Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
I'm enjoying this, even as I feel the collective wisdom of the readership leaning on me to revise some planned grades upward.

We'll see whether you can move me!

Let's begin our trek through the lineup with the starting catcher and infielders. Your thoughts on the work submitted by:

J.P. Arencibia
Adam Lind
Kelly Johnson
Yunel Escobar
Brett Lawrie.

Blue Jays Report Card: Second Preliminary | 32 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#263206) #
J.P. Arencibia: B, he has really recovered after a horrid April (513 OPS then, 800 since). OPS+ a career high at 93. Not up to the levels we hope for (100+ OPS+) but showing hope. His defense appears stronger as well from what I've been reading (catchers very hard to judge).

Adam Lind: F, was removed from 40 man at one point (586 OPS then), hit well for awhile before getting hurt (850 OPS over 86 PA), now back to early season 'hitting' with a 605 OPS over 49 PA. Without long term deal should've been released. Might still need to be let go.

Kelly Johnson: D-, worst OPS+ in his career at 82, looks even worse when you factor in his hot start. On May 28th he was at 805 for OPS, since he is at 596. Ugh. The hot start keeps him above an F...for now.

Yunel Escobar: D-, would be an F except for his defense. 74 OPS+ easily his worst ever. Nearly at 700 for OPS since May 1st, which is endurable but not what was expected. His option years are at risk if he doesn't recover next year.

Brett Lawrie: B-, injury woes and a 98 OPS+ keep him low - another kid you would be happy with that from but his expectations are high thus his score reflects that. His defense has been amazing, otherwise I'd put him at a C range. How much of that is him and how much is coaches is hard to say.
Oceanbound - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#263207) #
Arencibia: C
Average with the bat, below average to average defence. Just an average player.

Lind: F
Even with his occasional hot hitting, he's somehow managed to hit even worse than he did in 2010. If you can't do anything besides hit, and your hitting is terrible, you're... not good. Lind's wRC+ through the years:

2007 - 72
2008 - 96
2009 - 139
2010 - 89
2011 - 95
2012 - 83


Johnson: D
Has been a strikeout machine, and his weak bat can't be propped up by his below average defense.

Escobar: D
"Below average" is sort of putting it kindly, as he's been one of the worst qualifying shortstops in the majors. His bat has been worse than Johnson's, but he's played good defense. He's done enough to escape an E I think.

Lawrie: B
League average bat with good defense is a pretty good showing from a young player still finding his way.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#263209) #

J.P. Arencibia was better this year, but can not be evauated this year on such a small sample size.  Any decision on him occurs next offseason, not this one.

Adam Lind was better this year, I just don't think he can stay healthy enough to matter, if he's fulltime 1B.

Kelly Johnson was disappointing, but not that bad.   He just did nothing to show he's worth keeping.

Yunel Escobar was OK, but that is disappointing because more is expected.  There's no reason to think he'll not be better next year.

Brett Lawrie must show he's capable of playing more than 120 G in a year (or no long term contract).   The pitchers, as they always do, were adjusting to him.   He needs to adjust his game to them (and stay ahead).   He did not disappoint.  


whiterasta80 - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#263211) #

Am I the only one who really thinks he has another gear? He's already close to league average but I think he will be a top 10 guy soon.

Lind F-

We need to stop letting 2 week streaks guide our decisions on this guy. Cooper should have replaced him full time by May.


He was worth a dice roll but he came up craps. Defense isnt good enough to justify any thought of extending.

Yunel C-

Without defense this is a D-, but really if thats true why are we not just commiting to Hech? Bat may be coming around so perhaps there was an underlying injury.

Lawrie B-

Close to what I expected with fewer HRs but better AVG and Defense. Encouraging for a sophmore year.
AWeb - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#263214) #
J.P. Arencibia - D+. Offense that comes and goes, defensively he is just brutal. Everything aside from throwing out runners he seems to be noticeably bad at. He seems unnatural at framing pitches, blocking pitches. He's a decent hitter, but since the primary job of a catcher is to be good at catching, I mark him down severely. And his bat doesn't play anywhere else right now. Maybe he just can't hanfdle the physical wear and tear, which is only made worse by his lack of natural catching ability. Unlike everyone else on the infield, he did have a notable hot stretch (notable not just against his own established crummy level) at the plate at one point this year.

Adam Lind - F. He has one job - hit. I don't care about nagging injuries that have lasted for years, or the occasional hot streak. He's a bad hitter with little defensive value taking up roster and payroll space.

Kelly Johnson - D. At least he started well, and his defense appears to be perfectly acceptable. Has mostly stopped doing anything at the plate, with only the few hot weeks in May holding his line near respectable.

Yunel Escobar - C-. Defense again good, at least he's been consistent at the plate. Of course, that means he's been bad all year. Hasn't had a month above a .715 OPS yet.

Brett Lawrie- C. Defense has been amazing, especially considering he's only been there two years. Offense has regressed - he's been off balance on his front foot much of the year, and stopped taking walks. He's seemed emminently coachable in the past, so I hope he can be fixed and return to something better than this. At least he's still young.

Overall Infield- defense - B+ (brought down by Arencibia), offense - F.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#263215) #

J.P. Arencibia - C+    providing above average offense and below average defence from the position.  Seems about average.

Adam Lind  - D    I still think he can be a decent hitter, but will never be healthy enough.

Kelly Johnson - D-    Ugghhly contact rates; defence has been a little disappointing this year

Yunel Escobar - C+    Offense has been poor, but might have some influence from bad luck....defence has been excellent

Brett Lawrie - B-    Defence has been very good, offence good enough for a 22-year-old

Mike Green - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#263218) #
Arencibia: C-
Lind: : F
Johnson: D
Escobar: C
Lawrie: B

Arencibia- average offence, good arm, below average in other respects defensively
Lind- could be decent if used as DH/PH against RHPs only
Johnson - obvious
Escobar- disappointing obviously, but he's still an average player, with the D at shortstop
Lawrie- disappointing obviously, but he's still an above-average player, with the D at third base

CeeBee - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#263220) #
Arencibia C+ Defense holds him back
Lind F nuff said already
Johnson C- Neither stands out at offense or defense.
Escobar C+ Defense is bailing him out for now
Lawrie B Defense is A, offense needs to and should get better.
John Northey - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#263221) #
Interesting to see how low most are ranking JPA. I think his horrid April really biased the results.

Via Baseball-Reference we get for JPA a 1.0 WAR defensively. FanGraphs gives him 2.8 defensively vs a -11 for last year (runs, not wins) valuing his season (so far) at $7.7 million despite the injuries. Baseball Prospectus has him at 0.1 FRAA (fielding runs above average).

So 3 major stat sites and all 3 rate his 2012 as average or slightly above average defensively. I cannot find a site that lists pitch framing to date (anyone have a good source?) so I cannot speak on that part. Still, I think this is noteworthy for a guy who can only be ranked poorly based on his defense to be ranked average.

JPA I see as a solid average catcher all-around. Decent offense, decent defense, much like many Jay catchers of the past. Also remember, since that horrid April he has hit 254/291/509 for an 800 OPS which, for a catcher, is extremely good. I'd like it if he'd learn to take a walk but that power is enough to compensate I'd say.
jerjapan - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#263222) #
I agree with pretty much all the scores above.  I do keep thinking a Lind / Davis platoon for DH would be a pretty solid option (given that we are stuck with Lind's salary) for next year, assuming we get ourselves a real LF (Victorino!) in free agency.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#263223) #

Bravo, John.

I agree.

rafael - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#263225) #
J.P. Arencibia: C strike outs much. needs a different two strike strategy
Adam Lind F( before demotion) C- (after). Buys himself one last look.
Kelly Johnson D - and I would take Hech over KJ in 2013
Yunel Escobar - C+ bat had cold year but defence excellent. Please Keep him.
Brett Lawrie. - C + OK but expect more
lexomatic - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#263226) #
people are downgrading him for his non-existent plate discipline.
I don't know if JPA will EVER get a .300+ OBP.
He has power, he's improving as a hitter and fielder. He's still mediocre at all of those things, and eminently replaceable.
He could put it all together one year and hit .260 with 30 homers and a .310 obp. But that's his ceiling.
Most likely he hits something in the 225-240 range with about 20 HRs depending how much he plays.
That doesn't do enough to help a team unless you're in the top few fielders in the league at a given position.

The grades have been pretty consistent.
Lind F
Johnson D
Escobar D+/C- (sometimes you run out of time to balance out the luck, and what you are left with is a bad season)
Lawrie B

John Northey - Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#263228) #
I'm thinking people here have too high an expectation for a catcher if a guy with JP's skills (93 OPS+, decent defense) is not enough to be a catcher with a contender.

Back when the Jays were winning we had...
Ernie Whitt: 104-120 OPS+, about a 33% CS rate, never viewed as a top defensive catcher

Pat Borders: 75-120 OPS+ (the 120 was a fluke in 1990, the one year they didn't make the playoffs from 89-93 otherwise he peaked at 85 as a regular). During WS years he was throwing out around 31-35% of baserunners.

Neither amazing, Border worse with the bat than JPA, Whitt better but had a mediocre defensive rep ala JPA. Clearly a catcher who plays at JPA's level can be the catcher on a playoff contender as it happened here. JPA would rank below Whitt (who did have a good OBP) but above Borders unless you feel Borders was amazing defensively. He is similar to past Jay everyday catchers like Buck, Molina, Barajas - guys you can replace but who are solid bottom of the order hitters who don't embarrass you defensively. C+/B- level player.

d'Arnaud could be better, could be worse. I like the idea of cutting Lind loose and mixing d'Arnaud/JPA/Mathis next year giving JPA/d'Arnaud a lot of DH/1B time. Might help both improve with the bat, and they can hardly hit worse than Lind did this year - odds are they'll both hit at least as well as Lind has for all but one season and if it helps get both their offensive games improved and keep both healthy maybe it is worthwhile. If one sucks you can always send him down.
Craig B - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 12:21 AM EDT (#263231) #
Arencibia: C. Must learn to catch the ball before he can go higher. Struck out in 28% of his PAs. One word summation: Unreliable.

Lind: D-. It can't be sugarcoated anymore: he's a bad platoon player. Awful defensive player, possibly harmed by poor confidence from the bat. One word summation: Flappy.

Johnson: C+. A far better second baseman than advertised. Would greatly benefit from getting a consistent lineup spot and a proper sense of what to do. Hit very well in the 2 slot, where his patient game is meant to play. One word summation: Talent.

Escobar: C. His offense went in the toilet but he made a lot of plays. Would have been an A player if he hit like last year. Making a lot of contact but not getting results, might turn it around with a new approach or coach. One word summation: Slept.

Lawrie: B+. Did what was expected. Probably could have dinged him back to a B on conduct issues, but decided to leave it. Bright red ass bound to land him in very serious trouble soon. Was never going to match 2011 numbers but hit decently well. Must be more careful that his hell-for-leather-drink-another-Red-Bull approach doesn't leak over into his at bats, which it tended to do. One word summation: Franchise.
Oceanbound - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#263233) #
Clearly a catcher who plays at JPA's level can be the catcher on a playoff contender as it happened here.

That's true, except many parts of the team would have to be improved to make the team a playoff contender in the first place. One of those parts might be Arencibia himself. As it is he is serviceable, but that's about it.
greenfrog - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#263235) #
Is Adam Lind still considered a starting infielder?
Magpie - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#263238) #
Is Adam Lind still considered a starting infielder?

Simply for the sake of organizing these preliminaries, I'm going with the Opening Day lineup and building from there. So subsequent installments will cover: outfielders/DH; bench; starters; relievers; and, finally, Replacements.

That last one may be a two-parter!
John Northey - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#263239) #
Agreed that JPA is 'serviceable'. As I mentioned, he can be replaced as the Jays have had many guys just like him at costs of sub-$5 mil iirc. He isn't an all-star but he also isn't a no-star nor is he good enough (potential wise) to make you keep d'Arnaud or another top prospect in the minors an extra year or two (remembered how Bill James was in extreme head shaking mode about Alfredo Griffin being a reason for Tony Fernandez being left in the minors in '83 and a part timer in '84).

What the Jays need going forward is to keep chasing super-quality (Lawrie for example), finding gems in the rough like Encarnacion and Bautista, and to fill other slots with guys like JPA who won't drag you down. Lind is a 'drag you down' guy, JPA is not.
Moe - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#263240) #
keep d'Arnaud or another top prospect in the minors an extra year or two

Two years is too much but with all his time lost to injury, I have no problem going into 2013 with JPA/Mathis and waiting for d'Arnaud to force their hand or September.

What the Jays need going forward is to keep chasing super-quality (Lawrie for example), finding gems in the rough like Encarnacion and Bautista, and to fill other slots with guys like JPA who won't drag you down. Lind is a 'drag you down' guy, JPA is not.

Of course, finding gems means taking risks. So at times you will have guys on the roster dragging you down because they didn't work out.

Richard S.S. - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#263242) #

1) Jose Bautista (RF) is an All Star.  Edwin Encarnacion (1B) should be an All Star.  Brett Lawrie (3B) will be an All Star.  They will be the heart of this Team's offense, being of All Star caliber talent.  No other batter is, or will be, an All Star, and that includes Travis d'Arnaud, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra.

2) Colby Rasmus (CF), Yunel Escobar (SS) and J.P.Arencibia (C) are good, serviceable, complimentary pieces - the 'meat and potatoes' - of any team.  They will always be a necessary part of this Team.

3) Left Field, Second Base and Designated Hitter need to be better than replacement value.  They can be 'meat and potatoes' types or they can be All Stars, just be better than they have been.

Bona fide Hall of Famers are very rare and hard to find, but make their presence known, young.  All Stars make their presence known,at any time, with their consistency.  The positions listed in 3), must be upgraded to 2) or 1), as they are acquired.  The positions listed in 2) can be upgraded to 1) if possible, but what's the rush?

Travis d'Arnaud should spend most, if not all, of 2013 in AAA.  He must prove he's not injury-prone.  Baring any offseason acquisitions, Adeiny Hechavarria may play 2B next year, while one of Anthony Gose or Moises Sierra plays LF.   After all, Starting pitching is the priority.

John Northey - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#263244) #
Oh exactly - Lind fits that as he has shown potential thus I was in favour of giving him a shot to start the season. By mid-May it was clear he was done, so the Jays sent him to AAA and he was removed from the 40 man roster. He tore apart AAA for awhile thus one last chance - did OK pre-injury (288/337/513 over 86 PA) but returned to his old ways once back from the injury (235/264/294 over 53 PA). As always, Lind teases for awhile then flops. Entering his age 29 season next year I'd lean towards releasing him as I figure he is at the point Hill was last year - a change is needed for him to ever produce and even then he might just keep this routine up (1 good month surrounded by 5 bad ones). He is the type of player AA likes to chase down ala Rasmus/Escobar/Encarnacion/Bautista - guys who have worn out their welcome somewhere but have tons of talent and potential. Sadly, guys like that normally do need to move to get to the levels one hopes for. $8.5 million owed to Lind if released, but might be better to cut the losses than to keep giving him playing time. I expect AA to try to find another teams headache and see if he can do a headache for headache trade in the hopes it works out.
hypobole - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#263252) #
Lind is "only" owed $7 million if released after this season $5 million in salary for 2013 and $2 million buyout for the '14 option. The '15 and '16 buyouts are voided if the 2014 option isn't picked up.
Shaker - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#263258) #
Can Lind be stashed in AAA in 2013 as he was briefly in 2012?

If so that creates some roster flexibility - in effect giving us a 26-man roster.

Or does he have the ability to request free agency/refuse assignment once he clears waivers?

Can someone clarify for me?  Thanks

Magpie - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#263261) #
After 2012, Lind is definitely out of options (2007, 2008, 2012 were his option years. What does that mean? (I can no longer remember all this arcana!) They'd have to DFA him, and wait for him to clear waivers? I dunno. Why bother?
Original Ryan - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#263263) #
They'd have to DFA him, and wait for him to clear waivers?

Correct. If he cleared waivers, the Blue Jays could then outright him to the minors, just as they did earlier this year. Lind could choose to become a free agent, but he'd forfeit the remainder of his contract by doing so (and it's highly unlikely he'd be willing to do that).

In other words: Yes, the Blue Jays could stick Lind in AAA next year if they wanted to.

Mike Green - Monday, September 10 2012 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#263265) #
Why bother?

Well, if you are going to use a 12 man pitching staff, you don't have any room for a player of Lind's current abilities.  And with all those relievers acquired in the trades, 12 pitchers on the roster in 2013 looks to be a minimum!  Awesome. 
Gerry - Tuesday, September 11 2012 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#263289) #

J.P. Arencibia - C ...... league average

Adam Lind - D- ..... not a productive first baseman or DH.  Has nothing to contribute except for his bat

Kelly Johnson - D ..... well below average production

Yunel Escobar - C ..... poor offense compensated by strong defense, other than when he is on the back end of a DP

Brett Lawrie - C ..... average year at face value, with time missed.  Hopefully it sets him up for an improved 2013

Shaker - Tuesday, September 11 2012 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#263296) #
Thanks O Ryan.  Given that Lind is a sunk cost and of no interest to other teams, he clearly belongs at AAA as the LHB DH for 2013.  This creates minor issues with regards to Cooper and McDade but A.A. could smooth these over. 

Lind in AAA allows the big club to pursue a "true" LHB cleanup hitter to balance out our RHB-heavy lineup.  Papi is the natural solution - but only if he wants to leave Boston.
Hafner is the low-cost solution and with Cooper and Lind in AAA, Pronk's injury issues become less difficult to manage.  Papi figures to land a two year deal in the $25-30M range, but Pronk would presumably come in under $5M a season (and possibly much lower).  While the difference in salary is nearly as wide as the difference in production, I think either bat would be a positive addition to our lineup.

Pronk's OBP/OPS vs RHP in 2012: .366/.807 and from '09-11: .387/.870.  Wouldn't that look nice surrounded by Jose and EE, in a platoon with JPA?

Sure Papi, Josh H and Morneau would do better but I'd rather put the $10M+ savings (if forced to choose) into a starting pitcher.

greenfrog - Tuesday, September 11 2012 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#263299) #
I wouldn't mind the Jays taking Willingham off the Twins' hands in the off-season. He's under contract for two more years at a reasonable rate and (apart from the fact that he would be another RHB in the middle of the order) would be an ideal DH and sometime left fielder. He could put up huge numbers in the RC.

Easier said than done, of course. I imagine Terry Ryan is going to receive a lot of calls about Willingham and Morneau this off-season.
scottt - Thursday, September 13 2012 @ 06:49 AM EDT (#263362) #
JP Arencibia C

Just Power is what you get.

Lind E

At this point he should be tried as a bench guy. Should still be able to play LF.

Johnson E

I am hoping he's not returning. Maybe we should just try platooning a couple of utility guys and add someone midyear if it's worth it.

Yunnel D

Let's hope he bounces back.

Lawrie B

Health is a minor concern.

Blue Jays Report Card: Second Preliminary | 32 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.