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That old designated thinker Friedrich Nietzsche once quipped:

Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker.

which, freely translated, means "what does not kill me, makes me stronger." 


Well, I'm feeling S-T-R-O-N-G. Ecce homo, Mr Tabler. I could probably lift an automobile after this past season. 

Let's get on with the business, shall we:

I hope this whole thing didn't frighten you
There were times when it terrified me

The grades, as always, are extracted from somewhere in the vicinity of my nether regions. There is not, there never has been, there never will be, anything even remotely scientific about it.

They mean something like this, more or less:

A - Outstanding (in the Awards discussion)
B - Good (maybe even an All-Star, who knows)
C - Average (generic regular)
D - Below Average (replacement level, bench part, something like that)
E - Fail (probably belongs in the minors)
F - Epic Fail (you need to make a new career choice)

The cutoff, as in years past, was 50 plate appearances for the hitters and either 10 appearances or 20 IP for the pitchers. So I have nothing to say about Socrates Brito, Alen Hanson, Kevin Pillar, Anthony Alford, Beau Taylor, Breyvic Valera, Zack Godley, Neil Ramirez, Ryan Borucki, Ryan Feierabend, Jimmy Cordero,  Zac Rosscup, Yennsy Diaz, or Ryan Dull. Which is probably just as well, in most cases.

Let's first deal with management:

C   Charlie Montoyo

I had no major issues. As it turned out, he really didn't have an inordinate fondness for smallball and even if he did - what difference could it possibly make, this year? No harm in seeing if the young guys around him could execute these tasks, no harm in letting them learn a few things. It's hard to discern anything significant about him from a team like this. He likes to make sure everyone plays. He's willing to try stuff. He seems to have helped build a very upbeat atmosphere around the club, which is not to be sneered at when you're losing 90 games.

C   Ross Atkins
I suppose I'm grading on a curve, but this team made no pretensions about being competitive. The mission this year was to get rid of everyone too old to be a part of the next good Toronto team, and start getting as much young talent as possible on the field and in the system. And also to get rid of Aaron Sanchez, lest his awfulness infect the others. I think those missions were accomplished. Whether the stuff that arrived in exchange proves useful remains to be seen. Be forewarned - lots of it won't, simply because that's always the way it goes. With the possible - but I think unlikely - exceptions of Stroman and Stevenson, I don't think anyone Atkins moved this year would have had a role on the next good Jays team, and I don't think it's because we'll have to wait five years to see it. That said, we do need to start seeing actual progress from Atkins' team - Wins and Losses kind of progress - and we need to start seeing it now. Like next year. Following a team is supposed to be fun. This wasn't.

And the players:

A   Bo Bichette

Ok, he  was fun. The name "Brett Lawrie" came up in some discussions of Bichette, presumably to discourage us from writing the kid's Cooperstown speech prematurely. No harm in that. Lawrie certainly announced his presence with authority, but his dazzling debut in 2011, at age 21, turned out to be the high-water mark of his career. Which is pretty sad, although not as sad as the high-water of J.P. Arencibia's career being his first game. Within a couple of years, I was comparing Lawrie to guys like Jeff Francoeur. Aurelio Rodriguez. But I'm not worried about Bichette. You see, Bo knows baseball. His father was a long-time major leaguer. He's been around the game his whole life. He knows what's involved. He knows you can play hard without crashing into walls and fighting with umpires. Bo knows an August blowout isn't the seventh game of the World Series. Or the Stanley Cup Finals. I think we need to enjoy his hair flying around while we can, because you can be sure he'll be cutting it short in a  year or two. They always do.

A   Ken Giles
Giles was just sailing along, doing an outstanding job for a team quite unworthy of him. And then, at the beginning of July, he pitched on three successive days for the first time in three  years. Some pitchers can do that - Shawn Camp and Paul Quantrill did it here. But Giles throws much, much harder than those guys and he probably isn't one of them. He had also just returned from a brief stint on the IL with a tender elbow, which immediately resumed barking at him in protest. He never actually went back on the IL, but he was in and out of - uh, "availability" - for the rest of the month. That's probably the main reason he's still around - well, that and the Yankees backing out of a deal so close to the deadline that there was no time left to make anything else happen. (The Yankees, as everyone knows, remain the true focus of evil in the modern world.) Anyway, after all that, Montoyo backed off his usage of his closer. Giles pitched in back-to-back games just once more the rest of the way, and on that occasion he gave up the game-winning HR (the Verlander no-hitter.) I always say that useful relief pitchers grow on trees, because it's true. This particular tree, however, is extremely hard to find. What Giles did was way beyond useful. Only two men in team history have posted a better ERA+ in a single season: Mark Eichhorn in 1986 and B.J. Ryan in 2006. So yeah, he was absolutely fabulous. Giles will be a free agent a year from now and he's going to want to get paid. After all, a pitcher's elbow can just explode at any second. You know it, I know it, and Giles definitely knows it. Poor Tim Mayza just reminded everyone who had forgotten. That may make Giles more useful to this organization as a trade chip next July than he is as a pitcher.

B+   Matt Shoemaker
Was off to a great start before a season-ending knee injury, and his season didn't last last enough for him to return to his normal level. As everyone surely realizes, he's nowhere near that good. Opposing batters hit just .183 against Shoemaker in his five appearances, which is clearly one of those random things that just happens from time to time, for no apparent reason. I imagine the team would like a reliable veteran to consume innings, but Shoemaker has never been able to last an entire season in a major league rotation - he's been farmed out for ineffectiveness, he's had his skull fractured, he's needed surgery on his forearm, and now he's torn his ACL.

B+   Marcus Stroman
Traded to the Mets a couple of days before the deadline, I think I got Stroman figured out about a year ago. He's an undersized RH who pitches to contact and therefore will always be at the mercy of things he can't control: the umpires, his defense, the whims of the Ball In Play. Those things were all working for him during his first half with the Jays - he was allowing the fewest Hits per 9 IP of his career, leading to his best ERA, and it earned him an invite to the All-Star game despite a 6-11 W-L record. And then he was traded to the Mets. The Jays don't have a great infield defense, but it's much better than what Stroman would find behind him in New York. He was quickly giving up more hits than he'd ever allowed in his life, and it looks like he changed his approach accordingly. He struck out and walked more hitters as a Met than he ever did as a Jay. Unfortunately, he also gave up way more homers than ever, suggesting that the adjustment wasn't as simple as all that. You could be pretty sure, though, that Stroman would find an approach that worked for him in these new circumstances and -  what do you know - by the end of the year he appeared to have done just that.

B+   Eric Sogard
Where on earth did that come from? Hey look - here's a 33 year old infielder. He's looking for a job. Can he play short? Uh, not really. Can he hit? Well, he's got a career line of .238/.309/.314 with 11 HRs in more than 1500 ABs. What do you think?  Hmmm. I get the point but let's pick him up off the scrap heap anyway. It might be handy to have him around, just in case. So then the guy goes and hits .294/.357/.463 with 13 HRs in 391 ABs, because... you just never know. You really don't, and every time you think you do know... the game has a way of straightening you out. On the off chance that the 2019 baseballs, or a random hot streak, or some combination of the two were responsible for Sogard's production, the Jays cashed him in at the deadline for a couple of minor league pitchers, one of whom (the teenager) actually looks interesting to me. I'll probably forget his name five minutes from now, but his numbers looked interesting while I was looking at them. Anyway Sogard went to Tampa and kept right on hitting until he finally cooled off in September. But good for him. I hope he gets paid.

B   Lourdes Gurriel
On a team awash with RH batters with some pop, Gurriel is the only one who qualifies as a lefty-masher (.300/.330/.664). Well, him and Bo, who beat the crap out of southpaws in a much smaller sample. Gurriel did all right against the regular fellows, too. So did Bo, come to think of it. The rest of them - Grichuk, Hernandez, Jansen, Drury, Vlad - had generally above average platoon splits (except for Vlad, who had a big reverse split), but in none of them do you see anything that looks like a strength - it's more like wall-to-wall mediocrity. Gurriel looked quite at home in left field, after the team had spent several years trying to figure out where he should play. He might even have the speed and arm to cover centre, but that might be trying to push the team's luck a little too far. It was already hard enough finding him a position. He needs to do a better job of staying in the lineup - so far in his young career, every time he gets hot he gets hurt. At least they can only remove your appendix once.

B   Daniel Hudson
This was a very successful year for Daniel Hudson and it all began with him being released by the Angels near the end of spring training. That's a different way to go about it, but it worked out just great for him.. The Jays scooped Hudson up off the reject pile and he did a very fine job for them. Among other things, he inherited 22 baserunners and allowed just one of them to score. It's hard to do much better than that. After being traded to Washington at the break, he kept up the good work in his new home and then some (1.44 ERA, 322 ERA+). In fact, of all the players the Jays gave up this year, Hudson did by far the the best job for his new team. And he's going to pitch in the post-season for the first time since 2014, when he started and lost a game for the Diamondbacks in the NLDS.

B   Cavan Biggio
A quick word about Biggio's defense, the least interesting part of his game. I'd agree that he wasn't born to play second base. But he knows how to play baseball. He's a smart, hustling, alert ballplayer. I think he'll get by.  Now the interesting stuff! Biggio played in 100 of the team's 112 games after being summoned to the big leagues at the end of May. If he'd played that regularly over the entire season, he'd have played about 145 games and had 610 plate appearances. And given that much playing time, he would have drawn 103 walks. The only men who have drawn that many walks in a season for the Blue Jays are Jose Bautista and Carlos Delgado (four times apiece), Fred  McGriff, John Olerud, and Josh Donaldson. Obviously all five of these men had elite plate discipline. But they had something else in common - with the exception of Olerud, they all scared the living crap out of the pitcher. (Olerud only got that level of respect the one time he hit .363.) But Biggio? He's a .234 hitter with average power. There's nothing elite about him at the plate except his strike zone judgement. He's a different kind of phenomena. Biggio  may turn out to be the nearest thing to Eddie Yost since Eddie himself, who retired almost 60 years ago. Moreover, Biggio probably should have walked even more often than he did. He was receiving rookie levels of respect from AL umpires (i.e., none at all) when he arrived and consequently was punched out looking at strike three more often he expected or deserved. That was beginning to change by the end of the season, as umpires came to believe in his strike zone judgement.  Biggio also presents a dilemma for the other teams. You can't defend against him the way teams defend Smoak and Tellez by moving all the infielders over, because Biggio hits everything in the air. We have already seen some four man outfields deployed against him, we will see more, and we've already seen Biggio happily take advantage of the opportunities that presents. It's already an effective and different offensive package, with a chance to get better still.

B   Reese McGuire
Jansen was supposed to be the hitter who needed to work on his defense, and McGuire was supposed to be the defensive guy who couldn't hit enough to be a starter in the majors. Did they not get the memo? McGuire has now hit .297/.343/.539  in his very short taste of major league action. He can't possibly be that good a hitter, just as Jansen is unlikely to be as lousy with the bat as he seemed this season. McGuire played 168 games at AAA and hit .239/.314/.350 and I expect the team will be quite happy if he can match that in the AL. Obviously the league hasn't figured him out yet - don't worry, they will - so the good times got to roll in the meantime.

B-   Joe Biagini
He ended up as additional ballast dispatched to Houston to persuade them to take Aaron Sanchez off Toronto's hands  I mean, Atkins can say he really wanted to acquire Derek Fisher as often as he likes. He's not fooling anyone.  Biagini looked to have recovered his rookie form after being about as awful as a pitcher could be for two whole seasons. At the time of the trade, he'd been the Jays bullpen workhorse, leading the team in appearances and behind only Gaviglio in relief IP. Unluckily for him he went completely to pieces upon arriving in Houston. I thought the Astros had a Magic Touch with pitchers?

B-   Wilmer Font
After years of wandering through the majors, pitching for six different teams (three of them this year), Font stumbled into a job he could do and do well. It involved preparing like a starter and then pitching like a closer. Font became Charlie Montoyo's Opener of choice, and why not? He did a solid job in this strange new role.

C+   Vlad Guerrero
As noted, young Vlad really struggled against LH pitchers, hitting just .215/.297/.346 against the sinister fellows. Doesn't that seem a little strange? Maybe he'd just never seen a good one before. I do hope no one's too disappointed that he didn't come out and take the league by storm (excepting the Home Run Derby, of course, but who cares about that?) He did just fine for someone so young. He more than fought the league to a draw with the bat and while I have serious reservations about his ability to stay at third base, his defense was visibly improving as his rookie season went on. His power, at this stage, is just average but I'm pretty confident that it's going to develop, probably by an order of magnitude. Like just about everyone, I wasn't much impressed with his conditioning and suspect it may have contributed to his lousy September performance. It might have been just your standard slump, but its timing and the young man's girth do arouse suspicion.  I think everything has come fairly easily for Guerrero in his baseball career. He's been able to just step up to the plate and deal with whatever was in his path. But it's not quite that simple in the big leagues. He should have learned a lot from this experience. It'll be interesting to see next year what he's learned and what he does with it.

C+   David Phelps
After losing a year to Tommy John surgery, Phelps signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent. He didn't make it onto the field until June, but pitched well enough in his six weeks with Toronto to re-establish himself as a serviceable major league reliever. The Jays were then able to flip him to the Cubs at the deadline for something that may or not be helpful some day.  Phelps did a fine job for the Cubs as well until he was caught up in the general team collapse over the final two weeks. No one was spared.

C   Freddy Galvis
When the Jays couldn't get anything for Galvis at the deadline, they just cut him loose and cast him aside. This was mostly  to clear the decks for Bichette, but also to give Galvis a chance to keep playing somewhere. He'd been a good soldier and a good teammate so you do that sort of thing. It's good karma. The Reds scooped him up and had him fill their hole at second base. He didn't hit all that well in his new digs, but even so, they really enjoyed having him around. What a delightfully weird player he is. He's a surprisingly slow shortstop who hits some home runs and strikes out a zillion times. That's certainly not the kind of player he looks like.

C   Javy Guerra
Your generic relief pitcher, more or less suitable for everyday use. Guerra did an adequate enough job for the Jays early on, but was lost in an early season roster crunch (the team wanted Ryan Feierabend to start a game, just to see what would happen.) Guerra caught on with Washington, and was competent enough in the back of their bullpen as well.

C   Buddy Boshers
What flashed through the mind of Buddy Boshers when Tim Mayza's elbow ligament exploded that September evening? Let us speculate. First: "oh crap, there's my teammate in terrible pain." And then: "shame on me, but I'm the only LH short reliever still standing." And then: "oh crap, they're changing the rules next year. Looks like another minor league deal for me."  Boshers got off to a rough start in Toronto (11.25 ERA in his first 5 games), but he was actually pretty effective after that first week (2.25 ERA in his next 23 games.) It remains my conviction that if you shake any nearby tree, five or six guys just like him will fall out and his left-handedness won't be nearly as useful going forward.

C   Jacob Waguespack
Waguespack had a run of fine performances and in a reckless moment I actually typed these words: "Jacob Waguespack, Staff Ace." I thought I was being witty. Waguespack instantly folded up like a cheap suitcase (do cheap suitcases actually fold? what does that expression mean, anyway) and went 0-4, 8.40 over his next four starts. I'd suspect it was his way of saying "Don't lay that kind of pressure on me!" if he had any notion of my existence. I do like him. I get the impression that no one seems to think very highly of his raw stuff, but I've always believed that command, poise, and deception are more important than raw stuff anyway. Right now, he very much looks like a league average pitcher, which is certainly not without value. Let's see - he allowed 1.4 HR/9 - that's exactly the league average. Waguespack allowed 8.7 Hits/9 - that's slightly better than the league's 9.1; he allowed 3.3 BB/9 and again he's a little better than the league (3.8). He doesn't strike out quite as many (7.3 K/9, league is 8.3), but that's something that often improves as young pitchers develop. It needs to, as he was probably a little fortunate on his Balls in Play (.279, the league hit .298)

C   Sam Gaviglio
Gaviglio spent the entire season doing the same job for the same team. That hasn't happened to him lately, not since he was starting games for Springfield in AA back in 2014. He was The Long Man, and he was the Multi-Inning Guy.  There were 58 AL pitchers made more relief appearances than Gaviglio, but none threw more innings out of the pen. It's been a very long time indeed since a Blue Jay reliever pitched that much - we have to go all the way back to Duane Ward working 101.1 relief innings for the 1992 champs. So how did Gaviglio do in his First Real Job out there in the cold, cruel world? Kind of weird, to be honest. He was brilliant to start the year, and then started pitching like crap. He kept up this badness for three whole months - from May through July he posted a 6.26 ERA as the opposition hit .286/.332/.542 against him. He kept his job, though (a lack of alternatives surely didn't hurt his cause), started pitching better in August and closed the year out just fine until running out of gas at the very end.

C   Jason Adam
You can't argue with the results, but you also can't expect the opposition to continue batting .194 against him. Allowed just 1 HR in his 21 IP which is outstanding. Especially when just a year earlier he allowed 9 HRs in just 32.1 IP.

C   Nick Kingham
Released to clear roster space near the end of August. Kingham actually did a decent job here - 3-1, 3.00 in 11 appearances, 24.1 IP is more than adequate. I do like the result, and the results always go a long way with me. Still, I certainly don't care that he's gone and neither should anyone else. I can't quite figure out how he only allowed 7 runs anyway.

C-   Tim Mayza
Obviously this was a very difficult and disappointing year for Mayza. He didn't pitch nearly as well as he had in 2018, although he at least was able to stay on the big league roster all year. Then he blew out his elbow near the end of the season, needed Tommy John surgery, and won't be seen on the mound again until some time in  2021. As far as I can tell, he's never had any arm problems before, going back to his days as a starter in high school. Good luck, hope you make it back.

C-   Derek Law
Law came over in the Kevin Pillar trade and can I just say that I'm really happy Pillar didn't make the playing time cutoff for this year's Report. There's simply nothing good that can be said about an OPS+ of minus 67. Happily, Pillar would go on to have a nice year for the Giants, reaching career bests in HRs and RBIs and - believe it or not - leading his new team in both categories. Good on ya, son. Anyway, Derek Law. Law was added to the Jays bullpen at the beginning of May, and absolutely stunk out the joint for two freaking months. He had an ERA of 6.99 at the All-Star Break, and the opposition had hit .291/.370/.513 against him. Did this get him banished to Buffalo? Mysteriously, it did not. You might remember me screaming over and over that Law had no business being in the major leagues. Would no one rid me of this meddlesome ne'er-do-well? But do they listen to me? Ever? Of course not. And then - who can explain it - a miracle happened. Law began to pitch better. He began to pitch quite well, in fact. In 26 appearances from 15 July through 17 September, he put up an ERA of  1.93 as the opposition hit just .138/.308/.234 against him. As you can see, it was almost impossible to get a hit against him, which allowed him to get away with walking an enormous number of hitters. Very odd, but quite effective. Law's good work was extremely hard for me to fathom, but it wasn't completely unprecedented. He had pitched quite effectively for the Giants as a rookie back in 2016, even if he'd been a pile of hot garbage ever since. Law faded badly at the very end of the year. He was establishing a new career high in innings pitched - running on fumes, he allowed 11 hits in his last 3.2 IP.

C-   Danny Jansen
Jansen's focus coming into this season was defense, for good and obvious reasons. It was acknowledged to be the weakest part of his game. He was also a rookie charged with handling a new, and constantly changing, cast of pitchers. No fewer than 37 pitchers (and a couple of position players) took the hill for Toronto this season, and Jansen had to figure out how to catch each and every one of them. (It took seven years as the A's everyday catcher before Mickey Cochrane had caught that many different pitchers. Game done changed.) Anyway, if Jansen didn't hit a lick for the first two months of the season - and he didn't - I think he had an excellent excuse. Because he did just great behind the plate. Jansen's defense was one of the season's most pleasant surprises. His bat did begin to eventually show some signs of life - from 1 June forward he hit .234/.301/.427, which was still disappointing but a little bit closer to what the team was hoping for.

C-  Justin Shafer
I rather like him and I suppose the results weren't too bad. The trick was done with mirrors, though. He gave up a hit per inning, which you can really only get away with if you don't give up home runs and you don't walk people. Shafer did just an average job of keeping the ball in the yard and he walked 25 guys in just 39.2 IP. That's very nearly a Luciano level of non-command. He got away with it this time. Just don't try it again.

D+   Randal Grichuk
I'm still waiting for the great Randal Grichuk breakout, when he knocks out 35 or 40 home runs. I still think he's got it in him. Maybe next year. Until then, he's your generic outfielder, more or less suitable for everyday use. Shows up, plays hard, never causes any trouble. You can definitely do worse, and the 2019 Jays showed us some of the many possible ways of doing worse. I'm inclined to think this was just a bad year, an off year. They just happen, and there's not much you can do about it except keep plugging away. Grichuk struck out less frequently than ever before, which is apparently something he was making a conscious effort to improve. Indeed, he whiffed in less than 26% of his PApps for the first time his career. Baby steps! It probably would have been more useful if he hadn't also had his worst ever BAVG on his Balls in Play. Fun fact: Grichuk led the 2019 Jays in Hits, 2bs, 3bs, HRs, RBIs and Runs Scored, which is a) a feat unique in franchise history and b) utterly meaningless.

D+   Justin Smoak
Now a free agent, Smoak will be 33 in December and he may even have some trouble finding work this winter. I know nobody cares about BAVG anymore, but .208 is still pretty ugly. It happened largely because Smoak hit just  .224 on his balls in play, which is a) a career low, and b) hard to do. I suspect that the increasing prevalence of defensive shifts had a lot to do with that, but the fact that Justin is also one of the slowest players in the American League was likely a contributing factor as well. He also was called out looking at strike three almost as frequently as Biggio, which was an odd development. No one expects to see him return. Atkins seems determined to clear the decks, Smoak is old, he's in decline...  but he's a good teammate, a solid glove at first base, and he can still put a mistake in the seats. Most importantly, this team's biggest offensive weakness is its inability to get anyone on base (do I hear someone saying "getting on base is what Cal Stevenson does."). Even with that hideous BAVG, Smoak still gets on base at a rate better than the league average. Which is more than most of the other guys around here can manage. It's not as if Rowdy Tellez just demonstrated that he can do a better job

D+   Trent Thornton
Like most teams, the Jays have a thing for large pitchers - after all, pitchers do tend to be large human beings and pitchers have certainly always been the largest ball players around. The three smallest Toronto pitchers all stand six feet tall and no one would be be surprised to learn that one of them is Thomas Pannone. But the other two little guys are Anthony Kay and Trent Thornton, both of whom look like much larger people to me. Well, they look pretty large on my TV, anyway.  Thornton wasn't supposed to make the roster coming out of spring, but the injuries to Buchholz and Richard forced him on the team and Thornton ended up being the only man who stayed in the rotation all season long. While he had his moments, he clearly still has a lot of work to do. But it seems to me that there's no glaring weakness in his game. Consequently, there's no obvious thing that he needs to work on, like getting the bases on balls under control or finding a way to keep the home runs from flying out of the park. It's more as if Thornton needs to make incremental improvements right across the board, which may be a more difficult proposition.

D+   Teoscar Hernandez
He's probably the fastest guy on the team, not that he's been able to put his speed to much use playing baseball. He runs the bases well, but he doesn't know how to steal them. He doesn't put his speed to much use in the outfield, either. It just helps him run down his mistakes, which are plentiful. He turned out to be a bad centre fielder. I'm not sure if that's better than being an awful left fielder. Probably not. He hit with a little more power this year, and improved his plate discipline a little as well. But one of every three plate appearances ended in a strikeout. It puts so much pressure on the rest of his game to make something useful of the remaining at bats. Hernandez hit .259/.346/.592 after the ASB, with 18 HRs in just 54 games, and it's that kind of production that keeps hope alive. I think it may have been a mirage - in the second half he was striking out even more frequently than usual (82 Ks in just 201 ABs) but he hit .337 on his balls in play. That's a fluke. Teoscar the Tease. The raw power is so tantalizing, but sooner or later he's got to do more with it than he's doing now. Or just do what he did in the second half for a full season.

D   Richard Urena
Familiarity breeds contempt, or at least boredom, and we've now seen Urena for three straight Septembers. Some folks have already concluded that he's unlikely to amount to anything. And I found myself saying over and over - maybe, but don't you all realize how young he is? Yes, there we were all talking about Richard Urena. The things we do when we're losing 90 games. Anyway, AWeb noted that it "Seems like Urena has been playing at too high a level for 3 years now, sometimes due to organizational need instead of performance. This has been known to set back prospects..." Well, gosh darn it, but I think the man hit the nail squarely on its pointed little head. Way back in 2016, just 20 years old, Urena hit .305/.351/.447 for Dunedin, which is kind of like what Cal Stevenson (just seven months younger) did in Dunedin this year. Urena's Dundedin performance got him promoted to AA New Hampshire before the season was even over. His performance may have warranted it, but he was still just 20 years old. The real reason he was promoted was because the New Hampshire shortstop situation was a pile of garbage. Urena held his own in AA for the rest of 2016, which made him a massive upgrade for that New Hampshire team and he returned there in 2017. By now though everything had changed on him. Instead of being better than his level, he wasn't quite as good.  Now he was just trying to stay afloat. Even so, he was promoted to AAA Buffalo in 2018. Urena was totally overwhelmed by AAA at that stage in his career, but Bo Bichette was coming up fast behind him and the organization needed to clear the New Hampshire shortstop job for Bo. So Urena's spent his last three years overmatched by his level, just trying to survive. It's almost the exact opposite of Vladimir Guerrero's minor league experience - young Vlad has always been a little too good for whatever level he was at. All Vlad's learned is how to dominate, he's never learned to scuffle. Urena's had to scuffle for three straight years and it may very well have set him back. Permanently or not? Who knows.There's still plenty of time for him to take a step forward. But as I said last year, he needs to take that step forward.

D   T.J. Zeuch
Zeuch doesn't look to be as extreme a groundball pitcher as Stroman was, but he's pretty clearly a member of the same species. As such, we should expect him to give up considerably fewer home runs than the average pitcher. Which he did. Like Stroman, he's going to strike out fewer hitters than the average pitcher and he's going to give up more hits, because that's the nature of ground balls. It means he can't afford to walk people. He's got 342 minor league innings and he's walked just 2.6 per 9 innings. He needs to keep that up in the major leagues. He didn't in his brief September trial - major league hitters generally have better strike zone judgement. But young pitchers often give major league hitters a little too much respect. I think he needs to get over that and be a little more aggressive in the strike zone.

D   Anthony Kay
I think we all enjoyed how, immediately after the trade, Kay hopped on the Twittering device and asked what things he should know about Canada. I thought that was extremely premature, but what did I ever know. The Jays fanbase rose to the occasion rather magnificently, myself included (know this if nothing else - speed limit signs are not mph). Kay soon responded in kind, perhaps a little overwhelmed by it all, but maintaining that he didn't understand milk in bags any more than a Raptors shooting guard but declaring that all-dressed potato chips were a gift from the gods. Which they are, of course. Such a swell time was had by everyone that I ignored the playing time limits for him. Waguespack, Zeuch, and Kay may all turn out to be back-of-the-rotation guys. But that represents a very real upgrade on Sanchez, Buchholz, Richard, and Jackson, none of whom have any place at all in a major league rotation.

D   Brandon Drury
I'd like to think Drury could be a perfectly serviceable bench part. He started games at six different positions and he's generally adequate to better-than-average at most of them. There's some pop in his bat. These things are handy to have around. He played way too much for the 2019 team, but that's not really his fault.  That said, a guy who hacks at everything as much as Drury does simply has to hit at least a little better than .218 if he's going to be of use. I mean, a .262 OnBase? He's another guy, along with Biggio and Smoak, who was called out looking at strike three an ungodly number of times. I do think this is all there is - I don't think there's any upside, any chance of him getting much better than this.

D   Billy McKinney
There are some things to like about McKinney. He always hustles, he runs the bases aggressively and well, and he's got some pop in his bat too. But obviously .215  isn't going to cut it for yet another guy who hacks at everything. And he can only play corner outfield or first base. Whoa. You mean sometimes being left-handed isn't an advantage in baseball? Who knew. Unlike Drury, who as things currently stand is a more useful bench body, I think McKinney may yet have more to offer than what we've seen. I'm certainly not promising it, but he's still got fewer than 400 ABs in the major leagues and he's already had a couple of seasons disrupted by injury. He could yet prove to be a better major leaguer than... well, Rowdy Tellez anyway.

D   Ryan Tepera
Pitched poorly for two months and went on the IL for three. He did do better when he came back in September. Tepera is now the senior member of the pitching staff, 2019 being his fifth season with the team. I don't know, that just seems sad to me, but I've never been much of a Tepera fan. He's the only pitcher still here who was part of the post-season teams. Only Justin Smoak, who made his Jays debut about a month before Tepera,  has been with the team longer.

D   Elvis Luciano
We expected nothing from him, and certainly until September nothing was delivered. (And I tell you this truth to you, not out of spite or anger, but simply because it's true.) His work in September was encouraging as he seemed to have made a new friend - the strike zone. His early performance made one think that they had never met. At any rate, Elvis will now leave the building and disappear into the minor leagues for the next few years. Maybe we'll meet again, down the road somewhere. Maybe we won't. It's a long road.

D-   Rowdy Tellez
Tellez did hit well in September, just as he had in 2018. Tellez has now hit .286/.338/.600 with 10 HRs in 140 September ABs, and .220/.280./417 in the other five months of the season. Gosh. Is there anything different about September baseball we should know about? If Smoak isn't back and Tellez inherits the first base job, I'd say he's got an excellent chance of providing the Jays with their worst production at the position since it was manned by Doug Ault, back in Year One. Yo, Rowdy - I am mocking you. I am belittling you. Prove me wrong, big fella.

D-   Sean Reid-Foley
Lose the mustache. It's not working for you. And you know what else isn't working? Walking 86 batters in just 120.2 IP between Buffalo and Toronto.

D-   Thomas Pannone
I'm sure this was a frustrating year for Pannone, but I don't care. He frustrated me often enough. I like him and he let me down. Hell hath no fury. Still, I shouldn't have been that surprised. LH of Pannone's general ilk, guys who can't blow anyone away with the fastball, often need a considerable amount of time to figure out what works for them in the major leagues. There are guys who just know what works because some kind fairy gifted them with this knowledge while they were still in the womb - I'm looking at you, Mark Buehrle - but they're the exceptions. For everyone else, the process can be extremely gruesome for a year or more. But sometimes...PRESTO!  Tom Glavine turns into Tom Glavine.  But they're the exceptions as well.  I won't mind if Pannone gets another chance on next year's team to see if he can figure this stuff out. I still think he has a chance be an effective pitcher. But I'm not prepared to invest anything in the notion.

E   Jonathan Davis
Love the speed, love the defense... but I don't think he can hit enough to play regularly in the majors, and seeing as how he'll be 28 next May, I don't think he's likely to figure it out. I hope I'm wrong. But I'm not.

E   Luke Maile
So long, it's been good to know you. Maile posted an OPS+ of 18 this season, which is a) horrifying, and b) better than what he did in 2017 and exactly what he did back in 2015. Clearly, odd-numbered years mess him up.

E   Derek Fisher
The ball really does jump off his bat. It doesn't jump often enough, and almost everything else about his game is painful to watch. He does a good job taking pitches. It's too bad he's no good swinging at them. He's a DH if he ever figures out how to make contact more often.

E   Aaron Sanchez
He got off to a very fine start (3-1, 2.32 in 6 April starts) and for a brief shining moment we were able to let ourselves dream that the Sanchez of 2016 had come back to us, at last. Too much to ask? Yeah, too much. Aaron went 0-13, 7.49 over his next 17 starts, which really shouldn't be allowed to happen. The team had to add ballast to the deal just to get someone to take him off their hands, and Mike Green is still unhappy about losing Cal Stevenson that way. After three weeks in Houston, Sanchez was shut down with a sore pectoral muscle and two weeks after that they decided he needed shoulder surgery. Which makes me wonder just how much discomfort Sanchez was trying to pitch through this year, especially after two frustrating years of stupid and irritating injuries that always seemed trivial. Except that nothing is trivial when it comes to being able to pitch effectively in the majors. Pitching is bad for you, and most pitchers are always hurting. They don't always know when they're injured. The lesson this time (set to the cheesy tune of your choice):  Hey kids, don't be a hero, look what it did for Ricky Romero

E   Clayton Richard
I would imagine his career is over, and not a moment too soon. Even so, it's got to suck getting released for the third and probably the last time on your birthday. Blow out them candles, son. His teammates loved him, and management admired and appreciated the way he took the ball and gutted it out for ten starts on his bad knee. In truth, Richard was never really any good - at his best, he got close to almost-average - but he played in eleven seasons and earned $18 million dollars. Mama, let your babies grow up to be left-handed.

F   Clay Buchholz
Like Richard, Buchholz got very high marks for his mentorship. But the team also wanted him pitch a little, in exchange for the $3 miillion they were giving him. How did that go? Not great. He pitched a very nice game to start his season, and then he got worse and worse until landing on the IL in early May. He didn't return until late August but he pitched a very nice game when he got back. And then he got worse and worse.

F   Jordan Romano
Obviously, there was nothing to like in his performance, but who really knows what to make of such a small sample. I sure don't. If you like, you can be encouraged by the 21 Ks in just 15.1 IP, and be appalled by the 4 HR and 9 BB.

F   Brock Stewart
I've always believed that a pitcher who isn't able to make it in the Dodgers' system isn't going to make it anywhere. Stewart allowed 9 HRs in 21.2 innings. Let's see anybody defend against that.

F   Edwin Jackson
Jackson pitched about as badly for the Blue Jays as a human can pitch. Even so, after he was released by Toronto he was quickly signed by Detroit who instantly stuck him in their rotation for reasons we probably shouldn't speak out loud. Jackson crossed everybody up by giving the Tigers two fine starts, before quickly remembering that a) he was 35 years old, b) he hadn't actually been any good in almost ten years, and c) Job One was securing that first overall pick. Jackson probably wasn't a willing participant in that last factor but even his best efforts weren't going to make much difference. So it goes.

Jackson was a teenager, a beardless boy, when he made his MLB debut back in 2004. He broke in with an impressive (2-1, 2.45) September performance for the Dodgers. He was nowhere near ready for prime time, of course, and he had been traded to Tampa Bay before he was able to establish himself as a major league starter. Jackson put together four seasons as a solid mid-rotation guy and helped two different teams to World Series appearances. In those four years (2008-2011) he went 49-41, 4.06,  but as it turned out, his best days were already behind him. He was 27 years old by then and he'd already been traded six times. The 19 games he won in his two years with Tampa would be the most he'd win for any team in his long and meandering career. While he would never be traded again, he would be released four times, and he'd sign as a free agent with somebody eleven times. He always looked like a pitcher so he kept getting chances. Every time it looked like he was out of lives he'd put together a half-season impressive enough to buy him a few more chances - out of the Atlanta bullpen in 2015, out of the Oakland rotation in 2018. One would think that after going 3-10, 9.60 at age 35 that the clock has finally struck midnight. But hey - the man got 17 years in The Show, he made almost $80 million dollars, he's got a World Series ring, and he actually started a World Series game (and pitched pretty well, even if he took the L.)

Well. Let's never do that again.

Blood on the carpet, mud on the mattress
Waking up with that American sadness
Dead receptors, body limitations
Weak handshakes and great expectations
Bountiful chemicals, beautiful kitchens
So many choices. decisions, decisions
I said a couple things that probably weren't technically true
Blue Jays Report Card | 123 comments | Create New Account
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jerjapan - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 07:55 AM EDT (#382144) #
Great read as always Magpie, and that line about JP Arencebia made me laugh.  I feel a D is too harsh for Zeuch and Kay, just getting their feet wet in the bigs, when there were genuinely D-calibre guys clogging up the roster all year in McKinney and Drury.
But the only mark I genuinely disagree with is the D+ for Thornton.  And no matter what mark you were going to give Atkins (C seems eminently fair to me), I want to just dock him a level arbitrarily for dumping Stevenson.
Bring on the playoffs!
scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#382146) #
Font wandered through the Majors and the independent leagues.
Dave Till - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#382147) #
I've been looking forward to this. Some comments:

- I agree with you on Brock Stewart, but I notice that he did something unusual in August: he appeared in three games, and won all of them. This was a fluke, and happened because each of these games was started by a opener and Stewart was the second man in - he didn't even pitch well in two of those games. But I was wondering: how often has a pitcher earned a win in each of his appearances during a month? My first guess was Bob Gibson in 1968, and it turns out that he won every one of his appearances in June and July that year (after suffering four straight tough losses in May). Wow, etc.

- Something that the Jays front office and/or Montoyo need to do ASAP is get a second lefty for the bullpen. Montoyo loves late-inning matchups, which meant that Mayza was used until his arm fell off. Boshers was worked even harder than that - he appeared in 28 of his team's last 52 games. Sure, the rules will be changing, but that might tempt Montoyo to work his lefthanders even harder.

- I think Vlad is dealing with three specific challenges. One is conditioning: as you say, it's all been very easy for him so far, and he showed up at spring training this year at roughly the size of a mid-range truck. With better conditioning, he won't suffer as many nagging injuries, and he won't run out of gas in September.

The second is that he has been working very hard on his defense: he's not naturally gifted at third - he doesn't have first-step quickness or grace - and has been compensating by putting time and effort into it. (This leads me to wonder whether he won't break out as a hitter until he shifts positions: Encarnacion wrestled with third base for years until bowing to the inevitable, and his hitting picked up when he moved over.) The last is that Vlad has been thriving because pitchers who are learning their craft are instructed to keep the ball down, and Vlad has the almost unique ability to blast any pitch from the waist down into oblivion. In the majors, he's seen a lot of pitchers who can throw quality strikes at the top edge of the zone; because he's Vlad, he's been able to adjust to even that, but mostly by slapping them for singles. I hope he puts in the work - I want to see what he can do if he can successfully harness all that ability.

(Aside: pitchers have been told to throw the ball down for so long that an entire generation of hitters has grown up being able to clobber low pitches. So pitchers are starting to be successful working up in the zone. I think that defensive shifts are the same sort of thing: they have evolved because hitters have learned that success comes from zoning down on pitches and hitting them as hard as possible. The future will be hitters that can use more of the field, as Ichiro did.)

- I suspect that Teoscar may be done in Toronto, as Montoyo seems to have run out of patience with him. It's understandable, but I will miss him when he is gone - he seems to get such joy out of playing.

- I think you are right about Rowdy - he's this generation's Josh Phelps. I think he will open the season at first anyway, since the Jays aren't completely convinced that he can't hit. This is doubly true because he pretty much has the same skill set as pre-breakout Smoak: he can clobber baseballs, scoop throws at first well, and is utterly at the mercy of good breaking pitches. There's still a hope that he might turn into post-breakout Smoak.

- I like Waguespack, but he appears to be the new Josh Towers. Towers pitched well for a full season one year before the wheels fell off.

- The more I see Cavan Biggio, the more I like him. I'm not sure he'll improve all that much - he's got holes in his game, which he compensates for by working hard and being very smart - but I've been wrong about him before.

- Fun fact: not only did Biggio go through the year without hitting into a double play - Billy McKinney didn't, either. I guess this is what happens when you bat left, tend to hit the ball in the air, and hustle out of the box.

- Brandon Drury's sole reason for existence is because he can play third base well. No one else on the regular-season roster could really serve as a backup for Vlad.

More to come later, maybe.
scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#382148) #
It's not that Guerrero does not have power. He's a natural ground ball/line drive hitter.
Obviously, he can hit a homerun if he wants to. I think it's more a matter of anticipating pitches instead of reacting to them.
What Tabler calls keyholing. That should come in time.
Also, I think it's worth mentioning that Vlad is the only Blue Jays who makes the list of the top 50 hitters with the lowest strike out rates.

scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#382149) #
I think you need to look at Boshers a different way.
He's got 1 option lett. He's still pre-arb. And he got a really nice curve.
If you scouts lineups for who doesn't hit curves well, you can probably still find a way to use him in the 3 batters era.
And it's 3 batters or 3rd out, whatever comes first. So you can still do one pitching change in the middle of each inning if you have the bullpen for it.
hypobole - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#382151) #
I'm with jerjapan on Thornton being the only one I truly disagree with. Comparing him to Wags, one had a better ERA, the other the better FIP. Thornton struck out more, walked more, though the K/BB favours Thornton. HR/9 almost the same. Thornton should get something for chewing up more innings than any other Jay at an almost exactly AL average FIP.

Thornton being a flyball pitcher on a team with some truly atrocious OF defence wasn't ideal to say the least.
Dave Till - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#382152) #
Two more comments (I'm here all day - try the veal):

- Something else that dooms Teoscar is that he has almost exactly the same skill set as Grichuk: good power, low walk total, can play centre but is stretched there. Teoscar has more talent than Grichuk, but Randal is a more polished player, and the Jays are committed to him for several years. (Which I'm not sure I agree with, but whatever.)

- The road ahead might be hard and long. The Jays have about half of a championship-quality lineup now, but they have no pitching at all; it's two to three years away at best. Rogers won't spend money on expensive free agents: they're a publicly traded corporation that is responsible to its investors and shareholders, and spending a lot of money on one player would almost certainly be deemed an unacceptable risk. Wasn't B.J. Ryan's contract a line item on Rogers' financial statements one year?

(I'm not so sure that they're wrong to avoid big-money signings, given what has happened with Machado and Harper, let alone what has happened to expensive pitchers.)

So I fear that we are going have to wait quite some time before the young pitching currently in A ball sorts itself out, and a few of the young flamethrowers fight their way to the majors. The Jays have led the majors two straight years now in declining attendance; two more of 2019 will mean that Rogers Centre will be what it was during the down years of the Ash era - a quiet, peaceful place to spend an evening.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#382155) #
Yep. I read Magpie's usual fine summary, and thought a few quibbles here and there until I got to Thornton D+ and Drury D.  I didn't think they were in the same time zone let alone area code.  Thornton's season would have been a solid 5th starter on a championship team; Drury would not be on the team.  Thornton C and Drury E from me.

There's underrated value in durability.  It's another of Biggio's assets, and Thornton seems to have it too.  He finished up the season looking very fresh.  For both starting pitchers and second basemen, it's no small thing. 
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#382156) #
I concur that Thornton's grade is too low. He was one of the few positives in the rotation. A 2 WAR in 155 innings as a rookie is a solid outcome for him, and he got better in September after changing his curveball and change up grips. I wouldn't give him a high grade, but he was solid overall.
boz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#382157) #
Biggio could have cut down on KO,s by just fighting off more 2 strike pitches.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#382158) #
Thanks Magpie. I love your writing style. I think you have a unique mind.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#382159) #
In response to Dave's comment about the state of the club's pitching being dismal, I don't think it's that bad.  Right now, they have Shoemaker, Borucki, Thornton, Waguespack, Zeuch, Kay, Pearson, Font, Gaviglio and Giles (and maybe one or two others).  I figure Shoemaker, Borucki and Waguespack for 100 innings, Thornton for 165, Zeuch and Pearson for 120, Kay, Font and Gaviglio for 80 and Giles for 60.  That totals 1040 innings that ought to be decent.  In order to compete, they need a starter to give them 200 good innings and 2 relievers to give them Daniel Hudson-quality relief. 

I like Zeuch better than the crowd.  I think that he's likely to be a perfectly decent third or fourth starter. 


Nigel - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#382160) #
Excellent work as always. I generally agree with all of the grades. Minor quibbles - I'm not sure Montoyo deserved a C (I will be extremely surprised if he is the manager for much more than another year), but I will say that the sheer volume of his positivity in the face of adversity earns him some koodos; I would give Jansen a slightly higher grade - the improvement in his defence was remarkable.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#382161) #
The 2020 pitching initially might look like the 2019 hitting to start the season, but I expect a similar second half leap once prospects like Pearson, Murphy, Zeuch, etc fill out roles on the pitching staff. I think I will have less patience for keeping players like SRF or Perez in the rotation to see if they develop, rather than just moving them to the pen where they might ultimately belong regardless.


Mike Green - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#382162) #
Why wouldn't you want Zeuch in the rotation to start the season, Shoeless? "Years of control"?
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#382163) #
As always, an insightful review of our guys, and a pleasure to read.

I share the sense that Thornton deserved better than a D+. He was a better-than average back-end starter, someone who would have slot well into the back of the rotation of much better teams.

Similarly, I'd rank Teoscar better than a D+. He ended up with 1.2 WAR, which isn't great, but it's a definite step above Grichuk and Smoak's production. Without getting into his outlook (I know I'm the high man on him), he was decent this year - and definitely had a better year guys like Derek Law, or Gaviglio.

I'm a little more optimistic on Smoak going forward - he had a lot of quite good indicators this year, and he wasn't getting shifted noticeably more than in past years. It's difficult to point to a skill that is clearly deteriorating, and I think someone is going to bet on some BABIP regression and be pleasantly surprised.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#382164) #
Speaking for myself, I don't really think Zeuch looks like a guy who's ready for a MLB slot. It's really, really hard for a pitcher to succeed in today's game with a strikeout rate substantially below league average - you have to do everything else really well. Zeuch put up a 4.5 K/9 in AAA this season, and his FIP and xFIP were both above 5. He got a reasonable number of swings and misses (and strikeouts) in his brief debut, but I would definitely want to see more from him before entrusting a rotation slot.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#382165) #
I don't think any Jays starter will give 200 innings. That is a big leap for anyone. Thornton + or- 10 IP from last year would be very acceptable to me. I don't think a FA SP signed will be good for 200 IP. 150 innings will be good for me. I don't expect that really because it means we signed a good FA or got lucky with a recovering FA. King Felix wants to pitch. He can be given a rotation spot and if good gets traded to a contender. He should be rich already and signing a contract with incentives would be attractive to both parties.

I have optimism that quite a few pitchers will give 80-100 decent innings. If it looks like we are out by the deadline then any and all veterans will be traded. If not all it means that they were not good. They still stay if they are not blocking anyone because an arm is an arm. If doing well then pitchers like Font and J Adam get dealt.

Our AA pitchers like Diaz will have to deal with the AAA ball.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#382166) #
I bow to the consensus on Thornton. He spent five months being a guy who ate some innings with an ERA on the wrong side of 5.00 and I went and formed an opinion - but his September really did lift him to another level. As for Drury, I'm probably too impressed by all the positions he plays. While that kind of versatitlity is very valuable, if the guy can't hit...

These young pitchers are, if nothing else, more interesting than the old guys they were replacing. The sample on Zeuch is pretty small - it's weird that he struck out more major league hitters and I wonder if it's related to him walking more major league hitters. But he's obviously a Stroman-type, and guys like that who strike out fewer hitters the league average have to do all the other Stroman things to be effective - no walks, no home runs. Waguespack is different, he's not a groundball pitcher at all. He's almost an extreme flyball pitcher, which is a species I generally approve of. But he needs to strike out more people.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#382167) #
Why wouldn't you want Zeuch in the rotation to start the season, Shoeless? "Years of control"?

I am not particularly high on Zeuch, but I am actually impartial to whether he starts the season in the rotation. I do think Kay throws more innings next year, as he threw more last season and I like his mix of pitches. Overall though I merely meant that I expect the team might go with some fill-ins to start the year who eventually get pushed out by the younger players, which might make the first half hard to watch.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#382168) #
You only go with pitchers like Edwin Jackson next year instead of Zeuch if you are intending to lose.  Pearson, I understand.  He's young and he may be great, and having the extra year of control matters. 
Magpie - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#382169) #
[Stewart] did something unusual in August: he appeared in three games, and won all of them.

I thought - what about Halladay, the year he won 15 in a row? And sure enough - he made six starts and went 6-0, 3.22 in May 2003. And it turns out Verlander did likewise (June and August 2011) and so did Kershaw (June and September 2014).

What really made Stewart's achievement remarkable is that he's such a crappy pitcher!
uglyone - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#382170) #
I am gobsmacked:

Ben Nicholson-Smith @bnicholsonsmith

While it’d be a surprise to see #BlueJays shop at the very top of the market, Atkins says “We need to acquire pitching that we can count on.” Atkins adds “It’s not good enough to have depth. We need to have guys that can contribute in significant ways.”
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#382171) #
I am not sure Zeuch is good enough to start the year in the majors, as he hasn't shown much ability to handle left handed batters. Years of control for fringe major leaguers doesn't really mean anything....However I would argue its easier to get quality veterans in the off-season than it is mid-season, so build the depth up then and avoid picking up Edwing Jacksons when the depth runs out.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#382172) #
Ben Nicholson-Smith @bnicholsonsmith
5m
Sounds like #BlueJays plan to spend more this winter. More like after '15 and '16 than after '17 and '18 per Atkins, who says #Jays are open to different structures and term.

Atkins: 'the overall outlay will be more significant than it certainly was last year'

Ben Nicholson-Smith
@bnicholsonsmith
Along those lines, #BlueJays are comfortable taking on salary in trades per Atkins





Welcome back, Mr.Price.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#382173) #
It's good to see Atkins saying the right thing. As nice as it would be to sign, say Cole & Wheeler, I'd be pretty happy if we picked up a pair like Hamels and Wood - a stable veteran and a comeback candidate.

Even adding a single reliable veteran (Odorizzi, Gibson) would probably create reasonable depth - that would give (Gibson), Shoemaker, Thornton, Borucki, Waguespack, Kay, Zeuch, Reid-Foley to begin the season. Adding Pearson in June pushes everyone else down a spot on the depth chart. I liked what I saw from Kay, both in terms of stuff and results, and I think he could be an adequate #5 if injuries or ineffectiveness push him into the rotation all year - Zeuch and Reid-Foley would have to take a step forward before I'd be happy having them starting at the big league level, but they are better than most at 7/8 on a depth chart. I suspect one or more of Waguespack, Shoemaker, Borucki et al will be injured or unplayable, so I've come around to the view that we should sign two starters, but our depth isn't a big problem.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#382174) #
Of course I had to go crawling through the archives to see if Halladay's 6-0 in six May 2003 starts was unique in franchise history. It wasn't - Roger Clemens did the exact same thing in May 1997. (I also found 5 wins in 5 appearances for Jim Clancy and Doyle Alexander)

Clancy, possibly the streakiest pitcher who ever lived, shows up on the other side of the ledger losing all 7 of his Sep-Oct appearances in 1986. Juan Berenguer did likewise in 1981, and both guys needed that one October game to make it to 7. Clancy also had an 6 losses in 6 games month, and so Jesse Jefferson, Ricky Romero, and Aaron Sanchez this very year.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#382175) #
Atkins saying "take on significant salary" and "guys that we can count on" is huge.

Most of the time I say that he should not say anything because it causes trouble. They must have had meetings and made decisions to pay for pitchers like he described. They can always be traded.

So what about Giles?
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#382176) #
If the Jays are ready to take on established FA starters, I think they should be willing to hang on to Giles until the trade deadline. If the Jays are out of it, a healthy and effective Giles probably brings back more than he would this offseason. I suspect there's some continued drag on his value from his mid-summer arm fatigue - but that should go away if he shows himself to be healthy next year.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#382177) #
So any team is allowed to lose. Look at SF and the Phillies.

I liked the reasons for getting Brito, Hanson and all the mediocre pickups at the 2018 and until the end of 2019 trade deadline for the quality of theplayers we gave up. But this year it sounds like that strategy will not be used. Unless circumstances force Atkins to dig really deep for Stewart/Kingham types he will not do it.

So now I wonder how many of Urena/Valera and all the OFs will survive until ST.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#382178) #
I actually like Valera as a backup infielder, and I hope they keep him. Urena seems like a more difficult player to find room for, and Davis in the OF.

The 40-man has a massive glut of marginal relief-types and marginal starter prospects: Stewart, Boshers, Adam, Diaz, Dull, Merryweather, Pannone, Romano, Shafer, etc. People will have their favourites, but that's where the fat is on the 40-man.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#382179) #
I agree with many of the other voices here - Thornton is too low - he and Drury should be separated by at least one full grade. And Thornton and Atkins should also not share the same letter. If that means B- for Thornton and C+ for Atkins, ok.. Probably more like C+ for Thornton and D- for Atkins.
And if you believe that stuff about throwing Biagini in to get rid of Sanchez, why not do Biagini for Fisher, straight up release Sanchez?

Sorry, to me, Atkins, on the whole, as a GM (not as a person) has performed significantly below average, IMHO. Some of his moves have been average, but I haven't seen more than one or two "above average" moves, IMHO, with a whole bunch of below average. On the other hand, if the twitter quote just above this is true, and they ARE planning to get some dependable pitching this off-season, then it's quite possible he's on the way to reversing my opinion of him..
bpoz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#382180) #
Davis has great defense. He catches everything hit to him and has ranged far to make game saving catches. So an incredible defensive sub in the 8th and 9th inning.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#382181) #
I heard the Atkins interview this afternoon, and he was saying this offseason would be more like the 2015/16 period than the last couple of years. They want starting pitching, but figure the top free agents won't want to come to a rebuilding team. Pearson still has things to work on in his development, and they want him to become a 200 IP guy. They are trying to come up with some ideas to get Grichuk playing better in the 1st half, whether it's mental or physical. He thinks Bichette will be an above average big league shortstop defensively.

I agree about Thornton being a C, not a D. He had a pretty good season, with 1.7 bWAR. I also agree that Montoyo is not going to be the manager on this team when they are really good, at least I hope he isn't. Drury certainly deserves an E - he is not a big league hitter.

That strong 2nd half by Hernandez is interesting. An OPS of .961 from July 16th to the end of the year, with 18 HR's - I hadn't noticed he was that good for that long a time period. What was he doing differently - is there a possibility that he has made some significant adjustments and can be a high quality hitter? His overall season numbers are almost identical with last year's, and say that's who he is, but if he really is something like the 2nd half guy, he's a keeper.

Tellez doesn't look very good when you look at the overall numbers, but he did have that great run in Buffalo when demoted, and then he OPS'd .971 in his last 21 games with the Jays. I wouldn't mind seeing Tellez and Hernandez play regularly for the first 6 weeks or so next year to see if either breakout is real, unless some good alternatives present themselves in the offseason. There isn't exactly a great group of 1B/DH types available as free agents.

I'm not as sold on Zeuch as some people. I think a rotation next year of Shoemaker, Borucki, Odorizzi, Pearson and Thornton could be pretty good. If Pearson starts in the minors, then you have guys like Waguespack, Zeuch and Kay who can get a shot, and of course, they will be there for injury replacements. I like Odorizzi a little better than some of the other mid level guys like Gibson.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#382182) #
Hernandez' second half is just plain weird. I looked at the .337 BABiP and instantly got sceptical. But of course, when you take away the HRs and the Ks there's hardly anything left of him. It means he went something like 34-101 instead of 30-101.

But man - 82 Ks in 201 ABs? When he's playing well? That's just wild. Give the man 600 ABs and the world will forget Mark Reynolds, if they haven't already.
hypobole - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#382183) #
Before he was injured. Joey Gallo put up 3.3 fWAR in 70 games with a 38.4% K rate.
Nigel - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#382184) #
Yes but that Gallo line is a unicorn. He put up that amount of WAR due to an 18% BB%, significantly above average defence, .368 BABIP and a .340 ISO. Teoscar Hernandez isn't Joey Gallo. Heck, I don't even think Joey Gallo will do that again. As I've said before, there is a path to success with 30% plus k rates but it takes some combination of avoiding BABIP bad luck, massive ISO and good defence. If you look at Gallo's 2017 and 2018 numbers (2.7 WAR each year over basically a full season) you see what 14-15% BB rates, .250 BABIP and .300 ISO buys you with a 35% k rate.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#382185) #
Here's a quick Data Table. Or two. First Quality Starts (6+ IP, 3 or fewer ER)
Stroman 14
Thornton 9
Waguespack 4
Sanchez 3
Shoemaker 3
Buchholz 3
Richard 3
Pannone 1
But with starters so often getting the hook after 5 good innings, and Openers run amuck, maybe we should just look at all the Game Scores better than 50.
Stroman 15
Thornton 13
Sanchez 9
Waguespack 6
Shoemaker 4
Buchholz 4
Reid-Foley 3
Richard 2
Pannone 2
Kay 1
Zeuch 1

And the Openers (basically, don't give up a run and you're good!)
Font       9
Law 2
Boshers 1
Phelps 1
Ramirez 1
Whatever!
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#382186) #
Gallo is on another planet when it comes to contact quality, like 70% better than league average contact quality.
scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#382187) #
I think the offense will be good enough for a .500 line, especially if the low OBP guys are out of the first 4 lineup spots.
Guys with power and striking out a ton are OK in the bottom of the lineup. Pitchers will get to the 2nd inning worried about their pitch count and throwing strikes.

I'm not sure ground ball pitchers need to avoid walks.
Walk to dangerous hitter followed by double play ground ball works for me.
Looking at WHIP, Stroman 1.23, Waguespack 1.33, Kay 1.43, Zeuch 1.46, Sanchez  1.69.

Assuming Stroman was amazing , Waguespack was good, Kay, Zeuch were OK and Sanchez was horrible.
The difference between Waguespack and the other 2 is less than one baserunner per game.

BlueJayWay - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#382188) #
Teoscar posted a .939 OPS after the the all star break, with an 11.4% walk rate. Of course he still struck out a million times. The .337 babip is a little high but not crazily so. Such a tease.
scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#382189) #
We haven't really seen enough of Valeria to be meaningful.
We're talking about a tenth of a WAR in production.
Overall, he hasn't done much either.

Urena will be 24, Valera will be 28.

budgell - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 07:49 PM EDT (#382190) #
Great stuff as always Magpie! Witty, articulate, informed...great read.
#allthecuttlefish
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#382191) #
Atkins suggesting the off-season will resemble 2015/16 rather than 2017/18 is a pleasant surprise. Buying wins in free agency is the least expensive it has been in a long time. The team's payroll flexibility combined with their obvious needs make free agency more viable now that prices (and term) are more reasonable. The mid-tier FA market for SP's has some potentially good options available that won't involve the QO and shouldn't require a long term (Odorizzi, Gibson, Porcello, etc). The team can still "rebuild" while adding legit rotation options.

It is interesting that every time Shapiro is asked about his future, his answer is usually 25 minutes long but says practically nothing. The FO is not acting like they fear for their job security, but there has been no smoke as far as an extension is concerned. I would think locking Shapiro up would be pretty important (Atkins still has to prove his worth). Hopefully that gets done soon.
Nigel - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#382192) #
93, 89, 76, 73 and 67. The trend line in attendance and ratings is worse. I don’t see signs of Shapiro being in trouble, but I wouldn’t be surprised that he has to, you know, show signs of being able to reverse those trend lines before there’s any rush to get him resigned.
Michael - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#382193) #
Those quotes from management sound really good (solid A grade, to meet the theme of the article). The right lines and obvious common sense, but not always expected from management positions that can sometimes hedge and spin or might have different incentives.

The harder part (regardless of quotes) is always the execution, but it sounds like the plan is a good one and they are comfortable sharing that plan publicly, and that is a very important first step.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#382194) #
They spent about $50,000,000 in the offseason in 2016 on Happ, Pearce, Estrada and Bautista (source: Shi Davidi).
hypobole - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#382195) #
Here's Shi's quote: For context, the club’s notable free-agent signings after the 2015 season included J.A. Happ ($36 million, three years) and Marco Estrada ($26 million, two years), while after ’16, they added Kendrys Morales ($33 million, three years), Steve Pearce ($2.5 million, two years) and Jose Bautista ($18.5 million, one year with mutual options).
hypobole - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#382196) #
I wiped out a "1". Pearce was $12.5 in the article not $2.5.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:31 PM EDT (#382197) #
Great work, Magpie. Thornton and Jansen were the two that I thought should be higher when I read the evaluations so I agree with most here.

Now the teacher (Magpie) will say to the class (team) as they leave for their homes (sun-soaked mansions)," Listen, everyone, I want you to study (work) hard over the summer (winter) and next year (season) I want everybody to have A's and B's, and, at the worst, C's. If you don't I will have to conclude you are stupid (have no talent).
scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#382198) #
To contrast that, Cole is likely getting something similar to what Price got. 7/200+.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#382199) #
Congratulations to Daniel Hudson, picking up the save in tonight's WC game.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 01:32 AM EDT (#382200) #
Daniel Hudson has been one of the luckiest guys in baseball this year. Out of a job at the end of spring training. Gets a guaranteed major league contract with the Jays. Pitches well enough to get traded at the deadline, but though his 3.00 ERA looked good, his 4.19 FIP said not quite that good. The return was modest.

Another pitcher with an even larger disparity, Shane Greene, also had a relatively modest return for a closer with a 1.18 ERA and a another year of control. But Greene's 3.69 FIP suggested he wasn't close to that good. Sure enough, with the Braves, his FIP upticked a bit to 3.94, but his ERA jumped to 4.01.

Hudson on the other hand doubled down. His FIP dropped to 3.53 with the Nats, but he halved his ERA to 1.44. Of the 204 pitchers with 70 IP's this season, only 1 has a greater positive disparity than Hudson's 1.50 (2.47 ERA-3.97 FIP)

Fun sidenote - of those 204, the only one with a greater disparity is the only other Hudson pitching in the majors - Dakota Hudson. 2019 - better to be Hudson than good?

And to top it off, with erstwhile closer Sean Doolittle alternating between injured and not overly effective, Hudson's now the Nats closer.

dan gordon - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 03:24 AM EDT (#382201) #
Hudson was a little rusty when he first appeared for the Jays and had 2 bad outings in his first 4 games, but from that point on, he had a terrific season. From April 5th to season's end, he had an ERA of 1.94, and held opponents to a .199 batting average, and produced 2.0 WAR for the year. His first good year in the big leagues since 2011. A long and difficult battle back from injury, but he looks like he has carved out a nice role for himself and should get a good free agent contract. Maybe the Blue Jays would be interested. Especially if they trade Giles.

I thought the Brewers got hosed by that call in the 8th - looked like the pitch hit the knob of the bat before the batter's hand, and should have been a foul ball, not a HBP. Terrible mistake by Grisham in RF to let in the winning run. Was glad I got home in time to see the last 2 innings, it was an exciting finish.
scottt - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 07:58 AM EDT (#382202) #
It's important to remember that the Brewers are not a good team.
They got 7 WAR from Yellich, 3+ from Woodruff and Moustakas and nobody else.
They finished with 89 wins but with a +3 run differential.

Hudson is one of the hardest thrower on the free market.

Chapman 98.4 mph
Rosenthal 98 mph
Rondon 96.8 mph
Hudson 96.1 mph
Vizcaino 96 mph
Martin 95.7 mph
Cashner 95.4 mph (I'd imagine he'd want to start)
Jones 94.8 mph
Pomeranz 94.5 mph (Might also want to start)

From Giles who throws harder and who's best pitch is his slider, there's a steep drop to Hudson.
Hudson does not strike out as many as you'd like and he's a flyball pitcher.
Even then, he will be able to pick his team.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#382203) #
The Statcast leaderboard expected statistics for Jay hitters is here. Some points:
- the key Jay hitters were in a tight knot by xwOBA
- Jansen finished ahead of McGuire by xwOBA and
- Bichette ahead of by a less than overwhelming Jonathan Davis by .337 to .301

The xwOBA for Jay pitchers are here. Adam, Boshers, Gaviglio and Shafer all have cases for consideration in next year's bullpen.  Anthony Kay was pretty decent here.
Chuck - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#382204) #
I'm sure the modeling for "expected statistics" is sophisticated, but I do have an observation. Looking only at players with 200+ PA, a lot of the unlucky players (i.e., negative Diff) are very slow runners. Not all, but most. Is foot speed built into their model some how? I am wondering.

The two unluckiest players in MLB were Kendrys and Smoak. The unluckiest Jays were also slow runners, save for Davis.

What fate awaits Smoak? Will a GM gaze upon his xwOBA and conclude there is enough left in the tank to warrant a guaranteed contract? Or are we thinking a spring training invite may be the best he does at this stage of his career?

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#382205) #
Definitely, Chuck.  I'd take the Smoak and Morales xwOBA numbers with a large grain of salt. 
hypobole - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#382206) #
As far as this offseason, I think Rogers will pony up some money and how Atkins uses it will determine both his future and future spending.

They'll give him the keys to the Accord, but not the Lexus yet due to the fender benders the last time he was given the Accord keys. If he bangs up the Accord, they'll probably just get a new kid. Oh and forget about the Porsche - ain't happening.
bpoz - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#382207) #
It is early in the off season. So far we have no idea of the win projection/goals.
Vulg - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#382208) #
The Statcast leaderboard expected statistics for Jay hitters is here. Some points:

Thanks for the link, Mike. What a sobering view of the Jays outfield. Alford, McKinney, Fisher, Grichuk and Teoscar were all roughly where you'd expect them to be for xwOBA but didn't anticipate expected Slugging to be that much higher than actual for a few of those guys - Teoscar, Grichuk, McKinney and Gurriel all had healthy deltas.

I wonder if the model is factoring in a juiced ball or if we really should have reasonably expected fewer XBHs for those guys.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#382210) #
Mookie Betts and David Price for Lourdes Gurriel, Kevin Smith, Kloffenstein and McGuire.

Who says yes? Keep in mind Price has mammoth salary and Mookie won't resign in BOS as he wants to test FA as a 28 year old.
scottt - Wednesday, October 02 2019 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#382211) #
The packing Boston is looking for includes a solid mid rotation starter, a solid starting right fielder, both already established MLB contributors, and 2 top 100 prospects.

Gurriel, Giles, Pearson and Groshans might get you 1 year of Betts.

dan gordon - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 12:11 AM EDT (#382212) #
OMG, that's ridiculous, I wouldn't give up Gurriel even up for 1 year of Betts. I think Gurriel can be an all-star, and the Jays have him under control at a an incredible bargain price for 4 more years. Betts had 6.8 WAR this year. Gurriel had 1.7 in half a season, so even if he doesn't improve at all, that pace is about 14 WAR for 4 years. Price's contract negates much, maybe all, of his value, because he's so overpaid. He's 33 years old, and his ERA/FIP the last 4 years have been in the mid-high 3's and low 4's. You want to pay him $32 million a year until he's 36? Yikes.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#382213) #
Betts is incredible - he's a 7 WAR player. But he's just signed for one more year, probably for $25-30 million, which is a surplus value of ~4 WAR. Even before packaging Betts with Price, there's no way a single-year rental will return a top-10 closer, two top-100 prospects and a solid OF under a great contract. Boston could easily win the trade in WAR in the first year, and still be holding major assets while the Jays get a measly comp pick after the 2nd round.

Boston can ask for the moon, but they're not going to get it.
scottt - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 07:27 AM EDT (#382216) #
There are teams who can afford to send 2 top 100 prospects because they are far away.
A team like that could trade a 2-3 WAR starter and a 2-3 WAR outfielder for Betts to put them over. Betts is still worth 7 WAR
It could be seen as a way of beating the Yankees/Astros/Dodgers in the playoffs.
Some teams still get a first rounder from a QO.

Price would be a lot cheaper. If free of Price, Boston could go after Cole.
Another year and Price will have 5/10 no trade right if he doesn't already have a no-trade clause.
Price is getting holder and only lasted 107 innings this year. I wouldn't take Price for SRF.
You don't take over bad contracts from richer team in you own division. That's suicide.

hypobole - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#382219) #
I think I just had an epiphany.
A while back there was an article in the Hardball Times about the cyclical nature of contention for most teams. One thing mentioned was that when the winning stops, it's a couple of years of failed contention before teams go into true rebuild.
Also mentioned was the one outlier - the 2014 Braves. 4 seasons of contention, 3 playoffs, 89-96 wins. 79-83 in 2014 and immediately go into rebuild, losing 90 games 3 seasons in a row.

One may think Atlanta's GM was smarter than most. But it was Frank Wren - he wasn't. It wasn't until looking at attendance figures it hit me. Teams get large boosts in attendance 2 ways. First is winning, with the biggest jump the year after the winning starts. Second is opening a new facility.

Those 4 years of Braves contention, they averaged about 2.4 million. The first 2 90 loss seasons they drew 2 million both years despite Turner Field being on its last legs. They lost 90 again when SunTrust park opened and drew over 2.5 million.

They now have back-to-back division titles and a new facility and drew under 2.7 million this year. It seems in Atlanta winning or losing isn't impacting attendance anywhere close to to the way it does here. It hardly seems to be impacting it at all.

Maybe the reason Wren started the rebuild a year earlier than most wasn't that he was smarter than other GM's. Maybe it's ownership giving him the go-ahead a year earlier than most other owners since their attendance impact would be marginal anyway. If you're not going to con hardly any fans into coming out to watch a team the FO knows has little or no chance of contention, why bother with the con at all. Get the rebuild started.
James W - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#382221) #
The first 2 90 loss seasons they drew 2 million both years despite Turner Field being on its last legs.

Well it (Turner Field) was in its 19th season in 2015. Practically held together by silly putty.
uglyone - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#382224) #
Jays Attendance

(Rogers Buys Team)
2001: 23,647 (#23)
(Ricciardi Hired)
2002: 20,208 (#25)
2003: 22,215 (#23)
2004: 23,457 (#24)
2005: 24,876 (#23)
2006: 28,422 (#18)
2007: 29,143 (#18)
2008: 29,626 (#18)
2009: 23,162 (#22)
(Anthopolous Hired)
2010: 20,068 (#26)
2011: 22,445 (#25)
2012: 25,921 (#23)
2013: 31,315 (#14)
2014: 29,327 (#17)
2015: 34,504 (#8)
(Anthoplous Fired)
2016: 41,880 (#3)
2017: 39,554 (#5)
2018: 29,066 (#13)
2019: 21,606 (#22)

right back into Rogers' comfort zone.
bpoz - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#382225) #
Thanks hypo for your post about attendance. IMO you have graduated to the category of "advanced".

One statistic that I do understand reasonably well is that one third will advance, one third will regress and one third will stay the same.

Speaking of our prospect list. I am eagerly looking forward to it. End of the month I expect.

My list may have 60 names. I have to fit in the 2 guys from the Netherlands.
Vulg - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#382226) #
Maybe the reason Wren started the rebuild a year earlier than most wasn't that he was smarter than other GM's. Maybe it's ownership giving him the go-ahead a year earlier than most other owners since their attendance impact would be marginal anyway. If you're not going to con hardly any fans into coming out to watch a team the FO knows has little or no chance of contention, why bother with the con at all. Get the rebuild started.

I would say he was ahead of his time. Things have been pushed to the extreme in all of the major sports - if you're not contending, you're rebuilding. Teams consistently get into trouble when they pussyfoot around a rebuild, pander to fans or try to squint real hard to justify a marginal playoff berth.

I'm not sure attendance is the primary driver, but I'm sure it factors in. I just think if you're going to make the most of your competitive windows you have to be ruthless about both the teardown and then the build-up for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is maximizing the return on your current veterans.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#382227) #
Question: which trade (or trade that reportedly could have been made) would have produced more overall value for the Jays?

1. Trading for JD prior to the 2015 season

2. Trading JD for Jack Flaherty (plus another prospect) prior to the 2018 season

If Flaherty stays on his current trajectory, you could make the case that it’s the latter. If in fact the Cardinals offered that package, the failure to accept it may go down as one of the defining transactions not made by this front office.
bpoz - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#382228) #
I believe Boston has had the highest payroll for maybe the last 2 years. Their ownership got concerned enough to fire Dombrowski.

Betts is going to test Free Agency and has been honest enough to say so. The QO IMO should not be an obstacle to him unless something goes horribly wrong in 2020 for him. Similar to Donaldson.

D Price out pitched Verlander last year. That was shocking considering his playoff history. His contract is very expensive. He could be moved if Boston wants to eat half of it. However they always seem to be too desperate to compete and need a good rotation to do that.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#382229) #
Scott with three T's you overestimate the value of a rental player even with 7 WAR and underestimate the value of top 100 prospects of which both Pearson (top 10) and Groshans are.

What Dan Gordon said, basically.


Greenfrog,

you're always bemoaning this front office after the fact. Flaherty at the time of the offer was a pitcher with 21IP in the big leagues and an ERA over 6.00 in MLB. He had amazing stats in the minors.

Josh Donaldson just came off a half season of utter dominance, 8 WAR pace. It's not shocking that Toronto held onto Donaldson for 2018 and declined the offer of a pitching prospect. I don't think that decision will be a defining one for this front office since they are drafting and collecting lots of similar SP prospects. The offer at the time was a challenge trade and a good one and I think it would have been fair to accept or decline it. I get the sense that you think the front office declined a no brainer offer from the Cardinals because you're looking at an Ace, 2 years after the fact. It was a prospect for MVP offer that was declined. That's going to happen 50% of the time and nobody bemoans it.
hypobole - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#382230) #
Vulg, no tear-down happens without ownership's approval. And the Braves ownership thought so highly of Wren being ahead of his time they promptly fired him, and he hasn't held a GM job since.
As long as quasi-competitive teams can draw fans to the park and add to the owners bottom line, why should the owner approve a teardown?

You're right there may be other factors - Bochy's last season in San Fran being an example. But one can see by Zaidi's moves that he knew the team wasn't good enough to win. However his hand was forced by the team being "competitive".

It's all about the money.
Vulg - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#382231) #
Question: which trade (or trade that reportedly could have been made) would have produced more overall value for the Jays?

I think prior to the 2016 season was the natural inflection point. JD had just posted a WAR over 7 and even as hawkish as I am about aggressively starting a re-build, I think going for it in 2015 was defensible. In hindsight, the team wasn't all-in for 2016.

As for Flaherty vs. a hypothetical package earlier in JD's tenure, man, that's hard to say. It's fun to think about what the current core would look like with another 2-3 strong pieces in the pipeline (and how that would compare to Flaherty), but painful at the same time.
SK in NJ - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#382232) #
I think it is clear that the Jays did not rebuild sooner because of the 2017 attendance figures. It would have made sense to start it at the 2017 trade deadline, but with the 2nd WC team in 2017 getting in with 85 wins (providing some sense of hope in 2018) and Rogers likely wanting no part of the attendance drop that comes with a rebuilding team after just drawing over $3 million fans, it was simply not meant to be.

MLB.com just had an article out that said the following:

"When the Braves agreed to a one-year, $23 million deal with Donaldson around Thanksgiving, the Cardinals were denied their bid to land the former American League MVP Award winner. They attempted to acquire the veteran third baseman from the Blue Jays during the 2017 season, but they were never willing to include Jack Flaherty in the trade. Another attempt was made to complete a waiver deal in August '18."

Of course no one will know what was truly offered, but it seems pointless to keep harping on Flaherty at this point.
Vulg - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#382233) #
Apologies for consecutive posts but just wanted to quickly say, @Hypobole - I couldn't agree more, and that's where most of my frustration lies, with ownership. I have little doubt that Rogers played a hand in hanging on to JD for too long and no doubt that they set the budget every year and constrain the FO in terms of how to flex their muscle in that regard.

My frustration with Atkins has been specific (poor value returned in key trades, favors a profile of hitter I don't like), but I acknowledge the positives as well (solid drafting, solid prospect development).

I wouldn't know where to begin with in terms of assessing Shapiro. I fall asleep whenever he talks.
uglyone - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#382234) #
I hesitate to treat Atkins as the actual GM.

From what I understand, Shapiro is still fills the more traditional definition of that job.
bpoz - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#382235) #
Starting the tear down and rebuild after 2015 and/or 2016 would have been impossible for the fans to accept.

For the record I believed that we could have competed in both 2017 and 2018. The question is what did the FO believe about rebuilding after 2016 or 2017? I believe that Shapiro said that he would have started the rebuild 2 years ago. I don't know when he made that statement.

I expected Donaldson to be traded after the 2017 season because I got swayed by the rumors. AA warned us that rumors are mainly fake.

Flaherty's 2017 ML numbers are basically the same as Zeuch and Kay. I imagine that the scouting report by real scouts gave him a higher evaluation than our 2 rookies. Flaherty did have an outstanding 2018 and 2019.

hypobole - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#382236) #
Here's my take on Rogers and the next couple of seasons. Let's start with the premise they're not total idiots. The fanbase over the past 4 seasons has sent them 2 clear messages. Win and we'll flock to the RC. Pre-planned non-competitiveness will tank attendance.

There is both good and bad here. We'll see how this off-season and especially the next plays out. But it's in their best interests and their bottom line to inject money into the team, especially because they own the broadcast rights as well. They'll give the FO money to spend. How well they spend it will determine future actions both on 2021 payroll and whether Shapiro/Atkins keep their jobs.But this has the makings of a solid core for the next 6 years.

However when the cycle takes a downturn, hopefully not for many years, the team will wallow in mediocrity no matter how obvious it is to the FO a rebuild is required, because there won't be any smart sell-off. Rogers will wait until things pretty well hit rock bottom and attendance numbers force their hand before allowing the rebuild.
James W - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#382237) #
Here's my take on Rogers and the next couple of seasons. Let's start with the premise they're not total idiots.

Sorry, does not compute.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#382238) #
That's precisely my view, hypobole. 

If you look at Houston's attendance, you don't see the kind of sensitivity to performance that you see here.  In 2011, in their 3rd straight losing year, they drew 2 million fans.  They fell further from that with 3 more losing seasons, but have now had 5 good (including 3 great) seasons in row, but still haven't drawn 3 million fans.

I don't care whether they say they are going to compete or not, but I do care whether they act as if they are going to. 

bpoz - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#382239) #
I agree with hypobole.
hypobole - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#382240) #
Rogers will have to act, they know they'll have to spend money to make more money. Is there an MLB franchise with more to gain?
But just as they lost a lot of faith in AA after bumping payroll for that disaster of a 2013 team, I don't think they fully trust this FO either after the FA moves they made prior to the 2017 season.

I see them ponying up enough to hopefully get the team to respectability and if they feel the money was wisely spent, they'll up payroll further, and hopefully much further. If the money's spent on Morales-type deals, they'll find somebody else to run the show.

Or maybe James and uo are right, they're idiots whose comfort zone is a half-empty stadium.
85bluejay - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#382241) #
Spending money is great, spending money wisely is more important to sustained success - If the Jays had done the Harper/Machado contracts I'd have given a thumbs down.
John Northey - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#382243) #
Houston is a lock for high attendance but when they sucked they literally had 0.0 ratings for the games on TV. IE: too few watching for it to be recorded.

Tampa is a lock for low attendance. They are getting better TV ratings but still under 100k households which by Jays standards would be around the 2004 season when the team sucked. No wonder they want to play some games in Montreal now.
Spifficus - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#382245) #
If I remember right, Crane had some TV shenanigans going on around the time of the sale of the Astros. I can't remember the specifics, but I think it involved coverage reductions. Skimming though the wiki now, it looks like it was a bit of a mess, with bankruptcies, carriage controversies and opt-outs galore. Throw a bottomed-out team on that, and I can see why they had some, erm, viewership issues.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#382248) #
SK in NJ, this article indicates that the Jays were in fact offered Flaherty plus another player for JD. The source is Bob Nightengale, relying on an anonymous Jays official.

https://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/1605091

I mentioned this because of the magnitude of the error on the part of the front office (if the story is true). That is, ending up with Merryweather instead of a fully controllable #1 starting pitcher for Donaldson. It’s newsworthy in my view (akin to deciding not to draft Tulowitzki).

Agreed that on n’y peut rien at this point, though.
scottt - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#382250) #
(Ricciardi Hired)
2002: 20,208 (#25)  \
2003: 22,215 (#23)  |
2004: 23,457 (#24)  | The Lean Years.
2005: 24,876 (#23)  /
2006: 28,422 (#18) \
2007: 29,143 (#18) | The competitive years (Big Run Differential, so-so results)
2008: 29,626 (#18) /
2009: 23,162 (#22) The rebuild year, Cito manages, 75 wins but 84 by Pytag (no pitching)
(Ricciardi Fired) AA Promoted.
2010: 20,008 (#26) \
2011: 22,445 (#25) | The lean years. No progression, Farrell is hired, 3 4th place finishes
2012: 25,921 (#23) /
2013: 31,315 (#14) The Miami trade, Gibby returns. Huge hype, team is favorite to win but finishes last.
2014: 29,327 (#17) Finally a 3rd place. Back to the 2006-8 era.
2015: 34,504 (#8) Same up to the trade deadline. Then AA Cash the farm. Playoffs!
(Anthopoulos Leaves) Shapiro takes over
2016: 41,880 (#3) We are the champions. Sorta. Playoffs again.
2017: 39,554 (#5) We are almost the champions. No playoffs.Mostly due to injuries and age.
2018: 29,066 (#13)Same thing.
2019: 21,606 (#22) Atkins cashes all the remaining contracts. They lose 6 more games than the previous  year.
2020 ?

A .500 team should draw at least 25K.
They can't acquire anybody who would make the favorites, but finishing 3rd would make it close to 30k.
 Might depend on Boston.
scottt - Thursday, October 03 2019 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#382251) #
Plus another? Would have taken a top 25 prospect to seal a deal there.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with Betts
They really want a huge package for him.

BlueJayWay - Friday, October 04 2019 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#382264) #
Apologies for consecutive posts but just wanted to quickly say, @Hypobole - I couldn't agree more, and that's where most of my frustration lies, with ownership. I have little doubt that Rogers played a hand in hanging on to JD for too long and no doubt that they set the budget every year and constrain the FO in terms of how to flex their muscle in that regard.

Agreed. I've been assuming all along that it's been Rogers behind holding onto Donaldson, not the front office. Shapiro was clear that he wanted to rebuild the moment he got here. Not only did Rogers "play a hand" in holding onto JD, I'm quite sure the FO was told specifically not to deal him.
John Northey - Friday, October 04 2019 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#382283) #
Thinking of the draft...who is the best player taken by year by the Jays? And when? Using WAR and B-R draft lists and only counting guys who signed...

2017/18/19 - none reached majors yet.
2016: Cavan Biggio 2.8 (5th round 162nd), Bo at 2.1 (2nd round 66th)
2015: Travis Bergen -0.1 only one to reach so far (7th round 212th) - looks like a disaster draft
2014: Lane Thomas 0.6 round 5 144, 5 others also (SRF, Romano, Hoffman, McBroom, Shafer)
2013: Matthew Boyd 6.7 (6th round 175th), 9 others (including Tellez, Graveman, Jansen, Mayza, Davis)
2012: Marcus Stroman 14.6 (1st round 22nd), 6 others (inc Alford, Borucki)
2011: Kevin Pillar 15.6 (32nd round, 979), 8 others (including Dwight Smith Jr -0.9)
2010: Noah Syndergaard 15.4 (1st, 38th), 9 others (inc Sanchez, Dyson, Barnes, Pompey) plus unsigned Kris Bryant
2009: Yan Gomes 12.9 (10th 310), 9 others plus unsigned Paxton
2008: Eric Thames 3.4 (7th 219th), 6 others
2007: Brett Cecil 6.6 (1st, 38th), 7 others

Getting too tired to do more. So best each year was 1st round in 2012, 2010, and 2007 only over 10 years. A few disaster drafts (2015, 2014, 2008 was bad). No 20 WAR guys in a decade of drafting kind of sucks although 2016 should change that with Biggio & Bo with any luck. SRF could recover the 2014 one. But most I'd say are set in stone now.
scottt - Saturday, October 05 2019 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#382284) #
The draft has changed so much. The Jays no longer receive 1 round draft picks for losing restricted free agents. The money spent in the draft is now tightly controlled. "Signability" is now a minor concern.
John Northey - Saturday, October 05 2019 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#382285) #
Signability has always been an issue.

Back in 1990 there was a clear #1 choice in the draft - Todd Van Poppel was super-hyped at the time, like Bryce Harper level, but Atlanta was at the time viewed as a poor team (had sucked for a long time and was low on cash) so they drafted a more affordable guy in Chipper Jones. Many said they made a mistake. Chipper of course is in the HOF now and Todd Van Poppel has been forgotten with his negative lifetime WAR (-0.3 in 907 IP).

The Jays in the 90's often took a 'signable' pick instead of wasting it on a no chance guy. Thus getting guys like Vernon Wells, Felipe Lopez, and Alex Rios instead of higher ranked guys those years. I remember online discussions about the Jays penny pinching at the time.

The big trick is to make smart choices. To have scouts who do a good job hunting down bargains so you have more cash for later rounds. Then to draft and sign those first 10 rounds (guys like Graveman) so you can take more chances in round 11 and beyond (such as on Tellez).
bpoz - Saturday, October 05 2019 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#382286) #
I was amazed that they managed to sign all 10 picks in the latest draft. I really worried about Philip Clarke.

When all were successfully signed I concluded that they were very good at doing their homework.
hypobole - Saturday, October 05 2019 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#382287) #
bpoz, it almost never happens that a team will draft a guy from rounds 4-10 they can't sign. This draft only 2 - Rangers 7th round and Cubs 10th round. 2018 everyone picked in rounds 4-10 signed.
bpoz - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#382291) #
Thanks Hypobole. I worried about P Clarke a lot because he was unprotected. D Brown did not matter as it was protected. School commitments delayed their signings. Fuel to the fire.

Next year I will not worry.
bpoz - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#382292) #
Back to the topic of the jays contending, making the playoffs and winning a round or 2.

Pitching seems to be the strongest foundation to build on.

So Atkins goal to search hard for pitching is good to hear. Significant pitching.
scottt - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#382293) #
Well, if you're paying the guy 6M and nobody can offer more, might as well take the best guy available.
Manoah took slot. They had to go over slot for Williams and Brown.

AA took a lot of guys he couldn't sign.
2015: second round Brady Singer Signed with KC in 2018, top 100 prospect now.
2013. first round Phillip Bickford, signed with SF 2 years later, dropped 7 spots.
2011, first round Tyler Beede, Signed with SF in 2014, up 7 spots (Stroman was better)

It's not necessary bad, if you get the pick back. AA still did it with the Braves.

Also there was Paxton who dropped from 31st overall in 2009 to the 4th round in 2010.
He still got almost 1M, which would be hard to do today.

First rounders like Deck McGuire and D. J Davis, sure looked like signability picks to me.

So far Tellez has been more bark than bite.
There's really not a lot of late round Blue Jays picks who have done anything since Pillar who signed for half nothing.


scottt - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#382296) #
A lot of teams will be looking for pitching.

NYY will have to replace Sabathia.
Boston will have to replace Porcello.
Baltimore will look for someone they can flip at the deadline.
Minnesota will have to replace Odorizzi. Maybe more.
Detroit might be getting close to trying again.
Same for the White Sox.
KC will probably look for someone to flip.
The Angels need one or  2 pitchers.
Houston will have to replace Cole.
The A's will have to replace Anderson.
The Mariners will have to replace Hernandez.
The Mets will have to replace Wheeler.
The Cubs will have to replace Hamels.
The Phillies will probably look for a starter.
The Cards will have to replace Wainwright.
The Dodgers have to replace Ryu.
SF probably signs someone to flip.
Colorado, Arizona, Milwaukee, all look weak on pitching.

Tampa  looks set.
Cleveland should be fine.
No idea what the Pirates are doing.
I assume Atlanta will replace Keuchel internally.
Washington still looks set as Hellickson wasn't really doing anything for them.
Cincinnati will try for a one year playoffs run, but their pitching looks set.
Not clear what Texas does.
The Marlins are probably doing nothing.

So let's hope that Tony Clark is right and no GMs wants to spend any money so the Jays can just pick and choose whoever they want.
Yeah, right.


hypobole - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#382299) #
The SP's the Jays should and hopefully will target are the preferably younger mid-tier. By that I mean the top end of those without QO's attached that should still contribute in 2021. Teams like the Tigers, Royals, O's, will stick to the Shoemaker/Buchholz types. If Cole signs early, that team probably won't also be in on the mid-tier afterward.
Vulg - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#382305) #
Here's my take on Rogers and the next couple of seasons. Let's start with the premise they're not total idiots.

The issue isn't intelligence or competence, it's about having interests aligned. It's generally true that team success = financial success, but because the Jays fall under Rogers' Media division and impact their quarterly results directly (unlike investments in other companies, like MLSE), you get some weird deviation on a decision-by-decision basis. Preserving and growing shareholder value will always trump any other priority.

This is how they might conclude that hanging on to JD for an additional 4 quarters in an attempt to slow attendance decline is worth sacrificing a better return in trade, or that a poor-man's version of Edwin that hopefully produces 80% of his value is worth saving an extra $8M in payroll expense, regardless of the former's higher 'resale' value. This is basically how one of the richest ownership entities (assets, revenue, income, valuation - name it) in one of the largest markets on the continent spends like a middling-to-lower class team.

There will obviously be more investment in payroll for 2020 (only the Rays have less committed to their team next year). As you allude, not doing so would do real harm to the brand at this point. Here's hoping they've picked the guys who will invest wisely.
scottt - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#382306) #
Cole is a Boras client. I don't see him signing early.
It's more likely we'll see the field narrowing down slowly to a few teams and then a lot of back and forth.

scottt - Sunday, October 06 2019 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#382307) #
I'm told Texas will spend a ton because their new ballpark will boost attendance.
Mike Green - Monday, October 07 2019 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#382318) #
Apparently the Red Sox are considering non-tendering Jackie Bradley Jr.  He's in his final arb. year.  If non-tendered, he'd make a nice fit here in a platoon role. 
Mike Green - Monday, October 07 2019 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#382319) #
The October 7 birthday boys are good, but they need to make a deal.  The 7 best position players are outfielders and third basemen, led by Mookie Betts, Evan Longoria and Chuck Klein.  Brickyard Kennedy, Bill Walker, Mike Foltynewicz and Alex Cobb make for a decent front four in the rotation, but still. A pitcher without a double play combination and a catcher is like a bagel without butter, let alone smoked salmon and cream cheese. 
mathesond - Monday, October 07 2019 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#382320) #
No love for Fleet Walker behind the dish? Granted, he only played 1 season, at it was in 1884, but perhaps his skin colour had something to do with the brevity of his career...
Mike Green - Monday, October 07 2019 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#382322) #
Thanks, mathesond.  Moses Fleetwood Walker is a helluva name, and he had a helluva bio to match. 
dan gordon - Monday, October 07 2019 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#382324) #
Bradley Jr. might be interesting, but keep in mind the park has been helping him out a lot. His career road slash line is very unimpressive, at .213/.295/.382/.677. He's a bit better than that if used only against righties, because his power vanishes against lefties. Not sure I'd want to add another .300ish on base guy to the lineup. He used to be a fine defensive CF, but his range is declining, and he has produced 0.4 dWAR each of the last 2 years after being in the 1.5 to 2.0 range previously. He made $8.5 million last year, and will turn 30 shortly after the start of next season. He's not the base stealer he used to be, either. I can see Boston wanting to non-tender him.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 08 2019 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#382330) #
An early ZIPS summary courtesy of Ben Nicholson-Smith.  I'll take the over on Biggio, Gurriel Jr. and Jansen, and the under on Vlad Jr. and Fisher. The pitching projections strike me as quite reasonable all the way around- I'd project Zeuch as a lot better than that, but I'll acknowledge the subjectivity. 

They need 10-12 wins from off-season acquisitions- from a CFer, a 3B/1B, a DH, a SP or two.  They have 1230 perfectly decent innings accounted for in the ZIPS projection- in this case, they don't need bulk, they need quality, maybe one ace starter and one Hudson/Phelps style acquisition for the pen. 
scottt - Tuesday, October 08 2019 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#382331) #
I think having the DH open will give them many options.
Hernandez ended  up with a 105 OPS+ and Grichuk only 93.
Who has more upside?

The projection has Tellez hitting 20 homers, he just hit 21 in 111 games.
McKinney is predicted to hit a tad worse and doesn't really have a position.

The thing that jumps up for me is that Drury is projected to be worse than replacement level. Dump him now.
Sign a real utility if you want to improve the lineup, but don't try to find 7, 8, 9 hitters who will be better than the top 4.
Fisher projects to be playable.

Stop talking about signing end of rotation guys, they have 7 or 8 of those already.

hypobole - Wednesday, October 09 2019 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#382338) #
McKinney is predicted to hit a tad worse and doesn't really have a position.

Is Buffalo a position?
mathesond - Wednesday, October 09 2019 @ 07:19 AM EDT (#382340) #
Is Buffalo a position?

Better check the Kama Sutra.
scottt - Wednesday, October 09 2019 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#382342) #
Sorry, not getting it.

He's basically a 4th outfielder, DH, maybe 1B, but not sure how he'd rate defensively there.
Right now, he's below average on fielding and on hitting.
I'd rather play Alford, who should have some value defensively and Fisher who projects to be almost as valuable as Hernandez and Grichuk.

scottt - Wednesday, October 09 2019 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#382364) #
mlbtraderumors has arb projections

Ken Giles $8.4MM
Matt Shoemaker $3.8MM
Ryan Tepera $1.6MM
 Derek Law $1.3MM

 my non tender candidates

Devon Travis $1.95MM
Brandon Drury $2.5MM
Luke Maile $800K
Ryan Dull $800K
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#382452) #
I'm reading that Shapiro wants an extension before the beginning of his last year.

In Arizona, 4 Blue Jays hare having encouraging results.

Player Avg, OBP, SLG, OPS
Warmoth .308, .372, .385, 757
Large .275, .388, .375, .763
Smith .130, .184, .217, .401

Player IP   K/9, BB/9, WHIP, ERA
Buffo 6.2 6.8, 8.1, 2.250, 8.10
Ellenbest 7.1 7.4, 2.5, 0.682  0
Rees 6.1 14.2, 1.4, 0.789, 0
Spraker 7.2 10.6, 5.9, 2.087, 8.22

Warmoth is in the picture for super utility role and Large is a switch hitter with a decent eye, basically a Smoak type.
The ceiling on this guys aren't that high, but they could push other more talented players who aren't working as hard.
Smith must be having a complete breakdown. I'm afraid that his troubles are more mental than mechanical.

For the pitchers, you can see the stuff and the control.
Rees is striking out more than 2 per innings without walking anyone.
Ellenbest must be generating a lot of weak contact or he's just really lucky.
The other 2 are not throwing enough strikes.

scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#382456) #
Buffo was drafted in the 34th round 2 years ago.
Spraker was drafted in the 31st round, same draft.
Rees went undrafted that year and signed for 1K as a last minute replacement to fill a roster.
Ellenbest was drafted in the 26th round, the year prior.

Those are long odds guys like Shoemaker and Waguespack.


bpoz - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#382459) #
I am just going to believe that the Jay's did not bother to send any of their high ranked prospects. I cannot grasp their reasoning. Last year Bichette was supposed to go but refused, saying that the long season had worn him out.

Many other teams did send some top prospects.
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#382461) #
I don't know about Bichette. Guerrero was there because he had missed time due to his knee injury.
Biggio was there to spend some time in the outfield. That's because Gurriel was still being tried in the infield.
There wasn't really a reason for Bichette to be there.

The enigmatic Merryweather is supposed to be there, but hasn't pitched.

There were  a number of AFL rules this year.
It now starts earlier so players don't have to shut down and get going again.
In the past, mostly AA and AAA players were eligible with one players below AA allowed per team.
No longer.
Only one foreign players were allowed per team and there was a restriction on how long a player had to be off the DL.
No longer.
Players with over one year of MLB service time were excluded.
No longer.

With those changes, it was expected that teams would send better prospects to the AFL and that more MLB players would be there and raise the level of play.

The Jays didn't have top prospects in the upper minors and most of the pitchers had already reached their inning targets.
I thought Murphy would have been there.
Still, the four pitchers selected were coming off strong years.
Large barely played last year but put up great numbers.
Large is playing 3B in Arizona and Warmoth is playing 2B and LF.
They are both being groomed for utility depth.

Things should get more interesting next year with the next wave of prospects





scottt - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#382500) #
Once again the Blue Jays will play 2 exhibition games in Montreal.
This time, it's the Yankees who will be the visitors on March 22, 23.

That's a little surprising.
I guess we'll get to see some pitchers who haven't quite made the team, plus a lot of Yankees relievers.
Could be fun.

scottt - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 07:03 AM EDT (#382503) #
MLBtraderumors has an article on Pillar. He's going to cost almost 10M and despite having led the Giants in most counting stats categories, he's still not getting on base. Lowered defense, same offense as always. It seems most fans want him back. He's  a nice problem not to have.
scottt - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#382533) #
Shapiro spoke at length about the Nationals, a team with young players and veterans who just made it to the World Series.
Shapiro's idea of a contending team has "frontline starting pitching" and "players in a variety of career stages".

So looking back that way, the 2017-2018 Blue Jays had the pitching on paper but were lacking the young player component.
Shapiro said the contending team "need to have a balance".  Which might means the Blue Jays need both to retain the next wave of prospects but also acquire some veterans in the meanwhile.

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