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Getting to the final days of spring now - time for someone to step up.

Going to B-R and its spring stats lets see what we can tell. They have opponent quality (ie: what quality of pitchers or hitters did this player face so far) - 10 is major league, 1 is rookie ball. Generally most regulars will be around an 8 for quality faced (AAA level - mix of major league and low level guys) - numbers appear off so I'll just use them for opponent quality as no one else seems to provide that
  • Catcher: Saltalamacchia 8.4 273/333/545 in 10 games - I'd say he has the backup spot locked up. Ohlman has hit 267/353/667 but Opp quality is just 6.9 (about AA level)
  • First Base: Pearce has been solid (333/375/429 just 8 games), Smoak has sucked (7.9 147/250/265), Tellez was interesting but needs time (6.5 267/371/333), Morales has been good but will most likely be DH most of the time (8.3 367/424/667).
  • Infield: with Travis hurt it will be Barney (7.8 267/314/300) and Goins (8.0 211/250/342), pure glove no bat. Get better soon Travis and Donaldson.
  • Left Field: Only 6 outfielders have 20+ AB's so far. Ceciliani has by far the most playing time (45 AB) just 7.5 quality faced, 267/283/444 isn't horrible but isn't good either. Alford is back in the minors (no chance of making it) but was given a lot of time (32 AB's) 7.4 188/212/406. Pillar, D Smith (200/238/250), Carrera (296/424/481) and Upton (174/208/304) are the others getting time. Pompey has an interesting line (222/364/556) but just 9 AB's. Bautista wants to embarrass those who refused to give him a good deal (563/611/1.063) which is good for Jay fans.
  • Rotation: set in stone with Estrada, Happ, Stroman, Sanchez, and Liriano. #6 is Latos (6.94 ERA in 11 2/3 IP 7 BB 9 SO) vs Lawrence (3.97 11 1/3 7 BB vs 8 SO). Those are the only 2 with 10+ IP so far.
  • Bullpen: We know Biagini, Grilli, Osuna are dead on locks with others likely locks (Howell, Smith) there are only 1 or 2 slots that are probably open. 6 guys have had 7+ appearances thus getting long looks (Campos, Beliveau, Dermody, Leone, Mayza, and Girodo) Leone is impressive with 3 BB vs 11 K's in 7 1/3, Campos at 4 BB vs 10 K in 7 IP, Mayza is at 1-8 in 6 1/3. Boslinger has 5-11 in 8 2/3 IP. Generally to surprise you need to K everyone in eyesight like Osuna did a few years ago. It'll be interesting to see who wins in the end.
So of the many questions catcher is resolved. First base looks to be Pearce with Smoak on the 'please release him, pretty please' list. Infield is set but we all have to pray for health for every regular. LF is still a mess and will probably stay that way until April and could into the season. The 6th man is not great but has 2 reasonable options at least. The pen is mostly set but a lot of interesting options for #6/7.

Fun guy to watch this year will be Lourdes Gurriel who is 2 for 7 with a double and a home run plus a walk and zero K's so far. Wonder if he'll get a chance at some point.
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uglyone - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#339751) #
nice to look at B/R's qualcomp grades. I'll have to look closer at them later.

But unless there's a serious setback, 2 weeks should be plenty of time for Travis to be ready to start, given he's already playing.

Would be nice if Pompey gets cleared by concussion protocol at the first possible checkpoint, so he can maybe take advantage of the injury situation in LF.
PeterG - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#339752) #
It is being reported (Heymans - MLBTR) that Jays are in process of finalizing a multi year extension with Gibbons.
rpriske - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#339753) #
While I agree that Pearce should be the firstbaseman, multiple reports are saying the Jays want him to be their left fielder.

Apparently they have more faith in Smoak than they do in Upton/Carerra/Pompey/anybody else.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#339754) #
The only reasons I can think of why the front office wants Pearce in LF is: 1) to open up DH for Donaldson/Bautista/others more often throughout the season (which means Morales at first), 2) giving Smoak who they obviously like a place to play on a semi-regular basis, and 3) giving Tellez a position to play in case he comes up either this season or in 2018. I think the 3rd reason is probably the least likely at this point (they can't count on Tellez yet), but 1/2 might be what they are looking at, especially 1. The Jays are an older roster. That DH spot is going to be needed for more than just Morales in all likely hood.

If they wanted a LF, they would have acquired one. They may view Pearce as a LF/1B rather than just a 1B, which I hope does not backfire on them.
PeterG - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#339755) #
Hopefully the report that they are looking for an outfielder is true. That might cause Pearce to become the 1b and Smoak to move one.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#339756) #
I mean, they gave Smoak a real contract for a reason.

Not a good reason, of course, but their reason nonetheless.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#339757) #
tbh I find it at least a little funny that smoak and goins are having such terrible springs despite having spots to earn and despite being given lots and lots of at bats here by gibby.

they're pretty much begging to be dropped.
China fan - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#339758) #
"....The only reasons I can think of why the front office wants Pearce in LF is...."

You mentioned 3 possible reasons, but you didn't mention the pretty obvious point that Pearce -- when healthy -- is clearly a better hitter than Upton or Carrera, unless Upton can somehow revert to his San Diego numbers.

It sounds like Pearce will be healthy enough to play LF when the season opens.  The question is where he provides the biggest upgrade over the alternative. 

Spring training stats don't mean much, but it's still somewhat amusing -- as uglyone notes -- that Smoak and Upton have both hit so poorly this spring, after we spent the off-season complaining about them.
Nigel - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#339759) #
China Fan, for the life of me I don't understand your comment about how Pearce is clearly a better hitter than Upton or Carrera (in the abstract, of course, you are right). If they choose to put Peace in LF then that decision means that the Jays have decided that Smoak at 1B is more valuable than the Upton/Carrera platoon in LF. When defense and baserunning is included I don't see that as a defensible proposition as a full time arrangement. As I have said before, I think it may well be defensible from time to time (for example when a tough RH starter is on the mound, when one of the groundball heavy starters (Stroman or Sanchez) is pitching or they are desperate to use the DH to give someone like Donaldson a day off). Whether Pearce is a better hitter than Upton/Carrera is really irrelevant unless you think the Jays would choose to put Pearce on the bench rather than play him at 1B. I'm not a Gibbons fan when it comes to roster utilization decisions, but even I don't think he would be that dumb. Pearce as a full time LF is a really inefficient use of the team's resources.
PeterG - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#339760) #
According to BA, the Jays organization has released the following players:

RHP Starlyn Suriel, LHP Nate Abel, LHP Hunter Barnett, LHP Christian Cox, C Justin Atkinson, C Seth Conner, 2B Aaron Attaway, OF Jake Anderson, OF Kalik May
China fan - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#339761) #
"..... If they choose to put Peace in LF then that decision means that the Jays have decided that Smoak at 1B is more valuable than the Upton/Carrera platoon in LF...."

Absolutely right.  I agree that it doesn't seem likely at the moment, but what if Smoak reverts to his 2015 numbers, while Upton remains at the terrible level of his 2016 Blue Jay numbers and Carrera remains at his mediocre career numbers?  That's a plausible scenario, and in that case, the upgrade produced by Pearce in LF would be greater than the upgrade that Pearce could produce at 1B.

(For the sake of this argument, I'm omitting the platoon question.  Against LHP, it is less likely that Pearce would be so much of an upgrade in LF, although Pearce hits LHP very well and even against LHP he could be better than Upton.)

Of course the most likely outcome is that Pearce will bounce around between 1B and LF, since the production from the alternatives (Smoak, Upton, Carrera, Pompey) won't be clear for a while.  But if Smoak has a strong year -- which might seem unlikely, but isn't impossible -- and if Upton and Carrera remain bad hitters against RHP, there's no reason why Pearce might not spend a lot of time in LF.  He could always be switched out of LF in the later innings to make room for Upton as a better defender.


85bluejay - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#339762) #
Sadly, injuries ruined Jake Anderson's (pick #35) career - whom the Jays drafted 5 spots before Boston grabbed Jackie Bradley in 2011.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#339763) #
Pearce is a much better hitter than Zeke and Upton, but he is also a much better hitter than Smoak, and plays an above average first base, as opposed to a below average outfield. The logical thing to do would be to put Pearce at first and find a competent LF. The only time it really makes sense to put Pearce in LF is to keep his bat in the lineup in case someone has to DH (Jose, JD, Tulo, etc) and Morales would have to play 1B. Doing that alignment just to get Smoak's bat in the lineup isn't a very good use of the roster, IMO. If the Jays started Pearce at first and Upton in LF, the overall value from that set up is likely greater than Pearce in LF and Smoak at 1B, even with Upton's poor bat against RHP.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#339764) #
it doesn't even have to be a good LF.

an LF that can replicate what Carrera did last year - good D and BSR with subpar but not useless offense - is much more valuable than smoak, and that's before factoring in that Pearce is more valuable at 1B than LF.
mathesond - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#339765) #
'good D and BSR with subpar but not useless offense'

Sounds almost like Upton!
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#339766) #
I still think that Morales ends up playing more 1b than people are forecasting. Hes been blocked by a gold glover the past 2 seasons but when he played there last he was an average to above average defender.

If he can play first then it opens up many more possibilities (all of which require another competant OF... Lourdes?).
PeterG - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#339767) #
I agree with that take on Morales.
China fan - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#339768) #
Just being reported now:  Gibbons is getting a lengthier-than-expected contract extension, with guarantees for 2018 and 2019 and a club option on 2020. 

In my view, it's a good move, and a nice reward to Gibby for helping transform the Jays into the only AL team to reach the final four in the major league playoffs in each of the past two years. 

But it will certainly create a dilemma for that coterie of fans who hold the view that Gibbons is a bad manager while Shapiro is a genius who can do no wrong.



China fan - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#339769) #
"....The logical thing to do would be to put Pearce at first and find a competent LF...."

I agree, and I've been saying so for months.  But it seems increasingly apparent that the Jays -- for whatever reason, whether it's payroll or something else -- are unwilling to do this logical move.

"....If the Jays started Pearce at first and Upton in LF, the overall value from that set up is likely greater than Pearce in LF and Smoak at 1B, even with Upton's poor bat against RHP....."

I agree that the team defence is far better in this scenario, and that's an important factor to consider.  But as for overall value: it really depends on how Smoak and Upton end up hitting this season.  There is a range of plausible outcomes there.


Nigel - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#339770) #
Well as someone who thinks that Gibbons is a middling to poor manager, my excitement level for news isn't that high. In particular, I don't think this year's roster plays to Gibbons' strengths. The bottom line is that in the offseason the Jays signed 3 players (Morales, Bautista and Pearce) where their optimum utilization is 1B/DH. Getting them all into the line-up in a sensible way that balances offensive and defensive value has been a known issue for some months. In my opinion, it will be a bad indictment of this front office (Manager, GM and President all included) if their solution is Pearce full time LF.
jerjapan - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#339771) #
I still think LF is being slightly over-analyzed - IMO, the position is in flux because the FO sees that as the best way to maximize the utility of the current roster - I could see any of Carrera, Smoak and Upton being better than expected, and I could see any of the three getting released to make a spot for Pompey, or perhaps even Ramirez / Tellez later in the season.  Morales might be able to handle first and Bautista is going to need to DH sometimes.  Pearce's versatility is a real asset in this scenario. 

With so many moving parts, I see the argument for playing the hand we have.  Saving $5 million on Pagan could bring a much more significant upgrade at the deadline if none of the current options work out.

I'm happy with Gibby just cause I like the guy as a person.  I think he's a perfectly decent manager and am glad to see him rewarded - I also think that will play well in the clubhouse. 

Anderson and his injuries was a sad case indeed.  The only surprising name on the list of released minor leaguers is Surriel IMO, he had a nice 2014 stateside, a lousy 2015 and a pretty good 2016, but a 23 year old reliever with 4 games pitched above Lansing is walking a pretty fine line. 


Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#339772) #
1) The Gibbons' extension is reported to be two years with an option year.

2) Regardless on how it's being coated, Sanchez signing with Boras is all about the money. Nothing else matters more.

3) Assumptions are made all the time and always on too little information. Extenuating circumstances are never considered. Morales has always been an acceptable First Baseman.

4) The Outfielder the Jays were interested in was Kelly Johnson who's much more an Infielder.

5) Justin Smoak's ability to hit well comes from playing regularly and having a routine. Lacking one, he hits poorly. Lacking both, he's butt ugly.
Nigel - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#339773) #
Not sure why anyone would hold out Smoak's 2015 offence as a justification for playing time - with a .299 OBP and his power inflated by Rogers Centre his offence, park adjusted, was still a negative contribution to WAR (due to his being a 1B).

Smoak played essentially every day from when he came up in 2010 through 2014, almost 2000 ABs. He couldn't hit a lick playing full time. He can't hit period. He's also a below average defensive 1B notwithstanding all of the blathering by Buck and Pat on TV. He has one above average skill (fielding bounced throws from across the diamond), every other skill necessary to be a good defensive 1B eludes him. Seattle gave up on him defensively before they tired of his bat.
Nigel - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#339774) #
I don't think Smoak has any role on today's MLB roster (with 7 relievers), but if he does, he has one and only one use which is as a LH pinch hitter where the situational leverage calls for SLG. Earl Weaver would have put that use to some benefit on a roster built to his liking.
scottt - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#339775) #
The way I see it, extending Gibbons means no plan to rebuild. They're planning to be in contention every year.
Now, are they going to extend any players besides Smoak?

SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#339776) #
I'm indifferent to Gibbons as a whole; the team could do better but could also do worse. Extending him now if nothing else means that the FO and the coaching staff are on the same page, so I'll trust their judgement on this one. They didn't have to do this, for optics or any other reason, so they clearly like him.

The Jays will definitely try to contend over the next two seasons while they have Donaldson under team control. The only way that does not happen is if things fall completely off the rails in 2017. Whether the FO can bridge to 2019 potentially without Donaldson in the mix will be the key. He's the one who the Jays should be extending/looking to extend.
bpoz - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#339777) #
The Jays open on the 3rd of April. The minor league teams open on the 6th of April.
For PR reasons the minor league rosters are kept secret until the day before.

I am very interested in who will be assigned where.
Craig B - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#339778) #
Anybody been down in Dunedin and seen much of Gurriel this spring? How does he look? Lively? Power? Arm? He's got a nice swing but I've seen so little of him in the field, and no extended at-bats.
scottt - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#339779) #
The plan was supposed to go younger, add some speed, balance the lineup...
What they've actually done is add depth pieces and go easy with the veterans during spring training.
We should be at the point where they start trying to win their games.

Btw, McBroom is starting to look like a decent platoon option.
Girodo has looked pretty good too,  but he might have been pitching late in games against minor leaguers.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#339780) #
Well as Ross Atkins said, "Getting younger and adding speed are done via trades." He also said something about not (yet) having the type of pieces needed to make those trades.

Kendrys Morales, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Justin Smoak and possibly Dalton Pompey are Switch Hitters. Ezequiel Carrera and possibly Ryan Goins bat Left. This may not bet adequate balance, but it is a start.

I agree that the Gibbons' extension signals an effort to continue 'going for it'. Too much existing talent not to.
dan gordon - Tuesday, March 21 2017 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#339781) #
I'm a bit surprised at Suriel as well. He was still on my prospect list, although quite a ways down.

It seems very likely that vs lefties the Jays will play Upton in LF and Pearce at 1B, and it appears they are probably leaning towards playing Smoak at 1B vs righties, leaving LF to Pearce for the most part, with Carrera in there sometimes. I believe it would be a tough pill for the bosses to swallow if they give up on Smoak now after signing him to that extension. I know that in a perfect world the existence of the extension doesn't matter because it's a sunk cost, but realistically, I just don't think they will cut bait on him unless he stinks the joint up for a couple of months. If he does, which I think is fairly likely, that would dovetail nicely with a Pompey call up at that point, say around the start of June, with Pompey taking over LF either solo, or in a platoon with Upton, and Pearce taking over 1B fulltime. If everybody is healthy, I think that gives the team a very strong lineup.

I think Liriano is going to have a very good season, and I picked him with one of my last picks in my roto pool on the weekend. Also grabbed Bautista, as I think he's another guy that is going to have a bounce back season.
eudaimon - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 12:08 AM EDT (#339782) #
I'm a Gibbons guy so I'm pumped to see that he'll be back for a few years at least. A little surprised they committed that long, to be honest. The FO must really be smitten by Gibby's Texan charm. The players must really like him as well - seems like it based on that recently interview with Travis & Donaldson.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 12:31 AM EDT (#339783) #
given that the likes of stroman sanchez osuna travis have exceeded most people's expectations under gibby i'm not sure that this should be seen as just a win now move.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 06:44 AM EDT (#339784) #
Apparently David Price's elbow is still weak and he won't be in the lineup for Boston until May. I wouldn't be surprised if this is something that bothers him for most of the season.
Dave Till - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#339785) #
From what I've seen of Smoak, the problem is that he can't protect the plate with two strikes. He can't dial it up for a fastball and then adjust to a curve. He can hit a curve if he decides in advance to wait for it, but you don't have that luxury when behind in the count. Unfortunately, given his contract, the Jays will feel compelled to give Smoak as much rope as possible. Perhaps they value the ability to snare bouncing throws at first more than most of us do - do they have special in-house metrics for this or something?

The Jays have to try to stay in contention, or they'll go back to drawing 1.5 million fans (2010) instead of 3.3 million (2016). That's a huge swing. I don't know whether they can do this, given that they are such an old team and that they are still rebuilding their farm system. Gibbons seems to be as good a choice as any for running the team; I'm okay with extending him.

Is it just me, or has this been a really boring spring training for the Jays? Their rotation has been set since last fall, their lineup is pretty much set except for whatever they decide to do with their LF/1B/DH options, and the front four spots in the bullpen are set too (Osuna/Biagini/Smith/Howell). So there's nothing really to play for, other than to gradually work the starting pitchers' arms into game shape.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#339786) #
It seems every roster discussion that has popped up in here over the winter has ignored the reality that Steve Pearce is simply not an everyday player, not even close. He's a 34 year old utility player whose highest PA in a season was 383, and his average PA over the last 3 seasons is 336. The most games he has ever started defensively is 88, and he only finished 48 of those games. You can't think of him as an everyday option at ANY position.

It's cool to hope for Pearce to have his best (read: healthiest) season in a Jays uniform, but if we're forecasting playing time it's probably best to view Pearce as one of the options in the 1B/LF/DH (+ 2B/3B) mishmash, and not as an everyday player like you would Morales. It isn't a rigid decision of whether Pearce makes the team better in LF or 1B; it will be a rolling, fluid situation depending on the makeup of the roster and the health of the other 12 position players, as it should be.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#339787) #
92-93, I agree with essentially all of that. I think that this roster can be most effectively utilized by being highly flexible from game to game and even inter game. I use as one example, that I think an argument could be made to have a Pompey and Upton (substitute Carrera as you prefer)corner outfield set-up when a Happ or other FB prone starter starts, with Bautista or Pearce playing 1B and Morales on the bench to pinch hit in a high leverage situation (even relatively early in the game) and then put Morales at 1B and move the 1B (either Bautista or Pearce) into the OF. I think situational roster management could be highly important this year. I don't think this is Gibbons' strength though. I hope he proves me wrong.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#339788) #
but the only thing that stops pearce from being an everyday player is health.

when he's healthy, you should be using him everyday. there's no other situation where it makes sense to sit him.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#339789) #
and using him fulltime at 1B (instead of all over the field like the rest of his career) is one way of trying to maximize his health.

but now that i think about it it's not just health that's limited his playing time, it's also that he wasn't good enough to be more than a bench guy most of his career.

he's been unlucky in that just as he started to break through as a legit mlb starter the injury bug hit him hard.
China fan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#339790) #
"....Is it just me, or has this been a really boring spring training for the Jays?...."

It's been a protracted spring-training season, because of the need to accommodate the WBC, and that has slowed down the pace of developments over the spring, so it might feel a little more boring this year.  But there's no shortage of intrigue.  Two bullpen spots have been completely up for grabs, with no clear favorites, and that makes it interesting to watch all of the candidates for those jobs.  The LF and 1B spots are also unsettled, even if we know who is likely to be there on opening day.  Spring performances could also be contributing to longer-term decisions:  one would think that the poor performances by Smoak and Upton this spring, for example, could be adding urgency to a new search for potential solutions at those spots.  On the positive side, the dramatic OBP improvement by Kevin Pillar has been interesting to watch, even if we have to remain skeptical until he proves it over a season.  The strong springs by key players such as Bautista and Morales have been fun to watch.  The improvement of key prospects (Tellez, Alford, Urena) has been fun to watch.  

So I think there's lots of intrigue if you look for it.
China fan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#339791) #
So much for the "stretching out" of Joe Biagini.   He gets one inning today (the 9th).  I'm sure he'll be good for a couple innings where necessary in the regular season, but I don't think there's any chance of seeing him in a starter role unless there are several injuries.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#339792) #
eh they stretched him out enough already. think he was up to 50 pitches last time out. he was always going to the pen and it's getting late enough that they need to get into their actual roles now. if there's an emergency stretching him out again wouldn't be a problem.
China fan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#339793) #
Biagini's last outing was 0.2 innings on March 19.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#339794) #
i never look much at super old minor leaguers but i'm thinking berti turned some heads this spring and might be in line for some bench utility action at some point.
China fan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#339795) #
Another guy who has opened some eyes is Mike Ohlman.  He can hit.  I wonder if he can catch at an acceptable level?
jerjapan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#339796) #
Great start by Estrada today ... outside of Biagini, a nice outing by the pitchers period.

Berti's speed has to be his most appealing asset, but by all accounts, he's a scrappy hustling player. Sanchez apparently described him as the best base stealer he's ever been teammates with.

Aside from his age, the biggest questions are if he can play a passable SS, and if he can handle AAA pitching. If so, no reason he can't ride the Buffalo shuttle for a few years.
CeeBee - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#339797) #
"Berti's speed has to be his most appealing asset, but by all accounts, he's a scrappy hustling player. Sanchez apparently described him as the best base stealer he's ever been teammates with.

Aside from his age, the biggest questions are if he can play a passable SS, and if he can handle AAA pitching. If so, no reason he can't ride the Buffalo shuttle for a few years."

Goins Goins gone?
Nigel - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#339798) #
I don't believe that Berti has ever played SS and I believe arm strength is an issue for him at any position other than 2B.
scottt - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#339799) #
Ohlman's development has been shortened by a car accident (apparently not his fault) and a minor suspension for a drug of abuse, probably pot, but he seemed to have learned from it.

There's some upside there to compete with McGuire.

scottt - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#339800) #
Coming into spring training, there was no rotation depth, and many Blue Jays starters were leaving for the WBC.
So it made sense to see if an opt of option/minor league contract guy could push Biagini to Buffalo for a month or 2.
Floyd went missing, Lawrence still has options, Latos didn't really impress and seems willing to wait his turn in Buffalo, and now the real starters are trying to get into their routine.



uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#339801) #
2B Travis: 0ab
3B Donaldson: 3ab, 2bb/1k, .400ops
RF Bautista: 16ab, 2bb/3k, 1.674ops (wbc: 18ab, 2bb/5k, .935ops)
DH Morales: 30ab, 1bb/6k, 1.091ops
1B Pearce: 27ab, 3bb/4k, .725ops
SS Tulowitzki: 23ab, 2bb/5k, .624ops
C Martin: 20ab, 3bb/6k, .411ops
CF Pillar: 43ab, 5bb/4k, .952ops
LF Carrera: 27ab, 6bb/6k, .906ops

UT Smoak: 40ab, 6bb/13k, .505ops
OF Upton: 23ab, 1bb/7k, .513ops
IF Barney: 32ab, 3bb/5k, .597ops
C Salty: 25ab, 2bb/12k, .877ops

UT Gurriel: 7ab, 1bb/0k, 1.232ops
OF Pompey: 9ab, 2bb/2k, .919ops (wbc: 7ab, 1bb/2k, .429ops)
IF Goins: 43ab, 3bb/7k, .541ops
C Graterol: 21ab, 0bb/3k, .558ops

UT Berti 39ab, 5bb/7k, .771ops
OF Ceciliani: 51ab, 1bb/15k, .739ops
IF Elmore: 33ab, 2bb/8k, .639ops
C Ohlman: 17ab, 2bb/4k, 1.015ops

UT Tellez: 30ab, 4bb/11k, .705ops
OF Alford: 32ab, 1bb/15k, .618ops
IF Urena: 25ab, 3bb/5k, .753ops
C McGuire: 17ab, 2bb/7k, .557ops
China fan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#339802) #
Thanks, scottt.  I'm curious more about Ohlman's defence.   I see in the game last Sunday that he allowed a stolen base and also made a throwing error on the same play. He did manage to record a CS in another game, although I don't know the details.   I think the pre-season reports on his defence weren't very good.  But I think he hasn't had enough games at catcher this spring for us to reach any conclusions at all, unless someone has seen a scouting report.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#339803) #
Pearce is only a "utility player" because of injuries. He hits RHP well, mashes LHP, and plays above average defense at first. There's no reason why he shouldn't be expected to play everyday on this roster as long as he's healthy. Now you could make the argument that expecting him to stay healthy all season is optimistic, and maybe it is, but if he plays on the field like he has since his breakout season, then he will be one of the better hitters on the team.

That's why it is a bit disappointing that they are putting him in the outfield for the sake of getting Smoak's bat in the lineup. He is worse defensively in LF and might be more prone to getting hurt playing there. Hopefully common sense prevails at some point.

Of course, if Smoak actually plays well for once, then I guess it would be a good problem to have.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#339804) #
SP Stroman: 4.2ip, 0bb/6k, 1.93era (+9.1ip, 1bb/6k, 3.86era)
SP Sanchez: 7.1ip, 6bb/6k, 7.36era
SP Happ: 6.0ip, 0bb/3k, 1.50era
SP Estrada: 13.0ip, 3bb/8k, 3.46era
SP Liriano: 9.2ip, 2bb/18k, 1.86era

SP Bolsinger: 8.2ip, 5bb/11k, 3.12era
SP Lawrence: 11.1ip, 7bb/8k, 3.97era
SP Latos: 11.2ip, 7bb/9k, 6.94era
SP Harrell: 8.0ip, 4bb/6k, 9.00era
SP Oberholtzer 5.1ip, 4bb/3k, 13.50era
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#339805) #
RP Osuna: 3.0ip, 1bb/5k, 0.00era (+0.2ip, 2bb/1k, 54.00era)
RP Biagini: 9.1ip, 4bb/9k, 2.89era
RP Grilli: 5.0ip, 0bb/6k, 5.40era
RP Howell: 4.0ip, 3bb/8k, 6 75era
RP Smith: 6.2ip, 2bb/6k, 6.75era
RP Loup: 4.2ip, 4bb/4k, 5.79era
RP Tepera: 6.1ip, 2bb/5k, 2.84era

RP Leone: 8.1ip, 3bb/12k, 4.32era
RP Mayza: 6.1ip, 1bb/8k, 4.26era
RP Girodo: 8.0ip, 1bb/7k, 2.25era
RP Smith: 4.2ip, 4bb/5k, 3.86era
RP Campos: 7.0ip, 4bb/10k, 3.86era
RP Beliveau: 7.1ip, 4bb/8k, 2.45era
RP Grube: 5.0ip, 1bb/5k, 5.40era
RP House 3.2ip, 1bb/4k, 4.91era
RP Barnes 4.2ip, 2bb/3k, 5.79era
RP Schultz: 5.1ip, 1bb/3k, 6.75era
RP Dermody: 6.0ip, 1bb/4k, 4.50era
RP Browning 4.2ip, 2bb/5k, 1.93era
RP Borucki: 4.0ip, 2bb/3k, 2.25era
RP Sparkman 2.0ip, 0bb/1k, 18.00era
jerjapan - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#339806) #
I read a few comments on Ohlman at Rebird Rants that see him as a 1B rather than a catcher.  His offense is certainly strong if he can stick behind the plate, but my assumption is that he was freely available talent for precisely this reason.

I took a look at Berti's baseball reference page and Nigel is right - he's got exactly one career game at SS.  But he's got a fair amount of experience at 3B and in LF, and a handful of games in CF.  That moderate versatility plus his pinch-running potential could play at the end of the bench, and he's had a solid spring.  

Nigel, any sense of the rest of his D? 

John Northey - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#339807) #
I find it odd for Sanchez to be raving about Berti's basestealing after the amazing show Pompey put on in 2015's playoffs. He seemed unstoppable at times. His peak is 56 SB in 2013 with 4 other seasons over 30 and 2 in the 20's (one of the 30's was in a winter league). 212-66 lifetime suggests he is good but could use more direction from Mr. Raines on timing to get even better. 36-9 last year was very solid. 448 games at 2B, 49 at 3B, 60 in LF, 14 in CF, 5 at SS (0 errors at SS for what it is worth). I fully expect him to be replacing Goins if Goins is lost on waivers at some point this season as the 2nd backup infielder (after Barney).

FYI: Pompey is 172-41 at all levels (including winter and majors) for SB-CS. Boy if the Jays want youth and speed just put Pompey in LF and Berti at 2B until Travis is healthy. If they could get on first base it'll be a lot of fun to watch.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#339808) #
Speaking of Mr. Raines, he commented recently that he thought Rowdy Tellez was the best base-runner in the Jays system.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#339809) #
Cool. Tellez being a good base runner would be a nice bonus. There is a difference between base running and base stealing. You can be slow and a good base runner - knowing your own speed and what others are doing on the field and are likely to do is key. Then you can take extra bases here and there. Carlton Fisk was a great example of this - a slow catcher who still knew how to run the bases and even stole 17 bases at age 37 (vs 9 CS), and was 3-0 at age 44. Never did get why voters made him wait a year outside of the 'no more then 2 or 3 on my ballot' garbage (Yount, Brett, and Ryan on the same ballot not to mention future HOF'ers Perez, Gary Carter, Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, Blyleven, plus a few who will probably get in someday like Tommy John and Jim Kaat).

Phew, there have been a few stacked ballots. Still don't get Perez, Sutter, and Rice getting into the HOF.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#339810) #
Stroman is putting on a show, against a dang good lineup.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#339811) #
Wow, 6 innings of no hit ball for Stroman, and only 68 pitches thrown. The pitch limit for the championship round is 95, so maybe he has a shot at the no hitter.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 22 2017 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#339812) #
Sweet to see Stroman being on. A shame the game is a blowout though (7-0 as I type). The US was expected to win the first one but now with a much weaker team in many respects they look extremely likely to win it. Go figure.
John Northey - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 12:02 AM EDT (#339813) #
So one hit in the end off Stroman, game score of 75 depending on if the pen lets his runner score or not (leadoff double in the 7th). Ex Jay Sam Dyson pitching now. Andrew Miller in the pen if things get close.
uglyone - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 01:27 AM EDT (#339814) #
Stroman MVP.
China fan - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#339816) #
I doubt that it will convince any of the skeptics in this forum, but here is Arden Zwelling's analysis of how Aaron Loup has "likely won" a spot in the Jays bullpen this year, after recovering the velocity and movement that he had lost through injury last year:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/recovered-stronger-aaron-loup-feels-ready-better-season/

uglyone - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#339817) #
i've had loup mentally pencilled in from the start. his underlying numbers have always been good.

of course, if he struggles to throw strikes in april he won't last long.
Cracka - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#339818) #
Loup still has options remaining and that will be a factor in the final decision -- he hasn't done enough to permanently earn the final bullpen spot yet, and will likely be on the "Buffalo shuttle" this year when the Jays need a fresh arm or a long man instead of a 2nd LHP.
John Northey - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#339820) #
That is what I expect. The 7th pen slot to be a rotation to make it effectively and 8 or 9 man pen. Loup and pretty much anyone but Bolsinger and Schultz (both out of options). I expect Barnes, Lawrence, Tepera and any others who have options and are on the 40 man to be going back and forth depending on what the Jays need. Lawrence for long man situations (rookie starting or tired pen overall needing a break or double header situation).
Nigel - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#339821) #
Jerjapan I'm afraid I only saw Berti play a handful of games in Vancouver and that was quite a few years ago. All that really stands out for me is that he's quick and athletic. My comment on arm strength isn't even a first hand observation, I just remember the C's manager at the time doing a pre-season radio interview on the incoming team and while he raved about Berti in many respects I remember him specifically commenting that there were questions about his arm strength. Going off an old-guy's memory I think I only ever saw him play 2B in Vancouver (although I vaguely remember him playing some LF (maybe?) from the boxscores)and it was never an issue in the context of his playing 2B.
PeterG - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#339822) #
Beliveau remains in the lefty reliever mix. After a bad outing the first game in ST, he has had 7 consecutive scoreless appearances. He's a long shot but still in major league camp I believe.

I am also a big Berti fan and would love to see him on the bench.
uglyone - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#339823) #
yeah I've never had the impression that Berti can play a premium defensive position. utility 2B/LF type is about as much as he can do I think.
uglyone - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#339824) #
Gideon Turk @GideonTurk
6m
First, the Jays have had interest in Kelly Johnson and still do, though he wants a guaranteed roster spot. Jays can't do that. (2/5)

Gideon Turk
@GideonTurk
Re: Pagan, the Jays have been & are interested, but he wants a guaranteed starting job, and the team isn't willing to do that. (3/5)

Gideon Turk @GideonTurk
5m
Reason why is b/c with Pearce, Upton, Zeke, and Pompey, they feel they have a glut of options. Pompey is fine after the concussion... (4/5)

Gideon Turk @GideonTurk
5m
But they want to make sure he is 100%, so he isn't being rushed back into play. (5/5)
China fan - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#339825) #
Jake Elmore might be ahead of Berti in the utility-player depth chart.  He has a lot more major-league experience than Berti (who has none), and probably more versatility too.  (Eight positions in one season.)  And he hasn't looked out-of-place on the team this spring.   Unless the Jays think that Berti still has a lot of potential to improve, which seems perhaps unlikely at the age of 27.
PeterG - Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#339826) #
I believe Berti is ahead on the depth chart. The Jays brought him into TO in January with 11 other players they expect to play in TO. Berti is optionable, a major factor as he can be used as a yoyo if necessary. I also think he brings an important element that is badly needed and that is speed. I am not concerned with what players did in the past, only with what they can do now and going forward. I think Berti is the better player now and will get his opportunity.
China fan - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#339827) #
Injury update: almost entirely good news today.  Travis, Bautista, Donaldson and Carrera are all in the lineup for the Jays against the Red Sox. Bautista is at DH, but the others are all in their normal positions.  (Pearce is still at 1B rather than LF for the time being.)

By my count, Upton and Pompey are the only ones still unable to play.  
China fan - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#339828) #
Shapiro is today telling the media that the team's "internal analytics" love Carrera and evaluate him as a solid average LF.

I'd love to know what are these "internal analytics" and how are they different from the huge range of data that the rest of the world has access to. I'm genuinely curious: what kinds of metrics and data would they be, and what are they based on?

In the old days, sports managers would trust their "gut instinct." Today they talk about "internal analytics." It's all equally impenetrable and opaque, to my befuddled eyes anyway.
uglyone - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#339829) #
interesting comment. he's probably being tricksy - the "average" LF last year as some posters have already pointed out was pretty awful. That's a very low bar for comparison if he used the precise words "average LEFT fielder".
vw_fan17 - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#339830) #
Shapiro is today telling the media that the team's "internal analytics" love Carrera and evaluate him as a solid average LF.

Isn't there more to playing baseball than weight (I'm sure he's solid) and height (average)? :-)
SK in NJ - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#339831) #
Carrera spent a few years in Cleveland during Shapiro's time there, so maybe they just like the guy. I don't see why they would consider him anything more than what he is, a slightly better than replacement 4th outfielder, though. I'm interested to hear his reasoning as well.
eudaimon - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#339832) #
I'm probably the main Carrera booster here. In short, he played pretty well for a lot of last year and his bad months were associated with an achilles injury he sustained in late June (they also needed him due to Bautista's injury, so it was hard for him to take time off which he probably should have).

His production early in the year was notable enough for Jeff Sullivan to feature him in an article. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-did-the-blue-jays-do-to-ezequiel-carrera/. He was also good in September and the playoffs.

He's easily the best bunter on the team, and it makes him harder to defend versus a guy like Upton. He's a decent fielder at the corners, and can play CF in a pinch. His speed is also great.

Anyways, this doesn't say anything for sure. His good performance last year could be a SSS thing, his injury could be just noise. But there are reasons to like Carrera, and think that he has upside / the ability to help the team in both traditional and non-traditional ways. For instance, the 2016 offence was a bit one-dimensional, and perhaps the FO places good value on having someone can bunt really well on a regular basis, thus forcing teams to defend against it. Perhaps they also value this skill because it's more "slump-proof" than traditional hitting, and even a failed bunt attempt can result in positive outcomes like advancing runners, errors, and so on, more so than with traditional hitting.

China fan - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#339833) #
Another interesting point by Shapiro today was his admission that they don't yet have a good 6th starter.  I wonder if they're still looking to acquire another pitcher, especially since Latos doesn't yet seem ready.  Here are the Shapiro quotes:

ďIf you said Ďwhatís your one fear heading into the season,í it probably would be the drop-off from our fifth starter to our sixth starter. Thatís not a subtle drop-off.   While we do have guys capable of filling in for two, three, four starts, Iím not sure at (triple-A) Buffalo as we start the season weíre going to have a guy we feel can hop into the rotation and pitch half a year in our rotation and sustain a championship level of starting pitching performance."
uglyone - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#339834) #
i'm actually a carrera fan too in terms of being a non-guaranteed guy in the mix for playing time. i'd feel the same way about upton too. and pompey. (and pagan). and smoak.

plenty of talent there to fight for the last starting spot imo.

it's just when you guarantee those types a spot via contract that it becomes a problem in my eyes. (and i like the interest they've shown in a guy like pagan or kelly johnson while stopping short of guaranteeing them a spot - though that just makes their treatment of a similar quality Smoak all the weirder to me).
bpoz - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#339835) #
That is a very honest and clear statement about the #6 SP on the depth chart.

Eventually a #6 to possibly #8 will be needed. If it is for a half year then we probably get knocked out of contention. We don't know how the replacement will do.

Of course many other teams face the same problem. How far can #6 carry them if needed for half a season.
Nigel - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#339836) #
I agree with Shapiro's assessment of his SP depth. The one time I saw Latos this spring he looked extra toasty to me. Bolsinger is a perfectly acceptable emergency starter but isn't a viable option as a 6th starter. This issue also isn't likely to be resolved by farm development this year (barring a fairly major development year for Greene). Reid-Foley, Greene and other internal options are likely 2 years away. This is why I keep hoping to wake up and find that they've extended Liriano or Estrada for 2 or three years. My preference would be Liriano but your mileage might vary.
uglyone - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#339837) #
Honestly I think his concentration on AAA pitching is a bit much. The guys in the mix for our #6 slot are what most teams have in the mix for their #5 slot.
uglyone - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#339838) #
I mean look at the Orioles. Guys like Bolsinger and Latos would be in an honest competition to be their #4 sp.
SK in NJ - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#339839) #
Shapiro is right about the depth. There's always going to be a drop-off when you have to dip into depth SP's, but the Jays are in a position where they have five really good starters and then no real MLB level SP in the 6-10 spots. Last season they had Chavez in long relief and Hutchison in AAA, so the depth there at least featured MLB calibre arms. Then when they acquired Liriano, they also added Feldman. They covered their tracks pretty well.

In 2017, it's up to Latos, Bolsinger, Lawrence, Harrell, etc. You really don't know what you'll get from that group, and even in a best case it certainly won't be close to the level they would be replacing if they were needed to be called on.

Count me in on extending one of Estrada/Liriano, or even both depending on length and cost. I'm not sure the Jays have a 2018 SP from their prospect base right now.
cybercavalier - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#339840) #
I mean look at the Orioles. Guys like Bolsinger and Latos would be in an honest competition to be their #4 sp.

Looking at Orioles' depth chart and NRI, Ubaldo Jimenez is their #5. Former Jay Zach Stewart was an NRI. NRIs L/L OF Logan Schafer and 2B Johnny Giavotella were noticed in previous season by this website poster(s). Would one trade Bolsinger and/or Latos and 2B Jake Elmore for Jimenez, Schafer, and Giavotella? Then according to MLB.com Orioles' rotation depth chart, Bolsinger and/or Latos and Wade Miley would be competiting for 2 slots in the rotation. Once Tillman is back, the weaker performer would be #5.

For the Jays, Schafer could be the OF when Pompey and/or Pillar need a rest. Is Giavotella better than Elmore?
dan gordon - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#339841) #
The number 6 starter issue is not as important as a lot of people are making it out to be. If they need somebody for half a season, that's about 15 starts for a 5th guy in the rotation, as you can easily skip him a start or two when you have days off. What can the Jays be expected to do with their regular starters in there for 15 games? Well, an 8-7 record would be a .533 winning %, which would be about 86-87 wins for a full season, which seems pretty close. So the expectation is about 8 wins. What level of performance would this team have with whoever is pitching the best of their 6th starter candidates in there? Would they be a .400 team? That's 6 wins in 15 games, a difference of only 2 wins. Not totally insignificant, but it's hardly a deal breaker.
uglyone - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#339842) #
we're spoiled.

our #6 and 7 options compare to most teams' #4s and 5s.
dan gordon - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#339843) #
The Giants released David Hernandez today, which surprised me, given that they just lost Will Smith for the season to TJ surgery. Hernandez has been a reasonably effective big league reliever for several seasons. If the Jays aren't satisfied with the in-house candidates for spots 6 and 7 in the pen, he might be of interest.
jerjapan - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#339844) #
Shapiro and co have been overly concerned about starter depth since they got here IMO.  Having someone who can handle 15 starts in AAA seems like bad roster management to me, but these guys are quite conservative in their desire to have backup plans.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes, Justin Smoak gets a 2 year guaranteed deal.   

It's been fun reading the 10 bold predictions by the crew at Fangraphs. 

Brandon Warne says that Tulo finishes as a top 5 SS, Brad Johnson calls EE the worst FA signing of the offseason and sees the Red Sox having the worst pen in the AL, Rylan Edwards sees this as the year of the multi-inning relief ace (I'd love to see Gibby using Osuna in this role), and whoever Zach Rymer and Bleacher Report is, he's got Stro winning the AL Cy Young.

I'll take it!  



scottt - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#339845) #
The idea is to match up against Boston, not Baltimore.

Also, they want to avoid replacing injured players by trading prospects.
They seem fine with picking salaries, but it's hard to pick up star players that way.

Finally, they're trying to fine tune prospects at AAA, instead of rushing them.
It's the better safe than sorry management team and i"m fine with that.

Mike Green - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#339846) #
Most of the questions entering spring training have been answered positively so far. The 1-5 starters are healthy and performing well. Pearce and Travis are likely to be in the opening day lineup.

With Price's injury, it seems to me that Toronto, Boston and New York are likely to be in it in September.
Mike Green - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#339847) #
And as for the metrics suggesting that Carrera as a near average player, I can see that from the publicly available ones. It requires two assumptions- he has made a noticeable offensive change over the last 2 seasons and he had particular difficulty with the RC defensively in 2015 which he figured out in 2016.

He has pretty clearly added power over the last two years. His HR/FB rate is actually better than league average over the period. When you combine that with his bunting skill, serviceable W/K rates and good baserunning, it adds up to a near average offensive player. In 2015 he was horrid defensively (and was getting poor reads on the ball off the bat) and in 2016 he was pretty good. As a 29 year old former centerfielder still with good speed it is reasonable to treat him as at least average defensively in a corner.

It adds up to a 1.5-2 WAR player over a 650 PA season. It would be nice if he could even out his ground ball/line drive/fly ball tendencies some. Josh Donaldson would approve!
uglyone - Friday, March 24 2017 @ 11:44 PM EDT (#339848) #
"The idea is to match up against Boston"

and boston's great 6-7-8 SP are....?
scottt - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 07:20 AM EDT (#339849) #
With Price's injury, it seems to me that Toronto, Boston and New York are likely to be in it in September.

I'm not sure where NYY will be. They lost their shortstop for 4 to 6 weeks. The rotation has lots of question mark.
Once again, this will be the toughest division.
China fan - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#339850) #
"....It adds up to a 1.5-2 WAR player over a 650 PA season....."

You make a plausible case for Carrera's abilities, Mike.  Yet I have to point out: many people had scathingly commented in 2016 that Carrera was some kind of irrational choice by Gibbons, a simple case of "Gibby being Gibby" -- a manager who failed to understand basic data and trusted his "favorites" because of his ignorance of analytics.  Yet as soon as Shapiro and Atkins begin whispering about "internal analytics," suddenly the mood swings and we start looking for ways to support this contrary argument.  There may have been a plausible case for Carrera last year too, yet we were too busy with our stereotypes about Gibbons. It may have been Gibby's bosses who were suggesting a greater role for Carrera last year too, but we preferred to assume that the manager was "playing his favorites."

Personally I still think that the Jays need to upgrade at LF.  Carrera looks like a good 4th outfielder, with skills such as bunting that make him useful in certain situations.  To make him the main LF for 650 PAs has too great of a risk of over-exposing him and weakening the team.
China fan - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 07:50 AM EDT (#339851) #
Speaking of the LF situation, I am wondering about Pompey's health situation.  He suffered the concussion on March 11, which is two weeks ago.  Yet there's still no word of him returning to any baseball activities, even on the practise field.  Under the new MLB concussion protocol, there is a 7-day DL for concussions.  Last fall, the Jays put Liriano onto the ALCS roster, even though he had suffered a concussion in the ALDS.  I'm not sure how many days that was, but it was a lot less than 2 weeks.  Now of course the playoffs are different from spring training, and every situation is different, but the key factor here could be that Pompey suffered a concussion last June as well.  So that's two concussions in less than 10 months.  I'm wondering if the Jays are being extra careful with him.  He might not be playing in Buffalo for a while.
scottt - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#339852) #
The 7-day DL does not factor here. Pompey isn't on the 25 roster which isn't even in force yet.

What factors is the return-to-play protocol.

Every team is required to have a baseline result for each player on a set of neurocognitive tests.
Brain speed, memory, reaction time, etc, at rest and with exertion.
The tests have to be run and a doctor has to sign on them.

Now, there's no words on symptoms or on test failure.

There's really no need to rush him to camp when there's no job for him to win.

China fan - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#339853) #
Of course, scottt, I wasn't at all suggesting that Pompey should be placed on the DL list in spring training when the DL lists don't exist. Nor was I suggesting that the Jays had any reason to "rush" him.

I mentioned the 7-day DL list (and the Liriano case of last October) purely as an indication of the recovery time that can pertain to some concussion cases. I haven't seen data on the typical length of the average concussion case. But I think it's fair to say, after 2 weeks with no news at all, that it's reasonable to begin to have a little concern about his health.

Pompey has had two concussions in the past nine months, plus a toe injury and a minor knee injury last season. He's one of the Jays top prospects, and he's perhaps the future of the LF position for the Jays. So I'm beginning to get a little concerned.

I'm also a little concerned when I read this description of how much he suffered from his last concussion (source: Bluebird Banter):

He was immediately scratched from the second game and was placed on the seven-day minor league disabled list the next day. Pompey blew through the minimum seven days off, needing more than two weeks before his symptoms decreased to a point where he could resume activities. Whenever the Bisons were at home during that period, he would still go to the field every day, but he wasnít able do any physical training or baseball activities. He would end up taking almost three weeks before he returned for game action.
Pompey counted nine symptoms from the concussions including dizziness, nausea, difficulty in concentration, headaches, a general sense of not "feeling right," and extreme sensitivity to light.
"For a week I couldnít keep the lights on [at home]. It was that bad."
bpoz - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#339854) #
I too am concerned about Pompey.

I don't seem to accurately remember how this DL total process works, for any player. My memory is 1) Stay off the field until healed. 2) Rehab assignment on the field, including playing in minor league games. Is there a time limit on how long the game playing rehab can last.

I ask because I prioritize saving options.
Glevin - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#339855) #
"And as for the metrics suggesting that Carrera as a near average player, I can see that from the publicly available ones. It requires two assumptions- he has made a noticeable offensive change over the last 2 seasons and he had particular difficulty with the RC defensively in 2015 which he figured out in 2016."

It's a huge reach. Even in the last 2 seasons, where he had 500 PAs, his total WAR was 0.9 and a WRC+ of around 87. Average is a subjective term but there are 19 players listed in Fangraphs as LF who have WAR of 0.9 or higher. So, even in the best period of his career, Carerra is still not an average LFer. Jeff Sullivan on Fangraphs "He doesnít hit the ball very hard. Statcast doesnít love his defense. The other numbers donít love his defense. Heís 30 years old, having averaged 0.9 WAR per 600 plate appearances"
uglyone - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#339856) #
while i'm worriee about pompey, last word i read was that he was doing very well and they were just being extra cautious.
scottt - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#339857) #
The risk with Pompey is to return to play too early. I would be concerned if he was back in camp.
The Jays have lots of players off the field this year. I think that's good.

JB21 - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#339858) #
curious why there's only two random banners on the bb site header?

I do remember that when the Jays went on that crazy run in 2015 a lot of bandwagon fans (that I gladly welcome) were on the site, and I think one of them changed up the header? Can somebody track that poster down to add in the 92/93/2016 banners?
SK in NJ - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#339859) #
The only difference in 2016 Zeke was that his defense took a huge step forward. He had a 7 DRS and 5.2 UZR as OF last season. The issue is it was 643 innings and not consistent with what he has done in the past. If they did something with the way he positions himself in the outfield, or some other quantifiable change that makes that sort of improvement sustainable, then maybe his value will resemble an average OF more often than not. But it's not like Upton's improvement where he played CF all the time and then had a great defensive season his first time playing LF. Zeke has been pretty bad defensively every where prior to 2016. I'm not expecting much from Zeke, but if he proves me wrong, great.
scottt - Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#339860) #
Pompey counted nine symptoms from the concussions including dizziness, nausea, difficulty in concentration, headaches, a general sense of not "feeling right," and extreme sensitivity to light.

I had most of that from a soccer ball who hit a tree and rebounded to my eye.
Check the wiki for Uveitis. That light in the fridge was like a live wire.
Of course, they diagnosed nothing at the ER.
Chuck - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#339861) #
Some this and that that might have already been discussed:
  • Josh Thole is out for the year
  • Anthony Gose is being converted to a pitcher
  • Any news on Dioner Navarro?
uglyone - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#339862) #
years ago gose said he'd try pitching when htting didn't work out. i think he has a shot.
bpoz - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#339863) #
Good luck to Gose. If he can pitch, then whenever he gets on base he is a SB threat.

This worked for Steib and S Santos. Maybe spending time in the Jay's system is a good luck charm.

Then again it did not work for 2007 draft pick J Jackson.
scottt - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#339864) #
Upton is back and looks fine but Goins turned around to present the back of his elbow to an incoming inside pitch.
Could be nothing, but it looked painful.

jerjapan - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#339865) #
Lawrence with another solid start today, although those low K numbers continue to make me wonder how he does it.

And McBroom with his third home of the spring.  anyone else think he has a shot, or am I the only one?

As for the concussions, I've seen a lot of concussed student athletes at my school and the whole condition is nearly impossible to read ... guys will be fine for days and then the symptoms come back, others will face lingering consequences for months or years, some people get their bell rung and have no consequences at all.  With Pompey facing his second (?) concussion, I hope they are super careful with him ... and no more head-first sliding please Dalton! 



scottt - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#339866) #
McBroom could be a cheap bench bat down the line.

What annoyed me with that concussion is that the runner at second was safe by a step, but called out by bad umpiring which forced Pompey to steal to put a run back in scoring position. In the WBC, there's no video replay except for homeruns.

PeterG - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#339867) #
I always viewed McBroom as an non prospect but he has impressed me this spring. The coming year in AA will be critical for him.
jerjapan - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#339868) #
Have you been watching the games PerterG or is it more the HRs McBroom's hit so far? 

To me, this Spring is pretty consistent with what he seems to do every year - hit more than expected, provide solid power and continue to look like he shouldn't be a prospect.  I still wonder if this market has over-corrected on bat-only types. 

I do agree that this is a big year for him though - he'll need to be added to the 40 man, he's always been old for his league and he struggled with the bat in 9 games in AA.  Jays Journal says he's smooth at 1B - has anyone seen him play D? 

Having Tellez once rung up the ladder from you will certainly slow you down a bit though... 

China fan - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#339869) #
"....Any news on Dioner Navarro?...."

Good question.  I've seen no news at all.  But did you see the Derek Norris rumor?  The Jays were reportedly one of two finalists for Norris, and offered him more money than the Rays, but he signed with the Rays because of the likelihood of greater playing time there.  I wonder if this signaled any concern about Saltalamacchia, especially his weakness in controlling the base runners.  In today's game, Salty allowed 3 steals in the first 2 innings, and the Orioles seemed to be running at will against him.  Norris is said to be a better defender than Salty, who is still on a minor-league contract and could be sent to Buffalo if the Jays find a better catcher.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#339870) #
I just saw the first few innings, but it was a spring training game and Liriano seemed to be making little effort to hold the runners. That said, Salty's arm doesn't appear to be that strong so I hope Russell Martin stays relatively healthy this year.
bpoz - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#339871) #
Is Osuna getting enough work in ST?
Chuck - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#339872) #
Colabello didn't make Cleveland's major league roster. No surprise, really, since Santana and Encarnacion have the 1B/DH at-bats locked up.
jerjapan - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#339873) #
I'm still pulling for Cola...nice to see him having a good spring training, but Cleveland is for sure the wrong team for him.  At 33 years old and with no positional versatility, it's tough to see him making it ... but that 2015 he had ....
cybercavalier - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#339874) #
Colabello didn't make Cleveland's major league roster. No surprise, really, since Santana and Encarnacion have the 1B/DH at-bats locked up.  - Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 10:37 PM EDT

I'm still pulling for Cola...nice to see him having a good spring training, but Cleveland is for sure the wrong team for him.  At 33 years old and with no positional versatility, it's tough to see him making it ... but that 2015 he had ....
Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 11:26 PM EDT

Shall he consider playing in South Korea or Japan where a hitter for power 1B/DH is often sought after. His contract will be economical to the team that signs him.

cybercavalier - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#339875) #
LF is still a mess and will probably stay that way until April and could into the season.

Would switching Bautista to LF shorten defensive range requirement?
uglyone - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#339876) #
The battle for the last 2 bullpen spots:

RH Bolsinger: 11.2ip, 6bb/14k, 3.09era
RH Leone: 10.2ip, 4bb/14k, 3.38era
RH Campos: 8.0ip, 4bb/10k, 3.38era
RH Lawrence: 16.1ip, 7bb/11k, 3.86era
RH Latos: 14.2ip, 8bb/9k, 6.75era
RH Harrell: 8.0ip, 4bb/6k, 9.00era
RH Schultz: 5.1ip, 1bb/3k, 6.75era
RH Smith: 4.2ip, 4bb/5k, 3.86era
RH Grube: 5.0ip, 1bb/5k, 5.40era
RH Barnes 4.2ip, 2bb/3k, 5.79era
RH Browning 4.2ip, 2bb/5k, 1.93era
RH Sparkman 2.0ip, 0bb/1k, 18.00era


LH Loup: 6.1ip, 4bb/5k, 4.26era
LH Mayza: 8.1ip, 1bb/8k, 4.32era
LH Girodo: 8.2ip, 1bb/7k, 2.08era
LH Beliveau: 8.0ip, 8bb/9k, 3.38era
LH House 3.2ip, 1bb/4k, 4.91era
LH Dermody: 6.0ip, 1bb/4k, 4.50era
LH Borucki: 4.0ip, 2bb/3k, 2.25era
uglyone - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#339877) #
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
17s
Joe Nathan, released this morning by #Nationals, still wants to pitch and believes he can help a club. Stay tuned.



now that's a Shapiro Inc move.
China fan - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#339878) #
"....The battle for the last 2 bullpen spots...."

A lot of the guys on your list have already been demoted, optioned or injured, as you know.

I think the Jays will likely send Lawrence and Latos to Buffalo as starter depth.  I think Loup has virtually locked up the second LHP position, unless something changes.  Bolsinger, with a good spring and a tidy 3 innings on Saturday, has put himself back into one of the frontrunner positions for the last bullpen spot.  There's also a lot of talk about Dominic Leone, who's had a good spring and is getting a lot of innings and is still just 25.  But he has options, so I suspect he'll probably be sent to Buffalo.

My guess is that the final bullpen spot goes to Bolsinger, Schultz or Tepera.  That's based on performance, potential, and Bolsinger's ability to become the long man in the pen.
China fan - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#339879) #
Latest news: Schultz injured and will begin season on the DL.  

Things are looking good for Mike Bolsinger right now.

ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#339880) #
Does Tepera have options ?
China fan - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#339881) #
Yes, Tepera has options.

Bolsinger is now the only one who really needs to be protected.  (Assuming that Latos will accept a Buffalo assignment, which he says he will.)  Luckily there's a spot available for Bolsinger, and he fits the bill as a long man and potential 6th starter.

I still wonder what happened to Gavin Floyd.

Mike Green - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#339882) #
We had a friendly question/contest about 5 years ago on the Box concerning the future of Anthony Gose.  Alex Obal suggested that Gose's future would be as an ace reliever.  Alex's guess is looking better and better!
rpriske - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#339883) #
Estrada is the Opening Day starter, eh?

I would have thought Stroman.

Heck, I would have put Estrada third.

China fan - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#339884) #
Wilner now reporting that the Jays have informed Latos that he won't make the team.  He can elect free agency or accept a Buffalo assignment.  He would be nice to have stashed in Buffalo, but he might feel that he has a better chance in another organization.

I'm assuming that this means that Bolsinger makes the opening-day roster, simply because his few remaining competitors all have options.
uglyone - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#339885) #
MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay
Got rotation depth?

The @Cubs' and @BlueJays' projected No. 5 starters, @kylehendricks28 and @A_Sanch41, are reigning NL and AL ERA champs.
PeterG - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#339886) #
I think Bolsinger is a lock at this point. I don't really care if Latos goes to Buffalo. He has a long way to go to be major league reliable. I think Lawrence will be the first call up among starters if needed.
uglyone - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#339887) #
yeah Bolsinger's arguably been the best in camp AND has the most promising recent track record to project this year. They don't really have a choice but to keep him on the team. Can't risk losing him.

And Loup has done enough to get the first shot at the Loogy role, though the competition hasn't been fierce. Mayza probably opened up the most eyes.

And I think the two RH pickups - Leone and Campos - have done plenty to earn themselves an early look when needed.
SK in NJ - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#339888) #
Bolsinger is the best arm between him, Latos, and Schultz at this point, so he should win the spot. The fact that he can spot start is also very important. Can't let an asset like that go when the SP depth in AAA is as suspect as it is.

Most likely looking at a pen of Osuna, Biagini, Grilli, Smith, Howell, Bolsinger, and Loup to start the season.
scottt - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#339889) #
Estrada is the Opening Day starter, eh?

I would have thought Stroman.

Heck, I would have put Estrada third.


They're trying a new concept. It's called trying to win games in April.
Estrada will face Baltimore's free swingers who have struggled to hit him twice and skip the speedy Rays who have done well against him.  That leaves Happ--who won 20 games, Stroman and Liriano for the home series.

They haven't made a big thing out of the rotation order. All the pitchers are set to succeed.
85bluejay - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#339890) #
Actually Estrada will also pitch against the Rays as it's a 4 game series - only Happ will miss the Rays and pitch the home opener.
Mike Green - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#339891) #
Pearce in LF tonight. I'm not a fan- the move invites injury. It's the same reason why I support moving Bautista to LF.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#339892) #
I don't think Aaron Loup is the Jays' best LHP option for the Bullpen. Mayza, Dermody and Girodo have all pitched better. I don't think Gibbons especially prefers any one other than Loup, but at least they have good options.
greenfrog - Monday, March 27 2017 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#339893) #
Fangraphs' positional power rankings for starting rotations are up. Here is where the AL East teams stand in projected WAR:

Bos #5
TB #9
NYY #13
Tor #16
Bal #21

The Jays could certainly end up higher than #16 at the end of the season, but it would be nice if they had one more strong starter in the system (which is why I had would have liked to see Rich Hill on the team in 2017, although I understand why he wouldn't have made financial sense under the current payroll limits).

Of course, WAR is an imperfect measure when it comes to assessing pitcher value, so there's that as well.
jerjapan - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#339896) #
I've agreed with most of the Fangraphs rankings, and they are an enjoyable read, but I disagree with a ranking of 16th place - WAR definitely undervalues some of our starters. The article actually notes that we are pretty close to the top 15 - the Cards are in 10th with 14.1 WAR predicted for starters, while we are at 13.4 predicted.

The 1st half of the bullpen rankings are also up and I agree with the 16th place ranking in this case. Interestingly, their predictions see Danny Barnes as having the second best ERA and FIP of all our relievers after Osuna, but only 30 IPs.

I hope we go with the best relievers possible this year after we spend a month or two assessing the talent on hand. To me, that bullpen includes Barnes and Tepera.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#339897) #
With those same projections the jays actually project for an extra win via ra9war (actual runs per 9 innings), which would have them in the top 10.

So even the projections think there's some legit fip-beating ability in our rotation.

Of course, our rotation has posted an ra9war about 4 wins better than its fwar in each of the last 2 seasons, so if they do that again they're up in the top 5.
Chuck - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#339898) #
WAR definitely undervalues some of our starters.

I believe FG calculates pitcher WAR based on xFIP (whereas BBRef uses ERA). As such, in a league where the ERA was 4.20 last year, a rotation of xFIPs of 4.68 (Estrada), 4.23 (Liriano), 4.18 (Happ), 3.75 (Sanchez) and 3.41 (Stroman) could look middling to their forecast engine, especially since they appear to be anticipating an xFIP regression for everyone but Liriano.

bpoz - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#339900) #
I agree with scottt that the Jay's will try to win games in April. scottt I think you made that comment "tongue in cheek". But I will bite. It is not a "new" concept but an "old" one.

IMO all contenders try to win games in April. Jays. Boston, Cubs etc... Then there are the big name non contenders that will try to win games in April because their fan base is so intense. LAA. Some believe that LAA is a weak team, but they have the big name, willingness to spend big and M Trout. Trout may leave if he sees a long term no winning future. But may stay if there is a 2-3 year rebuild.

Based on this off season the White Sox IMO don't care if they win in April. Based on what they do at the trade deadline it is possible that they will want to win after the trade deadline. Or they could care even less about winning. At the trade deadline they will have a record. It will indicate their potential to contend this year. They amassed a lot of very good young talent. With a good record, they can add from the farm and make trades to get stronger.
dan gordon - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#339902) #
Some of the extra bullpen candidates have been sent down. Beliveau, Mayza, Campos, Lawrence and Girodo were sent to the minor league camp. We'll probably see a couple of these guys with the Jays during the season.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#339903) #
Chris Coghlan was released by the Phillies. The Jays need LF options and he should not be expensive. Of course, why he was cut by the Phillies would be a logical question to ask.
Parker - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#339904) #
The Jays' FG projections assume that not all their top-five starters will stay 100% healthy this year, which is fair because that almost never happens. If anyone other than those guys has to start any games this year, the WAR for the entire starting staff is diluted A LOT.

FG takes depth into consideration, and the Jays have very little of it beyond their top five guys. They might have one of the best rotations in baseball when everyone is healthy, but assuming that everyone will be healthy the whole season is not realistic analysis. Sanchez is already less than 100% and the season hasn't even started yet.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#339905) #
We've been through this before.  Fangraphs depth charts use an average of Steamer and ZiPS.  ZiPS projections for pitchers are reasonable; Steamer's are not.  So, Steamer has Marco Estrada at an ERA of 4.81, a FIP of 4.85 and an xFIP of 4.99.with a BABIP of .277.  These are extremely highly regressed projections for a pitcher with 4 years of data indicating that he is an outlier because of his FB and IFFB rates. 

Fangraphs' depth charts project BABIPs of .302, .303, .313, .277 (Estrada) and .310 for the Blue Jay top 5 starters with the result that none of them are projected to be excellent.  You can safely take the under on all of these BABIP projections and be confident that you'll get at least 4 right.

And as for the depth issue, that's not it.  Fangraphs depth charts project only 102 innings for starters other than the big 5.  These innings are not projected to be any better or worse than typical for your 6-9 starters. 

uglyone - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#339906) #
Actually they project TOR to need fewer innings than any team in baseball from their non-top-5 SP. They project 102ip, tied with Washington for fewest - and half of what they project most of the other teams to need.

But you're right that the 0.6fwar they project in those 102ip is pretty low and one of the lowest rate wise of all the rotations....but that seems to be because they weirdly project the guy with the best projections (Bolsinger) to get the fewest fill-in innings (9) behind lawrence (38) and latos (27). If they slotted Bolsinger as the #6 getting most of the bulk of the fill in starts, the replacement war would be in lince with most of the other teams.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#339907) #
Wilner now reporting that the Jays have informed Latos that he won't make the team.  He can elect free agency or accept a Buffalo assignment.

Shall he be given a trade to the Orioles? In other words, shall the Jays trade away unneeded veterans in return of players whom can be developed more in Buffalo? About Orioles, their NRIs include L/L OF Logan Schafer R/R 2B Johnny Giavotella. Both players were discussed on this site in previous seasons.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#339908) #
Fangraphs just ranked the 'pen 16th overall.
scottt - Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#339910) #
Yeah, the pitching is good, but pretty average on FIP. All those ground balls and easy fly balls don't count for anything.

Btw, that looks like the opening lineup playing tonight.

scottt - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#339912) #
Donaldson, Tulo and Upton with homeruns.  Estrada gave up 4,  but was more working on his change than trying to fool hitters.

As much as the rotation depth is an issue, the bullpen has lots of options. Tepera has looked good all spring. Girodo, too, but they're not going to just throw him back on the 40 roster.

bpoz - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#339913) #
I want to thank da Box writers in advance for their write ups on the farm team games. I appreciate and enjoy your contributions over a long year.

When do the Minor league players leave Dunedin? Tuesday?
PeterG - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#339914) #
Speaking of the farm teams, Evan Smith and David Harris have been released.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#339915) #
And Barnes, Dermody & Ceciliani sent down. In former Jay news, Drew Hutchison got blasted for 9 runs in his last start and has been sent to AAA, while Matt Boyd has been terrific this spring, and has made the Tigers rotation.
#2JBrumfield - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#339916) #
A good article from Grant Brisbee on why baseball games take too long.
China fan - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#339917) #
If anyone would like to take the optimistic view on Pillar's apparent improvement in plate discipline this spring, here is the (small-sample) data and quotes that might support it:

http://toronto.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2017/03/29/how-kevin-pillar-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-plate-discipline/
John Northey - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#339918) #
#2JBrumfield - that was a good article. Miss hearing Harry Carey doing games (they used to put some on TSN back in the mid-80's so if I was sick at home I'd get to watch).

There is no question in my mind that the time between pitches when hitters adjust their gloves and pitchers check if their cup is on right, is the biggest time waster in he game.
Chuck - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#339919) #
There is no question in my mind that the time between pitches when hitters adjust their gloves and pitchers check if their cup is on right, is the biggest time waster in he game.

Indeed. Death by a thousand cuts. Adding or losing 30 seconds between innings is not a big deal. You can use that block of time for something else. But stealing a handful of seconds of your life after every single pitch, that's where the pain lives as a viewer. That's where MLB can shorten games and attract fans who might not otherwise have patience for the game. You, stay in the friggin' box. And you, pitch the damn ball.

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#339920) #
You, stay in the friggin' box. And you, pitch the damn ball.

Word.  Mark Buehrle, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 
China fan - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#339921) #
Two more spring-training cuts today: Dominic Leone and Juan Graterol were both optioned down.

It means there are now only 3 remaining candidates for the final 2 spots in the bullpen: Bolsinger, Tepera and Loup.

I'm assuming that the bullpen jobs go to Bolsinger and Loup, while Tepera will become the first reliever to be recalled from Buffalo as soon as one is needed. Gibbons has said repeatedly that he wants a reliever who can go multiple innings, and Bolsinger appears to be that guy.

Bo Schultz underwent Tommy John surgery today. Another setback for the hard-luck guy. But at least he gets a major-league salary for the year. It also opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, as soon as he is transferred to the 60-day DL. There are a lot of interesting players floating around in the final cuts by the other teams, so the Jays will undoubtedly try to acquire at least one or two of them.
China fan - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#339922) #
Re: the 40-man roster. I forgot that Saltalamacchia has to be added onto the 40-man roster before Opening Day, so he will probably fill the Bo Schultz spot on the roster. There aren't a lot of easily dispensable names on the 40-man roster at this stage, but there's a definite chance that Ryan Goins will be placed on waivers, which will open up a spot. If they need to make further room, they'd have to drop a reliever like Chris Smith or Ryan Borucki, which I don't think they want to do. They could also drop Juan Graterol from the 40-man, but they don't have a lot of catcher depth, so they'll probably want to keep him too.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#339923) #
Personally, I don't think that any of Bolsinger, Tepera or Loup are good options for the pen but if I had a gun to my head and had to choose who in that group is most likely to succeed in 2017 in the pen I would choose Tepera. I agree that they are likely to try and avoid putting Bolsinger on waivers, although that, in my view, is an indictment of the other 6th starter options available rather than a positive statement of Bolsinger's likely success as a reliever.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#339924) #
There are a lot of interesting players floating around in the final cuts by the other teams, so the Jays will undoubtedly try to acquire at least one or two of them.

Would the following a good idea for MLB to implement? All the final cuts are bounded by two dates. The dates are the end of last match of spring training games and 12:00AM of the first day of MLB regular season. Once the spring training is ended, the names of players who are not on 40-men roster, not no active roster but still signed to each team will be put into a specific list. Any two teams can trade without the restriction of waivers. The team that acquired the player will still inherit financial burden and the contract. So the old team cannot just trade away the player and the new team reworks a new contract.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#339925) #
i'll disagree there - i think all three are standard issue "battling for the #7rp slot" types, and that with bolsinger projecting well even as an SP, there's a pretty decent chance that dropping his worst pitches and his stuff playing up a bit in short stints will make for an effective reliever.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#339926) #
Uglyone I hope you are right because pitcher's like him are my favourite baseball stories, but if Bolsinger's stuff is playing "up" that means he's throwing 88-89 instead of 86-87. His "stuff" is so bad that playing up still leaves him weaponless in high leverage situations. Bolsinger's only weapon is moxy. Because of that, I actually think he's that rare guy who might be better as a starter than a reliever.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#339927) #
yeah definitely possible.junkballers can be more useful as SP than RP.

still, though, there's been a solid number of no-heat guys who've been effective RP in recent years. I'll still assume that relief is easier than starting for bolsinger for the time being.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 09:19 PM EDT (#339928) #
I know that's an odd statement but I do believe that there is a class of junk ballers (Tommy John (the later not the 99 pre surgery guy), Doyle Alexander, Jamie Moyer) that is better as a starter due to their ability to establish concepts of pitch sequence etc and then mess with that.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 29 2017 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#339929) #
yeah definitely possible. and hey there's a decent chance bolsinger just sucks in either role, too.

but i think we have enough interesting arms to fill in the back of the staff....and i do think bolsinger a) has earned a first look in spring and in track record b) that he'd likely be plucked off waivers at this point.

there's plenty of teams with more dire need of backend SP than us at the moment.
SK in NJ - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#339930) #
Bolsinger is a solid MLB option. Despite his lack of velocity he has good peripherals. Someone in a previous topic mentioned Josh Towers as a comparison, but Bolsinger can actually keep the ball on the ground, strike hitters out, and has a solid SwStr% (higher than Sanchez's in 2016, for example).

The main difference between 2016 and his previous seasons was a huge spike in flyballs/hard contact, huge drop in ground balls, and increase in home runs allowed. He battled injuries last season so maybe that was a factor, but he had a GB% of over 50% in his previous two MLB stints (2014-15). He needs to regain the pre-2016 form, obviously.

As a swing man/6th starter, I think he's a solid pitcher to have around. Since he is out of options, and his competition has options, combined with the Jays having issues with SP depth in general, this decision is a no brainer, IMO. He won't be an ace, and certainly isn't going to replace any one of the top 5 any time soon, but if injuries hit, then I'd be fine with him being there to spot start. Much better option than Latos sitting at 91 MPH.
uglyone - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#339931) #
gotta say this "lack of SP depth" meme is driving me a bit nutty.

our SP depth is the envy of the league.

jerjapan - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#339933) #
But at least he gets a major-league salary for the year.

Not doubting you China, and I agree with your sentiment - just wondering how this works?  He's on the 40 man, but why does he get an MLB salary? 


China fan - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#339935) #
I read somewhere that Schultz will get a major-league salary while he is on the 60-day DL. Didn't see an explanation, but I assume it's because he was injured while in major-league camp, not in minor-league camp. From Wikipedia: "Players who are on the 40-man roster but get hurt in the minor leagues are placed on the minor league DL, but not on the major league DL." So I assume the inverse applies: Schultz wasn't injured in the minor leagues, so logically he must be placed on the major-league DL. And he must be still deemed to be in the majors at this point because he wasn't optioned to the minors. (He is out of options.)
uglyone - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#339937) #
In which Fangraphs questions and analyzes its own projections and ranking of the Jays' SP:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/are-forecasts-too-pessimistic-about-the-blue-jays-rotation/
92-93 - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#339940) #
That's correct CF, and that's why teams option down players in mid-March when they know there's no chance they will make the big league club - any injury ends up costing the organization a lot compared to the player's MiLB salary, and it also burns service time. Dermody, Barnes, and Ceciliani were not optioned down with the likes of Borucki, Smith, Urena, Ramirez, Gurriel, and Alford, probably because at the time the team still thought there's a chance those guys could make the MLB club.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#339941) #
In which Fangraphs questions and analyzes its own projections and ranking of the Jays' SP

To be specific, Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs does.  His opinions are not necessarily consensus opinions of Fangraphs writers.  I happen to share Sawchik's opinions, but would express mine slightly differently.
cybercavalier - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#339942) #
As a swing man/6th starter, I think he's a solid pitcher to have around. Since he is out of options, and his competition has options, combined with the Jays having issues with SP depth in general, this decision is a no brainer, IMO. He won't be an ace, and certainly isn't going to replace any one of the top 5 any time soon, but if injuries hit, then I'd be fine with him being there to spot start.

Can we compare Bolsinger with Happ?

Much better option than Latos sitting at 91 MPH. our SP depth is the envy of the league.

Regarding our SP depth is the envy of the league, can we trade away some of this enviness for more solid assets? For example, players, prospects or cash...
Mike Green - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#339943) #
Greg Bird was walked 3 times in 3 PAs today.  Word is making its way around the league (bird is the word...).

Anyways, fangraphs depth chart projections have him as 455 PAs, 21 homers,.248/.326/.469, 1.3 WAR.  I'll take the "way over" on all of the above figures.  Sometimes spring training can tell you something- in this case, that he is fully recovered from his 2016 injury, and his 2014-15 performance is a good basis for projection.  In this particular case, it's a huge deal. 

scottt - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#339944) #
I don't really see the point of walking a batter in spring training games. Now is the perfect time to challenge him and test his plate coverage.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#339945) #
Re: Lack of Starting Pitcher depth.
Mike Bolsinger and Joe Biagini are in the Bullpen and are acceptable as Starters (once stretched out) if needed.
Casey Lawrence and Mat Latos are in the AAA and are acceptable as Starters if needed.
Connor Greene and Sean Reid-Foley could really be acceptable as Starters by mid-June.
I don't know what lack of Starting Depth means but it's not applicable to the Jays.
scottt - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#339946) #
Lack of depth doesn't mean Barney and Goins will take the ball.
It means the replacement pitchers aren't as good. It's normal not to have a 15M pitcher starting in AAA.
Most teams have an almost ready prospect or 2 who can take the ball though.

I'd be surprised if Greene is asked to start this year. His potential is in the pen with the high heat if he can polish his command. Mayza looks more promising on that front though.
Lawrence could be fine. We'll see if there's a need and Bolsinger fails.

bpoz - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#339947) #
We are probably going to need a 6th starter this year. Lets suppose 10-25 starts. These starts can go to 1-4 different pitchers.It depends on health and effectiveness.
Health is unpredictable.

So anyone that can average 6IP with 3 earned runs gets to continue in this role, IMO. 6IP with 3.5 earned runs is maybe ok. 3.5+ is not good enough, IMO

How do others view this?
Michael - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#339948) #
The reason why a lot of people don't think the Jays have SP depth is because there is such a huge gap between our #5 and #6 and usually most teams need their #6 to pitch a lot of innings; however, the reason there is a huge gap between our #5 and #6 isn't because our #6 is bad for a major league #6 option, it is instead because our #5 is so incredibly better than a typical major league #5. That is, our depth is actually incredibly strong at 3, 4, 5 and then normal at 6+. Sure it would be great if we had a cy young contender as our #6 starting option with 5 better starting pitchers going 1-5, but that literally never happens outside of video game baseball.
cybercavalier - Thursday, March 30 2017 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#339949) #
That is, our depth is actually incredibly strong at 3, 4, 5 and then normal at 6+.

In other words, there must be teams whose #6+ are below normalcy. Maybe we shall trade away our veteran #6+  and batters for younger players to develop in Buffalo. Last season, Wade LeBlanc was traded to Seattle then Pittsburgh that pays him 0.8M in 2017. In other words, does dealing away players to teams so they do not have to nickel and dime with player salary in second tier active players make sense to improve the Jays?
85bluejay - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 06:19 AM EDT (#339950) #
I would like to see the Jays put in a claim on Tyler Goeddel - he had a very promising 2015 AA season and now that he's no longer a rule V guy, he can be optioned and with injuries (Schultz,Sparkman) and maybe losing Goins the team should have a 40 man spot. The Jays need outfielders who may be able to help later this year and certainly next year.
SK in NJ - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#339951) #
Until some of the 6 through 10 starters on the Jays are prospects, rather than minor league signings, the depth is going to be an issue. Bolsinger was a smart deal last summer since he looks like he could be an above replacement level starter in the bigs, but Latos/Harrell/Oberholtzer/etc are not the type of starters you want to be starting on a team with playoff aspirations. Obviously the only way some of those guys ever start in 2017 is if the team has a run of injuries to the rotation, and in that case the playoffs would be a long shot anyway, but ideally you would want at least 1 or 2 prospects in AAA that have a combination of skill and upside rather than what the Jays will have in Buffalo this coming season.
uglyone - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#339952) #
"Most teams have an almost ready prospect or 2 who can take the ball though. "

they really don't, though.

and even if they do, there's little to suggest "kinda almost ready ok prospects in AAA" are actually better depth than "career borderline AAAA vets".
uglyone - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#339953) #
if you have good mlb ready prospects in AAA, then they should likely be in mlb, not in AAA.
bpoz - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#339954) #
Options are a concern too.
I like this FO's way of hanging on to prospects.

Pitchers like Hutch, D Norris, K Graveman, M Boyd and Hoffman among others would be using up options. They came up the system as SPs. They can only be kept in AAA for a limited time. I realize that they could be tried in the pen or/and used as trade chips.
Some of the above names have shown that they are capable of being a good #4-6 SP option.

We have a few SP prospects that could/should get 10+ starts in AA this year. If all goes well.
Unless traded or they have poor performances C Greene, Ried-Foley, F Rios, J Harris and R Borucki are 5 names that could get to AA this year.
I am sounding a little too optimistic I know. However D Norris, K Graveman and M Boyd moved multiple levels in 1 year. So it does happen.
christaylor - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#339955) #
Anyone going to the games in Montreal? Are you willing to provide a first-hand description? The reason I ask is that in prior years my experience of the environment did not map onto those I've talked to who attended. My best guess is that the big-O's camera set-ups and the unfamiliarity of the stadium of the operators could not convey the, from what I've heard, immensely enjoyable experience of the exhibition games.

I hope someday Montreal gets a team, but if it is to happen in the next decade the big O will probably be required as a stop-gap -- could it fill this role?
mendocino - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#339956) #
MLB.TV free today and Saturday
John Northey - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#339957) #
Had fun reading a season preview by Ken Rosenthal. #9 Rangers: Odor traded to Blue Jays after rubbing Beltreís head; Canada passes legislation to keep him out.
#8 Blue Jays: Bautista traded to Rangers after demanding better contract; Texas passes legislation to keep him out.

A column by someone who recognizes how dumb pre-season predictions tend to be. The Red Sox one is good too (#7) as are many others.
Parker - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#339958) #
"they really don't, though."

and even if they do, there's little to suggest "kinda almost ready ok prospects in AAA" are actually better depth than "career borderline AAAA vets"


Feel free to provide examples.

Except, don't use FanGraphs analysis, because you've already posted several dozen attempts to refute their analysis.
uglyone - Friday, March 31 2017 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#339975) #
Sure.

Using fangraphs SP rankings from last year, and looking at the best SP not to make their top-5 projected SP - starting from the top of the rankings, and Iíll keep going down the list until Iím bored:


Mets (Proj: 1.Degrom 2.Harvey 3.Syndergaard 4.Matz 5.Colon)

6.Lugo (Proj 0.1war) - 8gs, 2.68era - 26yr old journeyman
7.Ynoa(Proj 0.0war) - 3gs, 3.18era - 23yr old mid tier prospect coming off medicore yr in AA

Dodgers (Proj: 1.Kershaw 2.Maeda 3.Kazmir 4.Wood 5.Ryu)

6.Urias (Proj 0.1war) - 15gs, 3.25era - 19yr old top prospect shot up the system
7.Stripling (Proj 0.1war) - 14gs, 4.52era - 26yr old milb journeyman

Cubs (Proj: 1.Arrieta 2.Lester 3.Lackey 4.Hendricks 5.Hammel)

6.Buchanen (Proj 0.0war) - 1gs, 0.00era - 26yr old journeyman
7.Cahill (Proj 0.0war) - 1gs, 0.00era - 28yr old Injured journeyman

Nationals (Proj: 1.Scherzer 2.Strasburg 3.Gonzalez 4.Ross 5.Roark)

6.Cole (Proj 0.2war) - 8gs, 5.17era - 24yr old mid tier prospect
7.Giolito (Proj 1.1war) - 4gs, 5.63era - 21yr old top prospect

Indians (Proj: 1.Kluber 2.Carrasco 3.Salazar 4.Bauer 5.Tomlin)

6.Clevenger (Proj 0.1war) - 10gs, 5.93era - 25yr old kinda prospect
7.Anderson (Proj 0.5war) - 8gs, 7.71era - 25yr old pretty good prospect

Chisox (Proj: 1.Sale 2.Quintana 3.Rodon 4.Latos 5.Danks)

6.Gonzalez (Proj 0.7war) - 23gs, 3.77era - 32yr old waiver pickup
7.Johnson (Proj 0.3war) - 2gs, 6.94era - 27yr old journeyman

Cardinals (Proj: 1.Wainwright 2.martinez 3.Wacha 4.Leake 5.Garcia)

6.Reyes (Proj 0.1war) - 5gs, 2.20era - 21yr old top prospect coming out of AA
7.Weaver (Proj 0.0war) - 8gs, 4.54era - 22yr old good prospect coming out of A+

Giants (Proj: 1.Bumgarner 2.Cueto 3.Samardzija 4.Peavy 5.Cain)

6.Suarez (Proj 0.0war) - 12gs, 4.28era - 26yr old milb journeyman
7.Blach (Proj 0.1war) - 2gs, 1.64era - 25yr old kinda prospect
Yankees (Proj: 1.Tanaka 2.Pineda 3.Eovaldi 4.Severino 5.Sabathia)

6.Mitchell (Proj 0.2war): 5gs, 3.24era - 25yr old kinda prospect
7.Cessa (Proj 0.2war): 9gs, 4.01era - 24yr old kinda prospect

Red Sox (Proj: 1.Price 2.Buchholz 3.Porcello 4.Rodriguez 5.Kelly)

6.Wright (Proj 0.4war): 24gsm 3.33era - 32yr old journeyman
7.Owens (Proj 0.3war): 5gs, 6.95era - 23yr old good prospect


That gets through the top-10 on their 2016 rankings but I think thatís enough to show the point. Yes, some top prospects do provide good depth like Urias and Reyes, but meanwhile many others flop completely like Giolito, Weaver, Owens, Severino. Meanwhile vet journeymen see just as much or more success like Wright, Gonzalez, Lugo. And in betwee those groups thereís a bunch of middling 2nd tier kinda young kinda prospects who are hit and miss as well.

Iíd like to keep going but I think thatís enough - the rest will paint a similar picture.
bpoz - Saturday, April 01 2017 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#339987) #
Thanks for the work uglyone. Every team needs depth.
Vulg - Saturday, April 01 2017 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#340039) #
I'm pretty happy about not being subjected to Upton's ABs this season (i.e. Olney reporting he's done).

Also - nice work Ugly.
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