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That wasn't much fun.

The 2017 Blue Jays had exactly one good month,  the merry month of May when the team went 18-10 and crawled back to the brink of .500... and we know how that turned out. Again and again. The Jays' performance this past May may have been the strangest thing about the whole season. May was when Josh Donaldson, the team's best player,  missed 24 of 28 games. Darwin Barney filled in and hit .207/.220/.310 in his place. Troy Tulowitzki also missed 24 of the 28 games, and Ryan Goins hit .231/.299/.372 in his place. Russell Martin started just 10 games behind the plate. Luke Maile was the team's most used catcher, and Maile hit a not too robust .077/.125/.192 this May. Meanwhile, three fifths of the rotation (Happ, Sanchez, Liriano) combined to make just 5 starts between them, going 0-0, 6.53 in 20.2 innings.

But the team went 18-10 anyway.

Go figure. Baseball, eh.

As usual - but more so this year than most - there was a host of players who put on the uniform and wandered out onto the field, but in Sample Sizes so small that even I - dedicated believer in the Small Sample that I am - still had to say to myself that I just gotta throw this one back in the water. The cutoff this year was 50 plate appearances for the hitters and either 10 appearances or 20 IP for the pitchers. (I made an exception for Casey Lawrence, just so I could post the line opposing batters put up against him.) And this still leaves what seems like half a dozen relief pitchers who got into something like 15 games.

The grades, as always, are extracted from somewhere in the vicinity of my nether regions. There is nothing remotely scientific about it. The grades mean something like this, more or less:

A - Outstanding (in the MVP/Cy Young discussion)
B - Good (maybe an All-Star, who knows)
C - Average (generic regular)
D - Below Average (replacement level, bench part, something like that)
E - Fail (belongs in the minors)
F - Epic Fail (needs to find gainful employment in some other line of work.)

NON-PLAYERS

John Gibbons D+
I don't think he did anything wrong, it's just that the needs of the 2017 team were not a good match for his strengths. As I've said before, Gibbons is a perfectly good pilot when the machine is in working order. He's just not the mechanic that you need to have on hand to fix things when repairs are required.

Ross Atkins D+

The GM was trying to walk a rather fine line. On the one hand, his team was old and expensive and ready for a fall. On the other hand, they were still one of the last four teams standing at the end of the previous season. You can't blow that up. So he pretty well had to see if he could squeeze out one more successful season - and he couldn't - without sacrificing the team's long-term future in the process - and he didn't.

PLAYERS

Marcus Stroman A-
Stroman was clearly the team's best player in 2017, and what's interesting when you peer under the hood is how closely his 2017 season resembles his rather disappointing 2016 campaign. A year ago, opposing batters hit .264/.313/.407 against Stroman; this year they hit .264/.323/.392. His K-W data was essentially the same - he walked a handful more hitters in 2017. The small difference in Slugging is because about 11 hits that were doubles in 2016 became singles in 2017. But that hardly explains allowing 22 fewer runs, and cutting his ERA from 4.37 to 3.09 (and you'll notice, you FIP aficianados,  that Stroman's FIP was slightly higher this past season than it was in 2016.)  So why the difference in his results? Simple. His work with runners on base. This was a problem in 2016, when Stroman was considerably more effective with the bases empty (.695 OPS with the bases empty, .756 with runners aboard.) He solved that problem in 2017, which meant that effectively he was scattering the hits he gave up rather than bunching them. His defense also turned an extra dozen DPs behind him, which also helped. Quite a bit, I should think.  I doubt that this is a new ability - I think it's just something that happened. I'm certainly glad it happened, and I'll be pleased to see it happen again.  But his true established level of performance probably rests somewhere in between these past two seasons. Stroman had 5 Tough Losses - that's a lot - and 2 Cheap Wins.

Josh Donaldson B+
Came out of the gate swinging the bat well, even if the rest of his game was a little off. It didn't do the team much good, of course (they lost 8 of 9 games). Then he got hurt, missed six weeks and was just kind of... well, he was certainly not bad, but he was merely an above average player in June and July. He certainly wasn't the Josh Donaldson we'd grown accustomed to. And then he went utterly berserk in August and September (.302/.410/.698 with 22 HR and 47 RBI in 50 games.)  It didn't make much difference at that point, but it gave us all Hope for the Future. Which we certainly needed..

Justin Smoak B+
This is what Smoak was always expected to become, it just wasn't supposed to take this long. Because it took so long, and because he was pretty ordinary over the final two months, there's doubtless some skepticism as to whether he's established a new level of performance or simply got hot for a while. It's also very possible that he simply wore down, having never played anything close to this much in his career. He had a good April, an excellent May, a monstrous June, and an equally monstrous July. Then he was ordinary in August and bad in September.

J.A. Happ B
Missed six weeks early, but otherwise more or less repeated his very fine 2016 season. Had 4 Tough Losses, 1 Cheap Win.

Dominic Leone B
Not bad for a waiver claim. Leone's year essentially duplicated his excellent rookie campaign with the 2014 Mariners. The Jays optioned him to Buffalo in April, May, and July - it didn't faze him, he was the team's best and steadiest reliever and he seemed to grow stronger as the year went on.

Joe Smith B
Did a fine job for the Blue Jays and the organization did right by him at the deadline, moving him closer to his ailing mother and landing him on a championship contender at the same time. Nothing wrong with banking some good karma.

Teoscar Hernandez C+

I don't expect him to be a star - he's already 25 years old and he still hasn't quite established himself as a major league player. He's also struck out in more than one-third of his major league at bats, which is a little worrisome. At that rate, it's going to be a real struggle for him to hit .240.  It may also simply mean he's just a typical modern ballplayer, I suppose. He's an easy player to like, and he's certainly got a chance to be a regular corner outfielder on a contending team.

Ezequiel Carrera C+

Got more than a little lucky on his balls in play this past year (.358), but he's done that before, of course. His career BABiP is a pretty impressive .328. You can do worse from your fourth outfielder. On the other hand, he just turned 30 and his luck isn't likely to get better.

Russell Martin C
Started just 78 games behind the plate, the lowest figure of his career and just the second time he's failed to start at least 106 games at catcher. He's going to be 35 in February, and he's already caught 1448 games in the major leagues, but the team needs him in the lineup more often.

Marco Estrada C

Estrada dropped a cryptic hint that an off-the-field issue had something to do with his mid-season struggles, and that his effectiveness returned once it had been resolved. And I'll buy that. The line between success and failure in this game is so remarkably fine that any kind of life distraction can have a significant impact of performance. It's nice to think that it was something as his mid-season struggles were pretty rough indeed. It lasted from June 1 through July 21, during which time Estrada went 0-5, 9.52 in 9 starts. He finished up strong and I do think he should be fine going forward. He's already lost whatever giddy-up his fastball ever had. It doesn't much matter. As long as he can mess with a batter's timing, he can get the guy out.  Had 1 Tough Loss and 1 Cheap Win.

Kevin Pillar C
 We heard all spring about how Pillar was going to change his approach at the plate. And I believe he really tried, and ohmigosh it actually worked. For a while. For a month or so, at which point he returned to being the same guy he's always been. Players will generally persist in being who they've always been. Sometimes they surprise you. But usually they don't. As for the rest of his game... I dunno. I guess his defense wasn't quite as otherworldly as it had been the previous two years. It was still awfully good.

Roberto Osuna C-
That was weird, wasn't it? Osuna's an excellent young pitcher, but he was a lousy closer this past season. Ten blown saves is too damn many. Kevin Gregg, who is nowhere near as good a pitcher as Osuna, did a better job at the actual job. I think it was just one of those things, but I'll tell ya - sometimes the pitch selection from these young guys just bewilders me.

Devon Travis C-
And here's one of the keys to the Jays' merry, merry month of May. Devon Travis was one of the best hitters in the whole American League this past May, a month when the only AL hitters with a higher OPS were Carlos Correa, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and (sob!) Jose Bautista. But in Travis' three seasons, he's missed 271 of 484 games. He also missed a fair bit of time in his last minor league season. In other words, he's had one healthy season since turning pro and that was back in 2013. It doesn't matter how well you can play if you're not able to play.

Ryan Tepera C-
He wasn't all that good - he was really just okay - but he managed to win his manager's trust. Seeing as how that had been the biggest issue holding him back, it was a pretty successful year for him.

Danny Barnes C-

He was also just okay, but he also managed to win his manager's trust. Didn't quite win mine, mainly because he gave up 11 HRs in just 66 IP. That could be a problem. But as I've said many times, it's my belief that competent relief pitchers grow on trees. You should just be able to shake one, and see a few useful pitchers fall to the ground.

Aaron Loup C-

A bit of a bounce back year - just a little bit - mainly because he was able to keep the ball in the park the way he did in back in 2013-14. Loup didn't really have a platoon split last year, which is a little odd considering a) his arm angle, and b) his entire career history. That was probably just a fluke, a matter of half a dozen grounders from LH batters finding gaps between the infielders. Loup's had an exciting career. He was really effective in 2012-13 giving up almost a hit per inning, but not walking anybody and keeping the ball in the park. He maintained his general effectiveness in 2014, despite walking more than twice as many hitters as ever before, by suddenly reducing the number of hits he gave up. Then in 2015-16, for some reason he started striking out more hitters than ever before - except now he was giving up almost three times as many HRs as ever before. This past year he got the HRs back under control - but now he was suddenly walking more hitters than ever before in his life. I have no idea what to expect from him next.

Matt Dermody C-
Towards the end of Man and Superman Shaw's heroine shrewdly observes that "getting over an unfavourable impression is ever so much easier than living up to an ideal." Exhibit A of this Shavian widsom would be Matt Dermody. In his first appearance of the season, Dermody faced six batters. It didn't go well. He walked one and allowed four hits - three of them home runs - to the others. This gave him an ERA of 135.00 for the next three months, which was how long it took before he was allowed to make another pitch in the majors.  It certainly made an unfavourable impression on me - I figured that he needed to be kept far, far away from the team I was cheering for, and for much longer than three months.  But Dermody came back after the break to post a 2.45 ERA in 22 appearances, which made him the best LH reliever on the team. I'm still not exactly sold on the guy. He's got a huge platoon split, and he doesn't strike out that many hitters. And of course 22 IP doesn't mean much of anything.

Tom Koehler C-
Looked pretty decent out of the pen, not that 12 innings means much of anything. Had 2 Tough Losses, one as a Marlin and the other in his only start as a Jay

Carlos Ramirez C-
Also looked pretty decent out of the pen, not that 16 innings means much of anything. Gave up just 22 hits in 54.1 innings over three levels, which seems like either a misprint or a fluke.  I'm afraid it's not a misprint, so it's hard to know what to expect from him.

Luis Santos C-
Also looked pretty decent out of the pen, not that 16.2 innings means much of anything.

Leonel Campos C-

Looked decent at times, not  that 13.2 innings means much of anything.

Steve Pearce D+
Gives a good effort in the field, but he can't really play out there. Gets hurt all the time, which is not likely to change as he moves into his mid 30s (and despite all the time he missed this past season, he still got into more games in 2017 than he has in any previous season except 2014.)  And he didn't hit nearly well as he did in 2016 (or 2014.) But the two walk-off grand slams were pretty great.

Kendrys Morales D
I expected quite a bit more from Morales, simply because he was moving to a good hitter's park after spending almost all of his career in two of the AL's toughest places to hit. I quite forgot my longstanding conviction that the RC mainly helps right-handed hitters with pop. Morales, of course, is batting left-handed almost three times in four and while he didn't have much of a platoon split for most of his career, in recent years he's become pretty much useless hitting from the left side. He did have the best year of his career batting right-handed (.355/.396/.573), but that's pretty small comfort.

Troy Tulowitzki D
His bat was just starting to warm up (he'd gone .276/.315/.448 in his last 28 games) when he landed on first base the wrong way, bringing his season to an untimely end with two months still to play. In his last six seasons, he's played 47, 126, 91, 128, 131, and 66 games - that's an average of 98 games played. He's 33 years old now, and it doesn't seem likely that his health record going to improve as he goes forward. I think he can still play, but obviously the team needs to be a little better prepared for the times when he's not able to take the field.

Ryan Goins D-
Goins hit .330/.368/.540 in 117 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. That's obviously not an ablity, it's just another of those things that just happened, for reasons beyond our limited understanding. But it did happen, and it did help the ball club. Unfortunately, Goins hit .199/.255/.286 in 259 plate appearances with no one on base. That hurt the ball club, along with a rather disappointing performance in the field, particularly at shortstop, which is where he was playing most of the time.

Jose Bautista D-
Led the team in Runs Scored, an achievement more or less comparable to Joe Carter leading the team in RBIs in his last year as a Jay. It's possible that at this very moment Bautista is poring over video, attempting to solve the mystery of how he went from being one of the very best hitters in the AL to one of the very worst. It's the fact that it happened quite literally overnight, in the mysterious witching hours as May 31 turned into June 1, that makes one wonder if there's some explanation besides the awful truth that we all keep getting older.  But even if there is an answer, and even if Bautista finds it, there's still the tricky business of finding someone out there willing to offer him a contract. I can't imagine anyone wants him in the outfield at this point. But hey, the Twins could use a DH and he's had some good times at Target Field. In the meantime... folks, it's been one hell of a ride. A hell of a ride. If it's over, the man gave us some moments we'll remember as long as we remember baseball. We'll always have Game Five.


 photo Bautista - 1474221851488663590.jpg


Aaron Sanchez D-

As always, it doesn't matter how well you can play if you can't play.

Brett Anderson D-

Oh, why bother. Really. What are the chances this guy is going to fill a spot in your rotation? He's managed to make 20 starts exactly once in the last eight years, so I'm thinking the chances are not that good. Especially if he's not working in the Oakland Coliseum or Dodger Stadium. Had 1 Tough Loss, 1 Cheap Win.

Luke Maile D-
On the one hand, as a hitter Maile makes Jeff Mathis look like Babe Ruth. He could hardly do worse with the bat if he went up to the plate swinging away with his eyes closed. On the other hand, the team's pitchers posted a 3.50 ERA in 339.1 IP with Maile behind the plate. The staff ERA was 4.48 in 683.2 IP with Russell Martin, and 5.05 in 442 IP with Lopez, Montero, Saltalamacchia, and Ohlman. The staff had a 3-1 K/BB ratio with Maile catching, and opposing batters hit just .235. Curiously, Tampa Bay's pitchers were dramatically better with Maile behind the plate in both 2015 and 2016. This might be one of those flukes that follow certain catchers around for their entire careers (Jeff Mathis! Jose Molina!) but it's a fluke you most definitely want to be a part of. One run per game is a huge freaking deal.

Richard Urena D-
It didn't take very long for AL pitchers to figure him out, did it? He struck out in 25 of his last 52 at bats. Pitchers don't strike out that often. I don't think it means very much - he won't even be 22 until February. Urena's got lots of time. The team, however, needs a credible backup for Tulowitzki right now.

Rafael Lopez D-
As we saw, and as his minor league history also demonstrates, he's got a bit of pop in his bat. And he seems to do a pretty good job working with the pitching staff. His knack for making utterly boneheaded plays is a little bewildering. And disturbing.

Joe Biagini D-
That was most peculiar, mama. It's almost as if something went wrong in Biagini's head at some point, and he totally lost the plot. It's pretty easy to see exactly when that happened, by the way. As you recall, after spending the first month doing solid work out of the pen, Biagini moved into the rotation in May. The team carefully spent four starts stretching him out,  never having him throw more than 77 pitches or working him past the fifth inning. He did well enough (1-1, 4.15) while this was going on, so they took off the training wheels and let him go. He promptly gave the team three straight strong starts, Quality Starts all - and he got tagged with the Loss for his trouble each time. And that was it - he went right off the rails for the rest of the season (2-8, 7.07 in 23 appearances, 11 of them starts.) Overall, he went 2-12, 5.63 as a starter. On behalf of the group and ourselves, he did not pass the audition. Had 3 Tough Losses, 1 Cheap Win.

Tim Mayza D-
Well, you sure have to like the 27 Ks in just 17 IP, especially when he also issued just 4 BB. I like it a lot. And one suspects that opposing hitters aren't likely to hit .467 on their Balls in Play next time around. That's how he allowed 15 runs in those 17 innings. He's only 25, he's left-handed. He'll definitely get another chance.

Mike Bolsinger D-
Please. It is one of my fundamental baseball beliefs that if you can't establish yourself as a major league pitcher in Dodger Stadium, chances are that you're just not a major league pitcher. ("If you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere...") Mike Bolsinger has not made me reassess my views.

Darwin Barney E
Did a good job in the field at both second and third, but his bat - which was never exactly the strength of his game to start with - just sort of shrivelled up and died. This was the kind of performance - an OPS+ of 57 - that cost him his job as a regular with the Cubs, despite winning a Gold Glove the previous season. In May and June of this season it was particularly gruesome, as Barney was a walking, talking Rally Killer. He hit into 9 double plays in just 91 at bats, which simply takes the breath away. The same way someone holding your head underwater takes your breath away.

Francisco Liriano E
Didn't some fool predict that Liriano would lead the 2017 Jays' staff in Wins? Oops. The fact that the Astros were willing to part with Teoscar Hernandez for Liriano is almost frightening - could they possibly know something about Hernandez we just don't know yet? Or were they merely excessively, egregiously desperate for a LH arm? Quality of said arm not an issue? It's not a level of desperation I can quite fathom, but youneverknow. Had 1 Tough Loss, 1 Cheap Win with the Jays.

Chris Coghlan E
Teamed up with Yadier Molina to give us all a good highlight reel. It was kind of his Kenny-Williams-running-the-bases moment. And just like Williams, during his brief tenure as a Blue Jay, he did nothing else remotely memorable. Or competent. I like to think that someday we'll be telling our grandchildren about Coghlan's Leap. Doesn't it sound like a gripping tale you read in your childhood? That, or some cheesy tourist attraction. But still...


 photo Coghlan.jpg
 
Jeff Beliveau E
Well, if Loup and Dermody and Mayza all manage to fall on their faces, I suppose he's the next in line.

Cesar Valdez E
Anybody can have a good game. Doesn't mean he's a major leaguer.

Jason Grilli F
Aw, crap. He was a lot of fun, and he really did do a good job for the 2016 team. But when a two pitch guy completely loses one of those pitches... well, he might just allow 9 home runs in 20.2 innings. As always - if things didn't end badly, they wouldn't end at all.

J.P. Howell F
He'd had a five year run as a quality reliever coming into last season. He's still left-handed, and he doesn't turn 35 until next April. As long as he can lift his arm above his shoulder someone will probably give him another chance.

Rob Refsnyder F

He's one of the 1,000 best baseball players in the world. There aren't that many major league jobs, of course, and his presence on your ball club is nothing less than a desperate Cry for Help. It's still a hell of a thing.

Miguel Montero F
As Macbeth said to Banquo's ghost, and loudly, "Avaunt, and quit my sight!"  The next line is "Let the earth hide thee" but that seems a little harsh, even for Montero. But just a little.

Casey Lawrence F
Opposing batters hit .356/.451/.542 against him, which speaks for itself. What it says, of course, can not be repeated in polite company.
Blue Jays Report Card | 78 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#350110) #
Nice, Magpie. We didn't have an E grade when I went to school, but this was a year when distinguishing between degrees of bad was part of the job.
CeeBee - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#350111) #
Thanks Magpie . I must say I enjoyed this report card more than I did the baseball season. Love many of the references... Makes me feel less old, or maybe not but I can at least relate :)
bpoz - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#350112) #
Well written. Thanks for the effort. Definitely not a fun year.
lexomatic - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#350113) #
I'm a bit hesitant to give Smoak anything other than an A (A+ being out of the question due to September).
  • He carried the team offensively until Donaldson got right
  • His season was substantially better than Saunders last year who got a B, and was part of a strong offense. Many times Smoak was IT. Their collapses were not all identical. Their output by regular and advanced metrics was not equal
  • He so completely exceeded expectations and career established levels - this was enough to get Encarnacion an A in 2016 despite worse regular numbers, and similar advanced numbers (3.4 WAR 132 wRC Smoak v 3.9 & 135 Encarnacion (over 10% more PA than Smoak, so essentially the same)..
  • As far as power hitters go, he was only bettered this millenium (how often am I gonna get a chance to say that:?) by Bautista, Encarnacion, Donaldson, Wells, and Delgado
I haven't looked closely enough at the rest of the report card to have any strong opinions, other than maybe giving Travis an incomplete or a lower grade. I think C- is charitable, as outside of May he was awful or injured, especially when Sanchez gets a D- and Tulo gets a D. 1 hot month isn't enough to change the fact  that he was injured.

BlueJayWay - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#350114) #
Osuna had the best FIP, WHIP, K/9 (and K%), BB/9 (and BB%), lowest hr/9, and lowest OPS against of his career. I think blown saves is one of those stats that doesn't always reflect how a pitcher actually pitched. Hitter for hitter, inning for inning Osuna dominated even more than the previous two years. I'd take those same component stats next year in a heartbeat and take my chances with saves.
Ducey - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#350115) #
I think I would give Tepera a solid B+. He pitched the most innings he has since 2014, and was in damned near 1/2 the games. Gave up only 57 hits in 77.2 innings and struck out 81. And 1.2 WAR for a middle reliever is great.

Bautista gets an F-. He was terrible. New Jays record for K's. All for $18 million. Blech.

The minus is for the way he handled the year end tributes. You are a hard man to like, Mr. Bautista.
China fan - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#350116) #
Magpie is a tough teacher.  Most of these grades are "harsh but fair."  Some, however, are just a bit too harsh.  Perhaps I don't understand his grading curve, but I would have been a little more generous in my assessment of quite a few of these guys.
lexomatic - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#350117) #
Well written. Thanks for the effort. Definitely not a fun year.

Just to be clear, I totally appreciate this work despite my criticisms.

How hard would it be to get in the topics menu a list of all the past annual top prospect lists and (relevant to this post) year-end report cards?
I'm going through the archives and can't find any. I found 2016 by Google search, and the Box-specific search is disabled.. It's nice to be able to compare.


lexomatic - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#350118) #
How hard would it be to get in the topics menu a list of all the past annual top prospect lists and (relevant to this post) year-end report cards?
I'm going through the archives and can't find any. I found 2016 by Google search, and the Box-specific search is disabled.. It's nice to be able to compare.



Updating this page (Minor Leagues, banner links) - it stops at 2011! would be great https://www.battersbox.ca/staticpages/index.php?page=minorleagues
Here's a 2004 prospect report that will make this update seem a bit better. https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20040923034445999

I found a 2005 Report Card on the Features Page https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20051004220604950 That particular era is bringing back painful memories.
That features page would be a good one to include all the report card links (starting with the 2005 one, which is the most recent post there!)

Past report cards...

2016 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20161018101655844
2013 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20130905101959435
2012 prelim discussion https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=2012090813142093
2012 call-ups https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20120910140831359
2012 call up pitchers discussion https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20120910141436425
2012 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20120910141141360 apparently there's 9 or 10 threads? I'm confused, and couldn't find the others
2011 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20110809162958761
2005 above

That's all I could find.

Paul D - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#350119) #
The minus is for the way he handled the year end tributes. You are a hard man to like, Mr. Bautista.

? I missed that, what did he do?

lexomatic - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#350120) #
2012 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20120809194401953 this is the actual report - the other threads were open discussion?
2010 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20100926171232519
2009 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20090924115753551
2008
2007
2006 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20060923104652330
2004 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20041105073323999
2003 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20031009024246999
2002 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20021030060748999 & https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20021108022151999
pre-Box

lexomatic - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#350121) #
2014 https://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20140830162327629

that leaves 2015, 2007 and 2008 as missing. I'll let someone else look for that.

Ducey - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#350122) #
"I missed that, what did he do?"

Not a whole lot. That's my point.

I get that he might not be ready for retirement, and he is not the most outgoing of personalities. But the Jays did up a sendoff like few players get, and he just did enough to get thru it.

Its like the relationship where you tell your girl, "I love you" and she responds with "I know".
hypobole - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#350123) #
I would definitely flip Pillar and Carrera's grades. Pillar's ability to stay on the field (as opposed to most of the team) has to count for something. And Carrera's defensive play was simply brutal for a guy with his speed.

Tepera is the one other quibble I'll mention. Not a lot better than OK, but over a half run better than an average reliever and top 10 among MLB reliever innings pitched.

dan gordon - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#350124) #
Yes, Tepera certainly was better than a C-. He walked a few more than you would like, but otherwise, he was very good, really limiting hits well, striking out more than a batter an inning, pitching in 72 games, and producing a WHIP of 1.13 and an ERA of 3.59. Barnes also was better than a C-, with numbers very similar to Tepera's - ERA of 3.55, WHIP of 1.09, only 48 hits allowed in 66 IP, 62 strikeouts. I'd give them each a B.
John Northey - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#350125) #
Found 2015's report card it was much later than usual, done on March 16, 2016 instead of days after the season ended. Probably because that was a nutty post-regular season. Jays in playoffs, AA leaving, Happ returning, Price going, Buehrle retiring, Dickey going, ...

2008 saw a different approach with reports on each position throughout the system...
Organization View - Yes We Can
Organization View - Catchers
Organization View - First Base
Organization View - Infield
Organization View - Third Base
Organizational View- The Outfielders
Organization View - Starting Pitchers
Organization View - Relievers
Mike Green - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#350126) #
The Blue Jay bullpen was indeed pretty good overall.  They ranked 15th in ERA, better than that by FIP and xFIP, and 6th in WPA.   Evaluating relievers isn't easy, unless they dominate across the board, but I suppose some consistency is helpful.  Osuna definitely had a bad year in the clutch and this led to a -0.6 WPA.  Tepera had a great year in the clutch which led to a 3.23 WPA- so if you're going to take something from Osuna for poor clutch performance, it does make sense to give it back to Tepera. 

Personally, I'd split the difference and give modestly better ratings to both Osuna and Tepera.  The overall point that several posters are effectively making- that the bullpen as a whole was better than the grades would suggest- is correct. 

Magpie - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#350127) #
You are a hard man to like, Mr. Bautista.

Different strokes for different strokes. I quite liked how he took the kid who had joined the club to take his job under his wing. Hernandez said on several occasions that no one had been more helpful. I also don't think anyone should complain about the money he made, unless they want to go back in time and give him what he was actually worth over the years.
Magpie - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#350128) #
Dave Till used to do monthly report cards way back when. He wisely found other things to do with his time, and there was nothing similar in 2007 and 2008. I picked up the torch in 2009, riding as usual on someone else's good idea.
Mike Green - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#350129) #
I agree about Bautista. As much as I have criticized him in the past for arrogance (not running out ground balls, fits of pique that hurt himself and the club), there was none of that this year. I found him much more likable this year than in his heyday.
BlueMonday - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#350130) #
Thanks Magpie, an A+ for the enjoyble read.

Gotta disagree on Jose's last game at RC. I thought he was generally lost for words. I didn't think he did a Wayne Gretzky, I thought his welling eyes were genuine.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, October 16 2017 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#350131) #
Thanks for this, Magpie. I generally agree with all the grades except I would give John Gibbons a straight C. It's hard to fix things when you aren't given proper parts to plug in the holes. Gibbons is also under-rated in keeping his clubhouses under control. The players know he won't throw them under the bus to make himself look good.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 02:44 AM EDT (#350132) #
Report Cards are always tricky because are you grading simply results or grading with context? For example, Goins gets a worse grade than Tulowitzki despite Goins doing exactly what he was expected and paid to do and Tulowitzki being a flop as the highest paid SS in baseball. I'd be higher on Hernandez (What would he have had to do to get an A?), on Smoak, Osuna, Biagini (who had an XFIP of 4.11. He wasn't great but he wasn't useless either, certainly provided more value than say Sanchez last year) and lower on Tulowitzki, Travis, and Sanchez. Health is a skill. Also, I'd give better marks to both Gibbons and Atkins. Managers don't make that much of a difference generally and Gibbons is pretty average. Front office made some bad moves but also some good ones and most importantly, didn't sacrifice the future. Anyway, front offices can't be thinking year to year like players are. I'd give both somewhere in the C range.
Michael - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 03:09 AM EDT (#350133) #
As others suggest, I think it is hard to know should the grades be based on:

1. The likely underlying skills shown? (FIP/DIPS, not ERA; Highly regressed BABIP, etc.)
2. The results as they actually occurred? (sequencing, ERA, BABIP, etc.)

And then there is the question on do you judge people on a scale that is:

1. Absolute (good bench player isn't as good as mediocre starting player).
2. Weighted based on salary (overpaid vet penalized, any arb guy who is marginally above replacement has good value)
3. Weighted based on expectation coming into season (I.e., even if a player is still paid relatively little, if we need them to play like a star and expect them to play like a star, then judge them against those expectations - I.e., High expectation for Sanchez and Travis this year despite being paid relatively little; lower expectations for Tulo or Martin despite them being paid a lot).

Having all of those lenses makes the exact grade a little hard to tell. For instance, compared to expectation and Salary, Smoak has to be at least an A, if not an A+. But if you compare to all players and ignore expectation and salary then he might only be a B/B+ on the season.

I also think the fans deserve a high grade this season. Lots of energy and attendance for a club that really wasn't very close to competitive. Hopefully that hopes with convincing business management to give more money to baseball management going forward to invest in the product.
scottt - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 07:51 AM EDT (#350135) #
If A is an MVP than only Altuve and Judge should get it.
However, Smoak was clearly the team MVP and a definitive all-star. A- at least.

I'd give Hernandez a B-. He was good, not average. The short sample is not his fault.

Pillar is better than Carrera. I mean, Carrera with 4 year of service time is expended to make under 2M. Pillar with 3 years is expected to make 4M.

Travis was a D. He struggled for a month before producing for less than a month. The result was below average.

Tepera and Barnes were C+, not all stars, but better than average.

Carlos Ramirez was a  B. What a year. Not his fault that most of it was in the minors.

Bautista was an E. Maybe even an E minus. Outside of the month of May, he was an F.

Besides eating his hat, Brett Anderson was at least average.

Biagin was also average. Just not good enough, long enough to carry a team that does not score runs.





Magpie - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#350136) #
Never forget where I'm pulling these grades out of...

Two things that fascinate and appal me. Ezequiel Carrera was the only Jays outfielder to post an OPS+ of 100, and he just made it. That's appalling. And Luke Maile, in 136 plate appearances, had an OPS+ of 6. That's six. Which is really appalling, but it fascinates me. I haven't checked, but I'll bet that hasn't happened before in franchise history.

I guess now I have to check, don't I?
Magpie - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#350137) #
I checked. I found worse.

I went looking for every time a Jays hitter posted an OPS+ below 50 in at least 100 plate appearances. Two backup catchers before Maile managed to lower the bar... well, they put it somewhere underground.

I give you Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash. He hit .142/.179/.198 for the 2003 Jays, while also grounding into 6 DPs in 106 ABs. The ensuing OPS+ of -2 brings up the absolute bottom of the barrel, surpassing even the level of non-production put up by...

Bob Davis, who hit .124/.188/.180 and hit into 7 DPs in just 89 ABs while backing up Rick Cerone in 1979. His OPS+ was absolute 0.

Maile's work this past year comes next. Nothing else is really close. Here's everyone who's posted an OPS+ below 50 in at least 100 PApps. Moving backward through time...

2017 - Maile 6, Montero 30, Refsnyder 34
2016 - Thole 30, Goins 42

2014 - Goins 35
2013 - Thole 38

2011 - Rasmus 37

2008 - McDonald 42
2007 - Phillips 45

2004 - Cash 42
2003 - Cash  -2
2002 - Wise 34, Lawrence 35, Fletcher 49
2001 - Castillo 34, Simmons 36
2000 - Bush 33, Castillo 40, Woodward 47
1999 - Matheny 49

1997 - T.Perez 38, Brito 40, Duncan 40, Brumfield 45, Garcia 47

1994 - Cedeno 40
1993 - Griffin 28, Schofield 44

1991 - R.Gonzales 48

1987 - Sharperson 43, Iorg 44
1986 - Martinez 45, Gruber 46
1985 - Martinez 48
1984 - Griffin 48, Iorg

1981 - Ainge 38, Griffin 49

1979 - B.Davis 0, Cannon 27, McKay 44, Gomez 49

1977 - McKay 33, G.Woods 40, Cerone 41


As you'd expect, the list is crawling with backup catchers, backup middle infielders, and Alfredo Griffin (who in 1984 was the only man allowed to come to the 400 times while hitting like this.)

You have to like how all four of the guys tried at 2b in 1997 made the list. You can also see why Pat Gillick brought Tony Fernandez back in 1993.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#350138) #

Travis was a D. He struggled for a month before producing for less than a month. The result was below average.

Nope.  The statistics say that was an entirely average second baseman over the 1/3 of a season he played (which is well below his career norm so far).  His defence was a little above average, and his offence (including baserunning) was a little below.   One can disagree subjectively with the cumulative statistics, but it has nothing to do with month-by-month performance.  One can also disagree with how much should be discounted for the fact that Travis played only 1/3 of the season.  Magpie effectively discounted a half-grade for that.  If you think a full grade is more appropriate, you certainly can make an argument but note that the definition of D is "replacement level, bench part" and Travis was better than that. 
Magpie - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#350139) #
Oops. Left out Garth Iorg's 1987 OPS+ - it was 49.

Garth, of course, has the distinction of playing the most games as a Jay - 931 - without playing a single game for anyone else. Kevin Pillar could catch him with three healthy seasons, not that I think he'll spend his entire career here. Aaron Loup holds the mark for pitchers with 319, meaning Roberto Osuna is about two years away from catching him.
Gerry - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#350141) #
So does Maile's strong defense offset his horrible offense? Or in other words what level of offense would you need from a backup catcher with average defense, say Raffy Lopez, to make him a better option than Maile?

I am sure the analysts in the FO are trying to figure this out.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#350142) #
If Lopez' defence was average, he would probably be a fine back-up catcher.  Opposing base-runners were 16-1 against him, and he does have other issues with his defensive game. 

There would be nothing wrong with having Martin, Maile and Lopez on your opening day roster.  Lopez at this point might be a better offensive player than Kendrys Morales...However, with Gibbons as manager, the club is more likely to stick with Morales and a more set opening lineup, a short bench and a long bullpen.  In that scenario, you want Maile (or Jansen). 

Chuck - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#350143) #
and he does have other issues with his defensive game

Lopez does look a lot like Gary Sanchez back there, but without the arm. Pitches that don't even bounce in the dirt get clanked all the time, like simply catching thrown baseballs is a challenge.

uglyone - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#350144) #
I dunno, I thought Raffy looked good as a reciever, despite that poor throwing.

pretty sure both BR and BP had him as a positive defensively, too.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#350145) #
Maile will likely never hit. I think at best you would be hoping for a Jeff Mathis type of career for him. Back-up catchers are generally not good, otherwise they would be starting, but the Jays could use a back-up that is actually replacement level or better. If they feel Maile can jump to a 60 wRC+ (which is still awful but a huge improvement over 2017 for him), then he's probably fine in a back-up role as long as someone like Jansen or McGuire is called up to start in case Martin gets hurt. He shouldn't get everyday playing time like he got in '17 after Martin went down.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#350146) #
I don't really want to go over the details of the tenth inning of this game.  Let's put it this way.  There is a complex relationship between what a pitcher throws and how a catcher catches.  Osuna has to throw more fastballs in order to be effective, but he also has to be able to trust his catcher when he does throw off-speed stuff. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#350147) #
I don't think that anyone has got replacement level for a catcher quite right yet because of the very close relationship between elements of the catcher's defensive abilities and pitcher performance.  Every year there are 10-15 catchers with 100+ PAs and negative fWAR.  It likely also means that catchers are undervalued at the top end- whether it be Buster Posey or Yogi Berra. 

Framing captures part of it, but there is also the difficult to measure- pitchers actually are able to pitch better if the catcher is good at what he does. 
bpoz - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#350151) #
This discussion helps understand what a team hopes a backup catcher will provide for his team.

IMO Martin and Maile may provide the most value to the team. They will make the pitching staff better rather than worse. A team with strong pitching and mediocre to weak offense should make other teams defeat their pitching. Good overall defense will also make the pitching stronger.
Pitching health is an unknown as is the progress of the 6-8 prospects that could be ready in 1-2 months.

The Jays bullpen is very good except for the uncertainty of the LHs. The rotation is as strong as most other teams. The health of Stroman, Sanchez, Happ and Estrada is a factor. If they are healthy and performing to their recent level then we are stronger than most.
PeterG - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#350152) #
I am strongly in favour of Maile as back up C, even if he has to start more than we might like. He had the best W-L record and best pitchers ERA among the 4 catchers last year. I also believe he was one of the top 5 in league in defensive WAR although I do not have that stat in font of me at the moment.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#350154) #
I'm a Maile fan too.

The question for me is whether Lopez' defense is just bad or whether it's truly awful. If it's just bad, then I think i'd rather have his bat there than maile's.

Remembering, of course, that there's a decent chance that both Jansen and McGuire will be pushing for playing time next year, and ready to step in if Martin gets injured.
China fan - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#350155) #
"....You are a hard man to like, Mr. Bautista...."

I find this such a strange comment.  To criticize him for how he "handled" the year-end tributes is very weird indeed.  Was he supposed to send a personal thank-you note to everyone in the stadium who applauded him? 

I saw an interview with him immediately after his final home game, and he had tears in his eyes.  He was emotionally overcome. His reaction said everything -- it told us how much the tributes meant to him, and how thankful he was for them.

Beyond that, of course, Bautista has no certainty about his future.  Though it is extremely unlikely, he would like to be back in a Jays uniform next season.  Perhaps slightly less improbably, he could be playing for a Jays opponent next year.  It's difficult to know whether he will be trying to defeat the Jays in 2018 or trying to help them, or whether he could even be retired next year, and that uncertainty must have helped shape his reaction to the tributes last month.

We do know that the Jays will organize a formal tribute for him at some future point.  The Jays have said that, and indeed it's the expected tradition for an all-time great.  That will be the appropriate time for formal speeches and thank-yous from Bautista and everyone else.  To expect some elaborate show of gratitude from Bautista during a 2017 regular-season game, when he is still playing for the Jays and still trying to concentrate on the season and his future, is not realistic or fair.
pooks137 - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#350156) #

Lopez's year in Buffalo at 29 sure seems like an outlier offensively

I think he's probably a notch above Maile offensively, but there's not much in his past history in the minors suggesting he could be a competent major league hitter. He was also fairly old for the levels he played in since he was drafted so late, even for a catcher

hypobole - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#350157) #
"....You are a hard man to like, Mr. Bautista...."

Odor-iferous comment.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#350158) #
I think he's probably a notch above Maile offensively

I may be a notch above Maile offensively.

Chuck - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#350159) #
The minus is for the way he handled the year end tributes. You are a hard man to like, Mr. Bautista.

Throw me into the ever-increasing camp that is confused by this sentiment.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#350160) #
Team record when catcher (complete game) is... (10 complete game minimum)

Russell Martin: 35-31
Luke Maile: 19-10
Miguel Montero: 6-12
Rafael Lopez: 6-5
Mixed and other complete games: 10-28

Huh. Montero really really had issues. Maile has a really nice record and Martin a good one. Mixing catchers during a game seems to be a flop as a strategy (just 8 complete games by others) or mainly happens when the Jays are skunking up the place.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#350161) #
Mixing catchers during a game seems to be a flop as a strategy... or mainly happens when the Jays are skunking up the place.

If I were to guess which way, if any, the causality arrow is pointing, I would guess that your latter remark is accurate.

Backup catcher starts. The team is losing so pinch-hit for the catcher. This results in a "shared" catching game. It is a shared game because they are losing. They didn't lose because it was a shared game.

Glevin - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#350162) #
Not sure how you can dislike Bautista as a Jays fan. Sure, he whines a bit too much sometimes and his last year was bad, but this was one of the greatest Jays ever and one of the most exciting. He is also articulate, passionate, and interesting as a human being. I wish the Jays had more like him.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#350163) #
Lopez has a career minor league OBP of .357, a slugging of .406 and a CS rate of 30%, which play as a backup IMO.  only twice did he break 300 ABs - typical for a 23 year-old draftee taken in the 16th round, but likely a delay for his development with the bat.  He just turned 30 which puts him past his athletic prime but given his limited playing time, it wouldn't surprise me if he's at his offensive peak.  

I can see the case for both him and Maille as stopgap backups, but I'd rather we not waste a 40 man roster spot on either guy until after the rule v. 

ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#350164) #
I thought Bautista acted with class at season's end. It couldn't have been easy to know you're being shown the door,albeit in a nice way. Bautista intimated that he'd like to come back next year but even he in his heart must have known that it wouldn't happen. I also found Bautista to be a lot less demonstrative at the plate this year - no eye-rolling or head shaking at perceived blown calls unlike a few years ago when his behavior was sometimes embarrassing to watch.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#350166) #
I didn't see an issue with Bautista this season either. Maybe noticing his own skills deteriorating combined with an off-season where he couldn't find another team who wanted to sign him humbled him a bit. Regardless, he acted very classy at the end. Said all the right things and seemed legitimately touched by the send-off. On the flip side, he doesn't seem to be liked by players or fans of other teams. I was listening to an interview on ESPN NY radio after Jose's bat flip in Atlanta and Mark Teixeira who was a guest on the show said "no one really likes Jose Bautista, let's be honest" (those were his exact words). There's clearly a negative stigma about him, and I guess even some Jays fans will have it regardless of how great he was. It is what it is. I thought some of his behavior was poor (mostly showing up the umps who are humans and will hold a grudge) throughout the years but when you are as good as Bautista was for seven years you can live with it if he's on your team.
pooks137 - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#350168) #

I think he's probably a notch above Maile offensively

I may be a notch above Maile offensively.

Well done, sir. End thread.

pooks137 - Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#350169) #

Lopez has a career minor league OBP of .357, a slugging of .406 and a CS rate of 30%, which play as a backup IMO. only twice did he break 300 ABs - typical for a 23 year-old draftee taken in the 16th round, but likely a delay for his development with the bat. He just turned 30 which puts him past his athletic prime but given his limited playing time, it wouldn't surprise me if he's at his offensive peak.

I can see the case for both him and Maille as stopgap backups, but I'd rather we not waste a 40 man roster spot on either guy until after the rule v.

Lopez does have some peculiar minor league stats. Drafted late at age 23. Low PA totals. Seems like the Cubs treated him like an org guy that eventually made it. I guess if you squint you can kind of see a much older Yan Gomes type who wasn't really given much playing time, with less defence, less power and more plate discipline.

scottt - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#350171) #
Maile played one year of A-/A ball, one year at AA and he was hitting just fine.
Then he struggled at AAA, was brought up regardless and his struggle carried.
It wouldn't be a huge surprise if he could put together an OPS over 600 like he did last year.
The best you can hope for is good defense/framing/game calling/etc and replacement level offense.

Whoever the backup in April is, I hope he's with the team in February.


China fan - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#350174) #
"....There's clearly a negative stigma about him..."

Bautista has always played with a chip on his shoulder.  Probably because he was rejected by so many teams in the early stages of his career, and was never given a proper chance until the age of 29.  And it was probably that chip on his shoulder that motivated him, and helped make him great.  Yes, his arguing with umpires did occasionally hurt the team, but you take the bad with the good -- and the good was very great.  It's difficult to disentangle a personality and remove the imperfect bits.  If he wasn't so fiery and arrogant, he wouldn't have achieved as much.  Not everyone can be as nice as Aaron Judge -- maybe because some players have to fight on the margins of the majors for so many years before they make it.

Other teams hated Bautista, and the opposing fans hated him.  That was part of the joy of watching him (if you were a Jays fan).
GabrielSyme - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#350177) #
I actually like Maile and Lopez's chances of becoming decent MLB backup catchers.

Maile clearly needs some regular at-bats in AAA to work on his offensive game. His numbers up to and including AA suggest that, if he's given the opportunity to adjust to better pitching, he could well hit enough to be a good MLB backup with his defence.

Lopez is in a reverse situation - he's always been a catcher coming up, so it's surprising his defence looked as rough and error-prone as it did. I'm inclined to think part of it was ye olde small sample size - defensive gaffes come in bunches too - and he's thrown out ~25% of runners in the minors, so I don't expect the 7% CS to persist either. But he framed reasonably well in the majors, and seemed to handle the pitchers well. That's a good defensive foundation for a backup, though you can put a SSS caveat on those observations too.

The advantage Lopez has as a backup is that, with his power breakout last year, he doesn't have to be a great blocker to be a good backup catcher. And as a LH hitter, you can get a bit of an advantage from running a quasi-platoon with Martin, where Lopez gets almost all his starts against RHPs.

If I were the Jays, I'd evaluate Lopez defensively during the spring, and if he's acceptable, use him as the backup for the first part of the season. And try to give Maile as many at-bats as possible in AAA, using the DH slot when necessary.

Of course, both McGuire and Jansen could be possible backups if they don't work out as starters, but I wouldn't want to slot either of them in as backups until they show they won't be able to be decent starters.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#350178) #

Of course, both McGuire and Jansen could be possible backups if they don't work out as starters, but I wouldn't want to slot either of them in as backups until they show they won't be able to be decent starters.

With Martin getting older, I don't have any problem with Jansen or McGuire getting their start (whenever that might be) as a "backup" as Jorge Posada did in 1997.  You can learn some things at the minor league level, and some things at the major league level- I'd rather have the next full-time catcher start out as an apprentice to Martin. 
GabrielSyme - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#350179) #
Mike, I don't have any problem with Jansen or McGuire getting their start (whenever that might be) as a "backup" as Jorge Posada did... I wouldn't mind McGuire or Jansen starting off their MLB careers as backups either - but in terms of their development, it would be a good idea for both to start 2018 in the minors. Jansen has only had a short stint in AAA, and could probably stand to spend a little more time working on defensive questions there. McGuire missed much of this season, and still hasn't debuted in AAA yet. Ideally, I'd like to see Lopez start the season as the backup, provided that his defence looks endurable in Spring Training. Unfortunately, that means a playing-time crunch for Maile, McGuire and Jansen, each of whom could justify full-time play in Buffalo. One of them probably has to start in New Hampshire, and Maile is probably the best choice there.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#350180) #
I don't really know whether Jansen is ready; I suspect his bat is, but the glove is another matter entirely.  He might be. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#350181) #
One more grade.

Gord Downie A.  He had a helluva ninth inning (or OT, take your pick), to borrow an analogy from Bob Costas' eulogy for Mickey Mantle. 

jerjapan - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#350182) #
Agreed Mike.   Being a Queen's grad I may have seen the Hip play as many times as I've seen the Jays live - too many to count -  and Gord was always the main attraction, a mad poet on the mic, and clearly a man of integrity off stage. 
SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 18 2017 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#350183) #
I wouldn't mind if Martin's final year with the Jays (at least on his existing deal) in 2019 is when he splits time with and mentors his successor, whether it's Jansen or McGuire or whoever. Hopefully it is one of those two since they appear to be the closest to big league ready in the system as far as catchers go, but can't assume one or both will pan out given the history of Jays catching prospects. Just have to hope at least one can maintain their 2017 performance and become viable options in 2019 (or mid/late-2018 at best).

Things will start to get interesting when the Jays have more prospects knocking on the door. It wouldn't surprise me if they sign some vet placeholders for the outfield but give the job to Teoscar in ST if he earns it (similar to the way Sanchez won a rotation spot in '16). I wouldn't expect either of the two catching prospects or Guirrel to start the season in the bigs, but they could be a factor mid-season.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, October 19 2017 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#350190) #
With Martin as the veteran incumbent, Jansen and McGuire as potential starters, and Lopez and Maile as potential backups, we may have the enviable position of having too many catchers worthy of a 25-man spot, where for significant stretches this past year we had none. None are locks, but I'm somewhat optimistic about each of them. If, say, Lopez locks down the backup spot and Jansen continues hitting, I wouldn't have much worry about trading Martin mid-season, especially if we aren't in contention.

With respect to Gurriel, I might note that he's started his AFL season with a very good week or so, hitting 2 home runs and 4 doubles.
Chuck - Thursday, October 19 2017 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#350191) #
we may have the enviable position of having too many catchers worthy of a 25-man spot

Bite your tongue! This organization has a long history of being a big tease with catching prospects.

GabrielSyme - Thursday, October 19 2017 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#350194) #
Bite your tongue! This organization has a long history of being a big tease with catching prospects.

While this is fairly true, recent history actually hasn't been that bad: d'Arnaud has been hurt by injuries, but has still produced over 4 WAR for the Mets and could still have a good career, Carlos Perez has made the majors and looks to be a decent backup, Arencibia was admittedly mediocre, but Yan Gomes was a borderline all-star for a couple years before regressing (still over 9 WAR in his career). A.J. Jimenez and Santiago Nessy haven't made much progress, but they weren't particularly good prospects.

I'd argue that Jansen is a better prospect right now than anyone except d'Arnaud on the list above ever was and Reese McGuire just had a very promising offensive stint in New Hampshire for a glove-first backstop: .278/.366/.496 in a month and a half. As for Maile and Lopez, I gave my reasons above why they both only have to show a little progress before being useful backups.
Chuck - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#350204) #
In 2003, Zorro slashed z's all over the minor leagues, celebrating the team's catching prospects.

Guillermo Quiroz, age 21, AA: 282/372/518
Robinzon Diaz, age 19, Rk: 374/407/522

Was that the start of the heartbreak?

uglyone - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#350206) #
p'shaw, it goes back much farther than that.

Think Matt Stark, Sandy Martinez, Randy Knorr.
pooks137 - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#350208) #

I'd argue that Jansen is a better prospect right now than anyone except d'Arnaud on the list above ever

J.P. Arencibia might have quickly turned into a pumpkin, but he had first-round pedigree, won the PCL MVP award and was briefly a Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus Top 100 prospect in 2009.

Danny Jansen had tons of helium this year, but even so, I don't think his resume can match JPA's yet

Mike Green - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#350210) #
Arencibia was a highly rated prospect both by BA and BP after his age 22 season in Dunedin and New Hampshire. Jansen's offensive statistics were quite a bit better though- Arencibia had a 7/55 walk to strikeout rate in 275 PAs in New Hampshire and a much less impressive slash line.  We now know how important K rate is in evaluating batting prospects.  My guess is that Jansen would be more highly rated by KATOH now (and perhaps by BA as well- he was their first team catcher).

Anyways, Jansen is a good prospect and we'll see how he does. 

uglyone - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#350211) #
Age 22

A+

Arencibia: 262pa, 4.2b%/17.6k%, .340bip/.315avg, .246iso, 151wrc+
Jansen: 136pa, 5.9b%/10.3k%, .385bip/.369avg, .172iso, 184wrc+

AA

Arencibia: 275pa, 2.5b%/20.0k%, .305bip/.282avg, .214iso, 109wrc+
Jansen: 210pa, 10.5b%/9.0k%, .311bip/291avg, .128iso, 121wrc+

AAA

Arencibia: ---
Jansen: 78pa, 14.1b%/9.0k%, .333bip/.328avg, .224iso, 172wrc+


Age 21

Arencibia (A-): 249pa, 5.6b%/22.5k%, .322bip/.254avg, .123iso, 93wrc+
Jansen (A+): 217pa, 10.1b%/18.4k%, .268bip/.218avg, .053iso, 78wrc+



and since we know JPA's defense turned out terrible, we don't have to hold any defensive concerns against Jansen in this comp.
pooks137 - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#350213) #

I'm not saying JPA is better than Jansen. I'm disputing the fact that no other Jays catching prospects were as hyped/highly rate than D'Arnaud in recent memory

Jansen has age and a breakout year on his side. But there were a lot of stories about JPA getting LASIK surgery prior to his PCL MVP year too and improving his offensive output due to better vision

Jansen is promising, but he's basically had one great full season. I think he's a fine prospect but I don't think he has league-wide recognition/prospect value yet

Mike Green - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#350215) #
After the firing of Farrell and Baker, there was a discussion on twitter about manager challenge success rates- Farrell and Baker had the lowest success rates of any of the playoff managers.  Gibbons' record over his career- 186 challenges, 67 overturned calls- is very poor, and it was the worst in baseball in 2017.  I rush to add that it may be an issue with the review team employed by the Jays. 
Nigel - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#350217) #
Interesting article on FiveThirtyEight.com today discussing the 2017 Cubs. The article allocates a portion of the blame with Maddon, which is heresy in some circles. Also of note, is the imbedded link to work from the end of last season attempting to evaluate managers for their bullpen management. Unsurprisingly, Gibbons does not come off well in that analysis.
GabrielSyme - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#350221) #
Pooks, I certainly agree Arencibia was highly-regarded, but I think the consensus on high-strikeout, low-walk prospects has considerably declined in the intervening years. If I remember rightly, there remained questions about Arencibia's bat speed and whether he had a hole in his swing even after his PCL MVP.

I don't know whether my view would fit the consensus, instead I simply said that I'd argue Jansen is a better prospect than Arencibia (or the others) were - and I'm happy to do so. Jansen not only had a great year in terms of surface statistics, he was also the very best at each level in SwStr%. I think that's extremely promising for his ability to be a productive hitter going forward.
dan gordon - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#350223) #
Bo Bichette on The Fan 590 now, if anyone is interested.
Richard S.S. - Friday, October 20 2017 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#350224) #
J.P. Arencibia had holes in his game all his career. He hit HRs, what more did he need? Jansen, by all accounts has an overall better-rounded game. Now that he can see, he's hitting like he was expected to.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, October 24 2017 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#350283) #
Uglyone- it goes past even that. Lets not forget Jay Schroeder. He went the Anthony Alford route but eventually chose football (smartly mind you, he had a 15 year career and won a super bowl). But in baseball, for the Jays he never even reached A+ despite being drafted #3 overall.

Some of our "losses" were also due to players moving off position.

Carlos Delgado and Josh Phelps were catchers when drafted. Ed Sprague played significant C at AAA as well.

Pat Borders was able to amass 3.9 career bWAR. Almost all of which came in 1990. Arencibia, in a much shorter career, amassed 2.7 career bWAR. Those are our success stories.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, October 24 2017 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#350287) #
Let's not forget Greg Myers, who had 7.4 career bWAR, 3 WAR of that with the Jays, including his best season.

Mike Green - Thursday, October 26 2017 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#350332) #
The Gold Glove nominees are out.  The interesting omissions in the AL were Kiermaier and Matt Chapman.  I have seen very little of him, but statistically he was the best defensive third baseman in the league.  It's a small sample and it might just be a statistical curiosity. 

If you put Jarrod Dyson in left-field (not that Gardner is chopped liver), you'd have a Dyson, Buxton, Betts outfield, which would be pretty close to perfection.  The AL infield is nowhere near as good, except for Simmons. 
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