Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Scott Johnson at Franchise Mode, the Score's sports video games blog, has some inside info on MLB The Show '13's edition of the Toronto Blue Jays and the player rankings. He also has team rankings, in which the Jays rank 5th, behind Detroit, St. Louis, Boston (note: what the fuck?) and Anaheim. The Jays happen to rank 26th in defense, which is what's pulling them down a bit in those rankings (6th in hitting, 7th in pitching).
ESPN has a shitload of Blue Jays-related stuff, and you can partake in all of it if you've got an Insider account. Which I do. Suck it.
Baseball Tonight's team-by-team special stopped in Dunedin to dick around with the Jays. Of course, JP Arencibia opened that segment with a Tim Kurkjian impression. Again.
Jayson Stark believes that Jose Bautista is important to the Blue Jays. No shit.
David Schoenfeld examines the HR odds for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. 36.5 for Jose, 33.5 for Edwin. I'll take over and under, respectively, though that Edwin line is pretty well right where I'd set it and wouldn't bet on that one in a million years.
Know your stats.
Dave Cameron writes that speed is the secret weapon for the Jays this season.
Away from ESPN, finally, we can see that the Jays have picked up Lars Anderson off waivers from the White Sox. He'll likely serve as David Cooper's replacement in the minors. Kyle Drabek was placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Anderson.
Monday, 25 February 2013
I'd like to start off by saying that we probably shouldn't be applauding an injury, just in case anybody out there thinks that I'm doing that. We're all free to our own vices, and if one of those is lauding in the physical pain of others, well, you're entirely within your own rights to do so. You're probably kind of an asshole, but you're certainly allowed to be one. Hell, I'm a huge asshole. Just for different reasons, like swearing out loud or failing to stifle farts in public.
If you've missed it, JA Happ hit Curtis Granderson yesterday with a devastating 82 MPH changeup, which broke Granderson's wrist, and will force him out of action for the next ten weeks.
Yes, this might help the Blue Jays win more games than they otherwise would have, and yes, this might certainly cause the Yankees to win fewer games this season. More Blue Jays wins and fewer Yankees wins are both, in all likelihood, in the best interests of a significant majority of the people who will ever read this, much less know that it exists. This, of course, assumes that the Jays and Yankees are the best and second best teams in the AL East, which is probably a massive oversimplification of things.
Alright, so what's the point?
Well, first off, losing Granderson isn't really all that big of a deal. If Granderson was going to play CF to start the season (he should be playing in either corner), the natural replacement in CF is Brett Gardner, who happens to be better suited for the position than Granderson. It's obviously quite a bit easier to fill a hole in a corner OF spot than it is to fill a CF gap. Given how good Gardner is defensively, and how mediocre Granderson has been defensively since 2007, getting Gardner in to CF is probably enough of a bonus to offset the loss of Granderson.
This is, of course, because Granderson isn't missing the whole year, or even 10 weeks of the season. He's missing 10 weeks total, starting now. Ten weeks from today will be five weeks in to the season. That's only about 1/6th of the year.
Looking at the projections for Granderson, we can expect him to miss out on enough playing time to lose anywhere from 0.4 to 0.75 WAR (i.e. .83*[whichever WAR projection you're using]. I'm pretty sure those projections have him playing CF, but it doesn't make a huge difference if you just kind of dick around with a WAR calculator, even if you put him in left. So less than a win, assuming the Yankees get replacement-level production from whoever replaces him.
While it's kind of tough to guess who the Yankees will use to replace Granderson for those five weeks of the year, if I were to take a guess, I'd say it will be a platoon between any number of mediocre guys, such as Juan Rivera, Jayson Nix and Melky Mesa. Assuming they can find someone in there who can hit righty pitching, it probably won't be a big deal, as the difference between a reasonably effective platoon and Curtis Granderson really won't be magnified over the course of 5-ish weeks. Again, if Gardner plays CF, you can probably take the lower end of that projected production loss.
The only real good news I see here is the schedule. The Yankees will play the Jays seven times between the start of the season and the time that Granderson should be expected to return. That's actually pretty good-- may as well get them now before Granderson and Pineda come back. The issue there is that the Red Sox, Rays and Orioles will play the Yankees three times each during that same span, so the Jays are really only going to get one series with the advantage. Those four games will take place at Yankee Stadium, a park that Granderson is seemingly built for.
So yeah, the Granderson injury is convenient to the Blue Jays in the sense that the Yankees will be easier to beat in those seven games early in the season. I'd just be hesitant to count the Yankees out of this division, simply due to an injury to a single position player that might cost them a win, on the long end. The Yankees weren't going to score 800 runs this year, the way they did last year, and losing Curtis Granderson for five weeks wasn't ever really going to affect that.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
Sportsnet is showing the '93 World Series, as part of the 19.5th anniversary of the Blue Jays triumph. I had sort of reviewed the '92 Jays season, so we may as well do the same thing, making use of Fangraphs and Baseball-reference.
- Big turnover from the '92 World Series team and the '93 one.
- 12 players from the '92 team that didn't appear in the '93 Series: Derek Bell, Jimmy Key, David Cone, Dave Winfield, Manny Lee, Kelly Gruber, Candy Maldonado, Rance Mulliniks, Pat Tabler, Jack Morris, Tom Henke, and David Wells.
- The 12 who replaced them: Paul Molitor, Rob Butler, Darnell Coles, Ricky Henderson, Dick Schofield, Dave Stewart, Darnell Coles, Al Leiter, Willy Canate, Tony Castillo, Danny Cox and Pat Hentgen.
- John Olerud had one king shit of a season in '93, flirting with .400 through mid-August, before finishing with a paltry .288/.412/.432 down the stretch. Olerud finished the year with a .363/.473/.599 slash line, good for 8.4 WAR. A batting title, 200 hits, 109 runs, 24 HR's, and a 16.8% walk rate. I think he came 5th in the MVP race, somehow.
- Not to be overshadowed by what was arguably the greatest non-Clemens season in Blue Jays history, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar came 2nd and 3rd in the batting race, behind Olerud, batting .332 and .326 respectively. The combination of those three, along with Devon White, put up 25.4 WAR. Tony Fernandez contributed 3 WAR over 93 games after being traded for Darrin Jackson.
- The Jays got little to no production from their bench. Rob Butler contributed less than a win over 56 AB's, and that was about it. Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado were September call-ups though.
- ERA, FIP, and WAR for each starter:
- Guzman-- 3.99/3.77, 4.5 WAR over 221 innings.
- Stottlemyre-- 4.84/3.91, 3.2 WAR over 191 innings.*
- Hentgen-- 3.87/4.61, 2.7WAR over 216 innings.*
- Morris-- 6.19/4.51, 1.8 WAR over 152 innings.
- Dave Stewart-- 4.44/5.06, 1 WAR over 162 innings.
- Leiter-- 4.11/4.44, 1 WAR over 105 innings, both starting and relieving.
*- Baseball-reference and Fangraphs disagree on pitcher WAR, mainly due to Fangraphs' use of FIP and B-Ref's use of ERA in their calculations. BR has Hentgen and Guzman both at 3.1 WAR, and Stottlemyre at 0.5 WAR.
- The Jays got 14.8 WAR from their pitchers in '93, per B-Ref, along with 28.4 from their lineup. A replacement level team will win 51.84 (32%) of their games. 51.8+28.4+14.8 gives us 95 wins.
- With Fangraphs, the Jays got 19.8 WAR from their pitchers, and 38.8 WAR from their lineup. A replacement level team, per fangraphs, wins 42.2 games. 42.2+38.8+19.8 makes 100.8 wins.
- Joe Carter was apparently really close to going to Kansas City after the '92 season, and ultimately stayed in Toronto for less money than what the Royals were offering him. Based on his B-Ref page, he signed for 5 years and $31.5MM. Carter was worth negative B-R value over the course of the deal, and 1.2 fangraphs WAR.
Tacky, right? Well it was either that, or "I just blew my Zawadski".
There's today's lineup, which really makes the decision to air yesterday's game on Sportsnet and to only radiofy today's kind of disappointing. At least we'll get to hear how exciting Jose Reyes is.
The Jays have traded for reliever Michael Schwimmer, sending Art Charles to the Phillies. Schwimmer will more than likely be relief depth in the minors, seeing as he isn't anything terribly useful. Seems to strike a lot of guys out in the minors, so there might be something there if someone ends up hurt or something.
Schwimmer is out of options, as far as I can tell, though the MLBPA is filing a grievance in that regard-- he was optioned to the minors last year, in part due to a biceps issue, though Schwimmer felt that he was healthy at the time. He's looking to recover about $75k in salary, though that option is probably gone regardless. I dunno, maybe I have this all wrong.
The Jays have placed Luis Perez on the 60-day DL to make room for Schwimmer. Perez is probably out until after the all-star break with Tommy John surgery.
Saturday, 23 February 2013
I don't know why I didn't build that .gif several months ago, but whatever. Sportscentre is actually going to be watchable for the first time in months for a reason other than these two geniuses. Forget Gary Bettman, forget football, forget Sergei BOBROVSKI. It's baseball day in America.
Nevermind how useless spring training baseball is, because I'd still take it any day of the week over pretty much anything else that's out there. It's like the people who choose not to watch Community anymore, now that Dan Harmon isn't the showrunner-- Harmonless Community is still better than 99% of the other garbage that's being trotted out there. Community was excellent this past week, by the way.
I'm trailing off a little.
Your stuff for the day-- and it's really all you're going to need to get through the afternoon-- comprises solely of clips that MLB decided to post on their website, instead of Nazi-ing them all for themselves. And oh my fuck are there ever some Barry Bonds taters in there.
It's not like anybody is going to play any more than half a game, but:
I miss Don Wakamatsu.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Have yourself a look at the Jays' mugshots, courtesy of Getty Images. Always good for a laugh. Some highlights
- Pat Hentgen looks like a stroke victim.
FarrellGibbons could probably stand to go for a jog, or at least tuck his shirt in and look like a goddamn ballplayer.
- Colby Rasmus' hair is longer than mine.
- Henry Blanco went to school with my grandfather.
- R.A. Dickey looks perpetually bewildered.
- Mark Buehrle may have seen a ghost.
- The shot of Rajai Davis holding up his nametag reminds me of the photoshopped picture of Tiger Woods, with his mouth shaped like a Nike swoosh.
- Ramon Ortiz.
Dirk Hayhurst is linking to some little video clips on his twitter. They appear to be doing lots of promotional stuff, but there was a video of Sergio Santos throwing as well.
I don't know if this guy made this himself, or just was the first to find it, or what, but this is fucking awesome. 8-Bit Blue Jays.
Russell Martin is going to play shortstop for Canada at the WBC.
Seems like everybody is mentoring everybody, and that team chemistry won't be an issue.
Fangraphs compares Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard.
Sportsnet plans to air all the Jays' spring training games, either on the radio or on Sportsnet, starting with Saturday's contest against the Tigers. Baseball is here, folks.
Monday, 18 February 2013
Gregor Chisolm let us know yesterday, or maybe the day before, that David Cooper is going to be missing some time early on this year with what John Gibbons has labeled as a "serious" back issue.
This is probably a fairly minor bit of news in the grand scheme of things, as Cooper was unlikely to make it through the spring training roster crunch and force his way on to the 25-man roster, given Edwin Encarnacion's bat, Adam Lind's 2009 numbers, and Cooper's lack of defensive ability.
What does suck about this is that Cooper would probably be the best bat in the organization to otherwise miss out on the 25-man roster and be sent to Buffalo, and that he occupies a position that, frankly, has a little bit of wiggle room. Turns out, that's not really saying much.
Cooper does only have 225 career plate appearances, which is obviously too small a sample to hang anything on, but comparing Lind and Cooper quickly and lazily sort of leads me to believe that if Lind does, indeed, continue to suck this year, or even gets injured, Cooper wouldn't be a tremendous improvement, though he could still have at least a bit of upside moving forward (temper that-- Cooper is already 26). Guess that doesn't really matter now, at least for the foreseeable future.
Alright, so let's say Lind's back flares up again (or some other excuse) a week in to the season-- what's the contingency plan?
I'm sure AA is looking in to adding some depth to the minors, but I think there are already some good options within. Couple of thoughts:
- The Jays don't necessarily need to go find anybody. Edwin can play a serviceable 1B, despite what the metrics say, especially now that he doesn't have to worry about throwing the ball across the field. He's not good defensively by any stretch, but dat bat. Beyond that, being a DH has a pretty huge positional adjustment, as far as WAR goes. If Edwin plays first, the issue becomes (a) filling the DH spot, or (b) finding a defensive upgrade and shifting someone from the field to the DH slot.
- Andy LaRoche is tucked away on a minor league deal, just in case.
- Mike Carp was just DFA'ed, and Daric Barton could probably be had. Carp was a halfway reasonable major leaguer as recently as 2011, and Daric Barton holds a career .360 OBP. Barton hits for no power whatsoever, but that's not a big deal.
- Aubrey Huff and Carlos Lee are still out there, as far as I can tell.
- Sign Jim Thome to DH. This seems pretty unlikely to me, unless Mark DeRosa goes and fucks himself, since Thome isn't going to Buffalo.
Seems easy enough, right? There are about 7 options listed there, all of which seem halfway reasonable, especially considering that they're all backup plans. Nothing significantly worse than Cooper anyway. But I've got my Joe Maddon cap on.
It's probably not the option that they want to use, given his preference to play in right, but Jose Bautista would probably be just fine at first. It's a less stressful position, physically, than the outfield, and frankly, Bautista isn't anything special defensively, save for the strong arm. He's entering his age-32 season, after having his age-31 season cut short due to injury.
Moving Bautista to the infield allows the Jays to stick any number of bodies in to right field (or LF, if they want to shift Melky). It's a way to get Anthony Gose and his hotshot glove in to the lineup, even if they want to platoon him. If not, Moises Sierra, Rajai Davis, Adam Loewen or Emilio Bonifacio all probably offer more than what we can expect out of Laroche, Loewen, Carp, Barton, Huff and Lee. Cooper was a nice contingency plan, but getting some positional flexibility from Bautista might be worth more, since it allows the Jays to pull from a greater pool of replacements.
Friday, 15 February 2013
Lots this morning, given how early it is.
Brandon Morrow was on with Tim and Sid on The FAN. Within that little interview, Sid Seixeiro admits that he's never heard JP Arencibia's impression of Tim Kurkjian that went baseball-viral last offseason.
Casey Janssen was on with Brady and Lang as well.
Jon Morosi spoke with Jose Bautista about PEDs. Within, there's a pretty impressive quote:
So yeah. Play like a champion.“Everybody knows what’s going on,” Bautista told FOXSports.com this week. “Nobody can plead ignorance. I don’t think a lack of education or language barriers has anything to do with it. MLB and the Players Association have done a great job making sure that everybody knows.“We have information everywhere.”
Shi Davidi has the results of Melky Cabrera's media scrum, as does Bluebird Banter.
Finally, a baseball movie.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
There's Mark Buerhle clearing up some talk about his displeasure of being moved to Toronto. Basically, the scorn isn't with being in Toronto per se; he's cool with being in Toronto, he was just lied to by the Marlins, which he wasn't fussy about. Let's not forget either about the Ontario pitbull ban either, which has been talked about ad nauseum.
Buehrle also slips one in there with the rotation-- by the sounds of it, the rotation is confirmed Dickey-Morrow-Buehrle-Johnson-Romero. I'm not sure if that had been entirely confirmed over the last few weeks, though there had been rumblings about Dickey and Morrow being 1 and 2.
Shi Davidi and Barry Davis discuss the rotation here.
RA Dickey was on Prime Time Sports, albeit briefly, yesterday, calling in from spring training. He says the arm feels good. Good.
Gregor Chisolm has an image of catcher Jack Murphy. More specifically, his mustache. Wonder if he can catch a knuckleball. Check his twitter feed for some other pictures from the Jays' camp as well.
Fangraphs Dave was on Clubhouse Confidential, talking about the best offseason moves. Blue Jays!
Fangraphs Dave was on Clubhouse Confidential, talking about the best offseason moves. Blue Jays!
Finally, Jon Paul Morosi talks about the hype surrounding the Jays entering this season. He also slathers praise all over Emilio Bonifacio, suggesting that he should be starting at 2B over Maicer Izturis, if not in CF over Colby Rasmus (and Anthony Gose, for that matter). Morosi gets input from Dickey, who says that Boni "may even be the X-factor in [the Miami trade]" That's high praise, given what Reyes, Johnson and Buerhle bring to the table.
Forgive me, but I just don't really see it. Boni is a high-strikeout guy with no power, and half of his career WAR-value comes from baserunning, and he doesn't hit lefties well at all (.210/.256/.247 career line). Intangibles, I suppose.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
If you forgot to pick something up for the wife for Valentine's Day, Archi at DJF has got you covered.
I dunno, I guess that's it.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
“@andrewbarranca6: @encadwin why do you prop your right arm up when you do your home run trot?”don't knw It just happens
— Edwin Encarnacion (@Encadwin) February 13, 2013
Well, there you have it folks. He doesn't knw. It just happens. I'm sure we'd all have little foibles like that if we hit homeruns and were generally very, very good at hitting baseballs. This is his. I hope he never changes.
Related reading (viewing) materials.
Fake twitter account.
Interesting offseason for the Indians. Seems like they finally stopped throwing all of their eggs in to the Grady Sizemore basket and focused on improving the rest of the team. I suppose it's about time, given how bad the entire division has been for the last few years.
GM Chris Antonetti has overhauled his roster more than any other GM, save for our own Alex Anthopoulos. In no particular order, other than what comes to my mind first, he:
- Traded for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, giving up Esmil Rogers
- Traded Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald, Tony Sipp and $3.5MM to acquire Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers, Trevor Bauer (!) and Bryan Shaw.
- Signed Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to below market-value contracts.
- Added Brett Myers and Mark Reynolds on 1-year deals
- Signed Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jason Giambi, Ben Francisco and Rich Hill to minor-league contracts, all of whom could conceivably help the big club at some point
As such, this team is going to look drastically different next year. Jon Heyman is reporting that Drew Stubbs is now available in a trade, thanks to the glut of outfielders in the Indians' organization. That's kind of like saying that Rajai Davis is available in a trade-- let's not be surprised when the phone doesn't ring.
I had assumed that it was going to be a platoon situation in LF, with Stubbs and Michael Brantley splitting time (Stubbs has a 120 wRC+ vs LHP, Brantley handles RHP to a .322 wOBA), and having Stubbs come off the bench to pinch-run in situations that warranted it, but apparently not.
Obviously the big issue for the Indians is going to be their pitching staff. Bauer probably isn't ready to contribute to the rotation full-time, or at least isn't likely to be very good yet, Myers is like 47 and pitched out of the bullpen last year, and Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson might not even be good pitchers anymore. The loss of Rogers and Sipp means that they need to find something from within to get them from the rotation to the back of the bullpen, in Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith.
So yeah, the Indians need pitching, and they have Drew Stubbs to offer. Drew Stubbs was worth -0.2 WAR last year, and he struck out an astonishing 30% of the time. He only got on base 27% of the time. K%>OBP tends to be a pretty bad warning sign. Even if you're platooning him, he still strikes out 27% of the time against lefties.
Cleveland's got some decent prospects in their system, especially some nice catchers that will probably end up being (at least partially) blocked by Carlos Santana, assuming he stays behind the plate for the majority of his playing time over the next few years. The issue there is that there is really only 1 decent available starter on the market right now, and that's Bud Norris, of the Houston Astros.
That's actually kind of an issue-- Houston isn't going to want Drew Stubbs, regardless of who they're giving up, since he's scheduled to make more than $500k this year. That's too much money for Houston, who has a projected payroll of like, what, $15MM? Norris is quite literally the only person making money on that team now, since Jed Lowrie was traded. Beyond that, the Indians don't even project to be the best team in their division, so there isn't really a whole lot of incentive to trade away prospects for that last piece.
The Bourn deal is good in a vacuum, I just don't really know what it accomplishes. The AL Central certainly sucks less now than it did before, but I can't see any way the Tigers don't win this division. We're fairly late in the offseason, and with spring training starting this week, I doubt many teams are looking to go a different route from what they've currently got.
May as well sign Kyle Lohse.
Monday, 4 February 2013
RA Dickey struck out some people last season. Here are all of them. So this is what we have to look forward to folks. Just imagine JPA behind the plate catching these.
Follow along on Dickey's B-Ref gamelog, if interested.
Things I noticed:
- K #5, where the announcer opts to let us know that it was a knuckleball that ultimately fooled the batter.
- K #42 was against "Rod Bajas" apparently.
- He must have been really nasty that day, because #43, 44 and 49 were all dropped. He struck out 11 that day over 7 innings.
- #60 is some kind of changeuppy fastball, in essence? Mixing in an 86MPH straightball must be the most gnarly feeling in the world.
- Jesus Christ, #77.
- The 1-hitter vs. TB starts at 5:10 or so. Number 87 at 5:30 is the regular speed of the slo-mo gif'ed knuckler that's been floating around the internet for the last few months.
- 6:00 is the 1-hitter against Baltimore in his next start.
- Candidates for the most hilarious excuse of an attempt of a swing at a Dickey pitch include Ty Wigginton (#115), Shane Victorino (#119), Chase Utley (202), and Garrett Jones (#222). Honorable mention to Carlos Lee (#165) for getting his knees buckled.
- I've seen Bryce Harper on here like 7 times already.
- Snider! #219.
I'll probably watch this video another thousand times before the season starts.
Here's a similar compilation of Justin Verlander, but he doesn't get the same love from me because Detroit.
Here's a similar compilation of Justin Verlander, but he doesn't get the same love from me because Detroit.
Friday, 1 February 2013
If it's not something like this, then I dunno who's working the PR department.
The Jays have announced that single-game tickets will go on sale February 15th. Beyond that, Shi Davidi has tweeted a little noteworthy item for us:
Single game #Jays tix go on sale Feb 15. Bobble heads include: Delgado July 21; EE April 21; JPA July 7; Lawrie Aug. 11. Reyes figure June 9So that's why JPA was so sure he wasn't getting traded.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) February 1, 2013
Elsewhere, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star joined the folks at baseballprospectus.com for their podcast to have a little chat about the Jays and their chances this season. Certainly worth a listen.
Finally, BaseballAmerica has released their Top-10 prospect lists, including the ones that we care about. Conspicuous by his absence from the list is Sean Nolin. I'm not going to pretend to know a whole lot about prospecting, but when AA says that Nolin is probably the closest young pitcher to the majors, it's weird to see that he's not even a top-10 for BA. Fangraphs has him at #5, assuming everyone just gets bumped up to make up for d'Arnaud and Syndergaard's trades.
Anyway, the list (age, projected '13 level):
- Aaron Sanchez (20, A+)
- Roberto Osuna (18, A+)
- Marcus Stroman (21, AA)
- DJ Davis (18, A)
- John Stilson (22, AA/AAA)
- Daniel Norris (19, A)
- Matt Smoral (19, Rookie-ball)
- Anthony Alford (18, A-)
- AJ Jimenez (22, AA)
- Tyler Gonzales (20, A)
This list is obviously pretty different from the one that was posted in November, before the trades of d'Arnaud, Nicolino, Syndergaard, Hechavarria and Marisnick, but meh.
A lot of these guys are 2012 draftees, and are thus pretty far from their ceilings. Tough to get value out of a single-A pitcher, which kind of explains why guys like Morrow, Encarnacion and Dickey are all signed through the 2015 season.