Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
What a week | 195 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 13 2015 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#298244) #
Check out the heated competition for the first base job:
Barton: 091/200/091
Smoak: 056/227/056

It's only a week into spring training, but those are pretty ugly numbers. "Designated Hitter Dioner Navarro" isn't looking so bad after all.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 13 2015 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#298245) #
Just remember that DH Dioner Navarro will almost certain mean Edwin Encarnacion going to the D.L., possibly out for the season. As nice as it would be to keep Navarro, playing Edwin at First means poorer Defense and issues with his back fairly soon. Keeping Edwin at DH might keep him playing longer before the back issue arrives.

At First Base, better defense than Encarnacion might provide is necessary, but keeping the best hitter with good defense might be more of a challenge. As First Baseman go so far:
Matt Hague: .444 .500 .556
Chris Colabello: .294 .294 .529
They are better, but still not what we need. Until this gets into the last 8-10 games, with no one taking the job, I'm not worried.
Mike Green - Friday, March 13 2015 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#298246) #
Navarro as a regular DH is a pretty poor option.  He hits poorly for a DH and runs even worse.  And it means that the club has Encarnacion at first base where he is a defensive liability.  If Barton and Smoak are both clearly not fit for an opportunity, the club would have to give serious consideration to moving Bautista to first base. 

It is early days yet. 
katman - Friday, March 13 2015 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#298247) #
Colabello isn't looking too bad: .250 / .450 / .700. But yeah, it would be really nice if Smoak would start to hit. So far, none of the multiple possibilities here are panning out.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 13 2015 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#298249) #
On the Baseball Game this morning/early afternoon, Buck Martinez did say there were 20 more Spring Training games left to play. I think that's more than enough time to decide that Norris and Sanchez are the 4th and 5th Starters. That's the way it looks now and it's unlikely to change. In the Broadcast it was said that Brett Cecil would get about six appearances before Season's Start. Other than Cecil, Loup and Estrada, decisions here might go to the final few games. Another LHP is needed. Two big RHP power arms must be added. The final two spots could be anyone at this time.

Another 7-10 games should have hitters far enough along to know what we have. Until then, any decisions might be premature.
John Northey - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#298250) #
very early still.  Stats are up at
  • Thole is off to a hot start, 400/500/500 in 12 PA.  9.1 quality against
  • Navarro forgot which end of the bat to use - 200/273/300
  • Travis doing OK 261/292/304 against 8.8 quality.
  • Goins against the same quality has done better 313/353/438
  • 3 spring ivities are determined to make an impression with 1000+ OPS: Santiago, Ramon, Hague, Matt, Kawasaki, Munenori  all facing 8's in quality.
  • Izturis is blowing it: 000/222/000
  • Smith Jr., Dwight doing well in his 7 PA vs ML quality 9.9 429/429/571 - could be a fast riser this year.
  • Gindl, Caleb is another NRI who is doing well 412/500/824 in 20 PA 8.8 quality of opponent.
  • Race for slots 4/5 is Norris 7.36 ERA (ick) in 3 2/3 IP.  Sanchez 4.15 in 4 1/3, Estrada 15.43 ERA in 4 2/3 - all 3 should be happy there is a lot of spring to go
  • Francis, Jeff is trying hard to make it - 12 BF just 3 reached vs 4 K's.  just a 7.3 quality of oppenent though.
  • Albers, Andrew is another NRI who has faced 10 batterswith just 4 reaching 0 ERA
  • Copeland, Scott 10 faced, 2 reached
  • Castro, Miguel 13 faced, 2 hits, 2 K's.

It'll be interesting to look at those numbers in another week.

FYI: quality against: 9-10 =  ML, 8 = AAA 7=AA, 5=A+, and so on....
acepinball - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#298252) #
Those stats are definitely incomplete.

Izturis hit a double yesterday, and to my eye test has looked pretty good. He's going to be a soft hitter, I'd be surprised if he gets into double digits in XBH. But his defense has looked good and his approach has seemed fine. He could get back to his Angels .330 OBP/decent defender. Which would be just fine.

Also, Sanchez was very good yesterday, but gets dinged for a few hits that wouldn't add up to a first down.

Best part about spring so far has been watching Martin pitch frame. His glove doesn't move as the pitch comes into the zone. HUGE improvement from 'Latino Cartman'. Gonna be a treat to watch.
John Northey - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#298253) #
I think the stats are before yesterday's game.  Says something about spring stats how they can change significantly in one game.  Spring is not a good time for evaluations.  I'm sure the Jays have plans for each position pre-spring and all this is about is getting guys in shape and seeing how guys that haven't seen ML pitching or who are new to the organization do. 
Maldoff - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#298254) #
Is it bad that I've kind of given up on this season already? Yes, Stroman's injury did it for me...
eudaimon - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#298255) #
Ya it's bad. Let yourself dream a little bit, jeez louise. Try fantasizing about the miraculous comeback of Johan Santana, ROY Daniel Norris, and our likely potent offense.
bpoz - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#298256) #
I am with Maldoff. We needed Stroman. We need a lot from our offensive stars EE, JB, Martin, Reyes & Donaldson. They have to stay healthy & produce.
If they do, will we get to 90 wins or will we be dragged down by the many question marks on the team, such as the youth and the hope of the bounce back players. I feel Norris & Sanchez and other talented pitchers will contribute eventually but maybe not immediately. They as well as Pompey, Pillar & Travis need their adjustment time. I feel that Izturis, Valencia & Smoak among other candidates will have to produce. I look upon the baseball season as a grind to get to Sept 1 in a competitive position.

There is a lot of opportunity for many players this season.
jerjapan - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#298257) #
It's pretty easy to get discouraged as a Toronto sports fan.  I saw an article a few years back (forgot the source) that had us as the worst city in North America for sports fans - considering team success and cost of the game experience.  TFC, the Leafs fiasco, the Raps (although they've been darn fun for the last year plus) ... lots of dashed hopes.

Not to mention that the Dome is a mediocre venue with fake grass, some killjoy staff and overpriced, mediocre concessions. Throw the losing seasons and playoff drought into the mix and I get it - I'm not at all optimistic this year, and I was pre-stroman injury.

But than again, all that young talent on the horizon ....

fun reading at blue jays from away as Jay Blue breaks down projected rosters for our top 4 minor league affiliates - a great refresher on the various prospects, org soldiers and minor league vets in the system.  He mentions Caleb Grindl as a darkhorse to make the big league team given his spring training thus far (SSS warning).    Any Bauxites want to weigh in on Grindl and his skill set / chances?  Any other spring training dark horses people have an eye on?

Parker - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#298258) #
I'm not at the point of already having given up, but the way I see it:

-giant hole at 1B
-giant hole at 2B
-huge question marks in the outfield other than RF (or the entire outfield if Bautista somehow ends up at 1B)
-only two known quantities in the rotation (unless you count Estrada as a known quantity, which makes the outlook worse rather than better)
-most of the bullpen is a question mark as well
-poor depth all over the diamond other than at C (which becomes poor depth all over if Navarro is traded for RP)

The top five in the order will rake, no question, but overall it looks like a season where everything has to go right for them to have a shot at contending. It's not hopeless, but when has everything ever gone right for this franchise since 1992-93?
uglyone - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#298259) #
I wonder what teams you guys are comparing us to when you talk about "giant holes", "no depth" and "huge question marks".

JB21 - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#298260) #
A) Luckily as a Jays fan it doesn't necessarily mean you have to like the other Toronto sports teams.

B) The Dome is not even close to as you describe. It's not a bad place for a baseball game, especially on a warm summer night with the dome open. The location is amazing. Grab a tall can and stand out in the CF "patio" with a couple buddies and enjoy baseball for what it is, fun. Note: I've been to almost every MLB stadium, so speaking from experience.

C) So much doom and Gloom and it's March 14. Obviously it sucks that Stroman is out but if you're going to give up on the season in March, you should probably stop watching Baseball. Baseball IS going to break your heart, but the beauty of baseball is when you lose, you play the next day. Every day is game day, and there's a long line of kids in the minors waiting to get that opportunity to pitch in 2015 and beyond.
scottt - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#298261) #
Career average year for every starting pitcher would not be a disaster.

I still have no idea who's in the pen in 3 weeks.

uglyone - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#298262) #
for the record, all the projections still have the jays as one of the better teams even without stroman.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#298263) #
I think the Jays should be an interesting team to follow in 2015, but I imagine the projection systems now have them down for something like 81-83 wins. I guess that makes them one of the better teams in baseball, but it does leave room for improvement. And there likely isn't going to be much, if any, cash to spend this summer. The Jays are going to need a good run of health and luck from here on out, I think.
John Northey - Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#298264) #
The big trick is for the kids to come through in a big way much like we had in '83-85 with Moseby/Bell/Barfield/Upshaw/Fernandez all coming through along with Jimmy Key in the rotaiton and Tom Henke in the pen.  Kids we need to breakthrough ala that gang are...
Pompey, Travis, Norris, Sanchez, maybe Pillar and a couple others out of nowhere to fill the pen.  Ideally someone to take the Henke role.

uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 01:03 AM EDT (#298265) #
last two years:

SS Reyes 1074pa, 107wrc+
C Martin 966pa, 120wrc+
RF Bautista 1201pa, 148wrc+
DH Encarnacion 1163pa, 147wrc+
3B Donaldson 1363pa, 138wrc+
LF Saunders 731pa, 109wrc+
1B Smoak 797pa, 100wrc+
2B Travis ---
CF Pompey 43pa, 104wrc+

UT Valencia 454pa, 106wrc+
OF Pillar 232pa, 74wrc+
IF Izturis 437pa, 64wrc+
C Navarro 786pa, 111wrc+

UT Viciedo 1036pa, 91wrc+ / Tolleson 189pa, 90wrc+
OF Gindl 178pa, 104wrc+ / Dirks 484pa, 89rc+
IF Kawasaki 563pa, 77wrc+ / Santiago 448pa, 77wrc+
C Thole 285pa, 55wrc+ / Jimenez ---


Hutchison 184.2ip, 3.59siera
Dickey 440.1ip, 4.09siera
Buehrle 405.2ip, 4.20siera
Estrada 235.0ip, 3.71siera
Redmond 69.1ip, 3.59siera
Hendriks 62.1ip, 4.74siera

Jenkins 15.0ip, 4.97siera
Norris 3.1ip, 6.76siera
Sanchez ---

As RP:

Cecil 114.0ip, 2.60siera
Loup 138.0ip, 3.19siera
Delabar 84.1ip, 3.42siera
Redmond 82.2ip, 3.99siera
Sanchez 33.0ip, 2.53siera
Estrada 43.2ip, 3.56siera
Jenkins 50.0ip, 3.59siera
Hendriks 17.2ip, 2.61siera
Rasmussen 11.1ip, 3.69siera
Guilmet 15.2ip, 3.72siera

West 4.0ip, 2.80siera
Barnes 8.2ip, 2.85siera
Schultz 8.0ip, 3.44siera
Drabek 5.1ip, 3.47siera
Hynes 17.0ip, 4.46siera
Norris 3.1ip, 5.34siera

we don't really need any miracle breakthroughs to be a good team.
Lylemcr - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 03:05 AM EDT (#298266) #
I watched Sanchez and Norris' last outings. They have crazy good stuff. I am more impressed by Norris. His stuff isn't as good, but he seems to have great composure on the mound.

Sanchez was sawing off those bats.

I was most impressed with Osuna. That kid seems destined for something. I

Is Gindl going to be our 4th outfielder? He sure looks like it today.

On another note, I was surprised that Bryant had surpassed Buxton as the number one prospect. Ahem... Oh yeah. The Cubs have a good one there. They have some crazy good young players coming up. They just need a couple more pitchers and they will be back.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#298267) #
Losing Stroman was a body blow no doubt but we can't give up on the season before it even starts.There's several very exciting youngsters in Sanchez, Norris, Pompey and maybe even Castro, two great additions in Donaldson and Martin, and, best of all, we don't have to look at Adam Lind's goat beard any more.I know there are question marks at some positions but I'm still looking forward to opening day and beyond.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#298268) #
Health and luck is my new mantra for 2015.

Health, for obvious reasons.

Luck, because sometimes lucky teams prevail over good ones (like Baltimore in 2012 (+7 run differential, 93-69 record and a WC berth) versus TB that year (+120 run differential, a 90-72 record and a third-place finish).

In 2008, the Jays had a +104 run differential - better than division-winning TB - and by far the best run prevention in the league, but finished 86-76 and well off the WC pace.
bpoz - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#298269) #
Thanks greenfrog for suggesting that 81-83 wins makes that team one of the better ones. I am very sincere & grateful that you put a number on the board. Your 86 wins for the 2008 team is also a number.
Everyone's opinion is equally important and valuable to me. I consider that respect even if we disagree.
Cito returned in 2008 for most of the season, in 2010 the team won 85 games. The 2009 team was a bad team only winning 75 games. The 2008 team managed by Cito, not Gibbons, may have a 90 win, winning percent based on the math. If it is a 90 win team then it qualifies as a good team.

So 90+ is good, 85 is mediocre and 80- is bad. This is my personal evaluation scale, roughly speaking.
The 2010 team won 85 games. However very few if any expected this. I believe AA did not expect 85 wins as well, but that is just my opinion.

In 2010 there was only 1 WC team, Boston with 95 wins. A mediocre Twins team made the playoffs with 87 wins.I think that the 2010 Jays team could have won more than 87 games. Still no playoffs. M Valdez, J Accardo and D Eveland made the team as rebound projects for AA's asset acquisition plans. There were other team building moves made by AA that Cito did not buy into. JPA joined the team late that year and received less playing time than anticipated by many. Cito calls the shots regarding playing time.

IMO Cito and AA did not have the same goals for the 2010 team. Beeston, IMO kept the peace by supporting both Cito & AA. There was no negative press regarding them, Beeston, and also I found both Cito & AA to be class acts.

China fan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#298270) #
The Jays have announced that Kevin Pillar injured his oblique while sneezing.  This follows the news that Saunders got injured by stepping on a buried sprinkler head, and Stroman got injured during bunt-fielding practice.

Is there a Babe Ruth curse on this team or something?

Having said that, I still think it's going to be a great year of baseball, and anyone who gives up on this team in March is foolish indeed.

China fan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#298271) #
".....-giant hole at 1B .... -giant hole at 2B ... -huge question marks in the outfield other than RF ...-only two known quantities in the rotation ....-most of the bullpen is a question mark as well ... -poor depth all over the diamond other than at C (which becomes poor depth all over if Navarro is traded for RP)...."

I have a lot of question marks about this kind of analysis.  No baseball team has "sure things" at every spot in the lineup and rotation and bullpen.  If you want "known quantities" and "sure things" throughout the lineup, you're condemning the team to a lineup of aging veterans whose best years are probably behind them, and you're basically eliminating the possibility of good prospects breaking into the roster.  After years of emphasis on developing the farm system, the Jays have some excellent prospects who are ready (or nearly ready) for the majors:  Sanchez, Norris, Pompey, Pillar, Travis, Castro, Osuna. Should we discourage those prospects from breaking into the team because their performance might be a "question mark"?  I'd prefer to see the team choosing the best of its prospects, based on spring-training competition and their track records, and working them into the lineup in 2015, rather than paying huge dollars for "known quantities" for every position on the roster.
Parker - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#298272) #
Fair enough. I myself have a problem with the assumption that even a highly-touted prospect will succeed in the majors despite the overwhelming evidence showing that the majority of them do not. The likelyhood of all four of Norris, Sanchez, Stroman, and Pompey becoming ML-average regulars is effectively nil. Even if two of those guys become regulars, the Jays are beating the odds.

I also have a problem with the use of small sample sizes to predict performance, the assumption that players in the decline stages of their careers will not regress, and the assumption that players who've had a significant number of injuries in their past will not get hurt in the future.

I'm not trying to be a wet blanket and I honestly don't care how optimistic anyone else is about the team's chances this year, whether or not I feel that optimism is misguided. I'm just sharing my views about why I believe the team isn't going to contend without remarkable good luck. It could happen, but I don't expect it to happen.

I mean no offense to anyone whose views conflict with mine, if I come across that way.
Parker - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#298273) #
Also, I agree that prospects should be given the chance to succeed, especially when the team has every reason to be optimistic about their chances, but what happens if that prospect falls flat on his face? For a team that needs to win soon, that player's position has already become a black hole due to the horrible numbers they've already put up while the team figured out that they were no good, which is bad enough by itself, but if that team doesn't have a backup plan (or the backup plan is someone who has already effectively proven they have no business on an ML roster, at least not as a primary backup plan) then the team really doesn't have a shot at winning. I'm not advocating for the team's signing of every premium free agent to shore up every position, just that the team needs more Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson types; the guys you already know aren't even average players unless used very judiciously, but at least you know they're not going to embarrass themselves out there if the highly-touted prospect Plan A goes south on them. Yes, those guys aren't free, but they don't break the bank either. The guys they have now who come closest to fitting that type of player archetype now are EXPECTED to be at least platoon starters rather than a backup plan.

I guess I'm just not a fan of the "throw a bunch of sh!t at the wall and see what sticks" approach to fielding a team that DOES have several known star quantities who are rapidly approaching (or already past) their Best Before date. It bothers me even more when that team used its available resources to improve at positions of questionable strength while leaving positions of acknowledged serious weakness to be staffed using the sh!t wall philosophy.

TL:DR - The way the Blue Jays are built to win now, counting on the performance of unproven players is a huge mistake and poor management, in my opinion.
SK in NJ - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#298274) #
I agree that ideally the Jays would have a stop-gap CF instead of depending on Pompey, and solid veteran 4/5 starters instead of depending on Sanchez and Norris (Stroman injury aside), but AA has made the team very top heavy, where the star players are very good and expensive, so they have to find ways to fill the rest of the team cheaply. Since good MLB vets will not come cheaply, they either have to sign mediocre vets or just go with the young players. Looks like they will go with the latter. Can't really blame Alex since this is possibly his final season as GM, and the decision to live or die with the players he had a large part in drafting/acquiring and developing seems like something he would take a lot of pride in.

I think Pompey will be fine. He is the type of player that even if he doesn't hit, he will do the other things at a very high level to the point where he's above replacement level (fielding, baserunning). If he hits even a little bit he should be a solid player overall. Pillar is much the same way, except for a possible platoon split issue (hits LHP better than RHP).

The concern for me is the rotation. Young pitchers break hearts, and I'd be much more comfortable with Sanchez and Norris in AAA ready in case of injury rather than depending on them to help us reach the post season from Opening Day on. I have a feeling Estrada will make a ton of starts regardless, and possibly Boyd and Cole as well if they 'Kendall Graveman' their way through the minors.
China fan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#298275) #
"..... I'm not advocating for the team's signing of every premium free agent to shore up every position, just that the team needs more Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson types...."

Everyone likes those types, but you're cherry-picking to some extent by mentioning two of the more successful bench players of the past 10 years.  (And even Johnson managed only a .625 OPS in his final season with the Jays.)  Most depth players aren't that good, and you can't just pluck them off the shelf. 

Having said that, I've been somewhat impressed with the depth players that Anthopoulos has acquired recently.  Players like Gindl, Santiago, Viciedo, Carrera, Barton and Valencia have all been useful pick-ups.  (Some of these guys are defence-first; others are pure hitters; but that's what you get in your depth pieces -- they are role players, not five-tool stars.)  On the pitching side, he's gotten depth by acquiring Francis, Lopez, West, Hynes etc.   These are valuable to have if the prospects aren't immediately ready.  I think it's a pretty good balance of promising prospects and useful veterans.
Hodgie - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#298276) #
"The likelyhood of all four of Norris, Sanchez, Stroman, and Pompey becoming ML-average regulars is effectively nil. Even if two of those guys become regulars, the Jays are beating the odds."

I couldn't disagree with this more Parker. Such a sentiment is true when speaking about prospects in general, but subjectively I have a hard time believing this of elite prospects at the apex of the development curve. Each has already enjoyed some measure of success at the upper minors and/or MLB and at this point, in my mind at least, it would be a major disappointment if three of the four did not at least become MLB average regulars.

uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#298277) #
people are still overemphasizing how much we are "leaning on" the kids.

we're talking about bottom of the roster spots here, not impact slots. and we have plenty of vet options in the mix who have shown the ability to fill in bottom roster spots effectively.

China fan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#298278) #
Speaking of depth and vet options, it was a big relief to see Estrada bounce back today from his horrible last outing.  Today he pitched 3 scoreless innings against Atlanta.  After that terrible multi-HR meltdown in his last game, I was beginning to worry that he had lost the plot.  I'd still rather see Sanchez and Norris in the rotation, but a 6th starter will be crucial this season, and Estrada is probably a better option than Redmond in that role. 
uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#298279) #
I still say estrada & norris for the rotation, Sanchez for the pen.

I highly doubt that sanchez can hack it as an SP this year...if ever. but he should be effective in the pen.

with a little reversal of bad hr luck, estrada should be a serviceable starter like he was in 2012 and 2013. and I think norris has a good chance to be ready both mentally and in terms of having the arsenal.
China fan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#298280) #
"....I highly doubt that sanchez can hack it as an SP this year...if ever....."

It's far too early to tell. The kid is still 22, he's still learning, and I don't think it makes sense to judge him entirely on his record in the lower minors.  People were convinced that Sanchez had control problems, but he drastically reduced his BB/9 around the middle of last season and since then he has managed to maintain a reasonable BB/9 in the majors last season and again this year in spring training.  The other knock on him is that he doesn't have enough pitches in his repertoire, but I see recent reports that he's been working on a new slider this spring.  I think we should wait and see how he does.  I wouldn't rule out anything.  

Of course if Estrada looks better than Sanchez as a starter this spring, sure, give Estrada the rotation job and put Sanchez back in the bullpen temporarily.  But the kid is still improving.  Just as it was too early a year ago to assume that he didn't have the command to be a major-league pitcher, it might be too early today to assume that he can't be a starter.
uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#298281) #
yeah he has a chance to refine that slider and his command, I just highly doubt he can do that this year. and there's no guarantees he ever does.
uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#298282) #
on another note, my least favorite jay seems to making a legit play for a roster spot - Ryan Goins.
China fan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#298283) #
With the injury to Santiago today (broken collarbone, so he'll be out for months), it seems likely that Izturis is the starting 2B and Goins is the utility infielder on the bench.  The only other option, realistically, is if Travis wins the starting 2B job.  Then it would be Travis at 2B and Izturis as the utility infielder.  To me, either scenario seems fine.  Goins has been playing mostly at shortstop these days, so I think the Jays see him as the back-up shortstop and back-up 2B.  He'll be fine in that role.  I don't see him becoming the starting 2B unless there are injuries to both Izturis and Travis.
finch - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#298284) #
"Can't really blame Alex since this is possibly his final season as GM"

If this was Alex's last season as GM, I think you would see him trade some of young, MLB talent for established pitchers; starters and bullpen. He didn't trade Sanchez nor Norris this offseason. I would be shocked if he wasn't back.

He keeps payroll where Roger's wants it, he does a fantastic job building up the farm system, and he is active in the market. And above all that, he makes Roger's boatloads of money....he's staying.
uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#298285) #
its hardly that clear yet, china fan.

kawasaki/tolleson platoon might even still be our best bet at 2B, given that their recent production would give us averagish 2B performance overall if they kept it up.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#298286) #
Grumping and complaining once again, nice to see nothing changes. Someone's talking about gaping holes while players are dropping likes flies due to injuries. Must be people who don't like the Blue Jays, very strange that.

I've thought that whatever else Dalton Pompey gives you, he'll always gives you top ranked Defense. Even above average defense is better than what the other fellow gave last year. Any offense would be nice, but the other fellow (the 28th pick in 2005) was a career .246, .313, .438 with 767 strikeout. Pompey really doesn't need that much offense to be better. I think he could easily get there by year's end, with a much lower strikeout rate. Michael Saunders will join the Team by mid-April at the latest but might make Opening Day. Away from Safeco Field he should be fine, if not much better. He's part of A.A.'s deliberate plan. Andy Dirks will eventually be healthy, and he's a bonafide Starting OF as our 4th Outfielder. Meanwhile Ezequiel Carrera might be a fringe candidate, but he's still a Major league OF. Kevin Pillar will be fine and might even be good by the time he's really needed.

People talk about OF holes and I ask, do you see what I see? Or did you prejudge before looking?
greenfrog - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#298287) #
Given that spring training stats are meaningless, it's not clear to me why a hitter with a poor offensive track record (like Goins) posting a high BA in ST should change the team's mind about whether or not he should make the team. He could easily hit .400 in ST and then .175 in April in the majors.

On the other hand, if Goins has made substantive improvements to his offensive game, that would be reason to consider him for a roster spot. This seems unlikely (but not inconceivable).
Magpie - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#298288) #
I think that the 2010 Jays team could have won more than 87 games.

It was pretty hard finding anyone in the spring of 2010 who expected them to win 80 games. Losing at least 90 was a pretty popular forecast.
SK in NJ - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#298289) #
"If this was Alex's last season as GM, I think you would see him trade some of young, MLB talent for established pitchers; starters and bullpen. He didn't trade Sanchez nor Norris this offseason. I would be shocked if he wasn't back.

He keeps payroll where Roger's wants it, he does a fantastic job building up the farm system, and he is active in the market. And above all that, he makes Roger's boatloads of money....he's staying."


There was talk that Rogers wanted Beeston to fire Alex in the off-season but Beeston refused. Shortly after that, the whole Duquette/Williams/tampering stuff happened. If Rogers and Baltimore had come up with a fair trade for Duquette, do you really think AA would have survived that? I don't.

I think AA can save his job by reaching the playoffs this season. Outside of that, I don't think Rogers seems to care about holding on to him, and I wouldn't blame them seeing as how they were spending nearly $140M and never got the return on their investment that they wanted.
jerjapan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#298290) #
General Questions and comments based on the above discussion:
  • are spring stats actually meaningless?
  • does anyone have examples of GMs whose jobs are on the line morphing into 'win at all costs' types who start making short term gain, long term pain type decisions?  I hear this meme frequently, but can't really think of examples.  I certainly don't think AA fits into this category, and hope that Finch is right in his prediction that AA's job is safe 
  • while Uglyone and ChinaFan make good cases, why is there such resistance generally to admit that the Jays have limited depth?  It's not just nervous Jays fans making this assertion - plenty of  the preseason articles I've been reading on Fangraphs etc are referencing this fact (sorry, a bit rushed to look up references but the recent fangraphs artilce on the loss of stroman springs to mind).  This roster building approach was a reasonable strategy on AA's part too, IMO - top heavy roster with a bunch of stars, cross your fingers that rookies and retreads can fill out the rest of the depth chart.  AA has always been high risk, high reward in my mind, and this approach fits that mold.
  • does Richard SS actually think we are all a bunch of morons? 

uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#298291) #
"why is there such resistance generally to admit that the Jays have limited depth?"

pretty simple for me - I have yet to see the case made that this claim is true, using hard facts in comparison with other teams.

if someone can actually make a supported argument for it, then I'm all ears.

but any time I look at any other teams, I see the bottoms of their rosters littered with similar question marks, so I literally do not understand why the claim has become accepted truth.
jerjapan - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#298292) #
Ugly, I don't have the time right now - or the skill level with advanced stats that you and others round here so ably demonstrate - to crunch numbers, but I can throw a few quotes out as evidence that the Jays lacking depth idea is not unique to the Box.  I'll try to take a closer look at rosters later on, but I believe the majority view is that the Jays are not a deep team relative to other contenders.  (and I know that quoting Richard Griffin is not the best evidence ...)

"Stroman figured to be the No. 1, and the team didn’t look deep with him".  Jeff sullivan, fangraphs

"It may actually turn out that the left meniscus injury to Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders does not force the team to go out and acquire a replacement for the Victoria, B.C., native as a starter in left field. However, what it does show is the paper-thin depth of the Jays roster."  Griffin, the Star 

"Marcus Stroman injury sends blue jays' 2015 AL East hopes on life support" Zach Rymer, Bleacher Report.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#298293) #
"The likelyhood of all four of Norris, Sanchez, Stroman, and Pompey becoming ML-average regulars is effectively nil. Even if two of those guys become regulars, the Jays are beating the odds."

I couldn't disagree with this more Parker. Such a sentiment is true when speaking about prospects in general, but subjectively I have a hard time believing this of elite prospects at the apex of the development curve. Each has already enjoyed some measure of success at the upper minors and/or MLB and at this point, in my mind at least, it would be a major disappointment if three of the four did not at least become MLB average regulars.

Geez, can I take the middle ground on this one.  I do not agree that the chance of Norris, Sanchez, Stroman and Pompey all becoming ML-average regulars is effectively nil.  Stroman and Pompey have a very good chance of being MLB average or better.  The odds for Sanchez depend on how you define MLB average.  He's got a very good chance of being an MLB average or better ace reliever.  His odds of being an ML average starter are quite a bit less.  The odds for Norris are not as good as the other three, but he has a decent chance to be a very good starter.  It is important to bear in mind that both Stroman and Sanchez already have had a significant measure of success.  On the other hand, three of the four players are pitchers.  The drop-out for pitchers both among prospects and among established major leaguers is high. 

uglyone - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#298294) #
Fangraphs Depth Charts Total:

Bottom 3 Positions Total WAR

BOS 8.4
CLE 5.7
OAK 5.0
SEA 4.9
DET 4.7
TBR 4.6
BAL 4.5
HOU 4.4
LAA 4.3
KCR 4.2
MIN 4.1
TOR 3.8
NYY 3.5
CHX 3.1
TEX 1.9

Non-Top-3 SP Total WAR

MIN 3.8
BOS 3.8
NYY 3.4
CLE 3.2
TOR 3.0
SEA 2.9
TEX 2.8
LAA 2.7
TBR 2.5
BAL 2.4
OAK 2.4
KCR 2.3
DET 2.2
HOU 1.4
CHX 0.3

3 things to note:

1. Jays don't rank that badly in the depth slots.
2. the margins between ranks for the depth slots are tiny.
3. for all these teams these slots are a mishmash of vet journeymen and unproven kids - even the ones that rank highly - which are exactly the most difficult players to project.

P.S. these project for very little from our rookies. Only 2.4war total from pompey travis norris sanchez, or 0.6 each.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#298295) #
Mike, you've been making these assertions about Sanchez's "odds" of becoming a successful starter or reliever for quite some time. I'm not persuaded that Sanchez's future is as predictable as you suggest. He's still young, and his control improved markedly - perhaps unexpectedly - towards the end of 2014.

You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, but it is just one person's opinion - just as your prediction that Lawrie would have a 9 WAR season last year was one projection only. Modelling and comparisons are interesting and useful up to a point, but there is a -lot- of uncertainty in knowing how a player like Sanchez will develop over the next five or ten years.
rafael - Sunday, March 15 2015 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#298296) #
Next inevitable Headline:
Several Toronto Jay Baseball players found - near asphyxiated - wrapped in bubble wrap. Normally brain cells responsible for baseball IQ recover in a year or two in these cases.
JB21 - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#298297) #
Jerjapan, your 4 bullet point message made me laugh out loud. I'm 90% sure they've ran the numbers and spring stats are essentially meaningless.

And point 4, yes, I think he does. And I hope he never changes.
Mike Green - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#298298) #
Whoa, greenfrog.  I just said that Sanchez has a very good chance of being a successful reliever and that his chances of being a successful starter were quite a bit less.  Given that he was successful in the major league pen in 2014 and that he has not thrown more than 90 good innings in a minor league season anywhere yet, that view is a completely middle-of-the-road one. 

The Lawrie 9 WAR thing from last year was pure hunch and obviously not a rational projection of what he was likely to do (not the least because his health has always been a question mark). 
John Northey - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#298299) #
The Lawrie 9 WAR idea brings up a good question - who is the biggest breakout candidate this year on the Jays?  IE: Most likely to be 4+ WAR better than projected?
I'd go with Pompey & Norris as the top two candidates.  Basically going from prospect to all-star immediately (it happens a lot for top flight players).
For players with 1+ full seasons in the majors I'd go with Hutchison in the rotation and Saunders in the outfield.

Do I realistically think all of these guys will do the big jump?  Of course not.  Just they are my best bets.

scottt - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#298300) #
Spring stats are not a good indication of performance during the regular season. They might indicate the health and physical condition of a player. A lot of baseball players are streaky so being in a good streak in the last week of spring training is better than being on a bad streak. Also, April stats are not that reliable either.
Hodgie - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#298301) #
I guess I should have questioned what qualifies as "average" when making my statement. Stroman, Sanchez, and to a much lesser extent Pompey have already authored elite to average performances in MLB this past season while all Norris did in 2014 was lead MiLB in strikeout to walk rate differential for pitchers competing in A+ and up as a 21 year old jumping three levels. The notion that we should only expect 1 average MLB player from this group is curious. Further, given his left-handedness, age and repertoire I personally don't agree with Norris being the least likely of the four to succeed.
bpoz - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#298302) #
Timing is very important and sometimes it is irrelevant.

Our young outfielders did not take advantage of their favorable timing. Snider came up first, followed by Thames, Sierra and Gose. None were good enough to stay so the advantage of getting 1st crack at the job was irrelevant.

Now we have a number of hot shot young SPs. In the recent past, actually the entire Jay's history, I do not believe we had as many potentially good young SP prospects at one time.
I have always felt that the Jays developed good SPs and also had good luck.
Clancy, Vukavich, Lemansyk, Leal & Garvin came in the expansion draft. IMO they did quite well playing on an expansion team.

Starting with Steib and up to Halladay we had some very good and durable SPS.
Other than David Wells no SP candidate was not given his fair opportunity to make the rotation. Even Woody Williams got his shot somehow. I wonder how WW got his shot. Must have been an injury gave the depth SPs a chance.

This is not a good point but let me make it any way. If you were good or even decent you got your shot soon, maybe immediately or before you were considered ready because the team needed an emergency starter. I will use Litsch as an example.
So the conclusion is that there will always be an opportunity for a SP.
In theory this can change. 2 SPs Stroman & Hutchison arrived in 2014. In 2015 Hutchison, Sanchez & Norris will all have a "good" opportunity to lay claim to a rotation spot for the future.In late 2015 & 2016 Castro & Osuna may get a look on the Jays.

So how do you not make the rotation if you are good?
1) Injury... Stroman in 2015.
2) Lack of opportunity. 2014 Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Hutchison & Happ if all healthy would have delayed Stroman's debut. Morrow's injury was key. Happ & Hutchison were inconsistent, but was it enough for Stroman to get a shot? IMO Stroman did fail in the pen.
3) You are considered good but you have to prove it to stick in the rotation. Sanchez, Hutchison & Norris have to prove that they are good by the time others knock on the door. Castro, Osuna & Hoffman to make a short list.

My whole post is unbridled optimism and some very subjective pattern analysis. Pattern analysis... Since Halladay nothing much produced except H Alvarez. Romero, Morrow, Litcsh etc... lacked durability. But since H Alvarez we have not had any failures. Successes? Well Stroman & Hutchison are optimistically on their way to successes. So the pattern has begun.
ogator - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#298303) #
What about first base from an historical perspective. Have the Jays ever started a season with people like Smoak and Barton competing for an everyday job? Historically, the Jays have have had some terrific guys at first base. Will these guys lead to a first baseman of historically poor offensive performance?
uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#298304) #
I agree that we shouldn't ignore that most prospects fail, but we should also realize that our top prospects represent groups of guys that have already mostly failed.

if we say an average draft should produce 2-3 mlbers, with maybe one standout...while good drafting should do better than that...

2013: Success: None ---- Maybe: Hollon/Jansen/Tellez/Graveman --- Fail: ?
2012: Success: Stroman --- Maybe: Smoral/Nay/Alford/Borucki --- Fail: Davis/Gonzalez/DeJong
2011: Success: none --- Maybe: Norris/Pillar/Smith/Stilson --- Fail: Anderson/Musgrove/Comer/Gabrywski
2010: Success: none --- Maybe: Pompey/Sanchez/Syndergaard/Nolin ---- Fail: MxGuire/Woj/Sweeney/Murphy/Nicolino

stroman is so far the only mlber out of those drafts. even if we are just average drafting we should expect a bunch more of those guys to become players.
uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#298305) #
"What about first base from an historical perspective. Have the Jays ever started a season with people like Smoak and Barton competing for an everyday job?"

you mean guys who cleared waivers like.....Lind and EE?
bpoz - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#298306) #
There should be ST cuts all over the league. I expect not much of value to come our way.
However I was pleased that we got D Viciedo. Also If Drabek & Hendriks do not make the team, they become available through waivers.

How low is our historical 1B bar?
Mike Green - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#298307) #
Further, given his left-handedness, age and repertoire I personally don't agree with Norris being the least likely of the four to succeed.

I suspect that some of the difference is what "success" means.  In Norris' case, I think that there are two courses- he stays healthy while gaining sufficient command to be a very good major league starter or he doesn't.  How fast he gains command and how healthy he is are the question marks.  In my view, he has a better chance to post two 8 WAR seasons in his career than any of the others (save Stroman), but a lesser chance of posting two 2 WAR seasons in his career (assuming that one uses BBRef which accounts for leverage of relief pitchers).  The issue is the inherent variability of pitching prospects, even excellent ones like Norris.  The thing that makes me the most nervous about him was the unexplained loss of velocity at the end of last year.  It might mean nothing.
uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#298308) #
ugly's prospect confidence rankings (Likelihood of becoming a consistent 3+war player):

1. Pompey
2. Norris
3. Osuna
4. Sanchez
5. Hoffman
6. Pentacost
7. Travis
8. Urena
9. Castro
10. Alford
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#298309) #
ugly, on a quick look at your list I would say every player on it, and some not (Smith off the top of my head), has a better chance than Devon Travis of becoming a consistent 3 WAR player. I've seen all of the games that Travis has played in Dunedin this spring, and I don't see him as a major league regular offensively, and more certainly not defensively. I suspect that the Tigers will not end up regretting that trade.

On another note, I thought that Santiago had a better than even chance of making the 25 man roster, at least as a utility infielder if not starting at second. Sorry to see him hurt.
Mylegacy - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#298310) #
I'm gonna get yelled at...

Smoak at first? Me, if we had to have him there I'd rather have my elderly mother (and I DO mean elderly) play the base or even Goins. At least Goins is a terrific hitter (OK - so I exaggerate a bit) - BUT - compared to Smoak he's a terrific hitter (OK - so maybe a tiny bit of an exaggeration there too). Even Muni at first would be interesting - can't you just see him swearing at runners on first in Japanese - hell - at least it would be great entertainment.

What I'm trying to get around to is actually EE. Just how delicate is his back? We can't afford to lose him for any length of time so IF it truly is a risk to play him at first - we can't - we have to have him DH. We need his bat....period.

To play pretend - IF - Encarnacion could play first then our lineup is VASTLY superior to our line-up if Smoak has to man (boy?) the base (or is even within 500 miles of where the team is playing)....

Picture: Reyes (S), Martin, Bautista, Saunders (L), EE, Donaldson, Navarro (S hitting DH), Izturis (S) and Pompey (S).

OR - what I'd prefer: Reyes (S), Navarro (S), Bautista (R), Encarnacion (R), Saunders (L), Donaldson (R), Martin (R), Izturis (S) and Pompey (S)

Before your head explodes, and you put a "hit" out on me - YES - I KNOW - Navarro is as slow as the proverbial (insert your own here) - BUT the man is a professional hitter, he NEVER wastes an at bat, he can bunt, he can move a base runner along, and he can easily go first to home when Bautista or Edwin go yard.

IF - the brass think Goins (L) or Travis (R) could actually hit - or if they wanted to try them in a platoon at 2nd - then I'd be happy to see Izturis be gone.

uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#298311) #
yeah you might be right and I wouldn't argue it, but i'm not quite ready to dismiss his milb stats based on his first few ST games with a new org, especially since he's never been an eye test favorite. his milb numbers indicate potential for a league average bat, with the kind of supporting numbers that indicate sustainability. and so far defensive reports have been good too. league average bat and avg D at 2B, maybe a slight tick above, would come in right around 3war I think.
Mike Green - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#298312) #
I don't know, CBDC.  I am pretty sure that Travis will hit.  As for the glove, the consensus of both scouts and statistics was that he was average.  I have seen video of him prior to this year and he looks pretty good.  I have certainly been wrong before-  I saw Ryan Goins at a number of stages in his minor league career.  He looked to me to be better offensively than he has showed in the major leagues and not as good defensively.  I take the eye test with a grain of salt. 

I see him as having a decent shot at having a career like Ronnie Belliard. 

jerjapan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#298313) #
Ugly, you make some compelling arguments and II think our differences surrounding team depth are becoming clearer to me - our depth charts seem to stack up comparably to other orgs as you point out, but where you and I may differ is that I fear we will need our depth chart more than other orgs, given how much we are banking on rookies, who are notoriously volatile, along with some of our key vets being injury prone or aging.

Theres an interesting series at BP talking about what each team's moneyball strength is - the market inefficiency that they exploit best.  Mathew Trueblood summarizes san fran thusly:

the Giants have the third-thinnest band of projected variance in starting rotation performance of any team in baseball. The story is similar for the bullpen and the positional corps. The Giants pay for stability, and to stay on the right side of average everywhere. They pay for track records, even though track records come with age. That’s an expensive and unsexy way to win, but it’s definitely a way to win. With each ring, their fan base gets more secure and their pockets get deeper. It’s only getting easier for Sabean to do what he does best. It’s not an exploitation of a market inefficiency; it’s an unusual willingness to be the market inefficiency.

Make what you will of Sabean, but AA appears to be doing the exact opposite thing.  The article that Trueblood references on starting rotation variance has toronto with the second most volatility in the rotation, behind only Colorado.

So while our depth chart may in fact be reasonable, our need for higher quality depth is greater than many other teams IMO, given the high risk, high reward nature of the team AA has assembled.
uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#298314) #
"along with some of our key vets being injury prone or aging."

we have only 3 guys over the age of 32. Bautista, Buehrle, Dickey. The oldest two - also the only two over 34 - are amongst the most durable players in all baseball.

the idea that the top of our roster is riskier than average is also a false narrative, imo, that doesn't stand up when you actually compare them to other teams.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#298315) #
If you really need to know the future of this Team, Kiley McDaniel does a very good job.
As he's experienced, see bottom of article, I think it's worth a detailed read.
Hodgie - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#298316) #
If your assumption is that Norris is less likely than Sanchez to establish himself as a relief ace in the event it became necessary then I understand your point Mike. As for your trepidation, I don't know that I would call the reasons for Norris' drop in velocity unknown. Norris did have surgery after the season to remove bone spurs and loose bodies in his throwing elbow and he has spoken of the adjustments he tried to make to pitch through the discomfort. By all accounts his velocity has been fine this spring.
85bluejay - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#298317) #
Perhaps the prospect gurus are wrong, but few are enthused about Travis as a potential regular.

I am still of the view that Navarro will be traded but with the continued suckage of our 1B candidates, the jays have to have a plan B - if Grindl continues to hit, when Saunders returns maybe Grindl in RF & Bautista at 1B against RHB & Bautista in RF & Valencia at 1B - Bautista at 1B & Grindl/Pillar in RF - Bautista must approve because I don't want a George Bell to DH situation - that could ruin the season - extending Bautista would help because Bautista & his agent will say that RF Bautista is a more marketable FA than 1B Bautista.

Regarding the BP - I am hoping that the jays go with a Cecil/Delabar tandem as co-closers to start the season.

Has Michael Crouse signed with anyone?

Does anyone know if the perpetually injured Jake Anderson and Adonys Cardona are healthy entering spring training?

CeeBee - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#298318) #
the sky is falling- it's the end of the world..... jeebers, we are only half way through spring training.
CeeBee - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#298319) #
Sorry, forgot that this is Toronto and what with the leafs and all.... I'll just go back to being eternally optimistic. Tis baseball after all and what else is there in summer anyway :)
uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#298320) #
Its too bad his name is Gindl, because Grindl would be SO much cooler.

as for prospect gurus, BP had Travis at #84 last year, Sickels has him as a solid B and says he's got a good shot at being a regular, has him as their current #6 2B prospect. BP slots him as a second division regular (read: depth starter) with an ETA in 2015. both zips and steamer project him around 2war over a full season as a rookie. Kiley has him borderline starting material with skills that translate well to the bigs.

the only guy really down on him is Law. But Law is a goof.
China fan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#298321) #
"....with the continued suckage of our 1B candidates...."

I've always been somewhat concerned about the idea of Smoak and Barton (platooned with Valencia) as the 1B plan.  Having said that, "continued suckage" is probably unfair since we probably shouldn't judge Smoak and Barton by their spring-training stats -- just as we shouldn't be too impressed by the gaudy spring-training numbers of Goins or Gindl. 

Is there any strong reason why the Jays can't use Encarnacion at 1B and use the DH slot for a rotating cast of Bautista, Reyes, Navarro, or even Viciedo or Gindl?  Seems much easier to solve the DH position by putting Encarnacion at 1B.  I realize that Edwin isn't as good defensively as Smoak or Barton, but would the defensive issues really make such a huge difference to the team's fortunes?  And I don't buy the argument that Encarnacion cannot hit as effectively if he is "distracted" by defence -- he actually hit far better as a 1B than as a DH last year, so I don't think he needs to "concentrate on hitting."
China fan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#298322) #
Meant to say "Smoak or Barton" rather than "Smoak and Barton" in the above comment, of course.
jerjapan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#298323) #
the idea that the top of our roster is riskier than average is also a false narrative, imo, that doesn't stand up when you actually compare them to other teams.

Sure, we can count on Buehrle and Dickey at the top of the rotation, and Hutch in the middle.  But do you argue that the back of the rotation isn't volatile - even given that the 4th and 5th spot are naturally more volatile?  Cecil is a question mark right now in the pen although the rest of the arms that are projected to break with the team are young and healthy - but the pen is certainly a crapshoot right now with all the unproven competition. 

Donaldson is a lock at 3b, Martin for catcher, but that's it for certainty out of the position players.   

EE has had a variety of injury problems and while he may not be old, he profiles as an aging player - 151 games played was his peak 2 years back, and clearly the team is concerned about his health, or else, why Justin Smoak?  Bautista has long been projected for a transfer to 1b in order to protect his health and while last year was mostly good, he seems to frequently battle nagging injuries.  Saunders is a noted injury risk, as is Reyes, Izturis is coming off a major injury.

I'm looking at other contending rosters Ugly and I'm not seeing the same level of volatility.  What teams do you have in mind that back up your points?  

China fan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#298324) #
"....I'm looking at other contending rosters Ugly and I'm not seeing the same level of volatility...."

Most of your "volatility" definition seems to be based on injury risks, and injury risks are notoriously hard to predict.  Most rosters have several players who could be deemed injury risks.  I'm not sure if the Jays are more injury-prone than others. Many of the Jays injuries in recent years, and this spring, have been of the unpredictable flukish variety.  Arguably someone like a Brett Lawrie was a predictable injury risk, but even with him, can we really predict the future?  He could have a 150-game season too.
Ryan Day - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#298325) #
Having said that, "continued suckage" is probably unfair since we probably shouldn't judge Smoak and Barton by their spring-training stats

Not that unfair, since both players sucked last year. Barton has sucked since 2010.

I think that since both players were brought in as reclamation projects (Barton being a particularly long shot), people are looking for some reason for optimism from them.

Obviously, reclamation projects don't happen overnight. But at this point, I'd be happy if Smoak even looked mediocre with some hints of future improvement.
Mike Green - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#298326) #
That's right, Ryan.  Except Smoak has been almost exactly the same as Barton over 2011-2014 once you account for defence.  And he's had more opportunity.  In any event, both are reclamation projects.  Does anyone have any comments on the way both have looked. 

uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#298327) #
"I'm looking at other contending rosters Ugly and I'm not seeing the same level of volatility."

most any, really.

* spent some time in minors, not injured


Donaldson (29): avg158gms/2yrs, 131gms*/3yrs
En'cion (32): avg135gms/2yrs, 140gms/3yrs
Bautista (34): avg137gms/2yrs, 122gms/3yrs
Martin (32): avg119gms/2yrs, 124gms/3yrs
Reyes (32): avg118gms/2yrs, 132gms/3yrs
Saunders (28): avg105gms/2yrs, 116gms/3yrs


Dickey (40): avg34gs/2yrs, 34gms/3yrs
Buehrle (36): avg33gs/2yrs, 32gms/3yrs
Hutch (24): avg16gs/2yrs, 14gms*/3yrs


Cecil (28): avg63gms/2yrs, 49gms*/3yrs
Loup (27): avg68gms/2yrs, 56gms/3yrs



Pedroia (31): avg148gms/2yrs, 145gms/3yrs
Panda (28): avg149gms/2yrs, 135gms/3yrs
Ortiz (39): avg139gms/2yrs, 123gms/3yrs
Ramirez (31): avg107gms/2yrs, 124gms/3yrs
Napoli (33): avg129gms/2yrs, 122gms/3yrs

the rest of their positions covered by completely unproven guys (betts, bogaerts, castillo, vazquez) or reclamation vets (craig, victorino).

Miley (28): avg33gs/2yrs, avg33gs/3yrs
Porcello (26): avg30gs/2yrs, avg30gs/3yrs
Buchholz (30): avg22gs/2yrs, avg24gs/3yrs

with the other slots covered by completely unproven guys (kelly owens workman rodriguez) or reclamation vets (masterson).

Uehara (40): avg68gms/2yrs, 58gms/3yrs
Tazawa (29): avg71gms/2yrs, 60gms/3yrs
Mujica (31): avg65gms/2yrs, 66gms/3yrs

with the usual kids and reclamations filling out the rest.


Cabrera (32): avg155gms/2yrs, 156gms/3yrs
Kinsler (33): avg149gms/2yrs, 151gms/3yrs
Cespedes (29): avg144gms/2yrs, 139gms/3yrs
Avila (28): avg113gms/2yrs, 114gmd/3yrs
Martinez (36): avg155gms/2yrs, 103gms/3yrs

with the rest filled out by kids and platoon vets.

Price (29): avg30gms/2yrs, 32gms/3yrs
Verlander (32): avg33gms/2yrs, 33gms/3yrs
Sanchez (31): avg25gms/2yrs, 27gms/3yrs

+ unprovens & fringes

Nathan (40): avg65gms/2yrs, 65gms/3yrs
Albequerque (29): avg63gms/2yrs, 44gms/3yrs
Soria (31): avg37gms/2yrs, 25gms/3yrs

jerjapan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#298328) #
Most of your "volatility" definition seems to be based on injury risks, and injury risks are notoriously hard to predict.

Injury risks and a number of rookies / unproven young players being counted on for key roles.  I guess that is ultimately what makes me most nervous - CF, 4th starter, 5th starter, backup IF / possibly 2b, numerous bullpen arms.

Again, I'm not alone in this opinion - Fangraphs, BP, the star have all had recent articles referencing the Jays lack of depth, relative to other teams.  The BP piece I reference in my last post has our rotation as 2nd most volatile in the game.  obviously a pretty rough stat, but telling.  This is free content, so I'm re-posting.  Again, I'm okay with AA's strategy, feel like he had a very good off season and hope you guys are right and that I'm totally wrong. 

All 30 teams, ranked by "volatility", in which volatility is defined simply as the difference between the 90th percentile ERA and the 10th percentile ERA of the top five starters. It does not include the volatility introduced by injury risk, but rather focuses on performance outcomes. Averaged, but not weighted, among each staff: Difference Team 1.77 WAS 1.80 LAN 1.81 SFN 1.83 CHN 1.83 MIA 1.89 ATL 1.89 NYN 1.89 SDN 1.92 ANA 1.92 MIL 1.93 PHI 1.95 SEA 1.98 BAL 1.98 CIN 1.98 SLN 1.99 PIT 2.01 CHA 2.02 HOU 2.02 TBA 2.03 KCA 2.05 BOS 2.05 DET 2.05 MIN 2.1 ARI 2.11 TEX 2.13 NYA 2.13 OAK 2.14 CLE 2.14 TOR 2.26 COL
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#298329) #
Aren't some hitters without guaranteed jobs pushing themselves hard to earn that job? Don't some people have trouble knowing how hard to push themselves? Is it possible people don't know if they are pushing too hard unless someone tells them?

Edwin Encarnacion has, to put it politely, back issues that put him on the D.L. The funny thing about back issues are that they always come back, even if it takes a very long time. If Edwin plays First on a regular basis, his back issue will eventually return, possibly much sooner than it necessarily would. So if someone can win the First Base job outright, it would be of advantage to Edwin.

The needs of a First Baseman are simple, catch everything thrown to him no matter how bad the throw, and hit. Josh Donaldson and Jose Reyes might upon occasion left fly an errant throw, so a large reach by someone who can play the position is necessary. Being at least average defensively would also help. Hitting well is optional if the First Baseman has power. In that case, just hitting decent would do wonders.

I don't care who wins the First Base job as long as Edwin doesn't.
92-93 - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#298330) #
"the only guy really down on him is Law. But Law is a goof."

And apparently the Detroit Tigers organization that traded Travis away for Gose, who isn't good at playing baseball.
China fan - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#298331) #
"....Not that unfair, since both players sucked last year. Barton has sucked since 2010...."

When I questioned the phrase "continued suckage", I wasn't questioning the "suckage" -- I was questioning the "continued" bit.  "Continued" implies that they're still sucking now, this spring.  We don't really know that, since it's only meaningless spring games.  Maybe they are "hitting the ball hard and it's just not dropping in" or some such.  The sample is too small to say that their "suckage" is "continuing."

But that's the problem with reclamation projects.  They are difficult to judge, and their progress is difficult to measure.  That's why I would prefer to have the Jays at least considering the option of having Encarnacion at 1B and using DH for a rotating cast of Bautista, Reyes, whomever else needs to get a rest from field duties, along with a bench bopper such as Viciedo or Gindl.  The back-up 1B would be Valencia to give Encarnacion a semi-regular chance at DH too.  I'm just not sure if the Jays can afford to gamble on Smoak or Barton for an experimental half-season of what could be wasted at-bats.
vw_fan17 - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#298332) #
If you really need to know the future of this Team, Kiley McDaniel does a very good job.

Hmm. Am I reading that right? He rates Kyle Drabek as a "FV 45", and then goes on to rate a whole bunch of people like Devon Travis, Anthony Alford, Mitch Nay, Matt Smoral ALSO as FV 45s.. So, if a bunch of our "up and coming" guys are only worth as much as Kyle Drabek.. OUCH. I can't seem to read this to mean that "at one point", KD's FV was 45 - he says it's 45 right now. Either that, or he's totally off. I can't imagine too many GMs would give you a Devon Travis or Mitch Nay in return for Kyle Drabek 2015 when they can probably pick him up on waivers in a week or two..

Thomas - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#298333) #
The Jays have signed Randy Wolf to a minor league contract.

Maybe the Wolf Pack will re-surface at the Skydome in 2015?

I don't hold out a lot of hope that he'll make a meaningful contribution to the 2015 team, but it's a no-risk move.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#298334) #
Kiley evaluates fairly everyone and an injustice occurs when people are coming up and others are falling down. Especially when different people evaluate prospects.

Someone thought Drabek made an adjustment late last year and might carry it through to be a decent Reliever. I think it might be possible too. Likely, probably not.
uglyone - Monday, March 16 2015 @ 09:19 PM EDT (#298335) #
"And apparently the Detroit Tigers organization that traded Travis away for Gose, who isn't good at playing baseball."

and apparently those contending tigers think gose is good enough to be their starting CF this year.

given that he put up 1.3war in half a season as a 23yr old, they might be right.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 02:44 AM EDT (#298336) #
Sickels' Top-175 prospects:

1) Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs, Grade A
2) Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros, Grade A
3) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals, Grade A
4) Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade A
5) Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs, Grade A

6) Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins, Grade A
7) Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs, Grade A
8) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade A
9) Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade A
10) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade A


14. A.Sanchez A-
76. D.Pompey B
103. J.Hoffman B
114. M.Pentecost B
121. D.Travis B
171. M.Castro B-
Oceanbound - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 03:43 AM EDT (#298337) #
given that he put up 1.3war in half a season as a 23yr old, they might be right.

Let's not take shaky SSS defensive metrics as a given. Bref had him at just 0.5war.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 06:51 AM EDT (#298338) #
In an alternative universe, the Jays have the #7, 8 and 9 players on Sickels's list. Soler was available as an IFA when most of the attention was on Cespedes (at the time, I repeatedly argued the Jays should go after Soler). Seager was available at #17 in the 2012 draft (the Jays chose Davis).

Of course, the Jays could also have ended up with Bryant, but he chose not to sign with them.

Crazy - the Jays could have had five of the top prospects in baseball (in addition to Pompey, Sanchez, Stroman).
John Northey - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#298339) #
The old what if's coudl drive you nuts.  In the 80's with a better drafting strategy the Jays could've had Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens to go with Stieb & Key & Ron Guidry (if Gillick was allowed to do the trade he wanted to do in '77).  That would've been the rotation to end all rotations.  Instead the Jays got Augie Schmidt, and Matt Stark and 13 games out of Bill Singer (6.79 ERA).
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#298340) #
You never know with a pitcher like Wolf.  A 38 year old lefty in his second year post-TJ.  He still strikes out enough to be effective.  Stranger things have happened than a good year from someone like Wolf, and it won't hurt him to have a good pitch-framer behind the plate.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#298341) #
MIguel Castro is being stretched out tonight in Tampa. That may mean nothing at all, as he would be in minor league camp as well, and they may just not want him to lose out. On the other hand, he is in major league camp. It's interesting, if nothing more.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#298342) #
That is interesting, CBDC.  Thanks.  Hutchison vs. Sabathia tonight.  It'll be interesting to see if Gibbons starts Donaldson and Valencia at the corners, now that we are working our way to the second half of spring training.
Parker - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#298343) #
The old what if's coudl drive you nuts...

The Jays could've drafted Joey Votto, or Matt Cain, or Cole Hamels, or Nick Swisher. Instead, they drafted Russ Adams.

Of course, there's no way to know those guys would've panned out if they were developed by the Jays. Or that Adams wouldn't if he'd been drafted by anyone OTHER than the Jays.

John's right. This stuff can drve you nuts.
bpoz - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#298344) #
The Jays have signed SS Anderson Green DOB 1/2/1997 from the DR and C Andres Guerra DOB 6/3/1997 from Venezuela.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#298345) #
Wolf is a good example of the dnagers of free agency.  in 2009 he had a solid season, 34 starts 214 IP 124 ERA+ for the Dodgers then signed a 3 year $29.75 million deal with Milwaukee.  He had a -0.4 WAR over those 3 years.  Ugh.  Was a $1 mil contact for last year with Seattle and just $800k if he makes the majors for the Jays (opt out on June 1st if in minors then).  Never a bad idea to sign a guy who was a $10 mil a year pitcher not that long ago for under $1 mil if he makes the team.  See what happens, plus as the Yankees have lost Chris Capuano and Tanaka is trying to pitch with a minor tear in his UCL suggests any decent pitching they'll be chasing down hard now.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#298346) #
It's a bit different in the case of Seager and Soler. Seager was favoured to go right around where the Jays selected. He was viewed as one of the more expensive mid-round picks, though. It may be that signing Seager and Stroman and later-round picks would have been financially unfeasible. Soler, on the other hand, was available to the highest bidder. I seem to recall some people saying Soler was a bad idea because we had good OF depth with Rasmus on the ML roster and Marisnick and others rising through the system.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#298347) #
A reminder that you never can have enough depth in kids in the system.  Even if all of them make it, you still need more for trades/replace due to free agency/etc.
scottt - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#298348) #
Looking forward to facing Esmil Rogers at Yankee Stadium.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#298349) #
I like wolf's chances of being a useful RP.

don't want to see him starting for us though.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#298350) #
You could also argue that the Jays lucked out when Stroman lasted until 22. (BA projected him to go somewhere from 13-24). If they'd taken Stroman with the 17th pick, no one would care that they didn't take Seager.

Or if you wanted the Jays to commit to paying top-dollar for prospects, they might have signed Tyler Beede the previous year, eliminating the Stroman compensation pick.

The hindsight game is easier because DJ Davis has flopped so far, but he was still a toolsy HS outfielder with tons of potential - the sort of player many people say teams should go after. For what it's worth, BA ranked Seager 19th & Davis 20th, which doesn't suggest a wide gulf of talent between them.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#298351) #
I think the close ranking of Seager and Davis was in part due to signability issues re Seager. I was interested in Seager (and said so at the time) but I was also content with Davis. Hindsight is 20-20 for sure, and besides, Seager and Soler haven't done anything yet in the majors. I do like Seager, though.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#298352) #
Or if you wanted the Jays to commit to paying top-dollar for prospects, they might have signed Tyler Beede the previous year, eliminating the Stroman compensation pick.

In addition, they used most of the money offered Beede to sign Daniel Norris instead. Not to overweight prospect rankings, but in the Sickels ranking quoted above Norris is listed as #9 and Beede as #96. By not overpaying Beede, they ended up with Norris and Stroman instead, which at this point looks about as good as good can get.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#298353) #
Of course, none of these draft pick debates even touches the Tulo/Romero hindsight drama. One of the best players in baseball - who apparently was advocated for in the draft room but was vetoed by Ricciardi - versus a pitcher still under contract with Steve Blass disease (sympathetic as I am to Romero).
finch - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#298354) #
All this banter about the draft makes me giddy for the upcoming draft and international free agent period; excited to see how it plays out on the Jays' end. AA always seems to have a draft plan. With a small allocation of pool for the draft, wonder how he'll make the most efficient use of it.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#298355) #
the Vladdy Jr. rumors make me happy.
finch - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#298356) #
likewise to Vlad Jr.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#298357) #
here's Jr being a lot like Sr:
China fan - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#298358) #
I read the Vlad Jr. reports as being more than just rumors.   They are unconfirmed, sure, but Kiley McDaniel is a respected prospect-watcher who seems to have good sources in the MLB scouting fraternity, and those sources are telling him that Vlad Jr. has definitely signed with the Jays (or has a firm agreement to sign on July 2).  Unconfirmed, yes, but not merely speculation or gossip either.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#298359) #
If Wolf and Santana constitute rotation depth, then I hope the Jays find a way to keep Hendriks. He's currently projected to be anywhere from the 5th or 7th best starter on the team depending on how you view the options after the front 3. He's out of options and is a realistic claim for another team. Steamer projects him to have a 3.53 FIP and Zips is projecting a 1.3 WAR for him.

Wow, Stroman's injury really depleted the little SP depth the Jays had. They really need guys like Boyd, Cole, and Osuna to advance quickly, and Osuna's likely going to be on an innings limit.
Dave Till - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#298360) #

Of course, none of these draft pick debates even touches the Tulo/Romero hindsight drama. One of the best players in baseball - who apparently was advocated for in the draft room but was vetoed by Ricciardi - versus a pitcher still under contract with Steve Blass disease (sympathetic as I am to Romero).

Romero isn't really a case of Steve Blass disease. Blass was a good pitcher who suddenly stopped throwing strikes for no apparent reason. Romero started to struggle because teams discovered that he couldn't get lefthanders out. He couldn't figure out how to adjust to that.

I find it hard to be too critical of the Jays for picking Romero over Tulowitzki. Romero came very close to being a success: in 2011, he was sixth in the league in ERA, made the All-Star team, and was 10th in Cy Young voting. It was only then that his fatal flaw was discovered.

The Tampa Bay Rays are famed for their scouting knowledge - but, in that very same draft, they picked Wade Townsend (got hurt, never made it out of AA) when they could have had Andrew McCutchen, who went three picks later. The moral: the draft is kinda random.

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#298361) #
I imagine that if Wolf makes the club, it will be as the 3rd left-hander in the pen at the beginning.  And as for Hendriks, I think that I've beaten that one to death- I hope that he is on the club in some capacity. 
China fan - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#298362) #
"....Romero started to struggle because teams discovered that he couldn't get lefthanders out...."

My understanding is that it's more than that.  He's been battling a series of knee problems since 2012 (or perhaps just one prolonged knee injury that he hasn't been able to fix), and that has messed up his delivery and his mechanics.  Without the knee strength and leg strength that he needs, he can't pitch as well.  I don't think it's merely the LHB problem.  He couldn't get LHB out in 2011 either (left-handed hitters had a .834 OPS against him in 2011) but he was so good against RHB that it didn't matter.  He held righties to an OPS of .589 in 2011.  If you can do that, you're going to have a successful season, no matter how bad you are against LHB.  Just one season later, in 2012, he was doing far worse against right-handed hitters -- their OPS against him had ballooned by 200 points, and of course the LHB were hitting even better against him.  So the question is why he was able to hold RHB to a .589 OPS in 2011 and then their hitting against him soared to .782 just one season later.  I'll wager that the knee problems had a lot to do with that.
China fan - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#298363) #
"....MIguel Castro is being stretched out tonight in Tampa...."

Just a few days ago, I proclaimed publicly in this space that Castro would almost certainly start in the minors this season.  I was quite confident about that at the time.  Now I'm admitting that I might be wrong, although it's still too early to be sure.  There are growing indications that Castro might even make the major-league roster in April.  Of course, if it happens, the Stroman injury is a big part of the reason. Stroman's injury means that Sanchez is probably needed in the starting rotation this season, which means that the Jays might need another flame-thrower in the bullpen, and Castro could be the replacement for Sanchez in that role. Castro, like Sanchez, could work well as a complement to Cecil and Loup -- he provides a different look, the pure velocity that those guys don't have, and it's a good weapon to have in the bullpen arsenal for specific situations, and to keep the opposition off-balance.  Also, there's no question that Castro has mightily impressed the Jays brain-trust with his performance this spring.  This is not just the usual diplomatic praise -- I'm convinced that the Jays are genuinely impressed and genuinely believe that he might be valuable in the Jays bullpen this season.  Now, can he keep it up and continue to impress the team?  We'll get some indication tonight.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#298364) #
The Jays could really use a super good news story and if Castro could stretch out and become a solid starter now that would be a 'wow' story.  Even a solid mid-inning reliever would be sweet.  The big problem with Castro or Osuna making the staff is neither are on the 40 man yet and this would start using up options if they aren't ready yet.  This is Castro's 4th season if he isn't ready then he wouldn't need to have an option used until 2017.  But if ready then using options isn't a bad idea as the Jays need a 90 win season badly.  The Yankees are a mess this year who knows how long that'll last?  Same with Tampa. 
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#298365) #
I think I see Castro being stretched out as a sure sign he's not making the team actually. His only shot, if he even had one, was as an RP. Stretching him out tells me that they're (rightly) sending him back down to start.

at least that was my first reaction.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#298366) #
John I wouldn't sleep on the yanks. all they need is a half healthy rotation and they could be real good again.

and never dismiss Arod.
China fan - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#298367) #
".....I think I see Castro being stretched out as a sure sign he's not making the team actually...."

On closer inspection, I don't actually see a source for the claim that Castro is being stretched out to a starter role.  He'll get a maximum of three innings tonight, and he's not the starter.  He pitched 2 scoreless innings against the Orioles in his last outing last week, so he's going from 2 innings to 3 innings, which doesn't necessarily mean that he's being prepared for a starting role, unless he is sent to the minors.  He is obviously regarded long-term as a starter, so 3 innings shouldn't be a problem for him, and it prepares him for either the bullpen or the rotation, depending which team he ends up going to.

Jeff Blair wrote this yesterday:  "Castro and Osuna have pitched themselves into position to make the Blue Jays bullpen." 

And from a Ken Fidlin piece on Sunday, here's a more extensive discussion of the Castro question, with quotes from Anthopoulos:

“Before the games started this spring, we had a meeting with the whole staff, talking about expectations for players and game plans for camp,” said Anthopoulos. “We talked about getting Castro up to three innings. Long-term, we view him as a starter.”

While they love his potential, what they hadn’t necessarily counted on was Castro thrusting himself into the bullpen competition for the opening-day roster. By stretching him out, the Jays are not taking him out of that mix. He could easily slide into a bullpen role, even as he stretches out as a starter.

“We were going to get him to three innings regardless,” said Anthopoulos. “We’ll see how it looks and go from there.”

What the longer outings will do is give the Jays’ talent evaluators an opportunity to expand the sample size of at-bats they will use to decide where Castro best fits in the organization. That could be anywhere from Dunedin to Toronto.

greenfrog - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#298368) #
Romero isn't really a case of Steve Blass disease. Blass was a good pitcher who suddenly stopped throwing strikes for no apparent reason

Have to disagree with this. Having watched Romero a number of times during the 2012 season, it was painfully obvious that he could no longer command his pitches with any real consistency. He often seemed to be aiming the ball and often badly missed his target - or the strike zone. His BB/9 IP jumped from 3.2 in 2011 to 5.2 in 2012 (and 9.8 in a very small sample in 2013).

Here is how is BB/9 IP went in 2012:

Mar/April: 3.44
May: 6.03
June: 4.67
July: 5.17
Aug: 5.29
Sept/Oct: 7.58

That is a statistical portrait of a floundering pitcher, and I simply do not buy the "he had a sore knee" theory.

Fwiw, Steve Blass's BB/9 IP in the year he fell apart was 8.53 (it was 3.03 the year before that).
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#298369) #
mmm. gotta like the swing travis took on that double. super quiet, short stroke producing easy power there.

and its getting tougher to argue against navarro starting instead of smoak.

hutch isn't sharp though. leaving the ball up all night. lots of deep flies.
China fan - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#298370) #
Greenfrog, do you have a better explanation of why Romero suddenly began floundering in 2012?  It wasn't just his walk rate that increased -- he gave up more hits, more extra-base hits, more home runs, everything.  The opposition BA and SLG increased dramatically, not just the BBs.  If it wasn't due to him being hampered by nagging injuries that affected his mechanics, what caused it?  I don't necessarily buy the Steve Blass theory either.  Most players don't suddenly lose the plot with no explanation at all.
zeppelinkm - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#298371) #
I'm a little late to this thread but there were some questions and comments earlier regarding spring training stats. I just recently read this interesting article on the subject that those interested might be reading.

the TLDR (too long didn't read) version would be that carefully sprinkling in some spring training stats with Zip projections significantly improve their accuracy.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#298372) #
Travis looks pretty decent to me.  Maybe it took a little while for him to get rolling after coming back from the injury.
finch - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#298373) #
re: Romero & Steve Blass theory

I remember hearing during a telecast, not the Jays' broadcast, but the colour commentator mentioned that the league recognized that he couldn't throw his off speed pitches for strikes so they started looking for fastballs. I'm sure it's a phychological thing with Romero, overcompensating the lack of swings for his breaking pitches. That can really mess with a hitter.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#298374) #
In 2014, Jonah Keri wrote for Grantland: "It’s hard to say whether Romero is suffering from an injury or some kind of modern-day Steve Blass disease. Whatever it is, Romero has gone from being one of the AL’s top starters just three years ago to one of the game’s most perplexing stories."

Which perhaps about sums it up.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#298375) #
It was fun to watch Castro tonight.  He's got good movement on the fastball at 96-97 and had fairly good control of the change. 
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#298376) #
hearing the yanks' tv guys fawning over castro and Osuna is enjoyable.
China fan - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#298377) #
On the hitting side, Travis is impressive, but I've also been intrigued by Vicideo.  Lots of extra-base hits this spring.  If the Jays keep him, perhaps at DH/1B, he could help to replace Lind's power in the lineup.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#298378) #
Osuna is a battler.

a battler with 97mph cheese.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#298379) #
I thought Castro looked great, he generally kept the ball down and he threw some nice change ups. His off speed pitch was dodgy, I think he only threw one for a strike and several did nothing. He did look like a good bullpen option with two pitches. If AA wasn't under the gun Castro would be starting in the minors but when your job is on the line you forget about development and focus on today.

I thought Osuna's command was only OK, I don't think he is a bullpen candidate for the major league team right now.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#298380) #
I really, really, really hope Castro starts in the minors.

I'm losing faith in that hope every time Castro pitches, though.

Promoting a 20-year old with 8 innings above low-A and an IP high of 80 to the big league pen is beyond desperation. You're better than that, Alex. Keep him in the minors and then call him up to be a reliever mid-season, like Sanchez in 2014.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 17 2015 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#298381) #
still think stretching them out now is a clear indicator that they're not really considering them for bullpen duty.

Oceanbound - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 03:12 AM EDT (#298382) #
Promoting a 20-year old with 8 innings above low-A and an IP high of 80 to the big league pen is beyond desperation. You're better than that, Alex. Keep him in the minors and then call him up to be a reliever mid-season, like Sanchez in 2014.

Starting him in the big leagues right away is beyond desperation, but making him pitch in the minors for half the season makes it totally fine? Does half a season of work give him some sort of magical experience?
TamRa - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 04:51 AM EDT (#298383) #
"Promoting a 20-year old with 8 innings above low-A and an IP high of 80 to the big league pen is beyond desperation."

Joakim Soria would like a word.

If the Blue Jays were hurting for great young starters, I'd be more worried about it, but as f now, I'm ambivolant. If he goes down I'll enjoy the anticipation, if he breaks with the team I'll enjoy that too.
Ryan C - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#298384) #
Stephen Brunt on the Fan radio this morning saying that in his opinion, it's more likely than not Castro will head north with the Jays and Osuna could be in Toronto as well at end of the year.

John Northey - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#298385) #
There is an old rule - if a kids arm is ready call him up as he is as likely to get hurt in the minors as the majors and you only get so many pitches before their arm goes kaboom and you want those pitches to be thrown in the majors if possible.  If Castro or Osuna are ready then bring them up and see what we've got.  If they become solid relievers and it allows Sanchez to become a solid starter then they'll easily be well worth the risk.  As TamRa says the Jays aren't hurting on young pitching so if a kid is ready why not give him a shot?  If you blow it with one or two by doing that then there are more in the pipeline coming up.  Basically an accerated Cecil/Janssen method - rather than waiting years while they work as starters you just toss them in the pen early in the majors.  We need a Henke/Ward to develop so maybe we'll be lucky and these two will become that.
85bluejay - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#298386) #
I was hoping that Castro & Osuna have great years, in the minors maybe reaching AAA - It's a big gamble to rush them to the big league especially with patient lineups like the Yankees & Red Sox - But I completely understand the tough situation the FO is in - their defender & protector is going & new President's tend to want their own guy plus ownership not allowing additional spending - So, I'm going to be cutting the FO a lot of slack this season - I guess the Jays are hoping that Castro does for them, what Betances did for the Yankees last year. Looks like Castro has a good chance to make the opening day roster.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#298387) #
I wondered if the speed gun in Tampa was hot.  Hendriks was sitting at 94.  He was throwing in relief, mind you, but still.

What I saw from Travis defensively last night was good lateral range to his left and a fairly weak arm.  The club ought to move him half a step in when playing the shift; otherwise the loss in errant throws will be greater than the range benefit. You can't position him as you would Aaron Hill or Brett Lawrie.  I haven't seen him on the DP yet.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#298388) #
"Starting him in the big leagues right away is beyond desperation, but making him pitch in the minors for half the season makes it totally fine? Does half a season of work give him some sort of magical experience?Starting him in the big leagues right away is beyond desperation, but making him pitch in the minors for half the season makes it totally fine? Does half a season of work give him some sort of magical experience?"


It's not about experience. It's about innings and being stretched out. If Castro is on an innings limit (say, 125-130 IP), then having him as a starter in the minors for 100 of those innings and then as a big league reliever for the last 20-30 makes the most sense for his arm. That way he can go right back into starting the following season. Having him be a reliever for 70 innings and then trying to stretch him back out the following year is going to cause a lot of issues since he'll have to be stretched out again and he still wouldn't have enough pro innings to be a moderate IP starter for another couple of years. Not to mention the 3rd pitch that he has to work on to become a successful starter won't be worked on as much as it should if he's essentially a 2-pitch reliever out of the pen in his age 20 season.

Effectively, the Jays would be hurting the development of one of their best pitching prospects for absolutely no reason. Would the difference between Castro and another relief option currently in the Jays organization be worth more than 0.5 WAR? That's assuming Castro even does well in the Majors, which is still too early to say.

It would be a very stupid move. I can't believe anyone would support it. Unless Castro turns into Rivera overnight, it will have practically little impact on the field because even a good reliever is worth about a win, and Castro is not a guarantee to be a good reliever right away. Pointless and stupid. And yes, China Fan, NOW I am outraged.
Chuck - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#298389) #
I guess the Jays are hoping that Castro does for them, what Betances did for the Yankees last year

The Yankees would even be naive to hope that Betances does for them this year what he did for them last year.

Gerry - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#298390) #
Mike, the gun in Tampa was hot. when Sabathia was pitching the gun was 2-3 MPH high based on twitter feedback from Yankee followers. Based on that Castro was sitting around 94-95 and Osuna around 91-92.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#298391) #
I strongly suspect that the gun was hot last night. In Vancouver, where the stadium gun is definitely not hot, Castro never hit 97-98 that I saw. He was 93-94 the time I saw him and this was consistent with the radio reports throughout the season. Osuna was also 93-95 in the pre-TJ stint here. The only two guys who regularly hit 97 here of the current prospects that passed through were Sanchez (who I never saw) and Labourt. Even Syndergaard was 95 at the top end. Very very few non one inning pitchers can truly sit at more than 93-94 as the fangraphs velocity numbers will show you.
China fan - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#298392) #
"....It would be a very stupid move. I can't believe anyone would support it...."

Your outrage is ridiculous.  You're really the only person who is working yourself into a frenzy on this issue, and you're using such extreme language ("stupidity" and "beyond desperation") that you're damaging your own argument even further.  If Castro is out-pitching his competitors for the bullpen job, how can you keep him off?  If he's the best candidate for a bullpen slot, based on his ability and his command and his stuff, why would you arbitrarily force him to stay in the minors because you imagine that it MIGHT somehow damage him to be in the majors?  Your notion of "development" is so arbitrary and inflexible that it allows for zero exceptions to your rigid rules.  Baseball is full of exceptions.  There are hundreds of cases of pitchers reaching the majors at the age of 20 or even younger. 

Literally 90 per cent of baseball reporters, analysts, coaches and scouts who follow the Jays are now saying that Castro might make the team.  If this was such a "stupid" and "desperate" move, we'd have to believe that 90 per cent of the experts are wrong, while a casual fan such as yourself is right.  I'm going with the experts.  If they say that it's possible and could make sense, I don't see any evidence that they're wrong.  And to say it's "pointless" is an even weaker argument.  A strong bullpen is crucial to the Jays chances in 2015.  The difference between Castro and a weaker option (like Hendriks or Drabek) could actually spell the difference in several games. How can this be "pointless"?  The Jays need to maximize their chances in every game.  Forget about WAR calculations, which aren't the best way of measuring a bullpen -- a weak reliever can cost the Jays several games, and an upgrade can make a significant difference in a significant number of games.

As for the argument that Castro might be prevented from reaching a higher innings number in 2016: that's an even more ridiculous argument.  The Jays need a strong bullpen.  If Castro is one of the 7 best choices, he needs to get the job.  It might slightly delay his chances of becoming a starter in 2016 or 2017, but he certainly wasn't likely to make the Jays rotation at the age of 21 or 22 anyway, since he doesn't have enough pitches and he won't suddenly gain a major-league rotation repertoire in 12 months anyway.  Baseball is about tradeoffs.  The Jays need a strong bullpen now.  Plenty of good relievers have transitioned to being good starters at a later point -- it's a very common career path, as we're probably seeing now with Sanchez and as many other teams have seen with many other pitchers.  Castro might not be able to pitch 200 innings in 2016 if he's in the bullpen now, but he probably wouldn't be pitching 200 innings for the Jays in 2016 regardless of whether he's in the bullpen or a minor-league rotation in 2015.  He's only got 2 pitches now, and he's not suddenly going to be in the Jays rotation at the age of 21 regardless of where he is placed in 2015.  Be realistic here.

Your final argument is that Castro is not "guaranteed" to be a good reliever "right away."  Nobody is guaranteed to be a good reliever in any specific season, as we saw with the unexpected decline of several Jays relievers last year.  There is never any guarantee in baseball.  But if Castro wins the competition and if he's one of the 7 best relievers in the Jays system, I want him in the major-league bullpen.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#298393) #
er, calm down, china.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#298394) #
I've always had the sense that Castro profiled as a reliever, and I've gotten the impression the Jays seem him that way, too. Scrawny guy, throws hard, no one's had much to say about his secondary pitches.

It's entirely possible the Jays don't think he can physically stand up to starting, or that he won't be able to develop his secondary pitches enough. This wouldn't be a revolutionary thought: Most pitchers aren't good enough to start in the majors, for one reason or another.

So if you think his starting potential is limited, and if you think he can be a strong MLB-calibre reliever right now, why not promote him? It's a gamble, but just about everything you do with a 20-year-old pitcher is a gamble.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#298395) #
Thanks, Gerry and Nigel.  FWIW, Castro was sitting at 97 and touched 99 on a hot gun.  It might have been 94-95, touching 97 and with some nice movement.  Not easy to square that up, and if you mix in a change with downward action, it's a pretty good combination.  It doesn't look to me like he is going to strike out 9-10 batters per 9IP (as Soria did when he came up), but I could easily see him being effective for 1-2 innings in middle relief on a regular basis.  One time through the order max.

Now whether they should have Castro up in that role is another question.  My major concern is whether Gibbons has the flexibility to deal with difficult decisions at the back end of the rotation and the high leverage portion of the bullpen in combination with lefty/righty mix in the pen.  This does factor in to a decision about Castro.  So, for instance, lets' say the club opens the season with Sanchez and Estrada in the rotation.  Then the club can run out a bullpen with 3 lefties (Cecil, Loup and Norris) and four right-handers (perhaps Redmond, Hendriks, Castro and Delabar).  I don't think that's the best idea, but it would fit with Gibbons' prior bullpen usage.  Another possibility is Norris and Estrada or Sanchez at the back end of the rotation.  Gibbons would then have to figure out the lefty/right mix and roles in the bullpen in ways that might not be within his comfort zone.  Maybe Hynes takes Delabar's slot (say) in the pen, and if used as a left-handed specialist, would be about as effective. 

eudaimon - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#298396) #
Calling up minor league starters for relief early on, instead of waiting years for them to develop as starters might just be an innovative idea. Give the guy 70-80 innings up here, and if you want to make sure he continues on the development curve have him throw a few innings on the side every once in a while.

If he's ready, I say let's do it! This could be a chance to get a great reliever for basically nothing. Like others have said, pitchers are pretty hard to predict, and many blow their arms out before ever getting to the majors. I think this is a better idea than, say paying 6.5 million dollars for Francisco Rodriguez, or trading prospects for "Established" relievers. Castro's minor-league numbers are great, and I for one am excited to see what he might be able to do out of the bullpen.

Intricated - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#298397) #
I like to see Castro and Osuna in the big team's bullpen this year: enter the game in the 5th-7th inning, throw 2 to 3-ish innings depending on effectiveness, available every 2-4 days.  That could be 40-50 games for 120-140 very good and very much needed quality innings, each.  Give them the spot starts. Keep them up in TO until they can't do the job anymore.

Delaying/hurting their development as SP? Losing team control?  Escalating their salaries? Damn the consequences, let's win something.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#298398) #
Things have a way of going wrong... eg Stroman.

I remember the White Sox won a WS recently. I think that may have been the year they picked up a very hard throwing 20 year old reliever off the waiver wire, late in the year. I cannot recall his name, he was tall and weighed about 260 lbs and quite wild in the strike zone. He became their closer.

I cannot figure these things out.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#298399) #
I'm gonna take a few minutes off from my stock trading this morning to put two of my painfully earned Loonies into the fray about Castro.

In an earlier post I postulated that the Jay's should put Castro in the Jay's pen this year and keep him there (this year and most likely at least next too) while force feeding him protein and carbs and working him out to ensure the extra weight he picks up is good weight. I'm concerned that his frame is so long and lean that the strain of going 200 innings a year in the Bigs might be too much of a strain for him until he puts more bulk on. Additionally, we are at a very rare time in the team's history - we've a blush worthy number of potential young studs. Next year we'll have SEVEN, very young, mid-rotation or better, Championship Team quality starters: Stroman, Hutchison, Sanchez, Norris, Osuna, Hoffman and the aforementioned Mr Castro.

Jimmy Key started in the pen, many others have started in the pen, (as a child I remember being confined by a pen - if it didn't hurt my development - it won't hurt Castro's - and perhaps - Osuna's as well). 'Nuff said.

Now, on the TSX, HOD looks like a good bet if Oil stocks continue to get slaughtered, and if Janet looses her "patience" later today then HQD, HSD and HXD look to be interesting places to eek out a bob or two in the short term - NEVER use leveraged Bulls or Bears for a long term investment. Good trading and go Jay's! Is it April yet?

Nigel - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#298400) #
Right now Castro profiles as a reliever because he has a dominant fastball and a MLB quality change. His slider is totally inconsistant and without it he doesn't have much chance of being a starter. In this sense, he's like many minor league starters - he has work to do. I don't see why he couldn't be a starter. For example, Syndergaard was really only a one pitch pitcher in Vancouver - both his change and curve needed a lot of work at that point.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#298401) #
Ryan you make a good point. Castro kind of profiles as a likely reliever in the end, though of course that could change. In that case putting him in the mlb 'pen doesn't hurt his development. It still seems wasteful to give up on a 20yr old's potential to add one more good pitch, but I'd be less upset with Castro making the pen than Osuna, who I think is a definite SP who needs innings coming off TJ. (in my homer mind, I still see the future rotation as stroman hutch norris hoffman osuna with sanchez/castro as henke/ward).

I think we should remember that at least Castro is EARNING this consideration. All things being equal, he is simply beating the competition this spring on the mound, and with legit mlb stuff. so he wouldn't exactly be being forced. I'm sure if he starts scuffling any talk of him making the team is snuffed out pretty quick. As of now, being an inexperienced 20yr old is actually the only reason to hold him because otherwise he's currently earning a look based on actual baseball considerations - stuff and performance. (being an inexperienced 20yr old is still a dang good reason to hold him back though.)

but this isn't just a jays thing. Castro would be winning that battle in any team's camp at the moment. its not even just a jays' media thing - Jon Morosi was gushing about Castro on twitter last night, and flat out stated that he looked good enough to make most any team's bullpen.
ogator - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#298402) #
Does anyone know anything about Anderson Green, a FA ss that the Jays signed this week. Mr. Green has never played in the Major or Minor leagues.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#298403) #
There is an answer to the question: "why wouldn't you try Castro in the major league pen?".  His stuff could reasonably well play in that role, but you might be of the opinion that he is not emotionally ready to pitch in front of a big house and to face (let's imagine) an idol of his in a key situation.  The judgment about emotional readiness is a purely subjective one, and can be mitigated to a significant degree by starting him out in relatively low leverage situations. 

As for the White Sox and bpoz' question, they last won the World Series in 2005.  They did not have a 20 year old reliever.  Bobby Jenks came up late in the season but was 24 years old.  The last time the White Sox made the playoffs was in 2008 and again they did not have a 20 year old reliever or anything like that. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#298404) #
Does anyone know anything about Anderson Green, a FA ss that the Jays signed this week. Mr. Green has never played in the Major or Minor leagues.

Helluva first name.  Even better last name!
James W - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#298405) #
Bobby Jenks is definitely who he's referring to though. Ozzie Guillen called for him from the pen at least once by using arm signals that indicated "Send me the fat guy."
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#298406) #
To the people saying Castro might profile better as a reliever, how can anyone really make that statement at this stage in his career? He already has two plus pitches and is young enough to develop a 3rd with more minor league pro experience. It's not like he's Aaron Sanchez who has pitched at every level, can't find the strike zone, can't generate whiffs, etc. Castro is so young and inexperienced that saying "he won't be a starter long-term" is such a drastic opinion. He may not be, hell, he may not even stay healthy given how young pitchers fall so easily, but you can't make that claim this early, and certainly not about someone with his upside.

Another factor that people are overlooking, how good is Castro going to be out of the bullpen? David Carpenter had back-to-back seasons in Atlanta with FIP's of 3.11 and 3.19, and K/9's of 10, and ended up putting up WAR's of 0.9 and 0.8. If Castro put that kind of season up as a reliever in 2015, we'd all be gushing over it, but in the grand scheme of things, he'd be worth a win at best. A more realistic outlook would be that he's only 20 and not nearly as polished as Spring suggests, and in that case, how many wins would he provide over the next best candidate? How many runs would he save? Would it even matter?

It just doesn't make any sense. I know we are all Jays fans and hope they are doing the best for the org short and long-term, but unless Castro turns into Craig Kimbrel right away, this decision (if it happens) would fit neither short or long-term benefit.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#298407) #
the obvious feelgood example would be Chris Sale. only 10 milb innings before being promoted to the mlb pen for his age 21 and 22 seasons. Then transitioned directly into a dominant starter at 23.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#298408) #
looking at sale, he was primarily fastball/slider as an rp, and slowly refined his changeup and now has three good offerings as an SP.

is it harder to develop a slider or a change?
Gerry - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#298409) #
I believe the two players who the Jays signed last week, one them Anderson Green, are 16 or 17 year old Latino players who will likely play in the DSL.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#298410) #
"The Yankees would even be naive to hope that Betances does for them this year what he did for them last year."

Not only that, but Betances was given years of minor league experience as a starter, where his command in that role simply wasn't there, before they turned him into a reliever. If the Yankees called him up when he was Castro's age, he would have been in the Yanks bullpen in 2008.

Apparently Castro is scheduled to throw 4 innings in his next spring outing, so at least they are giving him innings in the spring.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#298411) #
so 3ip then 4ip next time.

that's the normal ramp up schedule he'd be on if he was starting this year.

so so far they haven't made any changes to his routine that would suggest a switch to telief duty.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#298412) #
Jays System ranked #10 by Mayo/Callis/

"Going into the 2014 season, a series of trades had left the Blue Jays' farm system thinner at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues than it had been in years past. It wouldn't stay down for long, however. Left-hander Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey delivered breakout seasons, and the Blue Jays injected high-end talent into the system in the 2014 First Year Player Draft, when they had two of the first 11 picks. Entering the 2015 season, they once again have elite talent and enviable depth in their system."
92-93 - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#298413) #
I really enjoyed your last post, Mylegacy. You were always one looking out for the Horizons.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#298414) #
For me, I would rather see Castro in the pen only after its established that he's actually needed there. I would give the Delabar's and Drabek's first shot ( on a short leash) in the pen and let Castro and Osuna start in Dunedin or New Hampshire first. I happen to like Castro's fastball/change combo due to less stress on the elbow and would give him every chance as a starter. If he does go to the pen then I would give him the Weaver treatment and be the longman/low leverage work.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#298415) #
colt hynes, in addition to having a good spring, is one of the random pen arms thatcthe projection systems like fir whatever reason.
ayjackson - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#298416) #
I'd prefer Castro went to the minors to continue his development to become a starter.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#298417) #
Ogator, I believe I saw someone post on here that Anderson Green was signed by the Jays as an 18 year old from the Dominican. Another 18 year old, a catcher of the same age, was signed from there also.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#298418) #
Genreally speaking I'd prefer the kids like Castro are left in the minors unless they force their way on and no one else is set for that slot.  IDeally Delabar & Drabek are in the pen along with Cecil, Loup, Estrada, Jenkins and Redmond.

On the 40 man But not a clear lock for the team...
Jayson Aquino
Scott Barnes
Steve Delabar
Kyle Drabek
Preston Guilmet
Liam Hendriks
Colt Hynes
Chad Jenkins
Juan Pablo Oramas
Rob Rasmussen
Todd Redmond (I have to think he is a near lock)
Bo Schultz
Ryan Tepera
Matt West

14 guys fighting for 2 slots along with the 10 NRI's...
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#298419) #
Mylegacy - well, we got the dropping of the word "patience" from Yellen, but those picks you recommended all went down sharply immediately after. Heck, the HOD dropped almost 10% in a matter of minutes. Hope you didn't lose your shirt. Those leveraged ETF's are extremely dangerous. I wouldn't touch 'em.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#298420) #
Today's birthday team is not great, but I did learn about Pirate first baseman Elbie Fletcher who was born on this date.  He played in the late 30s through the 40s and missed a couple of seasons due to the war.  Each year from 1940-42, he led the league in OBP, ahead of Mel Ott, Johnny Mize, Enos Slaughter, Dolph Camilli and many other well-known hitting stars, despite not having much power.  I imagine him as an earlier version of Mike Hargrove, hopefully without the annoying batter's box habits.
China fan - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#298421) #
"....14 guys fighting for 2 slots along with the 10 NRI's..."

John, a lot of those guys have already been demoted.  Others, like Francis tonight and Hendriks earlier, haven't pitched very well this spring.  (Small sample size, of course, but they are fighting for jobs and they know their spring performance could determine their fate, so we can draw some partial conclusions from their spring outings.)  I'd say the only locks are Cecil, Loup, Estrada and Redmond.  (If Estrada makes the rotation, they'll probably replace him with Sanchez in the bullpen.)   So really there are 3 spots available, and the true contenders at this point (in my humble opinion) are Jenkins, Delabar, Lopez, Castro, Barnes, Hynes, Drabek, Hendriks and Francis.  I'm excluding those who were already demoted and a couple other fringe guys who seem unlikely to catch on. 

So 9 candidates for 3 spots.  Of those, I think Hendriks and Francis are on the margins: soft-tossers who haven't done particularly well this spring. I think the Jays might be inclined, strategically, to leave Jenkins and Delabar in the minors as depth pitchers, since they have options.  They can easily step into the major-league bullpen at a moment's notice, so they are useful to have in Buffalo -- unfairly punished for having options left.  The Jays might have a bias towards Hynes or Barnes as a LOOGY specialist if Cecil is the closer. (If Cecil gets the 9th inning, he's unavailable for lefty situations earlier in the game.)  And they might have a bias towards Drabek because he's out of options.  And their praise for Lopez has suggested that he's one of the frontrunners.

So my guess is that there are 3 available spots and the battle is between Lopez, Castro, Hynes/Barnes, Drabek and possibly Jenkins or Delabar if the Jays feel that they are clearly ahead of the others.  Just my guess.  And a lot can still change, of course.

Looking at the contenders in that battle, I can see why Castro might be favored.  He brings the flame-throwing weapon that the others lack.  And to be honest, the competition just isn't that fierce.  He could be better than most of those guys already.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#298422) #
Steven Brunt was just on McCowan's show with a rundown of the Jays and he said it looks like Castro is going to make the team.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#298423) #
John Lott on Hoffman's progress...with video.  All I can say is I hope that they keep him out of this giant refrigerator they call the Northeast until June.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#298424) #
If Norris and Sanchez are starting, then my pen would be: Cecil, Loup, Lopez, Delabar, Redmond, Hynes/Francis, Estrada.

There is enough minor league depth to move guys back and forth depending on performance.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#298425) #
Actually, I forgot Hendriks is out of options. I'd include simply to avoid losing him. Maybe take out the additional lefty in that case, although maybe AA is confident Hendriks can slip past waivers.
jerjapan - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#298426) #
zeppelinkm, thanks for that link on the value of spring stats.  the economist presents pretty strong evidence that there is value in spring stats - albeit, limited value.  The link was back a bunch in the thread so reposting if anyone is interested.

uglyone - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#298427) #
fangraphs did a thing on it last year and found a tentative meaningfulness on exactly one spring stat - pitcher strikeouts.
jerjapan - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#298428) #
It's worth a read Ugly.  the question under consideration:

Could adding a dollop of spring-training statistics, despite all their flaws, into a cauldron of ZiPS projections improve the results?The answer was an unequivocal yes. In every peripheral category, forecasts that included a finely calibrated dose of spring-training numbers outperformed ZiPS by itself.

Mylegacy - Wednesday, March 18 2015 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#298429) #
Dan Gordon -

Ya, you're right about leveraged ETF's they be dangerous little beasts. Fortunately, I follow them live and I got out of HQD, HSD and HXD all within seconds of seeing the direction they were going - lost under a $100 on the three combined. Had it gone the other way - coulda bought another case or two of single malt. Interestingly, HOD has made me a lot of money since oil, and it's associated stocks tanked - in fact over the past few months as they crashed I've made over 77% from HOD (not to mention a few Bob from HED as well). I love them two and the ship they rode into town on (kinda like mixed metaphors too). Actually, I think there is more love to come from HOD (and HED) when the oil companies start reporting their losses next few quarters and when several literally go under as they can't get refinancing to keep paying the interest on their debt. The GOOD news about oil is that when the Saudis decide to stop playing silly bugger and oil turns up I'll just buy HOU (and HEU) and ride them ponies back to glory. Market down - make money with HOD, market up make money with HOU... sweet, very sweet.

Opening day yet?

John Northey - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 01:34 AM EDT (#298430) #
SK in NJ I think you have it right there. Cecil, Loup, Lopez, Delabar, Redmond, Francis, Estrada - with Francis being on the bubble for Osuna.  Expect Delabar/Jenkins to be bounced back and forth a lot if both have options. 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#298431) #
Will Brett Cecil be healthy enough to start the season as Closer? I don't think he'll have enough innings to be ready, despite what Gibbons has been saying. Will he be effective enough for his job right away? That will depend on his confidence level and how he pitches first time out.

Miguel Castro pitched basically 80 innings last year at age 19.
At maximum acceptable increase he'll pitch 100-105 innings in 2015 at age 20.
At maximum acceptable increase he'll pitch 130-135 innings in 2016 at age 21.
At maximum acceptable increase he'll pitch 155-160 innings in 2017 at age 22.
At maximum acceptable increase he'll pitch 175-180 innings in 2018 at age 23.
He'll then be ready to pitch 200+ innings at the MLB level in 2019 at age 24.
There are several points to consider. A.A. believes Miguel Castro will be a better Reliever than a Starter. I believe he said so some time back, I'm just not sure when. This might seem harsh, but at some point he'll lose a year to Tommy John surgery or two years to Shoulder surgery and further delay his debut. This year's Bullpen still isn't very good, without him. With him, it will be better. How much? I don't know.

Options are very simple. Keep Castro or lose Castro. Unless Miguel Castro turns into a decaying pumpkin he makes the Bullpen immensely better, this season. Pitch him 50-55 time at 2.0-2.1 innings each, which limits any overwork and increases his innings safely.

Roberto Osuna is much further away as a Starter despite being almost inning-limit free after TJ surgery. He's never pitched more than about 45.0 innings in a year. I have no idea how many he'll pitch 1st year back, although I think 130-145 would/might be acceptable if he's being pushed along. Why is he even being considered? Perhaps it's because no one, not A.A., Gibbons or any of their Staff, is impresses with any of the alternatives, despite the track records.
jerjapan - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#298432) #
gotta think Colt Hynes has the edge on Francis (after his last shellacking) if we go with a third lefty.  Uglyone pointed out that he's one of the 'random arms' that projection systems like and he's looked much better so far this march (STSSS aside)

If not for some major PCL struggles, he looks like a classic non prospect relief candidate - sub 6 foot, late round college pick, soft throwing side armer.  One shot with the bigs in SD in 2013 and he dropped the ball, but he did hold lefties to an impressive 156/.289/.313 line (38 plate appearances)

he could fit a specific role for this team.  Not calling him to make it, but if we go with a third lefty i've got him as the favourite. 

China fan - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#298433) #
Castro is virtually certain to make the Jays bullpen, and Sanchez is virtually certain to be in the starting rotation, according to Anthopoulos today.  Here are a couple of tweets about his comments on Castro today on a radio show:

it'd be tough to keep Castro off the team. "He's certainly putting himself in an unbelievable position."

More AA on Castro: If he didn't make the team & I had a media scrum, I don't know what I'd say about why he didn't make the team
China fan - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#298434) #
As for why Castro is being stretched out to 4 innings:  it's probably because he would be a multiple-inning reliever if he makes the team, like Sanchez last year.  It's valuable to have a reliever who can pitch the 7th and 8th innings, as Sanchez often did last season.  Castro is probably capable of doing the same.  So, to build his arm strength, it makes sense to have him pitching 4 innings in spring training, or even more.  Just like Sanchez last year, if he comes from a starter background and has the arm strength to pitch several innings, it makes him a better fit for two-inning stretches as a reliever in the majors.  It worked well with Sanchez last season.
China fan - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#298435) #
More from Twitter today:
Blair: What has to happen for Castro to not go North?   Gibbons: Get hurt.

And more tidbits from Anthopoulos, summarized by me from various tweets:
The Jays might begin the season with 8 relievers if Saunders is not ready.  (Not sure that I see the connection, but that's apparently what he said.)  The team's biggest concern is a lack of depth, especially in the rotation.  The team might "look outside the organization" for a 1B. 
bpoz - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#298436) #
Yes Bobby Jenks. Thanks Mike Green & James W.

Thanks for AA's comments on Castro, CF. I remember many comments by the FO about Romero in ST before he was sent down. A lot of what is said does not happen.

I hope we have no development projects breaking camp with the team. Eveland, JoJo, Jeffress. Lets give the manager the best players we have.
uglyone - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#298445) #
thanks for the article, jer. nice to know that ST stats aren't entirely useless.

unfortunately, without somebody doing the work to combine and adjust the stats like they did, I'm not sure where that leaves us as fans. I'd still lean toward dismissing ST stats being safer than reading much into them I think.
John Northey - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#298459) #
Go with a 7 man pen and use Delabar/Jenkins/Castro as a flip/flop for an 8th man.  Keep one in AAA and the others in the majors so all can be used.  Guys with options in the pen are very very useful.  Odds are good someone will dump a slugging 1B during spring who the Jays can grab lets hope AA finds a 1/2 decent one.
dan gordon - Thursday, March 19 2015 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#298463) #
Francis isn't going to make this team. I'd have him outside the top 10 candidates for a spot in the bullpen.

Sure, if Saunders isn't ready for the first week, I could see them going with 8 relievers, because they'd have 1 less position player - only 3 outfielders. The bench would be Valencia, Navarro, and the backup 2B/SS. You wouldn't want to do it for very long, but Saunders isn't going to miss much time barring a setback. Alternatively, if you don't keep Smoak or Barton, you can have another bench guy, and Valencia/Encarnacion handle 1B/DH vs lefties, and Navarro/Encarnacion handle DH/1B vs righties.

So, if Sanchez is in the rotation, and Castro is in the pen, things are starting to take shape. Next question is whether the 5th starter is Norris or Estrada. If it's Norris, then the pen might look like: Cecil, Loup, Estrada, Redmond, Delabar, Lopez and Castro if it's 7 men, and if it's eight, or if Estrada is in the rotation with Norris in AAA, maybe they keep one of the "out of option" guys like Drabek. If Estrada's in the rotation, AND they keep 8 men in the pen, then they can hang on to Drabek and Kendrik. Jenkins is another legitimate candidate, and I'd say he needs to beat out Lopez or Delabar if it's a 7 man pen, and Norris is the 5th starter.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, March 24 2015 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#298609) #
I think it is unlikely that a team managed by John Gibbons will open the season with fewer than 8 relievers. Not impossible, but definitely unlikely. Smoak or Barton will make the team at first, most likely Smoak. Navarro is not an option at first.
What a week | 195 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.