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I'm not going to write about the All-Star Game. Been there, done that.

Way, way back in 2005 (updated in 2012), I explained why baseball's All-Star Game was so much better than similar exhibitions in other sports. And two years ago, like the insufferable Old Fogey I know myself to be, I moaned and complained about how MLB is managing to screw that up as well. If you're really, really interested - well, click on the links!

I was saying just the other day that when the Jays have a good team, it's my hope that they can play .600 ball. At which point I suddenly remembered that the Jays have played 46 seasons now, and they've managed to play .600 ball just once in all that time. (And they didn't go to the World Series when they did.)

We can all agree that .600 ball is a nice thing to aim for, a thing worth pursuing. But how often does it happen? Not very often in Toronto, this we know. What about elsewhere? How many teams have played .600 ball over these 46 years while the Blue Jays have been trying, and mostly failing, at this task themselves? How many of those .600 teams went to the World Series?

I thought you'd never ask.

Over these 46 seasons, 89 teams have played .600 ball. Coincidentally, 90 teams have gone to the World Series in those 46 seasons (yeah, 1994). But the two lists - .600 teams and World Series teams - may not have as much in common as you might expect. Just 33 of the 89 teams that played .600 ball made it to the World Series. Granted the 1994 Yankees and Expos didn't get the chance, although we can't assume they'd have even won their divisions. There was a lot of baseball left to be played.

But there you are. The majority of teams that play .600 ball - 56 of the 89 - don't even make it to the World Series. And most teams that do go to the World Series - 57 of the 90, all told - don't match that regular season standard, posting winning percentages between . 516 and .598.

And here is the inevitable Data Table! I give you the number of .600 seasons each team has had since 1977, the number of times those .600 teams made it to the World Series, the last time the team played .600 ball, and their total number of World Series appearances in these last 46 years.

                    .600            Last    Total
     seasons WS Apps Time    WS Apps

New York Yankees    14     6    2022    10
Atlanta    9     3    2022    6
Los Angeles Dodgers    6    3    2022    7
Oakland    6    3    2020    3
Houston     5    3    2022    5

St. Louis     4     2    2015    7
Boston    4     2    2018    5
New York Mets     4    1    2022    3
Baltimore     4     2    1983    2
San Francisco     3     0    2021    5

Cleveland     3     1    2017    3
Los Angeles Angels     3     1    2014    1
Pittsburgh     3     1    2015    1
Philadelphia    2     0    2011    6
Detroit     2     1    1987    3

Tampa Bay     2     1    2021    2
San Diego     2     1    2020    2
Chicago White Sox    2     1    2005    1
Montreal/Washington    2     0    2012    1
Chicago Cubs     2     1    2016    1

Arizona     2     0    2002    1
Kansas City     1     0    1977    4
Toronto    1     0    1985    2
Minnesota     1     0    2019    2
Cincinnati     1     0    1981    1

Seattle     1     0    2001    0
Texas     0     0    ----    2
Miami     0     0    ----    2
Milwaukee     0     0    ----    1
Colorado     0     0    ----    1

As you can see, over these 46 years, four teams have never played .600 ball in a single season. But all but one team got to play in a World Series, everyone but Seattle.

Just 33 of 89 teams making it to the World Series, barely one in three, makes one wonder if it's even worth the trouble of assembling a team that good. (Of course it's worth the trouble, no matter what happens in October.) But there are extenuating circumstances we should consider. 

For one thing, .600 seasons are not evenly distributed through the years. Each league sends just one team to the World Series. But in any given season, more than one team in the same league might play .600 ball. Just last year, three NL teams played .600 ball, and so we all knew before the post-season began that two of those teams weren't going to the World Series (as it happened, none of them did.) And these types of seasons have recently become more common - besides the 5 teams in 2022, we had 3 of them in 2021, 5 in the abbreviated 2020 season, 4 in 2019, and 3 such teams in both 2018 and 2017. That's 23 teams playing .600 ball or better in just the last six seasons. Whereas in the twelve seasons preceding (2005 through 2016) there were just 10 teams that played .600 ball. 

And in the Before Times, before the Wild Card,  it was quite possible to play .600 ball and not even make the post-season. Eight teams actually endured that dismal fate. It all means that there sometimes are - what shall we call them? - excess .600 teams.

And there you go: the 40 NL teams that have played .600 did so in just  27 of these last 46 years. So obviously it was impossible for more than 27 of those 40 teams to play in the World Series, and as it happens just 12 NL teams did. 

Things went a little more according to the form chart in the AL, where the 49 teams that played .600 ball did so in 30 of those 46 seasons. So while no more than 30 of them could ever have made the World Series, 22 AL teams actually did make it to the end.

What does it all mean? You think I know?

There's a great deal of luck involved in playing .600 ball - winning six games out of ten. After all, history teaches us that approximately 30% of a team's games are going to be decided by a single run. And, as I've written so often, roughly half of those games are effectively decided by a coin flip. That's simply how one-run games work. If you flip a coin 3000 times, you can probably expect it to see it come up heads half the time. But if you only flip it 30 or 40 times, anything can happen. Literally anything. 

Magpie's Law: In a close game, the impact of random chance is sufficient to overcome the impact of overall quality.

It works on macro levels, when we consider the fate of teams and seasons. And heaven knows it works on a micro level, when we consider what can happen with a single swing of the bat. Remember the Saturday game against the Red Sox, some ten days ago? Eighth inning, Jays down by one, runners on second and third. Biggio jumped on a Jansen cutter and lined a ball down the right field line. A double, scoring two runs, giving the Jays a lead- except that it landed just foul. 

Now consider what went into making that ball land in foul territory rather than fair - the minute difference in what precise place and in what micro-instant the bat contacted the ball. Consider just the infinitesimal difference between a cutter coming in at 94.2 like the one that Biggio pulled foul, and one coming in just a hair faster - say 94.3 mph - that maybe he wouldn't have pulled quite so much. A micro-second later, a fraction of a fraction, just enough so that the line drive landed maybe 18 inches to the left. How can we measure those things, calibrate those differences. 

Because that was the freaking ballgame, right there. And that sort of thing happens all the time. It's impossible to overestimate the role that random chance plays in all of this. The significance of luck. Dumb luck. Stupid, unthinking, uncaring luck. 

It plays a huge part. Enormous! We are dwarfed by its mighty bigness!

It's always wise to remember  that there are things in this game that simply can't be understood, that can't be accounted for, that can't be measured and assessed. We may wish it was otherwise, but it's not.

So let's think about how Vladimir Guerrero could improve in his 2022 season, which disappointed so many folks out there, short of demanding a return to Sahlen Field? 

Well, maybe it would help if he just hit more balls hard? You would surely think so. And wouldn't you know it - Guerrero is hitting more balls hard in 2023 (56.3%) than he ever did before, including his remarkable 2021 season (55.6%). Not doing anything? Well, maybe it would help if he hit more line drives? You would surely think so, and by gosh, Guerrero is hitting more line drives this season (26.6%) than in any of his previous seasons. Did that do the trick? No? Well, how about if he hit fewer groundballs? That might work, although I personally doubt it. Anyway, Guerrero has indeed reduced his groundballs from 52.3% a year ago to 46.2% this season, almost matching his 2021 performance (45.6%). As process goes, all this looks exactly like what one would want to see. And what good has all this done him?

Your process is the only thing you can really control, but it doesn't actually take you where you need to go. It's still  in the lap of the gods. It always has been, it always will be. 

And the gods are a fickle and capricious crew. Always were, always will be.
In the Lap of the Gods (Musings at the Break) | 93 comments | Create New Account
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Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, July 11 2023 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#431589) #
A barometer of 97 wins during a full season.

The 1992 Blue Jays were 96-66 (0.593) and sequenced those victories in order to never lose a series of games.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, July 11 2023 @ 09:19 PM EDT (#431591) #
to be precise:

96 = .59259
97 = .59876
98 = .60493

16 segments x 10 games = 160

16 x 6 wins = 96 wins (+ 2 games to play)
hypobole - Tuesday, July 11 2023 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#431593) #
Diaz homered to make it 1-0 AL.
After the NL tied it, Bo hit a sac fly off Diaz to put the AL up 2-1.
But Diaz just hit a 2 run shot to put the NL up 3-2.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:01 AM EDT (#431594) #
No more scoring because both teams ran out of Diazes. 3-2 final.

Romano left with lower back tightness.
StephenT - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 01:09 AM EDT (#431595) #
I actually don't know offhand which teams any of the 3 Diazes play for.
I saw they were wearing teal or navy in the game.
Nigel - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 06:32 AM EDT (#431596) #
Seems like the ASB is the time we look at arbitrary markers for the quality of teams. It’s around the ASB that I start paying attention to run scoring differential. I look at teams with something like a plus 50-60 or better differential as the likely WS contenders. My totally arbitrary thought being that a plus 80-100 differential or better on the year marks the really good teams.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 07:30 AM EDT (#431597) #
"I actually don't know offhand which teams any of the 3 Diazes play for."

You should know Yandy, who's been with Tampa for 5 years now.

ASG MVP Elias is a catcher who hasn't had an OPS+ over 100 since 2018, but made the game because he's with the Rockies and someone from the Rockies had to be chosen.

Alexis is the brother of Mets closer (or at least would have been the Mets closer if he hadn't torn a patellar tendon celebrating at the WBC) Edwin Diaz. Alexis is quietly having a great season. 26 saves tied for MLB lead. Bref 4.0 WPA leads MLB. FG 1.8 WAR behind only Felix Bautista for relievers.

Final fun fact - Alexis is the 1st virtual assistant to make the AS game.

lexomatic - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#431598) #
<br>the all time Diaz hall of names team would be 60% catchers amd 35% relievers.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#431600) #
Álexis Ríos was a 2x All Star, but his programming was faulty. (Memory wiped.)
uglyone - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#431602) #
Why the 1st half has been so frustrating, of course, is that the Jays seem to be clearly better than their record and even their run differential.

* #8 107wrc+
* #15 -1.1bsr

* #6 +0.0def
* #7 92era-
* #7 95fip-
* #6 93xfip-

The only area they're not at least "Very Good" in is baserunning, where they're mediocre. This would usually result in having an elite team record and run differential, but it just hasn't happened.

This is mostly a function of the offense not producing as many runs as they should.

On the pitching/defense side, they rank 6th in runs against per game, which is mostly in line with their pitching and defense numbers - though tbh, when both the pitching and defense numbers rank right there at 6th/7th, the resulting runs against rank probably should be a bit higher than just 6th. But still, close enough that there's no glaring issue there. Though definitely not an overachievement, and still probably a slight underachievment. We should expect the pitching to remain at least this good and man would it be nice to see some overachievement at some point.

Offensively, though, despite the very good hitting line they still rank a very mediocre 15th in runs per game. And yeah we've been through this and there has been a huge issue with RISP, which really makes no sense at all.

IMO this does hurt the "balance" narrative we hear so much about that is supposed to explain why some teams underachieve their top line hitting stats and other teams overachieve them. Or, maybe more specifically - caring more about 'balance' than actually about being able to hit. Because while many thought the offseason moves were about improving balance - L v R, Power v Speed, Power v Average, etc - this year's team is less balanced in almost every respect.


* 2022: #3 118wrc+ vRHP, #7 115wrc+ vLHP
* 2023: #6 110wrc+ vRHP, #23 96wrc+ vLHP


* 2022: #14 8.1bb%, #5 20.2k%
* 2023: #23 8.3bb%, #5 20.9k%


* 2022: #1 .264avg, #3 .305babip
* 2023: #7 .259avg, #8 .305babip


* 2022: #8 .168iso, #25 -10.5bsr
* 2023: #19 .156iso, #15 -1.1bsr

The offseason moves did improve the baserunning and defense, but they've hurt everywhere else. Their approach is a bit worse, they've lost both contact ability and power, they're not as good vRHP and have gone from elite to just plain bad vLHP, which is a pretty massive blow.

And of course while last year's team's run production (#4) was in line with their overall offensive numbers (#2), this year they're significantly underachieving their offensive line.

So all that is to say that IMO actual offensive ability is probably more important than offensive style.

Then again, now that I think about it, if this year's lineup has unintentionally become less balanced and this is causing them to underachieve, then maybe balance IS important, and we just screwed up and made ourselves imbalanced while trying to become better balanced.

All that being said, even though the team is simply not as good offensively as last year, going from elite offensively (117wrc+) to just very good this year (107wrc+) the bigger issue this year has simply been the team being unable to hit with RISP. Whereas last year they hit 119wrc+ with RISP, as expected, this year somehow they're #24 at 95wrc+ with RISP.

I don't know that we have any real explanation for this. Hopefully it's just plain bad luck. If it is a mental thing, then hopefully it's just a temporary one.

I guess it may do us some good to look at who the actual culprits are here tho:


* Guerrero 98pa, 148wrc+
* Merrifield 92pa, 134wrc+
* Bichette 81pa, 160wrc+
* Jansen 56pa, 118wrc+
* Biggio 43pa, 97wrc+

* Chapman 106pa, 74wrc+
* Varsho 99pa, 52wrc+
* Springer 88pa, 84wrc+
* Kirk 68pa, 81wrc+
* Kiermaier 59pa, 72wrc+
* Belt 58pa, 39wrc+
* Espinal 40pa, 49wrc+

5 guys doing well with RISP, with 3 of them really excelling, while the other 7 have ranged from awful to unbelievably useless vRISP.

You could wonder if it's mental for some of these guys, especially those that have been asked to hit higher in the lineup despite not having any track record of doing so.

A guy like Varsho there really sticks out - if my math is correct he's been a well above average hitter in every situation other than when he has RISP, at which point he's become absolutely useless. Is this because they forced him up into a role he should never have been in? who knows, but maybe.

But then there's a guy like Belt who's been a middle of the order hitter his whole career but for some reason, despite hitting very well this year overall, has been absolutely useless with RISP.

So who knows what the actual explanation for the RISP is, but it's clearly been the #1 issue in the first half.

But even if/when that fixes itself, it's still probably also true that this team has taken a step back offensively overall, especially vLHP. That may or may not have been worth the defensive gain, i'm not sure.

I guess the biggest questions for me in the 2nd half are:

1. do we bet on guys like Manoah, Kirk, Varsho, Biggio, Espinal, Cimber getting back closer (not all the way) to previous levels? I think i'd probably still lean towards yes on that.

2.And do I see many big overperformers in the first half that should take a big step back? I think i'd probably still lean towards 'no' on that. Maybe Belt and KK drop somewhat but they haven't been fulltime guys anyways.

3. are the RISP issues probably more random than skill-based? probably leaning towards "random" on that one too.

so i guess that makes me pretty optimistic about the 2nd half, in the end.

at least optimistic enough to want to be significant deadline buyers.

and whoa, this post ended up being way longer than I expected.

John Northey - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#431603) #
So half way through where are the problems?
  • C: #14 by sOPS+ at 96, 9th by fWAR @ 1.7. Jansen hurt a lot, as per usual, and Kirk's bat is dead but his fielding is golden.
  • 1B: #11 by sOPS+ at 108, #14 BY fWAR @ 1.2. Vlad has been decent but we expect All-Star, Belt has been solid as the #1 backup, Biggio did well when there too (1.054 OPS)
  • 2B: #22 by sOPS+ at 82, #12 by fWAR @1.6. Merrifield has done great at 2B (113 sOPS+), but Biggio has sucked (28 sOPS+). Espinal meh (76). Clement got into a game
  • 3B: #11 by sOPS+ at 114, #5 by fWAR @3.0. Chapman has been solid overall thanks to an amazing April but May/June sucked (61/74 OPS+) while July is off to a great start (171 OPS+ so far). Espinal has 19 PA there, Biggio 1.
  • SS: #2 by sOPS+ at 133, #4 by fWAR @ 3.2. Bo has been great this year. Clement & Espinal have 17 PA between them there.
  • LF: #23 by sOPS+ at 82, #10 by fWAR @ 2.2. Varsho may not be hitting, but damn can he field. Merrifield has done OK there (93 sOPS+), and Lukes got into a couple of games. Yes, Arizona is #1 by fWAR in LF thanks to Gurriel but as expected defense is ugly (-4.2 vs Jays +2.3) and Gurriel's bat outside of one month has been no better than Varsho.
  • CF: #19 by sOPS+ at 92, #16 by fWAR @ 2.5. KK has been wow this year, but his sOPS+ has dropped to 102. Varsho wow on defense, but just a 70 on offense. No one else has set foot in CF.
  • RF: #13 by sOPS+ at 105, #15 by fWAR @ 1.5. Springer has been pretty healthy by his standards, while Lukes & Biggio have 10+ games each in RF, Merrifield & Luplow got time there too.
  • DH: #12 by sOPS+ at 109, #13 by fWAR @ 0.7. Belt has recovered from a horrid start, 10+ games each for Vlad, Kirk, Springer there, Jansen, Biggio, Bo, Lukes, Espinal, and Luplow have had time there while Varsho ran for a DH but never batted. 13 total players have had time at DH so far.
That gives an idea of how the Jays are performing at each position vs the rest of the majors. 15 or better is top half, 20's or lower is 'oh crap'. SS is the only 'top 10' no doubter right now. No position is 20's or worse in both categories. In fact, none are bottom 10 in fWAR. Top 10 fWAR are C/3B/SS/LF. SS the only one dragged down by defense instead of pushed up. Amazing that Varsho's offense could drag LF down to bottom 10 but his defense pulls the whole package back up to top 10. However, after watching the Detroit series one can see what bad OF defense can do to a team (as can our memories of 2022, especially the playoffs).

A lot of 'meh' there though - too many positions mired in the 10-15 range, decent, but not great. Get some bats going and those can quickly shift to top 10's.

  • Starters: sOPS+ of 96 (#14), fWAR of 6.7 (#10)
  • Relievers: sOPS+ of 93 (#8), fWAR of 2.8 (#11)
Nothing much to think about here. The rotation is Gausman-Berrios-Bassitt-Kikuchi-Manoah in some order with Ryu joining soon to make it a 6 man rotation, the pen Romano-Swanson-Mayza-Garcia-Richards-Pearson-White-Jackson right now with Cimber on the IL, Pop in AAA, Francis, Hatch, Thornton all break glass in emergency types. Green should be here in August as the equivalent of a mid-season trade for a top setup man (lifetime 137 ERA+, 11.6 K/9 vs 2.3 BB/9). If no injuries happen a roster crunch will happen instead when Ryu & Green are healthy. A good problem for a change. Lower sOPS+ by pens in the AL are TB, NYY, Texas, and Cleveland. Starters are Seattle, TB, Minnesota, Texas, Houston, Detroit (???) and just ahead of Cleveland & NYY.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#431604) #
Kirk is something like 2 hits for his last 30 at bats. I don't know if it is because he was late getting to spring training or if pitchers have figured out how to get him out. He wasn't very good towards the end of last season either. Of course, he's not legging out those infield hits like he was last year either.
John Northey - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#431605) #
uglyone - funny, we both were thinking at the same time and made long posts. For buying where do you think the Jays should go? What is killing the offense imo is the bloody double plays - they seem to hit into them all the freaking time, especially Springer when it matters most. Those require a hard hit ball but right at someone with his speed.

Jays are 24th for sOPS+ with RISP at 87 (Yankees are 22nd at 89). Bases empty the Jays are 8th at 109 sOPS+. Surprisingly the Jays are just 7th in GIDP with a runner on 1st under 2 out with 73, tops is Miami at 97. Texas has just 50 in 3 fewer PA than the Jays.

Since it has been shown historically that batting with RISP is a dumb luck stat (no carryover year to year and no projection during a year even) odds are that will start to even out soon with any luck. Plus there is NOTHING the Jays can do to change it. Either balls fall in or they don't. All the underlying stats scream Vlad should be a top hitter (exit velocity, etc), all the stats say the Jays should score more. It'll happen, we just need to trust the 162 games to work out. Hopefully they get hot in the final week or two and keep it up for October. Far more fun then than in April.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#431606) #
I've been peering under the hood to see if I could discover just why the Blue Jays have gone 7-20 against AL East opponents (and I've definitely formed an opinion!) and I uncovered a Fun Fact.

Tim Mayza has yet to allow a run against an American League team this season.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#431607) #
John - as for buying, for me it would be just getting the best bat we can find. And i don't care what position he plays, whether he hits left or right, or what style of hitter. We have plenty of defensive coverage right through the lineup to make anyone fit. Just get as big a bat as possible.

And sure, more good RP are always nice to have.
bpoz - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#431608) #
A 30 Hr player is great to have but you are unlikely to have to have 6-8 of them. Would SBs be a substitute?

Your C: Not 30 Hr or a big SB threat.

1B/DH: 30 Hr if the DH is full time like 500ABs.

2B/SS: Either Hr/SB or a combo.

3B: 30Hr. Orelvis & Barger soon.

OF: Teo gives you 30 Hr. Springer & Varho have a shot at 25Hr. Merrifield has 19 SBs so far. Springer, Varsho and KK maybe 20 SB.

Dasan Brown & Cam Eden can steal if they make it to the majors.

92-93 - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#431609) #
2 of the 11 runners that Mayza has inherited when pitching vs. the AL East have scored. He's gotten some really huge outs.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#431611) #
Mayza has mostly been really good over his career, albeit in middling leverage for most of it....but his leverage usage keeps increasing and he isn't folding under the pressure so far.

* Career: 289gms, 0.8ip/gm, 84era-, 81fip-, 75xfip-, 0.6war/65gms
* Last 5yrs: 270gms, 0.8ip/gm, 78era-, 82fip-, 77xfip-, 0.7war/65gms
* Last 3yrs: 165gms, 0.8ip/gm, 67era-, 74fip-, 68xfip-, 1.0war/65gms
* This year: 41gms, 0.8ip/gm, 28era-, 39fip-, 58xfip-, 2.0war/65gms

The big difference for him seems to have come 3yrs ago when his fastball stopped being classified as a 4 seamer and became exclusively a sinker (without much drop in velo), which then became his primary pitch which he used about 75% of the time, and his slider 25% of the time, which was a marked change from the 50% fb / 50% sl mix he started with.
99BlueJaysWay - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#431613) #
I have a really hard time seeing how they're going to be able to get a player who can outperform any of the regulars.

I think we're looking at more of a 2020 deadline, where they take flyers on a couple guys having down seasons and hope they can turn it around.

I'm holding out hope for some salary dump trades where we pick up a player on a bigger contract who another team is looking to dump to save money. I can't see the farm system supporting the acquisition of a quality player without it.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#431615) #
We have very little healthy and performing prospect capital to trade. So here's one suggestion.

Varsho's bat doesn't play in LF. It would play better in CF, but we have KK there. Guardians have the Central for the taking while getting replacement level play from Straw in CF. Trade KK there in some type of 3 team deal where we would get a decent LF, sending the Guardians prospects plus to the 3rd team. Just don't ask me who this LF would be.
John Northey - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#431616) #
99BlueJaysWay - I agree 100% - the cost for getting anyone who'd be an upgrade would be steep, ala 2015's trades for Tulo & Price. Is it possible? Of course it is. Is it practical? No. Basically the Jays need an ideal situation to fall into their lap. Kim in SD is a small possibility (solid hitter, amazing fielder, just 1 more year on his contract then a free agent) but I don't see it happening unless SD is tight on cash now and tries offloading the $10 mil they owe injured Drew Pomeranz, or $14.1 mil LH reliever Josh Hader (useful, free agent post 2023). That way SD saves some cash this year while they sink in the standing and can start planning for the future - it'd be a poor move on their part imo, but it is slightly possible.

Oakland's All-Star, Brent Rooker, has a 135 OPS+ as a LF/DH but being under team control through 2027 makes him pricey from a prospect POV most likely. KC has nothing. I'm really not seeing much. Anyone have suggestions? The best I see as a possible match is the Pirates Andrew McCutchen who is on the IL with a sore elbow right now. Ji Man Choi just came off the IL for them so he could be an option but was having a horrid year when he went down (48 OPS+) so he'd have to show a lot quickly. Other player ideas? Fun to speculate, but with so many teams still 'in it' there aren't many to trade with.
christaylor - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#431617) #
Are Manoah, Garcia, and Romano suspects in the poor performance against the AL East?

Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#431619) #
Best career batting average with RISP in the past 55 years:

.349 - Tony Gwynn
.347 - Rod Carew
.334 - Joe Mauer
.328 - Miguel Cabrera
.327 - Manny Ramírez
.326 - Paul Molitor
.324 - Wade Boggs
.324 - Todd Helton
.322 - Kirby Puckett

*minimum 2000 plate appearances
Magpie - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#431620) #
Are Manoah, Garcia, and Romano suspects in the poor performance against the AL East?

While the offense has not been up to standard, the pitching has been a much bigger problem. But I don't want to throw stones right now, and waste my material!! It's the All-Star Break!

Tell you what. I'll just salute the pitchers who have performed well against the AL East - Berrios, Mayza, Richards, Pearson. Gausman's been okay. Bassitt and Kikuchi... not exactly good, but it could be worse. And indeed, it gets a whole lot worse.

Did I give anything away there?
Magpie - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#431621) #
What is killing the offense imo is the bloody double plays

Geez, John. I went looking into this and it's sprawling out of control. This won't work as a comment, I'll have to put it up by itself. Stay tuned!
christaylor - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#431622) #
That is a list of players that had very good career batting averages. For example, Tony Gwynn's career batting average is .338. Wade Boggs' has .328 career average.

A list of players career batting averages with a minimum 2000 PA with a runner on 1B would likely include many of those names, no?
John Northey - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#431623) #
For career with RISP Jays with good reps for being RBI men
Joe Carter: 271/338/468
George Bell: 287/327/475
Carlos Delgado: 292/414/559

Bad Rep...
John Olerud: 297/438/464

Basically, it was all opportunities, not ability or results that people remembered about these guys. Much like Derek Jeter in the playoffs - his numbers in the playoffs are very close to his regular season, he just got a LOT more opportunity than anyone else thanks to being on the Yankees when they were spending TONS more than anyone else and had built up a great farm then fired/had resign the GM's who did it (Gene Michael & Bob Watson). Sadly Watson passed away in 2020 from kidney failure (long term problem).
uglyone - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#431624) #
99 -

"I have a really hard time seeing how they're going to be able to get a player who can outperform any of the regulars."

When you have four regulars in the 70s in wRC+ it should actually be very easy to find a fairly huge offensive upgrade imo.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#431625) #
let's see if any of the guys have already recovered from cold blips making their season lines misleading....

Player: April --- May --- June --- July

* George: 120pa/68wrc+ -- 114pa/135wrc+ - 115pa/122wrc+ - 30pa/145wrc+
* Bo: 127pa/141wrc+ ----- 127pa/159wrc+ - 110pa/101wrc+ - 38pa/124wrc+
* Vlad: 127pa/150wrc+ --- 108pa/96wrc+ -- 113pa/119wrc+ - 36pa/88wrc+
* Chappy: 114pa/218wrc+ - 121pa/64wrc+ -- 101pa/76wrc+ -- 33pa/175wrc+
* Belt: 65pa/49wrc+ ----- 83pa/171wrc+ -- 58pa/132wrc+ -- 27pa/135wrc+
* Whit: 85pa/123wrc+ ---- 111pa/87wrc+ -- 104pa/100wrc+ - 30pa/166wrc+
* Varsho: 113pa/69wrc+ -- 115pa/89wrc+ -- 96pa/112wrc+ -- 26pa/-53wrc+
* Kirk: 79pa/133wrc+ ---- 77pa/59wrc+ --- 52pa/73wrc+ --- 19pa/-60wrc+
* KK: 79pa/103wrc+ ------ 78pa/187wrc+ -- 58pa/34wrc+ --- 26pa/56wrc+

* Danny: 61pa/65wrc+ ---- 71pa/104wrc+ -- 45pa/111wrc+ -- 18pa/201wrc+
* Biggio: 49pa/17wrc+ --- 39pa/131wrc+ -- 49pa/116wrc+ -- 18pa/25wrc+
* Espinal: 47pa/45wrc+ -- 33pa/63wrc+ --- 47pa/118wrc+ -- 7pa/-31wrc+

* Springer - seems to have recovered from his cold start has been consistently back to excellent since
* Bichette - cooled from his scorching start but that was inevitable and he's hitting at his usual very good level now
* Vladdy - actually had a good start but has been pretty mediocre since with slight ups and downs
* Chapman - went ice cold after his ridiculous start but seems to have bounced back again lately
* Belt - after an ice cold start he's been consistently very good since
* Merrifield - fairly consistently above average, with some small peaks and valleys
* Varsho - looked to be steadily recovering from his awful start until he just went ice cold again the past couple weeks
* Kirk - just sort a steadily slipping down from decent to bad
* KK - after a scorching start has been back closer to expectations lately. might be injury related. Could easily be moved into more of a 4th OF role if guys like Biggio/Espinal could start hitting.

* Jansen - cold start but just getting better and better as the year has gone by, even through injury. obviously should be the first choice C at the moment.
* Biggio & Espinal - both looked to be recovering from their cold starts very well...until hitting another ice cold patch the last couple weeks
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#431626) #
When you have four regulars in the 70s in wRC+ it should actually be very easy to find a fairly huge offensive upgrade imo.

Very true in the offseason. But who are these fairly huge offensive upgrades that will be available at the deadline?
uglyone - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#431628) #
I mean i'm sure there will be plenty of aolodly above average bats available? Anyone on the Cards interest you?

John Mozeliak: “We’re going to trade people.”

Buckle up. #STLCards

— Braxton Wheeler (@Braxxx26) July 12, 2023
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 05:51 PM EDT (#431629) #
Cards FA's are pitchers.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#431630) #
The Cards aint exactly shy about trading players with control.

Soto, Teoscar, Bellinger, Pham...when there's a will, there's a way.
John Northey - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#431631) #
Well, Nolan Arenado would be nice - 129 OPS+ at 3B with defense as good as Chapman but then what do you do with Chapman? Otherwise I don't see much that could possibly fit in Toronto outside of a few of their really young guys but the Cards aren't fools and won't trade them without getting a kings ransom in return.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#431632) #
Cards plan to contend next year and need starting pitching in the worst way. Propose a trade.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#431634) #
Cards FA's are pitchers.

And their outfielders bat left-handed.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#431635) #
Tyler O'Neill bats right. And he'd probably be a cheap acquisition even with another year of control. And he would slot nicely into our 70 wRC+ group.
Cracka - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#431640) #
Well, Nolan Arenado would be nice - 129 OPS+ at 3B with defense as good as Chapman but then what do you do with Chapman?

The manager of the El Toro High School (CA) baseball team literally had the same problem in 2009. He played Arenado at SS and Chapman at 3B, though Chappy moved to SS when it was Arenado's turn to pitch (to catcher Austin Romine). Maybe the greatest defensive high school team ever... But yes, it's hard to imagine them on the same team in 2023.
John Northey - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 12:33 AM EDT (#431642) #
For All-Star silliness this Vlad/Ohtani bit is quite cute.  Lets hope Ohtani wants more and signs here in the winter.
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#431653) #
when there's a will, there's a way.

I'm sure we could get one of the controllable Cards OF's for Gausman, Berrios, definitely Manoah if he proves he's back to where he was. Maybe even Bassitt.

Just don't think the Jays have the strength of will to do that.
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#431657) #
John mentioned Cutch as a potential trade candidate. However he signed in Pittsburgh because he wants to remain there and the Pirates are going to accede to his wishes.  However here's a name - Connor Joe. On one hand he still has 4 yrs of control left, but is just about to turn 31 so not part of the Pirates future. Not good vs RHP, but 110 OPS+ both this year and last vs LHP's. Plays a competent OF corner. Seems to be within our prospect price range.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#431658) #
Gausman and Berrios have been the Jay's best and most consistent starters. Trading one of them would leave 4/5 of a rotation featuring an up-and-down Bassitt, a homer-prone Kikuchi, a young pitcher trying to turn his season around in Manoah, and maybe a guy coming back from Tommy John surgery in Ryu. If Manoah rights himself he could be a good, durable pitcher for the next 10 years. I just don't see trading a starter as a good idea as it seems the epitome of filling one hole and creating another.

Just don't think the Jays are stupid enough to do that.
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#431659) #
Of course that would be stupid, which is why there is no way were getting a  Cards OF even if they have a surplus. Some team that can give them a controllable SP might.
mathesond - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#431660) #
"Just don't think the Jays have the strength of will to do that."

"Of course that would be stupid"

So if I understand you correctly, strength of will = stupidity?
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#431661) #
Nobody has the strength of will to understand me correctly.
uglyone - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#431663) #
no need for major surgery.

just trade for, say, a Teoscar Hernandez.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#431667) #
Teo (career 140 wRC+ against LHP) would be a good add. Soler is similarly good against LHP in his career (131 wRC+). Unfortunately Miami (-5 run differential) has so far refused to fall off the WC pace.
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#431668) #
Any word on Romano's injury?
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#431672) #
this would be the "least possible effort" avenue:

As #BlueJays consider ways to add offensively, they’ve shown some interest in Nelson Cruz, per source. Cruz, 43, is a free agent after being DFA by Padres. Jays’ 40-man is full but they’ll need to open spots soon so some churn is coming.

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) July 14, 2023
scottt - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#431673) #
Cruz had his last bounce when playing in the AL Central in the first half of 2021.
Since then, OPS+ of 101 with Tampa, 90 with Washington and 89 with San Diego.

Not sure where he'd play either.
Kinda like just a pinch hitting option off the bench.

He's pretty good for 43, but does that matter?

Nigel - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#431674) #
I don't think they should pour any more assets into this year's version of the club so a Cruz signing would be an ideal solution from my perspective.
Mike Green - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#431675) #
Nelson Cruz? Pass. He's toast. Hitting .240/.310/.385 vs LHP over the last two years. Nathan Lukes is more valuable.
Nigel - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#431677) #
Thanks Mike - I hadn't checked his splits. I thought that he could still hit LHP.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#431678) #
Looking at hitting leaders, we have 3 2nd place guys. I knew the bookend leaders beforehand, they've been the big stories this year.

Singles is Arraez of course, with 126. Surprised me Bo is only 4 behind him. However Bo has played 4 more games and has 40 more PA's. HR's I knew was Shohei with 32,
Matt Chapman is 2nd in doubles with  28, KK 2nd place tie in triples with 5.
Anyone know or want to guess the doubles and triples leaders?
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#431679) #
This team is too old NOT to pour more assets into imo.
92-93 - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#431680) #
If Vladdy likes Cruz they should sign him. Maybe playing for a contender will rejuvenate his bat a bit.
92-93 - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#431681) #
During the ASG they pointed out that Shohei leads in triples as well. He'd be a better add than Cruz.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#431682) #
I like uglyone's idea. Let's sweep the Mariners,  helping dash their WC hopes and bring back Teo.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#431683) #
92-93. Play Atkins for a bit. What do you offer the Angels for Shohei?
Magpie - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#431684) #
Not sure where [Cruz]'d play either. Kinda like just a pinch hitting option off the bench.

Yup, but that's the job - that's the specific role on this team that wants filling. A RH bat off the bench, to pinch hit for the LH batters in a game situation. Nathan Lukes is certainly a more valuable baseball player in the grand scheme of things. But John Schneider hasn't shown much interest in using his fifth outfielder. So Lukes is only more valuable than Nelson Cruz to the 2023 Blue Jays if he can do Cruz's projected job better - i.e., hit better than .240/.310/.385 against LHP himself. That's something he probably can't do.

I'd obviously want someone better than Cruz, someone who can do more things. Of course. You can't always get what you want.
Gerry - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#431685) #
Rosie Di Manno had a story in the Star today about Manoah. Among the items in there was that Manoah dropped 8 pounds in his month in Florida.
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#431686) #
at manoah's weight he could lose 8lbs in one day without too much effort.
Nigel - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#431687) #
What would pouring more assets (which the Jays don't have anyway) into this team do for it? Move it from the 5-7th best team in the AL to the 4-6th best? I just don't see the point. They are almost certainly playing for a WC spot. Play this hand out (if you can't stomach moving someone like Chapman) and see if you can get lucky in the wild card games.
92-93 - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#431688) #
Any prospects they want, hypobole.
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#431689) #
I dunno Nigel i still don't see any team out there that scares me too much. These jays are good enoigh to win.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#431690) #
Shopped at Wayfair last year, can do it again so as not to demoralize the team like Rogers budget did in 2014.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#431691) #
20 teams have better prospects than we do.
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#431692) #
"Yup, but that's the job - that's the specific role on this team that wants filling. "

I think the role is a bitter bigger than that, given that none of Varsho Kirk Biggio Espinal have hit at all this year and that Kiermaier's early hot streak was probably a fluke.

The Jays should probably be targeting a fulltime starter type even if they end up using him in more of a rotation than as a true everyday guy.

92-93 - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#431693) #
Perfect, those teams are probably in love with all those good prospects and aren't in a position where the greatest player ever increases their chances to win a championship.

It's easier to part with your top guys when they aren't premium prospects.
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#431694) #
yeah like other than Tiedemann does anyone really care about losing any of the other prospects?
bpoz - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#431695) #
I don't think the Jays will get Ohtani. I suspect he will not be traded. However I remember the Jays were maybe as much as 7 games back of Texas and now only 2 games back. LAA cannot feel for sure that they are out of the playoff race.
Magpie - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#431696) #
I think the role is ... bigger than that,

Well, the team's needs are broader certainly. But you mention Varsho, Kirk, Biggio, Espinal - that's at least three different roles just with those players. (I suppose on this team, each of those guys has at least two roles on this team.) Anyway, you can't fill all of them with one player, not unless Craig Biggio turns back time by twenty-five years and volunteers his services. So don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Or the marginal improvement. Fix what you can fix.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#431697) #
I don't even care about losing Tiedemann , but why would the Angels want our prospects when other teams will offer better prospects?
92-93 - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#431698) #
Nobody trades the truly top prospects anymore, so that's not a given. Teams just don't part with top 10 prospects for 2 month rentals.
Magpie - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#431699) #
I don't think the Jays will get Ohtani. I suspect he will not be traded.

I agree. I don't think Moreno will be able to bear parting with him, even if Minasian tells him it's the only sensible thing to do. I do expect Minasian to encourage a bidding war, just to see what happens.
uglyone - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#431700) #
" But you mention Varsho, Kirk, Biggio, Espinal - that's at least three different roles just with those players. (I suppose on this team, each of those guys has at least two roles on this team.) Anyway, you can't fill all of them with one player"

thanks to the versatility on the roster i think we can, actually.

As long as he struggles, Kirk's catching duties can be taken over by Jansen, so his other role as RH DH would need filling.

As long as at least one of Varsho or KK aren't hitting, there's room in the OF for a non-CF fielding RH COF.

As long as biggio/espinal aren't hitting, Merrifield can fill their role at RH 2B/COF.

So just plugging in a solid RH Bat that can play either a plausible LF or 2B could end up buttressing all those current soft spots that Kirk/Varsho/Biggio/Espinal's struggles have created - for as long as they struggle, Kirk gets pushed into a pure backup C role, Espinal in a pure defensive IF role, Biggio into more of a pure LH bench PH/utility role, and Varsho/KK into more of a CF / defensive 4th OF type set up. And tbh, in those defensive bench roles, their current hitting lines aren't disastrous.

and then hey if Kirk/Varsho/Espinal/Biggio start hitting again, making the new guy's role smaller, then even better.
Nigel - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#431702) #
Nobody trades the truly top prospects anymore? Ummm, wasn't there a team that recently traded one of the top 5-10 prospects in the game?:) For a Kevin Pillar no less:)
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#431703) #
Do not trade list:

Bo Bichette
Ricky Tiedemann
Arjun Nimmala
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#431704) #
who wins the trade?

Yan Gomes in exchange for Kevin Pillar.

hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#431705) #
 Soto netted 3 top 100 prospects , including James Wood, now a top 10, plus Gore.
Castillo netted Noelvi Marte, top10/20 at the time.

Magpie - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#431706) #
So just plugging in a solid RH Bat that can play either a plausible LF or 2B

Agree. The problem with Cruz is he's not really a plausible LF at this point. Tommy Pham?
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#431707) #
During the ASG they pointed out that Shohei leads in triples as well.

Yeah, he's good. The doubles leader is Freddie Freeman with 31. Was thinking we should try to get him, but he bats left. :)
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#431709) #
L-C suspects the Rangers will offer Shohei Ohtani a contract the size of the State of Texas.
Nigel - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#431710) #
I say this as a question not as a statement but I thought it was pretty much accepted wisdom that Ohteni was going to go to the Dodgers when he went to free agency? Ohteni has (as least historically) expressed his first choice as being on the West Coast and LA. Between clearing salary and being relatively inactive in the free agent market this past offseason the Dodgers have the ability to back up the Brinks truck.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#431711) #
who wins the trade?
Yan Gomes in exchange for Kevin Pillar.

No idea, but I know who wins this trade
Yan Gomes in exchange for Esmil Rogers.
Gerry - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#431712) #
Ryu will start for Buffalo tomorrow.
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#431714) #
Not a fan of the Nelson Cruz dumpster dive. But after watching Matt Carpenter with the Yankees after being dumped by the Cards and Aaron Hicks with the O's after being dumped by the Yankees, I've come to realize sometimes dead cats have a surprising amount of bounce in them.
Nigel - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#431715) #
The Gomes end of the trade wins that one by a fairly healthy margin. The positional rarity of getting a couple of 5 WAR seasons (at league minimum salaries) from a C is the biggest reason. But there is also a fairly wide gap in fWAR between the two (less so but still significant in bWAR) in favour of Gomes.
Magpie - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#431716) #
Ohteni has (as least historically) expressed his first choice as being on the West Coast

My assumption as well. He's a Japanese person! It takes like 15 hours to fly there from an Eastern time zone! No one wants to spend that much time on an airplane!
hypobole - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#431717) #
If Ryu pitches well and Manoah's reset remains effective, what will the Jays do? Trade a starter at the deadline?
greenfrog - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#431718) #
I would think the Jays keep all six starters. Worst case, one of them becomes a long man out of the pen (Ryu, probably). It’s a good problem to have.

Also, I’ll be surprised if Ryu is lights-out in Aug/Sept. He’s probably going to be a bit rusty/inconsistent.
92-93 - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#431719) #
In economy, sure, but those lie-down first class seats are pretty sweet. And he’ll be flying private anyway.

Anywhere but the Yankees, please.
greenfrog - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#431721) #
I could see the Dodgers executing a trade-and-extend maneuver, the way they did with Mookie Betts. Or they could just wait until the off-season (if the cost in prospects is too high).
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