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On the road again, with a seven game trip to a couple of Original Six cities. (not that there ever was an Original Six anywhere, one of those myths that has always irritated the hell out of me.)

It's been about ten years since the Tigers were any good, and there's normally a reward for Years of Badness. (And the Tigers were pretty bad. Three straight seasons losing at least 98 games? Try that here.) Those rewards should be starting to appear by now, in the form of high draft picks developing into contributing major leaguers. It hasn't quite happened. Their timing could have been better - Detroit got to make the first pick in both 2018 (they took Casey Mize) and in 2020 (they drafted Spencer Torkelson.) Alas for them, they only had the fifth pick in 2019. You know, the year Adley Rutschman went first overall, with Bobby Witt Jr right behind him. I think Riley Greene is probably going to be a very nice player, but Rutschman and Witt are MVP candidates right now. Them's the breaks.

The draft pick who is working out, and quite splendidly, is the guy they took in the ninth round back in 2018. The Blue Jays shouldn't see Tarik Skubal this weekend, which is good news for the Blue Jays. (In other good news, they probably won't have to deal Garrett Crochet again when they move on to Chicago.)

But Matt Manning is scheduled to work on Friday - you remember him, he no-hit the Jays last year - and Saturday's starter will be the skinny RH Reese Olson, who has pitched just marvellously this season, even better than Skubal. Olson was roughed up by the Pirates in his second start of the year back on April 8. In his seven starts since then, he's gone a truly bizarre 0-4, 1.35 which hardly seems possible. But the Tigers - not exactly an offensive powerhouse - have been shut out in three of those seven starts, and scored just one run on another occasion.


Thu 23 May - Gausman (2-3, 4.89) vs Flaherty (1-3, 3.79)
Fri 24 May - Manoah (1-1, 3.00) vs Manning (1-1 4.88)
Sat 25 May - Berrios (5-3, 2.98) vs Olson (0-5, 2.16)
Sun 26 May - Kikuchi (2-4, 2.64) vs Mize (1-3, 4.57)


We were discussing the odd case of Jordan Romano the other day. On the one hand, Romano doesn't seem to have found his best form yet (bearing in mind that one bad outing for any reliever at this point in the season can make his overall numbers look bad for weeks afterward. If not months.) But on the other hand, Romano has clearly done his job - Closing the Game - about as well as he's ever done it. He's successfully closed out 7 games in 8 opportunities, which is 87.5% - his career totals are 104 out of 117, which is 88.9% (I think I'll call this figure Save Efficiency!) and that's really about as good as it gets. And to persuade you that this is indeed about as good as it gets, let's see how Romano's Save Efficiency compares with those of the pitchers with the most Saves in MLB history
Pitcher  Saves  Opportunities   Efficiency

Rivera 652 723 89.4
Nathan 377 423 89.1
Romano 104 117 88.9
Hoffman 601 677 88.8
Kimbrel 426 482 88.4
Jansen 428 485 88.2
Wagner 422 491 85.9
Rodriguez 417 513 85.2
Eckersley 390 461 84.6
Smith 478 581 82.3
Franco 424 525 80.8

Romano is a thoroughly modern Closer. He's not the Relief Ace, his job isn't to wriggle out of jams - on the 2024 Blue Jays, that job belongs to Yimi Garcia (for the moment, anyway.) Romano's job is to get the game over the finish line. And so he's generally not called upon until the ninth inning. As it happens, Romano has come on in the ninth inning in 92 of his 104 saves (88.5%). That's actually a little less than the frequency of ninth inning summonses for other modern closers, like Hoffman, Nathan, and Rodriguez. Each of those worthies entered the game in the ninth inning in more than 90% of their Saves.

This is how the modern game is played. (Game done changed? Game the same, just got more fierce.) Ninth inning game entries account for barely one third of Dan Quisenberry's career saves, and I'm not the only one here old enough to remember the Quis. Quisenberry was an old fashioned Relief Ace, called on whenever the team was in Trouble.

Anyway - here's what I was wondering. When did this happen? When did the Relief Ace mutate into the Modern Closer?

The first significant reliever to come on in the ninth inning in more than 90% of his career saves was Jose Mesa, whose run as a closer began in Cleveland in 1995, when he saved 46 games for Mike Hargrove. Mesa entered in the ninth inning in every one of those 46 games - in fact, he only made two appearances before the ninth inning all year (both times his team was down by 5 runs or more, but Mesa needed the work.)

Is it really Jose Mesa? It's obviously not Mariano Rivera, who didn't become a Closer until 1997. While it's well known that Joe Torre was certainly willing to call on Rivera whener trouble loomed, he preferred to save that bullet for the post-season. It's certainly true that Rivera was being used exactly like a Modern Closer by the time his long career came to an end. In his last four seasons, he saved 126 games and he entered in the ninth inning in 121 of them. Still, Rivera saved 120 games over the years while coming on in the eighth inning or earlier, with most of those coming in the first part of his career.

Did it really began with Jose Mesa? Seems unlikely. In fact, my first thought was "Eckersley." But, no, not really. Eckersley had a five year run for LaRussa in Oakland (1988-1992) when he was about as effective as a reliever could possibly be - he saved 220 games with a 1.90 ERA and an ERA+ of 198. But in those years, Eckersley made his entrance in the ninth inning just 64.5% of the time. He came on in the eighth inning for for more than a third (78 of 220) of those saves. Eckersley would go on to spend another five years closing games for LaRussa, in Oakland and St. Louis, and in those seasons - beginning in 1993 when he was a) 38 years old, and b) not nearly as unhittable as he'd been before - he was indeed used very much like a Modern Closer.

It's time to look at Tom Henke and Cito Gaston.

When Henke came up, in mid 1985, he was used very much like an old-fashioned relief ace by Bobby Cox, and both Jimy Williams and Cito Gaston used him the same way. But his usage pattern changes midway through the 1990 season. The year before, at the head of what was really a three man bullpen, Henke had come on in the eighth inning or earlier in two-thirds of his saves. He began the 1990 season being used by Gaston in the same way. In 9 of his first 11 saves, he entered the game in the eighth inning. And then, on the first of July, Gaston mostly stopped doing that. Henke became his ninth-inning bullet, and in 15 of his remaining 20 saves he entered the game in the ninth inning.

And that's how Gaston used Henke in his final two Toronto seasons. In 1991-92, Henke saved 66 games in 72 Save Opportunities - that's 91.7% efficiency - and he came on in the ninth inning for 62 of those 66 saves. That's a Modern Closer.

I have a bit of a soft spot for the Modern Closer. It's like being the goalie (and I am an Old Goalie!) You can't win. The only thing you can do is lose. When a goalie fails, red lights flash, and the crowd makes a huge noise, and your teammates can't look you in the eye. That's how it is for Closers. What's the moment of Dennis Eckersley's career everyone remembers? It's that pitch he threw to Kirk Gibson in 1988 (here, of course, we remember the one he threw to Roberto Alomar in 1992. Same thing.) Even the great Mariano Rivera - think of a moment from his career that doesn't involve Luis Gonzalez. They're there, but they're generally not the first ones that come to mind.

For my next trick, I might suggest that Tim Mayza's campaign to date hasn't been a total disaster either. But that's as far as I'm willing to go. Erik Swanson is beyond my help.

Blue Jays at Detroit, May 23-26 | 147 comments | Create New Account
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ISLAND BOY - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#446460) #
" Not that there ever was an original six anywhere "

I beg to differ, Magpie. The Original Six refers to the six teams that made up the NHL from 1942 until expansion in 1967-68, namely Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and New York. These are still called Original Six cities by some and it is not a myth. In some cases, though, a myth is as good as a mile.
Nigel - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#446461) #
Very nicely done Magpie. To tie the "Modern Closer" story together, you're saying that Duane Ward is really the reason that the modern closer was born?
Ducey - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#446462) #
Manfred says robot umpires unlikely for 2025.

Angel Hernandez can delay his vision testing for another year.
92-93 - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#446463) #
Bring back Cito! He'd unlock Vladdy's power and get these guys pulling the ball again like Jansen.
mathesond - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#446464) #
But what about the New York Americans? The 1934/35 Cup-winning Montreal Maroons? Those franchises (among others) were around in the 20's, for heaven's sake!
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#446465) #
The Original Six refers to the six teams that made up the NHL from 1942 until expansion in 1967-68

I know, but the NHL started up 25 years before that. No one has any respect for the Montreal Maroons? The New York Americans? It was Lorne Chabot of the Maroons who gave up one of the most famous goals in NHL history!

Best not to get me started!
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#446469) #
you're saying that Duane Ward is really the reason that the modern closer was born?

Well, Ward was there in 1989. What did change in 1990 was the bullpen was a little deeper - in 1989 it was Henke, Ward, Wells and that was literally all she wrote. Frank Wills got into 24 games. In 1990, Wells moved into the rotation, but Jim Acker was back and Gaston began to actually trust Wills.

It may have had something to do with the spring lockout - every one was being very careful with their starters that year because the spring was so short. The 1990 Blue Jays set a major league record for fewest complete games in a season (They had 6 - that record's been broken since.) Maybe Gaston decided he needed to strictly regulate his best reliever's workload. Who knows? Gaston was also one of the first managers, him and Dick Howser, to make a real point of bringing in relievers with a clean slate, to start an inning fresh. But nobody ever, ever asked him about things like this.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#446471) #
Bill James wrote about the evolution of the role in one of the Historical Abstracts, and he ended with the ninth-inning closer.  He thought that the role would evolve further, but it really hasn't much.  Henke in 91-92 made about 50-55 appearances, 1 inning per appearance.  The leading relievers in the AL last year were:
Emanuel Clase- 75 games, 72 innings (which would be equivalent to an earlier Henke season)
Romano- 59 games, 59 innings ( a few more outings than Henke in 91-92)
Felix Bautista- 56 games, 61 innings (before injury- last game August 25)
Clay Holmes- 66 games, 63 innings
Jhoan Duran- 59 games, 62 innings
Ryan Pressly- 65 games, 65 innings

If anything, the "modern closer" is getting the ball a little more often than Henke did in 91-92.  Duane Ward was a special quality of set-up man that allowed Gaston to use Henke less, and Gaston really rode him.  Ward threw 107 innings in 1991 and 101 in 1992.  And for what it's worth, by just about any measure, Ward was more valuable to the club in those years than Henke was. 

Nigel - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#446474) #
Ward was obscenely good during the three year run of 91-93 and took many of the truly highest leverage innings in that stretch. Then his arm fell off, unsurprisingly, after that run of usage. Henke has much of the cult status (and of course its deserved given the longevity and performance) but Ward was the key man in the pen in the WS squads.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#446475) #
Bichette picked off first in a key situation...what is going on with this team?
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#446476) #
And when Ward took over as the closer in 1993, Gaston used him exactly as he had used Henke in 1991-92. Ward came out in the ninth inning for 41 of his 45 saves, and he converted his opportunities at a similar rate (45 of 51, 88.25). As it happens, Ward came out in the eighth inning on all six times when he Blew the Save.
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#446477) #
Henke in 91-92 made about 50-55 appearances,

It was only 49 games in 1991 - he was out for about six weeks with what memory tells me was a hamstring problem, doing his running in the outfield. Ward filled in, and did just great. 1991 was the year Ward took his Great Leap Forward (he was a little erratic 1988-90, though overall pretty good) which probably let Gaston further refine Henke's job on the team.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#446478) #
Let’s say Gausman keeps the no-no going. What is the max number of pitches you would let him throw to try to preserve it? 115? 120? 130? He’s at 73 pitches through 5IP.
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#446479) #
Well, the most Gausman has ever thrown as a Blue Jay is 115. He went over that five times in Baltimore days, but just barely - his most ever was 120 back in September 2016. Which was a) a long time ago; b) a very quick game. It lasted just 2:36, and Gausman pitched the first 8 innings in a 1-0 win. So he worked a little more than 2 hours, I guess

I'll let him go for another 30 minutes.
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#446480) #
Varsho is a helluva player for a .214 hitter.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#446481) #
That was a huge hit by Varsho. Nice job, young man.

How long can the Blue Jays keep using Springer as their starting right fielder when his OPS is around .600 (it's currently .551)?
Mike Green - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#446482) #
Indeed.  Just about everything else a player can do, he has.  Power- check. Walks- check.  Defence-double check.  Baserunning-check. It's a funny mix of old player skills and young player skills. 
uglyone - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#446483) #
Thank god for the home run jacket.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#446484) #
The timing of Varsho's home run was perfect. He got to Flaherty just before Detroit went to their leverage relievers.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#446485) #
Also, heckuva play by Kiermaier and Jansen in the sixth inning to keep the score 1-1.
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#446486) #
Zach Pop, eh. Green and Rodriguez will be back very soon, and obviously Nate Pearson is Buffalo bound. Pop is making Genesis Cabrera's seat very warm indeed.
uglyone - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#446487) #
I could get used to life in the Central.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:48 PM EDT (#446488) #
The AL Central is off to a good start- +9 prior to today.  KC has gone from pushover to good team.    The division has a better record than any of the NL divisions. 
John Northey - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 08:48 PM EDT (#446489) #
If the Jays were in the Central division titles would be an expected thing. Why did the Jays need to feel that bizarre need to be in a division with the Yankees & Red Sox - oh yeah, selling a few more seats those games. Sigh.
Nigel - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#446490) #
Varsho is a lesser version of Devon White. How much lesser is tbd. It all depends on where is offense levels out at.
christaylor - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#446491) #
They're winning? He slipped? It's not the end of the world?

If they are who all of us seem to think they are (an 85-90 win team) these things are going to happen. Heck, even their record to this point ought not to be a surprise if one thought they were a "true talent" 85ish win team.

As was discussed in the last game thread, it's not the pen, nor the baserunning but the hitting that this team will/won't make the playoffs on... and that's enough for ownership.

Front there who knows, hopefully win a round at least.

On another topic odd power failure in Detroit -- no audio or graphics, but the video was OK? I live here an I am always baffled at how brittle American infrastructure is...
Mike Green - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#446492) #
Kiermaier was playing very shallow on that play, and had to be to even have a shot given that there were two outs.  And then made an excellent throw. 
uglyone - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#446493) #
interesting comp.

i'm not even sure the word lesser applies tho tbh.

By age 27

* Varsho: 1774pa, 97wrc+, 3.7war/650pa
* White: 2429pa, 88wrc+, 3.2war/650pa

and Varsho will close that PA discrepancy significantly by the end of this his 27yr old season.

Best seasons of Varsho's career:

* Age 27: 175pa, 117wrc+, 6.7war/650pa (in progress)
* Age 25: 592pa, 107wrc+, 4.8war/650pa

Best seasons of White's career:

* Age 28: 715pa, 119wrc+, 5.8war/650pa
* Age 30: 668pa, 109wrc+, 5.3war/650pa
* Age 29: 696pa, 93wrc+, 5.5war/650pa
* Age 24: 696pa, 97wrc+, 4.3war/650pa

christaylor - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#446494) #
But it used to be *many* more games. The partial balancing schedule has made it less important but those extra games home and away were a big deal.

Also, I am of the age where I was/am fine with losing to the Sox/Yankees is fine but my kid inside still feels the losses to the Royals or Tigers as soul-crushing.

Lastly, it's more than attendance, playing against big market teams raises the profile of the Jays nationally in the US. Perhaps my sample is skewed but the casual Red Sox fans always know (or knew of) more Jays player than I anticipated even during the lean years. This would not happen if they were stuck in the Central.
Kasi - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#446495) #
Agree with uglyone here. Lesser only makes sense when you have ignorance of the offensive environment of the two eras. Just looking at stats in isolation it looks good for Devon when you don’t look at how everyone else is doing. Varsho is a better hitter and likely a better defender too. But flags fly forever and we always will have rose colored glasses because of that.
Nigel - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#446496) #
WAR and wRC+ take era into account.
Magpie - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#446497) #
Devon Whyte (trying hard to remember!) spent his first six years, four of them full seasons, playing for the Angels. And that ball park was killing him, which made coming to Toronto especially wonderful for him. Over his career Whyte hit .238/.290/.378 (OPS .667) in Anaheim, and .284/.344/.463 (OPS .807) at the Dome.

So far, Varsho is having the evil mirror universe version of the same effect. Chase Field is a nice place to hit, and Varsho hit .239/.322/.407 (OPS .729) in the desert. The Dome so far has just been ruining his very life, to the tune of .186/.262/.360 (OPS .622)
greenfrog - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#446498) #
Varsho has hit well at home this year (.776 OPS). Probably he's more comfortable in the batter's box (at home and on the road) in 2024.
John Northey - Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#446499) #
Devo was a key part of those 91-93 teams. But during that stretch he had just a 105 OPS+. Now, mix that with amazing defense that we can't easily compare due to not having the ball tracking ability then and it was amazing. Plus he was 104-18 for SB-CS which is excellent. Funny - looking at his career I see he won a GG every year here (5 seasons), but just 2 everywhere else combined (both in Anaheim). Interesting that he was a near HOF career - 47.3 bWAR (60 normally needed, 50 to get serious consideration). He was great in the playoffs - 296/365/450 overall but even better as a Jay - 336/397/500 over 29 G 136 PA all as the leadoff or #2 hitter (2nd in '93 with Rickey Henderson leading off of course).

Dang, didn't fully appreciate his excellence when he was here. Felt he was the wrong guy to lead off (low OBP) but Cito was smart and figured out Devo wanted that challenge of being #1 and got the best out of him there.
John Northey - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#446500) #
Well, Jays are doing what they needed to do - win 4 of the past 5 (hot pitcher the one loss there) scoring 9 runs 3 times, 5 the other win, 0 in the loss. Against the 2 AL Central teams they are 3-1 net runs for/against of 27-11. Hopefully the next 6 go well against these AL Central teams. Right now 3 games out of the Wild Card, 1 game back of the Rays, tied with the WS winning Texas Rangers, 1 1/2 ahead of the Astros. So there is hope.
Michael - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 04:34 AM EDT (#446501) #
It does seem like a different offense since they brought back the Jacket.

Should have never left it / brought it back sooner.

Of course the Central opponents likely have more to do with it, but don't mess with a good thing jacket wise.

I also much prefer when the power outage is the broadcasters and not the Jays hitters!
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 05:08 AM EDT (#446503) #
Felt he was the wrong guy to lead off (low OBP) but Cito was smart and figured out Devo wanted that challenge of being #1 and got the best out of him there.

As I recall, what Whyte really liked was being in the same spot in the lineup every day. The Angels were forever moving him around - sometimes he hit first, sometimes seventh, sometimes third, sometimes cleanup - and he simply wasn't comfortable with it.
Mike Green - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#446505) #
Guerrero Jr. needed that.  

I hope though that someone has a quiet word with him  about loping out of the box on wall-scraping home runs.  Siddall excused him on the basis that he knew that it was gone.  Baloney.  He had no clue whether the ball was going to hit the top of the fence or clear it.  If this was the first time, it would be one thing but it's a long-standing pattern.  In a blowout late in the game, it's not a huge deal but he needs to be reminded so that he gets in the habit of running these things out unless they are far, far gone.  Rule of thumb: if the fielder doesn't make an effort and the batter thinks it's far gone, then it almost surely is gone with plenty to spare. 

soupman - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#446506) #
they always make excuses for him. since the start of last year he has 6SB and has been picked off or caught 7 times. That doesn't include getting picked off second in the playoffs. This guy still bounces around like he's rickey henderson even though he lumbers out of the box until he decides it's worth it to charge.
92-93 - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#446508) #
Hold up Magpie. You mean to tell me the players care about the batting order? Because some guy on the internet told me they don't matter, and you can change them on a whim.
uglyone - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#446510) #
White Career Batting Order Splits

* 1. 4418pa, .742ops
* 2. 954pa, .744ops
* 3. 988pa, .725ops
* 4. 185pa, .723ops
* 5. 628pa, .780ops
* 6. 530pa, .759ops
* 7. 201pa, .584ops
* 8. 45pa, .533ops
* 9. 131pa, .731ops

Clearly Devo was only truly comfortable in the 5-hole.
uglyone - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#446511) #

Devo Career

* Batting First: 4418pa, .742ops
* Anywhere Else: 3662pa, .736ops

With the first sample skewed heavily to his prime years and the second sample skewed heavily to his early and late years.
Mike Green - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#446515) #
I don't think anyone supports changing a batting order over and over again. Players do prefer a defined role. But it doesn't make that much difference in general terms where particularly a batter hits, as long as the Manager sticks with it for quite a while.

Bill James articulated this many decades ago. I'm imaging someone in 80 years explaining Bill James' career path to a kid. Working in a warehouse and producing a baseball statistics newsletter mimeographed ("a baseball zine, mama?"), the bestselling Abstracts and then his gig with the Red Sox. It ends with: "he left the Red Sox after they traded the great Mookie Betts, and the Sox haven't won a World Series since. They did the same thing exactly 100 years prior with the same results. And so, son, that's why we have the Mookie Spooky."
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#446516) #
The impression I always had regarding Whyte was that he wasn't so much concerned about which particular spot he was hitting in, as long as he knew that's where he was going to be every day.

Apparently it mattered to him. It matters to some guys, and some guys couldn't care less.
Ducey - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#446517) #

I imagine it was a pretty good to hit first when the rest of WAMCO was behind you.
Ryan Day - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#446518) #
Interesting story about Devo changing his name back to "Whyte" - "White" was a mistake by US immigration officials.

He does still seem to go professionally by "White" - all the stories about his time with the Bisons use that version of the name.
92-93 - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#446519) #
Schneider has hit .174/.264/.370 since first appearing in the leadoff spot. Does being up there make the manager more hesitant to sit him? Lefties hit better against tonight’s Tigers SP Maeda, so it might otherwise be a good time to give Biggio the start at 2B.
John Northey - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#446520) #
I remember the Cito days when he'd plan things out and let players know their roles each game, each week, each month depending on the player and situation. It is a big part of why he was/is so loved by guys who played for him. Everyone knew their role and didn't need to go asking to find out. Pre-Toronto Devo had to deal with a club that had no idea what to do with him so they bounced him in the order, up and down to AAA, etc. Anyone who has dug into the numbers knows that who bats where matters very little, but who is batting matters a lot. Basically, if you put Vogelbach in the lineup everyday over Turner you are screwing the team far more than if you put Kiermaier 1st and Schneider 9th.

Speaking of playing time - Varsho is now 1 inning behind Schneider in LF (200 innings vs 201), and 54 innings behind Kiermaier in CF, but leads the team in innings played in the OF at 381 (Springer #2 at 355). Get the feeling he will be screwed out of a gold glove again.
scottt - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#446521) #
Anyone who has dug into the numbers knows that who bats where matters very little, but who is batting matters a lot.

I think that's an oversimplification.

Nobody's ever done a lineup by picking names out of a hat. Nevermind doing that long enough to have a large sample.

Obviously, it's better to put the guys who will get 0 hits last and the guys who will get on base first.
Over the course of a season, guy deviate from their average performance considerably and it's not better to always plays the best 9 guys. The key is to predict accurately who will get hits before each game.  There are things like platoon, pitch types and the current trend (is the batter in a 0-20 slump or in a 10 game hitting streak) that are worth considering.

Maybe players do better when they don't move up and down in the order. I really don't know about that. Players tend to stick at the front because they are doing well and end up at the bottom because they are there because of the glove. Guys who play everyday because of the bat will probably not be moving around. On this team, that's only Guerrero, Bichette (who is now just reaching replacement level value) and Varsho (who ironically gets moved around a lot).
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#446522) #
Nobody's ever done a lineup by picking names out of a hat.

Billy Martin is supposed to have done exactly that with the 1977 Yankees, just a crazy move to shake things up during a losing streak.

But it's impossible to figure out which game. I found one where all of a sudden Jackson, Piniella, and Nettles were hitting 678 - but that was in the midst of a winning streak.

One should never try to think along with Billy. That way madness lies. Let me shun that.
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#446523) #
Maybe players do better when they don't move up and down in the order.

I would assume that, like many things in life, it varies from one person to the next. Some people are reassured, more confident when they know exactly what their role is and what's expected of them. It's not as big a deal to others.

Similarly, it doesn't matter to some players where they hit but it matters a great deal to others. It's not necessarily a matter of personal preference. It can be the player assuming that being placed in a certain spot in the order - say the two spot - means the team was looking for him to do a particular thing. Which might not be what the player was best at doing, but the player would try anyway and get out of his own game.
Nigel - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#446524) #
Since the ASG last year Justin Turner has put up a 97 wRC+ in just under 450 PAs and the numbers against RHP are downright scary (69 wRC+). There's a faint and growing smell of toast in the air.
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#446525) #
In some ways, that last inning was the most impressive Manoah has looked in a very long time. The game is comparatively easy (it's never easy) when all your pitches are working, your teammates are making all the plays behind you, and the opposition isn't laying off the close ones. Manoah couldn't buy a break that inning, but he kept battling and he kept pitching. Well done, son.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#446526) #
Nigel, you know there are important facts you are leaving out, like his injury which he played through and his RBI production.
greenfrog - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#446527) #
Turner, Springer, Kirk, maybe also Biggio…lotta potential toast among the lineup regulars. And IKF, Clement and KK are relatively weak with the bats as well.

The Blue Jays are going to give a ton of PAs to Turner and Springer all season long, no matter how poorly they perform offensively. Because they are making a lot of money. So they must be worth playing. (Circular logic? Yes.)
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#446528) #
Aw. I was really looking forward to seeing the defensive alignment if they somehow tied it up.
John Northey - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#446529) #
Turner and Springer both have great long track records which is why they keep getting put out there, more so than their big contracts I suspect. The problem with both is that they are on the wrong side of 32 (post 32 instant drops happen a LOT and are often permanent). Kirk (25), Biggio (29) both are young enough (Biggio barely) to be expected to recover to career norms or better. Kiermaier is also up there (34) so I expect him to play less and less as the year wears on if things don't get a lot better (free agent post 2024, won't get offers for more than $1-2 mil next winter I suspect with the purpose of being purely a backup).

I still have hope - the Jays though need to play better than today. 2-2 vs Detroit this weekend is OK (barely), 3 of 4 is ideal now. 4 of 4 was never going to be easy (can't mess up, and we all knew Manoah was a big risk of that).

Manoah today was easy to tell when pitches were going to be off - if his follow through wasn't going at the plate the pitch wasn't either or was going to be super-hittable. He struggled but didn't appear beaten like he did often last year. We'll see in his next start if he recovers quickly from this or not. Good news was the weakest 3 in the pen didn't allow a run over 3 1/3 innings (Pearson, Cabrera, Swanson) and Garcia and Romano should be at 100% and chomping at the bit tomorrow.

Looks like Olsen is a hard luck pitcher (0-5 with a 2.16 ERA - not easy to do, just 2 2/3 IP last start). Lets hope the Jays can take advantage of that.
Magpie - Friday, May 24 2024 @ 11:38 PM EDT (#446530) #
[Manoah} struggled but didn't appear beaten like he did often last year.

Yeah, that's what I really liked about him tonight. As I was telling Eephus, who missed it all, he didn't have his A game, tonight. He had maybe his C game. Which can be good enough to win, if you catch some breaks. And of course he didn't catch any. Quite the opposite, in fact. But he hung in there, he kept battling with what he had. It took something out of him and he ran out of gas the next inning - walked a guy, hung a changeup - but in a weird way, I found this game tonight more encouraging than his last start.
pooks137 - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 02:23 AM EDT (#446531) #
Turner and Springer both have great long track records which is why they keep getting put out there, more so than their big contracts I suspect.

I'm sure Springer's long pedigree of success is a factor in him starting everyday.

But an even bigger factor is that he's still owed a good 65 million or so.

greenfrog - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#446532) #
Let’s say you sign a player to a 6/$150m contract, knowing that he might be good for 3 or 4 years and then bad for the last 2 or 3 years. What is your plan for those last 2 or 3 years? Continue to play him full-time, even though he’s no longer good? Use him part-time? Trade him along with prospects in order to shed the remainder of the contract?

The Blue Jays plan with Springer seems to be to continue playing him full-time no matter what. That is a problem because they’re trying to stay relevant this year and the lineup has other weak spots besides Springer.

Pedigree can actually be a problem because it can prevent the team from moving on from a declining player in a timely way.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#446533) #
After a slow start, Guerrero Jr. has quietly raised his wRC+ to very solid 132 (184 this month). Hopefully he maintains a disciplined hitting approach for the rest of the season.
dalimon5 - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#446534) #
Vlad has been fantastic lately and this iteration is most welcome even with limited HR.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#446535) #
So, the Yankees have a Burdi and a Berti.  And Cleveland has a Bieber and a Bibee.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#446536) #
I agree it's getting to maybe think about platooning Springer or deploying him differently to get maximum value of his diminished skills. On the other hand, you think about the last two productive seasons a late 30's Frank Thomas had (one for the A's, one for the Jays). He had horrible starts to the season, but gradually turned it on and was hotter than a pistol come August.
92-93 - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#446537) #
Fun to think about the different permutations, Magpie. My guess is Jansen LF, IKF CF, Schneider 2B, Clement 3B, and Kirk C.
dalimon5 - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#446538) #
It would be easier to take playing time away from Springer if the alternatives weren't Kiermaier, Biggio, IKF or Barger. Atkins and Shapiro need to be accountable for the talent on the team.
SK in NJ - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#446539) #
The Jays can’t even acknowledge that Turner is better in a platoon when they have the ideal platoon partner in AAA with nothing else to prove. I wouldn’t expect them to use Springer more sparingly. They actually thought Davis Schneider was a platoon player in April when nothing in his numbers ever suggested that to be the case. They make decisions based on years of service rather than talent far too often, and it will (has) hurt them.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#446540) #
Good pitching, bad pitching, mediocre pitching, decent pitching, home, road, left, right, up, down, this offense is...offensively bad.
uglyone - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#446541) #
When you only have 4 bats going well, it's an interesting choice to sit two of them in the same game.
scottt - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#446542) #
It's still too early to offload Springer or Turner.
That's at least another month away. Springer still managed 3 good months last year.
May .834 OPS, June .796 OPS and August .840 OPS.
Turner's only bad month last year was September. His best months were July, August and June.
The best they can do for now would be to move them out of the top of the order.
Turner is 0-4, 0-3 with runners in scoring position today. He's hitting in front of Vlad who got no PA with runner in scoring position.

Sitting Jansen and Varsho leaves a hole.

I can understand putting a guy up in the order to get him going but not when you have 2 or 3 guy slumping in the lineup.

scottt - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#446543) #
Yep. Only 4 guys with OPS over .700 and  2 of them on the bench.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#446544) #
I did not watch or listen to this game at all. I think I might keep this up for a while.
Michael - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#446545) #
If you do all current players in MLB there are 214 with an OPS of at least 700 (includes people not qualified like Jansen). So given 30 mlb teams the average team has 7 of these players. The Jays have 4 with Jansen (1004), Vlad (796), Schneider (795), and Varsho (743). In the 6xx you get to 321 mlb wide (so 107 more mlb wide, so the typical team has 3.5 of these to get to 10.5 600 or more). The Jays have IKF (687), Turner (664), Bichette (646), Clement (633), and KK (624). In the 5xx you get to 415 major league wide (so 94 more or about 3 a team). The Jays have Biggio (590), Vogelbach (586), Kirk (581), and Springer (537). You get to 497 major league wide with a non 0 OPS so another 82 or so, or nearly 3 a team, the Jays have Serven at 200 OPS in 9 PA and Barger at 112 OPS in 18 PA.

Shockingly despite the clear struggles above the Jays as a team are actually only 20th out of 30 in MLB. The median team is about 700 OPS, the Jays are at 678 OPS. Yankees lead baseball with a 777 OPS, White Sox bring up the rear with a 611 OPS.

If baseball wants to increase the offense, maybe they need to bring back the shift ??
vw_fan17 - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#446546) #
So, the Yankees have a Burdi and a Berti.  And Cleveland has a Bieber and a Bibee.

At one point, the Leafs had a Wren, a Berg and a Rennberg. Sadly, they were never able to connect on a goal. 

I always hoped to one day hear: Wren to Berg to Rennberg - he scores!
Ducey - Saturday, May 25 2024 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#446547) #
Only saw the 7th inning. 1 out, Jays on 1st and 3rd. KK up vs Rhp. No pinch hitter. Pops out. Davis w a double. Turner up, no pinch hitter.

Seems like the manager isn't even trying. 2 obvious opportunities to pinch hit with Biggio, Vogey, Jansen, Varsho.
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#446549) #
The worst thing is that slowly week by week there are less Beauxites returning to this site...
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#446551) #
11:35 AM first pitch.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#446552) #
Poor Kikuchi. Varsho almost made a great catch.
Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#446553) #
In the unlikely (albeit increasingly possible) event the season is such a train wreck that the FO does start to sell, having Kikutchi go off the rails (and lose one of the best trade assets) would be a disaster of a different kind. Pray that the impending free agents stay healthy and productive.
soupman - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#446554) #
He must have heard you!

Vlad heating up is about the only good news because I’m in the school that thinks he’s capable of putting up a career 140 ops+. In other words I think he’s a perennial top ten hitter. That’s incredibly valuable. Toronto fans were clamouring to give him half a billion dollars as recently as a year ago.

Here’s what I think: the team needs a new front office before all else. The broadcast talking about the manager blaming the players…sounds like we are getting prepped for him being scapegoated. I can see why fans and bauxites are tuning out. I am not happy about the idea of a front office being given another chance to rebuild. Coppolella is probably the most responsible for why the braves are what they are now. He’s available and is likely in the mix for best GMs.

dalimon5 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#446555) #
Coppolella did a great job and AA has taken over and done just as good a job to his credit.

Shapiro has failed on his promises.
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#446556) #
agreed soupman. it would be ludicrous to give this front office yet another of their patented 10yr rebuilds.
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#446557) #
I'm actually getting excited about this season now... changes have to be coming after losing their 7th or 8th series out of last 9.
krose - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#446558) #
Always leery about changing the big heads. Afraid the next set will have to learn how to solve their own, new set of difficulties. But these guys don’t appear to be learning anything. Something has to be done!
krose - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#446559) #
Agree Dalimon. Is it irony that the organization has some excellent hitting prospect at Buffalo but a really poor offense in Toronto.
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#446560) #
I forget - was Schneider ever given the ability to even hire his own coaches?
99BlueJaysWay - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#446561) #
Be careful what you wish for. Changes don’t mean it gets better. We could just as easily end up in another Ash or Ricciardi situation.

I also think we have to give some weight to what the reporters who follow the team and our Rogers/Sportsnet employees tell us: this team will look to stay competitive in 2025. They will only look to sell off rental pieces and not do a major overhaul.
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#446562) #
I actually do know one fairly prominent sportsnet employee, and he insists that Rogers Jr. spent all this money because he wants to win, and not just to be decent.

Gives me some optimism that real changes might be made.
krose - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#446563) #
Release Vogelbach, move Guerrero to mainly DH and bring up Horwitz.
Move Bichette to second, Clement to SS and Falefa to3B.
Release or trade Turner and bring up Lukes.
Send Kirk to Buffalo and bring up Serven.

These moves would signal a seriousness about trying to improve and make other teams aware of changes.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#446564) #
A front office change could be a good thing. But remember — several years ago Rogers almost hired Dan Duquette (I think Peter Angelos blocked that deal). The situation could actually get worse if Rogers exercises bad judgement in hiring a replacement.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#446565) #
Guerrero Jr.'s wRC+ is up to 141. He will be in high demand at the trade deadline if he keeps this up (especially if the acquiring team thinks it can extend him).

Just don't trade him to the Yankees!
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#446566) #
Amazing pitching and terrible offense roster construction. Bad signings. You can't have Vlad, Bo, Springer + 6 other guys. Fine, Varsho, Jansen and Schneider have been good but Springer and Bo have not. This team needs major changes weather a rebuild or retool or sticking with this core. At the very least they need to trade surplus pitching for offensive help while sending under performing players to the bench or minors.
92-93 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#446567) #
What a comeback!
Michael - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#446568) #
Nice to see the jacket magic working.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#446569) #
Incredible comeback. Kudos to the lineup and now they need to hold on for the win. The Blue Jays are still relatively close to the third WC spot.
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#446570) #
lol that's amazing. good for them. love that red carpet.
Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#446571) #
Over/under on how many of Vladdy, IKF and Biggio are on the bench tomorrow? 2-2.5?:)
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#446572) #
and that's just perfect timing for Yimi to have his first bat outing of the season. just perfect.

uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#446573) #
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#446574) #
patented 10yr rebuilds.

The hell are you talking about?
92-93 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#446575) #
Disastrous outing for Romano.
mathesond - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#446576) #
It's part and parcel with Romano's patented disaster appearances.
Michael - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#446577) #
So does this count as a bad Romano outing, or since it wasn't a save it doesn't matter?
rikley - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#446578) #
This is the low point of the season. Right?…Right?…
92-93 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#446579) #
Good thing they pulled Berrios at 83 pitches yesterday so Romano could stay sharp for today btw.
Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#446580) #
That game had many aspects of a Greek tragedy. Rarely does one baseball game feel like “the end” but that sure did - for Atkins, Schneider and/or this iteration of the team. In 99% of the cases, the key in baseball is not to overreact (to bad ABs, errors, games, dry spells, etc). This time it feels like the key is not to under react.
Mike Green - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#446581) #
With everything be patented and all, they're going to have an IP lawyer on retainer in the dugout.  Just in case. 
mathesond - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#446582) #
With the lameneted demise of BBTF, there are likely a lot of baseball lawyers with time on their hands...
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#446583) #
"Good thing they pulled Berrios at 83 pitches yesterday so Romano could stay sharp for today btw."

yeah this "needs work" maneouvre never fails to fail.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#446584) #
So does this count as a bad Romano outing, or since it wasn't a save it doesn't matter?

Romano was pretty bad last year when he came into a tie game. He'd actually done better in that situation this year. Until today.

All bad outings count. Not all of them hurt the team equally. Giving up three runs when you're losing by five doesn't hurt the same way as giving up one run when the game is tied.
Chuck - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#446585) #
With the lamented demise of BBTF

A recent note at the web site suggests that a return is in the works.

uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#446586) #
"The hell are you talking about?"

But I'm talkin' 'bout Shatkins (can you dig it)

He's a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#446587) #
Our Ace closer has missed half the season so far and has a 6.39era in the half that he's played.

It's ok to call this a disaster start for him, in my ever humble opinion.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#446588) #
But I'm talkin' 'bout Shatkins (can you dig it)

I knew that. It's like a reflex, isn't it.

Very bad mojo in these parts. When they give up 2, they only score 1. When they score 11, they give up 14. I suppose a ritual blood sacrifice may be required, to appease the spirits.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#446589) #
Our Ace closer has missed half the season so far

He missed the first 17 games. There's exaggerating to make a point, and then there's just blowing stuff out of your ass. And that's my job.
Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#446590) #
They are 2 games up on Oakland, a team not even trying to win. After 50 games or so a team’s run differential tends to be fairly predictive. Facts only re: “only x games out of the third wildcard”.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#446591) #
Something must be done!

It's nice that Guerrero is hitting, but I didn't expect him to hit like Luis Arraez. (Turns out they didn't need to trade for him!) And the bullpen is giving off that nasty 2021 smell.
John Northey - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#446592) #
Frustrating game - I turned it off twice but just kept coming back thinking 'maybe this time'. Then Garcia had too much rest and a bit of bad luck, Romano looked good until 2 were out. Sigh. Hated it when the announcers said they'd rather have Garcia beat on a fastball than any other pitch and the guy cranks a dinger off his fastball. Romano threw all inside (Vierling's weak area) until the last pitch. Guessing Mayza would've been in for the 10th.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#446593) #
I turned it off twice but just kept coming back thinking 'maybe this time'.

My experience was worse. I'd already had a very early start to the morning, I'm not as young as I was, and when they fell behind 8-3 I mercifully drifted off into deep, refreshing slumber.

They had an 11-9 lead when I awoke.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#446594) #
Just in case some of you are contemplating the team's 23-29 record, and are poised on the ledge and thinking of jumping, I might mention that at this juncture in 2015 the ball club had a 23-29 record and were about to lose their very next game.

So don't jump!
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#446595) #
What was the run differential of that team?
Mike Green - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#446596) #
When they lost their 30th game in 2015 to go 23-30, they were +30 by run differential. Obviously a good team that was losing more than their share of the close games.
Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#446597) #
This is not the 2015 team in any way shape or form.
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#446598) #
unfortunately it's looking worst case in that we probably weren't as good as our record last year either and were very lucky to have an insane year by the entire starting staff.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#446599) #
If you want to take a contrarian point of view about Atkins, you could point to the Varsho-Moreno trade. Atkins was heavily criticized for that move over many months, but this year Varsho has posted 2.4 bWAR (before today's big home run), while Moreno has posted 0.5 bWAR (before today's 0/2 so far). Arguably the score is Atkins 1, Atkins critics 0, when it comes to that transaction.

You could also point to the fact that the FO was apparently in on some of the best FAs in recent years (Cole, Seager, Verlander, Freeman, Ohtani, Yamamoto), even if they couldn't land any of them.

My own view is similar to that of Gerry -- it's an average front office overall. They have some strengths and some weaknesses. Rogers is entitled to make a change, but they should make sure it's an upgrade and not a downgrade.
mathesond - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#446600) #
"they should make sure it's an upgrade and not a downgrade."

Is there a definitive way to do this?
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#446601) #
I've defended Atkins, especially regarding his trades. I've liked that Moreno for Varsho trade. Pointing out that it (and others) have worked out does not address the reality that this is one of the highest payroll teams in the league and barely above the worse teams in their league in the standings. This is the issue. There is no point or counter point to this ... only acknowledgement of this fact. It's time to move on, not because of how bad they are, and not because they can't turn it around and sneak into the playoffs but instead because this team has no chance against playoff caliber teams. They've been exposed and the mediocrity that is Shapiro and Atkins also has become unmasked. I don't know if I can keep going to the ballpark and looking at the Wild Card banner they hung up.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#446602) #
This is not the 2015 team in any way shape or form.

Agreed. But neither was the 2015 team at this point in the season.

My view is what I said in last year's Report Card - Atkins is roughly where Gillick was around 1988. All the young talent that so much was invested in had arrived, and it kept falling short. Gillick waited a long, long time - they were calling him Stand Pat Gillick - but eventually he traded Barfield and let Bell and Moseby walk. Finally he traded McGriff and Fernandez.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#446603) #
Obviously a good team that was losing more than their share of the close games.

They weren't losing their share of the close games. They were losing them all. They were 1-10 in one-run games at this point. This had happened to a Gibbons team before, of course. I probably figured it was just business as usual.
Glevin - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#446604) #
Time for a change. I think this FO gets a lot of unfair slack but this is their core and it isn't good enough. I don't think team needs massive teardown. Those five year things are miserable and often don't work. My fear though is that they just move pieces around to get to 79 wins.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#446605) #
to get to 79 wins.

If they ended up 79-83, I think it would be very, very difficult to say "We're on course, everything is fine."

You should probably be more afraid of something like 1988, when a sub .500 team had a meaningless hot streak in the final month and ended up with 87 wins. So Stand Pat stood pat.
Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#446606) #
There’s a 70 net run differential between the 2015 and 2024 teams. After 50 games that’s a lot. The 2024 team has more than earned its current record.

In the 22-23 offseason I used to think that this team was an asset reallocation trade away from really contending (a la 1988 Pat Gillick). I just don’t think the talent level here or in the minors justifies that anymore. Every single aspect of the roster is mediocre and that is the hardest of all problems to fix.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#446607) #
Was at the game in Detroit today. It was near half Jays supporters in a crowd of 28,000.

Had a front row seat (literally) to a critical baserunning error that hopefully did not go unoticed to the TV/Radio audience. On Vogelbach's line drive double play, not only did Bo Bichette not check the infielders depth or positioning before the line drive (I watched each time he returned to the bag after the hit...not once glance), but he also failed to break back to the base on a line drive (which some coaches teach, including myself) nor did he even freeze (which most coaches teach), which gave him no chance to stop a critical double play. There are several major leaguers who probably rely on athelticsm over fundamentals and make this mistake as well, but it's pretty deflating to see that even at this critical juncture of the season, the Jays aren't doing the little things that help win games. This is stuff you don't pick up on the TV broadcast much.

scottt - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#446608) #
They scored 11 runs. Any other day, this would have been a win.
What screwed them most in this series is the Kenta Maeda's recall.

Bad outings for Kikuchi, Richards, Garcia and Romano.
Good outing for Swanson. 
Go figure.

Even the Braves are 9-11 in May and it looks like they just lost Acuna.
Also, one of their spare outfielder is Forrest Wall who has done very well in the IL with Atlanta.

One thing I find interesting is that Javier Baez, the only guy they have with a big contract (3 more years at 25M each) is batting 8th.

Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#446609) #
There’s a 70 net run differential between the 2015 and 2024 teams. After 50 games that’s a lot.

Ah, but I don't care! As I surely explained at some point, with my usual brevity, I don't think much of run differential as an indicator of quality. I mostly believe in wins and losses.

But what I also believe is that the random nature of close games can put a powerful field of distortion around a team's won-loss record. The 2015 team is an excellent example. A 1-10 record is one-run games? That's random bad luck - something like 6-5 would be a logical expectation. So at this point, that team should have had a 28-25 record, which seems right to me (they had some big defensive issues, and they were about to try Felix Doubront in the starting rotation.)

Something had to be done! And something was.

This year's crew is 4-9 in the close games, and 6-7 seems reasonable to me. That would put them at 25-28, which seems about right. There are some major issues, mostly involving some underperforming hitters and a Bullpen Gone Bad.

Something has to be done! I'm not sure what. I think it's easy enough to patch the bullpen, and Atkins has successfully done it before. I don't even think it's that hard to move on from Turner if he doesn't turn things around fairly soon. But Springer is a very different kind of problem. And while I never expected Kirk to develop much more as a hitter - he's a catcher, they don't usually develop - I didn't foresee him going backward.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#446610) #
he also failed to break back to the base on a line drive

They did note that on the broadcast, although - was it Siddall? - thought he still might have been out even if he had. Might have been, I'm not so sure.
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#446611) #
I can't agree that this FO is where Gillick was at before he left the Stand Pat moniker in the dust.

At least a couple of those mid-80s gillick teams were legit elite elite best in league type teams despite failing in the playoffs, and this FO had never come close to building one of those.

Nigel - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#446612) #
Hmmm I’m not really sure what to say about you not caring about run differential and only in wins and losses:). We all care about what we care about! In my view, a front office should care most about run differential in the current circumstances. The Jays’ negative run differential is now fairly predictive. They are far more likely to be a bad team at the end of the year than the 2015 team was notwithstanding that they were in exactly the same W-L boat. So they shouldn’t be wasting any more assets on this roster.
John Northey - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#446613) #
Um, in 1988 the Jays had been in exactly 1 playoff series (lost 3-4). Gillick at that point had a team that was good from 1983-1988 but had failed to do much in prospect development post 1985. The Jays minors were ranked #1 going into 1988 by BA but top prospects Sil Campusano and Rob Ducey (given a shot at the start of '88) flopped hard. Nelson Liriano showed promise late in '87 but flopped in '88 (77 OPS+), Cecil Fielder at 24 was not being given much of a chance to play and would be released post '88. Fred McGriff, to that point, was the only sub 25'er to show up post '85 as a real force. 1989 had Junior Felix show up at 21* (most think he was more like 30). Greg Myers appeared to have hope behind the plate but didn't show it here until he came back in his 30's, Glenallen Hill was a solid RH bat who never got much of a shot here, Manny Lee would be a solid SS here in 1992 (his only year over 2 WAR in his career). But pitching was a headache as kids often flopped or underperformed (Todd Stottlemyre was solid at times but no one could count on him, Steve Cummings, Jose Nunez, Alex Sanchez, Xavier Hernandez, even Al Leiter only had 1 really good year here). Duane Ward developed into an ace closer but only after flopping as a starter then being worked into a closer (6 good to great years then his arm exploded).

Gillick (with Cox & Gaston) relied on being amazing at finding scrap other teams didn't want, then getting them into the right positions to succeed. That 1988 team ranked #1 in MLB for farms actually had a top 10 of (in order) Junior Felix (far older than known, traded for Devon White), Kevin Batiste (-0.1 WAR), Mark Whiten (14 WAR, solid MLer but just 0.4 here), Francisco Cabrera (0.5 WAR), Greg Myers (backup mostly 7.3 WAR), Alex Sanchez (flop), Todd Stottlemyre (surprised he had 22 WAR lifetime, just over 10 here, 6 of 14 seasons were 2+ WAR), David Wells (was an ace for others, but was released post 1992), Sil Campusano (flop), Steve Cummings (flop).

Gillick in 1988 was a guy at a crossroads. Luckily he started making the needed changes to get us 92/93 plus playoffs in 89/91 - 4 playoffs in 5 years, the best ever for a Jays team. If the Jays make it this year it'll be the same 4 playoffs in 5 years but it damn well won't feel like it unless they go deep into the playoffs. Today showed some hope towards that, and hopefully this offense will keep up the alternating 9+ runs with a 0-2 run game rather than the 0-2 everyday they were doing before. Losing 3 of 4 to the Tigers hurts a LOT. 3 vs the White Sox is just what the doctor ordered though, then a day off, then 3 vs the Pirates before the 'oh crap' 4 vs O's. Btw, the Rays have a worse run differential than the Jays right now.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#446614) #
We all care about what we care about!

No doubt, but really, we're just coming to the same conclusion in a different way. You look at the 2015 team's 23-29 mark at this juncture and you believe they were better than that because of their run differential. I am suspicious of run differential, I think it has its own distortions. (How often were we told to discount the Jays' run differential last year because of all the runs they piled up against position players, which is just one of them.) But I looked at the 2015 team's 23-29 record, and I thought they were better than that because of their godawful record in one-run games. I understand one-run games!

I think this year's team has played a little better than the 23-29 record. But not that much better. Not as much better (gosh, what kind of English is this?) as the 2015 team had been playing. That team had work to do if it was going to get better, and this team has even more work to do.
Magpie - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#446615) #
At least a couple of those mid-80s gillick teams were legit elite elite best in league type teams

Only in the magazines writing their pre-season previews. And then they started playing the games.

The 1987 team didn't crap the bed until the final week, but 1986 and 1988 were rather like this year - an enormous disappointment right out of the gate. (So was 1989, but a miracle happened.)
uglyone - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#446616) #
In '85 the Jays finished with the 2nd best record and run diff in baseball, and 1st in the AL in both.

In '87 the Jays finished with the 2nd best record in baseball, and the best run diff in baseball.

Elite elite teams.

This crew hasn't come anywhere close to building teams that good.
Michael - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#446617) #
Even after today's game, the runs scored of 205 is 6th from the bottom ahead of only Nationals (204 in one fewer game), Mariners (202), Marlins (201 in two *more* games), Cardinals (196 in two fewer games), and lastly the White Sox (157 in two *more* games!! - that is next level awful).

After today's game, the pitching/defense runs allowed of 243 is tied for 10th worst with Pittsburg (243 but in two *more* games), Rangers (245 in two *more* games), Astros (246 in one *more* game), Mets (246), Giants (256 in two *more* games), Rays (261 in two *more* games), Angels (266 in one *more* game), As (269 in three *more* games), White Sox (273 in two *more* games), Marlins (279 in two *more* games), and finally Rockies (285 same number of games but half in Coors).

Combine them and the Jays are with most of the bottom teams in run differential as their -38 is trailed only by Cardinals (-42), Rays (-47), As (-63), Rockies (-74), Marlins (-78), and last by a mile White Sox (-116). As for teams that are -10 or worse overall (I.e. within even 28 runs of the Jays over 52ish games) in the AL there is only the Angels at -36. In the NL you add a few with Nationals -18, Giants -19, Mets -24, and Pirates -29. So the Jays are 7th from the bottom in MLB, and even if you spot them a run every other game through out the season so far that would only get them to 12th from the bottom looking up at Mariners -7.

Technically the Jays are only 5 games back from the 3rd wild card, but there are 6 teams they'd need to pass. And they are more than half way through the "easy" part of the schedule that they had to try to make up. It is hard to be optimistic even if there are some hopeful occurrences (Manoah 2 starts ago, Jansen being healthy, Vlad doing pretty decently, Schneider continuing to look like one of the better players on the team).
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 26 2024 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#446619) #
Ronald Acuña Jr. has a torn ACL in his left knee. Out for season.
scottt - Monday, May 27 2024 @ 04:53 AM EDT (#446620) #
Looking back at the Vierling pitch sequence, the outcome is more on the ump than on Romano.
1. FB near the middle for a looking strike.
2. FB at the knees for a ball (was well in the zone).
3. FB up and away for a ball (should have been a strike too).
4. Slider well off the plate for strike 2. (Even things out but complicates thing)
5. Perfect slider just below the knees to make it a full count.
6. Slider over the plate for home run.

Having walked the previous batter to get the right on right, you expect a strike here.
Vierling was sitting slider. Romano was squeezed on 2 fastballs and went with a 3rd slider.

bpoz - Monday, May 27 2024 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#446621) #
V good and interesting analysis by the Bauxites.

I have no real opinion on the Gillick years. Most were great. Labbats gave him the good budget. There were no WC teams I believe. So he had a tougher job. With WC teams available he "could" have won more WSs. He had Cito as manager to win these

Shapiro and Atkins have the budget and 3 WCs + the division to get into the playoffs. You don't need an elite team to get in. Shapiro knows this as does everyone else. The Toronto franchise will make money by being in contention right to the end. That is the bottom line.

The May 2023 record was 11W - 17L, June 2023 16W - 11L, May 2024 8W - 11L so far. Thanks to mentioning the "we all care about what we care about" concept. Nobody needs to check if I said that May could be rough because last year it was rough. I am about 80% sure that I did say that and explained that I am superstitious. So I am expecting better months for the rest of the year.

I don't know if I should be complimenting Shapiro for the good records for 2020 - 2023 or criticizing him for the pain us fans suffered in 2023 regular season and what seems to be identical pain that we will experience for the entirety of the 2024 regular season.

What does bother me a lot is that NYY, Cleveland, Baltimore and KC are on pace to win 100+ games. NYY should be good most years because they are NYY. Baltimore and KC did a long painful rebuild the Jays avoided that. Detroit and a few others are also doing a long painful rebuild. I don't know how Cleveland is so good. I expect and fear Boston will get good soon. I also fear that LAA will not get good soon (Trout). With all these potential good teams possibly arriving soon Shapiro needs a plan to improve/build/rebuild a team that can compete for the WCs until the end of the season.

bpoz - Monday, May 27 2024 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#446626) #
Discussions on how to improve the 2024 team will be fun and interesting. Then what to do in the off season.
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