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So about half way (2 weeks done, 2 weeks and 2 games to go) where are the Jays at? Are the questions getting answered?

Jays just over 500 as I type this (today's game about to start so they'll either be just at 500 or 2 games over after today).  From studies I've seen in the past spring records only matter if they are extreme and this one hovering around 500 is not so don't read too much into a 500 vs 600 vs 400 record.

What are the battles?

Starting Pitching: The #1 battle of the spring - Pearson down with a groin injury (suddenly thinking of the song from Cheers) after 1 inning so he'll be late starting the season.  It looks like Stripling will get a shot at the rotation after all (2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K) with Zeuch also trying for it (4 IP 4 H 1 R 1 BB 0 K).  Roark looks good so far (5 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 4 SO) - fingers crossed, Ryu was himself in 2 IP 1 H 1 R 1 BB 2 SO.  Ray was solid (4 1/3 IP 2 H 2 R 2 BB 8 SO), and Matz was excellent (5 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 6 SO).  So the likely 5 to start 2021 (Ryu/Matz/Ray/Stripling/Roark) are a combined 18 1/3 IP 10 H 3 R 3 BB 22 K 1.47 ERA.  Nice.  Very promising even with Pearson down for now.  Woods Richardson has the remaining start and at just 20 years old had 2 IP 0 H 1 BB 1 SO.  Nice start for the kid.

Bullpen: most instructive here is who is getting the innings - Kay has 7 IP to lead by a mile (4 R 3 H 3 BB 8 SO) but hasn't run with it.  3 IP goes to Borucki, Liriano, Mayza, Castro, Chatwood, Cole, Phelps, and Romano.  So clearly the Jays are looking closely at these guys.  Most are locks but Castro is a NRI who has just 1 ML game to his name (waiver wire claim).  Others with 2 IP+ are Tice, Manoah, Murray, Zulueta, Snead, and Allgeyer.  Most are NRI's the Jays are probably trying to figure out if they can help in 2021 or not.  Dolis has just 1 2/3 IP so far, and Yates just 1 IP but given both have been closers odds are they have their own programs they follow and will be ready for day 1.  It is going to be very crowded in that pen on opening day - I see 9 guys right now.

3B: Biggio looks to be it, but Guerrero Jr. has been given a few innings there.  The story is Biggio is the everyday guy and Vlad will get a few innings (I suspect mostly in blowouts).

DH/OF/1B: The battle for Grichuk is to show he should be everyday somehow in a crowded situation.    Just 2 for 10 with a HR.  Tellez knows he needs to do well (313/389/500 so far) or could be benched for Grichuk.  The 5th OF guys are having a heck of a battle with Palacios, Josh forcing the issue (357/400/857), but Davis not giving an inch (455/571/545), and Wall also making the Jays notice him (364/417/727).  Warmoth trying not to be 100% forgotten too (4 for 7 with a HR and a 2B).  From it seeming like there are no backup options to tons for the OF it seems.

Infield Backup: Backup infield has a quiet battle between Panik (4 for 12), Espinal, Santiago (2 for 9 with a double and a walk), and Urena (mostly in the OF so far, 0 for 4 with 3 walks) - I expect these 3 to get a lot more playing time as the spring reaches an end although I suspect Panik has the spot locked up.

No one jumps out at me as having a 'wow' spring beyond the guys fighting for 5th OFer.  No one hitting home runs like mad, no one with 10 K's, just the one injury with an obvious replacement lined up.  A very quiet, nice spring in my opinion.  What has everyone else noticed?  Anything jump out so far?  Anyone who you are excited about after seeing in a game or two?  Sucks the games aren't on TV much and no radio, but the Jays are showing the non-TV games on Facebook with the 2 fixed camera system which I appreciate (beats nothing).
Mid Way through Spring | 244 comments | Create New Account
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bpoz - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 12:29 PM EST (#395109) #
Interested in the many hard throwing pitchers in the pen and also lefties for the pen.
scottt - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 02:11 PM EST (#395111) #
Pearson can still start the season in time, but he won't be stretched to 5 innings.
Considering that he's got a limited number of innings, it makes sense to start him in the bigs rather than the alternate location throwing simulated innings.  You can have Stripling following him up and try to complete the game.

Milone is also a starter, along with Kay, Hatch, Thornton and co.

Liriano and Mayza have looked good. Cole hasn't been so hot.
Castro is interesting but they don't have to add him in just yet.
Conversely, Payamps and Bergen are on the 40 roster and need to show they belong. 
Payamps has failed to clear waivers 3 times already this year and I believe Bergen becomes a free agent if he's outrighted a second time.

Many of the regulars have barely played. Things will start to get interesting soon.

Starting Guerrero means Tellez can play first, but I'm not sure what happens with Biggio.
Presumably they'll want to keep both left bats in the order. Maybe everybody gets the occasional rest.

The infield battle should be a 4 way match between Panik, Espinal, Urena and Valera.
Right now, I think Espinal and Valera's 40 roster spots are in play.

John Northey - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 02:59 PM EST (#395112) #
5-0 Jays going into the 6th today. Biggio 2-2 with a HR & 2B, Kirk 2 for 3 and hitting 500 so far this spring - boy he is trying to force them to keep him in the majors. No hits given up through 6. Ray looking good (4 IP 2 BB 3 SO 0 H 0 R), Liriano wild (2 BB 2 SO in 1 IP), Dolis K'd 2 of the 3 he faced. Sweet. I know I'm feeling good about this Jays team.
John Northey - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 03:46 PM EST (#395113) #
Boy if this game is any indication the O's are in for a long, long, painful season. Romano gave up a hit (a solid double to RF) in the 7th, 4 walks given up and 13 K's made. Phew. The 4 hits were all the Jays got (Biggio & Kirk) but also they took 6 walks, and K'd 9 times. Springer had a sac fly.
Michael - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 03:46 PM EST (#395114) #
Interesting article about former Jay Gose's second try at the majors as a power pitcher:
Cracka - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 04:49 PM EST (#395115) #
Gose has been excellent this spring and could even make the team out of spring if he keeps it up: 4 IP, 5 K, 0 BB, and just two singles given up. He was also in a serious car crash a few weeks ago but escaped mostly unharmed.

I notice that the backup catcher spot wasn't part of the "Battles". I think this job is going to Kirk and that McGuire will be DFA'ed (maybe with Joe Panik taking his 40-man roster spot)... but I don't expect that everyone agrees with this.
scottt - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 05:57 PM EST (#395116) #
McGuire should have some trade value. He bats left and has a high ceiling defensively.
However, Roark was really impressed with Kirk's game calling and not having to shake him off.

I'd rather have 3 catchers on the team than Panik.
With Semien and Springer on the team, Panik's veteran experience isn't needed.

Gerry - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 07:24 PM EST (#395117) #
Left handed reliever will be an interesting call. Borucki seems like a lock. Tim Mayza is coming back from TJ and has been dominant so far. Liriano has also pitched well. Will the Jays carry three lefties?

Travis Bergen seems to be well behind those three.
John Northey - Saturday, March 13 2021 @ 08:22 PM EST (#395118) #
If the Jays go with a 9 man pen then they might as well go with 3 LHP. Seems insane to me to have that many in the pen.

Can't believe I forgot to add in the backup catcher battle, although it is looking like Kirk has it and might be pushing Jansen for everyday starter. With each game I'm liking him more and more. McGuire is a solid backup for someone. Just not here except as a 3rd catcher who gets into 1 game every 2 weeks or so. With this team 3 catchers and no backup infielder could work. Who do you hit for? Who do you replace defensively late? A pinch runner could be useful, but otherwise with Biggio able to shift anywhere and Seimen at 2B able to cover SS and Vlad able to cover 3B (more or less) why would you use up a roster slot on Panik or Espinal? I'd rather have Davis on the bench to run late. A 3rd catcher makes it so Davis can run for any of the catchers if needed.
Cynicalguy - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 05:39 AM EDT (#395119) #
Putting both Mayza on Liriano on the team might be a challenge as both require opening up 40 man roster spots. In addition Panik would need one...not thrilled about that but it seems like that's the direction management is going with. Davis would be a good bench option, but I can't see them going with 2 backup OF and no backup middle infielder. ideally you like to see a 8 man bullpen rather than 9, in which case you can have a backup infielder and Davis on the bench.
scottt - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 07:50 AM EDT (#395120) #
The Jays already have 3 lefty starters, so I don't see a need for 3 lefty relievers.
It could be tough going through a series with a team that doesn't have any big left bats with a roster like that.

rafael - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#395121) #
They should make room for Kirk. He just makes the line-up so much tougher. Jansen and McGuire are good enough for major leagues but there's enough track record to doubt that they'll ever hit consistently and utilize Springer like a clean-up after the first time through. If no trades available by April then need to take risk of losing McGuire as they have plenty other high upside catchers they'll need to audition sooner or later anyways.
Glevin - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#395122) #
I'm fine with losing McGuire for nothing but I think they can likely get some cash or future considerations for him. He mlooks like a fine third catcher but his skill set is not hard to find. Kirk makes the Jays better now and in the future. He needs to make the team.
krose - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#395123) #
Does Janson have enough trade value to acquire a B+ level prospect? If so, then Kirk could be in the lineup every day, with McGuire as backup and Adams ready at AAA.
bpoz - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#395124) #
I think LAD are deepest in good players on the 26 & 40 and near ready prospects not on the 40 man roster. But even for them some players are not going to be that great.

We lost SRF, Y Diaz, H Perez and J Winkowski from the org. We gained J Payamps, A Castro and T Bergen. At the moment none have much actual value but have potential value. Time will tell if we lost or gained by these transactions. Either way these players were easily given up and replaced by organizations.

An example is L Maile that provided some value (defense/backup) rather than none like Alford and Fisher. Then there is the cheap acquisition of J Bautista.
krose - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#395125) #
The Jays might have too much pitching. I know, I know, I know. But right now the Buffalo rotation could have Hatch, Kay, Thornton, Zeuch with Murphy, SWR, Manoah and Kloffenstein lurking. The Jays starting 5, by the third week of the season is likely Ryu, Pearson, Ray, Matz and Roark. Stripling and Merryweather will be on the 26 man as long men/starters. You never know John, but that seems like a lot of good quality starting pitching.
krose - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#395126) #
I hear you bpoz. Just seems like we have a different level of fungible players now.
Chuck - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#395127) #
that seems like a lot of good quality starting pitching

Gotta love springtime. What is that lovely smell? Is that cherry blossoms? Nope, that's the smell of optimism.

bpoz - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#395128) #
Another source for starting and relief pitching is FAs that are both in demand and not much in demand. T Walker for 2020 vs 2021.

Chase Anderson I assume was easy to get due to him being a 1 year salary dump. He had his absolutely worst year with the Jays. The NL Central is the difference maker most likely. He is a likely bounce back candidate with the Phillies this year except I think the Phillies and Marlins are the bottom 2 teams in the NL East. Will I be wrong about this prediction? I expect to be wrong quite/very often due to proven results. If the Phillies and/or Marlins do well then they owe me for my services.

Matz, Roark, Ray VS Kay, Zeuch, Hatch should be an interesting comparison. Anyone good would probably be great in the NL Central.
Nigel - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#395129) #
McGuire will get many chances (somewhere) - LH C’s are first cousins to unicorns.
grjas - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#395130) #
What an outing by Manoah. Not the Yankees a-team but 7 SO’s in 3 innings is terrific, regardless.
Glevin - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#395131) #
Spring doesn't mean much for major leaguers but this type of performance from Manoah certainly is attention grabbing. SWR on the other hand looks like his stuff is not where it should be topping out at 93.
hypobole - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#395132) #
Manoah's minor league "career" is 17 IP in short season ball. He's skipping over both A ball levels for sure. Is there room on the AAA staff?
85bluejay - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#395133) #
There were reports last season that SWR's stuff was down at the alternate site so it bears watching - hopefully no arm problems. With the lost season, spring training may play a larger role in where prospects start the season - Manoah looks likely to start in AA and could move quickly - Austin Martin is said to have refined his stance and has gotten off to a slow start, so may start lower than expected.

Shoeless Joe - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#395134) #
Manoah could probably be at least a set-up man in the majors today as his fastball and slider are that good, but he needs time in the minors to round out his starting profile.
Eephus - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#395135) #
Some random thoughts from watching the stationary video feed synced up with the Yankees radio broadcast:

-- C.J. Van Eyk ain't makin' the team. Doubt he had much of a chance to begin with, but yeah walking the bases loaded twice, with no one out, is a pretty awful lasting impression to make. Wish him the best and hopefully he'll be knocking on the door in 2023.

-- Not much to say about Kloffenstein. Clearly raw, clearly a few years away. We'll see if he makes it.

-- Manoah could pitch in the big leagues now as a high leverage reliever (I believe another poster beat me to that punch). His slider was clearly fooling established big league hitters (Voit, Bruce) and I just like his presence on the mound. It reminds me of when Stroman came up... just that attitude of owning the mound and confidence of knowing you are in control. It can't be a comfortable at bat when you face somebody like that. Who knows what he'll become, but that was mighty darn fun to watch.

-- I'm actually more impressed with Woods-Richardson. Dude just looks like he was born knowing how to throw strikes. Everything he throws moves... it's always around the plate, he's 20 fer cryin' out loud, and like Manoah he treats the mound like it's his office (in a very different way). He still needs to refine his stuff a bit I'd argue, master the corners of the strikezone since major league hitters are very good at hitting strikes... but I like everything I've seen and read so far about him, and this was the first time I've actually see him pitch live. The lower velocity stuff doesn't seriously bother me... if a fella knows how to pitch and is throwing 90 instead of 95 while having no clue what he's doing beyond that... I'll take the first guy and SWR is more that. Greinke rarely breaks 90 these days and there is always a place in baseball for a master of changing speeds.   
GabrielSyme - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#395136) #
On Woods Richardson, I'm optimistic the velocity will be there when all is said and done. He gained a little velocity over his outing today, finishing up sitting 93. Many pitchers may be ramping up faster these days, but it's still the case that it takes time for lots of guys to fully air it out, and iirc, on average velocity continues to increase well into the summer.

The starting pitching really looks good this spring: Ray has been more than solid, I think - he's really been excellent. Both he and Matz have done about as much to create confidence as you can half-way-through Spring Training, and Roark has been as good as you could reasonably hope.

In terms of the battles at the edge of the roster, I'd really rather see anyone but Panik. His best skill, contact, really regressed in 2020. Breyvic Valera offers much better upside, and I'd really want to see how he does with more opportunity. For what it's worth he had a 6:28 strikeout-to-walk ratio this winter in Venezuela.

The trouble with the backup catcher option is that McGuire, as a left-handed hitter with good defence, has the perfect profile to be a good backup to either Jansen or Kirk. But both Jansen or Kirk may develop into above-average starters. You probably want to keep McGuire around, and eventually trade one of Jansen or Kirk. I'd start with Kirk in AAA to hone his defence, and bring him up as a third catcher/PH/DH when his bat can't be ignored.

Mayza has looked great, and has a decent chance to be a long-term contributor. Liriano has looked okay, but I don't see him as having much left in the tank. I'd go with Mayza, but it may be a question of who has an opt-out, or when they're triggered.

Jonathan Davis is close to the ideal fifth outfielder (if only he hit left!), and I really hope he gets a chance.
John Northey - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#395137) #
Clearly things are better than expected with pitching.
For 2021 lets try to guess starting staffs...
  • ML: Ryu (L), Roark (R), Ray (L), Matz (L), Stripling/Pearson (R)
  • AAA: Zeuch (R), Kay (L), Murray (R), Waguespack (R), Payamps (R)
  • AA: Manoah (R), Woods Richardson (R), Luciano (R), Allgeyer (L), Kloffenstein (R)
  • A+: Zulueta (R), CJ Van Eyk (R), Pardinho (R), plus 2 more
  • A: who knows?
That is just my guess for now using guys in camp and on top 30 prospect lists as SP. I'm sure I have a few wrong and guys will bounce around at times with the mess 2020 was. For exmaple, Kloffenstein pitched in indy leagues, SWR was at the big league summer camp (as were others). That could affect a lot.
grjas - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#395138) #
That’s about as fine a group of minor league pitchers I’ve seen here in a long time. We’ll see who develops and who if any star, but there’s a lot of potential in John’s list.
85bluejay - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#395139) #
In AAA, I would say that Hatch/Merryweather/Milone are more likely to be in the rotation ahead of Waguespack and Payamps.
krose - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#395140) #
Merryweather will be on the 26 man because he’s out of options, I think. Hatch might be the first recall from AAA for a rotation spot. Still a ways to go before the end of the month.
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, March 14 2021 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#395141) #
Merryweather is not out of options, he was likely given a 4th year option as a result of his injuries, the last time this happened to a Jays pitcher was Dustin McGowan.
Jonny German - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 07:49 AM EDT (#395143) #
My guesses at the where guys start to open the season, with the assumption that the Vancouver team is able to play:

Ryu / Ray / Roark / Matz / Stripling / Pearson

Hatch / Kay / Zeuch / Payamps / Murray / Castro / Waguespack
I don’t expect Murphy or Merryweather to be starting anymore.

Manoah / Woods Richardson / Maximo Castillo / Allgeyer / Logue

Kloffenstein / Zulueta / Luciano
Zulueta is a hard one to guess a level for.

Pardinho / Van Eyk / Edisson Gonzalez / Trent Palmer / Nick Frasso

Cesar Ayala / Sem Robberse / Winder Garcia
scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#395144) #
Merryweather is not out of options, but he's a huge health risk and I don't see a point in stretching him.
When healthy, he's probably one the best pen options.


I think Pearson will start with a low pitch limit and Stripling will take the first of those 3 spots.
For an other lefty, I'd start with Liriano and I'd give the last spot to Merryweather as a 2 inning guy who can be optioned to bring back a fresh arm or an outfielder or infielder if someone is day-to-day.

The bench infielder should not see a lot of use given that Guerrero, Tellez, Bichette, Semien and Biggio deserve to start every day.  If they go with Panik, I expect that they'll DFA Valera.
The position to cover should be 3rd base. Semien will be the backup at short. Biggio should be the backup at 2nd. Guerrero should not be the backup at 3rd even though he might function like such initially.

Maybe we'll see more competition in the last week of camp.

earlweaverfan - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#395145) #
Jonny, this is a pretty strong pipeline of starters you have laid out there. My questions:
• Agree about Merryweather but wasn’t Murphy tagged by Atkins as a SP?
• Shouldn’t we include Thornton at AAA?
• Aren’t Murray, Castro being played/profiled at ST as relievers?
• Aren’t Payamps and Zulueta relievers, too?
• did I hear correctly Maese has returned to health/ is able to play this year?
• is Kyle Johnston still on the roster and still available?
Shoeless Joe - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 08:16 AM EDT (#395146) #
I don’t think Payamps, Castro or Waguespack will be worked as starters anymore. Thorton will also need to be in the AAA starting rotation. I think Merryweather still gets worked as a starter.
John Northey - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#395147) #
Lots of good points made...
AAA: Zeuch (R), Kay (L), Murray (R), Thornton (R), Merryweather (R) with Merryweather being stretched out more than anything (so 2-4 innings per start).

Can't believe I forgot about Thornton - he has to do well or will become that in the Jays organization, forgotten. This is his make or break year - do well and he could be a starter in the majors, do poorly and he'll be lucky to be on a AAA/ML shuttle as the dreaded AAAA label will be put on him if he can't push his way back to the majors.
dalimon5 - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#395148) #
Greinke was throwing 97mph when he was a rookie and probably never would have made it if he didn't have that "long leash" to start.

If you think the Jays pitching looks impressive don't even look at Tampa's system.

krose - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#395149) #
John, Where do you see Hatch starting this season?

Have been wondering about the influence of “development” on the Jays players. Perhaps we can expect more pleasant surprises from lower draft picks and fewer disappointments from higher ones. I haven’t felt this optimistic about the teams depth in 30 years!
scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#395150) #
The reason Merryweather can't be a starter is that he hasn't thrown enough innings in the last 4 years.
You wanna have him start in AAA for a couple of months before you shut him down for the year?
What would be the point?
Has he thrown at all this year? I can't find stats for him.

Jonny German - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#395151) #
  • I also forgot about Thornton somehow. I expect he’ll be starting in AAA and will be the 2nd guy called upon, after Hatch
  • I don’t remember where exactly I saw it but my recollection on Murphy was that I read the opposite, that they see him as a reliever now
  • I think Murray keeps on starting until he stops being effective. And I thing his stock is currently higher than ever, he’s added 2 or 3 MPH to his fastball since his very good 2019.
  • I don’t really know what’s up with Payamps and Catro - the Jays must see some upside in them to be playing the waiver wire games.
  • Maese feels like too much of a longshot to be concerned about. Likewise Kyle Johnston.
  • Shoeless Joe - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#395152) #
    If 3 of Ryu, Pearson, Ray and Manoah can step up or stay healthy that could be a promising playoff rotation. I think there is a enough rotation depth to have to round out the back end but those 4 pitchers are the critical path for me.
    scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#395153) #
    Well, Hill hasn't looked great so far.
    Archer has only thrown 1 inning.

    I'm not that familiar with their bullpen.
    Many of their prospects have looked better than the guys who will be regular this year.
    Also, many of their top pitching prospects are already on their 40.

    Mike Green - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#395154) #
    We'll see, Shoeless.  I really like Steven Matz; you never know which reclamation project is going to find it again but if you have a few, there's a pretty good chance that one will. 
    John Northey - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#395155) #
    Given Merryweather is late 20's now I wouldn't worry too much about inning limits - I expect the Jays will push him a bit this year as after this year he has to be in the majors or risk being lost via waivers. If his arm blows up, it blows up. If he can't throw 100+ innings without that happening then he is limited to relief and probably middle/long relief at best. That drops his value drastically, thus why I see the Jays trying to stretch him out to 4-5 innings this year, 120+ innings on the season. If he breaks, they were going to lose him anyways.

    Hatch I have trouble seeing the Jays keeping in the rotation in AAA - who do you cut from Zeuch, Kay, Murray, Thornton, Merryweather? Maybe have Hatch co-start with Merryweather (3-5 innings each). Plus of course we have a stack in AA who should be pushing AAA hard. Joey Murray is only in his 4th minor league season but as a college signing his time is running short - he should be able to handle 150+ innings this year and needs to be pushed to see if he is a rotation option in 2022 or not. Zeuch, Kay, and Thornton are the backups for the majors this year with all 3 needing to show they deserve starting slots going forward. With Roark, Ray, and Matz's slots being open in 2022 as all are free agents, and Stripling after 2022 the pressure is on the kids to show now that they deserve those slots in 2022. My gut is Zeuch, Kay, SWR, Manoah, Murray are the favorites in that order for those slots. I expect the Jays to re-sign one of the 3 but which one is hard to say (Ray the early favorite, with Matz #2). We really need Pearson to earn a slot this year so only 1-2 kids will be broken into the rotation in 2022 with Ryu, Pearson, and Stripling holding the other slots.
    bpoz - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#395156) #
    Atkins held back Vlad. Pearson was not held back. Cannot say about Bo. Bo keeps getting 2-3 week nagging injuries. In 2019 he did have the hit by pitch broken hand.

    So with a 162 game schedule any young pitcher who manages to get into a game and do well may stay on the staff because he is pitching well.

    If roughly 30 games/month then that is 6 starts for a 5 man rotation. Our starting veteran rotation is building towards 90 pitches it seems. So 5-7 innings is possible in their 1st start. After 10 starts I expect fairly good clarity regarding good/ok/not ok.

    When ready what role will Pearson pitch? Opener seems safest to keep him on a set pitching day. He should build up to 75 pitches but not 90 in 2021 I am guessing.
    scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#395157) #
    He's always  blown up when pushed, so why would he suddenly become durable?
    He's also close to a finished product.
    Hatch, on the other hand, seems like a guy who could throw 200 innings.
    He just needs to work on his secondary pitches, so the AAA rotation makes sense.

    I don't see Stripling as a starter.
    The expectation is that the Jays will find a top starter next year.
    Right now that looks like the priority after the fall.
    The key thing is staying away from long contract to guys who haven't shown consistency.
    Otherwise, they could have just inked Odorizzi.
    BTW, if the year ends without a new CBA, there are no QOs.
    I don't see any rush with Murray.

    Using a 6 man rotation in AAA wouldn't be the end of the world.
    Thornton doesn't need to be in AAA, but they might want to go easy with him.
    Kay is also mostly ready. Zeuch is still trying to find an out pitch.

    Also, AAA will start late, so it's the "alternate site" for these guys which is not great.

    Cracka - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#395158) #
    While I agree that the alternate site isn't a substitute for real competition, it allows for significant flexibility in getting pitchers ready in terms of the number of starters, the time between outings, and the ability to precisely control how many pitches are thrown in an inning & outing. Every pitcher can have a personalized schedule with simulated games against competitive hitters. In the short-term, I think this is better than sending our top prospects to North-East US in April, where weather delays can wreak havoc on schedules.
    krose - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#395159) #
    My thoughts on this year’s Jays rotation align with others. Ryu, Matz, Ray, Roark, Pearson/Stripling. Ray and/or Matz could become front line starters this year and be offered longer term contracts. Getting ahead of myself here, but I’ve been hopeful regarding bounce backs from Matz and Ray, and with their performances so far (sss acknowledged) they could form the backbone of a strong rotation for the next 3-4 years.
    earlweaverfan - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#395161) #
    Mostly in strong agreement, John.

    My guess is that Merryweather is planned to be a long bullpen option (#8 after Yates, Romano, Dolis, Borucki, Chatwood, Phelps and either Liriano or Mayza).

    Where I most differ, I am guessing, is about the prospects for Hatch, as being much greater than Kay, Stripling, Zeuch and Thornton. If you listen to Pete Walker, the Jays think he has huge upside as a starter. He may begin the year in Buffalo but, IMNSHO, he will be one the starting 5 by 2022.
    krose - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#395162) #
    Keegan Matheson has a write up on Hatch over at the Jays mlb site. He suggests the Jays see Hatch as a starter. His fastball is averaging about 95 mph and he has a very good change up. He is working with a curve ball that he says is a strike pitch. He’d like to be able to manipulate that pitch by changing it and using it as an out pitch. Seems to me he has a good chance to start the season in AAA. If he develops he could get a chance in the Jay’s rotation this year. Maybe, maybe??
    krose - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#395163) #
    So much is up in the air with newbie pitchers. Merryweather might be too fragile to become a starter, but he sure appears to have great stuff. My head boggles at the pitching depth.
    hypobole - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#395164) #
    Also from Keegan this:
    "Trent Thornton said this morning that he threw two innings of live BP yesterday and is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Friday."
    scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#395165) #
    When Hatch was acquired and instantly dominated, the talk was all about his new cutter.
    When he was successful early on last year, it was mostly because of his "sneaky" fastball.
    He appears to have enough tools to succeed.

    Gerry - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#395166) #
    I watched the game today, it was the Detroit feed.

    I had forgotten that Kirk Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago. It is sad to see how the disease has slowed him down and diminished him physically.
    scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#395167) #
    7 shutouts innings at Detroit. 4 from Ryu who threw a lots of strikes.  3 From Zeuch, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, erased a Jimenez error with a double play ball.

    Bergen struck out the side (also gave one hit) against the Detroit prospects.

    Davis got another HR in the game's first AB.

    hypobole - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#395168) #
    Dany Jimenez has been returned to the Jays.

    Got me thinking - who was the last Rule 5 pick we lost? Can't think of anyone who wasn't returned sooner or later, but I must be forgetting someone.
    85bluejay - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#395169) #
    I know many years ago the Jays lost Jay Gibbons to the Orioles.
    scottt - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#395170) #
    Don't quote me on that, but I think the Jays have to keep him on the 40 roster or he can declare free agency.

    It's not been so great for him.
    He pitched twice last year with the Giants.
    First time he gave up a run and walked 3, only got one out one a strikeout.
    Second time, he closed a game on 12 pitches but didn't strike anyone out.

    Another battle?

    hypobole - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#395171) #
    Jimenez can declare free agency if the Jays outright him again, but don't think he will.
    85bluejay - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#395172) #
    Jimenez has never been on the Jays 40 man roster, they have never outrighted him and he's now a non-roster invitee to camp
    Cynicalguy - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#395173) #
    My guesses for the rotations:

    Ryu /Ray /Matz /Pearson /Roark /Stripling

    Hatch /Thornton /Kay /Merryweather /Zeuch /Murray

    Manoah /Woods Richardson /Luciano /Castillo

    Kloffenstein /Pardinho /Zulueta /Maese

    Van Eyk /Edisson Gonzalez /Trent Palmer /Nick Frasso /Sem Robberse
    pooks137 - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#395174) #
    Got me thinking - who was the last Rule 5 pick we lost? Can't think of anyone who wasn't returned sooner or later, but I must be forgetting someone

    Brad Emaus to the Mets?

    pooks137 - Monday, March 15 2021 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#395175) #
    I remembered the Emaus case wrong.

    I do remember Emaus making the Mets out of Spring Training in 2011 for 14 games, 42 plate appearances and an OPS .424.

    The part I forgot was New York returning him back to the Jays on April 21st, only for the Jays to turn around and trade him to Colorado the next day and never to be seen again.
    pooks137 - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#395176) #
    There isn't a great archive of Rule 5 results by year and team that I know of.

    Using the Jays' annual transactions on Baseball Reference and working backwards, the last major league phase Jays Rule 5 loss that actually played all year in the majors the next year and was never returned to the team seems to be......

    Matt Ford, 21-year-old starting pitching prospect drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the December 2002 Rule 5.

    Matt Ford was a lefty SP drafted by the Jays in the 3rd round in 1999. He started 18 games in A+ ball in Dunedin in 2002 with an ERA of 2.37 and K/9 6.7 and BB/9 3.3.

    Milwaukee appears to have kept him on the MLB roster for all 2003, mostly as a lefty out of the pen with 25 games, 4 starts, 43.2 innings of 4.33 ERA, but not great peripherals with a WHIP of 1.534, K/9 of 5.4 and BB/9 4.3

    Interestingly, Ford would never pitch in the majors again.

    Milwaukee would send Ford back to AA for the entire 2004 season, where he started 18 games with a 3.94 ERA, but again lousy peripherals with K/9 4.6 and BB/9 4.8.

    After returning to AA Huntsville in 2005 and being converted to relief with an ERA of 8.31 and a walk rate of 5.8 out of the pen, he was outright released by the Brewers in May.

    He would pitch for KC and Minnesota at AAA for the next 18 months, pitch two more years in Indy ball, and be out of baseball by 28.

    Considering Matt Ford is by far the most successful player lost by the Jays in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft over the last two decades, we as fans definitely put too much stock into the fringe prospects we might lose every December.
    mendocino - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:47 AM EDT (#395177) #
    Wikipedia goes back to 1997

    bpoz - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 07:11 AM EDT (#395178) #
    Thanks for the research pooks137. You are correct.

    For me the media hyped available fringe prospects a lot and I over valued our own prospects. This created a lot of fear in me.

    Hoping Luciano turns into a useful player.
    scottt - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#395179) #
    Would be interesting to see where Luciano ranks if he was still a prospect.
    Cracka - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#395180) #
    I don't think Luciano survives the season on the 40-man roster. He might not even survive beyond April. There are too many others ahead of him, ready to help in 2021, and none of these guys are about to burn their 2nd option at the age of 21. It's hard to keep someone on the 40-man roster who isn't in the current season's plan, and this will be the second year in a row that Luciano falls into that category.
    Mike Green - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#395181) #
    Roark gets the start today for the Jays who send out 8 RH hitters and Biggio to face Aaron Nola.  Teoscar DHs and Grichuk is in right-field, but otherwise the lineup is what you would expect to see Opening Day. 
    bpoz - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#395182) #
    Atkins and this FO seem to manage the 40 man roster reasonably well IMO. There are many players that managed to survive on the 40 man for a long time which gave the Jays a good long look at them. Alford, Smith Jr, Fisher and Urena to name a few position player prospects. For pitching prospects Y Diaz, SRF, Pannone and Waguespack to name a few.

    Currently 3 40 man spaces may have to be cleared soon or by mid year. Payamps has options which I used to consider valuable but now replacements can easily be picked up for nothing on the waiver wire and NRI rosters. Valera and McGuire need to make the team of they are available cuts. Dolis also has to stay valuable to keep his spot. He has no options left I believe.

    I still don't understand or accept why/how Sam Dyson was promoted in 2012 and then lost on waivers.
    John Northey - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#395183) #
    I think the reason many of us, especially the older crew, get on about the Rule 5 is remembering how well the Jays used to do with it - George Bell, Kelly Gruber, Manny Lee, almost had Wade Boggs (Gillick debated one year, decided not to, then the next year decided to take him but Boston protected him at the last minute and the rest is history). Roberto Clemente was a Rule 5 pick, as were Johan Santana and Darrell Evans.
    bpoz - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#395184) #
    The money paid and reimbursed has changed since Gillick was choosing Rule 5 players. I cannot remember the sums. You are essentially paying for an extended look at your choice.

    T Henke used to be a brick layer in the off season I believe. He needed the cash maybe.

    I agree with Cracka that these days every 40 man spot is greatly valued by every contending team.

    Fisher and H Perez survived the rule 5 draft by being protected. The Springer and Yates signings resulted in us losing Fisher and H Perez I believe. If we DFA them and they are not claimed we get to keep them like A Castro and Waguespack. Win some and lose some.

    In this past years rule 5 draft I liked Riley Pint(?) a young hard throwing pitcher. He was not picked. I liked his potential but I suppose the 40 man spot was more valuable.

    85bluejay - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#395185) #
    Pearson with setback in groin injury - almost certain to start on IL and maybe the jays will finagle an extra year by optioning him after rehab assignment.
    Mike Green - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#395186) #
    I sure hope that they're not trying to finagle an extra year of control out of his health issues.  They brought him up last year just after his 24th birthday and they are trying to win now. 

    On the other hand, his ability to pitch effectively is in doubt given the repeated health concerns- the extra year of control may not be worth that much.

    Glevin - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#395187) #
    Rule V isn't really worth worrying about. Hardly any players get kept and if they do, they usually aren't any good. Joe Biagini was a huge success as Rule V and he's a lifetime 1.6 WAR middle reliever.
    Nigel - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#395188) #
    John N - I never knew of the Boggs story. To think, Labatts missed out on a marketing story that good. The promos would have practically written themselves.
    Magpie - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#395189) #
    I think the reason many of us, especially the older crew, get on about the Rule 5 is remembering how well the Jays used to do with it - George Bell, Kelly Gruber, Manny Lee

    And that's - literally - the half of it. There was also Willie Upshaw, Jim Gott, Jim Acker. Eventually, it stopped working (Lou Thornton, Jose Nunez, Willie Canate.) But it was a lot of fun for a while there.
    85bluejay - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#395190) #
    Not only Boggs, but the Jays were all set to draft Roger Clemens in 1984 but switched at the last moment to Matt Stark because catching was such a need - another example of not drafting for need in baseball - Image that, 2 Red Sox alltimers on those very good Jays teams of the 80's.
    John Northey - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#395191) #
    Not to mention Dwight Gooden - taking Augie Schmidt instead. Ugh. Can you imagine what the Jays of the 80's/90's could've been with a tiny bit of luck there? Gooden/Clemens in the rotation and Boggs at 3B? Not to mention Ron Guidry (Gillick had a trade lined up - Guidry for Springer - but was overruled by higher ups, a year later Guidry had a sub 2 ERA and a 25-3 record and I doubt they ever overruled him again) to go with Stieb and Key. Gillick was waaaay ahead of his time thanks to an incredible memory (nicknamed Wolley Segap - yellow pages backwards - due to his ability to remember everything pre-computers). Thus why he'd remember to get guys like Fred McGriff as throw ins on trades when they are in A ball and no one cared.
    pooks137 - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#395192) #
    I still don't understand or accept why/how Sam Dyson was promoted in 2012 and then lost on waivers.

    The "how" part of how Sam Dyson was lost to waivers is the fact that once you put a player/prospect on the 40-man roster, you can never take them off again without first exposing them to waivers and offering them to the whole league for a few days when you Designate them For Assignment. The only exception is temporarily taking them off the 40-man to place injured players in season on to the 60-day IL.

    Having to expose players and prospects coming off the 40-man is an oft overlooked negative consequence of protecting fringe prospects from the Rule 5 draft or promoting prospects like Kirk and Pearson for cups of coffee before their service time in the minors dictates it is required.

    The "why" part of exposing Dyson is a tougher question because the composition of the 40-man roster at the time is lost to the sands of time. But, the answer is some combination of A) he was deemed the least valuable guy of the 40 at the time and/or B) he was thought to have the best chance of actually clearing waivers.

    John Northey - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#395193) #
    Dyson was a mistake by AA - he had 3 pretty good years in the pen in 14/15/16 - 5.2 WAR over those years. in 15/16 he pitched against the Jays in the playoffs and did OK 4 2/3 IP 6 H 1 R 1 BB (intentional) 3 SO over 5 games. WPA of -0.15 though so maybe he wouldn't have helped. Lifetime 5.6 WAR so a guy who it sucks to lose for nothing, but not a back breaker to lose. Thor on the other hand ...
    Mike Green - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#395194) #
    Dyson is an essential part of Blue Jay history, for one moment in October 2015. 
    Paul D - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#395195) #
    Dyson is also effectively banned for life from baseball for being abusive to his girlfriend and her cat.
    krose - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#395196) #
    Couple of notes from today’s game. Guerrero having a good day with the bat; three hits including two doubles. He was however picked off at first base. Also, Striplings fastball up to 93mph.
    krose - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#395197) #
    Vlad now a hr away from a cycle.
    Kasi - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#395198) #
    This lineup is a bit crazy when you can have the bottom third be Biggio, Grichuk and Jansen, all guys who can at times hit pretty well. We're going to wear some teams out. Good thing is we're deep enough that we can weather an injury or at the minimum cycle people through days off to keep them fresh when we're not playing in division teams and such without that huge a drop off. Like throw an Espinal/Davis in there at the 8/9 spot and it's still fine.
    scottt - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#395199) #
    Sifting through the sands of time, AA was playing the waivers game early in 2013.

    December 21, 2012, Jays select Russ Canzler from Cleveland.
    January 2, 2013, Cleveland grabs Russ Canzler back from the Jays.
    January 4, Jays signed Scott Copeland and select Chad Beck from Pittsburgh.
    January 10, Jays select Tommy Hottovy from the Rangers.
    January 11, Jays sign Henry Blanco.
    January 15, Jays sign Austin Bibens-Drikx, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Adam Loewen. (I guess those are all minor contracts.)
    January 22, Jays sign Mark DeRosa.
    January 30, Jays sign Andy LaRoche and Marlins select Sam Dyson from Toronto.

    scottt - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#395200) #
    Grichuk is very streaky. Jansen hasn't gotten the bat going since AAA.
    Biggio has an incredible eye and discipline but some wonder if the deaden balls will hurt him.

    Kasi - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#395201) #
    Sure thats all true. All batters can have warts and such. I think the concerns with Biggio are overblown and he'll be fine. Point being we're not throwing some scrubs in there in the bottom 3 like we used to have to. Sure Jansen and Grichuk are very streaky, but they're a good step up from most team's number 8 hitters.
    GabrielSyme - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#395202) #
    Jansen significantly underperformed his xwOBA last year, I'm optimistic about his bat.

    Biggio probably will lose a greater proportion of his homers than most guys, but I think that's a pretty marginal impact. I'm still undecided if he's an average regular or an all-star calibre player, but he'll be fine either way.
    scottt - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#395203) #
    Right, but imagine Kirk is the catcher and Grichuk is on the bench.
    What does the 7-8-9 looks like?

    John Northey - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#395204) #
    Looking at today's boxscore I noticed something. Beside Vlad's 4 for 4 - a 529 average and a 1.566 OPS. Wow. Guess he did good this past offseason. Even had a triple today. Biggio also over 1.000 for OPS - guess the pitchers didn't hear he can't hit a fastball yet :)
    Mike Green - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#395205) #
    I was following a bit of the game on Gameday. The scene: Blue Jays up 9-3 and the Phillies have a lefthander on to face Marcus Semien. Semien fouls off a bunch of pitches. I am thinking that Marcus wants to join the pitch, he hits a homer. So, welcome the Blue Jays, Marcus Semien.

    How many balls did the Blue Jays hit with EV over 100 mph this afternoon? It was quite a few.
    Kasi - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#395206) #
    Sure than 7-8-9 looks something like Biggio/Tellez/Kirk which is insanely good. But between giving players days off and injuries I only expect to see that occasionally, probably most likely against our division rivals.

    So we kinda have these 3:
    Best Case: Biggio/Gurriel/Tellez/Kirk
    Average Case: Biggio/Grichuk/Jensen
    Worst Case: Davis/Panik/Jansen

    Ideally we want best over worst, but worst isn't the end of the world and we will probably see that more than we'd like because we know there will be injuries.
    grjas - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#395207) #
    If Guerrero has really turned the corner, this team will be a tonne of fun to watch even if the starters are mediocre. And if Kirk is our number 8 hitter followed by the OBP machine Biggio, I pity the opposing pitchers.
    greenfrog - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#395208) #
    There is a very decent chance that Semien has a 4+ WAR season this year. That would be a huge help to the team. The floor for him is pretty high, too:
    bpoz - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#395209) #
    I agree with Kasi that we have a strong lineup that can wear down a pitching staff. But lets have 2 injuries, for example Bo and Gurriel. For 2021 Semien is an adequate replacement. Gurriel is 1 of 4 OF. Palacios moves up a slot. Lefty bat. Can he be a tough out? Kirk is C/DH/PH.

    For 2022 Martin and Groshans may be ready or near ready.
    GabrielSyme - Tuesday, March 16 2021 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#395210) #
    2020 wiping out the minor league season means we have much less to go on in terms of where prospects stand in terms of their development. Martin and Groshans might need another year... or they could pound their way to the majors by the All-Star game. I would have guessed Manoah needed another year's seasoning in AA/AAA, but he certainly didn't look like it a couple days ago. 2020 wasn't a lost year for at least some of them - the alt site might not have been ideal, but we just don't know what strides some were able to take.

    Kirk hadn't played above high-A, and he got the call last year. He might be an exception - or not.

    There's just a tonne of uncertainty with our prospects right now, and we could be surprised by how quickly some of them move.
    bpoz - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#395211) #
    The Jays built a great facility in Dunedin. Last year a fairly large group of young Latin prospects were unable to leave due to covid. The Jays housed, fed and kept training them. I expect they grew physically in that year as well as developed their baseball skills. These prospects were probably destined for the lower leagues like GCL and Appy league.
    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#395212) #
    If you want to feel good about VGJ's chances of realizing his potential this year, check out his 4 hits on  Two things of note: he's hitting the ball hard everywhere and he's running much better.  He looks like the world-beater we saw in New Hampshire a few years ago. 

    The Jays picked up Montoyo's option for 2022.  Some here have questioned Montoyo's tactical game and his fitness to be a manager on a World Series contender.  I'm not among them- I think he's got all the abilities (the game-managing and the longer course abilities) and has a decent chance to be the best manager that the club has ever had.  This doesn't mean of course that I will agree with everything he does!
    Jonny German - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#395213) #
    The Phillies had a silent video feed like the Jays have, but with camera cuts. I watched Vlad's 4th hit slam into the top of the fence and and expected to see them try to cut him down at 2nd - instead he was sliding in to 3rd with the throw well behind him. Excellent to see.
    Gerry - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#395214) #
    Baseball America has some notes from scouts on players who have stood out in spring training. Two Jays get noted:

    On Vlad:

    “He’s stinging the ball. He crushed one the other day. At first base he made two really nice plays around the bag. He’s more athletic now than you would expect. In terms of him getting more athletic and losing some weight, that was obviously a priority for them this offseason. His swing is a little more loose and he’s able to get it through the zone a little bit better than what he’s been. He had some trouble with the weight gain and some of the looseness and the athleticism in his swing last year. It’s still big pop. We forget he’s 23. I think he’s going to have a big year. Especially with the lineup he’s in, you can’t pitch around anybody.”

    And on Alek Manoah:

    “He was 96-97 in the shorter outing blowing guys down and then I got to see him go over three innings. It was 93-96, last inning more 95-96 letting it eat, just painting both sides of the plate. Easy, heavy life with a well above-average slider that he put anywhere he wanted. His mound presence, the way he handles himself on the mound, it was really impressive. He looks like he belongs there. I could see this guy contributing for them in 2021 just based off of what we’ve seen so far this spring. It would be need-based, but if they’re in the stretch run you could see him being a weapon with that fastball-slider combo. It was really, really impressive.”
    bpoz - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#395215) #
    Montoyo will play all the good position players well enough I expect. We have plenty.

    The pitchers are a different story. Ryu is the #1 SP and Yates is the closer I presume. Montoyo most likely will be forced by circumstance to use 18 more pitchers for a total of 20. That is a lot of pitchers made up of young pitchers and veterans trying to reestablish their value. These 18 will not all be good. Performance will definitely tell Montoyo who is pitching well. Montoyo must use the pitchers that are pitching well. Usage of struggling veterans will be his biggest challenge.

    K Cash had no 2nd thoughts about replacing N Anderson as the closer with D Castillo and P Fairbanks in the playoffs last year.

    I wonder if A Boone can do that with A Chapman?
    Parker - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#395216) #
    I was looking at Wade Boggs on and noticed that the guy had an incredible seven straight 200-hit seasons. So I start to look for anyone else who did it. I got bored of this pretty quickly, but from my quick searching, I couldn't find anyone else with seven.

    I did find one guy with eight...
    Parker - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#395217) #
    I then immediately found someone with ten. Oops.
    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#395218) #
    "Easy heavy life" on Manoah's fastball.  I've never heard that phrase before, but it makes sense as the pitching counterpart to "easy power".  "Easy heavy life" reminds me of Led Zeppelin, but I'm showing my age again. 
    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#395219) #
    By the way, VGJ is 22 not 23.  In fact, yesterday was his 22nd birthday; no wonder he had an extra spring in his step...
    SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#395220) #
    I don't think the Jays are going to finagle an extra year of control by optioning Pearson. Pitchers have an uncertain amount of bullets in their arms, and Pearson in particular has already had some injuries in recent years. I hope the Jays are done manipulating service time anyway, especially now that they are contenders, but in Pearson's case I don't think it's even a thought in their minds.
    Chuck - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#395221) #
    I was looking at Wade Boggs on and noticed that the guy had an incredible seven straight 200-hit seasons

    This was all the more impressive when you consider that he was walking 100 times a year. He was not going out of the strike zone to chase those hits.

    James W - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#395222) #
    Ichiro Suzuki immediately comes to mind.
    scottt - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#395223) #
    There was an article in which they asked Vernon Wells to comment on Springer's contract. Ouch.
    At least it's not backloaded. For example, Votto has another 3 years at 25M each and he's already 37.
    And Springer has several years of established production, unlike Wells.
    I expect to hear less and less about "service time manipulation" and more about possible players extensions.
    Pearson does not have a full year of service time yet. He'll be a free agent in 2027.
    I don't know that they could move him to the minor league IL even if they wanted to anyway.
    Still too early to extend anyone unless it's on a team friendly contract and I don't see those boys going for that.
    The first batch of free agents don't leave until 2025 and we're talking about Tellez, Borucki, Thornton and Jansen.

    ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#395224) #
    " Ichiro Suzuki immediately comes to mind."

    Ha, it didn't for me. I finally thought of him after the usual suspects like Rod Carew and Pete Rose. By the way, in my player search I noticed that Lou Gehrig had an astounding 11 straight seasons with an OPS over 1.000. Has anyone else had more in a row ? There was one player with 14 in his career but not in a row as he must have had an injury and didn't make it. Any idea who ?
    greenfrog - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#395225) #
    I'm probably more circumspect than most about Springer's contract, but his career wRC+ is 134 (last two years: 157 and 146). Wells's career wRC+ is 102.
    John Northey - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#395226) #
    For 1000 OPS I immediately went to Ted WIlliams. 1 year in his entire career without a 1000 OPS. Age 40. 18 years of 1000 OPS, one year just 12 PA another 110 due to being sent to the Korean War. He missed 3 years to WWII (ages 24-26 seasons - 1.147 OPS the year before, 1.164 the year after). He could just hit. Bizarre thing is he never had 200 hits in a season due to his insane walk totals. 3 times over 150 walks in a season, 5 times over 20 intentional walks in a season.
    John Northey - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#395227) #
    Another 1000 king is Barry Bonds - 7 in a row pre-1999 (pretty much known that it was post the McGwire/Sosa lovefest in 1998 that Bonds said 'screw it' and went whole hog on PEDs), 7 in a row after, a 999, then a final 1000. Of those 15, 13 were with 500+ PA, 1 in the high 400's, his age 40 season was short due to injuries (just 52 PA). Pre-PED's he had 4 straight years, 8 total, of 20+ Intentional walks including one with the based loaded iirc. 7 20+ IBB seasons post-PEDs including that insane 120 IBB season. His 2001-2004 stretch was insane - 349/559/809 for a 256 OPS+. His Slg% for that stretch was higher than Biggio's OPS was last year (807). Now that is insane.
    bpoz - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#395228) #
    Vlad not playing today. Bottom 3 in the lineup, Biggio, Grichuk and Kirk.
    Gerry - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#395229) #
    Thomas Hatch just removed himself from the game after talking with the trainer.

    Fingers crossed.
    krose - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#395230) #
    Mmmmm! Let’s see... That’s Pearson, Merryweather, Murphy and Hatch. Wee dent in the depth chart. Best to those young men for their recoveries.
    Gerry - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#395231) #
    Hatch left the game with elbow/forearm tightness. That's not what you want to hear.
    Mike Green - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#395232) #
    It's better than a pop, but no, it's not what you want to hear. 
    John Northey - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#395233) #
    So 4 down now? Ouch. Luckily as long as it isn't Ryu the Jays should be OK. This is why you want depth, depth, depth in pitching.
    scottt - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#395234) #
    It's usually how those roster battles are won.
    Merryweather has a sore back and should be ready for his debut soon.

    Panik and Liriano can opt-out on March 25 if not on the main roster.
    Milone can opt-out on March 25.
    A.J. Cole opt-out date isn't before May 15.

    Then, there's the taxi-squad.

    grjas - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#395235) #
    Baseball this year may well be a battle of attrition. Who and how many are injured may well decide a number of the playoff races. While injuries play a role in many years, they could play a very big one this year.

    And while the Jays starters are not earth shaking- unless Ray And Matz keep dealing- at least there are a lot of them who could put up acceptable numbers.
    GabrielSyme - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#395236) #
    Even though Pearson isn't starting the season with the Jays, he could be a difference-maker in the rotation.

    The rotation isn't great - there's too much uncertainty there - but there's a pretty reasonable scenario where it's pretty good.
    Cynicalguy - Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 07:49 PM EDT (#395237) #
    That's the top 4 prospects I looked forward to seeing with the team this year injured or likely injured: Pearson, Hatch, Merryweather, Murphy.
    Michael - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 04:13 AM EDT (#395238) #
    Considering I need Pearson and Hatch for my scoresheet rotation, I'm doubly hoping for good health!
    Parker - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#395239) #
    "Ichiro Suzuki immediately comes to mind."

    Ha, it didn't for me.

    Me neither! I started out looking at the guys with the most hits and the guys with the highest career batting averages. I thought I found the champ (Wee Willie Keeler is the guy with eight straight) and somehow Suzuki slipped my mind entirely.
    John Northey - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#395240) #
    Funny for hits my first thought is Ty Cobb but he never had more than 3 years of 200 hits in a row. "Just" 9 seasons of 200 hits. He did hit over 300 in all but his first call up (age 18, 165 PA 238 average) his next worst was a 316 as a 19 year old in 394 PA, 323 was his 3rd worst batting average in a 24 year career. He hit 400 or better more times (3) than he hit under 320. Crazy. 3 times under 2 WAR, 3 times 10+. There is a reason he was among the first to be named to the HOF.
    John Northey - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#395241) #
    Roster Moves...

    Optioned: Otto Lopez, Gabriel Moreno, Elvis Luciano, Ty Tice
    Reassigned: Nick Allgeyer, Bryan Baker, Chris Bec, Phil Clarke, Jordan Groshans, Hobie Harris, Miguel Hiraldo, Leo Jimenez, Adam Kloffenstein, Cullen Large, Alek Manoah, Austin Martin, Orelvis Martinez, Joey Murray, Jackson Rees, CJ Van Eyk, Jacob Waguespack, Logan Warmoth, Simeon Woods Richardson, Chavez Young, Yosver Zulueta.

    No surprises there.
    ISLAND BOY - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#395242) #
    John, I did think of Ted Williams regarding the years with over 1.000 OPS but never looked him up. I forgot he played so long and maintained a high level of play, even with missing some years due to war service. Barry Bonds was an obvious one that I missed.

    Albert Pujols has 8 seasons over 1.000 yet Mike Trout just has 3. ( He has 4 others around the .990 mark) The player I was referencing with 14 interrupted by one under 1.000 was Babe Ruth.

    Reading about Lou Gehrig is interesting. His last full year was 1938 at age 35. He said part way through the season that he was feeling unusually tired, but he still did better in the second half batting .295 with an OPS of .932 overall. By spring training of 1939 his power was gone. The first part of the season he had 28 at-bats, only one strikeout but just a handful of hits. A sportswriter watching him closely said, " There's something wrong with him physically. He squaring up the ball when he hits it like usual but it's barely making it out of the infield."

    Gehrig finally took himself out of the lineup for a contest against Detroit on May 2, 1939 after 2130 consecutive games played. Coincidently, the man who he replaced to start the streak, Wally Pipp, was in attendance at this game. Gehrig was sent to the Mayo clinic to see what was wrong and it was there he was diagnosed with ALS. Maybe he didn't understand the severity of the diagnosis at first, or the doctors didn't communicate it to him, but in a letter he wrote to his wife, Eleanor, from the hospital he said," It may be in 10 or 15 years I'll have to walk with a cane. Playing again is out of the question." He passed away 2 years later.
    scottt - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#395243) #
    Down to:

    Jansen, McGuire (hitting .167 with .626 OPS), Kirk (hitting .417 with 1.113 OPS) and Adams (hitting well but against minor league pitchers).

    Tellez (has cooled down a lot, hitting 179 with .519 OPS but is making the team), Guerrero (crazy numbers hitting .529 with 1.566 OPS), NRI Tyler White (hitting 0.056).

    Rest of infield
    Semien, Biggio, Bichette, Espinal (hitting .353 with .892 OPS), Panik (hitting .278 with .594 OPS), Valera (hitting .111 with .222 OPS), Kevin Smith (hitting .200 with .600 OPS), Urena (hitting .143 with .597 OPS).

    Hernandez, Gurriel, Davis (hitting .316 with .961 OPS), Grichuk, Springer, Palacios (hitting .400 with 1.179 OPS), Forrest Wall (hitting .294 with .863 OPS),

    Roark, Stripling, (Hatch probably on IL), Ray, Ryu, Matz, Pearson (Day to day), Kay, Milone, Thornton

    Chatwood, Castro, Cole, Phelps, Romano, Dany Jimenez, Payamps, Merryweather (day to day), Yates, Borucki, Kirby Snead, Tim Mayza, Travis Bergen, Dolis

    I need to renew with sportsnet before Saturday at 1PM.
    Next broadcasts: 20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29.

    mathesond - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#395244) #
    In perhaps the most unsurprising news of the day, a pitcher that the Mets traded for is now injured, and is likely to miss the start of the season.
    scottt - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#395245) #
    I thought the unsurprising thing was that a pitcher traded by Cleveland got injured.
    Magpie - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#395246) #
    Wade Boggs... had an incredible seven straight 200-hit seasons.

    Yeah, 200 hit seasons simply aren't that common. Not nearly as common as 40 HRs or 100 RBIs or 100 Runs Scored. I think only five players have had more 200 hit seasons than Boggs' seven - Rose and Suzuki had 10, Cobb had 9, Paul Waner and Derek Jeter had 8. Several guys made it to 3,000 career hits without ever having 200 in a single season (Yastrzemski, Anson, Murray, Winfield, Henderson.)
    John Northey - Thursday, March 18 2021 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#395247) #
    So a few battles left...
    • CA: Kirk vs McGuire vs logic - Kirk is clearly ready for the majors, McGuire is all defense, no offense. In a logical world this wouldn't be an issue but McGuire is out of options while Kirk has some.
    • IF: Espinal vs Panik vs Valera vs Smith vs Urena. Urena & Smith both have no chance (neither on 40 man), Valera is on the 40 man and has no options left, Espinal has options (expect him to be in AAA despite doing well this spring), Panik has the option to walk if not on the roster. So Panik & Valera I expect to make the team with Espinal being 'tough luck kid'.
    • OF: Davis vs Palacios, vs Wall - all 3 hitting up a storm, all 3 deserving a 5th OF slot, Davis the favorite as he has ML service time already and has crazy speed (on last option). Wall is a NRI so no real shot this year. Palacios has all his options still.
    • SP: #5 slot due to Pearson being hurt, and now Hatch (sigh). Ryu/Ray/Roark/Matz all locks. Stripling the strong favorite for #5, although Zeuch, Payamps, Kay, and Merryweather could push him. Tons in the minors ready to take a slot but need to prove something before getting that shot.
    • RP: Oy. How many? 8 or 9 likely. Yates/Romano/Dolis/Chatwood/Borucki/Phelps/Lirano all locks imo. Cole (not on 40 man), Mayza, Zeuch, Payamps, Kay, and Merryweather all want one of those 1 or 2 open slots. If Pearson is healthy he might eat one slot and be used as an opener for the #5 slot. If Sterling loses his rotation slot he would be in the pen. Travis Bergen is a wildcard.
    With a 26 man roster clearly the Jays have choices to make. 13/13 pitchers/hitters or 14/12? With 10 offensive slots locked in stone and an 11th for the backup catcher that leaves one or two slots open for Panik/Valera/Davis. If just 1 slot then Panik has the inside shot, if 2 I'd hope for Davis but would expect Valera to get it (this team hates to lose assets for nothing). With the 2 injuries the pen has those 2 open slots (without Pearson & Hatch would be near locks to fill them although Hatch might have gone to AAA to work on starting). Reminds me a lot of the 85-93 stretch when the only battles tended to be for the final bench/bullpen slots on the roster. This is a good thing.
    ISLAND BOY - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:34 AM EDT (#395248) #
    I'm guessing 14 pitchers/12 hitters. I don't think the starters will go far into games, unless they're having a great outing, in order to keep their innings-pitched down so there will be a lot of relief pitching this year. I think the last position spot will go to Panik.

    If this was two years ago McGwire would be the backup just so we wouldn't lose him. This year the Jays are in it to win it and Kirk gets the secondary role, maybe more if he keeps hitting.
    Michael - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:35 AM EDT (#395249) #
    With the schedule the Jays have 16 games in a row with no break from April 3rd to April 18th. But they have 4 days off in the 10 days of April 19th to the 29th. So they need the 5th starter (or paired starts or openers or what not) 3 times in that solid block, but not at all in the 2nd half of the month where they could easily have a 4 man rotation thanks to the copious off days. That might give some chances for swing men or ways of folding Hatch or Pearson back into the rotation/swing roles depending on health. But the start of the season with 1 game, 1 off day, 16 straight games is likely to tax the pitching staff a lot given lots of pitchers will not be fully stretched out and the weird last year. So I agree that 14/12 seems most likely for first half of April at least.
    scottt - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#395250) #
    I know that Ryu likes to pitch on extra rest.
    Roark likest to pitch on regular rest.
    I don't know about Matz and Ray.

    Also, I don't think you can plan ahead too much, especially in April.
    There could be canceled games and doubleheaders.

    I don't see any point in retaining Valera if he's not making the team.
    Payamps is probably still on the bubble.
    Trading McGuire for a low level prospect would free one spot.
    I think you could alternate Kirk and Adams so that Kirk can still gets enough development time, but until Kirk goes into a slump, that seems rather moot.

    BTW, has their new 2021 top 30 up today.
    Manuel Beltre debuts at 20.
    Yosver Zulueta break in at 23.
    Josh Palacios replaces Chavez  Young at 29.
    Manoah is down to 7.
    Pardinho is down to 15.
    Patrick Murphy is down to 22, probably because he's now a relief arm.
    Castro is left out completely.
    Kevin Smith is down to 30.
    Merryweather is down to 21.
    Will Robertson is down to 24.
    Joey Murray is up to to 18.
    Sem Robberse is down to 27.

    They also revealed their farm system ranking:

    Top 10:
    1-3 (Tigers, Mariners, Rays) Not ranked yet.
    4. Marlins
    5. Orioles
    6. Padres
    7. Blue Jays
    8. Pirates
    9. Diamondbacks
    10. Royals.

    John Northey - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#395251) #
    Interesting to see the rankings. Checking FanGraphs who has a value for each prospect, how do the 6 ahead of the Jays do for 50+ quality prospects? Those are the ones we all get excited over.
    • Rays: 1 80 (Wander Franco - a SS)!, 3 60's, 9 50's.
    • Tigers: 3 60's, 2 55's.
    • Mariners: not done yet
    • Marlins: not done yet
    • Orioles: 1 65 (Adley Rutschman CA), 1 55, 3 50's.
    • Padres: not done yet
    • Blue Jays: 1 60 (Pearson), 1 55 (Martin), 5 50's (SWR, Kirk, Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, Moreno). Manoah only got a 45+
    • ....
    • Boston: 2 50's. Ouch.
    • NYY: 8 50's - dang it.
    Was hoping the Yankees would have fewer 50's. But the Rays have more 50's than the Yankees plus 3 60's and an 80. For reference in 2019, Vlad super-hyped was a 70, Bo a 60, Jansen a 50, Biggio peaked at 40 (the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball) as did Tellez sharing 40 with McGuire & Alford and many others that year.

    For those curious - Wander Franco was an International Free Agent the Rays signed for $3.8 mil - the Jays spent $1.4 on Eric Pardinho (ranked #5), and $750k on Miguel Hiraldo (#17) among others. Shows the value of going big when it comes to IFA's.
    bpoz - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#395252) #
    Getting good Int'l FAs is tricky. I used tricky but it is not a good word.

    Looking at Big $ W Franco, Vlad, O Martinez. Small $ A Kirk.

    Unknown if big or small $ R Acuna, Tatis Jr.

    NYY Big $ G Sanchez, small $ Severino. Big $ J Dominguez, small $ Deivi Garcia.

    I think Tinnish is doing a smart thing by signing bulk. Because they are young it takes longer I hope, to get to the Majors. From 2016 signings only Kirk has made it.

    I know worrying about rule 5 losses is not really necessarily as demonstrated in this thread. So Int'l signings Pardinho, Hiraldo and Leo Jimenez all need to be protected this year. None are close enough.
    Glevin - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#395253) #
    "CA: Kirk vs McGuire vs logic - Kirk is clearly ready for the majors, McGuire is all defense, no offense. In a logical world this wouldn't be an issue but McGuire is out of options while Kirk has some."

    McGuire is exactly the type of player I would never worry about losing. There are tons of D-only catchers available for cheap all the time. Kirk is better and the Jays are trying to win now. McGuire had some fluky major league PAs in a small sample size but his AAA numbers over a much longer sample point to someone who really looks like organizational depth. I understand trying to hold on to talent when you are rebuilding but when you want to win, you can't play inferior players just because you don't want to lose an org guy.

    Also, I think you are having too many position player battles. If there are 14 pitchers as likely, that's only 12 position players. Jansen, Kirk, Tellez, Vlad, Semien, Bo, Biggio, Springer, Teoscar, Gurriel, Grichuk, and Panik and that's it. I can theoretically see if Tellez continues to struggle, could Jays keep J. Davis in the majors instead while they work Tellez back to being in a good place but given the lack of LH hitters, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    Mike Green - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#395254) #
    For the start of the season (for the 16 days in a row after the day off following Opening Day), you could go with a modified 6 day rotation for the first 12 days- something like this Ryu, Matz, tandem, Ray, Roark, tandem, and then Ryu, Matz, Ray, Roark for the last 4. That keeps the regulars on 5 days rest. The tandem pitchers could include, health permitting, Stripling, Kay, Pearson, Thornton, and Zeuch.  If you did that, you'd probably want to throw the 4th starter (Matz or Ray or Roark) for a shorter outing on Opening Day. 
    scottt - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#395255) #
    There are not that many prospects that will need protection.
    Semien is a free agent.
    Valera, Lopez and Espinal have 3 spots. Hiraldo and Jimenez can take 2 of those 4 spots next year.
    For Martin, I'd use an outfield spot.
    It's nice to have logjams. The more the better.

    For Pardinho, it depends on what he does this summer.
    First of all, he had to be healthy.
    There are tons of free spots in the pen after this year.
    We'll probably see  something like the Matz trade again.

    The Yankees have a lot of highly ranked pitchers.
    4. Gil is a power pitcher that they got in a trade from the Twins for Jake Cave.
    7. Medina is a power arm signed for 280K.
    8. Gomez is a Venezuelan arm signed for 50K. Good scouting there.
    9.  Vizcaino is a power arm signed for 14K.

    10. Florial is an outfielder who has been stuck in A+ since 2015.
    I don't know how he can still be ranked so high.

    uglyone - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#395256) #

    haven't been following spring at all but not sure where the bench controversy really is.

    3 guys look like guys with real value - Grichuk, Kirk, Panik.

    the rest are all guys who likely won't hit at all, so would be there exclusively for defense. McGuire would likely be the most valuable of all those guys just because catcher defense is so valuable - so if we're worried about losing a guy i would keep him on the roster over the likes of Davis/Valera/Espinal/Palacios. having McGuire on the roster also frees up Kirk to be used more frequently as a DH and PH. Having both Bichette and Semien on the roster really lessens the need for a true-SS backup IF, too.

    still wish we we had one more dependable SP. I'd love to be betting on Ray/Pearson/Matz/Kids as 3/4/5 SP instead of 2/3/4 SP.

    Glevin - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#395257) #
    "McGuire would likely be the most valuable of all those guys just because catcher defense is so valuable - so if we're worried about losing a guy i would keep him on the roster over the likes of Davis/Valera/Espinal/Palacios. "

    I agree catching D can be valuable in a vacuum (i.e. it counts for high WAR) but it's somewhere where I think WAR is misleading because backup catchers are extremely easy to get and there are just so many D-only catchers you can get for almost nothing. Here were the catchers that signed one year deals less than $2M this off-season. Ramos, Mathis, Avila, Romine, Suzuki, Wolters, Leon, and Casali. Zunino signed 1/$3 and Castro for 2/$3,5. Some of these guys aren't great defensively but almost all would have more value than McGuire on the open market. It just makes no sense to me to keep a player like this just to make sure you don't lose him when losing him doesn't really matter. I mean, Riley Adams has a better ZIPS projection and has options left. Agree with the rest of your post.
    GabrielSyme - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#395258) #
    McGuire is exactly the type of player I would never worry about losing. There are tons of D-only catchers available for cheap all the time.

    I suppose it all depends on what you think McGuire's true offensive level actual is, but he's played at 3-WAR pace without taking into account his framing, which has been quite good. You have to think he's going to hit significantly worse than his career 86 wRC+ before he's replacement level.

    More fundamentally, it's just not the case that capable backup catchers are a dime-a-dozen. Backup catchers are generally terrible, and there are plenty of teams who have terrible starting catchers. Our own principal backup catchers this past decade have been Luke Maile, Josh Thole, Dioner Navarro, Jeff Mathis and (briefly) Miguel Montero. They were collectively terrible.

    Two more things: as a left-handed hitter, McGuire is a little more valuable as a regular backup, as you can make sure Jansen/Kirk get all the starts against lefties. And Kirk isn't going to be a backup forever - if he's any good, he should be a starter, and it'd be a terrible waste to make Jansen a backup.
    Glevin - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#395259) #
    "I suppose it all depends on what you think McGuire's true offensive level actual is, but he's played at 3-WAR pace without taking into account his framing, which has been quite good. You have to think he's going to hit significantly worse than his career 86 wRC+ before he's replacement level."

    I think it's pretty obvious that he is significantly worse than that. He had a lucky offensive 150 PAs in the majors but he simply isn't that player. He has a career .665 OPS in AAA. in a full-season of PAs. That translates into what, a .600 OPS in the majors? He was a worthy gamble for the Jays to take but he's 26 and is an organizational depth guy now. There's nothing wrong with that but you don't arrange your rosters because you are afraid to lose someone like this.

    "More fundamentally, it's just not the case that capable backup catchers are a dime-a-dozen. Backup catchers are generally terrible,"

    Backup catchers with the value of McGuire are absolutely a dime a dozen. Backup catchers with the value of Kirk are very rare. There have been 43 catchers with a higher WAR than McGuire over the past 2 seasons. He's a 0-0.5 WAR player as a backup catcher. That is extremely easy and cheap to find.
    Michael - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#395260) #
    Good article looking at the young Jays and what the analytics suggest could be places to improve for each of them (from a good base even without the improvements):
    Chuck - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#395261) #
    I believe it would be fair to say that Bo Bichette has thus far exceeded expectations with a 5-6 WAR full-season pace in his equivalent of half a season in the majors. For now, he isn't drawing tons of walks and that alone would make me think that pitchers are going to push things to determine just how much he is prepared to swing at. He's going to have to anticipate this inevitable strategy and be prepared for a lot of sliders away.

    FG sees him as a 4-WAR player in 2021 and while that would be a regression from his pace thus far, that would be a hell of an age-23 season.

    Mike Green - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#395262) #
    There was one at-bat I saw this spring where a pitcher used a different approach successfully against Bo.  And I'm going to say nothing more about it publicly.  Suffice it to say that against a certain type of pitcher Bo is going to have to make an adjustment other than avoiding swinging at pitches outside the zone.  I'm sure he's well aware.
    GabrielSyme - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#395263) #
    Backup catchers with the value of McGuire are absolutely a dime a dozen.

    I think fundamentally we disagree about McGuire's value. We don't need to litigate how much we weigh his MLB batting line vs. his AAA numbers. We can just look at his ZiPS projections, which have a 68 wRC+ for him. That's not great in itself, but it's actually pretty good for a glove-first backup.

    Ramos, Mathis, Avila, Romine, Suzuki, Wolters, Leon, and Casali. Zunino signed 1/$3

    The only guys here I'd describe as D-first backups are Mathis, Romine, Leon and Wolters. All of them are projected to be worse hitters than McGuire. Ramos and Suzuki are butchers with the glove (and Ramos looks like he's going to be a starter), so they don't qualify. Avila's defensive record is at best mixed. Mike Zunino looks to be a starter, as well as earning significantly more than McGuire, and his projected 72 wRC+ barely edges out McGuire. So maybe you're looking at Curt Casali (who seems fine defensively, but hardly a glove-first guy) as a guy you expect to be better than McGuire who was available as a backup. Maybe Avila if you're happy with his defence.

    And all of this is without taking into consideration that the Jays control McGuire for five more seasons, which has a lot more value than a one-year contract for a vet.
    Mike Green - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#395264) #
    Kirk didn't hurt his chances today.  Another home run the other way, and another excellent outing from Ray with Kirk catching. 

    Q: who is the better offensive player right now against a left-handed pitcher- Alejandro Kirk or Randal Grichuk?

    I would think the answer is Kirk. 
    SK in NJ - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#395265) #
    Kirk should definitely make the team over McGuire. With no expanded playoffs this season, every win is going to mean something, and Kirk looks like he could be a significant improvement over McGuire in 2021. Yes there is a chance they dump McGuire for little/nothing and he ends up being decent elsewhere, but looks like most of his value will be on the defensive end, and as mentioned, it's easier to find a defense-first catcher than it is to find one that hits like Kirk. As long as Kirk is not a terrible framer/defensive player behind the plate (average or better), then it's a no brainer.

    Grichuk-Kirk-Panik is actually a very strong bench. Sprinkle in useful bench players with options like Davis and Espinal, and there is real depth there.
    grjas - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#395266) #
    I think the big challenge at catcher this year is “who is the number 3 guy” if McGuire gets dumped or traded. If we’re down to two catchers and one gets injured, is the team comfortable with Someone like Adams as a backup.

    It’s a bit tricky starting the year with only one truly proven MLB catcher, and a minor leaguer with no MLB experience as your #3. I’m sure that is giving them pause, much as I’d like to see McGuire traded to free Kirk. (Could there be an option to trade McGuire for a AAAA catcher with some MLB experience, for the taxi squad?)
    John Northey - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#395267) #
    I wouldn't be surprised if the Jays hold McGuire until the last minute then try to slip him through waivers to the minors and make him part of the taxi squad. Caleb Joseph signed with the Mets, Matt Wieters is still a free agent, as is Tyler Flowers if you are looking for a guy with ML experience. Both should be cheap if they want to keep playing.
    Cynicalguy - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#395268) #
    "having McGuire on the roster also frees up Kirk to be used more frequently as a DH and PH"

    Who is Kirk going to PH for? If Tellez is in the lineup and there's a tough lefty pitcher, Grichuk would be on the bench ready to pinch hit.
    scottt - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#395269) #
    Defensively, Adams should be ahead of Kirk. He's got more professional experience.
    scottt - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#395270) #
    Another good outing from Ray. 7 K vs 1 BB.
    2 good innings from Thornton but facing minor leaguers.

    Mize still looks very hittable, which is a reminder that pitching prospects don't always pan out.

    GabrielSyme - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#395271) #
    I'd be entirely fine with carrying Kirk as a 3rd catcher/occasional DH/PH if the team thinks he doesn't need any more defensive seasoning. I'd be surprised if the club doesn't want to get him more defensive reps in AAA at least at the start.

    We don't need a nine-man bullpen, and we don't even really need a backup infielder if we really are going to have Vlad or Lourdes ready to fill in at third. With a 26-man roster, there ought to be plenty of room for Kirk without losing McGuire.
    Jonny German - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#395272) #
    I can’t remember who it was but there was a Bauxite in the last year going on about how Mize was fantastic and clearly better than Pearson. Sure hasn’t looked it this spring.
    Jonny German - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#395273) #
    As for McGuire, I’m in the group that says losing him would not be a big deal. And I think it was telling when Shapiro was on Bob McCown’s podcast a couple weeks ago and said this (in the context of talking up Danny Jansen):

    ”I guess we're confident based on track record in the minor leagues that the offence will get better. And then we've got some combination of him and Kirk and, obviously, guys like Moreno and Riley Adams coming.”

    McGuire is conspicuously absent there, especially when even C-level prospect Adams got a mention.
    ISLAND BOY - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#395274) #
    Vlad was 3 for 3 today. I think this season we're going to see the player that scorched the minor leagues a few years ago. I know it's just spring training but he's really looking good so far with his slimmed-down body.
    GabrielSyme - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#395275) #
    Let's put it this way: keeping McGuire allows the team to trade either Jansen or Kirk while maintaining a strong catching tandem. I think trading either right now would be unlikely to return the value they really embody, so I'd rather wait and see, and eventually hopefully Jansen (or Kirk) can help upgrade the starting pitching.

    Injuries and poor performance have a way of clarifying these things. If Tellez scuffles or Jansen gets hurt, it'll be nice to have McGuire still around.

    The other thing here is that catchers have all sorts of unusual development paths. McGuire isn't projected to hit well, but that isn't determinative of where he'll end up in a year or two. His skill base is decent: he makes a reasonable amount of contact, he has a modicum of power, and he's a strong defensive player. His plate discipline has been poor in the majors, but that was actually a strength in the minors. It seems odd to be basically giving up on him because of 45 PAs in a very odd year.
    scottt - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#395276) #
    C-level prospect Adams has easy power.
    uglyone - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#395277) #
    Again I think grichuk/kirk/panik are the clearcut 3 bench guys if you want to field your best team.

    The 4th guy should play very little no matter what - there are multiple guys who can cover SS and CF adequately without needing that 4th guy.

    So what's more valuable? A 3rd plus D catcher who is there to use in games Kirk is used as a DH or PH or in blowouts? Or a 4th OF like Davis who can give you plus D when needed and some pinch running? I dunno - given that I'd be freely using Kirk at the DH spot if I were manager, then a 3rd C might make the most sense.
    Glevin - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#395278) #
    "So what's more valuable? A 3rd plus D catcher who is there to use in games Kirk is used as a DH or PH or in blowouts? Or a 4th OF like Davis who can give you plus D when needed and some pinch running? I dunno - given that I'd be freely using Kirk at the DH spot if I were manager, then a 3rd C might make the most sense."

    Yeah, it's not unreasonable at all. Probably moot as Jays will likely go for 14 pitchers, starting 9, Grichuk, Kirk, and Panik. I do worry that because of Montoyo's penchant for giving everyone lots of PA, whoever SHOULD have few PAs will get too many. Like, if McGuire is up and backing up so when Kirk DHs they don't need a 3rd catcher and getting a start every 10 games or so, fine. I just think he'd probably get made a personal catcher or something and start every 5 games or so.

    "It seems odd to be basically giving up on him because of 45 PAs in a very odd year."

    No. I am giving up on a 26 YO who couldn't hit at all in AAA for 2 seasons. I just don't understand the "hold on to everyone" mentality for a team trying to win. Sure, one of 100 players you let go might turn things around but that's a hell of a lot better than losing out at making the playoffs because you repeatedly gave mediocre players too much playing time.
    John Northey - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#395279) #
    My thinking for having Davis over most other options is pure speed. With the extra inning runner on 2nd rule he could be valuable. Right now the Jays have so many moving parts among regulars plus Grichuk that it is nuts. I can get going with Kirk, Panik, and Grichuk as the entire bench. Panik and Grichuk both run well and Kirk is a great option as a pinch hitter. Still, I miss the old days of a 5 man pen and a deep bench full of pinch hitting/running/defensive options.
    greenfrog - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#395280) #
    It is fun to have an absolute burner on the bench for pinch-running purposes.

    For some reason Dalton Pompey came to my mind, even though he wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the list of best pinch-runners. He showed some excellent speed on the basepaths before injuries (and confidence issues?) wrecked his career.
    John Northey - Friday, March 19 2021 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#395281) #
    Pompey will always be special - a Canadian who looked like he was going to be something special, then he got hurt, and got hurt, etc. Ahead of Pillar for OF depth and was playing CF ahead of Pillar when they came up. Sigh.

    The classic is Mr. Pinch Run Herb Washington who played 2 seasons, 105 games, 0 PA, never played a defensive position, 31 SB, 17 CS, 33 Runs Scored. Oakland in the 70's used pure PR's a lot. Allan Lewis played 156 games over 6 seasons, 31 PA, 70 OPS+, 44 SB 17 CS, 47 R, 10 games in the outfield, 48 innings. Unlike Washington Lewis actually was a player (Washington was a track star) with over 1000 minor league games to his credit. 282/325/335 486 SB. When pitching staffs had 8-10 pitchers at most and Oakland would get 10+ CG from each starter you had lots of roster space to work with.
    bpoz - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#395282) #
    Ray is having a V good ST. In 3 of his 4 outings Kirk has been the catcher. Could be coincidence?
    Thomas - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#395283) #
    I don't think it is. I seem to recall something, maybe from Shi Davidi or Ben Nicholson-Smith, that said that Ray got along really well with Kirk after Kirk was recalled. I got the impression that if Kirk comes north (so to speak anyway!), he's going to be catching Ray regularly. Maybe not to the extent of a personal catcher, but that he'd usually be behind the plate when Ray pitches.
    bpoz - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#395284) #
    I read the some thing about Ray/Kirk.

    When the season starts we will know who is batting where in the lineup.
    Mike Green - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#395285) #
    I have wondered about the division of roles for catchers.  I would be intrigued if a club allocated the starts of two pitchers- say Ryu and Matz- to Jansen and the starts of two pitchers- say Ray and Roark to Kirk with the fifth starts going to Jansen and Kirk getting DH work against lefties when Jansen starts as catcher. Kirk and Jansen have different strengths defensively because of height and they match up with some pitcher needs better than others. "Framing platooning"?
    earlweaverfan - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#395286) #
    I wonder if anyone else has thought through this possibility that just occurred to me. The challenge with Rowdy Tellez is that he is not as adaptable as the Jays’ ideal for a batter: he plays a passable first base but is mostly there as a DH. His two big advantages are a rare LH bat in the lineup and power. But unless he is playing first (which means Vlad must play third), Rowdy takes up the DH position. The team can’t put anyone else in that slot on those days to give them a fielding break. In other words, Rowdy takes away from the Jays’ options.

    I don’t know if they could gain anything interesting from trading Rowdy, but suppose they were to replace him with Palacios, also a LH hitter. He can definitely play well in the field (swapping with Gurriel or Hernandez on days they need a break).

    This would also mean that in any deadline trading season, the team could also contemplate trading Grichuk or, if they had to for a bigger return, Gurriel. If we wait till then, maybe Rowdy will have hit well enough to attract American League interest...

    On off-days for Vlad at first, could Palacios back him up? If not, who else would be best?

    The Jays have been very complimentary about Palacios’ progress at last year’s Alternate Site and he has done nothing but excel this spring. We might lose quite a bit of HR power with a Tellez to Palacios swap, but not, I am guessing, anything on OPS.

    What am I missing?
    hypobole - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#395287) #
    From Passan:

    "Alejandro Kirk, C, Toronto: One manager who saw him this spring said Kirk, 22, shouldn't just make the Blue Jays' roster. He should be their starting catcher."

    ISLAND BOY - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#395288) #
    I'd say the majority here want to see Kirk on the opening day roster. If McGwire is lost on waivers it shouldn't be too hard to pick up a veteran for the taxi squad. Mark Shapiro said that it is expected that MLB players will receive vaccinations within a month so the taxi squads might not be around long.

    I haven't seen it mentioned on here but MLB is having a Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa between the Yankees and White Sox on August 12 this year. It will be at the farm where the movie was shot. You would think it would be an expensive proposition setting up a major league field and stands for one game.
    Glevin - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#395289) #
    "I have wondered about the division of roles for catchers. I would be intrigued if a club allocated the starts of two pitchers- say Ryu and Matz- to Jansen and the starts of two pitchers- say Ray and Roark to Kirk with the fifth starts going to Jansen and Kirk getting DH work against lefties when Jansen starts as catcher."

    The problem is that all the Jays OFers are RH so Kirk playing DH against lefties means that one of those guys sits. Here were the WRC+ versus lefties last year of those 4 guys
    Springer-119 (but career 148)
    Gurriel-119 (career 136)

    This is a good "problem" to have but it's not like there are just PAs versus lefties to give away. Jays are absolutely loaded right now especially RH. I think you play Kirk and Jansen relatively regularly and see who, if anyone, runs with the job. If they both play well, you have a good problem (Austin Barnes/Will Smith sort of scenario where Barnes is decent offensively and good defensively and Smith is poor defensively but elite offensively. Roberts, for example said he expects Smith to start 90 games this year).
    hypobole - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#395290) #
    Sounded ominous at the time, but relatively good news from Keegan M.:
    The #BlueJays say that Thomas Hatch has “mild right elbow inflammation” and the club is still gathering information.

    uglyone - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#395291) #
    Re: Passan's take on Kirk

    Even as a Jansen fanboy I'm open to that possibility.

    But either way having two very good catchers is a good thing considering workload, especially if they're good enough hitters to DH at times.

    Let's all remember that our manager/team philosophy uses and starts bench players liberally. This annoyed me when our bench players were barely replacement level. But it won't annoy me at all if our bench is mostly starter calibre players. And let's not forget that injuries will happen.
    krose - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#395292) #
    Matz looking very good through 3 innings. Struck out the side in the third. No runs on one hit and just 36 pitches.
    John Northey - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#395293) #
    For catchers two great ones isn't a problem. The amazing 1961 Yankees put Yogi Berra (115 OPS+) in LF a lot so Elston Howard (153 OPS+) could play more. That was Berra's last year playing 100+ games.

    The only way it becomes a problem is if you have a piss poor manager who doesn't know what he has. IE: Jimy Williams with McGriff/Fielder for 1B/DH who played pretty much anyone over Fielder - 1987 he kept the Willie Upshaw in the lineup for 150 games despite an 87 OPS+ - in 1986 Upshaw was a 91 OPS+ player. In truth Gillick should've dumped him on anyone willing to take him with Fielder and McGriff pounding on the door (852 and 816 OPS in Syracuse which was a poor place for hitters). Sigh. Imagine if the Jays current manager decided to play McGuire everyday instead of Kirk or Jansen - around that level of stupidity.
    krose - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#395294) #
    Matz through 5 innings. 74 pitches, 6 SO.
    scottt - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#395295) #
    Matz has looked really good. Fastball command. Pitching inside. Great changeup that dies out of the zone.

    Phillies crew said he had problem throwing to the glove side while in the stretch last year.
    Sounds like a simple thing to fix.
    Wind was blowing in and the balls were dying at the warning track.

    ISLAND BOY - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#395296) #
    Al Leiter's son. Jack, threw a no-hitter for Vanderbilt today with 16 strikeouts. He is 5-0 with a 0.31 ERA so far this season.
    GabrielSyme - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#395297) #
    "It seems odd to be basically giving up on him because of 45 PAs in a very odd year."

    No. I am giving up on a 26 YO who couldn't hit at all in AAA for 2 seasons.

    There's obviously a roster crunch with Kirk pushing his way on, but I don't think we're having this discussion if McGuire had opted out last year... if those 45 PA had somehow never happened. Maybe your opinion would be the same, but I think last year's faceplant has had an oversized impact on people's perception of McGuire.

    Again, I think McGuire does more for the roster and for the long-term capacity of the team than rostering Joe Panik or having a ninth man in the bullpen.
    John Northey - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#395298) #
    Oy, makes me remember I'm old - I remember Leiter as a kid who was wild and hurt all the time, then finally put it together and left as a free agent pissing off Toronto media/fans/management in the process to no end. Wonder if the Jays will have a shot at drafting Jack Leiter or not this summer. I suspect he is climbing draft boards quickly.
    scottt - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#395299) #
    Leiter was acquired from the Yankees straight for Barfield in 89.
    He pitched 5 seasons in Toronto and made 97% of his money after he reached free agency. 
    rafael - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#395300) #
    I want Rowdy to succeed. Its still very early but I'm worried after his early hitting streak he's gone cold cold as pitchers starting to mix up repertoires. The numbers on DH and outfield and infield depth point to a short leash if he doesn't promise consistency (of the good kind)...
    scottt - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#395301) #
    Lots of left-on-left match ups for Tellez today.
    They have 4 outfielders, all right handed who could steal some of his ABs.
    He did play some good defense.
    We'll see who sits against the Yankees tomorrow.

    Glevin - Saturday, March 20 2021 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#395302) #
    "Again, I think McGuire does more for the roster and for the long-term capacity of the team than rostering Joe Panik or having a ninth man in the bullpen."

    That makes no sense. McGuire does basically nothing for the team. How many teams carry three catchers? Panik is the backup Ifer and is absolutely necessary.
    StephenT - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:14 AM EDT (#395303) #
    I'll guess Hinch.  The Jays have only faced 5 opposing managers this spring.  The last 2 weeks the Jays just play a 3-team rotation (Yankees, Tigers, Phillies).
    bpoz - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#395304) #
    Looking forward to playing NYY 6 times in April. NYY play Jays & Rays 6 times each in April.
    Magpie - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#395305) #
    [Leiter] left as a free agent pissing off Toronto media/fans/management in the process to no end.

    I've always believed that was mainly a PR initiative - and a successful one - conducted by Ash and Beeston to distract everyone from the fact that Paul Molitor, Devon White, and Roberto Alomar were also leaving as free agents, and we'd rather not talk about it.
    Parker - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#395306) #
    That's exactly what I was thinking: "Didn't three fifths of WAMCO also leave that year? Who cares about Leiter!"
    GabrielSyme - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#395307) #
    Because Semien plays SS, Biggio plays 2B and Vlad plays 3B, you don't actually need a backup infielder, except in the case of an injury. There is no circumstance, barring injury, where you actually want Panik on the field and in the lineup. And if that happens, you can call up Espinal.
    krose - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#395308) #
    Roark is facing a good Yanks lineup today. Will be interesting to see how that goes.
    Magpie - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#395309) #
    I don't see the point of carrying three catchers. The backup infielder will play more than a third catcher. Players will need a day off from time to time. Teams don't use pinch-hitters any more, there's no sense carrying a guy for that job. The only guy Kirk would pinch hit for in this lineup is Tellez, if there's a LH on the mound. But if Tellez is in the lineup, there's a RH outfielder on the bench.

    I admit, though, that I'm seriously tempted by the prospect of Kirk-McGuire behind the plate. The narrative on Jansen is that in 2017 he put on glasses and suddenly became a guy who could hit. But what if it was just a random lucky year?

    Of course, Jansen's BABiP luck last year was so unfathomably unlucky that it's really hard to know just what he is. I do know this. Shapiro loves him (and Jonathan Davis as well, by the way.) He's not the GM, but I would think his opinion carries a bit of weight.
    scottt - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#395310) #
    The ways things are set up, the first 3 pitchers could face the Yankees on April 1-2-3 and again on April 12-13-14.
    Roark is probably not in the top 3, which is probably Ryu/Ray/Matz at this point.
    Feels weird to go at it with 3 lefties.

    Mike Green - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#395311) #
    Magpie, the stats on Jansen are pretty clear.  Over his major league career including playoffs, he has 632 PA (i.e. one season). He has hit 24 homers, walked 61 times and struck out 127 times.  Those are the numbers of a decent hitter usually and sometimes better than that.  His BABIP including playoffs is .227.  It's hard to hit the ball hard enough to hit those homers and not do better than .227, and worse yet Jansen runs quite well for a catcher (i.e average speed for any player according to Statcast). 

    More formally, if you look at how he has done compared to how you would expect him to do given exit velocity and launch angle, his expected wOBA for his career (minus playoffs- it would only increase his number) is .321. That's nine points above league average.  His actual wOBA is .291.  That's 27 points below league average.  There are players who do regularly underperform- for instance, the ones like Kendrys Morales who regularly pull the ball hard on the ground into the shift- but that doesn't seem to be Jansen's issue. 

    All of that is probably a good part of the reason why Shapiro likes him so much.
    Glevin - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#395312) #
    "I admit, though, that I'm seriously tempted by the prospect of Kirk-McGuire behind the plate. The narrative on Jansen is that in 2017 he put on glasses and suddenly became a guy who could hit. But what if it was just a random lucky year?"

    Jansen is way better than McGuire already and also has way more upside. Maybe Jansen never hits the heights the Jays (and we) dreamed he would but I see his downside as a 1A catcher. He is, by all accounts, an excellent defender, and he won't have a .229 BABIP forever. I think he's around a 2-2.5 WAR catcher as is right now but with some offensive improvement and/or better luck could easily be better than that. McGuire is more like a 0-0.5 WAR backup catcher.
    bpoz - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#395313) #
    Roark pulled early. Hope he is not hurt.
    hypobole - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#395314) #
    Roark starts the game with a K on Gardner, then single, walk, double, double, wild pitch, single. Charlie says that's enough. Anthony Castro coming in.
    Chuck - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#395315) #
    Roark is facing a good Yanks lineup today. Will be interesting to see how that goes.

    Uh oh. It's 2020 Roark. Not a Fantasy Island start at all.

    Chuck - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#395316) #
    I wonder if today's batting order means anything, Biggio up near the top and Semien now following the power corps rather than in the 2-hole.
    Jonny German - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#395317) #
    Biggio vs Cole, first pitch fastball at 95 gets slapped into right for a single. You love to see it.
    Magpie - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#395318) #
    Oh, I'm sure Jansen's capable of being a better major league hitter than he's been so far. But I don't think he's capable of keeping the job away from Kirk for much longer than this here season. If that. There's a decent chance that Kirk will simply up and take the job away from him by the middle of June. McGuire is more my idea of a backup catcher, starting some 45 games or so and never ever having to look at a LH pitcher. Jansen is surely more likely than McGuire to fetch something shiny and useful on the market. That's if some of those balls in play finally start falling in, as the Law of Large Numbers says they eventually must.

    I'm told there are additional catchers on the way, but I'll believe that when they get here. The ghost of Guillermo Quiroz is strong with this one.
    grjas - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#395319) #
    Roark looked like a different pitcher after they fixed the mound. Hopefully that’s the real one.
    Glevin - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#395320) #
    The issue with Kirk is there are very real questions whether he can catch long term. His body is... Interesting. If you could get something shiny for Jansen, I get trading him but right now, Jays are a much better team with Jansen than with McGuire. For me, McGuire is completely replaceable. Even if Moreno et all don't make it, you can get someone similar on a 1/$1m sort of thing.
    uglyone - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#395321) #
    "I don't see the point of carrying three catchers. The backup infielder will play more than a third catcher."

    Sure, but the backup infielder is Panik.

    The debate for the last bench slot is between a 3rd catcher vs a 5th OF vs a 5th IF (non-1b).

    Usually that's easy to pick one of the latter 2 options because catchers usually can't hit much but in this case our top 2 catchers are both good hitters and the backup catcher is likely the best bench bat, making him much more useful and usable than just a strict bench C.
    Magpie - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#395322) #
    At this point, my best guess would be 13 hitters and 13 pitchers. The extra hitters would be Kirk, Panik, Grichuk, and Davis and they try to sneak McGuire back to the minors for now. But who knows? Maybe they'll take McGuire, Espinal, and Palacios instead. Surprise us all!

    As for the pitchers... well, Ryu, Matz, Ray, Roark, Stripling would be in the rotation for now, while they wait for Pearson and/or Hatch. In the pen, I assume Yates, Romano, Dolis, Borucki, and Phelps will be there along with four other guys from Liriano, Mayza, Cole, Merryweather, Chatwood, Castro, Payamp, etc. One of the LH for sure.
    Jonny German - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#395323) #
    Besides the 1 hit over 7 IP this spring, Chatwood has a contract guaranteeing him $3M this year. I like his chances of making the team.

    Magpie - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#395324) #
    I'm trying to think through likely game scenarios when the bench would come into play. If you need someone to run for Tellez when he's the DH - well, that's Davis, obviously. And you still have an outfielder on the bench in case someone pulls a hammy.

    If Tellez is at 1b, Vlad's the DH, and you need Davis to run - someone has to come in and play 1b. Either Vlad (and you lose the DH) or Gurriel comes in from LF and your fourth outfielder gets into the game.

    If it's just a matter of someone hitting for Tellez, that's your fourth outfielder's job, with the same defensive adjustments.

    It will be interesting to see how Motoyo deploys Kirk, assuming he's on the final roster. I think that most modern managers are very reluctant to use their second catcher as a pinch-hitter, lest they get caught short if something bad happens. Bobby Cox did it all the time in the days of old, but those were the days of old.

    Granted, generally your second catcher is someone you'd rather not see in the batter's box under any circumstances.
    Magpie - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#395325) #
    Besides the 1 hit over 7 IP this spring, Chatwood

    Well, if you're impressed by that sort of thing... :-)

    Whaddya think? Chatwood, Castro, Cole, and... Mayza over Liriano? (I think they have to make a decision on the old guy this week.)
    Kasi - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#395326) #
    I think Roark needs to be hidden from the teams like the Yankees by creative use of days off and such. He also needs a partner like Kay or Zeuch to work with. (Or Pearson when he gets back)

    For our hitters I think many are discounting injuries and days off. So the backup IF is likely going to get more play than one thinks. I would rather have Espinal there than Panik but in the end it is not a huge difference.

    I break our hitters into 2 groups. The steady performers (Springer, Biggio, Hernandez, Guerrero, Kirk) and the streaky hitters (Biggio, Gurriel, Grichuk, Jansen). I'm not sure where Tellez or Simien fit but I think I'd put them in the streaky group. This I think means we'll have pretty high volatility until we see some jumps in performance from the latter group. But when we have a couple players from the latter group on our lineup will put up a ton of runs. I think it also means that for our bench players we want to lean a bit more towards steady players since that will benefit the team more. Maybe that is an argument for Panik over the other IF.
    Kasi - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#395327) #
    Correction to the last post here. (put Biggio twice)

    I think Roark needs to be hidden from the teams like the Yankees by creative use of days off and such. He also needs a partner like Kay or Zeuch to work with. (Or Pearson when he gets back)

    For our hitters I think many are discounting injuries and days off. So the backup IF is likely going to get more play than one thinks. I would rather have Espinal there than Panik but in the end it is not a huge difference.

    I break our hitters into 2 groups. The steady performers (Springer, Biggio, Hernandez, Guerrero, Kirk) and the streaky hitters (Bichette, Gurriel, Grichuk, Jansen). I'm not sure where Tellez or Simien fit but I think I'd put them in the streaky group. This I think means we'll have pretty high volatility until we see some jumps in performance from the latter group. But when we have a couple players from the latter group on our lineup will put up a ton of runs. I think it also means that for our bench players we want to lean a bit more towards steady players since that will benefit the team more. Maybe that is an argument for Panik over the other IF.
    Jonny German - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#395328) #
    My assumptions are Liriano over Mayza, and Merryweather over Castro.
    scottt - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#395329) #
    Castro is not on the 40 and has 2 options remaining.
    They can safely stash him for now.
    Probably Liriano over Mayza, if it comes to that.

    Panik might be the guy, but today he just hit into 2 double play.
    That kind of contact skill isn't very valuable.

    Roark was missing high with everything.
    Much better after Cole complained and they redid the mount.

    Biggio was pretty bad in LF.
    I'd only want to see that as an emergency move if the 4th outfielder is DHing and another guy has to come out.

    Semien took a high fastball from Cole out of the park.
    That is nice to see.
    Overall, hitters behind the pitchers as expected.

    Shoeless Joe - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#395330) #
    I think it’s time to move on from Roark.
    scottt - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#395331) #
    Spring training, but I don't think I'd want him to face the Yankees during the regular season.

    GabrielSyme - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#395332) #
    I am by no means high on Roark, but his spring training performance on the whole should be encouraging rather than otherwise. A 14:3 K to BB ratio in 11 innings is pretty decent.

    And, it's not as if we have a bunch of great prospects ready for opening day. Pearson and Hatch aren't going to be ready, Murphy's out for a while, Merryweather seems destined for the bullpen, and I just don't see the urgency in getting Anthony Kay into the rotation immediately.
    Kasi - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#395333) #
    The biggest problem with Roark compared to our other pitchers is he doesn't strike out as many (although so far this spring its been encouraging) But I think over a season his K numbers will be weaker than Ray, Matz and Ryu. Pearson as well but I also think over the long haul Kay and Thornton would strike out more too. Reason why that is bad is because our defense is not great. Roark by no means was great today (although the first can be attributed to the mound) but it is not like our defense was helping him much with missed catches and throws and such.
    Nigel - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#395334) #
    The corner OF defence is likely to be a problem all year and I’m not sure that they are going to line up the infielders to best defensive effect on most days. Having said that, this offence is likely to outscore a number of run prevention problems.
    earlweaverfan - Sunday, March 21 2021 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#395335) #
    Gabriel, what about Thornton?
    StephenT - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 02:33 AM EDT (#395336) #
    A big positive of the Dunedin broadcast Sunday was they used the straightaway center-field camera (neutral to whether the pitcher throws left or right).  I believe that's the first time it's been used for a Jays home telecast since 2003 (when they were envying the cameraman who was positioned in a nice restaurant at the dome).

    fyi, Shulman says to start the season he'll just be doing road games from a studio in T.O. with either Buck or Tabler working from their home.  (Detailed explanation at .)
    Eephus - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 04:41 AM EDT (#395337) #
    Shulman says to start the season he'll just be doing road games from a studio in T.O. with either Buck or Tabler working from their home

    Note to self: mute the Blue Jays home games. Back before wasn't blacking out Jays games in Canada/GTA/whatever, I loved that occasional option of just ballpark noise while watching. Who wants options though? Aside from MLB teams and their 40 man rosters of course...

    Chuck - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#395338) #
    Note to self: mute the Blue Jays home games

    Note to Chuck as well. I flipped on the game part way through and broke into a cold sweat hearing only Martinez and Tabler, unaware of the broadcast arrangement for this season.

    What role will Ben Wagner have this season? Will he bump Hazel and Arash from their pivotal on-field jobs?

    scottt - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#395339) #
    A bit surprised to see the Royals spend 82M to lock Salvador Perez for another 4 years.
    They seem to favor extending homegrown players, which probably plays with the fan base.
    They only have one catcher of note in their pipeline, M. J. Melendez.
    He was in A+ in 2019 but only managed a .260 OBP back then.

    Glevin - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#395340) #
    "A bit surprised to see the Royals spend 82M to lock Salvador Perez for another 4 years."

    It's rare you see such an obviously bad contract. He's a soon-to be 31 YO catcher who has been under 1.4 WAR in 4 of his last 5 seasons.
    Glevin - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#395341) #
    MLB Pipeline has Jays as #7 system. I think most evaluators have Jays a top-10 system which is great with all the talent already here. Future is looking bright in Toronto.
    bpoz - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#395342) #
    Royals have S Perez, H Dozier and B Witt jr. Their rebuild may be over soon.
    ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#395343) #
    I actually liked the pairing of Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez last year. Buck seems to do better as a color guy.
    GabrielSyme - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#395344) #
    earlweaverfan, to be honest, Thornton had skipped my mind (that seems to be a theme this spring). I'm not sure that Thornton is going to be ready for a starter's workload, but more generally, he's not such an obvious upgrade that you should be jettisoning Roark after a good-but-not-great spring.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Roark pitches himself off the team by mid-May. Nor would I be surprised if he's 4-1 with a 3.80 ERA. It's worth seeing how Roark does in real games. I think much the same could be said of Thornton or Kay. The Jays have decent depth for the starting rotation, but it's not a good idea to put it to the test to open the season.
    scottt - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#395345) #
    Fangraphs positional depth projections:

    1. White Sox Grandal 4.0 WAR, Lucroy 0.1, Collins 0.2
    2. Phillies Realmuto 3.5 WAR, Knapp 0.1
    3. Dodgers Smith 2.0 WAR, Barnes 1.1, Ruiz 0.2
    4. Red Sox Vazquez 2.6 WAR, Plawecki 0.5
    5. Blue Jays Jansen 1.9 WAR, Kirk 1.0 WAR, McGuire 0.2
    6. Athetics Muphy 2.5 WAR, Garcia 0.2
    7. Royals, Slavator Perez 2.4 WAR, Gallagher 0.4, Viloria 0.

    16. Yankees

    23. Rays

    Parker - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#395346) #
    Eh, it's the Royals. They won a World Series with Omar Infante as their starting shortstop. They seem to shoot themselves in the foot on a regular basis, but somehow it's always just a flesh wound.
    scottt - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#395347) #
    Omar Infante played second base for the Royals between 2014 and 2016.
    When they won a World Series in 2015, they got Ben Zobrist at the deadline.

    John Northey - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#395348) #
    Heck, I remember 1985 with Buddy Biancalana at SS - he played all 14 games and somehow was a net positive by WPA (regular season a -0.1 WAR, -1.6 lifetime). The Royals have always played with fire and sometimes it works (85/15) most of the time it doesn't.
    Eephus - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#395349) #
    I actually liked the pairing of Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez last year. Buck seems to do better as a color guy.

    Agreed. They've worked together on and off forever (since the 90s I think?) and have stellar chemistry. I actually think Buck can be perfectly fine (when he isn't saying stuff like that double play erased the two out single) and his insights as a longtime player in a different era of the game are quite thoughtful and interesting, which Shulman is good at asking about (while of course being a pro play-by-play guy).

    Hearing just Buck and Tabler together though is like trying to watch a game while two overly friendly dudes drown it out with their endless observations about nothing. 
    Gerry - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#395350) #
    Kirby Yates has a flexor strain and will miss multiple weeks.

    Is Jordan Romano now the closer?
    Magpie - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#395352) #
    Buck seems to do better as a color guy.

    Indeed. Old ball players generally aren't the sharpest, most up-to-date analysts of the game. But what they're not providing is the stuff that's freely available to me anyway. I don't need it from them. And on the other hand, a former player - and as former players go, Buck Martinez is pretty intelligent and articulate - is going to know loads of stuff about the game that none of us can have any understanding of whatsoever. And Shulman is adept at getting that stuff out of him.
    Magpie - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#395353) #
    I mean, Buck actually batted against Nolan Ryan. He knows fear.
    dalimon5 - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#395357) #
    "It's rare you see such an obviously bad contract. He's a soon-to be 31 YO catcher who has been under 1.4 WAR in 4 of his last 5 seasons."

    Or, shudder to think that real life teams and their management do not evaluate players by a simple WAR blanket rating.
    John Northey - Monday, March 22 2021 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#395360) #
    I'd assume Dolis will be the closer to start as he did an excellent job late in the season last year.
    Glevin - Thursday, April 01 2021 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#395592) #
    Payamps and Merryweather make the team. I think the right choice especially with Ray not available yet. Jays will need a ton of bullpen innings. Once Springer is back, I assume Davis just goes down. Jays will lose Valera and McGuire but that's absolutely fine.
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