Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Clearly, New Thread is needed.

In this limbo between the end of the World Series and the commencement of the Winter Meetings, the biggest story these days revolves around the Houston Astros and their various efforts to game the system. Baseball has always been rather proud of its long history of skullduggery, but certain methods of beating the rule book have always been regarded as beyond the pale. Furthermore, the traditional solution to teams stealing the catcher's signs seems to have fallen out of use.  Danny Farquhar spoke of how angry he was to hear the bashing of the bat before he threw a changeup. It seems not have occurred to him to greet the batter hanging over the plate looking for a breaking ball with a fastball up and in. (It used to work pretty well. The batter's life would flash before his eyes and the banging on the drum would henceforth only bring back scary memories. I suppose that's just a little too old school.)

Anyway, we can expect MLB to be chatting with Jays hitting coach Dave Hudgens, among many, many others. And it's extremely unlikely that the Astros are the only team up to this sort of high jinks - the Astros merely seem to be unique in the modern game for their general disdain for what anyone thinks of anything they do.
Watch Out For the Cheater | 189 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
PeterG - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 05:05 PM EST (#383153) #
Did anyone else hear or see interview with Tim Leiper today. He said sign stealing electronically and cheating is rampant and is ruining some player's careers. He said it must be stopped and can easily be done by prohibiting any electronic device in dugout or clubhouse during game with severe penalties if caught cheating.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 05:12 PM EST (#383154) #
Rampant sign-stealing eh?  If it's from the a runner on second, I guess that's been a part of the game forever, but using a TV feed...Brother. 

It's funny that the Astros would be involved because of the Cardinals' theft of data from Luhnow's computer. 
John Northey - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 06:35 PM EST (#383155) #
In truth if I ran a team I'd have been doing that - also an ear piece for every player to hear from the bench, screw signs. Until banned clearly why not? But now that it has been caught time to ban all screens from dugouts. I agree with the 'if you can tell they are stealing signs switch up a fastball for the usual breaking ball sign' not aimed at the head but even down the pipe just to mess with their heads so they stop thinking that they have it right.
Chuck - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 07:14 PM EST (#383156) #
Kevin Pillar received a 10th place vote in the MVP voting. I know this is often a throwaway symbolic vote to call out an otherwise overlooked player. But still.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 07:29 PM EST (#383157) #
Pillar led or tied for the lead in almost all offensive counting stats for the Giants: hits, runs, rbis, doubles, triples, home runs and steals.

A remarkable accomplishment for a player who was nevertheless below-average.
scottt - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 07:49 PM EST (#383158) #
Odorizzi takes the QO. Not sure if he keeps it at one year or try to convert that to a multiyear deal. One year worked for Ryu.
Abreu also stayed with the White Sox which was also expected.
Interesting that Will Smith was in a rush to sign for 3/40M.

Wheeler is probably the only QO guy who makes sense for the Jays.

Thomas - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 09:34 PM EST (#383159) #
Kevin Pillar received a 10th place vote in the MVP voting. I know this is often a throwaway symbolic vote to call out an otherwise overlooked player. But still.

That's never been my impression of a 10th place vote on MVP ballot. I may be wrong, but I have thought writers always treat all 10 places as legit votes. And, the other players on the 10th place votes all look like legit votes (Scherzer, Kolten Wong and Eugenio Suarez are the only other players to just pick up 10th place votes and never place higher on a ballot).

My only knowledge of the phenomenon you describe is in HOF voting, where sometimes a voter will cast a vote for a favourite player or to give someone recognition when it's clear they will drop off the ballot after their first year.

On the other hand, I don't have a great alternate explanation for that vote...

greenfrog - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 10:22 PM EST (#383160) #
Here's a question: if you were Shapiro, what one (plausible) free agent acquisition would you make this off-season? Assume that Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg are unrealistic options for the Blue Jays.

Sign Wheeler for 4/$70-80m? Gibson for 3/$50m? Pineda? Gonzalez?

I'm sure the Jays have their eyes on at least one or two of those four, especially now that Odorizzi has decided to stay within his comfort zone in Minnesota.

Sign Grandal and trade Jansen for a young starting pitcher?
AWeb - Thursday, November 14 2019 @ 10:38 PM EST (#383161) #
By baseball reference, 1.4 WAR for Pillar is the lowest total to get an MVP vote since 2012 when a 40 year old Raul Ibanez got one for a.240/.308/.453, 0.5 WAR line for the Yankees in 384 ABs. That one was definitely a "thanks for the career" kinda' vote, except Ibanez was way better at age 41. That includes closers by the way. I think it must have been a homer vote for Pillar.

Hopefully a Jay or two earns some MVP votes, even down-ballot, in 2020.
Chuck - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 05:19 AM EST (#383162) #
That's never been my impression of a 10th place vote on MVP ballot.

Perhaps you are right and that I am conflating this with HoF voting.

Jonny German - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 05:55 AM EST (#383163) #
I think I'd go with Wheeler if the I was going to sign one big-ticket free agent. He may not have as much potential ceiling as Bumgarner or Ryu, but for me he feels like he has less downside risk.

I know Dallas Keuchel isn't a popular pick, but if I were the Jays I'd be interested depending on what their scouts think of him.

I'm against the concept of trading Jansen or McGuire, but I'd be open to dealing one of Moreno or Kirk as part of a big trade.
rpriske - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 06:58 AM EST (#383164) #
How could the Jays have been in on a player who took a QO? If they weren't going to be offering him better than that, why bother talking to him at all?
scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 07:55 AM EST (#383165) #
They weren't offering 17M per year. They offered something, which wasn't enough to tempt Odorizzi.
Perhaps it wasn't even the best offer he got.

It's worth considering that Ryu just took a QO and is in line for a decent payday.
Whereas Will Smith lives in Atlanta.
Maybe lesson learned from Keuchel and Kimbrel.

AWeb - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 08:13 AM EST (#383166) #
I don't doubt that agents put out feelers prior to the QO period being over (Smith immediately signing makes that pretty obvious), but the Jays couldn't, by rule at least, make Odorizzi an offer prior to him accepting the QO. I don't think he can convert it to a multi-year deal either. Once you accept it, that's your contract. If the Twins, or Orodizzi, wanted something longer-term, they had the last two weeks to figure it out.

By the way, if the Jays paid a single player as much as the qualifying offer (the average of the top 125 players in MLB), they would instantly be the highest paid on the team. For 2020, that stands to be...let's see here...Tulowitzki @ $14 million. FFS.
greenfrog - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 09:08 AM EST (#383167) #
Odorizzi may have preferred to stay in Minnesota, making it harder to tempt him away with a multi-year contract.
Mike Green - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 09:08 AM EST (#383168) #
I'm against the concept of trading Jansen or McGuire, but I'd be open to dealing one of Moreno or Kirk as part of a big trade.

I agree.  I love both Moreno and Kirk, but balancing out your talent base so you have a young centerfielder in the system makes a lot of sense.  If they could find a team that is still early in the rebuilding stage and has a player like Mookie Wilson or Jon Jay in triple A (they both were 24 at that stage), that would be ideal.  You plug him in and he gives you 2-3 WAR in centerfield for 3 -5 years. 
scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 09:17 AM EST (#383169) #
I'm pretty sure that Estrada initially accepted a QO before converting it to a 2 year deal and even publicly stated that he would have gone 3 years for less AAV if offered.
bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 09:21 AM EST (#383170) #
I am pleasantly surprised that a significant number of Bauxites strongly believe that the Jays will be competitive in 2020. My reasoning is that there are many suggested moves and FA signings that are big ticket types. Z Wheeler who could be dominating and the ending of the youth movement rebuild by trading Jansen (youth).

I cannot get on board the competitive train because 67 wins to 95 wins seems too unlikely for me.

Also Atkins is talking about depth and significant contributions. I interpret Significant contributions as much better potentially than Buchholz and Richard. Scottt mentioned that Atkins said the more he talks about his plan the harder it will be to execute. So Atkins wants to be secretive. So I strongly believe that he is not the one talking about Wheeler and Jansen.

Shapiro is saying less depth additions and more of the significant variety. I feel that he is talking about a bigger % for significant than before. He said more like the 2015 off season. Happ and Estrada type moves when we were in our window of competitiveness. He mentioned Washington as a team for the Jays to model. Not TB. So big spending should happen.

scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 09:22 AM EST (#383171) #
Kirk and Moreno are pure lottery tickets, they're not even top 100 prospects.
It would probably take more than Jansen and Moreno to land a decent starting pitcher.
It took 3 good prospects to land Dickie.

scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 09:25 AM EST (#383172) #
They're better off just spending 68M on a pitcher than trading for Myers.
Mike Green - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 10:01 AM EST (#383173) #
I agree that the club is better off spending $68 million on a starting pitcher than attempting to acquire Wil Myers. 

If Moreno and Kirk don't have significant value, then you don't trade them.  If I had a club that wasn't ready to compete, had a good triple A oldish centerfield prospect of the Jay/Wilson type, a good high A centerfield prospect and a good low A centerfield prospect but a shortage of catcher prospects, I'd happily trade for the positional and competitive window advantage.  Whether there is a club that is a match with the Blue Jays is another story. 
uglyone - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 10:51 AM EST (#383175) #
They're not spending $68m on a pitcher.
uglyone - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 10:56 AM EST (#383176) #
I would trade jansen/McGuire well before moreno/Kirk tbh.

The real window for this org is with the current U-23 cohort.
scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:16 AM EST (#383177) #
The objective is not 95 wins.
The objective for the "more competitive" year is to see what you get from a full year of Bichette, Biggio, Guerrero and Gurriel and see who steps up and who needs to be replaced.  The objective is to start graduating pitchers.
If they can hang around .500 by the deadline, a wild card would still be in play.
If that's the case maybe they add instead of subtracting, but certainly not at the 2013 level.
It would be more like taking a guy from a team looking for salary relief or trading extra pieces for a guy who didn't find a better taker (like Smoak or Galvis).
The Nationals went on a rampage in September to make the playoffs. That's essentially the blueprint for 2020.

bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:19 AM EST (#383178) #
I agree with UO.

The AL East is a very tough division so I don't hurry the start of the competitive window. By the start of 2022 both the position and pitching roster should/may be a lot stronger. More experienced at least.

The payroll will go up when Vlad, Bo, Pearson, etc ... are due Arb assuming they prove to be good players. Ownership may not want to raise payroll to pay our own bad contracts and also add expensive talent. We can always trade bad contracts if we include some prospects.
SK in NJ - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:19 AM EST (#383179) #
Kirk finished in A+ and Moreno in A. Neither one figures to have that much value at the moment simply because prospects further away from the Majors are bigger risks in general. That could change dramatically a year from now as they get closer to the big leagues/higher minors.

I don't think the Jays need to trade anybody from their group of catchers, at least not yet. Jansen and McGuire can split time at catcher, and there doesn't appear to be an overlap in terms of where the minor league catchers can start (Adams in AAA, Kirk in AA, Moreno in A+ to start 2020 would be sensible). I wouldn't be against trading one of Jansen or McGuire, but I wouldn't trade Jansen/McGuire because of Moreno/Kirk. There is just way too much volatility with prospects that young to be planning years in advance. You only trade a catcher if it makes the team better, and/or if you can sign an upgrade at the same time.
Mike Green - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:40 AM EST (#383180) #
If the Blue Jays' competitive window begins in 2-3 years, they made a horrible error by advancing Bichette and VGJ through the system as fast as they did.  By doing so, they implicitly committed to making a real effort to win during their pre-arb years. 
bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:40 AM EST (#383181) #
This FO also used Jansen/McGuire at DH in 2018 so that they could get more ABs. Lansing had Danner, Gold and Moreno getting extra ABs at DH/1B. Gold played a lot of 1B.

Next year P Clarke is probably in A+.
scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:44 AM EST (#383182) #
That's not really true.

MLB pipeline's #1 prospect is Wander Franco, he finished in A+, #6 is Adley Rustchman who played 12 games in A ball, #8 is Bobby Witt Jr, who hasn't played above rookie ball.

The Jays have some decent prospects, but they're not as well regarded as Bichette and Guerrero were.
Next year's overall 5th pick could easily jump to the top of the Jays prospects.
There is a reason why all these other teams are tanking.

James W - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:55 AM EST (#383183) #
The Nationals went on a rampage in September to make the playoffs. That's essentially the blueprint for 2020.

Not just September. Washington was 18-8 in June, 15-10 in July, 19-7 in August, and 17-11 in September. They were legitimately one of the best teams in baseball from June onward.
scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:58 AM EST (#383184) #
Teams needs lots of catchers, just to handle all the pitchers.
There's nothing wrong with having depth at the higher minors.

The Yankees have used Romine as their main backup. He's well regarded and might find a starting job somewhere, like Cervelli did. Romine has had negative bWAR rating every years but the last 2 and will be 31 next year.
Having a good backup catcher is an easy way to win another game or two.
The Jays haven't had that too often. I wouldn't mess with that. They've been very patient with both Jansen and McGuire and it's good to have a real option at AAA developing.

By the way, as anyone mentioned that Ken Huckaby is the new Bisons coach?

bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 12:26 PM EST (#383185) #
Thanks Magpie for bringing up the Farquhar banging drum example. If found guilty then I hope Houston is severely penalized.

The best tools for prospects was mentioned in a prospect article. Kirk hit, Moreno field, C Young arm and Max Castillo control. They were all cheap signings.
bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 12:50 PM EST (#383186) #
Just heard Ben Cherington is the new GM of the Pirates.
scottt - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 01:35 PM EST (#383187) #
Cherington's skill is in stockpiling prospects.
He'll probably try to move Marte and Archer at peak value. 
The new Pirates GM will have a deep knowledge of the Blue Jays farm system.
Not sure that will lead to anything.

bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 02:11 PM EST (#383188) #
Archer and Marte are the Pirates 2 oldest players, born in 1988, everyone else is born in the 90s. If they go into full mode rebuild then those 2 are most likely traded.

At the end of the 2017 season A McCutchen FA at the end of 2018 and G Cole were traded. Then C Archer was added at the 2018 trade deadline for Glasnow and Meadows. All 3 players had years of control and Archer was considered the best. So trying to extend the window. The Pirates lost on every trade. Window closed.

In the draft the Jays get the 5th pick the Pirates 7th. I am interested in seeing which team will open their window 1st. AL East is much tougher than AL Central.
bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 02:22 PM EST (#383189) #
I am now a fan of rebuild strategies. The Pirates have a SS Oneil Cruz #3 prospect 6'6" has advanced to AA 119 ABs. His best tools are great power and arm.Can also run. He needs to be rule 5 protected.
bpoz - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 02:24 PM EST (#383190) #
Sorry!! Pirates are in the NL Central.
John Northey - Friday, November 15 2019 @ 10:51 PM EST (#383191) #
The Pirates had 7 pitchers with 10+ starts last year. None had an ERA+ of at least 100. Just one of the 7 was in the 90's even. Count all 14 who started at least once and you get 2 with an ERA+ over 100 - one had 1 start vs 57 relief apperances, the other a 105 in 7 starts (Tommy John surgery). Not a real match with the Jays as the Jays want starting pitching. Pirates are projected to be around $80 mil for 2020 so they aren't in a payroll crunch. I suspect they'd love to dump Gregory Polanco on anyone, but I doubt they'd give up prospects to clear his remaining $15.6 mil guaranteed.
christaylor - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 12:00 PM EST (#383192) #
We've seen an increasing number of catchers with info cards on their wrists, pitchers with cards in their hats, OF with positioning cards in their pockets. All of this makes me skeptical of earpieces and indifferent to video "cheating".

The best of the best humans (thinking Cito here) will still find things to pick-up on and it isn't as if a video feed or modern tech is a slam-dunk w/respect to intercepting the communication among the players and coaches. Fewer cameras and policing tech won't accomplish much and it really is just giving those with sign-reading talent a better view.

Personally, I'm in favor of letting teams innovate and I think this is a tempest in a teapot, chances are everyone around the league knew about what the Astros were doing in 2017 and if not after coaches/staff left that year, more people did. I'm open to changing my view, but I've just heard outrage, not any convincing arguments that what the Astros have done is qualitatively different from what is a long-standing tradition in baseball.
Chuck - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 01:15 PM EST (#383193) #
I'm open to changing my view, but I've just heard outrage

More and more, I am finding that these are words to live by in every aspect of life. I don't know if it's my imagination, but the outrage over everything is ubiquitous. And much of this, I feel, is faux outrage. Who has the energy to play that game?

GabrielSyme - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 04:05 PM EST (#383194) #
At the risk of being dismissed as just being outraged, I think it's utterly clear that what the Astros did was qualitatively different from anything accepted as legitimate in the game.

Firstly, this was against the rules. Everyone knew it was against the rules, and the Red Sox were punished that very season for breaking the same rule. Secondly, it is very different from runners on second relaying signs - everyone is aware that the runner is there, and the catcher can take the ordinary precautions.

Now, we should ask how serious this rule-breaking is. In my view, it is about as serious as it gets. Using a centre-field camera is dishonest and abusive - the catcher doesn't know it's there and it's not actually part of the actual team you're playing - a runner on second is part of the opposing team - a secret camera is not. So, it breaks the first principle of fair gamesmanship: it uses a resource beyond the actual team & coaching staff. Second, it fundamentally unbalances the quintessential confrontation in baseball - the confrontation between pitcher and batter. It is not occasional, like a fielder trying to pass off a trapped ball as a catch, or peripheral to the central action, like running outside the lane to first.

If you're not incensed by this kind of cheating, what kind of cheating would outrage you?
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 04:18 PM EST (#383195) #
Posters headlining the Astros controversy as "outrage" more than anything really sounds like you haven't read, seen or are following whats happening. So far:

- Video evidence of Houston using an off field camera to steal signs, relay them to someone in the players tunnel who would bang on a trash can for every change up. Besides clear evidence of cheating it's also equally obnoxious to hear either someone rattling a garbage can between pitches or watch evan Gattis foul off every pitch because he knows what's coming.

- multiple former Astros coming out and revealing the cheating system the Astros employed based on off field technology

- Carlos Beltran, Alex Cora and AJ Hinch came up with the scheme

- Astros denying allegations during the season eerily similar to their disengagement and throwaway remarks to the reporter who ended up costing the assistant GM his job

- scouts and former players upset because "careers have been lost" based on call ups and pitching blow ups against Houston

I fully expect Houston to lose multiple signing opportunities, draft picks and possibly their manager for a year. Boston and Mets may also have their managers suspended for a portion. Penalty has to be more severe than what the Braves received.

If you're MLB and have banned Pete Rose and others for life due to betting I don't know how you can not come down ridiculously hard on the Astros.

And if you're tone deaf to this cheating then you probably think Rose should be in baseball still and probably don't care if some players use steroids and others don't.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 04:19 PM EST (#383196) #
The fact that some of the Astros hitters asked not to be included in the scheme suggests that they perceived it as being ethically questionable (at best).
Chuck - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 04:57 PM EST (#383197) #
Posters headlining the Astros controversy as "outrage" more than anything else...

Posters plural? I was commenting on outrage in general, not outrage with respect to the Astros situation.

AWeb - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 06:10 PM EST (#383198) #
One other rule they were breaking was that both teams have to have access to the same equipment in the stadium. Home team versions can be nicer, but if the home team has access to something, the visiting team has to as well (this hasn't always been the case, but it is now). The most common example I saw cited somewhere is the bullpen phone. If one bullpen phone breaks, the other team isn't allowed to use theirs either. But it applies to monitors, batting cages, etc. This isn't a small breaking of that rule, it's a complete disregard for it. So MLB has something to apply here, not just a "seems skeevy" opinion. For Jays-fan selfish reasons, I'd love to see the Astros severly hamstrung for a while.They cheated and won a WS, there's almost no punishment that makes it not worth it, but it should be harsh. I thought the Red Sox got off way too easy in 2017 too. Maybe MLB should ban electronic devices of all kinds for players and coaches during the games. Replay would be better if teams didn't have a chance to look at a replay before asking for a review.

I'm one of those that thinks the Bobby Thompson HR highlight and that entire pennant chase are completely ruined by the now acknowledged cheating the Giants were doing using a telescope and electronic devices.
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 06:18 PM EST (#383199) #
"Posters" is just a general comment I don't want to label any one poster specifically and it's just an online forum I don't hold the written words here by posters to be a transcript of their life mantra or personal beliefs. It's all just general talk so no I'm not pointing at anyone poster specifically just generally at anyone that sides on the notion that the Astros aren't really cheating (and of course nothing wrong with differing opinions).
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 06:23 PM EST (#383200) #
I heard Buck Showalter on a Yes Network broadcast show and the commentators were going crazy calling for huge penalties against the Astros, but to be fair they were citing sanctions against the Red Sox, Braves, Saints and Patriots as parallels. When the guest Buck Showalter came on he was quick to defend AJ Hinch but at the same time he held back no bones about how he and the rest of baseball in general felt about the a nut shell "Astros went way to far, it's bad for baseball, ruined careers and there has to be a significant deterrent and punishment in 2020 that costs the team wins."

I saw the video on youtube where JomBoy Media had a post about it...probably the most important non MLB video source for millennials that baseball is trying to build an audience with...well he blasted the Astros and especially Hinch for being pompous.

Lastly, what I found really interesting is that Buck referred three times to hitters knowing what was coming "in Toronto," a few years back.
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 06:25 PM EST (#383201) #
One more thing to add. He never said Toronto was caught he just said they always knew what was coming so they must have been cheating, but he didn't say they cheated because they were never caught.

He cited other examples of "fair cheating," like when the Orioles knew that Gary Sanchez always spread his legs wider when calling for off speed then narrowed his stance when taking the fast pitches.
scottt - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 07:15 PM EST (#383202) #
Yeah, one of the most irritating thing about all this is the the Blue Jays "Man in white" seems to be the gold standard for illegally stealing sign, based on an ESPN article from 4 unnamed players.
There has been no official complaint to the league about the Blue Jays and the Man in White thing seems impractical at best.
The conclusion was that there was 6 Blue Jays with better splits at home than on the road.
I think a lot of that had to do with Bautista breaking out late and not testing positive to anything.

scottt - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 07:19 PM EST (#383203) #
Looking at the catcher is not considered fair, but a lot of catchers setup late, or fake and move, to counter that.
Also, the Orioles must have forgotten how to read Sanchez going by this year's Baltimore/NYY record.

scottt - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 07:33 PM EST (#383204) #
The Yankees got eliminated by the Astros twice and then by Boston--I think Boston's apple watch thing actually happened against the Yankees, too.
Certainly, if there is a team with a statistically suspect record it's the 2019 Yankees. Everybody who moved to NY instantly started hitting like an MVP this year.

The Astros got the Cy Young and the Rookie of the year and barely missed on the MVP.
Yordan Alvarez hit .272  on the road and .349 at home.

John Northey - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 09:35 PM EST (#383205) #
If they want to hit the Astros hard make it so their players are arbitration eligible at 2 years, free agents at 5 years for everyone in their system today. That would hit their pocketbook hard and cost them guys earlier and make it harder to trade those guys if that standard went with them.

A more likely punishment is draft picks and international signing money being cut significantly and the manager and GM being suspended for a year.
bpoz - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 09:37 PM EST (#383206) #
Thanks guys. Batter's Box is very classy. Your insights and politeness. Wow!!!
dan gordon - Saturday, November 16 2019 @ 09:49 PM EST (#383207) #
I certainly agree that using electronic devices to pick up signals is cheating and should not be tolerated. It will be interesting to see what happens to the Astros.

I hadn't heard about the Giants trying to cheat back in 1951 when they made their big turnaround to win the pennant. Just read an interesting article about it, and it points out that from July 20th, when they started their big run, to the end of the season, they hit .256 at home and .269 on the road. Prior to that, they were hitting .266 at home, and .252 on the road, so whatever they were doing, it didn't seem to help their hitters. The pitchers were the big difference - ERA of 3.47 at home and 4.49 on the road prior to July 20th, but then 2.90 at home and 2.93 on the road after July 20th. The Giants mainly used 3 starters that year, and 2 of them, Larry Jansen and Jim Hearn, were terrific after July 20th, while the other, Sal Maglie was excellent all year. That's mainly what won them the pennant.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 01:21 AM EST (#383208) #
New report out: copy of Astros front office exec sending email requesting scouts to use video sources to steal signs from opposing teams dugouts has been obtained.

I think the Astros lack of a denial/response speaks volumes. No wonder Castro and Gonzalez turned into pumpkins when they left the Astros.

Apparently after they won the world series the Astros fire 17 scouts or something, many of which were asked to cheat. Source is Ken Rosenthal.

Dodgers should have won 2017 World Series...
scottt - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 08:12 AM EST (#383209) #
Not sure the cheating impacting the World Series.
It certainly impacted the home field advantage, which, in the end,  didn't help the Astros this year.
Also, the Nats seems to have been hiding their signs well, which the Dodgers could have done.
The Dodgers manager seems to lack in-game insight, as proven in their early exit this year.
The Nats had to switched managers to win it all.

Now, scouting the opponent dugout sounds like a different thing to me.
Maybe it's trying to figure out the alternate signs used when there's a runner on second?
I think anybody with enough time on their hand would be able to figure out the signs coming out from the dugout without cheating if they're not changed regularly.

Jansen mentioned a lot of noise coming from some benches (Yankees) when he'd give a high target.
Alternatively, on a high fastball, the pitcher can just target the catcher's head and the catcher will have no problem catching the ball.

Magpie - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 10:18 AM EST (#383210) #
In 2015, only one team in the majors struck out more often than Houston; in 2016 just three teams struck out more often. And then... a miracle happened. The 2017 and 2019 Atros struck out less than any other team in the majors, the 2018 team struck out less often than all but one team.

Somehow, they simply stopped swinging and missing as often.

'15 Astros: 11.5% SwStr (29th in MLB)
'16 Astros: 11.5% SwStr (29th in MLB)
'17 Astros: 8.5% SwStr (1st in MLB)
'18 Astros: 8.9% SwStr (2nd in MLB)
'19 Astros: 8.6% SwStr (1st in MLB)

Could just be a coincidence, of course.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 10:41 AM EST (#383211) #
The Astros are so done...can't wait to see the punishment as baseball needs to clean itself up, even if other teams were trying to cheat as well.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 12:10 PM EST (#383212) #
This is a stupid question, I guess, but why can't a cheating team just tap into the TV broadcast of the game? Watch the game in the clubhouse and relay the signs to the bench? You can see the catcher's signs easily on T.V. even though they don't mean anything to most people.
Magpie - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 12:20 PM EST (#383213) #
outrage over everything is ubiquitous. And much of this, I feel, is faux outrage.

Yes, but I think this is the modern world. We're trying to feel something, we know we should, but we've been so overwhelmed by outrageous stuff that we're just... numb. The president of the United States essentially had to fess up to running a sham charity that ripped off veterans and we all just shrugged. We should be outraged, we should be fighting in the streets with our children at our feet. We should be forming an angry mob... but we're just numb.

I mean, Bon Jovi is in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and Gram Parsons isn't? What kind of world are we living in?
scottt - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 12:47 PM EST (#383214) #
I guess the kind of word in which Bon Jovi has released 9 platinum albums and 3 gold ones and most people don't know who Gram Parsons is or was.
scottt - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 12:50 PM EST (#383215) #
I think the TV broadcast is on a few seconds delay.
Magpie - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 12:54 PM EST (#383216) #
if the home team has access to something, the visiting team has to as well

It's the hidden nature of what the Astros were doing that seems especially underhanded. As was said, everyone knows that the runner on second will relay information to the hitter if he can. Everyone knew that Joe Nossek was sitting in the dugout staring at your third base coach, trying to find the indicator. Or that Cito Gaston was staring at the pitcher looking for tipping. I don't think that amounts to cheating, any more than faking a handoff to a running back when you intend to throw the ball downfield is also cheating.

It may be too late to get the electronic devices out of the dugouts (didn't Bill James recommend that very thing back in the 1980s?) I see them everywhere now - behind the bench at hockey games, on the sidelines in football games. But surely, at the very least, people who aren't actually in uniform should have no part in the game while it's being played.
Magpie - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 01:03 PM EST (#383217) #
most people don't know who Gram Parsons is or was.

His second album, released a few months after his spectacular demise, made it all the way to #195 on the Billboard Album Chart. Some of us knew!
uglyone - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 03:44 PM EST (#383218) #
He had a nice bit in Ken Burns' excellent new country music doc.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 04:53 PM EST (#383219) #
Musicians know Gram Parsons. The line from Parsons to Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles and later Wilco and any number of current musicians is strong. I just missed him, but by high school, I saw the Flying Burrito Brothers record, started asking, and one question led to another. Emmylou Harris by the way is also not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Maybe they'll be inducted together in a few years, with the RNR people doing better than baseball did with Whitaker and Trammell.

It shocks me still that I hadn't heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe until a wonderful musician named Anna Ege played one of her songs at a club show and told the audience about her, and then Rhiannon Giddens did the same thing.  And then I learned about the line between Tharpe, Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix on one side and to David Bowie on the other.
budgell - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 05:11 PM EST (#383220) #
Sister Rosetta Thorpe...amen brother.
Been preaching for years that this is the coolest thing on the internet.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 05:25 PM EST (#383221) #
Oh yeah. The guitar solo on Up Above My Hesd still slays me.
Magpie - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 05:36 PM EST (#383222) #
Musicians know Gram Parsons. The line from Parsons to...

... the Rolling Stones. Gram wanted to be a Rolling Stone, of course, and happily spent much of 1971 hanging out with Keith Richards and teaching Keith everything he knew about country music. Keith still speaks fondly of him, and the quality of the drugs he always had handy.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 06:08 PM EST (#383223) #
Keith learned from the best-- the blues masters, Parsons, Ry Cooder and a few others.
uglyone - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 11:27 PM EST (#383224) #
Gram kinda gets credit for Wild Horses, no?
uglyone - Sunday, November 17 2019 @ 11:34 PM EST (#383225) #
Thanks for that link budgell. That was great.
scottt - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 06:31 AM EST (#383226) #
You can even see the signal relaying station in the Astros' own celebration video.
There's a chair with a laptop and a cable right next to a trash can that the players walk by.
There's  a towel hung up to hide it from view from the playing field.

scottt - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 06:48 AM EST (#383227) #
Get ready to start a 40 roster/rule 5 draft thread.
The deadline to protect a player by adding him to the 40 roster is November 20.

AWeb - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 07:46 AM EST (#383228) #
Magpie's post hits the nail on the head - an entire team suddenly stopped swinging and missing so much, which is suspicious. I'm sure they all "developed" that skill in the offseason, wink wink. It also gives some context on the fine lines between worst and first in baseball - 3% change in swinging strike rate sounds like nothing, but it's a huge difference if a player can lower their rate significantly

Let's see, guys on the roster in 2016 and 2017:
Altuve: 6.7% to 7.2% - he was already elite at not missing, actually got worse (did win the MVP in 2017 though).
Correa: 10.3% to 8.5%
Springer: 12.4% to 9.5%, although this was in keeping with his prior trends, it's another huge step forward.
Gattis: 11.3% to 10.0%
Bregman: 11.8% to 6.4%, under 5% the last two years. Hmmm...
Gonzalez: 12.0% to 8.0%

Lots of these guys were also the "right" age to improve, so there won't ever be a smoking gun, but a team going from 27th in K% in 2016 to 1st in 2017 (by a lot), even with a couple of low K additions to the the team, that's a little odd.

By the way, Biggio, Jansen, Sogard, and (checks eyes and contents of glass) Smoak (???) were the only Jays under 10% in 2019.

Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 08:40 AM EST (#383229) #
There were 3 significant additions to the Astros in 2017- Reddick, McCann and Gurriel (who had 130 PAs in 2016)

Reddick had swinging strike rates of 6.2 and 6.0 in 2015-16 and 6.3 in 2017.  McCann had swinging strike rates of 6.5 and 7.8 in 2015-16 and 6.6 in 2017.  Gurriel's went from 8.7 in 2016 to 8.1 in 2017- he had had tremendous contact ability in Cuba.  The players they replaced from 2016- Carlos Gomez, Colby Rasmus, A.J. Reed, Tyler White, Jason Castro- all had much higher swinging strike rates, and it's pretty clear from their career records that this had nothing to do with cheating.

I wouldn't say it is a smoking gun.  The uniform significant improvements from the young players, and the video and other non-statistical evidence, does however support that the cheating happened and made a significant difference.
eldarion - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 09:04 AM EST (#383230) #
Has anyone read the Baseball Prospectus summary of the top Blue Jays prospects? Is it a worthwhile read?
James W - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 09:12 AM EST (#383231) #
I'm curious if these SwStr% numbers are also available in Home-Road splits. I'm guessing the numbers are from Fangraphs, but I'm not seeing the ability to split these numbers further (small sample, be damned).
Paul D - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 09:24 AM EST (#383232) #
Jeff Sullivan, then of fangraphs, now of the Rays, predicted that the 2017 Astros would have the biggest decrease in K% in history in January of 2017, so I'm not convinced that their change is a smoking gun:
Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 09:35 AM EST (#383233) #
You're right, JamesW.  I'm not aware of any site that has home/road plate discipline breakdowns.  You can look at proxies- such as team strikeouts.  The Astros led the league in 2017 in fewest Ks, both at home and on the road.  In 2016, they were 11th on the road and 28th at home.  They reduced their strikeouts by a whopping 242 at home, and a less whopping 123 on the road.  Which is what you would expect to see if it was a combination of personnel improvements and cheating. 
AWeb - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 10:21 AM EST (#383234) #
To be fair, the smoking guns for the cheating is that people have admitted it (almost no one has denied it either), knew it was happening at the time, and the video and audio evidence is available and obvious, at least in retrospect. The Astros also went from 15th in ISO to 1st in ISO, from 24th in BA to 1st in BA, from 14th in HRs to 2nd in HRs. Which again is what you'd expect if they were cheating this way. And the new guys weren't exactly elite power hitters.

Much like the Giants in 1951 I mentioned above, and someone else mentioned how their offense didn't actually get better, I guess for some it matters whether or not it worked. Doesn't matter as much to me - they tried to cheat and were successfully doing what they intended. Might still have been the last few years, who knows? That other teams (including the man in white Jays stuff) have been doing it too? All the more reason to be very harsh, right now, and make it clear you will be with future cheaters as well.
bpoz - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 10:34 AM EST (#383235) #
Well said AWeb. I look forward to their punishment.
Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 10:52 AM EST (#383236) #
Can I ask a stupid question?  Why would you only need to cheat at home?  You can get the catcher's sign from the centerfield camera much (most?) of the time, off the regular TV feed. 
Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 10:57 AM EST (#383237) #
Ben Cherington has officially left the Jays to become GM of the Pirates.  He says that he is going to work on "elite talent identification, acquisition, development and deployment".  Deployment? 
hypobole - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 11:04 AM EST (#383238) #
Mike, pretty sure there is a time delay with broadcast feeds.
bpoz - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 11:30 AM EST (#383239) #
Is there a non tender deadline? Is it 5 pm Nov 20 to add to the 40 man?

I know that TB has a strong ML team and a V good farm. They have 5 rule 5 eligible prospects in their top 30 list that have to be protected. Not to mention maybe a few more that are not on their top 30 list. That is a team that should be looked at for prospect addition.
Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 11:40 AM EST (#383240) #
Thanks, hypobole. 
John Northey - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 11:56 AM EST (#383241) #
Nice to see that 2 of the Jays big rookies were very low in swing and miss percentage. Good sign of smarts.

Outs on Base is the reverse - you want this to be low.
Vlad the worst (no shock) at 6 times (taking extra bases only 29% of the time)
Smoak 2nd worst (surprise surprise) at 5 times (taking extra bases only 20% of the time)
5 guys tied for 3rd at 4 times: Gurriel, Hernandez, Galvis (huh), and Grichuk. (all over 40% of the time taking an extra base except Galvis at 37%)

Other key rookies...
Biggio: 3 times (36% of the time taking extras)
Bichette: 2 times (36% as well)
Jansen: 2 times (38% of the time taking the extra base...huh didn't notice that)

For comparison... (the 2 best teams in the AL)
Houston: 3 guys with 6 OOB (Altuve, Bregman, Gurriel) all 3 taking extra bases over 30% of the time, 44% for Altuve
Yankees: 2 guys over 6 (Torres 8 times 37% XBT, Voit 7 times 28% XBT)

So the Jays baserunning wasn't as horrid as it seemed vs the big 2 at least. But geez do the Jays need to get Tim Raines in to talk with Vlad...a lot (4 times in his career he took the extra base under 40% of the time, 20 years old, and 41/42 years old) but also was out on base over 10 times three times. Difference is those 3 times he took the extra base over 45% of the time each year (peak of 63% as a 24 year old). IE: only risk getting caught if you actually can make it.
AWeb - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 12:15 PM EST (#383242) #
Guerrero was bad, but he only has 6 examples of being thrown out to use as a mental reference. Do MLB teams set up to practice baserunning like this in spring training with a full defense, actual hitters, and everything? Like much of baseball, it's hard to practice without a full group of MLB-level players.

If Vlad is healthy and actually in meaningfully better shape (i.e., faster and quicker), we might get another season like 2019, because he'll have to feel out whether he can make it or not all over again. It's been my impression that "go for it" baserunning is one of those things minor leaguers get to do more of, just so they figure this stuff out.

You included the important part - if you're getting caught, you better be making extra bases a lot more often than Vlad does now.
Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 12:26 PM EST (#383243) #
If you want to feel good, check out the video of VGJ, Gurriel Jr and Tellez working out.  It's on Gurriel Jr.'s twitter feed.  It's early, but VGJ appears to be not in the WSOHL (he looks 30-40 lbs. lighter than last year). 
GabrielSyme - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 12:37 PM EST (#383244) #
Maybe this will be put up in a new post, but the Hall of Fame ballot is out. New guys on the ballot are:

Bobby Abreu
Josh Beckett
Heath Bell
Eric Chávez
Adam Dunn
Chone Figgins
Rafael Furcal
Jason Giambi
Raúl Ibañez
Derek Jeter
Paul Konerko
Cliff Lee
Carlos Peña
Brad Penny
J.J. Putz
Brian Roberts
Alfonso Soriano
José Valverde

For most of these guys, getting on the ballot is the honour. I'll be interested to see what level of support Abreu, Giambi, Lee and Soriano receive though.

As an aside, I think there's a reasonable case against Derek Jeter as a hall-of-famer. Might share that later.
rpriske - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 01:24 PM EST (#383245) #
Ryan Thibs' ballot tracker is also up.

If the ridiculously small sample size so far were to hold, Jeter, Schilling, and Walker would be going in. :)
Mike Green - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 02:06 PM EST (#383246) #

As an aside, I think there's a reasonable case against Derek Jeter as a hall-of-famer. Might share that later.

You have me curious.  I can't see it, but there's nothing like hearing the other side.
scottt - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 04:16 PM EST (#383248) #
Nice graph without numbers on the vertical axis.
Oh, it's actually the team placement. Let me retch into a paper bag.
Ah, better.

You don't connect dots if they don't represent a continuous thing.
The team ranking doesn't even have units.
It has no meaning outside the discrete samples.

Anyway, back on topic, the whole point of that article was that the improvement of the newly acquired players over the departing players would put the Astros near the top of the strikeout frequency--even though 5 regular players were not projected to improve their strikeout numbers. The projection was 0% improvement for Correa (actually improved from 10.3% to 8.5%, so a 17.5% improvement), Springer (actual 23.4%),  Gonzalez (actual 33.3%), Altuve (got worse). Not sure if the other guy was Gattis (could have just named them, but he also improved by 13%).

It's all circumstantial, but the data certainly points towards an outside factor warping the result in Houston's favor.
Not the other way around.

scottt - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 04:26 PM EST (#383249) #
There is a non-tender deadline. It's after the protection for the rule 5 draft.

The deadline is at 8 PM Easter on December 2, unless that's a Saturday or a Sunday.

The Rule 5 draft is the second Thursday in December.

November 20--unless it's a Saturday or a Sunday--is the deadline to add a player to the Reserve List (40 roster).

bpoz - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 05:21 PM EST (#383250) #
Thanks scottt.
scottt - Monday, November 18 2019 @ 06:05 PM EST (#383253) #
Vernon Wells is now a player agent. Didn't see that one coming.
scottt - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 08:10 AM EST (#383257) #
The one player I'd discuss with Cherington is Josh Bell.
Decent first baseman with 3 years of control left he's going to get paid a fair amount and the Pirates could be heading for a full rebuild. So, maybe Tellez and a couple of guys like an A ball catcher and another guy? I would imagine there would be a few guys not necessary high in the prospects rankings that Cherington might like.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 08:36 AM EST (#383258) #
The price tag on Bell would be huge. He was one of the best offensive players in the NL last year and has 3 years of control remaining heading in to his age-27 season.
scottt - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 09:23 AM EST (#383263) #
Lots of home runs to be sure, but his defense was bad and his OBP was just good.
He's not Mookie Betts or Paul Goldschmidt. The package for one year of PG was a catcher (Carlson Kelly), a pitcher (Luke Weaver), and Andy Young who is an infielder who has hit at every minor level but was a 37th round pick + a compensation draft pick.

Considering that the Pirates needs to get their rebuild going, they need low minors players more than high minor players.
That also give the Pirates money to spend on signing vets who can be traded at the deadline.

Teams like the Royals like to hang on to their "star" players like Merryfield but maybe the Pirates will start their rebuild without wasting time.

I imagine that if the Jays gets a decent pick in the next draft, he's going to be the name mentioned in every trade discussion.

scottt - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 09:46 AM EST (#383265) #
Plus it's 3 years when they're not competing and his agent is Boras, so extension seems highly unlikely.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 09:53 AM EST (#383266) #
Lots of home runs to be sure, but his defense was bad and his OBP was just good.

You'll notice I said "one of the best offensive players". And he was 15th in the league in OBP.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 10:19 AM EST (#383267) #
Josh Bell isn't a great match for this club.  He's a DH, and better than the possibilities they currently have, but I'd rather that they invested elsewhere.  The DH options on the free agent market  are normally very reasonable, and that's where I'd be looking.  Howie Kendrick is, according to fangraphs, likely to go for 1-2 years @ 7 million.  He can DH regularly, back-up at second and first base, and still hit enough to be useful. 
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 11:09 AM EST (#383270) #
According to Baseball Trade Values Josh Bell has 5.4 million of surplus value as he has reached arbitration and will get more expensive. Equivalent Jays prospect value is Jeff Conine at a similar 5.4 million of surplus future value.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 11:29 AM EST (#383271) #
Thinking about 2020 and 2021 I see an offense that could be elite depending how the young players adjust.

Progress should come from the pitching prospects. We have some potential good ones very close to ready like Pearson. Our quantity is huge with older pitchers like Thornton and Merryweather. Younger ones like Murphy and very young ones like SWR and Kloff. So hopefully we can be good enough.

The defense however is not going to be good. Will it be good enough or bad I don't know.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 11:32 AM EST (#383272) #
" Can I ask a stupid question? Why would you only need to cheat at home? You can get the catcher's sign from the centerfield camera much (most?) of the time, off the regular TV feed."

I posted the same question with nearly the same phrasing just a day earlier, Mike Green. Scottt was kind enough to answer it the same way as hyperbole. I have watched baseball on TV for over 40 years and I never knew there was a delay. I'm guessing it was implemented so the TV feed couldn't be used for sign stealing?
hypobole - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 03:31 PM EST (#383277) #
The 7 second delay for live American broadcasts was originally for profanity. Baseball apparently has an 8 second delay.
scottt - Tuesday, November 19 2019 @ 07:18 PM EST (#383281) #
The Braves make the first move  by adding 5 players.

The expectation is that the Jays will add Hatch and maybe Espina.
They currently have 40 players on the roster. but might just be waiting for everybody to fill up their roster before they outright a guy or 2.

Jonny German - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 08:59 AM EST (#383283) #
It's quiet... too quiet...

Righthanded starter Shun Yamaguchi will be posted by the Yomiuri Giants. I say the Jays go get him and also Shogo Akiyama, they can help each other with the cultural adapatation.
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 09:23 AM EST (#383284) #
Baseball America's take on the Jays 40-man decisions:

Toronto Blue Jays (40)

Easy Calls: None.

Potential Protections: If the Blue Jays don't create a spot on their 40-man roster to add INF Santiago Espinal, there's a good chance someone will pick him in the Rule 5 draft. Espinal, who turned 25 last week, was solid in Double-A and hit .317/.360/.433 in 28 games at Triple-A Buffalo, playing mostly shortstop and second base with a bit of center field as well. Espinal has limited power, but he's an instinctive player with a high-contact bat who manages his at-bats well and has the athleticism to play up the middle. OF Josh Palacios is another player who could draw Rule 5 interest if unprotected. Injuries limited Palacios to 82 games in 2019, but he makes hard contact, draws walks and may have more untapped power potential than he has shown so far.

Personal Note: I can't see how they won't protect Hatch.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 09:28 AM EST (#383286) #
It's quiet... too quiet...

The 7 day delay on the broadcast is getting annoying.
ramone - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 10:01 AM EST (#383287) #
Baseball America just dropped the Blue Jays top 10 list, the most surprising to me was Kirk at #4.
bpoz - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 10:12 AM EST (#383288) #
Kirk is #6 on my list.
PeterG - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 10:44 AM EST (#383290) #
Here is BA's complete top 10 list:

1- Nate Pearson
2- Jordan Groshans
3- Simeon Woods Richardson
4- Alejando Kirk
5- Alex Manoah
6 Orelvis Martinez
7- Gabriel Moreno
8-Miguel Hiraldo
9- Anthony Kay
10 - Adam Kloffenstein
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 11:13 AM EST (#383291) #
Let the debate begin! That's a nice looking top ten with several power pitchers.
ramone - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 11:29 AM EST (#383292) #
To help the debate I'll add in the Jays top 10 recently updated from Baseball Prospectus:

1. Nate Pearson
2. Jordan Groshans
3. Alek Manoah
4. Eric Pardinho
5. Simeon Woods Richardson
6. Anthony Kay
7. Gabriel Moreno
8. Orelvis Martinez
9. Josh Winckowski
10. Griffin Conine
PeterG - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 11:44 AM EST (#383293) #
The BA list is much better and more accurate to me. I like Woods Richardson ranked at 3 as I think that is where he belongs. BP ranks Pardinho way too high as he is a huge injury risk with both elbow and back problems. I would have ranked him outside top 10 as does BA. BP places both Winckowski and Conine in top 10 which I wouldn't but both are closer than many might think...definitely top 15's on any reasonable list.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 12:01 PM EST (#383294) #
Fascinating divergence in the lists from a number of perspectives.  The BB list should be interesting, and I'll save my comments until after that one.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 01:17 PM EST (#383295) #
I think we should wait until the Winter Meetings are done before the lists are judged...
bpoz - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 02:36 PM EST (#383298) #
Winckowski and Conine?? I wonder what they see in them for such a high ranking?
scottt - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 05:10 PM EST (#383304) #
Conine is obviously the power and the arm to play in right.
Winckowski has had decent ERAs. 
Cracka - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 06:26 PM EST (#383306) #
Hatch & Espinal added to 40-man roster; Mayza outrighted to Buffalo; Shafer DFAed. All good moves, I think.
scottt - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 06:29 PM EST (#383307) #
I'm a bit surprised about Shafer, but Mayza was an easy move.
dan gordon - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 07:31 PM EST (#383309) #
Yah, I don't get the DFA of Shafer. There are half a dozen guys on the roster that I would have jettisoned before I would have gotten to Shafer. This management makes decisions on the 40 man every fall that strike me as very odd. I hope they don't lose Dany Jimenez in the rule 5.
scottt - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 07:50 PM EST (#383311) #
The rule changes make it harder to stash a pitcher like the Jays just did with Luciano.
The IL will go to 15 days for pitchers and demoted pitchers will have to stay down for 15 days.
The threat is to lose a position player is much greater because of the extra roster spot.

As for Shafer, I guess he walked too many.

Thomas - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 07:56 PM EST (#383312) #
Both players the Jays traded for Grichuk were designated for assignment today.
scottt - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 08:06 PM EST (#383314) #
Conner Greene was in KC's AAA. He walked 16 and struck out 10.
Dominic Leone had this great outlier year with the Jays.
He'd be worth a minor league contract, even if just for old times sake.

scottt - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 08:14 PM EST (#383315) #
I think all American live TV is on time delay.
Ironically, occasionally they mike up the umps and coaches which lead to profanity that nobody cares to blank.

scottt - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 09:11 PM EST (#383316) #
The Yankees designated Greg Bird and Nestor Cortes.
And Ellsbury, of course. Time for him to get healthy.

John Northey - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 09:20 PM EST (#383317) #
Shafer catches me as one of 1001 guys who have live arms but no clue where the strike zone is.  5.7 BB/9 is not acceptable.  In AAA he was at 2.3 but he doesn't seem likely to improve so letting him go makes sense.

Mayza is a LOOGY which is now an endangered species with the 3 batter minimum.  Sending him to AAA and risking losing him in the rule 5 makes sense to me.  Plus of course that bad injury which should keep him out all of 2020 makes him undraftable (now that a year on the DL doesn't mean you keep him).

It'll be interesting to see if the Jays lose anyone in the rule 5 this year.  Rare anyone of note is taken, but it does happen.
PeterG - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 10:09 PM EST (#383318) #
Ben Badler: I think it's one of the better farm systems in the game. Which, like you alluded to, is pretty impressive for an organization that just graduated two of the top 10 prospects in baseball, plus Gurriel and Bichette as well. You can go at least 20 deep into the system and feel pretty good about those players, and they added another pretty deep wave of international players in their 2019 class that people mostly don't know yet but definitely stood out when I saw them a couple months ago.
85bluejay - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 10:42 PM EST (#383319) #
Even though he has only 2 years of control left, I'd be happy if the Jays can sign Greg Bird to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training - not sold on Rowdy Tellez, who still has an option year.

I like the Reds acquisition of Jose De leon, worth taking the gamble on.
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 20 2019 @ 11:07 PM EST (#383320) #
The BA chat is fascinating. Badler is very high on Kirk, calling him the Jays' catcher of the future. He also highlighted some deep sleepers in the system: Estiven Machado, Sam Robberse, Cristian Feliz, Victor Mesia, Dahian Santos. It will be interesting to follow those players in 2020.

Of all the top prospect lists posted every year, I find I have the most confidence in BA's prospect rankings and assessments.
scottt - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 05:51 AM EST (#383321) #
Bird is going to get a minor deal somewhere. Any club who doesn't have a prospect at 1B will be open to take a look, because it's free. Bird was good for 48 games 5 years ago and that was in Yankees stadium where Tellez might have turned a decent line as well. The real opportunities are with non-tender guys who are too expensive for their teams. UT infielder is an over abundant position. You got guys like Sogard who might not get 5M and guys like Villar who will probably get non-tendered because he deserves 10M in arbitration. I'd drop Drury for a guy who project for over 2 WAR and try to transition Espinal during the year.

I think Drury had enough chances to turn it around and this was a year in which pitchers struggled to keep the ball in the park.

Jonny German - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 05:53 AM EST (#383322) #
Here are 4 top-10 lists:

#	B America	B Prospectus	Fangraphs	MLB Pipeline
--	---------------	---------------	---------------	---------------
1	Nate Pearson	Nate Pearson	Nate Pearson	Nate Pearson
2	J Groshans	J Groshans	J Groshans	J Groshans
3	Simeon W R	Alek Manoah	Alek Manoah	Alek Manoah
4	Alejando Kirk	Eric Pardinho	Simeon W R	Anthony Kay
5	Alek Manoah	Simeon W R	Anthony Kay	Eric Pardinho
6	O Martinez	Anthony Kay	A Kloffenstein	Simeon W R
7	Gabriel Moreno	Gabriel Moreno	Eric Pardinho	O Martinez
8	Miguel Hiraldo	O Martinez	Gabriel Moreno	Gabriel Moreno
9	Anthony Kay	J Winckowski	Alejandro Kirk	Miguel Hiraldo
10	A Kloffenstein	Griffin Conine	Thomas Hatch	A Kloffenstein

Pretty strong agreement on 8 names, with the exception of Baseball America not including Eric Pardinho in their list. I think that's defensible, but I do wonder why Groshans gets a free pass on his injury and short resume - not just from BA but from everyone. Personally I have him down a few spots from the consensus until he shows himself healthy and productive in Dunedin.

Baseball Prospectus is the only one who thinks Griffin Conine cracks the top-10, but most everyone else sees him as top-15. Josh Winckowski (BPro) and Thomas Hatch (Fangraphs) make me raise an eyebrow. Just among pitchers I have 13 names ahead of those two.
scottt - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 06:02 AM EST (#383323) #
There's always a chance that a guy like Kirk doesn't stay behind the plate.
So you have to keep other options including a strong backup catcher and keeping other catching prospects just in case.
Also, it will be interesting to see how he does at the higher levels where all the Jays pitching prospects will stack up.

scottt - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 06:07 AM EST (#383324) #
Not sure when MLB Pipeline will update, but this is their post draft ranking.

Kinda shocked to see Hatch in 10th there. He was average in 21 starts with the Cubs and great in 6 starts with the Jays.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 07:24 AM EST (#383325) #
" pretty impressive for an organization that just graduated two of the top 10 prospects in baseball, plus Gurriel and Bichette as well."

I think this quote should read " two of the top 10 propects [Guerrero and Bichette], plus Gurriel and Biggio as well."
Jonny German - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 07:36 AM EST (#383326) #
The MLB Pipeline list hasn't changed since the summer, other than graduating Bo Bichette off it, but I don't think they plan to update it soon - the top article on today links to it. They do look a little silly with Kevin Smith still at #13.
ayjackson - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 07:42 AM EST (#383328) #
Where do BP and MLBP rank Kirk?
Jonny German - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 08:12 AM EST (#383329) #
MLB Pipeline has Kirk at #12. I don't have access to BP but I know last year they didn't rank beyond 10.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 08:48 AM EST (#383330) #
I have a lot of ambivalence about the ranking of the various interesting pitchers in the system.  The only thing I can really say with confidence is that if Gabriel Moreno is your 7th or 8th best prospect, you are in very good shape.  He'd probably be much higher on my list, but most of it depends on how one evaluates the various pitchers and I don't have a lot of trust in my evaluations (or frankly, just about any one else's).

Moreno is a catcher (converted from shortstop), who runs well, doesn't strike out much, had above medium range power in a pretty tough park for a right-handed hitter, and fields his position reasonably well.  He will undoubtedly start this year in the FSL as a just-turned 20 year old.  I'm going to be watching his walk rate- catchers do tend to develop a better understanding of the strike zone in their first few years at the position.  Objectively, he's an excellent prospect.  Subjectively, I like him even better because of my admiration for his swing. 
rpriske - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 12:06 PM EST (#383333) #
Grandal speculation can be put to bed.
uglyone - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 12:11 PM EST (#383334) #
Yasmani Grandal has signed a four-year, $73-million contract with the White Sox, the team announced. He gets $18.25 million per year from 2020-2023.

Breaking: Jays showed strong interest.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 12:33 PM EST (#383335) #
Ben Nicholson-Smith tweeted that the Blue Jays merely checked in on Grandal.  For what its worth.
bpoz - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 12:33 PM EST (#383337) #
Thanks UO. Looks like the CWS rebuild is almost complete. Their fans must be excited.

AL Central: Cleveland declining. A rebuild in 2-3 years possibly. The Twins don't scare me.
scottt - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 01:38 PM EST (#383338) #
If the Jays drove the price higher on Grandal than it's a partial victory.
The Jays gave a backloaded 5/83 to Martin back in 2014.

pooks137 - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 01:50 PM EST (#383339) #
The White Sox only won 72 games last year, 5 more than the Jays.

I'll consider their rebuild complete when they win more games than they lose.

John Northey - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 01:52 PM EST (#383340) #
So $10 mil less than Martin got for 1 less year.  One year younger than Martin was.  I suspect the Jays didn't have much of a chance - out of contention, Canadian, either factor can be dealt with but both makes signing a higher level free agent very hard.  Martin was Canadian and still demanded that 5th year.  Probably for the best they stuck with the 2 kids.
pooks137 - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 02:00 PM EST (#383341) #
Mayza is a LOOGY which is now an endangered species with the 3 batter minimum. Sending him to AAA and risking losing him in the rule 5 makes sense to me.

There is no risk exposing Mayza to the Rule 5.

No team would draft him. They would have to keep him on their 40-man until ST, then would have to pay him an entire season of major league pay while on the 60-man while he is also accumulating service time.

Then, they would have to keep him on their 40-man for the entire 2021 offseason, only to have to add him to their 26-man roster sometime in 2021 to accumulate the 90 days on the active roster he needs as per Rule 5 rules.

bpoz - Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 02:33 PM EST (#383342) #
I am enjoying the top 10 prospect discussion.

In 2019 we had 5-7? good/decent prospects graduate. I have a few less graduating this year.

Pearson and Zeuch from my top 10. Kay #12 and 1 of P Murphy and my group #13 to #19. If #17 Joey Murray graduates I will be very impressed. He did well in all of A- to AA. 43.3 IP in AA. If he can duplicate the 137 IP of 2019 without any struggles then he can get up to the ML.
scottt - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 07:45 AM EST (#383345) #
Korean south paw Gwang-hyun Kim has been posted by the Wyverns.
His numbers for the last 2 years are not too far from what Ryuy was doing in Korea.
He'll be 31 next year.

bpoz - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 10:15 AM EST (#383346) #
I did a small study of IP from our prospects. Just to get a feel on how they progressed to the Majors or are still progressing.

University picks:
Year of draft is always low IP. Also no AFL or playoff numbers included.

1)Pearson: Only 124 IP due to injury in 2018. Faster if not injured.

2) Manoah: 17 IP. If healthy and good he should get to 160 IP by early 2021. May be good enough to be held back for more seasoning.

3) Kay: 256 IP. 122 in 2018 + 134 in 2019.

4) Zeuch: 343 IP. More if you count playoffs in 2018. Due to injury only 66 IP (A+) in 2017 and 87 IP (AAA) 2019.

5) Borucki: A lot of injury time.

6) J Murray: Very fast progress. 163 IP. Healthy and &169,600 signing bonus.

rpriske - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 12:34 PM EST (#383347) #
Another (unrealistic) target for the Jays is off the market.

Jose Abreu has been extended.
bpoz - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 01:01 PM EST (#383348) #
CWS have been bad/not good for 7 years. For 2020 they can try and if it looks not possible by the trade deadline then they can move some pieces. I don't like any AL Central teams for the WC. But winning the division is a better possibility IMO.
Mike Green - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 03:02 PM EST (#383349) #
CWS have been bad/not good for 7 years

I've liked BADBADNOTGOOD for 7 years, so the Sox and I are even.  It takes real effort to be good in the AL Central, where the living is easy and your daddy may or may not be rich.
dan gordon - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 05:05 PM EST (#383350) #
Yankees recently released Jacoby Ellsbury, owing him roughly $26 million for 2020 plus the option for 2021. They are now saying that they aren't going to pay him the money, claiming he went to outside medical people whose treatments contributed to his inability to play any more. A big fight is coming over this one.
scottt - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 06:05 PM EST (#383353) #
They're trying to screw a Boras client while supposedly courting more Boras clients.
Sounds entertaining.

scottt - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 06:17 PM EST (#383354) #
I mentioned the possibility of Abreu signing for more than 1 year.
They could have extended him before the end of the year, but he chose to dare them into offering a QO that he was happy to accept.

The Pale Hoses were not good, but  Giolito was and Kopech should be finally back in 2020.
All of their top 4 prospects should join the big team filling the holes at second base, in the outfield and at the DH.
They just need to sign  2 starting pitchers to fill the rotation.
Sp, yeah. Their rebuild is over. They won't be drafting more top prospects.

bpoz - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 08:00 PM EST (#383355) #
I agree Mike Green and scottt. Remember we used to joke that Jack Morris would "pitch to the score". I think the AL Central teams can "rebuild to the competition".

I also feel the TB system would dominate that division and they should be able to spend less than they do now being in the AL East.
rpriske - Friday, November 22 2019 @ 11:14 PM EST (#383356) #
What would you all think about trading for Robbie Ray and then trying to extend him?
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, November 23 2019 @ 07:01 AM EST (#383357) #
I wouldn't see the point in trading away Stroman and then trading for Robbie Ray, it seems a little counter productive.
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 23 2019 @ 08:23 AM EST (#383358) #
I think his point is to trade and extend a pitcher. The point is you get quality prospects for Stroman then acquire Robbie Ray for lesser prospects.

BADBADNOTGOOD is not good anymore. They had one, maybe two good albums which already were mostly they're just jumping the shark.

scottt - Saturday, November 23 2019 @ 11:13 AM EST (#383359) #
Anderson has an other option for next year and was basically free to acquire because he's  a tad overpaid.
That's the market they should be in, but not necessary for a pitcher.
The next deadline is the non-tender one. I think it would be absurd to drop Shoemaker because he's going to make a bit more than they would like. Many other teams have similar problems with pitchers who are good enough to be expensive but not good enough to bring much in a trade. What they need is a pitcher with more upside than that.

Robbie Ray specifically? He's young, but with only one year left on his contract that doesn't matter much.
He's got good stuff but has been fighting his control the last 2 seasons which made him an average pitcher.
Control is very important in the AL East. Many rival teams are very patient at the plate. Arizona has resisted traded him while the Jays were actively trying to trade Stroman but were not getting the return they wanted. Ray is slated to make 10.8M in his last year of arbitration and doesn't profile as someone who will be worth a QO, unlike Stroman.
bpoz - Saturday, November 23 2019 @ 12:34 PM EST (#383360) #
We need really good pitching to go deep into the playoffs once our window opens.

Depth pieces like C Anderson and Shoemaker have their value which is similar to Thornton. 3 #1 SPs will help and maybe be enough. Stroman was a #1 or close. If 9th round draft pick J deGrom can become that good then it is possible for some or our players to do it as well. I like our history 5th round Stieb and Hentgen as examples.

We have a long list of power pitchers that are progressing well. They are in all our minor league levels.
85bluejay - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 08:52 AM EST (#383361) #
Given the dearth of quality catchers available, now is a good time to listen especially if you have young and cheap talent and it's a strength of your system.
John Northey - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 10:26 AM EST (#383362) #
Agreed 85bluejay - the Jays would be foolish not to listen to potential deals for either of the 2 young catchers we have in the majors, or any of the ones in the minors. It'd be nice to keep all of them, but it is easy enough to find a backup as long as you keep one of them as the regular. It just should take an obvious overpay to get one given how hard quality young catchers are to find.
Mike Green - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 12:03 PM EST (#383363) #
It's tricky because neither Kirk nor Moreno is ready.  You probably won't get value for them, and neither is ready to take the mantle. The first question you want to answer is whether you want them to continue as catchers.  This is particularly true of Moreno, who likely could play a number of different positions and might develop better if he wasn't one. 
85bluejay - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 12:22 PM EST (#383364) #
I wonder how the Jays feel about Riley Adams - can be be a contributor in 2021?
bpoz - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 12:26 PM EST (#383365) #
Tricky is how I too see it. There is also a gamble attached.

I look at the Stroman trade. He can do 200+ IP/yr. NYM acquired him with 1 and half years of control. Depending on how things unfold he can be traded or QO'd. The Jay's gained on years of control which are important for a rebuilding team.

As mentioned the Jay's catcher situation, they have only Maile established as a good enough ML backup. Jansen and McGuire have potential to be a regular catcher. R Adams, Kirk and Moreno also have potential as ML catchers. These 5 young catchers are a gamble to an acquiring team. They would have to give away similar gambles to the Jays. One of Kay or SWR may do it. The Jays have time still before contending.
PeterG - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 02:33 PM EST (#383367) #
A.J. Cole signed by Jays to a minor-league deal with invite to spring training. Posted a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings over 25 appearances for Cleveland, with 30 Ks and 8 walks. FB averaged 94.4 mph.

As for the catchers, I would not trade either Jansen or McGuire at this time.
rpriske - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 02:39 PM EST (#383368) #
I would trade Jansen under one condition only - if the trade brought the team a starting pitcher better than any one currently on the roster.

Since the return in unlikely to be that, just keep him.
GabrielSyme - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 03:03 PM EST (#383369) #
I don't see the urgency to trade Jansen. McGuire's bat remains a question mark, but Jansen is highly likely to improve his offensive production. I think you'd be selling low on Jansen right now, without a clear starting replacement.

I think trading a catcher makes a lot more sense next off-season.
John Northey - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 04:30 PM EST (#383370) #
No urgency on trading a catcher, just not something to be ignored.  When you have a surplus it might be worth using it to get what you have a shortage of.  Starting pitching, a quality CF on both defense/offense, either would be useful.  Neither Jansen or McGuire are super-valuable right now but if someone thinks they are then by all means, let them give you a good CF or starting pitcher.  If you can't get that then screw it, let the two share CA duties and 1B/DH time in 2020.
rpriske - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 04:38 PM EST (#383371) #
Justin Shafer is now a Red.
85bluejay - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 05:40 PM EST (#383373) #
"As for the catchers, I would not trade either Jansen or McGuire at this time."

That's a rather blanket statement without knowing what the return would be - I'd trade anyone for the right price.
scottt - Monday, November 25 2019 @ 06:47 PM EST (#383374) #
There's a lot of catchers in the system, but there's a lot of pitchers too.
Adams will be in AAA, Kirk in AA and Moreno in A+. None of those guys are ready and Adams doesn't need to be added to the reserve list until next fall. The rotations in both AAA and AA will filled with guys who could be promoted at the drop of a hat, so I don't see a shortage there.

CF is perhaps a different situation, but even there they have options with possible upside.

Jonny German - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 09:23 AM EST (#383375) #
Will Batter's Box be publishing a top 30 prospects list this year?
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 10:04 AM EST (#383376) #
I have said before that the November 26 birthday team is perhaps the only one that would be favoured to win a pennant.  They've had a few useful additions in the last 10 years, and so I thought that it would be fun to update the list. There are a few decisions that backup catcher and manager Jeff Torborg would have to make, so let's treat this lineup as just a suggestion:

The November 26ers
*- All-Star
**- Hall of Famer

CF- Hugh Duffy**
3B- Matt Carpenter*
RF- Bob Elliott*
LF- Bob Johnson*
1B- Fred Tenney
DH-Richie Hebner
SS- Eddie Miller*
C-  Brian Schneider
2B- Harold Reynolds*

Bench- Jorge Orta* (2B/RF), Jeff Torborg, John Kerr (MI), Jim Canavan (OF/2B)

SP- Lefty Gomez**
SP- Chuck Finley*
SP- Mike Moore*
SP- Matt Garza
SP- Larry Gura*

RP- Jay Howell*
RP- Corey Knebel*
RP- Hector Velasquez
RP- Bob Walk*
RP- John Parrish

Who was Fred Tenney?  Apparently the first baseman who first completed a 3-6-3 in MLB history, and the best defensive first baseman prior to Hal Chase.  And a pretty good hitter to boot with emphasis on being able to reach base.  Think Mark Grace.

How did Richie Hebner not make the 1972 All-Star team?  He led the pennant-winning Pirates with 5.3 WAR and slashed .300/.378/.508 as a regular third baseman.  He had been a significant contributor to the Pirates in 1971 when they won the World Series.  The NL All-Star third baseman was Joe Torre who ended up with 2.7 WAR (after an MVP season the year before).  The Pirate All-Stars were Clemente and Stargell (of course), Blass (who went 19-8 and finished second in the Cy Young voting), Al Oliver (with lesser numbers as an outfielder than Hebner) and Manny Sanguillen.

The November 26ers feature excellent infield defence, good pitching and a long-sequence offence with excellent OBPs from the first 6 men in the order.  It's fitting that Matt Carpenter is on the club because it does have the feel of one of those Cardinal clubs, maybe of the early 80s with Keith Hernandez playing first base rather than the power hitters the Cardinals have often had (like Cepeda and Jack Clark). 

cascando - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 10:25 AM EST (#383377) #
Toronto's catchers hit .212/.278/.368 last year. That includes 103 PA of significant over-performance by McGuire. I believe in Jansen, and I believe he will be one of the better players on the team in 2020, but the jury is genuinely still out on whether the Jays have a single MLB-quality starting C. The "depth" is a mirage, or rather a projection of what we hope the young catchers will become. None of them are there yet.

I'm a fan of Kirk and Moreno as prospects, but being realistic, they are several years away from contributing, if they can stick at the position.

Unless someone wants to badly overpay for Jansen or McGuire, I just don't see how trading a C could put the team ahead. It seems to me that the right thing to do is wait for the younger players to develop, acquire depth through free agency, and wait until there is actually demonstrated MLB-quality depth at a position before weakening it.
Gerry - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 12:30 PM EST (#383379) #

Will Batter's Box be publishing a top 30 prospects list this year?

Yes, but real life has intervened for some of the team. We have a top 30 but not all the write-ups. Delivery is TBD but it is at least a few weeks away. Most likely would be the beginning of January when we are starved for baseball content.

bpoz - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 12:46 PM EST (#383380) #
If the top 30 is going to be early Jan then I want to wish the team and all Bauxites a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I will start putting in my top 30 list right away.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 01:17 PM EST (#383381) #
1) Pearson Potential stud. Almost in the Majors.
2) Manoah Potential stud. Quick mover I hope.
3) S Woods Richardson. Moving fast enough to be in AA next year.
4) A Kloffenstein Has all the stuff to be a dominant SP. Being moved slowly intentionally. This seems to be the development plan of the Jays.
5) Groshans The injury had me concerned.
6) Kirk Cannot argue with such good success.
7)G Moreno As good or close to Groshans and Kirk.
8)Pardinho Small size and had injuries. Fell from #6.
9)O Martinez GCL success is good but I need to see higher leagues. Lots of room to move up.
10) Zeuch Has had enough success to earn top 10 status. Needs to stay healthy.

Pearson and Zeuch should graduate off the prospect list next year. I fully expect 2 of the other 8 to fall out of the top 10 because I have faith in our scouting, drafting and development departments. Injuries will also hurt a few.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 07:41 PM EST (#383382) #
The BB top 30 is normally out around now but as Gerry mentions most are very busy with 'real life' ... that funny thing that screws us all up.  I know i have about 3 or 4 articles that I started but never finished due to that during the season.  I have a few ideas but no idea if I'll write them or not.  Once the BB top 30 is done I'll post (a week or two later) a summary of all top 30 lists from sites that are generally well respected or known (BA, BP, MLB, etc.) as it is fun to see the comparison.  Last years summary is here.  Every site agreed that Vlad was #1, Bo #2, vast majority had Danny Jansen at #3, while some had Nate Pearson instead.  #4 was very disputed with Nate Pearson, Danny Jansen, Eric Pardinho, and Jordan Groshans getting listed.  Doubt 1/2 will be as much of a lock this year (or as successful in the majors).

For fun I checked Jordan Groshans.  He only played 23 games last year (20 at SS) and hit 337/427/482 at age 19 in full season A (Lansing).  If healthy (foot injury cost him 2019) I expect him in A+, or in the Midwest league for a month or two then in Dunedin.  2021 is AA, 2022 AAA, 2023 majors at age 23.  The Jays can take their time as you want to get everything you can from Bo first before pushing him to another position.  Of course, this is gross speculation on a kid who is 19 and has a grand total of 303 pro PA's.  I'd be surprised if he is ranked #1 on any lists, and probably down to 4/5 on many due to the injury even though his future looks very bright indeed.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 26 2019 @ 09:30 PM EST (#383383) #
Thanks John N!!! WE all understand. I must admit that I was impatient.

Lets make a new thread about the prospect list. If that is OK.
I don't know how to do it. I will not learn at the moment. Sorry. Life holds me back. Both the negative and mostly the positive. I know I can learn how to. But that effort would take away from my duties.
scottt - Wednesday, November 27 2019 @ 10:12 PM EST (#383412) #
The Yankees are accusing the Astros of using whistling and blinking lights to steal signs in the ALCS.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, November 28 2019 @ 11:33 AM EST (#383420) #
Somehow I can see a parody of this done in a Naked Gun type of movie with a runner at second pulling out signal flags and waving them, someone in the centerfield bleachers sending morse code signals, and a middle-aged batboy grinning maliciously as he listens in confidential conversations between coaches in the dugout.
Magpie - Friday, November 29 2019 @ 04:00 PM EST (#383435) #

Magpie - Friday, November 29 2019 @ 04:01 PM EST (#383436) #
Over at the Athletic, Molly Knight points out that pitchers - naturally - are especially angry about the Astros sign-stealing kerfuffle. She quotes Kenley Jansen, Marcus Stroman, Sean Doolittle and Noah Syndergard, and relays the following from another, unnamed hurler:

You know that with a runner on second you have to be careful because they see the signs and decipher them. You know that you can’t have an obvious tip because the other team will find it and pounce. Those are known battlegrounds. But this isn’t a fair fight because you weren’t aware the fight existed.

I'd just add that pitchers now represent the majority of players, and hence the majority of union membership.
Watch Out For the Cheater | 189 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.