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Five days ago, the A's were under the radar and the Jays were finished. Tonight, they'll meet at the SkyDome in the biggest matchup on the baseball calendar. The rampaging A's have lost all of two games this month. They just hung a four-game sweep on the Yankees and have roared into the second wildcard spot. Their game centers around aggressive pitching and excellent defense, but this month they've also played some longball.

The A's have 11 walkoff wins this year, a testament to their bullpen's performance and their "timely" hitting throughout the season. Here is the obligatory feel-good story about their youthful clubhouse chemistry. It's actually pretty entertaining.

It's hard to root against tonight's starter, 29-year-old Aussie lefty Travis Blackley, a star-crossed ex-prospect on the biggest roll of his career. The Mariners signed him when he was 17, and he looked promising until late in 2004, when he tore his labrum and lost a full year to shoulder surgery. The injury torpedoed his career, and in 2007 the Mariners punted him to San Francisco in exchange for human outfield highlight reel Jason Ellison. Blackley persevered. He was an unsuccessful reclamation project in the Giants, Phillies, D'backs, Mets and A's systems, and also made cameos in Mexico for los Dorados de Chihuahua and in Australia for his hometown Melbourne Aces. He spent his 2011 in Gwangju pitching for the Kia Tigers. Finally, this year, the Giants took another flyer on Blackley. He rewarded them by allowing 1 run in 23.1 innings for AAA Fresno. The Giants called him up, he was unremarkable, the Giants had too much pitching, they DFA'd him, Oakland signed him off waivers, and the rest is history.

Blackley has posted a 3.36 ERA and a K/BB ratio over 3, allowed just one homer all year, and averaged six innings a start despite being initially used as a swingman. He'll likely begin the game by Establishing The Fastball. It sounds like he's been doing a fantastic job of locating his pitches, a lot like what Aaron Laffey's doing these days. Easier said than done against a big scary lineup like Toronto's, but Blackley's last two starts were against Texas and he did fine: 4 runs in 12.1 innings. He has a 170-point OPS split this year and tends to be very aggressive against lefty batters; he's faced 63 of them, K'd 7 and walked 0. Fastball around 90, hard slider, big hammer curve, change, and he pitches from the stretch at all times. Who was the last Jay starter to try that? Ted Lilly?

Wednesday, it's another strike thrower. A.J. Griffin is a 24-year-old rookie righty, a SoCal native and 13th-round pick in the 2010 draft out of San Diego who's forced his way to the majors in a hurry. Fastball around 90, slider, change, and a big slow lollipop curve in the high 60s with which Griffin often tries freeze hitters. In general, I think that is a decent idea early in the count, but stupid in pitchers' counts when conventional wisdom says the hitter should be protecting. Griffin's curve, however, is pretty hard to argue with under any circumstances. Here's a GIF collection from Fangraphs' Carson Cistulli. Griffin has 4.3 P/PA, which is exceptionally high for a pitcher who walks as few hitters as he does.

Thursday, it's yet another strike thrower, and the closest thing to a brand name the A's will send to the mound this series: lefty Tomaso Milone, an LA native and USC product acquired from the Nats in the Gio Gonzalez trade. (Aside: Man, was I ever wrong about the Nationals' rotation. I was very skeptical about Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Jackson, but they've been brilliant.) That said, the A's didn't get fleeced in the deal: Milone spent three years on the Nats' slow track dominating the minors, and he has held up his end of the bargain as a rookie.

Milone has been aggressive, hittable, and effective. He has a 3.34 ERA. He throws strike one to 70% of hitters, has a line drive rate of 24.7%, and has surrendered 16 homers this year. Notably, he's given up only 1 in Oakland, and 15 away from the cavernous Coliseum. ERA splits: 0.91 home, 5.69 away. Fastball around 90, cutter, change and curve, and with that repertoire he has been more effective against RH than LH batters: a 50-point OPS split, and a much better K/BB rate. Milone flattened the Yankees in his last start, striking out 10 over 7 shutout innings, and he's got a 1.10 ERA over his past six starts with 36 K and 3 BB. I think the Jays are a nightmare matchup for him. Something's gotta give.

Bullpen: Righty closer Ryan Cook, part of the Trevor Cahill haul from Arizona, throws really damn hard and induces lots of popups. In contrast to the starters, he pitches away from contact; his 13.3% BB rate almost exceeds the three starters' rates combined. Cook's almost strictly a fastball/slider guy, so anyone who bats lefty should have a fighting chance. However, the league is hitting .115/.244/.223 off him.

Grant Balfour is still a power pitcher, but he's no longer Captain Fastball; his fastball is down to the low 90s and he's throwing a few more sliders to compensate. Lefty Jerry Blevins throws hard for a funky pitcher. Lefty Jordan Norberto, acquired from Arizona, also throws hard, and he overwhelmed the minors with Effective Wildness that has been okay in the bigs as well. He's gone nuts with the facial hair. Righty Jim Miller throws really damn hard and induces popups. Righty Evan Scribner and lefty Sean Doolittle round out the pen.

Come to think of it, I figure Oakland Coliseum with all its foul territory has to have a really favorable park factor for infield flies. So maybe all these guys aren't quite as deceptive or overpowering as I'm making them sound. Still, it's absolutely accurate to say that the starters are aggressive and the relievers are not.

Defense? Oakland, with all its strike-throwing starters, has remarkably (or not) held hitters to a .273 BABIP, lowest in the majors. All of their regular position players are above-average on the fielding stats except for Jemile Weeks and Yoenis Cespedes. Josh Reddick, in particular, has been outstanding in right field, with a +13 DRS rating. If the A's pitchers can find a way to keep the ball in the park, they might just hang in there against the dreaded Jays.

Offense? It's been timely, and it's been much improved recently. The Athletics are hitting a dismal .228/.302/.377 on the year. Only the Mariners have been worse, and only the Orioles are comparably bad. The A's are top 5 in the majors in K and BB rate, and they've hit 101 homers despite the unfavorable home park. The problem is hits - they're not a slow team by any means, but their .268 BABIP is lowest in the majors. See what I mean about the park? (It certainly can't help that they play in a division with the slick-fielding Rangers, Angels and M's, either.)

On the other hand, they're on a serious hot streak: .250/.304/.439 since June 28, with 30 homers. And all season they've hit unusually well with two out - .235/.326/.411, which is quite an improvement from their grand totals. And they've run well: 73 SB against 22 CS is fantastic. Coco Crisp leads them with 19 steals. This lineup is not a pushover.

There are a few castoffs from extreme hitters' parks who have flourished in Oakland. Josh Reddick, who's using Colby Rasmus' facial hair, has been Oakland's best hitter and was probably the most egregious all-star snub in the AL. I'm sure the Red Sox are thrilled they traded him for a proven closer. Seth Smith, the Rockies' old fourth outfielder, hasn't lost a beat in moving to Oakland; his raw .249/.355/.450 line is right around his career norms minus 20 BA points. He tends to DH against righties, and will likely come off the bench all three games this series. Ex-Red Sox Brandon Moss has spent a month in Oakland and put up double-digit homers already. He may sneak into the lineup against Romero tomorrow. Chris Carter has 5 homers in 44 PA, and he was only hitting .267/.389/.482 at AAA. The eternal Jonny Gomes is on fire as a platoon starter and veteran leader. It feels like just yesterday he was the Rays' great beacon of hope, and now here he is. And so on.

Yoenis Cespedes has lived up to the hype and then some. He's not much of an outfielder, and he's a butcher in center, but he has serious power and has shown that he can cope when pitchers don't give him anything. So far, so good.

Song to Advance Scout by: Oakland, do you wanna ride? (Note: PG-13 but righteous)

In the spirit of "who the hell are these guys?!":

Advance Scout: Athletics, July 24-26 | 114 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Hodgie - Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#261031) #
Watching Snider take southpaws deep is almost enough to bring a tear to the eye. Watching Cecil throw 87 mph belt high fastballs has the same effect but for different reasons.
grjas - Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#261032) #
Not sure why I bother reading newspaper reports on upcoming series. These box writeups are infinitely better than what the sportswriters are paid to do..

Nice job Alex, especially on a team that is not well known to many of us.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#261035) #
I don't know, Hodgie.  8 strikeouts and 2 walks in 6 innings doesn't bug me at all.  I can live with the homers, but it would be nice if Cecil would allow fewer of them with runners on.
Hodgie - Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#261037) #
Oh, agreed Mike, I will take those results every time, it is the process that I don't trust all that much. Perhaps it is just me, but it sure does seem that when he misses, Cecil misses up in the zone and that is a slender wire to navigate at his current velocity.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#261038) #
Actually I thought the last couple of starts Cecil has been down much more consistently. 
Magpie - Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#261039) #
Watching Snider take southpaws deep is almost enough to bring a tear to the eye.

He looks much better to me, too. (What Farrell said about him keeping his legs beneath him made a lot of sense - he looks much more under control and balanced.)

Doubt he can maintain the .625 BABiP, but hey...
TamRa - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 01:02 AM EDT (#261040) #
Impressions on Hap, since he got hit a bit?

I was half expecting Cecil would pitch himself out of the rotation tonight but just based on the box score, not even close.

Sherrystar - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 04:49 AM EDT (#261044) #
Just and FYI, Hanley Ramirez has been traded... To the Dodgers. For a prospect.

Guess AA didn't want to make a splash with the cash.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#261047) #
The print edition of this Globe and Mail game recap had a header "Cecil's solid start wasted by hapless bullpen".  Which goes to show that the less than stellar pun has a home among the ink-stained wretches of private industry, as well as at the CBC and among writers and commenters at Batters Box. 

Great Scout, Alex.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#261049) #
Disappointed when I saw the lineup with 4 LH batters, would have replaced lind with Gomes and Vizquel for the struggling Johnson (better defence) - also, reading the box score I also am surprised that with a BP that had Monday off, Farrell chose to use the inexperienced Beck in a 1 run game.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#261051) #
Having Lind start against the lefty was dubious (I too would have preferred Gomes), but having him hit clean-up was ridiculous.
Shaker - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#261052) #
Does anyone want to compare the prospects the Jays gave up to get Happ compared to what the Bucs gave up to get Wandy + big cash?

My (now out of date BA12) says not a great deal for us compared to what the Bucs got...

greenfrog - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#261053) #
From the few innings I watched, Cecil looked good, apart from the hanging CB that was crushed for a HR. He had a good changeup working. But it's a tiny sample size (he lowered his ERA from 6.34 to 5.82). When he shows he can pitch well on a consistent basis, not just here and there for a start or two, then let's talk.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#261054) #
Cecil's career ERA, FIP and xFIP are 4.75, 4.73 and 4.37.  This year, his xFIP is at 4.44, but he has been victimized by the long ball with runners on base to a much greater extent than before, leading to the ugly ERA. 

I do know this.  If you put Cecil in a game to start the 4th inning and he is facing a lineup with 4 left-handed hitters, I am quite confident that he will give you three effective innings regularly.  A team can use this if it thinks outside the box. 
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#261055) #
I'm hoping we don't have a 3/3 homestand leading up to the trade deadline, leaving the Jays neither in or out of the wildcard race - I'm okay with for a 5/1 or 1/5 homestand - while I hope the team wins, it's also a good year to be a seller - I would like a near ML prospect to replace Johnson next year ( perhaps Oliver plus prospects for Jean Segura) and am open to moving all non-core players including Escobar and Arencibia if a great opportunity surfaces (probably more likely this winter). of course, given the Jays luck, it's probably a 3/3 run and remaining in limbo.
perlhack - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#261056) #
Cole Hamels has signed a contract for a six-year deal with the Phillies.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#261057) #
It's not like Cecil was ever lighting up the radar guns. In 2009, his fastball averaged 90.8, which isn't nearly enough to be throwing anything by major league hitters.

If he throws strikes and keeps the ball down, Cecil can be an effective starter.
scottt - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#261058) #
Farrell is always reluctant to use his 3 best relievers if the Jays are not in the lead. This is frustrating because the rotation is inconsistent. I understand not overtaxing the bullpen, but if I see Casey and co pitching in a 4 run loss--because they need the exercise--I will still cringe.
chocolatethunder - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#261059) #
dreaming the blue sky.... now that the Phillies signed Hamels... and presumably need to clear salary would clearing Halladay be more ideal than Lee?...what would that take?
Dewey - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#261060) #
@ Mike Green:

Which goes to show that the less than stellar pun has a home among the ink-stained wretches of private industry, as well as at the CBC and among writers and commenters at Batters Box.

That was largely the point of my previous spluttering on this topic, Mike.  The MSM now obsesses over puns, of any sort.  They are saturated with them.  Usually, of course, quite puerile ones.  Sportswriting has long been the home of the truly lousy pun.  Newspapers and other ‘news’ media have joined them in recent years.  That everyone else stretches to make such ‘jokes’, however, is no reason for Da Box to do so.  Do we have to do it, too? 

I know you enjoy puns, and have offered some fine ones.  I enjoy the good ones too.  But . . .

(While we’re here again, I’ve since wondered how Arce pronounces his name.  Anyone know?)

smcs - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#261062) #
Farrell is always reluctant to use his 3 best relievers if the Jays are not in the lead.

Who is the Jays 3rd best reliever right now? I think if Frasor had been healthy, he would have come in for the 7th.
Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#261066) #
"It's not like Cecil was ever lighting up the radar guns. In 2009, his fastball averaged 90.8, which isn't nearly enough to be throwing anything by major league hitters. If he throws strikes and keeps the ball down, Cecil can be an effective starter."

Therein lies the rub. MLB is replete with examples of players that could succeed "if". It is certainly possible that Cecil learns to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate and becomes an effective starter somewhere in MLB. It is also quite likely that his career projection is something much less than that as his BB/9, GB%, FB% and HR% trend in a most unfortunate way. The loss of velocity may not be the underlying causation but I would find it odd if there is not some correlation.

uglyone - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#261071) #
Cecil's looked pretty good to me, tbh. The curve looks better than ever and the changeup and slider are working decently too. his velo isn't great, but not horrible....88-89mph and reaching 90-91 at times.

The only trouble he's had the last couple of outings is a couple of absolute batting practice meatballs left right over the heart of the plate. If he can avoid doing that, he might just be all right.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#261072) #
If [Cecil] can avoid doing that, he might just be all right.

I kind of think that's who he is. He gave up 17 HR in 93.1 IP as a rookie, and hasn't made much progress improving on it. It's his 2010 season that looks like the outlier.
Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#261073) #
To kick that deceased horse one more time, I agree with Magpie. If it looks like a homerun derby, and sounds like a homerun derby, chances are good.......

Cecil has always lived up in the zone and every year the same qualifier is dusted off in identifying what he needs to do to succeed. A quick look at his heat charts helps to illustrates the problem. I would be more optimistic about his future chances if he had actually compensated for his changing repertoire. Instead, he is essentially the same pitcher with the same issues, except now there is even less velocity and separation between his fastball and off-speed offerings. 87-88mph fastballs down Broadway have the tendency to make even Derek Norris look like a MLB hitter.

uglyone - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#261074) #
Well, I think my dreams of him being an upper-rotation kind of guy are dead. But at age 25 he still has plenty of time to improve and become an effective innings-eating mid-to-bottom rotation kind of guy, I think. His velo isn't all that bad compared to most lefties, and his offspeed stuff is still quite good.

Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#261075) #
"His velo isn't all that bad compared to most lefties, and his offspeed stuff is still quite good.

Well, if you believe in Pitch Type Linear Weights that doesn't seem to be true anymore. Applying the standard sample size caveats, I didn't find it all that shocking to see that as his fastball velocity has decreased so too has the relative effectiveness of his off-speed offerings. It seems plausible that there may not be enough separation in his current repertoire to succeed long term as a starter. While he could improve I doubt that it is the likely outcome now and it might be in his and the team's best interests to pursue a Darren Oliver type transition.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#261076) #
Personally, I think that Cecil's route to success is along the Ferguson Jenkins path.  Cut down the walks,  maintaining the strikeouts and don't worry about the home runs.  In his career, he has walked 86 in 1055 PAs with nobody on.  He needs to knock that figure down.

It has been known to happen that players develop much better control in their late 20s.  Cliff Lee's career began a lot like Cecil's. 
uglyone - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#261077) #
Yeah, the effectiveness of his changeup seems to be clearly declining with the loss of velo the past couple of years....but his curve seems to be more effective now than it was back when he was throwing harder. What's interesting is that (using fangraph's pitch values) his fastball doesn't seem all that much less effective now sitting at 88-89 than it was when he first came in sitting at 90-91.
perlhack - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#261087) #
This is form the NY Post, so its veracity is, shall we say, suspect. According to Joel Sherman, the Blue Jays are interested in Jose Reyes, and want to trade Yunel Escobar.
Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#261088) #
As a card carrying member of the Brett Cecil fan club, I would love to see either career trajectory for him and I hope you are right Mike. I just don't know that either really parallels his development to date. Jenkins didn't have nearly the home run or walk issues that Brett currently exhibits and Lee didn't really become CLIFF LEE until 2008, which funny enough seems to have coincided with an increase in fastball velocity to go along with a walk rate that he basically cut in half. A pretty good formula no doubt but I would hate to see the odds on Cecil approaching that feat.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#261089) #
I don't hold any reasonable hope that Cecil will become as good as Jenkins or Lee.  These guys had (Jenkins) or developed (Lee) exceptional control.  If Cecil can fine-tune the control some, he can be an effective pitcher and the home runs he allows will be fine. 

I guess what I am saying is that people look at the ERA and think that the cause is lost.  That, in my view, is a mistake.  Right now, he is a typical semi-serviceable left-handed pitcher with decent control, a good K rate and a propensity to give up the long-ball.  This is a profile that a pitcher can grow from. 

Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#261091) #
Gotcha Mike. I am more worried about his raw stuff than I am his ERA but your point stands.
scottt - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#261096) #
Vizquel replacing Escobar in the lineup tonight.
James W - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#261097) #
Escobar is nursing an ailing back.
Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#261099) #
Ricky Romero obviously does not agree with my assessment of Brett Cecil and is doing his best to show that relative to his own performance Cecil is in fact the second coming of Cliff Lee AND Ferguson Jenkins.
Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:04 PM EDT (#261100) #
Who knew that MLB Gameday had a sense of humour. During the Carter at-bat in the second inning...."Scout: Ricky Romero showed faith in JP Arencibia by throwing that curveball in the dirt with a runner on 3rd."

Well played Gameday, well played.

sam - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#261101) #
How bad is Ricky Romero, geez.
Mike Forbes - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#261102) #
That catch by Reddick was quite nice. He's been impressive all season.
Sal - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#261103) #

Prior to this season's start, people were debating if Romero was an Ace or not.

Now, it is legitimate to debate if he is a major leaguer or not.

scottt - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#261104) #
If Happ is the long relief man, maybe it wasn't a good idea to have him throw 59 pitches in a close game that got away. I wonder what the bullpen will look like after tonight. Beck down for a fresh arm?
damos - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#261105) #
Arencibia out 6 weeks.  Fractured hand.

Magpie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#261106) #
Now, it is legitimate to debate if he is a major leaguer or not.

Boston fans are saying the same thing about Jon Lester. I'm pretty sure neither of them is the first good player to have a bad year.
scottt - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#261107) #
Too bad d'Arnaud is out for the year.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:48 PM EDT (#261108) #
Too bad d'Arnaud is out for the year

Well, at least his backup is already here.
Hodgie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#261109) #
It is possible that Romero had simply tired of the Jays penchant for underperforming Pythagoras and decided to do something about it.
scottt - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#261110) #
In other news, the surgery on Santos did not find anything so it was limited to "general cleaning".

So let it heal and next time load up on anti-inflammatory and painkiller?

Thomas - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#261111) #
I hope the team gives Gomes a good look behind the plate and doesn't default to playing Mathis 75% of the time.
scottt - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#261112) #
I would be very surprised. I kinda expect AA to bring in a catcher with experience to back Mathis up.
Mike D - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#261114) #
It's amazing. The sky really is falling. At the big league level, calamitous injuries and poor play at a time of high fan enthusiasm.

At the minor league level, virtually every key prospect has been disappointing-to-middling and/or is seriously injured and/or is currently struggling. Really, only Noah Syndergaard is on a roll.

It's hard to even conceive of how the past six weeks could have gone any worse for the franchise.
Thomas - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#261115) #
I kinda expect AA to bring in a catcher with experience to back Mathis up.

I also wouldn't be surprised if he does. I just would rather see Gomes get the playing time than someone like Luke Carlin or Dioner Navarro.

Magpie - Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#261116) #
Well, with d'Arnaud and Arencibia out and Perez traded, I can certainly see adding a catcher somewhere. Not necessarily at the major league level.

Lott quoted Romero tonight: "It's kind of tough to look my teammates in the eye right now."

You probably remember Jon Lester on Sunday: "It's hard for me to walk around this clubhouse and look guys in the eye right now."
TamRa - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 03:19 AM EDT (#261118) #
I like giving the reps to Gomes. Pick up a major league vet to safeguard us in Vegas. Isn't Koyie Hill still bouncing around free?

But just for insurance. Let Gomes play IMO.
85bluejay - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 04:28 AM EDT (#261119) #
3 words of advice Mr. Anthopoulos - Sell!!Sell!!Sell!!
scottt - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 07:20 AM EDT (#261120) #
Selling is to trade MLB players for prospects. The Jays don't need prospects and have no expensive players to unload.

Who should they sell? Encarnation? Lyon?

The Jays need a starter or 3, but they will have to buy to get any.
JB21 - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 07:44 AM EDT (#261121) #
Reading Mike D's post was not fun, but it's the reality. I hope the increased support this season stays with the team going into the future. If healthy we're definitely right in contention, I hope AA stays aggressive and does his best to pull off something Morrow/Lawrie/Rasmus before the deadline.

Also, Romero straight up for Lester?
hypobole - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#261122) #
"The Jays don't need prospects"

They couldn't use a kid like Dan Straily? What rotation help do they have above Lansing?
greenfrog - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#261123) #
"At the minor league level, virtually every key prospect has been disappointing-to-middling and/or is seriously injured and/or is currently struggling"

I feel that this is a bit overly dire. Stroman and Osuna are currently pitching very well. There are a number of top-ten players who are hitting a bit of a rough patch but who have had solid seasons overall: Marisnick, Gose, Sanchez, Nicolino, Hechavarria. And yes, d'Arnaud is injured, but he was having a brilliant season; there is no reason he can't pick up this fall where he left off. Smoral was injured when he was drafted - that was why he was available. With Norris and Cardona, the sample size is very small. Chase DeJong and D.J. Davis are off to respectable starts. Etc.
Ryan Day - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#261124) #
d'Arnaud is injured, but he was having a brilliant season; there is no reason he can't pick up this fall where he left off.

Well, he's a catcher with significant knee injury. That's... concerning.
rfan8 - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#261125) #

Romero's mechanics seem like they are totally out of sync. His delivery seems to change a lot during the game and I can almost feel him aiming pitches instead of just unleashing them as he has over the last 3 years. 

I also think part of Cecil's velo drop is mechanical.  It looks to me anyway like he's trying to throw his entire upper body into pitches and I know when I do that when golfing, I'm a mess.


Mike Green - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#261126) #
I was at last night's game right in unusually good seats.  Some observations:

1.  Romero's troubles (likely mental in origin) seemed to afflict the whole team last night.  Arencibia was reluctant to go out to talk to him when he first got into trouble.  The first visit to the mound to see Romero was at least one, and arguably two, batters too late.  The hitters, with the exception of Encarnacion and Lawrie, did not seem to be as focused as they need to be with someone like Griffin on the mound (see below).  Even the trainer seemed to be not paying attention- when Arencibia took that ball to the hand, it was perfectly clear that it was a nasty one from his body language and home plate umpire Jerry Lane's obvious compassion for the amount of pain he was in.  An alert trainer would have been out to have a look.  Instead, Arencibia stayed in the game.  An old-school manager or general manager would have been in the clubhouse kicking butt after last night's game.  Encarnacion's at-bats, in particular, were a model of what you want to see.  Even down 10-0, he was focused and gave a good professional at-bat.

2. Griffin's stuff is interesting- a fastball at 91-92 and a slow curve at 67-68.  In the first couple of innings, he threw a few hangers, but the Jays were out front.  It probably would help to time him from the batter's box (like Reddick did with Romero early in the game).  Anyways, after the first few innings, the Jays were mostly unfocused and Griffin was locating the curve well. 

3.  Anthony Gose is a lot of fun to watch.  Between Gose and Lawrie, there is even explosiveness to bring down the Rogers Centre. 

4.  Arencibia has caught all of Romero's starts in 2011 and 2012.  Again last night,  there was a ball in the dirt at a key moment which should have been blocked and wasn't.  This may not be helping with Romero's confidence, and the change in receivers might actually work to Ricky's advantage. 

I have never been at such a lopsided shutout, but we stayed for the entire 9 innings and gave Mathis a standing O as he left the mound. The word of the day- "oi" muttered simultaneously by myself and the guy behind me when Adam Lind flailed wildly at one of Griffin's offerings.

I don't think that the sky is falling.  What has happened is basically unfortunate timing combined with poor planning.  In the case of the pitching, the situation could have been ameliorated by better planning.  In the case of the catching, having Arencibia and Mathis in the majors, d'Arnaud in triple A and Jiminez in double A should have been more than enough.  If Arencibia had sustained this injury in May, d'Arnaud would have stepped in and the club would likely have been better for it. 

There is still a lot of talent on this club.  We will see if Farrell get the most out of it. 

Lylemcr - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#261128) #

It is the way the cookie crumbles. 

In the end, this is a game of statistics.  You give yourself the best chance statiscally to win, but that doesn't guarantee a win.  Luck has a lot to do with it.  The Jays have been unlucky.

Thier minor league clubs have been doing well.  Lansing and Dunedin have to be favorites to win it all.  There has been setbacks, but some progress has been accomplished.  Statistically speaking, I think they have put thier club in the best chance to win in the long run.

Also, with all the crap this year, they are still floating around .500.  If I remember from predictions at the beginning of the year, not a lot of people give them a chance.  I am not saying they are going to win, but IF next year they are healthy and they add a starter, you have to like thier chances.

CeeBee - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#261129) #
Getting the old Romero back would be a big help as well. Anyway, might as well use up all the bad luck this year at this point.
Ryan Day - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#261130) #
Possible blessing in disguise: This will be an opportunity to see if Gomes has the skill to be a catcher on a regular basis.
bpoz - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#261131) #
Sure is a really bad year for injuries.

No pitching prospects have seized the big opportunity except Hutch & Alvarez, both were not totally over matched and each has actually pitched a few gems. It is the non prospects like Laffey, Villy & Cecil that have done a lot better that I thought. They have actually been quite good IMO, even Cecil for over half his starts.

A lot of position players have stepped up. In the case of EE & Rasmus the performance is really big. Hopefully Gomes & an OF will sieze the opportunity.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#261133) #
If one is going to use Gomes as Lind's platoon partner (as is reasonable), you need another catcher on the roster.
uglyone - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#261134) #
"At the minor league level, virtually every key prospect has been disappointing-to-middling and/or is seriously injured and/or is currently struggling. Really, only Noah Syndergaard is on a roll."

My gut reaction to this was to say you were exaggerating....but you really aren't. Here's how our top kids/prospects have done - like you say, the ones that are doing well are mostly injured now, and the rest are middling so far this year. Syndergaard is the only top kid to be killing it AND healthy, though I guess some may want to put Nicolino and/or Gomes into that category too.

Doing well and still healthy:

OF C.Rasmus (25, MLB): 96gms, 103wRC+
OF T.Snider (24, AAA): 56gms, 154wRC+ (MLB - 5gms, 135wRC+)
C Y.Gomes (24, AAA): 65gms, 150wRC+ (MLB - 19gms, 90wRC+)
RP A.Loup (24, AA): 44.1ip, 3.81fip (MLB - 7.1ip, 2.16siera)
SP J.Stilson (21, AA): 35.0ip, 4.34fip (A+ - 54.1ip, 3.05fip)
SP N.Synd'rd (19, A): 72.2ip, 2.21fip
SP J.Nicolino (20, A): 83.1ip, 2.46fip
SP R.Osuna (17, Rk): 24.0ip, 2.74fip


C J.Arencibia (26, MLB): 81gms, 97wRC+
SP D.Hutchison (21, MLB): 58.2ip, 4.02siera (arm injury)
C T.D'Arnaud (23, AAA): 67gms, 144wRC+ (knee injury)
C A.Jimenez (21, AA): 27gms, 77wRC+
LHP S.Nolin (22, A+): 72.2ip, 3.31fip


3B B.Lawrie (22, MLB): 91gms, 101wRC+
SP H.Alvarez (22, MLB): 119.0ip, 4.53siera
SP B.Cecil (25, MLB): 38.2ip, 4.20siera (AAA - 6.2ip, 1.40fip)
CF A.Gose (21, AAA): 92gms, 113wRC+ (MLB - 5gms, 30wRC+)
SS A.Hechevarria (23, AAA): 94gms, 103wRC+
1B D.Cooper (25, AAA): 65gms, 131wRC+ (MLB - 24gms, 103wRC+)
RF M.Sierra (23, AAA): 95gms, 113wRC+
CF J.Marisnick (21, A+): 65gms, 127wRC+ (AA - 20gms, 105wRC+)
SP A.Sanchez (20, A): 71.1ip, 3.51fip
RHP A.Cardona (18, Rk): 12.2ip, 3.12fip


RHP K.Drabek (24, MLB): 71.1ip, 5.36siera
OF E.Thames (25, MLB): 46gms, 73wRC+ (AAA - 49gms, 134wRC+)
LHP D.Norris (19, Rk): 20.1ip, 4.28fip
OF J.Anderson (19, Rk): 25gms, 69wRC+
OF D.Smith (19, Rk): 27gms, 85wRC+
RHP D.McGuire (23, AA): 106.2ip, 5.36fip
RHP C.Jenkins (24, AA): 107.0ip, 5.17fip
RHP J.Carreno (25, MLB): 15.0ip, 6.02siera (AAA - 36.1ip, 6.45fip)
LHP E.Crawford (25, MLB): 7.2ip, 4.88siera (AAA - 23.1ip, 4.06fip)
OF M.Knecht (22, A+): 94gms, 90wRC+
OF M.Crouse (21, A+): 59gms, 85wRC+
uglyone - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#261135) #
though I guess at least this year's draft class is off to a riproaring start in their tiny sample size:

OF D.J.Davis (17, Rk): 28gms, 124wRC+
RHP M.Stroman (22, A-): 7.1ip, 1.70fip
OF A.Alford (17, Rk): 5gms, 111wRC+
RHP C.DeJong (18, Rk): 4.0ip, 0.70fip
Thomas - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#261138) #
Francisco Cordero has blown saves in back-to-back games for the Astros and compiled a 23.14 ERA over his three appearances. Opponents are posting a 1.367 OPS against him. Meanwhile, Mike Wilner still doesn't understand all the criticism Cordero gets.

If the Jays are looking for a legitimate major league catcher (and I agree that more catching depth is probably needed somewhere in the upper levels of the system), the Brewers just designated George Kottaras for assignment.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#261139) #
uglyone, you seem to be a pretty tough (perhaps tendentious) grader. For example, so far in 2012, BRef has him at 3.2 WAR (fangraphs: 2.7 WAR). He just started playing third base last year and is now regarded as one of the best in the majors at the position (he's also played a total of 135 games in the majors and is 22 years old).

Also, consider that Hechavarria's wRC+ was in the 49-80 range (apart from his brief stint in Vegas last year) prior to 2012. This year he's playing outstanding defence at SS and has a wRC+ of 103. Kevin Goldstein recently noted his improvements at the plate. To me, he also belongs in the "doing well and still healthy" category.

And what about Marisnick (turned 21 in late March), who played well for most of the season in the offensively-challenged FSL and is just getting started at AA (with a .395 OBP in his last ten games)? Or Aaron Sanchez, who recently ranked #25 on Keith Law's mid-season top 50 list (up from #96 pre-season)? Just middling?

And putting Norris in the "disappointing" category after 20.1 IP (with a 9:22 BB:K ratio)?

I think you might have lost perspective in your categorization of a few of these players.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#261140) #
The first player I mentioned is Lawrie - forgot to include his name.
JB21 - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#261141) #

Looking at that list, I would say that Gose and Sierra have been "doing well and healthy" this season.

Injuries, McGuire & Jenkins have to be the most disappointing parts of the system thus far in 2012 IMO.

uglyone - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#261142) #
greenfrog I think you're right about Hech. He should probably be considered to be doing well vs. expectations for sure. that was an overly harsh grade for sure. Good call.

Sanchez I'm open to debate on. Scouts love him and he had a spectacular ERA for a while and a very good K-rate but I just can't get by BB rate. 5+bbs per 9 is troubling, IMO. especially since his innings have been so controlled. That being said, you might be right on this one that I'm grading too tough.

The other two I think have been legit middling - I like Lawrie's defense but the bat has not been as good as expected, so "middling" is fair I think. I also think middling is fair for Marisnick - he's been nowhere near last year's standards, and was only "good" in A+ and has had a rough start in AA. Plenty of season left to turn things around, though.

scottt - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#261148) #
A bit ironic that Farrell is forced to use Lyon in a one run deficit which quickly becomes a win. Tuesday's game was well in reach.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#261152) #
Tuesday's games was basically underachieving everywhere. Wednesday was "shock and awe" watching Romero melt down. To let Romero continue his slide into the abyss without doing anything is stupid. If A.A. Is unable to acquire a top Pitcher to be the Ace and relieve Romero of always being the man, any improvement seems unlikely. This is no longer about competing or contending, this is a rescue.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#261154) #
"If A.A. Is unable to acquire a top Pitcher to be the Ace"

I hear there's this guy named Morrow who will be available later this season.
sam - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#261155) #
I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks this and I feel a bit ashamed to admit it, but I actually think Arencibia's injury was a good omen for the ball-club.

Injuries happen and it's awful that Arencibia got injured, but to lump Arencibia's injury together with some of the other injuries the Jays have sustained as part of an over-arching "bad luck" narrative to the Jays' season I think is wrong on several accounts.

First, the injury itself. If anything Arencibia injuring himself on that play was a case of dumb luck more than anything. Runners on base catchers tend to bring their throwing hand behind the glove. That hand has to stay behind the glove, however, Arencibia, forgot to do this as he tracked the pitch into the hitting zone, leaving the throwing hand unprotected.

Arencibia is a very lazy defensive catcher and his season defensively to date has been littered with errors and mis-plays due mostly to bad habits, the injury of course being the prime example. Whether it be dropping to one knee early to try to catch the ball and as a result of his early commitment closing himself off to actually block the ball as it breaks in the dirt. Or, his failure to "beat" pitches to the spot when catching the ball and as a result moving through the pitched ball and thus making pitches look much worse than they are. There is a very good reason why he leads the AL in passed balls and it is telling that Jeff Mathis has almost a full run better CERA than Arencibia.

In fairness to Arencibia his offense has come on of late and he has proven to be a very streaky hitter. Ten days or so of incredible production every two months or so has masked the fact he is just an atrocious hitter. Say you remove his recent hot streak, and his little burst their in mid May. From May 22 to July 7 he hit: .185/.227/.363. Or his first month and change he hit: .205/.253/.342. I'll give him his comments that he produces when runners are in scoring position as he does that well above ML average, however, everything else he's just miserable at.

I guess the brings me to why not having Arencibia is a good omen. For one, it improves the team. Mathis is a better defender and having him catch more frequently I think will demonstrate to management and to others the benefit of having a defensive oriented catcher at the helm. Second, I think this pushes management towards d'Arnaud or at least to life after Arencibia. I think there is some fear that getting rid of Arencibia would be a callous move considering how long it has taken the Jays to develop a catcher and I guess several years of Gregg Zaun will do that, but Arencibia really isn't all that much of an improvement and the organization should shoot for better play from that position. Seeing someone else play the position for sometime I think will jar any sense that the Jays are lucky to have Arencibia or that he is worth blocking a prospect for.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#261156) #
For fun, I ran a Play Index for Brett Lawrie, looking for players who in their first season between ages 20 and 23 posted OPS+ between 95 and 110, with at least 10 homers and at least 10 steals.  It gave me 13 players including Barry Bonds, Tony Lazzeri, Bill White and Joe Gordon, along with Chad Curtis, Rocco Baldelli, Ellis Burks, Garry Maddox and Oddibe McDowell.  Most of them were older than Lawrie. 
Hodgie - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 11:29 PM EDT (#261159) #
Well, that is the funny thing about arbitrary end points. I can choose to remove the bad streaks which account for roughly half of his season and that atrocious hitter becomes the best hitting catcher in baseball. At this point, JP is essentially a league average bat and defender which has tremendous value at the catcher position. It feels like his blocking issues have really clouded this fact.
hypobole - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#261160) #
"Sanchez I'm open to debate on. Scouts love him"

Regarding Sanchez, I found this in today's "Mike Newman Prospects Chat" at FanGraphs,

Comment From Zack
Who are some breakout pitching prospects that may have started the year under the radar?

Mike Newman: So far I've spoken to 4-5 contacts about Blue Jays Aaron Sanchez. The comps have been anywhere from Matt Garza to Justin Verlander. Yes... that is pretty insane, but true nonetheless.
TamRa - Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#261161) #
"Well, he's a catcher with significant knee injury. That's... concerning."

According to what was reported - not THIS knee injury. The ligament torn is not the one that tends to be recurring.
uglyone - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#261162) #
Gotta agree with hodgie there....jpa was horrible defensively as a rook aside from his throwing arm, but imo has made clear improvements this year, especially in terms of pitch framing. he still has issues blocking the ball though. still, i'm comfortable calling his defense mediocre at this point...good arm, mediocre pitch framing, poor blocker.

and his bat was average for a C even as a rook, but has been well above average for a C this year. and that's even though his decent bb rate fron the last couple of years has fallen back down again. i think we'll miss him, and i'll go further and say there's no guarantees that d'arnaud will ever be significantly better than what jpa is giving ys this year.

i also agree with sam though that the injury narrative is unnecessary this year, as its a leaguewide phenomenon.
Oceanbound - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 05:49 AM EDT (#261163) #
Don't see how Arencibia's been "well above average for a C". Catchers are hitting for a 93 wRC+ (.310 wOBA) this season. Arencibia is at 97 (.317 wOBA). Seems just about average. Having a league average catcher is not a big issue by any means, but it's definitely something that can be improved upon. Of course d'Arnaud might not be the answer, the same goes for just about any prospect. At the same time it's not hard to envision d'Arnaud developing into a better player than Arencibia.
bpoz - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#261166) #
@ scottt, regarding Tuesdays game. Everyone in the pen was rested & available due to the off day.
So I would have been comfortable using JA Happ to start the 7th as he is an experienced ML pitcher. Beck, Carpenter & Loup being inexperienced IMO are more of a risk in a close 1-2 run +/- game. I think Farrell has to count on Happ, Lyons,Oliver & Fraser when back, for the 7th & 8th innings in a close game if available.
The rotation is lacking somewhat, but does seem to get us 6IP where we are still in it 4 of 5 games.
greenfrog - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#261167) #
I would prefer that Happ be used primarily against LHBs. He has a significant career split (781 OPS against RHBs / 679 OPS against LHBs). I don't have high hopes, though. Using relievers in this way doesn't seem to be Farrell's strong suit.
Ryan Day - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#261168) #
So far I've spoken to 4-5 contacts about Blue Jays Aaron Sanchez. The comps have been anywhere from Matt Garza to Justin Verlander.

I get that Sanchez has fantastic stuff... but neither Garza nor Verlander ever walked 5 batters/9 in the minors. He certainly has time to refine his control, but let's not get crazy about a 19-year-old who has trouble throwing strikes.
Mike Green - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#261169) #
I don't see much improvement in the Arencibia's pitch framing. It is still a long way from quiet and fluid.  His throwing has clearly improved significantly, both subjectively and objectively.

Incidentally, Arencibia's low OBP/high slug offence combination is worth less to the Jays' offence (which tilts the same way) as it would to a league average offence. 

Ryan Day - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#261170) #
Ten days or so of incredible production every two months or so has masked the fact he is just an atrocious hitter. Say you remove his recent hot streak, and his little burst their in mid May...

Well, yes, most players look pretty bad when you take out the times they played well.
uglyone - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#261172) #
yep you're right Oceanbound...."well above average" was a stretch. "above average" is probably more accurate.

and Ryan Day I agree - guys like Verlander and Garza never had the control problems that Sanchez has at the moment.
zeppelinkm - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#261173) #

JPA had a horrible 9 game stretch to open the season.  His OPS over this stretch was .274

Over the next 31 games, he batted .296/.317/.565 (882 OPS)

Over the next 15 games, he posted a .354 OPS.

Over the next 25 games, he posted a .309/.341/.654 (995 OPS).

I think it's really going out of your way to twist this the other way around, and make it feel like it was two lucky hot streaks that are "saving" his overall season numbers. In reality, he's been good over 56 games, and bad over 24 games. Two terrible, terrible slumps have really brought down his overall line. 

That being said, I can't wait to see what D'Arnoud can do.

Ryan Day - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#261174) #
If you want to talk hot and cold streaks, just take a look at Colby Rasmus:

Apr 5 to May 20: 206/283/338
May 21-June 25: 331/373/669
June26-July 26: 173/268/327

Funny enough, as a Blue Jay, Rasmus is hitting 224/283/418, which is pretty close to Arencibia's 224/276/444 career line.
Mike Green - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#261175) #
The streakiness is a red herring.  Arencibia is what he is.  He has 30 homer power, poor plate control and runs poorly.  He swings at 35-40% of pitches outside the zone, and it is very hard to be an above-average hitter doing that (no matter how much power one has).  He does have significant value, as he is, though.  The power in the bat and the now above-average arm speak for themselves. 
uglyone - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#261176) #
the thing is JPA showed he could have a decent eye at the plate.

He had a 7.3bb% as a rookie, following an an 8.3bb% in his final AAA year. Those aren't elite numbers but they are solid BB numbers. This year that's plummeted down to 4.3% which is really weak, and which is more reflective of his first few years in the minors.

This year his BABIP seems to have normalized - .284 this year (a bit low, but probably what we can expect from a flyball hitter like JPA), which is a nice upgrade from his .255babip last year.....which has bumped his average from a bad .219 to a more acceptable .242. If he can somehow manage to pair that bump in average (in the .250ish range) with a return to the 7-8bb% he put up the previous 2 years, then with his power suddenly he becomes a legit quality offensive catcher, with a projected line approaching .250/.315/.475/.790.
hypobole - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#261177) #
The comment I posted about Aaron Sanchez wasn't meant to say he's the next Verlander. I just wanted to point out that despite the middling statlines we see, the scouting community impressions of his raw stuff are the reason he gets rated in the top 25 prospects in baseball. Yeah, there is almost zero chance he'll ever have the command to achieve the success of a Verlander or Garza, but scouts do see a very special arm there.
greenfrog - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#261178) #
Thinking about Aaron Sanchez made me look up another talented SP's sordid history of wildness. So: who walked 4.9 / 9 IP (while averaging 12 Ks) in the minors at age 19, then went on to post the following BB / 9 IP rate during his first five years in the majors: 4.3, 4.8, 3.6, 2.1, 2.4?
greenfrog - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#261179) #
Hint: he would go on to win the Cy Young award during one of those seasons.
zeppelinkm - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#261180) #
Without looking up... is that Clayton Kershaw?

He was always that guy who in the early days of his career was the quintessential "if he could just improve his BB/9 rate he'd be a yearly Cy candidate".

uglyone - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#261182) #
let's compare their numbers (Kershaw is 3.5mos older in these comps):

Age 20

C.Kershaw (AA): 61.1ip, 8.7k/9, 2.8bb/9, 0.0hr/9, 1.91era, 2.21fip
A.Sanchez (A): 71.1ip, 10.4k/9, 5.4bb/9, 0.4hr/9, 2.27era, 3.51fip

Age 19

C.Kershaw (A/AA): 122.0ip, 12.0k/9, 4.9bb/9, 0.7hr/9, 2.95era, 3.19fip
A.Sanchez (Rk/A-): 54.1ip, 9.3k/9, 4.3bb/9, 0.7hr/9, 5.30era, 3.64fip


C.Kershaw (Rk): 37.0ip, 13.1k/9, 1.2bb/9, 0.0hr/9, 1.95era, 0.69fip
A.Sanchez (Rk/ A-): 25.0ip, 13.3k/9, 6.1bb/9, 0.4hr/9, 2.16era, 3.28fip

not sure there's a good comp to be made there. Kershaw's control problems seem to be isolated on that one season. Maybe he was learning a new pitch or something that year.
greenfrog - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#261183) #
Yeah, it's an imperfect comp. But it does provide food for thought. Kershaw was averaging as high as 4.8 BB / 9 IP in his second season in the majors (at age 21). He continued to improve the following year, but it wasn't until his age-23 season that he took a quantum leap forward.
Ryan Day - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#261188) #
I don't know if there's even a point in making comparisons. Some pitchers figure it out, some don't. Some of them get worse. Sanchez could be the next Kershaw,but he could also be the next Ankiel. (minus the hitting part)
zeppelinkm - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#261189) #
Randy Johnson, has to be one of the all time *light goes on* guys in the history of pitching.
Mike Green - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#261190) #
Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Bobby Witt.  You never know what is going to come out of the Cracker Jack box. 
uglyone - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#261192) #
So apparently the Marlins are asking for the top2-3 prospects in any org for Johnson.

depending on what you think of them, our top 3 has to be made up of likely some combo of these 7 - D'Arnaud, Gose, Marisnick, Syndergaard, Sanchez, Nicolino, Norris.

Do you trade 2-3 of those guys for Johnson?

I think I do.
China fan - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#261194) #
If the Marlins are willing to accept 2 or 3 of the top prospects in a poor organization, why should the Jays give up 2 or 3 of the top prospects in one of the best organizations in baseball?

Anyway it obviously depends on the combination and the numbers, but I'd much rather give up Gose and Nicolino (for example) than d'Arnaud, Sanchez and Syndergaard. Maybe even toss in Hechavarria along with Gose and Nicolino to get back Johnson. But I wouldn't allow the Marlins to pick any 3 of the top Jays prospects.
zeppelinkm - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#261195) #
Agreed, I think CF makes a very good point. The top 3 prospects in any organization are certainly not all interchangeable.

Johnson has ace stuff, for sure. Or at least close to it. He had a two year run as a 25/26 year old where he threw 209 and 183 innings, respectively, of dominant ball.  He should finish this year over 200 IP.  I thought for sure his age 26 year would have been BAbip driven, but it definitely was not (.301 BABip against that year - .307 career mark). In fact, if anything, he's been hit unlucky this year with a .342 BAbip against.

Since his low point this year (6.61 ERA after his 6th start) he has made 14 more starts with an ERA of 3.26, 88 IP, 79K's, and 23bb. It certainly looks like he's back in form.  He'll begin next year as a 29 year old. Is he a low 3 guy, or a sub 3 guy?

What do you offer for him?

D'Arnoud would be the least likely prospect I'd trade. But I'd offer one of our CF prospects (Jake or Anthony), and one of our younger P prospects (can we sell them on Norris?), as a starting point and see what they come back with.
Mike Green - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#261196) #
You want to avoid Bartolo Colon, 2002, v. 2.

Johnson's line-drive rate is way up this year, and his IFFB rate is way down.  His K rate is down below 8.  His fastball velocity is off a couple of mph and he is throwing significantly fewer of them, and many more curveballs. It seems to me that you are best thinking of him as a very good pitcher (4 WAR) rather than a Cy Young candidate (6 WAR).  For comparison, Austin Jackson wasn't really a significantly better prospect than Gose is now when the Yankees included him in the Granderson trade. Jackson was a 4 WAR player his first year.  That doesn't mean that the Yankees made a bad trade, of course. 

uglyone - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#261198) #
D'Arnaud's the toughest one to give up for sure, but even he's not a no-doubter. None of our prospects are true blue-chippers, IMO, and we have a lot of younger similarly high end talent layered below that top layer. And, of course, most prospects bust....even the good ones. What are the chances that any of our prospects becomes as good as Johnson?

But agreed, Mike, that we can't view him as a Cy guy. More just a solid top of the rotation guy.

I'd like to capitalize on our excellent high-end-but-not-blue-chip prospect depth to get a legit upper-rotation SP, I think.
greenfrog - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#261199) #
I think Johnson would be a nice addition, but there is a huge difference in controllability between JJ and, say, Latos or Gio. I don't think you trade a big haul of prospects for essentially one year of contention (2013) and the possibility of a draft pick when he becomes a FA. I might give up Nicolino and a couple of lesser prospects (i.e., in the Woj/Musgrove/Perez tier). The Jays' focus still needs to be long-term.
92-93 - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#261204) #
In 27 of Arencibia's 76 starts, he didn't have a hit. In 6 of those hitless games, he had a walk. In 12 of the games Arencibia had a hit, it was a lonely single without an RBI or BB attached.

I'm pretty sure if you break down every player they will have many seemingly "worthless" games as well. But the above confirms what to me what I thought I've seen over the course of the season - in over half of the games Arencibia plays he seems to have very little effect on its outcome, and his defense probably tilts it to the negative side.

I don't know why a pitcher would ever throw Arencibia a pitch on the inner half. ESPN insiders can see the stats for JP's hitting zones, and he's horrendous on any pitch thrown in any of the 3 outer quadrants. He's extremely successful on middle and middle in pitches, and average on middle down and down in. So in other words, he's the very definition of a mistake hitter.

I wouldn't hesitate to include Arencibia in a package for a solid talent that could help this team going forward. Even if d'Arnaud & Gomes don't work out I think the value Arencibia provides is easily replaceable. I'm a big fan of Alan Ashby but I think Arencibia is the one area where he's consistently fooled. He's been very impressed by JP's improved effort blocking balls this year but that really doesn't tell the whole story. I still see a catcher who is incredibly bad at receiving the ball, constantly stabbing at pitches and turning pitches with strike potential into balls because of his constant movements behind the plate.

scottt - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#261205) #
Toronto hasn't had a catcher who was significantly above average in a long time. It's not like everyone else in the division as an all-star behind the plate like they use to either.
grjas - Friday, July 27 2012 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#261217) #
The other trade bait option is Rasmus. He may have more appeal than Gose having proven himself- a bit inconsistently- in the majors. He's not much older than the top talent in the high minors And the head case rap seems to have disappeared since he joined the Jays.

Hate to lose him, but top of the rotation pitchers are expensive and we have some good options behind him
BlueJayWay - Saturday, July 28 2012 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#261261) #
You would be able to knock me over with a feather if the Jays traded Rasmus.  I think he's someone AA really wanted, and he got him fairly cheaply.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 28 2012 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#261266) #
Couple of recent tweets from Kevin Goldstein on Aaron Sanchez:

Kevin Goldstein ‏@Kevin_Goldstein
Current stuff with projection. RT @KennedyMLB: @Kevin_Goldstein @MikeCuri What has impressed scouts most about Sanchez this year

Kevin Goldstein ‏@Kevin_Goldstein
Like most everything, talking to scouts. RT @MikeCuri: @Kevin_Goldstein What has rocketed Aaron Sanchez up your list?
TamRa - Saturday, July 28 2012 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#261270) #
"You would be able to knock me over with a feather if the Jays traded Rasmus. I think he's someone AA really wanted, and he got him fairly cheaply."

Agreed. I actually still think Gose is the one who's bound to be dealt. Unless snider goes completely off the cliff, or there's a major injury, I think Snider/Rasmus/Bautista endures until Marisnick is ready to try to break it up. And maybe by then Bautista becomes the DH or something if Marisnick presses hard enough. (assuming he pans out of course)
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