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The Toronto Blue Jays finish up their six-game road trip in their home away from home on the West Coast, Safeco Field in Seattle.

(Image from The Associated Press)

Series Schedule/Probable Pitchers

Friday at 10:10 pm ET - Joe Biagini (1-4, 3.31) vs. Sam Gaviglio (2-1, 3.13)
Saturday at 10:10 pm ET - Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.25) vs. Ariel Miranda (6-2, 3.74)
Sunday, 4:10 pm ET - J.A. Happ (0-4, 5.33) vs. James Paxton (5-0, 1.69)

The Blue Jays only beat the Athletics once in three tries and are 29-31, 6-1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Burning Question - Can the Jays come up with any more wins against the Mariners after sweeping them in Toronto in four straight earlier this season?

Hot Take - Screw the Mariners for jacking up ticket prices for this series and screw the hotels for ridiculous room rates as well.

On Deck - Tampa Bay at the Dome June 13-14.
Blue Jays @ Mariners - June 9-11 | 103 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
bpoz - Friday, June 09 2017 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#343211) #
I cannot believe that they raised prices the way they did. That is terrible.
James W - Friday, June 09 2017 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#343213) #
The Blue Jays do the exact same thing though. Every home game on the schedule is rated A+, A, B, C or D corresponding to the pricing scheme.
cybercavalier - Friday, June 09 2017 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#343214) #
Does Pillar start to hit for power... Is Morales' OBP lower than expected... Is Martin's OBP higher than a regular seventh hitter... An batting order suggestion for today:
LF Carrera 3B Donaldson RF Bautista 1B Smoak DH Morales C Martin CF Pillar SS Tulo 2B Goins
For tomorrow and the day after against LHSP
CF Pillar 3B Donaldson RF Bautista 1B Smoak DH Morales C Martin SS Tulo LF Carrera 2B Barney
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 07:15 AM EDT (#343216) #
It's going to be tough to break out ahead of the pack without Travis, I think.
lexomatic - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 07:45 AM EDT (#343217) #
And, Greenfrog, by doing the J ays thing and not hitting a guy like gaviglio.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 07:55 AM EDT (#343218) #
The Jays might really have something with Biagini here. He's been most impressive as a starter, maintaining all of the good things he was doing in the pen: decent strike out rate, not walking many, inducing groundballs, and not giving up homers.

Btw Biagini has given up just 6 hr in 123.2 major league innings now.

Nigel - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#343221) #
The current lineup just can't play long sequence offence, there are too many guys who make too many outs in it. It's generally home runs or bust. I'd be tempted to put the three guys who project to be above average OBP together. Martin leading off followed by Bautista and Donaldson and then put whoever is hot (currently Smoak) behind them. One caveat, Martin may be headed back to the DL.
PeterG - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#343224) #
Here is a link to an article, that many may find interesting, concerning the Jays infield woes. I imagine
that it will be of particular interest to Jerjapan. Hope he is reading today.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#343225) #
The Jays could use one or two more high-OBP players like those on the 1992-1993 teams. Those teams had some low-OBP players like Borders, White, Carter, and Sprague, but they also had players such as:

Alomar (OBP .405, .408)
Olerud (.375, .473)
Molitor (1993 OBP of .402)
Winfield (.377, .325)
Fernandez (1993 OBP of .361 for Toronto)
Henderson (1993 OBP of .356)

Even Manny Lee and Candy Maldonado got on base at a respectable clip. As as result, the 1992 and 1993 Jays teams had an OBP of .333 and .350. By way of comparison, the 2015 and 2016 Jays had very solid team OBP's of .340 and .330.

By contrast, the 2017 Jays are getting on base at a .312 clip. It isn't going to help that they've had to replace a rising star in Travis (.333 career OBP) with Goins (.271) and Barney (.296) at second base.
China fan - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#343226) #
"....By contrast, the 2017 Jays are getting on base at a .312 clip...."

Interestingly, Ezequiel Carrera has an OBP of .360 this year.  It probably explains why Gibbons continues to put him in the lineup, despite his defensive lapses and occasional mental errors.  He doesn't have much slugging power, but he is getting on base, and he has base-running speed.  That has some value to the 2017 Jays.  The main thing is that he shouldn't play every day.  Pearce or Pompey or Smith (rather than Coghlan) would help to alleviate that issue.
PeterG - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#343227) #
Pearce is expected to return Tuesday. Just hope they are not bringing him back prematurely. Gil Kim had good things to say about Dwight Smith and J Leb. I have no idea what is happening with Pompey. Does anyone?

Am I correct in believing that Pompey has not been officially optioned at any point in 2017, which if so, means that he could come to TO after a complete rehab assignment and if not optioned, would have that 1 remaining option still available in 2018. It always helps to have players with options.
China fan - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#343228) #
That's good news on Pearce's imminent return.  Maybe he'll help to replace the offence lost from the Travis injury.

On the Pompey question:  I thought a player's option year is counted in any year when he is on the 40-man roster and not in the majors.  The rules mention 20 days in the minors.  Pompey will almost certainly hit 20 days in the minors this year (he already has 5 games in Dunedin and Buffalo this year), so my guess is that 2017 is an option year for him.  I suppose if he is very quickly added to the 25-man roster and remains there for the rest of the year, he might avoid an option year.  Here's the Wiki summary of the option rule:

Once a player has been placed on a team's 40-man roster, a team has 3 option years on that player.
  • A player is considered to have used one of those three option years when he spends at least 20 days in the minors in any of those 3 seasons.

PeterG - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#343229) #
I don't think that rehab days in the minors count towards the 20 days but am not 100% sure of that.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#343230) #
You can win in the AL with a relatively low OBP (the 2015 Royals are one example of this), but it gives your pitching and defense less margin for error.

In 2017 at least, ranking AL teams by OBP correlates fairly closely with W-L record.
John Northey - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#343231) #
Checking leaderboards not as much fun as some years.

Games: Bautista #7
AB: Pillar #8
2B: Travis #6
HR: Smoak #2, 1 back of leader
GIDP: Morales #1
CS: Pillar #9

Ugh - outside of Smoak's HR and Travis' doubles it isn't fun. Pillar is top 10 in Power/Speed number

K/9: Estrada #10
Games: Smith #5
Saves: Osuna #7
Estrada also leads in games started, #9 in K's
Complete Games: Stroman #2
Wild Pitches: Leon #9
Games finished: Osuna #4

Double plays as 1B: Smoak #4
Games in CF: Pillar #3
Assists in CF: Pillar #4
Games in RF: Bautista #4
Assists in RF: Bautista #1
Errors in RF: Bautista #3
Assists as P: Stroman #1
Fielding percent as P: Estrada #1
Mike Green - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#343232) #
I missed the 2nd half of last night's game, but I was surprised that Gibbons didn't go to the bullpen earlier.  With an 8 man pen and days off on Thursday and Monday (and Stroman pitching tonight), I would have thought that the typical play would be to go to the pen at the outset of the 7th inning.  Certainly after Biagini had walked two in the inning, I would have expected a reliever. 
krose - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#343233) #
I wondered the same thing MG. Perhaps Gibby wanted to stretch Biagini to 100 pitches. To me he looked tired. His pace had slowed and he was not hitting his spots as well as he was earlier. But he was not grooving pitches. Is it worth it for a manager to take a bigger risk of losing a game and create strength in a pitcher for future starts. I dunno! Would Gibby do that?
PeterG - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#343234) #
Biagini was clearly gassed and should have been taken out if winning the game was the main priority. But, as suggested, perhaps the learning experience for Joe was seen as the higher priority. Tis a mystery.
uglyone - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#343235) #

Donaldson .414
Martin .369
Carrera .360
Smoak .356
Bautista .340
Pillar .326
***League Avg .323 (no pitchers)***
Morales .306
Tulowitzki .303
Travis .291


Donaldson .377
Bautista .362
Martin .338
Pearce .329 (Pompey .327, Carrera .321)
Tulowitzki .327
Morales .327
Smoak .325
Travis .318 (Barney .290, Goins .281)
Pillar .314
cybercavalier - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#343236) #
Batting average, getting on base, slugging percentage

vs LHSP without Travis
CF Pillar RF Bautista 3B Donaldson 1B Smoak DH Morales C Martin SS Tulo LF Pearce 2B Barney

vs RHSP without Travis
LF Carrera RF Bautista 3B Donaldson 1B Smiak DH Morales CF Pillar C Martin SS Tulo 2B Goins

We need a better 2B.

Available 2B

RHB Pirates: Phil Gosselin, LHB Brewers: Eric Sogard
SWB Marlins: Steve Lombardozzi, RHB Nationals: Grant Green, LHB Dodgers: Mike Freeman

As Travis is an RHB, could the Jays trade Barney for Sogard? The Brewers' Villar is their regular second baseman. The Scooter Gennett's recent designation for assignment and re-emergence as a Reds meant the Brewers has a surplus of second baseman. Barney will be a backup IF anyway but Sogard can start.

In the minors, past first and second round draftees LHB Dustin Ackley and RHB Johnny Giavotella are playing. Therefore forcing Leblebijian or else to Toronto is needless...
PeterG - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#343237) #
I would prefer an in house solution at 2B. However, all possibilities need to be studied.
krose - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#343238) #
Wouldn't it be exciting to see Leblebijian get a chance. His hitting stats are not anomalous this year. And he is in his age 26 year. Maybe he could bring some life to the team.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#343240) #
The Yankees and Severino have a 5-0 lead over the O's in the first inning, courtesy of home runs by Judge and Gregorius and a two-run single by Sanchez. The Bronx Bombers' future is bright, and the present isn't half-bad either.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#343241) #
OBP AL average (2017): .322
OBP Blue Jays (2017): .312
OBP Blue Jays AL ranking: 11th overall
Blue Jays AL W-L record: 11th overall
uglyone - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#343243) #
Since Donaldson returned: .337obp (5th)
Nigel - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#343244) #
There are some problems with those OBP projections. Tulo' s includes some Colorado data. He's sub .320 since joining the Jays. Smoak hasn't crested .314 since 2013.
Nigel - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#343245) #
Sorry uglyone, I didn't mean to imply that those aren't the zips projections, just that there are good reasons to question those projections
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#343246) #
Last seven days (Travis injured June 6): .297obp (13th)
Nigel - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#343247) #
Given his age, I'd take the under on Morales too. I really think Martin, Bautista and Donaldson are the only likely above average OBP candidates. Pearce would also if restricted to mostly a platoon scenario but not if he's playing everyday. They may get to league average team OBP by the end of the year but any higher is likely to be a stretch.
greenfrog - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#343248) #
The other problem with the OBP projections is health. I don't expect Donaldson, Tulo, Bautista, Martin to play the rest of the season injury-free. For example, on the days that Tulo is injured or needs time off, the team would likely be looking at Goins and Barney at SS and 2B.

A related issue is base running. A mediocre team OBP becomes even more of a glaring issue when the team is relatively old and slow.
Nigel - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 08:50 PM EDT (#343250) #
250 AB from Maile could bury team OBP single handedly
John Northey - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#343251) #
Sogard could be sweet (375/500/609 this year over 80 PA's after a year of injuries) but one wonders how much of that is real (lifetime 246/307/328 over 1411 PA)? If the Jays ML scouts are high on him I'd ask why they didn't sign him last winter.

Jed Lowrie might be a more likely target - he is playing for a last place Oakland team, is 33, hitting 295/359/480 vs lifetime 260/329/405 so is playing above his norm but not grossly so. He also has played a lot at SS in the past and a bit at 3B so if he flops or Travis comes back he is a solid backup. Makes $6.5 mil this year and $6 mil next (or $1 mil buyout). Seems a very good fit. Switch hitter too. Cost would almost certainly be minor league prospects only not major leaguers.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#343253) #
I've said, and will continue to say, that a healthy Steve Pearce will correct a lot of the issues. He might even get some starts at 2nd base. The guy can hit. I'm expecting to a big 2nd half, which he's certainly done before.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#343254) #
Jays have to think about moving Pillar down in the order. He's been pretty awful for an extended period now.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#343255) #
While I'm being positive, I'm also OK with cutting loose Goins when Pearce returns. Coghlan isn't a black hole offensively and
is a better defender than he's shown.
cybercavalier - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#343256) #
Jays have to think about moving Pillar down in the order.
I agreed with that idea already....

I would prefer an in house solution at 2B. However, all possibilities need to be studied.
A semi-in house solution is Ryan Schimpf who was optioned to Triple-A yesterday. Let us keep an eye on him. Is Brett Lawrie an option too? Anyhow, thank you for expressing ideas on Sogard. Most options are likely to have deficiencies; otherwise they would have been the first choice at second base for their respective team.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#343257) #
The Jays have to operate under the assumption Travis isn't coming back this season. Until they can acquire someome else, I'd like to see Barney get another shot everyday, occasionally spelled by Coghlan against righties and Pearce against lefties.

I agree Oakland and Jed Lowrie could be a match, and perhaps Houston's 17 game lead over them in the West will allow them to make a June trade rather than wait until closer to the deadline. I'd say the Jays would have to ante up if they wanted him earlier, though.

With Smith, Pompey, and Alford all knocki ng on the door, I wonder if Jays would consider dangling Pillar. They certainly need a second baseman, with left field and the bullpen also in need of shoring up.

Petey Baseball - Saturday, June 10 2017 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#343258) #
On the Lawrie thing, I would be thrilled if he took a minor league deal with the Jays. Leg issues aside, he's young and still has considerable tools. If Justin Smoak got until he was 30, it would be smart to get this guy healthy and let him try and work out his issues at the plate (and perhaps between his ears) in the minors.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:55 AM EDT (#343259) #
Bautista, Encarnacion, Smoak. I'm sensing a pattern here.
uglyone - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:59 AM EDT (#343260) #
man in white?
uglyone - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 01:18 AM EDT (#343261) #
and hey, zeke might actually be breaking out too.
hypobole - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:00 AM EDT (#343262) #
How does Jose's going to second on the 8th inning walk get scored?
jerjapan - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:48 AM EDT (#343263) #
PeterG, thanks for the link on Leblebijian.  I've heard mixed reviews of his D, but Elie Waitzer at BP calls him plus at 3 IF positions.  Now idea who Waitzer is,but that's one more voice saying his D is solid. 

I agree on an 'in house' solution to the middle IF, and I do think it's time for J-Leb to get that shot - we are touch and go for the WC and need to be aggressive in fielding a winning team.  if the FO is not willing to go outside of the org to add a LF (clearly, they aren't sold on Smith), I think the best move they could make short term is dumping Coghlan and promoting Leblebijian.  Similar to last year with Barnes, the FO seems to want these off-the-radar guys to really prove themselves before the call, but I can't see how he could be worse than Coghlan. 

At this point, Coghlan only offers versatility, but so do J-Leb, Goins and Barney.  Goins can handle LF if needed

Maile is another guy who could get replaced - he's building a pretty compelling case that he can't hit MLB pitching whatsoever.  Jansen needs to be add to the 40 man this offseason and he continues to kill it in AA ....
scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 07:23 AM EDT (#343264) #
Maile isn't going anywhere unless he gets hurt or somehow, the Jays acquire an above average catcher.
He's around 0 WAR which isn't bad for a backup catcher. What you want to avoid is a huge negative like Salty was.

Would be nice to escape with a .500 record on this trip, but Happ/Paxton is not a match up I like.

greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#343266) #
Kinsler is another potential trade candidate if the Tigers (29-32) fall off the pace. He would be owed the prorated portion of this year's $11m salary, plus $10m next year (or a $5m buyout). The contract probably isn't ideal from the Jays' perspective, but it might also lessen the prospect cost of acquiring him (as would Kinsler's age and the fact that his offensive performance has fallen off somewhat this year).
Chuck - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#343267) #
Carrera's season is looking like deja vu all over again.

In 2016, his first half OPS+ was 112. It dropped to 42 in the second half. His BABIP regressed beyond reasonable. Maybe he was hurt. Maybe he was tired. Maybe the gods elected to smite him.

This year, he's off to a 110 start. His .350 BABIP is 25 points above his career norm. High, but not insanely so. Is he a viable starting OF as some here (though not me) have argued for? He has been so far, but is there a shoe to fall? And is that shoe's name Pearce?

And what of Tulowitzki? His .261 BABIP goes part of the way to explaining his 73 OPS+. And a perhaps premature return from injury explains another part. But the team is going to need a good deal more than a replacement level effort from a 20M player. Consummate professional or not, he's not helping.

Pillar has now dropped below 100 in OPS+. He was gangbusters in April but the old Pillar ever since, some extra walks notwithstanding. Perhaps a return to the bottom of the order is wise. Time to get some OBP at the top, be it Carrera, Martin or whomever. Heck, even Bautista again.

greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#343268) #
Do the Jays control Carrera beyond 2017?
BlueJayWay - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#343270) #
This was Carrera's first arb year. He's controllable for the next two seasons.
Magpie - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#343271) #
How does Jose's going to second on the 8th inning walk get scored?

It should be a stolen base - that's quite literally what it was, and that's how EPSN's post-game play-by-play describes it. But I think the official scorer has written it up as "advanced on the throw." Which is ridiculous, but there you go.

Let's call it a Scutaro.
uglyone - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#343272) #
there's a similarity there, chuck, but i'm not sure it's deja vu. last year zeke looked great to start the year as a bench player, but struggled as a starter, and then came on strong at the end after he had been demoted back to bit part duty.

this year zeke has been getting close to fulltime duty all year, and has just been steadily pretty good.

and i like that this year he's showing a traditional (if extreme) platoon split as opposed to last year's weird reverse split which always felt fluky.
scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#343273) #
has just been steadily  pretty good.

Offensively, yes, but his defense has been bad, even for left field which set the bar pretty low.
The mental errors are particularly troubling given that he's a 30 year old vet.

Mike Green - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#343274) #
Carrera has definitely learned to hit better in his late 20s.  He's had a HR/FB rate over 11% each of the last 3 years.  He doesn't need to chop down on the ball.  This year, he's got a LD rate of 22%, a very low IFFB rate under 4% and a HR/FB rate of almost 17% to go with decent W and K rates.  He's put together the high BABIP this year without many infield or bunt hits (3 for 10).   He's pushed his GB rate down to just over 50% from 60% two or three years ago, and if he can keep it there or a little lower, he should be able to maintain. 

His total defensive contribution is hard to measure- he has good range but makes a large number of egregious mistakes- and UZR and DRS disagree about the sum of it all.  I don't think that is going to change much.  If you use UZR and fWAR, he's been a 1.5 WAR player in less than a full season's worth of PAs in 2016-17.  If you use bWAR, he's at 0.7.  I would take the mid-point and have him as a 1.1 WAR player of those 2 seasons and about a 1.5 WAR/650 PAs.You can easily live with that.

Mike Green - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#343275) #
Pearce is playing second base in today's game for New Hampshire.  Not a good idea, in my view, because of poor range and high likelihood of re-injury. 
uglyone - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#343276) #
no doubt scott defensively he's not very good, though his speed does imo keep him at non-awful despite the bad glove and bad decisions.

as for Pearce at 2B....probably not a great idea but they kinda have to try it now, no?
Mike Green - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#343277) #
Nope.  I'd try Leblebijian before Pearce, and I'd be on the horn to try to get a second baseman who can play the position well.  It is weird that both Barney and Goins would lose it all in the same year, but you don't adjust to that but trying a player who is obviously going to be much worse than either of them.  The team defence is bad enough as it is.  You have to respect your pitchers, and putting Pearce at second base along with Carrera in left-field and Bautista in right-field, is the equivalent of a management shrug to the pitching staff.  None of the players who were so great defensively a couple of years ago- Pillar, Donaldson, Tulo, Goins and Martin- continue to be so. 
PeterG - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#343278) #
I see that Pearce's return has now been put back to next weekend when the original thought was that it would probably be Tuesday. I guess the fact the he has been hitless in 3 games with NH has a lot to do with that.
cybercavalier - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#343279) #
I can recall Dustin Ackley and Johnny Giovettela's names were brought up by others in previous discussion years ago.
Barney, Goins, Coghlan take 3 rosters spot to contribute to the void in offense left by Travis if Pearce is not expected to play much second base. For in-house stopgap. Jon Berti who is still on DL and Jake Elmore are 2Bs. Considering that Elmore's best skill is getting on base, is having him on the bench going to hurt? For now, as Coghlan hits left and Pearce hits right, can they be considered that they share the platoon at second base?
Example lineup:
versus LHSP
C Martin 3B Donaldson RF Bautista 1B Smoak DH Morales 2B Pearce CF Pillar SS Tulo LF Carrera
Coghlan, Goins and Barney are substitution candidates.
Martin batting leadoff reminds me the Pirates' Jason Kendall in the 2000s.
cersus RHSP
LF Carrera 3B Donaldson RF Bautista 1B Smoak DH Morales C Martin CF Pillar SS Tulo 2B Coghlan
China fan - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#343280) #
"....this year zeke has been getting close to fulltime duty all year, and has just been steadily pretty good...."

Zeke has 178 plate appearances this season, which is significantly less than full-time duty.  (By comparison, Kevin Pillar has 267 plate appearances this year.)  I think the Jays are right to limit Zeke's playing time and keep him below the full-time mark, because he tends to do better when he's not exposed to full-time duty.

But it's certainly true that Zeke is getting a lot more playing time this season than he did last year.  By this date in 2016, he had only 75 plate appearances.  His hitting numbers were roughly similar (.799 OPS on June 10 last year, compared to .783 OPS on the same date this year) but in far fewer ABs last year.  In other words, he has doubled his playing time this season and yet he has still maintained the same good hitting numbers that he produced in the first half of last year.  This suggests that he might not face the same second-half problems that he suffered last year -- especially if Pearce gets a fair amount of LF time over the rest of the season.

Last season, Carrera was fine in the first three months, crashed in July-August, then rebounded in September.  If his playing time is managed carefully, with Pearce's availability, he might avoid the 2016 problems.
hypobole - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#343281) #
Smoak is entering today's game slugging .606, which begs the question - how often has any Jay finished a season slugging over .600?

I think there have only been 4 such seasons.
cybercavalier - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#343282) #
[Mike Green's comments]

My comment is not directed at Mr. Green...

How can the Jays deal with the current situation then? We would try Leblebijian now because he is a young hitter. As Pearce's return is pushed back, how could Leblejian for a week until Pearce is ready to off the DL help the performance? If Pearce still lingers or another player goes to the DL, a roster spot is going to be open anyway. Then a guy like Jake Elmore is promoted and supposed to get on base based on his past performance. Can Leblebjian get on base enough in Triple-A so that he is going to in Toronto? Travis left a void in second base and getting on base is an issue. Can both issues be solved in one second baseman or a platoon?

greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#343283) #
The challenge with going the trade route is that the front office will be disinclined to relinquish any of their better prospects for a second baseman. It may be a case of letting the more profligate clubs pick off the most sought-after trade targets, and then looking for the infield equivalent of acquisitions like Liriano and Benoit.

It seems as if the front office is going to resolutely hang on to the prospects it views as players with legitimately high potential. That doesn't mean a trade can't be worked out, but it might not be for the best (or second-best or third-best) player on the market.
greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#343284) #
Smoak could be a valuable trade chip, if he keeps performing like this over the next six weeks and the Jays become sellers at the deadline.
scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#343285) #
Yeah, I see no choice. Pearce is not taking AB from Smoak. He should only take AB from Carrera if the starter is a lefty.
So, yeah, they need Pearce at 2B. They should still pull him for a defensive replacement in late innings though.

China fan - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#343286) #
"....And what of Tulowitzki?...."

In addition to the BABIP factor, another possible explanation for his poor hitting in 2017 is the fact that he's always been a slow starter with the Jays.  He has begun very slowly as a Jay in each of the past three seasons.  Last year, his OPS in April was .618.  The previous year, his OPS was .678 in his first 25 games as a Jay.  In both cases, his hitting improved after his slow start.  There's a good chance that the same thing will happen this year:  he will hit better as he gets more comfortable and gets regular playing time after his injury. 
scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#343287) #
You could probably get away with Pearce at 2B with Estrada and Happ. The other guys probably generates too many ground balls.
PeterG - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#343288) #
why would the Jays trade Smoak when he is having a breakout season and is on an extremely cheap contract? I can see some selling if they fall back a bit....they are only being given a 27.3% of making playoffs as of today according to Fangraphs. Who will replace Smoak ( next season)?

I can see Estrada and Joe Smith being moved and maybe JD but the latter would likely be an off season move. They might want to take a run at trying to sign him first before making that decision.

Estrada may be moved regardless if there are 6 healthy starting pitchers in July. As there could be a 40 man crunch in the off season, I can also see a couple of 15-20 rated prospects (who are Rule 5 eligible) being traded for a major leaguer with multiple years of control.
greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#343289) #
.212/.273/.336 (-0.3 fWAR)
.240/.292/.356 (0 fWAR)
.224/.262/.284 (-0.2 fWAR)

It's kind of hard to tell Goins from Barney from Tulo this year.
Mike Green - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#343290) #
Happ's GB rate has been going up over the last 3 years- and sits at 46% this year.   With his HR rate sky-rocketing this year, putting Pearce at second base when he is out there is very unkind.  It's a good idea to give a pitcher an option other than to strike out everybody. 
PeterG - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#343291) #
The line up released from Fisher Cats official site has Pearce batting 2nd and playing LF. Tim Lopes is at 2b.
greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#343293) #
The Jays are currently in the thick of the WC race. If the team falls out of contention and a rebuild is on the horizon, however, the front office could consider trading Smoak. If Smoak continues to hit as he has this year, his market value will presumably be very high, in part because of his very team-friendly contract. If you could acquire the equivalent of, say, Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier for him, why not do it?
PeterG - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#343295) #
Sure if u could get that...but u won't. I don't see a complete rebuild, if team falls back, but a strategic arranging of assets which will include getting substantially younger. Smoak, though, will be needed next year as there seems no-one else to fill the position. Sure, anyone could be traded but I would think Smoak is very low on the list of players likely to be moved.
hypobole - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#343297) #
Sure if u could get that...but u won't.

Exactly. How many contenders actually need a guy limited to 1B/DH and how much of an upgrade would he be to give up a primo prospect? Especially for a guy with zero tack record of success. Hold on and if he continues to mash, then he could still be traded later if need be.
scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#343298) #
To be fair, Barney is down as much a Tulo this year, if not more.
greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#343299) #
If the Cubs were willing to trade Torres for a few months of Chapman, there may be a team willing to send the Jays an equivalent or better prospect package for two and a half years of Smoak at negligible cost. It all depends on whether teams believe he's for real. If he still has a 150+ wrc+ in mid-July, it may be hard to avoid the conclusion that he has legitimately taken his game to the next level. Lots of contenders will be looking for an in-his-prime, cheap, controllable, middle-of-the-order bat with top-tier offensive production.
uglyone - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#343300) #
for the record this is what really bugs me about sticking with goins for so long - he's not a good bench player and now that we're stuck up a creek it's obvious he can't fill in, either.

but yeah looking further at all the numbers and i think we're being silly by not giving Leblebijan a look....though again, it's the infatuation with goins that is blocking him.
Chuck - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#343301) #
How many contenders actually need a guy limited to 1B/DH

I know the Yankees would like to eventually work Bird into their lineup, but I could see them preferring Smoak to Carter as the veteran option. Now how much they'd be prepared to give up for Smoak, I don't know. Their juggernaut offense has only two sub-100 OPS+ positions, 1B and 3B.

uglyone - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#343303) #
Jays' offense also only has 2 sub-100wrc+ starters - Travis and Tulo.
scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#343305) #
Ironically, Jay Bruce has been pretty good this year, 16 HR, .327 OBP, but it's really his defense that makes him better than Carrera.

I'll still pass when the Mets will try to offload him. I wouldn't count on him in the second half after last year.

Chuck - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#343306) #
Jays' offense also only has 2 sub-100wrc+ starters

That may well be, but one team has been scoring 5.8 R/G and the other 4.3

greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#343308) #
The Yankees are crushing the O's again today.

It's early, obviously, but there is a good chance that New York and Boston will claim the divisional title and the first WC spot. The race for the second WC spot is wide open, though.
Magpie - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#343310) #
That should get Maile's OPS+ above 0. Woo-hoo!
hypobole - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#343311) #
FG shows there are a few worse defensive teams than the Jays.

None of them have a winning record either
lexomatic - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#343313) #
Barney's defensive numbers all seemed good last I checked. Maybe people were talking about his offense falling off?

I don't think Smoak has much trade value, TBH. He's got too little track record, and players who have been better than him career wise are paid less (though to be fair, are not doing as well this year). He's a late trade if anything. Most likely next season if Tellez proves himself ready for a shot.

I totally agree with Ugly re Goins. At this point, he's a player you can't really worry about losing.
Leblebijan deserves a shot at 2B and then backup when Travis is back, I don't think he can be worse than Goins this year, even if it means Barney takes over backup of short.


scottt - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#343314) #
I think Tellez needs to master AAA before Smoak goes anywhere.

Happ is back. Donaldson was on everything and Pillar had 2 hits.
All good.

greenfrog - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#343315) #
Judge's wRC+ is up to 207 after today's game (a notch below Trout's MLB-leading 211 -- no one else is even close). He's hitting .344/.450/.718 with 21 home runs. Lordy.
Cracka - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#343316) #
Using 7 pitchers in a 9-inning shutout is a rare occurrence - I think it's only happened once before (Rangers did it in Sept. 2004), but never with 25-man rosters. Cleveland used 9 pitchers last year in a 10-inning shutout, but that was also a September game.

Mike Green - Sunday, June 11 2017 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#343318) #
Two comments.  I was surprised the Mariners didn't intentionally walk Donaldson with 2 outs and a runner on second.  He's a beast and Bautista no longer is.

I liked Gibbons' plan for the ninth inning today, Barnes until 2 runners on and then Osuna.  With a day off tomorrow, slave to the save is reasonable.  

John Northey - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#343324) #
With Smoak finally learning how to hit above a 100 OPS+ there is zero need to rush Tellez. Let him learn in AAA this year and next until he forces the Jays hand. If he hasn't figured out AAA by then he probably isn't a good prospect anymore and the Jays will need to move on from him.
bpoz - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#343325) #
Perfectly said John N. If all his numbers are good within your time frame he comes up. Right now he is learning.
PeterG - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#343326) #
Pearce is hitless in 4 games with NH.
cybercavalier - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#343331) #
Wouldn't it be exciting to see Leblebijian get a chance.

Let me be the advocates for the moment.
[Ian] Parmley's average is .304, one of the top ten in the IL, but his OPS is .737 and he is sporting a 25% K rate. That 737 converts to a 600'ish major league OPS so not good enough yet. Buffalo has three hitters in the top ten in hitting. Jason Leblebijian was 3-10 with a home run this weekend

Leblebijian is hitting high .800 OPS that may convert to middle .700'ish major league OPS. If Pearce still lingers with his rehab, the idea of testing Leblebijian in Toronto is a good one but an experiment is still not a solution.

With Smoak finally learning how to hit above a 100 OPS+ there is zero need to rush Tellez. Let him learn in AAA this year and next until he forces the Jays hand. If he hasn't figured out AAA by then he probably isn't a good prospect anymore and the Jays will need to move on from him.
By analogy, Travis, Barney, Goins and Elmore can all play second base so there is no need to rush Leblebijian.
cybercavalier - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#343332) #
I do not know how useful an image is to a poster.... However, Rafael Lopez and Cesar Valdez shall be given a chance just like Jeff Beliveau.
John Northey - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#343336) #
cybercavalier - similar but not quite the same. Travis is star quality when healthy (major astrix there), Barney/Goins are both decent backups but their issues become bigger when out there everyday. Elmore had a killer AAA stretch last year (182 PA 320/428/380 but his 60 OPS+ lifetime in majors over 478 PA I think is safer to bet on. Leblebijian has hit well this year and last in the minors but I don't think anyone ever listed him as a strong prospect. I really don't see any reason to use Leblebijian at any point in the future unless Barney & Goins are hurt along with Travis. He is a backup to a backup to a backup at best.

Tellez is a hot prospect who some thought could be a star in 2017. Smoak went out and started hitting like an all-star while Tellez started hitting like Goins.

This will be an interesting year for the Jays with so much in flux. I hope Tellez makes it hard on the Jays by hitting in July/August and forcing a September call-up then a hard choice if Smoak keeps being superman all year. It also will be interesting (in a bad way) if Smoak goes back to being Smoak and Tellez keeps slumping.
PeterG - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#343337) #
Smoak's approach at the plate is entirely different than in previous years. There may be a slight cooling off as adjustments are made by opposing pitchers but, for the most part, I think he is for real. Good call by the FO.
hypobole - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#343342) #
"Leblebijian has hit well this year and last in the minors but I don't think anyone ever listed him as a strong prospect. I really don't see any reason to use Leblebijian at any point in the future unless Barney & Goins are hurt along with Travis. He is a backup to a backup to a backup at best."

John, have to disagree. First, whether he was listed as a strong prospect or not is immaterial. Some scrubs like Pillar vastly exceed, some strong prospects like Deck flat-line. What he is now and how he projects is what matters.

Barney and Goins have both been sub-replacement - they shouldn't be blocking anyone with even a modicum of potential major league talent. Now I've never seen Leblebijian play, but scouting stats show him to have more offensive upside than either of Goins or Barney.
jerjapan - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#343351) #
Pedigree is important with prospects, but J-Leb was on my radar as early as last summer, and began to attract attention on prospect lists by the end of the summer.  Top 30-40 range, but that's not immaterial for a future utility player.  Even John Sickels mentioned him in his 2017 Jays write-up. 

I almost think there are two separate development paths - your future stars / regulars who play every day, and your potential bench players / relief specialists, often late-round picks, who never play everyday / pitch a lot of innings, play for a lot of teams and advance slowly.  It certainly makes intuitive sense - you want a utility guy who understands the fundamentals and can contribute in a variety of ways, and by all accounts, managers love Leb.  He's the IF version of Danny Barnes IMO - another guy who was never a top prospect, slowly honed his craft and has the ability to make a legit contribution to the big league team.  Barnes may even be able to break out of his mid-reliever role (although I'm not calling Leblebijian a potential regular yet).

I get the argument for keeping Barney and Goins - team chemistry, past track record - but neither of those really apply to Coghlan.    

PeterG - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#343352) #
Yeah, I could go with J Leb over Coghlan who is a dead man walking imo.
hypobole - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#343356) #
Once prospects reach AAA, pedigree becomes less important. You call up the guy with the best chance of success. Take the Rays game tomorrow . They called up non-pedigree Faria and left hotshot prospect Snell in the minors.
jerjapan - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#343359) #
Agreed hypobole, in terms of who to call up, performance outweighs pedigree in AAA.  I was lobbying for Beliveau to get the call for that very reason, and think the club could be more aggressive on that front - if the FO doesn't want to cut Coghlan for J-Leb, how bout we cut him for Smith? 

In my last post I was referring more to my take on Northey's concerns about whether or not J-Leb is a legit prospect long-term. 
PeterG - Monday, June 12 2017 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#343394) #
check out latest "Knocking on the Door" feature on MLBTR. Says J Leb ready for bigs.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 02:24 AM EDT (#343402) #
I think the team should try and capitalize on the fly ball revolution in regards to the back-up infielder. I'd try and see if we can get Jed Lowrie or Chad Pinder from Oakland on the cheap. It worked out well last time we grabbed a graduate of the Oakland no groundball academy (Donaldson).
scottt - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 05:07 AM EDT (#343404) #
It's actually "Knocking Down The Door". I see Wilmer Font--who starter 8 game at NH last year with an ERA of 3.47, after starting the year in Ottawa in the CanAM League where he had an ERA of 3.13--has an ERA of 3.74 with over 13 strike outs per 9 after 12 starts in the PCL. They should have signed him to Buffalo instead of Latos. Bolsinger is back there BTW.
Dave Till - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#343441) #
Regarding Leblebijian: my thought on reserve players is that there are two types - specialists and generalists.

Specialists are players that are really good at one or two things, but that's about it. Luke Maile is an example, and so is Ryan Goins - they can field their position really well, but can't hit at all. Billy Hamilton is probably the most extreme example of a specialist.

Generalists are players who can do a bunch of things well enough to cover in case of injury. Leblebijian seems to be one of those: he's mostly played third and second this year, but has played a bit of shortstop, outfield, and first base. He has stolen a few bases, and hit a few home runs, but he doesn't do anything really well.

The real question is whether he is better at being a generalist than Darwin Barney, who occupies almost exactly the same ecological niche. I haven't followed Leblebijian enough to know whether he would be an upgrade.
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