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Ten months later, back to the scene of the crime...



A successful series in Houston finds the Bluebirds in a tie for the division lead with the Orioles, just in time for a visit to where their 2015 season ended. We all remember that game, I'm sure.

The defending champs have fallen on Hard Times though in 2016. Injuries to top players like Mike Moustakas (ACL, gone for the year), Wade Davis (flexor strain), Lorenzo Cain (back now but missed about a month earlier) and Alex Gordon (missed about two months), have forced the Royals to rely heavily on their depth, with very mixed results. Add in the fact that Kendrys Morales, Cain, Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young are all having noticeably worse years than in 2015, or that Alcides Escobar continues to transform into Ryan Goins (how'd this guy hit almost .500 in the ALCS again???) and it's no wonder how Kansas City is 51-57, 13-26 over their last 39 games and currently 4th in the AL Central.

But, they're still pesky. Nobody on this team strikes out, they defend well and now-closer Kelvin Herrera still has that untouchable 100mph gas. So you know, lets try to avoid that.

Matchups!

FRI 8:15 -- Liriano (6-11, 5.46*) v. Gee (3-5, 4.66)
SAT 7:15 -- Sanchez (11-1, 2.71) v. Duffy (7-1, 2.98)
SUN 2:15 -- Stroman (8-4, 4.74) v. Ventura (6-9, 4.83)

* - with Pittsburgh

Watch Out For...

Lefty Danny Duffy has probably been the Royals best starter this season, and considering Toronto's weird struggles with southpaws this season it could be one of those days where runs are as scarce as a Sahara water park. (I've been sitting on that one for a while)

Former Blue Jay Watch

Chien-Ming Wang has pitched out of the bullpen for the Royals this season and is 5-0! That's really the only positive thing to say here because the rest of his numbers are... kind of what you'd expect.

Housekeeping

Veteran and good friend of Da Box Mike Green shared it in the Houston thread, but I'll post it here as well: John Lott has a awesome piece on rookie reliever Danny Barnes that is definitely worth a look


Be nice to win a few.


August 5-7: Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey(!) | 162 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Chuck - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#328321) #
One deluded bastard believes KC to be MLB's most popular team. Clearly no one in these parts was consulted.
China fan - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#328322) #
It had to happen sometime:  Pillar gets a day off tonight.  Upton is his replacement, which creates an outfield of Saunders, Upton and Bautista.  That could be a rather weak outfield.  Let's hope it doesn't cost the Jays anything tonight.  But they had to take the chance at some point, since Pillar can't play every game of the season.  (Although he would probably like to.)
92-93 - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#328323) #
It seems weird to not set Liriano up for success on his very first try, but perhaps with Dillon Gee on the bump they figured they still have the advantage anyway.
Mike Green - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#328324) #
I had the same thought. It seems like a less-than-friendly introduction to the ballclub! It does however create a powerful incentive for Liriano to keep the ball down. Tough patient for Doc Martin tonight...
China fan - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#328325) #
"Doc Martin" and "the Pitcher Whisperer" are two of the more memorable nicknames that I've heard for a Jays catcher for quite a while.  Thanks to whomever coined the terms.
Mike Green - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#328326) #
Uglyone in both cases, I think.
Magpie - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#328327) #
Clearly no one in these parts was consulted.

No one anywhere. Might have been true three years ago, but now? After numerous pitched brawls with most of the other teams in the AL? One of the more disliked teams in the game, I would think.
Chuck - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#328328) #
I've just arrived to witness some Liriano wildness and a couple of meatballs. It would seem he was for more effective before I checked in.
Chuck - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#328329) #
The strategy for Upton has been consistent: high fastballs that his loopy upper cut swings under.
uglyone - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#328330) #
looked great until the 3rd time through. KC is also a team that plays to his strengths by not taking a ton of pitches....but hey I'll take that every time out.
uglyone - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#328331) #
Tabler starting to acknowledge Travis' "very good power", finally.
jjdynomite - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#328332) #
Wow Travis off Herrera. With EE at first, this has to be the best Jays infield ever.
Chuck - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#328333) #
And he shall be Devon, and he shall be a good man
John Northey - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#328334) #
Beginning to look like another extra inning game, then Travis continues to pay dividends. I was among the many who were nervous as Gose looked like he could be special in CF but Travis sure is special at 2B. Just what the Jays needed.
Thomas - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#328335) #
Before today's game, Anthony Gose was sporting a .596 OPS in Double-A.
Chuck - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#328336) #
Hey, these dumb Royals are lovable.
Thomas - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#328337) #
In consecutive trades, all completed in November 2014, the Jays traded:
Adam Lind for Marco Estrada
Anthony Gose for Devon Travis
Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman and Baretto for Josh Donaldson.
uglyone - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#328338) #
1st place in the AL
BlueJayWay - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#328339) #
That was fairly thrilling win.
John Northey - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#328340) #
November 2014 might be one of the best months in Jays history that didn't have a World Series game during it.

Lind hitting 227/261/442 89 OPS+ this year for Seattle. For $8 million after costing them 3 prospects in the winter.
Gose was hitting 209/287/341 72 OPS+ before being sent down.
Brett Lawrie hitting 248/310/413 98 OPS+ for the White Sox
Sean Nolin has a 76 ERA+ for Oakland and also lots of AAA time.
Graveman has probably been Oaklands best with a 90 ERA+ (only Rich Hill has a better ERA+ for them and he is gone)
Baretto is 20 in AA and hitting 276/337/423 at SS/2B

So out of all the guys traded away to get Estrada/Travis/Donaldson the only one who would have a role here now is Lawrie maybe as a backup over Barney's 82 OPS+ but Barney is more valuable as he can play SS. Graveman might be useful as starter #5 or 6 or 7 but right now wouldn't get the chance if he was still here. Baretto would be nice in the minors. Really at this point only Baretto could become a 'dang wish he was still here' guy. I suspect most of the rest could be had for a song.
SK in NJ - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#328341) #
About what you'd expect from Liriano. His command started to get away from him towards the last two innings but he kept the team in the game and there's nothing wrong with his stuff. Against a more patient team he might not have been as good, but solid first start.

I was dreading another extra inning game, but Travis came through big time.

Cecil looked very good. I was hoping Gibbons would extend Feldman a bit in case it went to extras again, but it worked out OK.
James W - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#328342) #
1st place in the AL

For all of 38 minutes. Just have to keep on keepin' on.
uglyone - Friday, August 05 2016 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#328343) #
still in 1st.
hypobole - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:03 AM EDT (#328344) #
Teams are paying massive prospect prices for late inning relievers.

The Jays make in-season trades for 2 relievers with ERA's north of 5, one in return for an org guy, the other for a DFA candidate.

So here we are in August. In the thick of the pennant race, the Jays have 4 9th inning leads in 4 days, up 3, up 2 and up 1 in the other 2 games.

Our terrific young closer gets the 2 lower leverage saves.

Who ends up closing out the 2 highest leverage save opportunities? Yup.

BTW, I know why it happened and I'm not blaming Gibby at all, I'm just finding it wondrously odd.

Magpie - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:17 AM EDT (#328345) #
Relief pitchers grow on trees! You should always be able to find something useful lying around!
King Ryan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:21 AM EDT (#328346) #
I don't know about you guys but I am still kind of not used to the Jays winning games and it feels awesome and weird and weird and awesome.
Spifficus - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#328347) #
One run games at that - they're 4-4 in them since Toronto and the One Run Fundamental.
vw_fan17 - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:13 AM EDT (#328348) #
All I want is someone to explain this to me:
Toronto and Texas have identical W-L records. Cleveland is 0.5 games behind them.
Toronto's RS/RA is +87
Cleveland's is +79
Texas' is +1

WHAT?

ISLAND BOY - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 06:41 AM EDT (#328349) #
It was sure scary seeing Josh Donaldson getting hit in the face. He would be the hardest player to replace in the lineup, although losing Martin would be bad,too.
Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:27 AM EDT (#328350) #
Devon Travis now has exactly as many AB in 2016 as 2015. He's not quite matched his 2015 slash line, but he's much closer than many of us thought possible.

2015: 304/361/498
2016: 290/332/479

And it's worth noting that he started slowly in 2016 with a number of MLB at-bats serving as a form of spring training for him.

A player with his hitting profile would bat in the middle of many lineups. I am perfectly comfortable with him in leadoff spot for Toronto. His days batting 9th should mercifully be behind him now.

Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:45 AM EDT (#328351) #
WHAT?

From the Latin-to-English translation of O Fortuna:

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
and waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it

Not sure if it was hubris or irony that a German set this to music just before the second world war.

scottt - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#328352) #
If Pillar is Superman, Upton is Flash and can cover just as much space in centerfield, if not more.

That was a great game, but I hope I never see Herrera again this year.

Benoit is such a calming presence on the hill even without comparing him to Storens.

hypobole - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#328354) #
Jesse Chavez with another rough outing for LA. 5 runs, 3 earned, 1.1 IP. His ERA climbs from 18.00 to 19.29.
John Northey - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#328355) #
This might be hubris but what will the roster be for the playoffs?
Rotation: Stroman/Happ/Estrada/Liriano with Dickey off the roster and Sanchez in pen

Pen: Osuna/Sanchez/Grilli/Cecil/Benoit/Biagini/Feldman

Lineup:
CA: Martin
1B: Smoak
2B: Travis
3B: Donaldson
SS: Tulowitzki
LF: Saunders
CF: Pillar
RF: Bautista
DH: Encarnacion

CA: Thole (no other backup available)
IF: Barney, Goins
OF: Upton, Pompey (love the speed)

Hard to picture Carrera making that roster.
Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#328356) #
Chavez Ravine was supposed to protect a gopheric Chavez Reviled from his worst tendencies. He might have to return to the bay. Remember the Alameda!

Yeah, sorry. I'll go pour myself another coffee.

Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#328357) #
John, why would they move Sanchez to the pen (unless he reveals himself to be gassed during September and starts fading badly)? I have not stayed on top of all the yakety yak coming from Atkins. Was the plan to just keep Sanchez in the rotation for the balance of the regular season?

Also, unless I am mistaken Carrera would need to stay on the DL for the entirety of August to avoid being optioned and pass through waivers, which he likely wouldn't survive. But as you noted, Upton (even if he is playing like Atlanta Upton at the moment) has usurped the 4th outfielder position, making Carrera superfluous, both now and on a playoff roster.

electric carrot - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#328359) #
Travis to Martin:

"That's when you hit a homer in the top of the ninth."

John Northey - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#328360) #
Chuck - the Jays made is very clear 220+ IP is not an option for Sanchez (including playoffs I'd assume). So given his current inning total and likely innings going forward he'd be lucky to have 20 innings left come playoffs and if you keep him starting then you'll shoot over that quickly. In the playoffs relievers can be just as valuable as starters as the Yankees showed with Rivera over the years so having a '5 and over' bullpen would be a major asset and doing Osuna/Sanchez/Grilli/Cecil/Benoit/Biagini could allow games to be over by the 4th. Remember playoffs are buried in off-days. 2 games, day off, 3 games, day off, 2 games, day or two off, repeat.
Hodgie - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#328361) #
Devon Travis is now up to 470 PA in the majors and both bWAR and fWAR agree that he has performed at a 6+ WAR pace. Or put another way, at 24/25 years old, Travis has performed at roughly the same level as Pedroia in his age 25 season, albeit in slightly different ways. That'll do.
John Northey - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#328362) #
I'm sure the Jays will keep Carrera on the DL until September then he'll be a 5th OF (or 6th). I expect in September to see Carrera, Goins, Colabello, Pompey, maybe Montero (doubt it right now), Kratz or Jimenez to be a 3rd catcher and even a 4th depending how frustrated the Jays are with Thole.
pitchers Girodo, Tepera, Morales, Loup, maybe Schultz, Venditte.

Could be a very overloaded clubhouse.
PeterG - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#328363) #
Morales is DFA. No need to call up Venditte imo. He will be DFA as soon as more 40 man spots are needed. Bolsinger will certainly get the call. I would like to see Montero but as not on 40 man, I doubt it also. I hope he is retained, however, with the promise of a good look in ST 2017.
China fan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#328364) #
I always enjoy the annual guessing-game about who will get promoted when the rosters are expanded in September, but do we have to begin the speculation on Aug. 6?  There are still more than 3 weeks to go, and a lot can change in that time.
uglyone - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#328365) #
seems that upton is an everyday guy, albeit all over the OF, while gibby is using the DH tonrsst all the big bats like we've wanted.
China fan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#328366) #
Travis was a big story last night, but the biggest story (in my opinion) was Liriano.  In the view of Russell Martin, his stuff was "electric" and as good as it was in the 2013-14 years when he was one of the top starters in the league.  He only allowed 2 walks, a sign that his control isn't gone.  His BB rate was his biggest problem this season, so if that issue is declining, he'll be good.  Over the first 4 innings, Liriano was very good, despite the two-base error by Barney that led to a run.  And the Jays didn't try to tinker with his mechanics in any way, or to give him any special instructions -- they just told him to go out there and pitch.  The Jays say they have found a couple of issues in his mechanics that could be improved, but that will come later.   Bottom line:  if Liriano keeps pitching as well as he did last night, the Jays will be in excellent shape, even when Sanchez goes to the bullpen. Of course it was only the Royals, a poor-hitting team.  But there was enough in Liriano's performance to warrant a lot of optimism.

I still find it rather amazing that the Jays were able to get Liriano for Hutchison -- and then the Pirates said, "Let's throw in a couple of top-10 prospects as well."

China fan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#328367) #
"...seems that upton is an everyday guy, albeit all over the OF...."

That makes sense defensively.   But I really hope he gets his bat untracked.  That would make a big difference in the lineup.
Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#328368) #
Of course it was only the Royals, a poor-hitting team.

Not just a poor hitting team, but the poorest walking team in all of baseball at 2.3 per game. Liriano could not have asked for a softer landing spot to make his pitching debut for the Jays. Which is not to say he won't be useful and effective. We'll just have to wait and see, but truer tests are yet to come.

jerjapan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#328369) #
The ALE standings are fun to look at this year - tied for 1st with Baltimore and ahead of the Yanks and Sox.  But man, Cashman has retooled his farm in impressive fashion - both the Sox and the Yanks figure to have top 5 systems, and by the end of 2017, the Yanks will have huge money off the books. 

The ALE as the toughest division in baseball looks to continue. 

uglyone - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#328370) #
yeah - liriano's had 2 problems this year - walks and homers. KC was a nice antidote to both. Still, no reason not to be happy about that performance.
China fan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#328374) #
The Pat Venditte era is over.  The fan-favorite switch-pitcher has been traded to Seattle for a PTBNL.  

He was a great story, and I'm sad he's not in the organization any more.  But realistically he had sunk far down the depth chart.  And it opens up a spot on the 40-man roster.

hypobole - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#328375) #
No need to call up Venditte imo. He will be DFA as soon as more 40 man spots are needed.

Venditte just traded to Seattle for PTBNL.
scottt - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#328376) #
Best of luck to Venditte in Seattle. I doesn't look like the Jays need a lefty specialist anyhow.
China fan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#328378) #
For lefty specialists, the Jays depth chart seems to have become:  1) Cecil;  2) Loup; 3) Girodo.   And there was only room for one of those 3 on the major-league roster.  They didn't need Morales, and they didn't need Venditte, and both were unimpressive, so both are gone.  I'm not including Tepera, a RHP whose splits are sometimes dubiously seen as favorable against LHB.

Looking ahead to the off-season, I suspect the Jays could benefit from acquiring another one or two more LHP bullpen specialists.  Most of the ones they acquired this season have not really performed very well.  It's not a big issue, however.

Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#328379) #
Looking ahead to the off-season

Hey, what gives??? I thought we weren't even allowed to look ahead to September's call-ups? Somebody somewhere needs to publish the rules. Who's in charge around here?

China fan - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#328380) #
There are no rules.   It's chaos around here!
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#328385) #
Better call in Maxwell Smart!
Mylegacy - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#328386) #
Looking ahead to the 2017 season?....

Pretend... we sign only ONE of Bautista, EdWing or Saunders.

Travis OR Saunders OR Bautista in LF, Pillar OR Upton in CF, Bautista OR Upton OR Saunders in RF, Donaldson at 3rd, Tulo at SS, Travis OR Urena at 2nd, EdWing OR Smoak OR Tellez at 1st, Martin at C and Edwing OR Bautista OR Tellez at DH.

Might work...
PeterG - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#328387) #
Don't think it is practical to consider Tellez or Urena for 2017. 2018 maybe?
SK in NJ - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#328389) #
The Jays don't need a LOOGY or lefty specialist. Cecil is good enough to get all batters out (when he's on), and the rest of the pen can pitch an inning (or more in the case of Biagini and Feldman) without worrying about major split issues.

The LOOGY, except for a few exceptions, is a dying breed. The Jays don't have one and don't need one, IMO.
PeterG - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#328390) #
I agree that a loogy is not needed. It is a waste of a roster spot imo
SK in NJ - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#328391) #
Ideally, Upton would be more of a 4th OF/platoon bat/pinch runner/defensive replacement, but in this lineup, it makes more sense to improve the OF defense by playing him and putting Bautista or Saunders (or anyone Gibbons wants to rest) at DH. Smoak had his chances, and he's just as replacement level now as he's always been.

There's always a risk that Upton becomes the Atlanta version again, but cross that bridge if you get there. Next season is the time to make him the 4th OF. This season, if it's between him and Smoak, then I'd lean towards Upton more often than not just for the defensive/base running upgrade. If Smoak were Adam Lind against RHP, then that would be a different story, but he's average against RHP and bad against LHP, so even in a platoon role he's really not an asset. Take the offensive hit against RHP and hope the defensive/base running upgrade compensates for it (unless Upton really becomes ATL Upton again, then you consider a change).
John Northey - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#328392) #
Ah well. Fun to cheer for him still (Venditte) as he isn't with the Yankees, Red Sox, or Orioles. Tampa isn't worth booing this year which is nice for a change.
Alex Obal - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#328393) #
Never mind the bat - in spatially huge outfields like Kansas City it's a no-brainer to play Upton all three games, especially in light of whose gloves he's replacing. I was surprised they gave Pillar the off-day specifically yesterday, but it worked out...
dan gordon - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#328394) #
Saunders' turn to sit out tonight. He's OPS'ing just .688 over his last 159 plate appearances. Smoak, with his .678 OPS vs lefties hits 8th, ahead of Upton, who is OPS'ing .903 vs lefties. Upton has an OPS of .274 so far with Toronto - be nice to see him come up with a good game vs the lefty.
John Northey - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#328395) #
Fun thought for the night - the Jays still have a player who (via only 2 steps) is here thanks to a Pat Gillick acquisition. Found out via this chart.
greenfrog - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#328396) #
The Dodgers beat the Red Sox 3-0 today (another tough start for Eduardo Rodriguez). If the Jays win tonight they'll pull three full games ahead of Boston.
bpoz - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#328397) #
4 teams are tied with the best record in the AL. 16 games above .500 with a projected win total of 93.

For the rest of the year we will give as much playing time to our power hitters. EE,JD, Bautista, Saunders. I also consider Tulo and Upton potential 20 hr power hitters. Both bring defense to their game as well.
The strength of this years team to date is power which is driving a great offense. The rotation and closer with R Martin getting the most out of them. Defense is probably ok. The setup men in the pen are our weakness. They cannot be called a strength.
Hodgie - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#328398) #
Apparently I should have said that at age 25, Dustin Pedroia had a Devon Travis quality season.
Magpie - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#328399) #
So far, I don't understand how Melvin Upton has ever hit a baseball. I see him swinging, and it seems to have nothing to do with the pitch that's been thrown to him.... I just haven't seen it work, I guess.
bpoz - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#328400) #
I am starting to believe that the Jays can contend next year.
If NYY are waiting for 2018 to power up, we need not fear playing them 20 games/yr. Everyone else including us will have weaknesses to deal with. So the % and logic IMO says to go for it in 2017.
The power in the offense will take a huge hit. But we save $ if/when EE, Bautista and Saunders leave. They are providing much more $ value than is costing us.

For 2017 we are probably overpaying for Tulo and Martin. But JD and M Upton are a bargain. I count only 3 other players that potentially may not be worth their cost. Happ and Estrada if their performances decline enough. Liriano is also making about $13 mil but is not providing the same performance as Happ and Estrada.

We are in a very good position financially and in player depth for 2017. IMO the pen probably changes a lot. It has to be structured in a way that does not kill the 2017 team.
cybercavalier - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#328401) #
I am thinking Kratz will be added in September, then DFA after season with possibly Jiminez being added then. I don't like Kratz that much but Gibbons does.

maybe Montero (doubt it right now), Kratz or Jimenez to be a 3rd catcher and even a 4th depending how frustrated the Jays are with Thole.

I am wondering if the Jays like re-using former Jays prospecties who matured to a professional baseball players around MLB. Robinzon Diaz was signed and released. Now Kratz. How about Guillermo Quiroz who hit ok with the Indians Triple-A team ? If Thole is frustrating and Martin is obviously holding down the starting catcher slot, the September call-up may be the right timing for evaluating how well or not the Jays drafted those former Jays' prospecties: did the criteria of drafting those players still produce good enough professional ballplayer ?

cybercavalier - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#328402) #
The Seattle Mariners got Wade LeBlanc, Drew Storen, Pat Venditte.

If the Jays are frustrated with Thole, how about trading away Franklin Morales for Guillermo Quiroz ? Just kidding.
Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#328404) #
I am wondering if the Jays like re-using former Jays

I ask this with all due respect, but what is your fascination with ex-Jays, particular the prospects that never panned out? I can't imagine for a minute the organization looks at the likes of Robinzon Diaz, Eric Thames, and Guillermo Quiroz any differently than the numerous other players who are probably not good enough for MLB. And my question applies to Canadian players, another fascination of yours.

I'm sure the organization is looking for talent. Period. Birth certificates don't matter. Who originally drafted a player doesn't matter.

And the organization recognizes that most players in the minors are there to give the good players someone to play against. There is no career plan for everyone in Buffalo. If some, like LeBlanc, are able to parlay AAA success into an MLB opportunity, good for them. But these types of players are freely available talent. They have virtually no trade value.

Mike Green - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#328405) #
Don't buy lottery tickets tonight, Mr. Martin.  Cue Cream.
Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#328406) #
Survey question: of Smoak and Upton, who will be the next to get a hit again? And what will the date be?
Mike Green - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#328407) #
Smoak.  He actually looked a lot better in that last at-bat against Herrera than he has in quite a while.  He should get the start tomorrow against Ventura with Saunders in left-field. 
Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#328408) #
I'm sure Gibbons enjoys the freedom of using the DH spot to rest his veterans. If he plays Smoak, he gets to DH Encarnacion. If he plays Upton, he gets to DH Bautista or Saunders. If he plays Barney, he gets to DH Donaldson. But all three have been struggling so no one is forcing the playing time issue.

August numbers:

Smoak 1/13, 9 K
Upton 0/18, 10 K
Barney 1/15, 7K

Barney has actually been struggling for a while and now sees his 2016 numbers in line with his career numbers.

Chuck - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#328409) #
Oops. I slighted Upton. He's 2/18 with 10K.
cybercavalier - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#328410) #
I ask this with all due respect also. Why the Jays would sign, with account from the beginning of this season,

1) Robinzon Diaz, in spring training and release him later
2) Wade LeBlanc, to minor league contract and trade him later
3) Scott Diamond and Chris Leroux
4) re-signing Scott Copeland after his pitching was wrecked in South Korea

I am not debating your observation of my so-called fascinations, which are merely convenient connections of all those players. For example, it is easy to say Copeland was released to have another chance in Korea, not knowing his pitching will have been wrecked afterwards. Another poster, whose username is not mentioned because it is irrelevant to this post, mentioned that during spring training that LeBlanc was not good enough to pitch in MLB. Well, he won IL player of the month and was traded.

My idea is this: instead of attacking a point of view -- fascinations -- that is easily seen as invalid, please provide beforehand a player would have played well above his or her expected performance. LeBlanc is a good example: can someone tell me from stats or reports that he would be an IL player of the month and pitch again in Seattle ? Eric Thames, if he had not gone to play in South Korea, would not even be talked about in news.

In your words, what players or assets have trade values or not? So far from your words, players who are freely available have no trade value. What is free availability, then ?

cybercavalier - Saturday, August 06 2016 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#328411) #
To finish my last post, concentrating talks on MLB talents would be easier because information is easily accessible. The last post conclude my attempt to look for information that is not relevant to MLB.
scottt - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 05:58 AM EDT (#328412) #
So far, I don't understand how Melvin Upton has ever hit a baseball. I see him swinging, and it seems to have nothing to do with the pitch that's been thrown to him....

It's zen.

scottt - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 06:05 AM EDT (#328413) #
I don't understand when the situation calls for a sac bunt and the pitcher respond by throwing balls.
Especially when you lead by more than 1 run.

Then Barnes comes in and pitches 2 scoreless innings with the scoring run at 2B for all 6 outs.

ISLAND BOY - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 07:29 AM EDT (#328414) #
Speaking of sac bunts, Raul Mondesi Jr. laid down a beauty last night. Greg Zaun commented on it, but I thought at the time,too, how well executed it was compared to some of the pathetic attempts by Jays hitters most of the time. Instead of holding the bat steady at a good angle, they will stab at it and foul it off, miss it completely, or hit it poorly directly at a fielder. Yeah, I know it isn't as easy as it looks but that's what practice is for. It's little things like this that can win ball games. When the score is tight and the opposing pitcher is tough, getting that runner 90 feet feet closer to home can make all the difference. Mondesi's bunt was a key part of a rally which turned out to be the difference in the game. I guess it wouldn't aggravate me as much if I hadn't seen someone from the bottom of the roster, whom I can't remember, ( Thole? Goins? Carrera? ) fail to execute the sac bunt with two men on in a similiar game a few weeks ago. Again, not as easy as it looks, but if you're not one of the sluggers you should at least be able to do the little things to win games.
Chuck - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#328415) #
So far from your words, players who are freely available have no trade value. What is free availability, then ?

Back in the 1980s, Bill James argued the talent in MLB is not distributed normally (i.e., does not fit on a normal curve). He said that while baseball talent in the human population at large may be normally distributed, those vying for jobs in MLB find themselves on the far right end of the curve.

For the sake of discussion, consider this image. Let's say the curve as a whole represents the distribution of baseball talent of all people on the planet. And let's say the gray section represents the pool of players feeding MLB (that section is clearly too large in the image, but the idea still holds). This includes players in MLB and the high minors.

The Z line represents replacement level.

When you start at the Z line and move right, players are getting better and better, and scarcer and scarcer.

When you start at the Z line and move left, you are looking at replacement level players and then sub-replacement level players. You can see that these numbers are growing like crazy. This is what freely available talent looks like, that big chunk of humans to the left of the Z line and at the Z line.

When a resource like a sub-replacement level player is desired, going and getting one is not difficult. They are bountiful which is why they have no trade value other than for each other. I need a crappy catcher and you need a crappy third baseman so let's swap.

please provide beforehand a player would have played well above his or her expected performance

How is this knowable? Random variability alone will explain why some performances are better than expected and some worse than expected (and then generate a whole narrative on its own).

As for Wade LeBlanc, he has been slightly above replacement level for his MLB career. But he's 32 (today, happy birthday Wade), so he's not a young player with potential. His career peripherals are not strong (high walks, high homeruns, low strikeouts). Does he have the ability to pitch well in AAA? Absolutely. Does that necessarily mean it will translate to success in MLB? Well, maybe, maybe not. So far he has a FIP of 5 in Seattle and is right around replacement level, kind of what we expected.

I don't criticize you for your fascinations. Trumpet the successes of Matt Hague and Wade LeBlanc all you want. Follow ex-Jays and Canadian-born players with reckless abandon. It's all entirely your prerogative. I just suggest that you contextualize their minor league success. Know that doing something in AAA at age 30 is much less impressive than doing so at 22. Know that fooling AAA players with breaking balls out of the strike zone doesn't guarantee similar success in the majors.

And know that replacement level players are plentiful. They are not the scarce resource that good players are. Anyone who wants one can have one.

scottt - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#328416) #
I remember Barry Bonds laying bunts in practices, right into a pail put on the field, even though nobody ever asked him to bunt anymore, just to demonstrate how easy it is.
lexomatic - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#328418) #
To be fair, Chuck, I think it's worth noting that when those results come with changes in approach they can be significant. But a lot of the time, to continue your analogy, that might just shift someone further to the right in the grey zone.


Chuck - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#328420) #
I think it's worth noting that when those results come with changes in approach they can be significant.

Sure. That's why I said minor league successes need to be contextualized. If Wade LeBlanc has added a gyroball to his repertoire, then he's not same guy he used to be. But if he is dominating inferior hitters with the same toolkit that had not previously served him well in the majors, expectations needs to be tempered.

85bluejay - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#328421) #
i didn't watch the game but it doesn't look like Sanchez was on his game - I wonder how much all the drama/media attention of whether he remains in the rotation distracted from his preparation.
bpoz - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#328422) #
Thanks for the explanation Chuck and lexomatic. How about Scot Downs.I took him a long time but he became quite good. Same with Paul Quantril.

And Jeremy Jeffress has become good now.
Chuck - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#328423) #
Scott Downs and Paul Quantrill were both failed starters who became good relievers. A tale as old as time.

Jeffress had wildness issues that he got under control.

No one who performs at replacement level needs to always stay there. I certainly wasn't arguing that. Nor was I arguing that a 25-year old RL player has no trade value, when he is seen to have some skills that are yet to be exploited. I was saying that if you're a 30-year old bouncing around in AAA, like Diaz and Quiroz and LeBlanc and Hague, you're virtually freely available.

Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#328424) #
I'm pretty sure that the bell curve image Chuck linked to is the exact same one I used when making a similar argument way back when, in a somewhat discursive piece that features a picture of Dumbledore and a discussion of professional chess. (Digress? Moi?) I'm pretty sure I would have just typed "bell curve" into the Google and snapped up whatever looked promising. But a second image is required. The bell curve represents the abilities of the human population in general. But professional baseball players all come from that tiny area at the extreme end of the curve that represents the few hundred individuals, out of the seven billion on the planet, who are good enough at baseball to play it for a living. That image looks like this:
 photo 20080427194128136_3.jpg

At the far left of this line is where most professional baseball players live - the most numerous are the worst ones available. At the far right end of this line is... Mike Trout, I guess.
Mike Green - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#328425) #
The aging paths for pitchers and hitters are not quite the same.  It is much more common for a pitcher (particularly a left-handed one!) to take a step forward in his early 30s than it is for a position player to do so.  It would not be a shocker at all for a pitcher like LeBlanc to move from being just-above-replacement to average, without any great changes in repertoire.  Woody Williams would be one example.  Usually it comes down to sharpening control- and there are signs of that with LeBlanc.  At a higher level, you can see it in the career paths of Cliff Lee and J.A. Happ.  The kicker is that if you can be an average pitcher and throw 200 innings, you are very valuable.  LeBlanc probably can throw 200 innings without hurting himself. 

Matt Hague is a completely different story.  The odds have always been stacked against him. 

Mike Green - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#328426) #
Incidentally, birthday boys for August 7 include not only Trout and LeBlanc, but also Jay farmhands Andy Burns and Ryan Lavarnaway. 
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#328427) #
some of the pathetic attempts by Jays hitters most of the time.

They really do practise it, though. Every day they practise it. It's part of BP, and everyone practises putting a bunt down. But it's one thing to get a bunt down against a coach throwing in the mid 70s. It's something altogether different against mid 90s heat, and the hardest pitch to bunt is the high hard one.

Trivia question: which guy on the Jays roster has the most career sac bunts? (Not counting pitchers - just position players. The real leader is J.A. Happ, who began the year tied with Dickey but has pulled ahead.)
Mike Green - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#328428) #
They really do practise it, though. Every day they practise it. It's part of BP, and everyone practises putting a bunt down. But it's one thing to get a bunt down against a coach throwing in the mid 70s. It's something altogether different against mid 90s heat, and the hardest pitch to bunt is the high hard one.

They've had trouble bunting against 95 mph heat up and in, 88mph sliders on the outside corner and 85 mph change-ups right down Broadway.  It reminds me of a scene in a Natalie Merchant live performance video- she tells the audience how to sing  part of the chorus and then says "I'll sing X and everybody else will sing Y".  One (perhaps vocally-challenged) member of her band gives a look, and she says to him..."you're a musician, you sing".  You're a ballplayer, you bunt, if the occasion calls for it.  It might happen once a year for Donaldson or Bautista or Encarnacion, but they should be able to do it (a right-hander who falls off the mound to the first base side, a third baseman playing very deep, runners on first and second, nobody out, down by a run, late). For Saunders, it's a bigger deal because of the shift.
Chuck - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#328429) #
I wonder if bunting isn't at least a little akin to shooting free throws. When I watch basketball with friends not terribly knowledgeable about the sport, they are always aghast that anyone would miss a free throw. Ever. I explain to them that the best players in the world, those in the NBA, shoot around 75%. And the very best are up around 90%.

These numbers seem low to them. Why don't they practise? They do practise. A lot. But how hard could it be? It's more difficult than you think.

I wonder if bunting isn't just way more difficult than people think. Raul Mondesi may be the Steph Curry or Wayne Gretzky of bunting. It looks easy for him since he has incredible expertise. Most people don't and won't, even with all the practise in the world.

Chuck - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#328430) #
It would not be a shocker at all for a pitcher like LeBlanc to move from being just-above-replacement to average

Mike is the glass-half-full yin to my glass-half-empty yang. He may well be right about LeBlanc being a late bloomer and prove me dead wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. If you ever see Mike and I disagree on a position, side with him. His track record is far more impressive.

Chuck - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#328431) #
I'm pretty sure that the bell curve image Chuck linked to is the exact same one I used when making a similar argument way back when

Thanks for unearthing that old essay. If I could write well and express myself properly, I wouldn't be stuck in the middle of the writers' normal curve, as I am. I'd be over at the far right like Magpie.

scottt - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#328432) #
They really do practise it, though. Every day they practise it.

 I don't buy that. I mean, we saw Lake, for example, not even squaring properly to lay down a sac bunt.
The difference in difficulty between bunting against a coach and bunting against  a live pitcher diminishes the faster you square and get into position. Bunting is more common in the National League and watching the Expos, you'd see guys squaring right away and the defensive players moving as soon as the hitter squares. It wasn't unusual to see  hitters un-square and take a swing as the infield is rushing in.

I'm sure they do a few half-ass bunts without looking where the ball goes.
They should do real bunting drills, not just a couple of fake bunts during batting practices.
cybercavalier - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#328433) #
Learning more is often good for its own sake but please do not label my posts as fascinations or prerogatives. Ex-Jays and Canadian-born players were convenient labels for those players who may not ring any bell at all. As you mentioned, they are free available, replacement level players.

Now, the un-typed meaning of yours was they are worthless in one way or the other, which I guess you may be defusing from that to aim for contextualizing my so-called fascination. I am asking if this belief is true or not

Pop quiz: Batter's Box is:
  1. an interactive online magazine of baseball commentary and analysis
  2. a source of daily original insight into Blue Jay major- and minor-league clubs
  3. a peņa or marketplace of intelligent and literate discussion about baseball
  4. a propaganda front for Global Petrochemical & Armaments Corporation.

 

The answer, of course, is: all of the above!* Batter's Box is a place where dedicated baseball fans gather to share their views, insights and analyses of the baseball world, with a particular emphasis on the Toronto Blue Jays. Although most of our writers are based in Canada, we have contributors in the United States, and we don't limit our horizons to Canadian baseball events.

The last few posts between me and you seems to suggest that my asking for more information about those otherwise unknown players were labeled as fascination and prerogatives. Therefore, as I typed in my last post; concentrating on MLB players are more worthwhile.

Whether or not you continue using my posts' content as a basis for your explanation is no longer my business: how can I tell what you are going to post but you are in control of your own posts.
Eephus - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#328434) #
Trivia question: which guy on the Jays roster has the most career sac bunts? (Not counting pitchers - just position players. The real leader is J.A. Happ, who began the year tied with Dickey but has pulled ahead.)

I'm gonna guess it's Bautista. All those years as a scuffling semi-regular on the Pirates, I bet he had to drop down a few.

Likening free throws in basketball to bunting is a really interesting comparison. I'm reminded of Andre Igoudala of the Warriors, a great player and good three point shooter, but whose free throw percentage has significantly gone down as his career has gone on. He's now well below average from the line, despite his three point stroke remaining slightly above average. Specific skills and whatnot.  
uglyone - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#328435) #
the thing about leblanc is that this isn't anything new for leblanc. in fact this isn't even one of his better mlb stints.

his career is similar to that of a guy like todd redmond.
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#328436) #
I'm gonna guess it's Bautista

Eephus gets the no-prize. And here it is: one lovely cuttlefish

 photo sepia.jpg

Yes, JB has 23 career sac hits and 9 as a Jay, but only one since he started hitting all those home runs in 2010.

Melvin Upton is only one behind, however. Also closing fast: Barney and Carrera (19).






cybercavalier - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#328437) #
Back to discussion,

Mike is the glass-half-full yin to my glass-half-empty yang. He may well be right about LeBlanc being a late bloomer and prove me dead wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. If you ever see Mike and I disagree on a position, side with him. His track record is far more impressive.

All your track records are interesting to be known though. What do they mean ? Mike's predictions were more accurate than Chuck's ? Mike raised one observation, "Usually it comes down to sharpening control- and there are signs of that with LeBlanc."

No one who performs at replacement level needs to always stay there. I certainly wasn't arguing that. Nor was I arguing that a 25-year old RL player has no trade value, when he is seen to have some skills that are yet to be exploited. I was saying that if you're a 30-year old bouncing around in AAA, like Diaz and Quiroz and LeBlanc and Hague, you're virtually freely available. When a resource like a sub-replacement level player is desired, going and getting one is not difficult. They are bountiful which is why they have no trade value other than for each other. I need a crappy catcher and you need a crappy third baseman so let's swap.


So if the swapping -- a trade to be exact -- is so easily done, then team(s) just swap with the Jays. Is Venditte going to Seattle, following LeBlanc's foodsteps, an example of that kind of swapping ?
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#328438) #
You're a ballplayer, you bunt, if the occasion calls for it.

Sure, but if you're never asked to do it (the Jays had three guys in yesterday's lineup who have never had a sac hit in the majors. Zero, zero, and zero.) - or if it's something you trout out once a month against a shift - it's going to be the same old story. Skills that you don't use, you lose. And the Jays play in the AL, in a hitter's park. Most of the time, the bunt is a bad idea.
cybercavalier - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#328439) #
the thing about leblanc is that this isn't anything new for leblanc. in fact this isn't even one of his better mlb stints. his career is similar to that of a guy like todd redmond.

Todd Redmond, according to google search engine, is a free agent. The Seattle Mariners, seemed to a poster, is picking up Jays' cast-off. Maybe the Mariners wants Redmond to play in Triple-A too, would it ? Kidding.
John Northey - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#328440) #
The bell curve tag end is a good way to show MLB talent. All baseball talent in the world might be a normal curve, the far left side covers those who cannot play at all (always strike out in 3 pitch) and is about 2.5% of people, middle most of us (massive amount there) who might have played for fun in school or with your workplace. These people sometimes strike out in 3 pitch and will be within 2 sigmas of 'average' (covers 95% of people). Then you hit university & college players (top 5% of talent I'd guess), then indy league players another sigma away from the centre (top 0.125%), then another away you hit minor leaguers (top 0.003%), then another away you reach major leaguers (top 0.0000287%), then another would hit superstar level (top 0.000000098% - this is 6 sigma which is why I thought the 'do things to the 6 sigma' was idiotic even though I got certified in it for work purposes). That top level is 1 in 506,797,346 (FYI: rather than do the math I cheated and used Wikipedia so if the numbers are off don't shoot me).

Baseball talent is normally distributed but ML and All-Star level talent is the far tail and each notch higher is insanely rare. That's why if you get a Donaldson or Bautista in their prime at a good price you do everything you can to win during that window.

Checking the Jays franchise records for bWAR you see 1 in the 50's (Stieb), 1 in the 40's (Halladay), 4 in the 30's (Key, Delgado, Bautista, Fernandez), and 13 in the 20's (from Jesse Barfield at 29 to Roger Clemens at 20). Check a longer range team like the Yankees and you get 3 in the 100's (Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle), 2 in the 70's (DiMaggio, Jeter), 8 in the 50's, and so on.
John Northey - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#328441) #
The Jays seem to be on good terms with Seattle or maybe Seattle's on good terms with Shapkins given the 2 trades of useful AAA/replacement level parts for nearly nothing. Wonder if the Jays are going to try to pry a catcher from Seattle as a decent backup would be nice but Seattle doesn't really have that. Rob Brantly is their AAA catcher right now and has a 665 AAA OPS lifetime, but 829 in AA. 603 in majors. Mike Zunino was a top prospect once but fell drastically and stopped hitting for awhile but seems to have found his mojo this year in AAA and in 50 ML PA's. If they'd give him up I'd happily send a dozen replacement levels to them. Odds are though it'll be more a 'future considerations' situation where the Jays try to do more trades when needed each way. IE: the Jays get an injury and need a replacement level guy Seattle will send him over for nada.
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#328442) #
They should do real bunting drills, not just a couple of fake bunts during batting practices.

Maybe they should, but major leaguers - everyday players in particular - do not really practise anything, for the most part. Unless maybe they're mired in some awful slump, and they go somewhere under the stands with a coach and a video to work on something specific. But BP infield and everything else that goes on the day of the game is really just for getting loose and warming up. They don't do drills. It's not because they're channelling Allen Iverson. There are just too many damn games to play. They're already tired. They don't call it The Grind for nothing.
Mike Green - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#328443) #
Chuck is too kind- Joel Collins, Jamie Vermilyea and many other incorrect assessments remind me of my limitations. I did notice that the Cardinals have a history of making a success of this kind of pitcher, from Tewksbury to Woody Williams in the last 30 years and quite a few like them before that. Call it the legacy of Branch Rickey if you like.

Weird lineup today.
scottt - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#328444) #
Obviously, some players need to know how to bunt more than others, but when teams shift defensively, everybody should be able to do it when the game is on the line.

I've helped coached Little League teams that won games against a pitcher they couldn't  hit but whose team didn't know anything about bunt defense. It's pretty frustrating to see an MLB team look like that on the field.
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#328445) #
I think if you don't use those skills in actual games, you will lose those skills. They will atrophy. I know Jose Bautista used to be able to get a bunt down, but I don't know that I'd trust him to do it now. (Not that anyone's ever going to ask.)
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#328446) #
Didn't Ventura promise to hit Bautista next time they met?
JB21 - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#328447) #
I've helped coached Little League teams that won games against a pitcher they couldn't hit but whose team didn't know anything about bunt defense. It's pretty frustrating to see an MLB team look like that on the field.

Let the kids hit.
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#328448) #
Can someone tell Marcus to stop throwing the ball away?
Eephus - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#328449) #
Ugh Ventura is annoying.

Back to the bunting discussion, wasn't there a World Series game where Dave Winfield was asked to lay one down in a tight game? The very same Winfield with 3100 career hits, 460 home runs and 12 all-star selections? Though granted it was a different offensive era, one where sac bunts/bunting in general may perhaps have been more prevalent, even among stars.

Kasi - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#328450) #
The Jays offense better wake up before they piss away the season. They can't expect starters to let in 2ER or less just to have a chance to win the game. Streaky hitters and all just can be painful when they all go cold at once.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#328451) #
Hard to blame too many hitters here. They're being fairly patient and hitting rockets all over the field. Donaldson and Bautista each had exit velocities of 101mph to each make outs at the end of the 5th and the last two outs of the 6th were each liners at Gordon. Pretty rough luck so far today. Hope it turns in the final third of the game.
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#328452) #
a World Series game where Dave Winfield was asked to lay one down in a tight game?

Game Three of the 1992 Series, game tied 2-2 in the ninth inning. Alomar singled and stole second, and they gave Carter an IBB. Winfield - the cleanup hitter - bunted the runners along. Stanton came in to pitch, Sprague pinch hit for Olerud and got the IBB to load the bases. Maldonado followed with the walkoff hit.

But I'm positive Winfield was bunting on his own. I don't think Gaston called for it.
scottt - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#328453) #
Let the kids hit.

We won the Ontario District 2 B championship by having every player lay bunt after  bunt in the last inning.
They were practically crying in the other dugout. Baseball is like that.
Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#328454) #
a different offensive era, one where sac bunts/bunting in general may perhaps have been more prevalent

The AL is the only league where bunting is a strategic choice - in the NL, a sizeable majority of sac bunts are made by non-hitters, and don't represent a strategic choice at all. Bunting in the AL has basically fallen in half from when the Jays entered the league. The Jays franchise record is 81, set way back in Year One. There were still teams in the AL that put down more than 100 sac bunts in a season (Gene Mauch was still active, after all), and AL teams were averaging roughly 65 SH per year. But last year, Cleveland led the league with 49 and the average AL team has about 30 SH per season. You can actually locate two specific periods when the popularity of the sac bunt took a dive - a small but significant dip at the beginning of the 1980s, and a much more substantial one after the 1994 strike, when HRs suddenly became very, very common.

The Jays have never led the league in sac bunts, but they've been dead last many times, including six consecutive seasons (1985-1990) under three different managers. Carlos Tosca appears to have even less use for it than Cox, Williams, and Gaston - his 2003 team laid down a measly 11 sac hits. John Gibbons started out as very hostile to the bunt, but now he's bunting just a little more than the average AL team.
cybercavalier - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#328456) #
Mike Green and others are too kind also. They are willing to listening to. the otherwise less reported. replacement level players' performances.

The Brewers picked Ben Rowen up from Jays' waivers.



Magpie - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#328457) #
Zaun is ripping Gibby a new one for having Cecil turn Morales around - Morales has been a far better hitter RH this season. Which is quite true, but over his career he's been a little bit better batting LH, which is probably more meaningful than 108 ABs this year.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#328458) #
Offense is MIA
Mike Green - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#328459) #
In an age of shifting and moderate scoring, bunting ought to be much more common than it was in 2000. Fashion has something to do with it though, as it is for reliever usage.
SK in NJ - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#328460) #
The offense since last Sunday has been awful. They somehow played .500 ball since then (4-4), so I guess that's a silver lining, but the bats collectively have been very bad lately.
hypobole - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#328462) #
Jays have 15 bunt hits this year, top 10 in MLB. Astros lead with 28. Red Sox last with 2.
grjas - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#328463) #
We're finding out what it's like to play without Bautista. At least the old one.

Will be interesting to see what he commands in the market next year.
Kasi - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#328465) #
Yeah his demands are looking more ludicrous every day. However EE might get a deal for that much, Certainly worth more than what I think Chris Davis went for last year.

In other news renowned FIPmeistro David Price is doing David Price things again. But don't worry his FIP is good! He'll be ok!
John Northey - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#328468) #
At this pace the Jays have to be starting to debate a qualifying offer for Bautista. 218/350/439 isn't pretty.

OBP at 350 looks nice until you factor in the past 2 years...403-377-350 next is the 320's. ML pitchers will stop walking him if they stop fearing him. He'll get 20 HR but not 30 unless he has a major burst in September (which would be sweet). He is now looking at max of 3 years and maybe $50 mil if someone thinks he can make a comeback and it is going down. A bWAR sub 1 this year (only at 0.2 so far) doesn't help things. Maybe 3/$30 is possible now. Pre-season he was wanting $30 a year but now I'd say $20 a year is out of reach unless someone is being generous and thinks he will return to form at 36 (I'd fire a GM who did that).

FYI: Edwin is at 2.6 WAR and could reach 4 still with a strong finish. Saunders at 2.4 but slowing down badly (3 for last 18).
Kasi - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#328469) #
I'm torn on whether I think EE will hold form. On one hand I could see him like Ortiz and settling in over the next few years and continuing to rake. On the other hand I could see him quickly decline like many other DH types have at mid 30s age.

I'm pretty sure Bautista will be worth the QO. At the worst no one bites and they resign him to the QO.
John Northey - Sunday, August 07 2016 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#328471) #
At this point, unless Bautista goes on a mega hot streak (which is possible and hopefully does happen) I suspect we'll be seeing the QO and him returning for it. EE going elsewhere as someone goes stupid and gives him a 5 year $120 deal. Saunders might stay or might not, hard to say. Dickey is gone, hopefully somewhere he and Thole can enjoy and do well at in the NL (so it is easy to cheer him on).

I expect if Bautista stays he'll be the DH and sometimes in the OF ala Winfield's year here. Saunders in RF, Pompey in LF with Melvin Upton the 4th outfielder and getting lots of playing time.

Infield will be pretty much the same but without EE at 1B instead Smoak gets full-time play as Bautista gets some innings there.

Catcher will be Martin plus a half decent backup hopefully.
cybercavalier - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 01:01 AM EDT (#328473) #
EE going elsewhere as someone goes stupid and gives him a 5 year $120 deal.

I agree with Northey in general; talking about stupidity the noun,  how is trading EE to the Reds for Joey Votto who needs to waiver the full no trade clause. It won't happen because Smoak is staying.
SK in NJ - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 07:40 AM EDT (#328474) #
They will qualify Bautista regardless of how he finishes the season. Bringing him back at 1/16, assuming he accepts the QO, would be a best case scenario for the front office.

He is currently at a 113 wRC+ and 0.7 WAR in 78 games. I've said before that the stars have to play like stars for this team to have a chance, and Bautista is really a big part of that. Russell Martin looked absolutely horrendous early in the year yet somehow is right in line with Bautista in value right now minus pitch framing which would boost him up (+6.2 RAA). Bautista has been a huge issue this season. Right now he is projected to finish with around a ~2 WAR, which would place him right where he was in 2009 when he was a platoon player who could actually play 3B/OF. He more than anyone else needs to have a killer August/September and hopefully October.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#328475) #
I only caught bits and pieces of the game.  Perhaps there was some explanation for Pillar's absence (perhaps injury or illness?).  It seemed odd to give Pillar a second day of rest in 3 days, with the result that the club had a struggling Barney in LF against a RHP, in addition to Thole. 

KC's ballpark favours a long-sequence offence and it is harder to mount one when you have 3 hitters at the bottom of the lineup who are struggling.  
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#328476) #
It was also odd that Smoak had one start in the series, and it was against the tough LH starter. 
James W - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#328477) #
Pillar appeared to hurt his hand when he stole second late in Saturday's game. I assumed that was why he didn't play yesterday.
SK in NJ - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#328478) #
Upton has a -35 wRC+ and 42.4% K% since the trade. It's only 33 plate appearances, but they have been about as brutal as plate appearances could be. They've also been primarily against RHP, so that could explain some of it, but I hope we get to see more SD Upton and less ATL Upton going forward.
grjas - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#328479) #
ML pitchers will stop walking him if they stop fearing him.

That's a good point and walks are about all he's providing at the moment. Still, he hasn't been back that long so with luck his aches and pains will fade and he'll at least be back to his form of earlier this year.

In terms of next year, I'd still offer at least a QO as its worth the risk for one year and I'd hate to lose the pick if he leaves.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#328480) #
Thanks, James.

I still would have left Saunders in left-field with Smoak at first base for yesterday's game.  Gibbons was, I suppose, trying to shore up the outfield defence. 

Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#328483) #
In the "did you know" department, attendance in Baltimore is significantly down this year over last.  That is hard to figure.
hypobole - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#328484) #
There seems to be a narrative that you can't go wrong giving Jose a qualifying offer, worse case, he accepts.

3 players accepted last years $15.8 million QO.

Player - 2016 fWAR - f$Value

Colby Rasmus - 0.8 - $6.6 million
Matt Wieters - 0.5 - $4.4 million
Brett Anderson - 0.0 - $0 (injured all year)

Going out on a limb here, but it's highly doubtful any of those 3 will get a QO this coming off season.

Not saying Jose won't get a QO, but I won't be shocked or surprised as some here if he doesn't.
uglyone - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#328485) #
Zero chance Bautista accepts a qualifying offer. Zero.

And his stats will look much prettier by the end of the year anyways.
uglyone - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#328486) #
"Upton has a -35 wRC+ and 42.4% K% since the trade. It's only 33 plate appearances, but they have been about as brutal as plate appearances could be. They've also been primarily against RHP, so that could explain some of it, but I hope we get to see more SD Upton and less ATL Upton going forward."

I could go homer and defend the small sample meaninglessness.

Or I could go the other way and note that the trade deadline day pickups have been awful collectively, with Liriano's OK start being the only acceptable result so far.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#328488) #
It's great to have confidence, but I really have no idea how Bautista will fare the rest of the season.  His power is still there, although understandably off somewhat from his peak. The killer is his BABIP of .225. When you can't run and you are being shifted to great effect and 20% of your balls in the air are pop-ups, you can't expect that it will be .275.  In 2010, when Jose hit a ground ball, his line was .203/.203/.238.  This year it is .126/.126/.161.  I think that part of his decline isn't coming back unless he changes his approach completely at the plate- taking the ball to right-field from time to time with less than two strikes until clubs cease to shift him. 
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#328495) #
This article suggests that Bautista has been unlucky in the BABIP department.  I hope the author is right, but I don't see it in light of Bautista's pull rate, shifting pattern and lack of speed. 
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#328517) #
Pillar to the DL.  Ceciliani up and playing LF tonight. 
SK in NJ - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#328530) #
Ceciliani and Upton are both in the lineup tonight, with Saunders at DH.

Smoak should be pretty happy he got an extension, because it appears he's not going to play much the rest of the way, and justifiably so.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#328534) #
The club apparently has very little confidence in Pompey.  Upton has looked completely lost at the plate and isn't a great defensive centerfielder despite his speed. 
PeterG - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#328537) #
could also be that they want Pompey to maintain good looking stats so he can be used as future trade chip or that they feel a need to make a decision on whether Ceciliani will remain on 40 man.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#328545) #
I'd hope that the #1 thing is to win in 2016.  They might be right that Upton in CF against all kinds of pitching is the best answer, but it sure doesn't look that way to me. 
Alex Obal - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#328546) #
It looks like they're playing the really, really long game with Pompey and don't consider him enough of an upgrade over Ceciliani to justify upsetting that really, really long game. Marginal distinction. W/evs.

I think DC will be a pleasant surprise. He has more power than you'd think, at least in batting practice, not that that's what the lineup especially cries out for now. For sure he'll be motivated after his ghastly first appearance in Toronto. Awkward time to call up a lefty hitter, with Odorizzi and two lefties next on the docket, but what can you do. Wonder if he plays against Snell or Smyly.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#328548) #
I like Ceciliani.  It's Upton in CF against a RHP right now that I do not like. 
Alex Obal - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#328550) #
Or a lefty, or a pitching machine, or slo-pitch, or a tee. It looks like he's chasing butterflies. I kind of want to go watch his last few PAs with the Padres now.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#328553) #
Or trying to ping a mosquito in mid-air with a fly-swatter. 
Alex Obal - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#328556) #
Yeah, that. It's just baffling. He's parrying everything. How do you reconcile how he's played for the past week with his full-season stats? It's like the league has been throwing him sinkers and changeups low and away for four months and then just flipped the switch a couple weeks ago. I am pretty confident he'll adjust to whatever's changed, but it's been pretty hard to watch so far.

Ceciliani played a handful of games in center for the Mets last year without embarrassing himself. That could be an option.
John Northey - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#328561) #
I suspect they are working on Pompey's confidence and mental game in AAA based on past comments, plus by leaving him down they can guarantee an extra year of control. Last thing they want is to lose a year of control for 2 weeks of play I suspect. I expect Pompey to be up in September when it doesn't affect his service time and the AAA season is over so they have done all they can down there for him in 2016. Pompey is a critical piece for 2017 and beyond but in 2016 he is going to be what he was in late 2015 - a pinch runner, defensive replacement who is useful but not critical.

FYI: Pompey is now up to 278/345/357, his April sucked, his July was solid (312/365/442) but August has been hard so far (143/217/190 in 23 PA).

Ceciliani has hit 268/331/444 and at age 26 there is no real development left. A 992 OPS in August, 948 in July says he has turned a corner after hitting 233/296/322 from the start to end of June. In fact, divide by his brief call up (0 for 3) and you get 217/271/283 pre callup, 314/381/584 post. Clearly getting a brief taste of the majors woke him out of that slump. Hopefully he can keep it up now.
Mike Green - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#328565) #
Upton Jr. has not hit RHPs very well at all for most of the last 4 years.  He's got a much larger platoon split than most RHBs because of his difficulties with the slider. Of course, right now, he's not swinging well at fastballs either.  Maybe he will find Odorizzi's under-the-speed-limit fastball to his liking tonight. 
scottt - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#328573) #
At any rate, Carrera should come off the DL on Aug 16.

uglyone - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#328578) #
agree with the "long game" comment on pompey but still don't like it, especially given the defensive need in CF. Last year playing pompey instead of revere in the playoffs may have won us a world series. And upton has looked a lot like playoffs revere so far. if the likes of upton/liriano/feldman aren't clear upgrades on the likes of pompey/hutch/barnes the trade deadline philosophy becomes even more annoying. not to mention the multi year deal to a guy who's clearly only a bench bat.

that being said - i like ceciliani and he's been hot and deserves a shot. and not sure upton has a better glove than him, either.
scottt - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#328579) #
Saunders DHing, Ceciliani in left hitting 7th in front of Upton.
CeeBee - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#328584) #
Hope the offense wakes up, starting tonight.
hypobole - Monday, August 08 2016 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#328586) #
Eddie's woken up.
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