? 35/110? 40/120?"

as long as we're musing idly.....

Age 27

Encarnacion: 367pa, .787ops, .339woba, 110wRC+
Player ABCD: 424pa, .718ops, .311woba, 85wRC+

Age 28

Encarnacion: 530pa, .787ops, .344woba, 115wRC+
Player ABCD: 404pa, .757ops, .339woba, 102wRC+

Age 29

Encarnacion: 101pa, 1.054ops, .442woba, 185wRC+
Player ABCD: 683pa, .995ops, .422woba, 166wRC+

Post-29yr old season contract

Encarnacion: ???
Player ABCD: 5yrs, $65m
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#255506) #
Also noteworthy is that in 2011 (EE's age-28 season), he hit 291/382/504 in the second half. So he's been hitting very, very well for quite a while now. Watching him yesterday, I was struck by how comfortable he looked at the plate. But let's see him do it for another month or two - most of us have seen Edwin's hot and cold streaks in the past.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#255508) #

Is there not a fear that he will simply here Yuuuuuuu? They're not booing, they're yuing. Like Youkilis, Yu may be boo-proof.


Of course, the most boo-proof of all would probably be Boof Bonser..

Chuck - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#255509) #
.350/.500 over 600 PA should do the trick for EE. Josh Willingham got 3/21m as a 33 year old coming off a .246/.332/.477 season.

Willingham does play a defensive position (albeit not well) and has a much longer track record of hitting success (career OPS+ of 123 versus EE's 106; JW's last 3 years: 127, 129, 121). EE is 4 years younger, however.

It's a very long season. Encarnacion has 5 months to prove that he has truly elevated his game. I'm not arguing that he hasn't, only that the world, including the Blue Jays, will want proof before cutting him any big paycheques.
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#255510) #
I don't really see the Jays cutting EE (who doesn't really have a defensive home) a big multiyear paycheque. But I think they would be interested in adding an extra first-round pick in the 2013 draft.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#255511) #
Willingham does play a defensive position (albeit not well)...

Pfft. Edwin can play two or three defensive positions not well.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#255513) #
paste and go here:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2010&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&players=0&sort=20,a


truly bizarre that we keep sending this guy out in our cleanup spot game after game after game.

Are they trying to lose games? or is just flat out incompetence by management? It's pretty disgraceful, IMO, and a straight up insult to the fanbase.
92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#255517) #
If we're going to whine about Lind, I think it's imperative to separate his performance between LHP and RHP. While not the ideal #4 hitter, he's held his own vs. RHP with an .800 OPS, .343 wOBA. Continuing to bat him in the heart of the order vs. LHP, though, is quite puzzling.
Gerry - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#255520) #

A big part of managing and general managing a team is player management and team management, and when I say management I mean managing the opinions and psyches of the players.  Seniority matters in baseball clubhouses.  Players who are liked by their teammates matter in baseball clubhouses.  At the moment many of the Jays hitters are underperforming.  Do you move one guy?  Do you move several?  What message does that send to the guy(s) you move?  Does it say, you aren't just in a temporary slump, we think you have lost something in your game?  Do the team see the move as justified?  Will guys say, how come I was moved and player X wasn't?

Managers don't want to lose clubhouses.  Some managers don't care, some are very hesitant to ruffle feathers. 

If there were no personalities involved the order should be changed, we don't know how, or if, personalities are impacting decisions.

By the way, how long has it been since EE was named clean-up hitter?  How is that working out?  Sometimes I think Farrell talks too much.

John Northey - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#255521) #
If you go by OPS+ here is the current normal lineup...
44 - Escobar
105 - Johnson
73 - Bautista
73 - Lind
177 - Encarnacion
117 - Thames
90 - Lawrie
88 - Rasmus
38 - Arencibia

The bench has 2 in the 60's (Davis & Francisco), 1 in the 200's (Mathis) and Vizquel (-27).

Very odd to have your #3 and #4 hitters, combined, with a lower OPS+ than your #5 hitter. Or your leadoff and #3 (or #4) guy combined being equal to your #6.

I figure Lind isn't being shifted largely due to Bautista and Escobar also having trouble figuring out which end of the bat to use this season.

Have any of them been getting better?
Last 10 games...
Escobar: 377 OPS (yes, OPS not OBP)
Bautista: 469 OPS (yes, OPS not Slg)
Lind: 532 OPS (you get the idea)

So actually, of the 3 Lind has been showing the most life lately. OK, life is a bit much, his dead cat is bouncing the highest of the 3. Just for kicks

JPA in the past 10: 749 OPS - the only one recovering (274 OPS before that).
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#255522) #
"If there were no personalities involved the order should be changed, we don't know how, or if, personalities are impacting decisions."

That's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, though, IMO. The more you act like the spot in the order is important by being unwilling to change it, then the more important it becomes to players "egos". Whereas in Tampa, with Maddon shuffling his order every game and having no reservations about putting bad hitters near the top of the order and good hitters near the bottom depending on matchups (or whims), the tampa players can't ever take it as a shot to their ego when they don't get "their place" in the lineup.

And even if you prefer a stable lineup (which I think I do to be honest), then you should be able to use lineup changes as either motivation for or taking the pressure off of struggling players. But it doesn't even have to be like that - it can simply be a shakeup for the sake of it, to maybe give some hitters a different look or approach - more like a "it can't hurt" sort of move, rather than a punishment or a move that will "definitely" improve the offense. Especially with a lineup like ours, with only one historically big bat and then a good depth of "good" bats, our lineup should probably be more flexible and interchangeable than most.

Either way, I think the important thing here is that we're getting closer to a sample size where IMO some significant lineup shuffles, even if they're just temporary, are more and more justified. (Of course, in Lind's case, the sample size was big enough a long, long time ago).

92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#255524) #
"That's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, though, IMO. The more you act like the spot in the order is important by being unwilling to change it, then the more important it becomes to players "egos". Whereas in Tampa, with Maddon shuffling his order every game and having no reservations about putting bad hitters near the top of the order and good hitters near the bottom depending on matchups (or whims), the tampa players can't ever take it as a shot to their ego when they don't get "their place" in the lineup."

Very well said.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#255525) #
Adam Lind has had one good year in the past 5.  The GM and the Manager ought to be sitting down and agreeing about what needs to be done to change his role.  You could simply platoon him with the existing personnel (Encarnacion at first against RHP with Francisco DHing), or you could bring in a RH first baseman.  Once he is a platoon, moving him out of the cleanup spot will come naturally, and frankly it does not really matter that much whether he bats 4th or 6th against RHP. 

There is absolutely no need to release him.  He can be a productive platoon player, with the sunk cost being exactly that. 

John Northey - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#255526) #
Agreed that platooning Lind is an obvious move to make.
vs RHP: 241/349/407 - 757
vs LHP: 143/182/143 - 325

When facing a LH starting pitcher, while that starter is in the game, Lind is 1 for 19 so far this season (a single of course).

Ouch. If that isn't enough to move him to the bench vs LHP I don't know what it will take. Francisco only has 2 PA vs RHP (0 for 2) and the rest is vs LHP (.697 OPS).

Normally I don't care much for this small of a sample size, but mix it with the historical results and I see no reason on earth to keep Lind playing vs LHP unless he really starts to light up with the bat.
John Northey - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#255527) #
FYI: a 757 OPS is a 105 OPS+ this season (so far). Not great but certainly a lot better that what we've been seeing. Francisco's 697 would be about an 88. Combined that would be a lot better than the 73 Lind is doing on his own.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#255529) #
Farrell continues to surprise me this year, after I thought last year he was awful. (As long as he does the things I want, he MUST be a genius, right?)

Farrell obviously felt it was time for a shakeup too.....here's tonight's lineup:

1) Lawrie
2) Rasmus
3) Encarnacion
4) Bautista
5) Johnson
6) Lind
7) Escobar
8) Thames
9) Mathis

it still bugs me that he feels the need to place Lind ahead of Thames, but I'm not gonna complain about Lind & Co. moving down the lineup.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#255530) #
oh wait, I think I got twittered there. that's not an official lineup.
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#255532) #
Maybe Maddon could pull off a successful Lind platoon, but I have trouble seeing it working with Farrell. The problem is that as soon as Lind has a couple of good games against RHPs, the temptation will be too strong to start using him again against lefties (ie, because he's "swinging a hot bat," etc).
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#255535) #
John Lott ‏ @LottOnBaseball - JF not ruling out lineup changes, but none imminent. Says 100 ABs, 35-40G could evaluation points.

Can't argue with Farrell on that sample size, really.
See-Hech-In-July - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#255539) #

"I can't believe that psychological reasons are at the root of every down period" No chuck, not every problem but some. 

Farrell mentioned  yesterday that Escobars shoulder was off causing his batting problems. I think it's Escobar looking over his shoulder for Hech that's causing his problems.

 

BlueJayWay great lineup, love to see that !

 

Gerry you make a good point on clubhouse politics in lineups but at some point Farrell would have to say to Lind: " look you are struggling, we are going to take the pressure

off of you and help the team out at the same time. Once you regain your stroke we will move you back up the lineup." What's wrong with a team first philosophy?

 

 

 

 

scottt - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#255541) #
One thing that was missed in the Advance Scouting is that Young plays third and Beltre is the DH while in TO. Apparently Washington doesn't want Beltre to take the field in Roger Centre,  to "protect his legs" and keep him having to "go out there and stand on the turf for a long period of time".


92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#255543) #
"Can't argue with Farrell on that sample size, really."

Except we are basing LINEUP changes on 2+ years of stats, not the first 20g of 2012. And I think it's entirely jusitified to use 20g of stats to start fiddling around with your ORDER.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#255544) #
Thoroughly enjoyable and fact-filled article about Drabek's development this year. Yes, this is an actual article from a major newspaper using pitchF/X plots to explain its point:

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/05/01/blue-jays-pitcher-kyle-drabek-is-finding-his-form/
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#255546) #
yeah, 92-93, can't disagree with you there.
Magpie - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#255547) #
Seniority matters in baseball clubhouses. Players who are liked by their teammates matter in baseball clubhouses.

Don't forget: the size of the contract matters in baseball clubhouses. The other players admire those guys, truly, deeply, and sincerely. They respect them, they want to grow up just like them. Because the player has earned his money (and every player believes that), the player has also earned a lengthy bit of rope, probably much lengthier than you or I would be inclined to give, probably much lengthier than what would be warranted by current levels of performance. The 2009 Blue Jays clubhouse went sour when Ricciardi or Gaston (whoever it was) threw B.J. Ryan out the door.

Anyway. Some managers are mad jugglers, who like to tinker with the lineup or the batting order every day. Some managers are the exact opposite. And of course both types of managers have been wildly successful and wildly unsuccessful - often the same guys at various stops along the way. So who the hell knows? I'm inclined to agree however, that it's a much bigger deal when a set lineup guy (and Farrell, like his predecessor, does seem to be cut from that cloth) starts moving people around. The signal that sends is... "this ain't working." Which is never something the manager likes to say and never something the players like to hear.
Magpie - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#255548) #
And I think it's entirely justified to use 20g of stats to start fiddling around with your ORDER.

I think that depends on whether you're a manager who fiddles around to start with or not. If you're a manager who juggles his lineup to start with, certainly. No problem at all. But if you're not one of those guys... 20 games is pretty small and random. In such a case, it really seems too soon to me. Now waiting ten weeks (like Gaston did with Wells and Lind in 2010) certainly seems too damn late. Could we split the difference?
John Northey - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#255549) #
I think the biggest issue is that we have 3 guys who are scuffling pretty bad, not just Lind. If Bautista and Escobar were both hitting then Lind would probably be easier to demote (platoon or down in the order) without risking any clubhouse rebellions. Cito had respect thanks to 2 WS wins and making the playoffs his first year managing (for the pre-WS years) and being an All-Star who roomed with Hank Aaron - those are big pluses in any clubhouse. Farrell, obviously, doesn't have any of that - he had two good years in the majors but nothing inspiring, he is on his first managing job and clearly has to listen to his GM or fear for losing his job. The players know this and respond to it.

So if Farrell shifts a guy on a long term contract who is known for streaks who is not hitting any worse than 2 guys who are viewed as stars then I suspect he'll have issues in the clubhouse that aren't worth it at this point. Slowly shifting Lind to a platoon role (ie: days off vs tough LHP then vs other LHP as well) might work.

Managing people is a challenge. If Farrell is to succeed he has to figure out how to handle this situation (a 1B who can't hit LHP but is viewed as 'an everyday player' by his peers) without causing headaches. Ideally he'd work on getting Lind to agree to it via third parties (coaches suggesting to Lind that he has serious issues vs LHP, the 1 for 19 stat for example) then doing it as a 'to help him stay healthy' type move mentioning how he was tired last season and that it might help for him to get extra time off early on this year.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#255551) #
Lind is in his 2nd year of arb eligibility and earns $5 million per year.  In an age of $100 million payrolls, he earns the average salary. 

As for the reaction of other players, I know that in the off-season, Lind was saying that his job was to provide "protection" for Bautista and Bautista replied that the most important thing for Lind was to hit well on his own account.  If I was a player and a teammate was getting playing time not justified by performance (over a period of years) and it was making the team less competitive, I would be pissed. 

I realize that teams can be successful with stable-lineup managers who will tolerate a significant amount of non-performance, but it is very hard for a team in the AL East to do that with a small to medium payroll.  When Cito had his greatest success, it was with very talented clubs and above-average payrolls. 

92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#255552) #
Farrell's been fiddling a lot. Just not with Lind.
92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#255553) #
"If I was a player and a teammate was getting playing time not justified by performance (over a period of years) and it was making the team less competitive, I would be pissed."

It might even lead you towards a full blown mutiny. See: Millar, Kevin and Gaston, Cito.
See-Hech-In-July - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#255554) #
Sorry Magpie, but it's time for Farrell to decide if he wants to be there friend or manager.

The AL East is not like any baseball. You blink and you could be out of the playoffs just as fast.

Farrell needs to make it clear that this a "Team First Organization" and to win the AL east "Sensitive Ball Players Not Need to Apply".

Farrell needs to tell them that they are all on board, or get thrown over board.

Players make so much money nowadays that playing time is the only thing to motivate them !

Magpie - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#255555) #
Farrell's been fiddling a lot. Just not with Lind.

First, let me point out that I'm the guy who by the end of last season was ready, if not downright eager, to replace Lind with David Cooper this season. Or with a Cooper-Encarnacion platoon arrangement, or some such thing. (I just want to establish my not-an-Adam Lind-fanboy credentials.)

But then I'd note that Farrell has fiddled even less with Escobar, Johnson, and Bautista than he has with Lind. I think he wants to establish a set lineup - he's pretty clearly one of those guys - that he can make minor tweaks to (flipping Rasmus and Arencibia, or Thames and Lawrie) when the other team shows a LH starter. (Which is what most of his fiddling actually amounts to.)

And it looks like it's very important to Farrell that the LH hitters be separated from each other in the lineup. I understand what he's trying to do there - the modern platoon takes place in the bullpen rather than the bench. Farrell is yet another manager struggling to find a strategic response to the seven man bullpen. Alternating LH and RH batters seems to be the best thing anyone's come up with. So far. Anyway, if Lind drops to the bottom third of the order, which LH hitter comes up to bat fourth/fifth? Because one of them will have to. Rasmus? I guess so.

I think there's a pretty flawed bit of roster construction issue here. Why are both Ben Francisco and Rajai Davis on this team if neither one can play first base? Maybe they were thinking that Thames was in greater need of a platoon partner than Lind. But even in that case did they need two guys for the job? Half the damn bench?
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#255556) #
Since 2010:

Johnson: 1381pa, .253/.340/.452/.792, .347woba, 112wRC+
Thames: 466pa, .269/.320/.454/.774. .335woba, 109wRC+
Rasmus: 1149pa, .249/.326/.442/.768, .331woba, 108wRC+
Lind: 1240pa, .241/.292/.425/.717, .309woba, 91wRC+

If a lefty has to bat cleanup, the very last choice for the role should be Adam Lind. He's the worst lefty hitter on the team....by a good margin.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#255557) #
clutch doubleplay vs. the lefty by Adam Lind there.

we as a fanbase should be outraged, to be honest.
robertdudek - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#255558) #
And it looks like it's very important to Farrell that the LH hitters be separated from each other in the lineup. I understand what he's trying to do there - the modern platoon takes place in the bullpen rather than the bench. Farrell is yet another manager struggling to find a strategic response to the seven man bullpen. Alternating LH and RH batters seems to be the best thing anyone's come up with. So far.

Sorry to disagree here, but I must quarrel with the use of the word "anyone" here. The obvious solution, suggested by so many, is to build up an arsenal of bench bats ready to pinch hit in key situations. This means a 6-man bullpen and a 5-man bench.
CeeBee - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#255559) #
Watching Lind bat against lefties is almost comical.....if crying in one's beer is funny. I called the GIDP even though I was hoping I'd be wrong. It's getting harder and harder to watch what is quickly turning into a bottomless pit of terrible at bats. And that's only Lind. -sigh-
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#255560) #
Washington just utterly exploited Lind's platoon split by bringing in the lefty in a key situation (6th inning, two on, none out). Result: groundball DP, threat neutralized.
robertdudek - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#255561) #
I think there's a pretty flawed bit of roster construction issue here. Why are both Ben Francisco and Rajai Davis on this team if neither one can play first base? Maybe they were thinking that Thames was in greater need of a platoon partner than Lind. But even in that case did they need two guys for the job? Half the damn bench?

The reason is that Davis is much more useful than Francisco, and Francisco can't be cut so quickly because he is AA's shiny new acquisition. 1b is not the issue - Lind (or Cooper if you think he's better) can platoon with EE. If it's Cooper, Lind becomes the Rick Leach of the 2012 Jays, strengthening the bench.

Why did he not listen to me when I suggested the best of all possible solutions: Francisco comes down with a mild strained groin necessitating a stint on the DL and a subsequent rehab; Travis Snider would have made the team on opening day. Thames could be the semi-regular DH.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#255562) #
Beautiful.  A bunt hit from Rasmus, with runners on first and second, and facing a lefty.  Ego checked at door and the party begins.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#255563) #
Colby Rasmus is a real ballplayer. Why Lind hits higher than him I have no idea.

And one thing I'll never criticize Farrell for is his baserunning calls. He's earned us all sorts of runs the past couple of years with creative and aggressive calls to the runners. another great call there to get the tying run in there and avoid the DP.
Magpie - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#255565) #
an arsenal of bench bats ready to pinch hit in key situations. This means a 6-man bullpen

I don't think that's going to be happening. Here's the thing - relief pitchers are truly interchangeable in a way that bench players aren't. I think this is part of the reason the strategy has caught on (besides the obvious fact that lots of teams have made it work and successful strategies always get copied.) Even a six man pen means just a five man bench - and a five man bench effectively means three bench bats (because most - not all, but certainly most - backup catchers and middle infielders aren't hitters.) And six bullpen arms is more than enough to give you a counter to three bench bats.
Magpie - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#255566) #
Colby Rasmus is a real ballplayer. Why Lind hits higher than him I have no idea.

I also think it would be useful to have Rasmus hitting in front of Lawrie. Rasmus isn't really a big base stealer, but he runs a lot better than Lind. And a RH batter like Lawrie who hits a lot of crisp ground balls - well, you'd like to be able start the runner sometimes. At least Rasmus might make it down to second base quickly enough to mess with the DP pivot.

Speaking of the double play - is it not a little strange to have your leadoff hitter leading the team in GIDPs?
robertdudek - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#255567) #
And six bullpen arms is more than enough to give you a counter to three bench bats.

Not correct.

Reason #1: When a new pitcher comes in he must face one batter, therefore you can deploy up to three pinch hitters without the other manager being able to counter your move if you do it right.

Reason #2: None of your relievers can pitch everyday and there is no such practical restriction on bench hitters. There will be games where some of those relievers are unavailable due to needing rest.

Reason #3: Almost all teams, by choice, designate 8th inning and 9th inning pitchers when protecting a lead, regardless of the presence or absence of a platoon edge.
rikley - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#255568) #
How many blown saves this year..?...This is frustrating..:(
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#255569) #
Well said, Robert.  With three bench bats, it's pretty much a draw in the battle for the edge between the bullpen and the bench.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#255570) #
"the cleanup hitter" and "the closer".

boy do I love seieng Roles/Titles being seemingly more important than actual performance.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#255571) #
Woo hoo.
scottt - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#255572) #
It's probably not strange to have the leadoff batter hitting into lots of double play if the 9th batter is very slow and the leadoff hits a lot of ground balls.
rikley - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#255573) #
And that is awesome!...Lawrie quickly erases my frustration..
robertdudek - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#255574) #
It's hard for me to believe that the Jays beat Texas in a game decided by the bullpens. But I guess it happened.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#255575) #
Thought Hutch pitched well tonight against a tough team, even if he got babipped to death in the 2nd inning. Other than that inning it was a nice step up in quality from his 2nd outing (which itself was a nice step up from his first outing).
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#255576) #
A.A. might have made a mistake signing Cordero.   Farrell might have made a mistake by not telling Cordero his pitches hang a bit and his pitch speeds are too close to be effective.   Cordero might have made a mistake with signing a contract when he sucks so bad.   Blown saves are painful, especially when Farrell uses too many pitchers early. 
Moe - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#255578) #
Reason #1: When a new pitcher comes in he must face one batter, therefore you can deploy up to three pinch hitters without the other manager being able to counter your move if you do it right.

If I understand that rule correctly, it increases the value of the bench. In the past, if you bring in your left specialist to face Lind and Farrell counter-moves by bringing is an RHB, the opposing team could pull the lefty and bring in a RHP. Since the pen had more arms than the bench bats, this worked out. But now, the RP has to face a batter so players with strong splits become more valuable as bench players.

Or can I do another pitching change after a PH comes in?

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#255580) #
Finally the curse of back-to-back losses (W2, L2, W2, L2, W2, W2, L2, W4, L4, W2, L1, W?) is broken, starting a new and improved mental winning  attitude.
Jimbag - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#255583) #
Just in response to a Lind/EE platoon at 1st, I'd really prefer not to see EE in the field ever. Defensively I think you may be better off placing a pail on the bag at 1st with a cap stapled to it as having Encarnacion out there. Lind makes Overbay look like the Ozzie Smith of 1st basemen, but Encarnacion, no matter how well he's hitting, makes that pail look like Ozzie, too.
92-93 - Tuesday, May 01 2012 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#255584) #

It's hard for me to believe that the Jays beat Texas in a game decided by the bullpens. But I guess it happened.

You had to know that scrub Robbie Ross would be heavily involved in at least one of the games...


Thomas - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 12:04 AM EDT (#255585) #
n the past, if you bring in your left specialist to face Lind and Farrell counter-moves by bringing is an RHB, the opposing team could pull the lefty and bring in a RHP.

No, they couldn't. Well, in the very distant past, but this rule about a pitcher having to face a batter has been in place for quite a while. It is distinct from the Sam Fuld Rule, which was enacted this offseason.

Spifficus - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 06:29 AM EDT (#255590) #

Farrell needs to make it clear that this a "Team First Organization" and to win the AL east "Sensitive Ball Players Not Need to Apply".

When I read this, I couldn't help but think that the team has made a point of acquiring "Sensitive Ball Players" in Rasmus, Escobar, Lawrie and Morrow. These players clashed with their previous environments and were available cheaper than their talents suggest. The organization seems to want to take a different approach with how it handles players, and sometimes (Lind's case) it's not going to work out (or take time... yeah, that's it).

robertdudek - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 07:47 AM EDT (#255591) #
In the past, if you bring in your left specialist to face Lind and Farrell counter-moves by bringing is an RHB, the opposing team could pull the lefty and bring in a RHP. Since the pen had more arms than the bench bats, this worked out. But now, the RP has to face a batter so players with strong splits become more valuable as bench players.

Or can I do another pitching change after a PH comes in?


The rule is that a new pitcher must face at least one batter. This rule has been in place for a long long time. I'm guessing it was sometime in the 70s but I'm just guessing. It was designed to prevent a long string of counter-moves, particularly when rosters expand.

robertdudek - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#255592) #
I don't think EE is that bad as a defensive 1B - I mean, they are okay with him occasionally playing 3B apparently so 1B should be a picnic for him. But if he is as bad as you say, them it is absolutely imperative to have a RH 1B on the roster - after all Lind will need days off.

I'm also okay with platooning Lind with Vizquel at 1B if necessary. I just want to minimize the number of LHP Lind faces, how it's done is a secondary issue.

ogator - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#255593) #
Over the years, Vizquel has assumed many a role and has played each role effectively, maybe Hall of Fame effectively but I bet he has never before been cast as designated ejectee.  When the camera went to the bench and Vizquel was informed he had been ejected, he looked a little surprised.  And do all players have a second pair of shoes with them on the bench?
greenfrog - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#255594) #
I'm not sure Lind is even that great against RHPs any more. Last year he hit 253/303/468 against them. This year it's 228/333/386. That's a total of 459 PA of very weak performance from your first baseman.

People seem to think he's a lock for an 800+ OPS against righties, but I don't think this is necessarily true. I think it's quite possible that he's done.
Ryan C - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#255596) #
Has anyone directly questioned AA on the issue recently? As much as I love almost all of what he's done and believe he deserves tons of rope, roster construction is clearly his responsibility.

If the team has a clear need for a bat off the bench, and yet there is no room due to a 7-man bullpen plus Francisco, then he's the one with the power to do something about it, not Farrell.

If the three regular OF on the roster are all everyday players, and Davis is your defensive OF replacement and pinch runner, then what is Francisco's role on this team? To give Thames and Bautista a day off once in awhile? I'm not sure that's enough if you're determined to go with a short bench.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#255598) #
Even with his negative OPS+ Vizquel has hit LHP better than Lind this year.
Lind: 1 for 19 with a walk vs LH starting pitchers (he is 2 for 3 vs LH relievers).
Vizquel: 1 for 9 with a walk vs all LH pitchers

Sheesh.
Chuck - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#255600) #

Has anyone directly questioned AA on the issue recently?

I respect AA's acumen but would never believe for a minute that any question I were to ask him would be answered in any kind of meaningful and honest way. He plays his cards extremely close to the vest, has the ability to always keep his composure, and tells the outside world the bare minimum they need to know. And frankly, that's the nature of his job, so this is not a criticism.

Mike Green - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#255601) #
In the category of unexpected early season heroics, John McDonald takes his spot next to Jeff Mathis by hitting .321/.367/.536 for the D-Backs.  His two walks have been intentional. 

Mathis, incidentally, got a nice jump on the single in the 7th and probably would have scored even if Gentry hadn't bobbled the ball.  Many catchers wouldn't and might even get the stop sign. 
92-93 - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#255602) #
Mathis also showed great hustle burning down the line in that 7th inning AB to prevent a double play. It was a big part of the rally. With the way JPA fields and gets on base, Farrell doesn't lose much giving his backup some starts to keep Arencibia fresh all year; playing through injury was a problem in 2011.
robertdudek - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#255610) #
I still don't think he's a great defensive catcher, but I'm starting to like Mathis more, especially on the base paths.

I didn't like his pitch calling in the second inning at all - Hutchison featured a great changeup in the first inning and it virtually disappeared in the second inning. Instead he went with the fastball outside corner and the Rangers feast on belt-high fastballs (on the corner or otherwise). Later in the game the changeup reemerged  and it continued to be effective.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#255615) #
2012 v. LHP

Rasmus: 26pa, .822ops (.280obp)
Johnson: 28pa, .779ops
Thames: 16pa, .732ops (.375obp)
Lind: 23pa, .310ops


Since 2010 v. LHP

Johnson: 391pa, .807ops
Rasmus: 308pa, .744ops
Thames: 102pa, .652ops
Lind: 317pa, .479ops


I think it's pretty clear that Johnson should never sit vs. LHP, and that Lind should never start against them.

Rasmus and Thames are interesting calls, though - both show signs of being able to be productive against LHP, and I'd be inclined to give them plenty of rope against them as young 25 year old hitters.

Lind really is the only guy in dire need of a platoon, so yeah, the existence of both Davis and Francisco on this roster is a bit flummoxing.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#255618) #
Always fun to dig into leaderboards at this time of the year. In the entire majors...
400 hitters: 2 - Jeter & Kemp
500 OBP: none (makes Bonds & Ted Williams all the more amazing)
700 Slg: 3 players (Kemp over 800, LaHair & Hamilton)
200 OPS+: 4 players (Kemp, Hamilton, Wright, Ortiz)
Most outs made: Escobar (90) with just Weeks (83) over 80.

1.25 ERA: Saunders (0.90!), Strasburg (living up to hype)
Wins: 8 guys tied for #1 - 2 Rangers & 2 Rays & 2 Cardinals plus 2 solos
10+ K/9: 5 guys

Kind of interesting. Funny how the Rangers, Rays & Cardinals all have 2 guys on the win leaderboard.
Anders - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#255628) #
At what point does Travis Snider become the preferable option to Adam Lind as a starter for this team? You can't really directly replace Lind with Snider, but you could put Snider in LF, Thames at DH (platooning with Francisco?) and EE as the fulltime 1B. The difference in defense between Snider and Thames in LF has to be close-ish to Lind/EE at first. In this scenario do you cut Lind or Francisco, or go with one fewer bullpen arm?
robertdudek - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#255632) #
The difference in defense between Snider and Thames in LF has to be close-ish to Lind/EE at first. In this scenario do you cut Lind or Francisco, or go with one fewer bullpen arm?

Clearly one fewer bullpen arm. This would be a huge step towards my "dream" of turning Lind into our modern day Rick Leach.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#255634) #
Hey, when did Carreno get called up? That caught me by surprise.

Seems the Jays sent Evan Crawford back to Vegas and called up Carreno just before the game.
robertdudek - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#255636) #
Hey, when did Carreno get called up? That caught me by surprise.

Seems the Jays sent Evan Crawford back to Vegas and called up Carreno just before the game.


A well-known method for extending your effective active roster to 26 or 27 men.
uglyone - Wednesday, May 02 2012 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#255637) #
2012

Lind: 79ab, .609ops (.719 v. RHP, .310 v. LHP)
Snider: ---

2011

Lind: 499ab, .734ops (.771 v.RHP, .639 v. LHP)
Snider: 187ab, .617ops (.708 v. RHP, .300 v. LHP)

2010:

Lind: 569ab, .712ops (.829 v. RHP, .341 v. LHP)
Snider: 298ab, .767ops (.783 v. RHP, .703 v. LHP)

Since 2010:

Lind: 1044ab, .715ops (.797 v. RHP, .379 v. LHP)
Snider: 485ab, .709ops (.755 v RHP, .533 v LHP)

I'd say that there'd be very little chance of a downgrade offensively, and a good chance of an upgrade.

I'd also say that the defensive upgrade in LF would be larger (maybe much larger) than the defensive downgrade at 1B.
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