Northern Voice

***Official Blue Jays Thread*** Shapiro Era Begins

1,748 posts in this topic

Really, there isn't much chance of the Jays being competitive this year, and they may be better next, but the sights need to be set long term. J.P. Ricciardi left the Jays farm system in shambles. A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay have left in consecutive years, so the pitching staff is a mess. Kevin Gregg was signed to close, which says all you need to know about the bullpen. Vernon Wells makes 20M a season for another 4 years and is soon going to have to be moved to left field.

There are some reasons for hope though. The Troy Glaus and Roy Halladay trades have started to bring back in some prospects. New GM Alex Anthonopolous seems to have a real plan based on filling the system with high upside talent. He has more than doubled the Jays scouting department to the point where they now have the largest scouting staff in the league. This week, the Jays were able to sign Cuban Adeinis Hechavarria to a contract, giving them a possible SS/CF of the future. The Jays also have 10 picks in the first 3 rounds in the upcoming draft, including 4 firsts (their own, comp for not signing last years, comp for Scuatro and a sandwich pick for Barajas) and have committed to going over the structured amounts to ensure they actually sign their picks this time.

There was a very good article on the Jays by Jayson Stark here

Here's my detailed look at the Jays positionally

C: This season - John Buck/Jose Molina (total disaster, who cares)

Long term:
J.P. Arencibia - Highly touted, 2007 1st rounder had a bad, injury-plagued season last year, having a very good spring, could be a part of the future.
Travis D'Arnaud - Part of the Halladay trade, said to project as an everyday catcher, '07 Phillies 1st rounder
Carlos Perez - Only 20, signed a couple years ago out of Venezuala. Huge potential, great defensively, great arm, hit .300 in rookie ball, walks a lot, impact would be way down the road, as he's still in low minors.

1B: This season - Lyle Overbay (because they couldn't get anyone to take him off their hands)

Long Term:
Brett Wallace - Key piece in Halladay trade, won't neccesarily be a slugger, but if he can hit .300, with 25 HR's and an OBP over .375 or so, he can fill this role for a long time. Probably will be a younger, better version of Overbay.
Brian Dopirak - former highly regarded prospect slugged .549 in AA. His bat may earn him a spot as a future 1B/DH, he's already 26 though.
David Cooper - '08 1st rounder was bad last year but has power and shouldn't be written off yet.

2B: This season - Aaron Hill

Long Term: Aaron Hill. I don't know if he'll repeat last season's great numbers, but he has legit power and is good defensively up the middle. In spring training he's been taking a lot more walks, if he could increase his OBP, it could offset the likely fall back to the 25 HR range.

SS: This season: Alex Gonzalez/John MacDonald - Lots of defense, no offense here.

Long Term: Adeinis Hechavarria? This is a weak spot in the organization, which is why they were willing to go out and spend 10 million dollars on the Cuban defector. He's going to start in AA, and who knows if he develops into a major leaguer or not, but he's the Jays best hope here. Tyler Pastornicky is the only other legitimate hope in the system.

3B: This season: Edwin Encarnacion/Jose Bautista

Long term: ? Encarnacion could prove he belongs here, or could be gone after this season. Wallace could still play 3rd, if Dopirak/Lind/Ruiz/Cooper ended up at 1st for their bats, but the Jays are pushing Wallace as a first basemen down the road. Bautista is a solid utility guy for this season who will play a lot between 3B, OF and DH.

OF: This season: Vernon Wells/Adam Lind/Jose Bautista/Travis Snider/Joey Gathright

Long Term: Wells is here because they can't get rid of him. He's declined defensively 2 or 3 seasons in a row and he won't be able to play CF by the time the Jays are competitive. One of Lind or Snider will play the other corner. Probably Snider, with Lind as the DH. Snider is still very young, and he may start this year in AAA, with Gathright serving as the 4th outfielder. An outfield of Lind/Snider/Wells (which will likely happen at some point), will be an absolute disaster defensively.

DH: This season: Randy Ruiz - career 909 ops in minors, .320 with 106 RBI in 114 games in AAA last year. Then 10HR's in September with the Jays. Killing the ball again in the spring, they'll have to keep him up and give him AB's.

Long term: This is likely where Adam Lind ends up, because of his weaknesses in the field. They also have Brian Dopirak, who is a younger version of Ruiz, in that he ripped up AAA, but really can't be anything but a DH.

Starting Pitching: This season: Shawn Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Marc Repcyznski, Brian Tallet - Marcum has basically locked down the #1 spot. 2-4 should all be as above. Dustin McGowan has been coming back strong and will likely be the 5th starter (or better) as soon as he's healthy but may start out on the DL.

Long term:

Kyle Drabek - Halladay trade - likely highest upside on this list. Mid 90s fastball, better curveball. Depending on the source, either he or Wallace is considered the Jays best prospect (thanks Doc).
Shawn Marcum - looks all the way back, was looking like a solid 2/3 before major injury.
Ricky Romero - strong rookie season last year
Brandon Morrow - was signed to be a starter
Dustin McGowan - former first rounder/#1 prospect, looks like he'll be back this year.
Zack Stewart (Glaus trade) - another strong prospect. Curised all the way to AAA last year, needs a full year in AAA to get his IP's up.
Chad Jenkins - '09 1st rounder, will start in low minors as all Jays prospects do, but will likely move up quickly.

Marc Repcyznski - Had a good start to his MLB career last year, I don't think he's a long term answer, mainly because he never makes it past the 6th.
Jesse Litsch - pitched well for the Jays, doesn't have great stuff but gets it done, major injury right now.

Edited by Northern Voice

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Look out for Wells this season. This kid is money when the pressure is off and there is nothing to play for. 30 HRs, 100 RBI, .280 - BOOK IT!

I hope they give Ruiz a good look.

I'm interested in Romero. Similar performance to Burnett last year. Not a bad replacement.

Excited about the pitching in general. I know they will finish last, but it will be nice to see what they have for the future. Just like the Leafs this season.

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Will Aaron Hill be back by 2012?

TIA

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Sickels is high on Z. Stewart as a potential closer it seems. Any chance he gets a shot with the big club this year?

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Went to the game last night. Romero was ridiculous. 2K's in each of the first 6 innings. You could tell he was getting a bit worn towards the 7th/8th, so I wasn't surprised at all when the no hit bid was broken up. The (very small) crowd gave him a nice ovation after Rios crossed the plate after his home run broke up the no hitter and another when he left in the 8th. I know he fell apart last season but Gregg looks a lot more like a closer than Frasor so far. Maybe it's just that a big guy with glasses suits the role of a closer better visually than a midget but he Gregg shut down the Sox in the 9th and I can't see them not giving him more and more of the save opportunities.

It was nice to see the offense get some timely hitting. Haven't seen a ton of that the past couple years.

Edited by Northern Voice

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It's sad we all know this first place run is a temporary thing and they'll be out of the race within a few weeks. Any other division and they'd be a legitimate darkhorse.

Let's get those salary caps!

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We just grabbed Fred Lewis for a player to be named later or cash considerations. What to you guys think of the move?

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We just grabbed Fred Lewis for a player to be named later or cash considerations. What to you guys think of the move?

There are worse 4th OFs. He can do a bunch of different things (decent OBP, gap power, run) but nothing exceptionally well. He has the physical tools to be a plus defender but he's not a very good glove man. At 29, I don't think he has a lot of surprises left.Don't call him Freddie.

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We just grabbed Fred Lewis for a player to be named later or cash considerations. What to you guys think of the move?

There are worse 4th OFs. He can do a bunch of different things (decent OBP, gap power, run) but nothing exceptionally well. He has the physical tools to be a plus defender but he's not a very good glove man. At 29, I don't think he has a lot of surprises left.Don't call him Freddie.
I'd like to see him lead off.

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Rogers Sportsnet (the Jays broadcaster that has the same owner as the Jays) actually has a TV ad for the current series saying "come see Andrew Bailey, the Oakland closer..."

:goodposting::lmao: :lmao:

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15-13 :lmao:

Jays starting pitchers lead the AL in quality starts, K's and IP's.

5 young pitchers all looking pretty good right now: Romero, Marcum, Cecil, Morrow, Eveland. Eveland isn't likely a long term guy but with Drabek, McGowan, Mills, Rzepcynski, Litsch etc... all knocking on the door, it won't be hard to plug a good young guy in his place.

Travis Snider is ripping the #### out of the ball right now as well. He had some bad luck early on, even with his K rate way down, walk rate way up and a higher percentage of line drives but lately they're finding gaps as well.

Wallace is doing very well in AAA (.272/.369/.619 with 8 home runs.), hopefully they can find a way to get rid of Overbay and get him up here.

The only "core" players in the starting 9 for the Jays are Hill, Lind, Wells and Snider, will be interesting to see what happens with the others, some of whom (AGonzalez, Bautista) are having pretty good seasons. Will they stay through the end of the year or will they be moved for picks/prospects.

BluebirdBanter.com is doing a positional look at the Jays prospects so far, and the catchers numbers are ridiculous so far

J.P. Arencibia .288/.364/.492 at Vegas (AAA)

Brian Jeroloman .340/.447/.566 (AA) at New Hamshire - 2nd year at AA

Travis d'Arnaud .328/.362/.547 at Dunedin (High A)

Yan Gomes .395/.465/.553 at Dunedin (High A)

A.J. Jimenez .351/.395/.568 at Lansing (A)

Arencibia and d'Arnaud are the two most highly touted of the group and both are living up to expectations so far, which is a good sign when John Buck and Jose Molina are the current duo.

Adeiny Hechavarria, is still at extended spring training,

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I'm going to be pissed if Rzep can't get a spot in the rotation when he returns. Unlike an earlier poster here, I think he's a GREAT long term prospect. He's 24 years old. In his first shot in the majors, he struck out almost a batter per inning with over a 50% groundball rate. His minor league strikeout rates suggest that wasn't a fluke.

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I'm going to be pissed if Rzep can't get a spot in the rotation when he returns. Unlike an earlier poster here, I think he's a GREAT long term prospect. He's 24 years old. In his first shot in the majors, he struck out almost a batter per inning with over a 50% groundball rate. His minor league strikeout rates suggest that wasn't a fluke.

24-17 :rolleyes:Zep got torched in AAA today (9ER in 2.1 innings) in a rehab start, not that it means much.Jesse Litsch on the other hand has been dominating in his rehab starts. Litsch is only 25 and while he doesn't have near the stuff guys like Morrow or Romero have, he's been effective as an MLB starter. Romero and Morrow right now have the two lowest contact rates in the AL (the difference of course being Romero doesn't walk as many guys as Morrow).Snider was put on the 15 day DL, Encarnacion activated and he hit a home run in the Jays drubbing of the Twins today. At some point, Tallet, Snider and Litsch are going to need to come back on the roster, and the team is going to need to make decisions on guys like Ruiz, Eveland, McCoy, Roenicke, Janssen etc... Bad timing for Snider, he was absolutely crushing the ball in May.I wonder at what point they consider waiving Overbay. His defense, which was his strong point, has deteriorated to simply above average and he's a blackhole in the lineup (and they refuse to move him out of the #5 spot). I get that they don't want to bring Wallace up yet (despite the fact he's doing very well in AAA) but leave the OF of Lewis/Wells/Snider and let Bautista and Encarnacion share 1B/3B with Overbay DFA'd. How long can they keep trotting his .181 AVG and .319 SLG% out in the #5 spot. He sucked last year too by 1B standards. He hasn't had an OPS over 800 or more than 15 HR's since 2006. He's done.Fred Lewis has pretty much entrenched himself as a starter in the outfield and the every day leadoff hitter. The small acquisitions by Anthonopolous - Gonzalez, Lewis, Eveland, Buck, etc... have all turned out pretty well for the Jays. Edited by Northern Voice

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30-22 and this is where the real fun starts. 9 straight against the Rays/Yankees. If the Jays can win half, they'll make some believers. Right now, people are still skeptical (they were 27-14 last season when they completely fell apart, so at the very least they've made it 10 games deeper).

Marcum, Cecil and Romero continue to be outstanding.

Has anyone else looked at the ESPN AL CY Young predictor (for whatever it's worth)

1 David Price TB 61.2

2 Rafael Soriano TB 56.6

3 Clay Buchholz BOS 55.7

4 Jon Lester BOS 54.8

5 Phil Hughes NYY 53.2

6 Shaun Marcum TOR 52.6

7 Andy Pettitte NYY 52.4

8 Jeff Niemann TB 52.3

9 A.J. Burnett NYY 50.1

10 Ricky Romero TOR 49.6

Pretty crazy that the top 10 are all pitching in the AL East. This division is ever stronger than usual it seems. Cecil could make this list as well, once he has the required number of starts.

Hechevarria is looking good in his minor league debut

Bautista continuing to lead the league in HR's.

Vernon Wells looking like the .300/30/100 guy the Jays signed to the huge extension.

All that said, the pitching matchups coming up against the Rays are terrible for the Jays.

Garza/Morrow

Niemann/Tallet

Price/Marcum

The first two look like write offs, with Price/Marcum a toss-up. Tallet coming off the DL, not sure if he's fully healthy yet, they'll be counting on the bullpen in those first couple games. Luckily Romero pitched a complete game yesterday and starters pitched 23 of 27 innings on the weekend, so they bullpen should be fully rested.

Morrow needs to start throwing strikes, or he'll once again be back in AAA. He misses bats as well as anyone in the league but he walks way too many guys and falls behind in too many counts, all of while leads to his scary 6.66 ERA.

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Always look forward to your posts in this thread, Northern Voice - thanks for updates. :thumbup:

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Ugh. I think they are getting complacent. Fielding was miserable. Hill thrown out at 3rd was pitiful. Gregg nibbling and not sacking up and throwing a strike was pathetic.

Battered Jays fan waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Exciting to see Wells' bat almost make-up for allowing the winning run with lazy fielding though.

Marcum tonight.

Edited by Seymour Corn

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30-22 and this is where the real fun starts. 9 straight against the Rays/Yankees. If the Jays can win half, they'll make some believers. Right now, people are still skeptical (they were 27-14 last season when they completely fell apart, so at the very least they've made it 10 games deeper).

All that said, the pitching matchups coming up against the Rays are terrible for the Jays.

Garza/Morrow

Niemann/Tallet

Price/Marcum

Well the Jays ended up taking 4 of 9 from the Rays/Yankees. Not exactly a convincing statement but they didn't completely fall off the pace either. Of course, they then proceeded to lose 3 straight in Colorado before rebounding by taking 2 of 3 in San Diego and winning again last night. Overall, they've gone 7-9 since I last posted in here, and currently sit at 37-31 on the season.

Travis Snider is out until after the All-Star Break. After a terrible start, Lyle Overbay is actually hitting the ball very well lately. He's great defensively at first. Hopefully he keeps hitting the ball and the Jays can turn him into a prospect at the deadline.

The Marco Scutaro/Alex Gonzalez swap has turned out extremely well for the Jays. I realize they weren't traded for each other, but the Jays let Scutaro go to Boston, and then signed Gonzalez away from Boston. Gonzalez has 13 HR's and is slugging over .500 for the Jays, while playing excellent defense at shortstop. Scutaro has obviously struggled for Boston but seems to be coming around. Gonzalez cost less than half of what Scutaro is making though and the Jays received picks 34 and 80 in last week's MLB draft as compensation for not resigning Scutaro.

Jose Bautista has finally seen his power start to cool off. He's still a very valuable player in this Jays lineup though. The fact that he can play just about anywhere on the field and hit just about anywhere in the lineup really makes it easy for Cito Gaston to have him in the lineup every single game.

Gaston is an interesting manager. He almost never pinch hits (he feels its bad for a players psyche to pull him out of the game, and hurts their confidence long term). On the other hand, he loves to make defensive substitutions. As a result, you get moves like the one this week, where they reassigned the capable at the plate Mike McCoy to AAA, and signed the useless at the plate but capable as a defensive substitution Nick Green. The Jays bench now consists of Nick Green, Jose Molina, John MacDonald and DeWayne Wise... quite a murderers row.

Last time I posted that they were rushing Tallet back from injury and into the rotation, and it likely wouldn't go well. It didn't. The solution was to move him back to the bullpen and rush Jesse Litsch back as the #5 guy (1 year and 1 day after Tommy John surgery). It also didn't go well, as he got shelled by the rockies, and now takes a 27.00 ERA to the hill this afternoon. If he fails, they'll hope another guy returning from injury (either Scott Richmond or Mark Rzepcynski) is ready to give it a go. Meanwhile, we all wait for Kyle Drabek.

Drabek by the way, is likely to go straight from AA to the majors. It seems unlikely that the Jays will subject many of their prime pitching prospects to Cashman field in Las Vegas.

On the plus side for Jays pitching, Brandon Morrow is really coming around. He's been missing bats all season long but he's had too many walks to really be effective. He's been working exclusively with Jose Molina behind the plate as of late. In the seven starts they've worked together Morrow has a 2.44 ERA in 44 1/3 innings, with 43 K's against 21 BB's. With another good start last night (he walked in a run in the first, but settled in after that), he's lowered his ERA below 5 on the season, with 10K's per 9 IP. The Marcum/Romero/Cecil/Morrow rotation deserves just as much credit as the power bats for the Jays record so far - and they're all young and under the Jays control for a while.

In the minors:

- Wallace has been a bit better as of late.

- Hechavarria really isn't hitting at all.

- Adam Loewen might really have a future as a major league position player - he's really hitting the ball. It would be great to see him rebound and find his way back to the majors.

- J.P. Arencibia continues to hit the ball and should get a late season callup behind the plate.

- Brad Emaus has moved from 2B to 3B (because of Hill) and will likely get a shot at some point (Encarnacion isn't even hitting his weight and has Chuck Knoblauch syndrome).

- Josh Roenicke, who was a key component of the Rolen trade and was up but striggled with walks in the majors this year has been killing AAA, even in Cashman field where ERA's go to die. 19.1 IP, his ERA is <1, and he has 23K's against 4 BB's. He walked 11 in 12 innings at the MLB level. Small sample sizes in both cases, I know, but he needs to show he can do it in the bigs soon or he'll get passed by.

A good article here on AA relievers Trystan Magnuson and Tim Collins - both of whom will likely be in the Jays bullpen next season: http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/mound+t...0031/story.html

Magnuson (who is 6'7")'s AA #'s: 48IP, 0.76ERA, 0.902WHIP, 4.50 K/BB, 0 HR/9. Collins (who is 5'5") is striking out 15 batters per nine innings.

In the draft, the Jays loaded up on pitchers. They've signed many of their top picks but not #11 overall Deck McGuire. McGuire refused to complete a conference call with the Jays after the draft, and hasn't given an interview yet. To be fair, his team was eliminated from the playoffs the day of the draft, but it seems unclear if he's happy to be a Jay.

Other notable picks:

1 11 Deck McGuire RHP

1s 34 Aaron Sanchez RHP - SIGNED

1s 38 Noah Syndergaard RHP - SIGNED

1s 41 Asher Wojciechowski RHP - SIGNED

2 61 Griffin Murphy LHP - SIGNED

2 69 Kellen Sweeney 3B

2 80 Justin Nicolino RHP

3 93 Christopher Hawkins 3B - SIGNED

3s 113 Marcus Knecht OF - SIGNED - One of the most talented Canadians in the draft.

4 126 Sam Dyson RHP - 3rd time drafted, expected to sign this time

5 156 Dickie Joe Thon SS - wants big $$$

12 366 Omar Cotto OF

18 546 Kris Bryant 3B - said to have the highest upside of any Jays picks, but unlikely to sign

47 1416 Gabriel Romero RHP (notable because he's Ricky's little brother)

Anyone have any questions about the Jays team/guys in the organization?

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Encarnacion isn't even hitting his weight and has Chuck Knoblauch syndrome

Encarnacion was demoted to AAA after the game today and Jarrett Hoffpauir called up, presumably to take over his position at 3B.

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Encarnacion isn't even hitting his weight and has Chuck Knoblauch syndrome

Encarnacion was demoted to AAA after the game today and Jarrett Hoffpauir called up, presumably to take over his position at 3B.
I assume they are waiting for Snider to get healthy, then move him to RF, move Bautista to 3rd and send Hoff down.

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Adeinis Hechavarria and his .509 OPS at high A ball was promoted to AA. Speculation it may have been in his contract that he be promoted by July 1, because it doesn't seem like he's earned it yet. They obviously have him pegged as the 2012 SS but he's really struggled so far at the plate.

Edited by Northern Voice

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Ugh.

Most runs surrendered in an inning since '79.

Once they drop below .500, will they ever see it again?

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Is there any explanation for Lind?What happened?

The Jays hitting strategy is to get to the plate, swing at the first three pitches and try to pull the ball out of the park every time. Lind and Hill have both stopped hitting to the gaps, and stopped hitting line drives. Lind looks completely lost out there, while Hill must be leading the league in pop-ups.

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Well, There was a reason I made this the 2012 thread, and there's some good news in that regard, as the Jays continue to pump high-upside talent into their farm system, and a couple of their existing talents have been playing well as of late:1. The Jays have signed Adonis Carmona from Venezuela to a 2.8 million dollar bonus, here's what Fanhouse said about it a while back (the Jays had him locked up before Internation signing period officially began).

1. Adonis Cardona, RHP: Technically, Cardona is still available but as I reported last week, he seems to have an agreement to sign for $2.8 million with the Toronto Blue Jays. If that ends up being the case and the deal is made official on July 2, Toronto got the top Venezuelan talent in the 2010 crop.

2. The Jays have also agreed to terms with 5th round pick Dickie Thon Jr. They said before the draft that they would spend above slot on their picks where neccesary and they've made good on it.

The Blue Jays have agreed to sign fifth-round pick Dickie Thon for $1.5MM, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law. The Blue Jays won’t likely make an official announcement until on or near August 16th, the deadline for signing draft picks. Otherwise, other draftees would be able to use Thon’s above-slot bonus as leverage. A $1.5MM bonus is mid-first-round money; no fifth-round pick signed for more than $680K last year, according to Baseball America.

3. The Jays signed Gabriel Ceñas, also from Venezuela, another extremely young international player, but also another piece to rebuilding the Jays farm system.

"The Blue Jays have signed 16-year-old third baseman Gabriel Ceñas, one of the top prospects out of Venezuela this year, for $700,000. Ceñas is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound righthanded hitter from Maracaibo who stands out for his bat and arm strength."

4. J.P. Arencibia was named PCL (AAA) player of the month. He hit over .400 and slugged over 1, 000 for the month, with 11 HR's and 9 doubles in 22 games, and 16 of those games he had multiple hits. He's just been on a ridiculous tear, and he was considered a top Jays prospect at catcher, prior to struggling at AAA last year (he still hit 20 HR's last year but had a sub-250 batting average).5. Kyle Drabek threw a no-hitter in AA last week and was named Pitcher of the week in his league.6. Travis Snider, who is seems older because he's played in two MLB seasons, but is actually younger than "prospects" Drabek/Arencibia, is back swinging well in AA, and should return to the Jays after the all-star break.

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The Toronto Blue Jays swapped shortstops with the Atlanta Braves, acquiring Yunel Escobar for veteran Alex Gonzalez in a five-player trade Wednesday.The Blue Jays also get 25-year-old left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes while sending prospects Tim Collins, a lefty, and infielder Tyler Pastronicky to the Braves.

At the start of the season, this trade would be unthinkable.I like both Gonzalez and Tim Collins but this seems like a classic case of buying low on Escobar and selling high on Gonzalez and I'm pretty happy with the deal, as Escobar could be a long term building piece, which you can't really say about anyone else in the deal.

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Brett Wallace traded for Anthony Gose. Maybe I should make this the 2015 thread.

FML.

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There have been a lot of encouraging words about Gose and Hechavarria lately.

From Sporting News:

STRIKE 2: Taking chances in Toronto

When the Blue Jays traded for Anthony Gose on the same day the Phillies moved him to Houston, many wondered what the Blue Jays were thinking. They gave up Brett Wallace for a kid who was caught stealing 27 times in barely half a season.

Wallace, 23, already has taken over as the Astros' first baseman and is widely regarded as someone who'll hit .280 with 20-plus homers for many seasons.

Gose, 19, is a leadoff hitter who posted a .325 OBP for Clearwater before he was traded. Yes, he was a second-round pick and possesses plenty of tools: speed, arm, defense and bat speed. But he has yet to show if he'll learn how to lay off a slider in the dirt. He could be an All-Star; he might never reach Class AAA. At this point, the odds are about the same.

But that's the point. Under rookie GM Alex Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays are about taking risks. They feel the best way to hang with the Yankees and Red Sox without their checkbooks is to gamble on high-upside players, especially ones at premium positions. So they've taken a chance on Gose just like they have on shortstop Yunel Escobar. Give up a solid-to-good player for a young player who could be special.

To improve their chances of being right, Anthopoulos has beefed up his scouting department at a time when some clubs have cut back. Now he's listening to his scouts and, most impressive, is showing that he's not just going to talk about taking risks.

"I give Alex a lot of credit," says one Jays scout. "I don't think any GM would have had the guts to make a deal like that (for Gose). But he's sticking to his guns. He wants premium guys, and he knows we need to take risks."

From BP:

Adieny Hechavarria, SS, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI. Questions about bat getting answered in a big way; hitting .340 in last 25 games and .306/.340/.410 overall to go with crazy-great defense.

Anthony Gose, OF, Blue Jays (High-A Dunedin): 3-for-4, 2 3B, R, BB, CS. Showing off the big time speed with two triples; still can't steal bases as he gets caught for the 28th time.

From BA:

Adeiny Hechavarria, ss, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): Hechavarria's career couldn't have gotten off to a much worse start with high Class A Dunedin, where he hit .193/.217/.292 in 41 games. It was sort of a head-scratcher when the Blue Jays promoted the 21-year-old Cuban to Double-A after that, but he's managed to do more than just tread water in the Eastern League. After going 3-for-5 with a double yesterday, Hechavarria is up to .306/.340/.410 with the Fisher Cats in 147 plate appearances while playing his standard plus defense.

Anthony Gose, cf, Blue Jays (high Class A Dunedin): The Blue Jays have to be pleased with their new acquisition. Gose, who turns 20 on Tuesday, went 3-for-4 with a pair of triples and a walk yesterday, bringing him to .360/.385/.680 in six games since getting traded from the Phillies to the Astros and then to the Blue Jays in exchange for Brett Wallace. He still has a ways to go at the plate with his approach (and he was caught stealing yesterday for the 28th time in 65 tries), but the tools are undeniable.

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Fatty Jesse Litsch is out for the season. Brad Mills has been called up. No real loss here. It will give the Jays a chance to see if Mills has a future with the club. He gave up 2 hits through 7 innings last time up, he needs to put in a solid showing the rest of the year if he doesn't want to fall behind guys like Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart on the Jays pitching depth chart. For his part, Mills seems to have temporarily jumped ahead of Marc Rzepczynski

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Arencibia hit his first major league pitch out of the park. Can we just put him in the Hall of Fame Now?

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2 of the most exciting games of the year. Arencibia's 2 HR, 4 hit debut, followed by Morrow's 17 K, 1 hitter.

Jays 8 games back of the wild card. Not much chance of making up that distance and leapfrogging so many teams, but I wonder where this team would be in the standings in any other division in baseball. Coming off taking 5 of 6 from the Rays/Yankees.

Everything Anthopolous touches turns to gold. Mariners fans must want to cry when they see Morrow pitching like he has today, and most of this year. Yunel Escobar is hitting over .300 and playing incredible defense.

Real nice team shaping up.

Rotation:

Morrow (26) 9-6, 4.49, 151K's in 127 IP

Cecil (24) 9-5. 3.62

Romero (25) 9-7, 3.37, 3 CG

Marcum (28) 10-5, 3.44

Drabek (24) (AA) 12-9, 2.92,

C - Arencibia

1B - Lind

2B - Hill

SS - Escobar

3B - ???

OF - Wells

OF - Snider

OF - Bautista

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2 of the most exciting games of the year. Arencibia's 2 HR, 4 hit debut, followed by Morrow's 17 K, 1 hitter.Jays 8 games back of the wild card. Not much chance of making up that distance and leapfrogging so many teams, but I wonder where this team would be in the standings in any other division in baseball. Coming off taking 5 of 6 from the Rays/Yankees.Everything Anthopolous touches turns to gold. Mariners fans must want to cry when they see Morrow pitching like he has today, and most of this year. Yunel Escobar is hitting over .300 and playing incredible defense.Real nice team shaping up.Rotation:Morrow (26) 9-6, 4.49, 151K's in 127 IPCecil (24) 9-5. 3.62Romero (25) 9-7, 3.37, 3 CGMarcum (28) 10-5, 3.44Drabek (24) (AA) 12-9, 2.92, C - Arencibia1B - Lind2B - HillSS - Escobar3B - ???OF - WellsOF - SniderOF - Bautista

:thumbup: I absolutely love watching this team - they are so much more fun to watch than any Jay's team in recent memory. I actually find myself watching baseball now whenever I'm at home and the game is on - which is something I haven't done in years unless Halladay was pitching. Really excited about the way our pitching staff is shaping up - Cecil, Romero and Marcum all give us a chance to win whenever they pitch. I hope yesterday was the start of great things for Morrow also - he has shown flashes all season. If Drabek is the real deal, and the hitting holds up for next season, the Jays could actually be a contender next year (*crosses fingers*).

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Went down to the game last night (7-5 loss to the Sox). My mancrush on Travis Snider grows almost daily at this point. This home run in the 2nd inning was absolutely crushed. According to Hittracker, it was the 8th hardest hit (speed off the bat) of the season. He also has the 4th hardest hit. He added a 395 foot double off the base of the centrefield wall in the 9th inning, in the failed comeback attempt.

Snider's hitting stats by month...

April: .155/.277/.338/.615

May: .378/.404/.711/1.115

June: DNP - Injured

July: only 1 AB (injured)

August: .333/.400/.667/1.067

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CITO, LEAVE HIM IN THE LINEUP.

Other thoughts from last night's game:

- Fred Lewis was a disaster in CF. If Wells or Wise is playing there, there's a good chance it would have been a tie game headed to the 9th.

- Yunel Escobar has another minor injury

- Bautista hit his 35th, what a ridiculous season

- Romero didn't fool the Red Sox at all, he keeps getting lit up by them

- Downs was dominant, I was nervous when they took him out for Camp, and sure enough, Camp (who has been very good all year) through dynamite on the game.

- Red Sox made some stupid, little league type errors (the missed pop-up, failed out at 2nd on bobble transfer, Scutaro making an error on a play he makes 99 times out of 100).

- I hate Mike Lowell. He always kills the Jays. I'd rather see them face Youkilis

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That throw out by the rookie catcher from the crouch on Ellsbury was nice. Even though Ellsbury should have been called safe, that was a helluva throw.

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Ricky Romero signed a 5 year, 30.1 Million Dollar extension today. Buys out his first 2 years of free agence, covers 2011-2015, locks Romero up until he's 30. According to Ken Rosenthal, it's the largest guarantee ever for pitcher with less than 2 yrs of ML service. Doesn't seem like a bad number to lock him in at over what should be his prime years.

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Toronto Blue Jays 2010 Post-Mortem

Final Record 85-77 (4th in AL East) - way above expectations.

***POSITIVES***

- Jose Bautista - what can you really say about the year Bautista just had. 54HR's, 109 RBI's, .378 OBP, 12 outfield assists. He hit 10 home runs in September of 2009 and no one, including Jays fans, really thought much of it. He completely destroyed expectations this season, while becoming a true fan favourite in Toronto and helping the Jays stay in the public eye, even once the Leafs started training camp.

- Alex Anthopolous - His first season as Jays GM was almost flawless. Picking up Brandon Morrow for League was a huge trade for the Jays. I like League and he had a good season, but trading a bullpen guy for a potential ace is a no-brainer. His major off-season signings were John Buck, Jose Molina and Alex Gonzalez. Buck was an all-star, Molina was a great veteran backup and Alex Gonzalez was traded straight up for Yunel Escobar, a deal which would have been unthinkable at the start of the season. The jury is out on the Halladay trade, but Kyle Drabek was AA player of the year and looks like he's for real. It also looks like trading away Brett Wallace was the right move. Anthopolous recently said his biggest regret is not spending more money to land Aroldis Chapman, he vows it won't happen again.

- Ricky Romero, Shawn Marcum, Brett Cecil & Brandon Morrow - These guys are the reason the Jays finished with 85 wins. It's been reported many times that removing Brad Arnsberg and Roy Halladay allowed the young starting pitchers to relax and come together as a group. They have a great combination here with 2 lefties, 2 righties. One "veteran" and real leader in Marcum, and two guys who could emerge as legitimate #1's in Morrow and Romero. Their final records are all impressive, Shaun Marcum (13-8), Ricky Romero (14-9), Brett Cecil (15-7) and Brandon Morrow (10-7).

- John Buck - Picked up towards the end of the offseason, Buck was an all-star, and with J.P. Arencibia waiting in the wings, Buck will likely leave, as a type A free agent, netting the Jays a 1st round pick in return.

- Yunel Escobar/Adieny Hechavrria - A year ago at this time, the Jays had no real potential "shortstops of the future". Now they have 2. Escobar came as advertised and was solid at the plate, and at times incredible in the field, while suffering from occasional stupid mistakes. He is a great shortstop though and a building block going forward, and to get him for Alex Gonzalez, who had a great season but was traded at the absolute peak of his value was great. Hech was awful in A ball, but once he was promoted to AA, he showed why Anthopolous paid $10 million to get him in the Jays system.

- Vernon Wells - Wells had the kind of season the Jays expected when they signed him to his monster contract. If he can string together a couple more .270/30/90 seasons, his contract won't look as bad. Wells doesn't draw a lot of attention to the work he does off the field, but he won the Branch Rickey award and was a finalist for the Roberto Clemente award. He does a ton of community work in both Toronto and Arlington and is by all accounts a great person.

- Depth in the Farm - Between the Halladay trade, the Rolen trade, International free agent signings, and signing all major picks in the 2010 draft, this has gone from a weakness to a strength for the Jays. They were 26th in BA's organizational rankings last year and are expected to be in the top 10 in the next edition.

***NEGATIVES***

- Aaron Hill - He still hit 26 HR's but his average dropped to .206 (OBP .271) and he had his worst year in the field.

- Adam Lind - He still hit 23 HR's but his average dropped from .305 to .237 (OBP .287) and he looked bad when tried at 1B, looking more and more like he'llbe strictly a DH

- 5th Starter - As good as the top 4 were, the 5th spot in the rotation was basically an automatic loss. Through July, the 5th starter spot (Dana Eveland, Jesse Litsch, Mark Rzepcynski and Brian Tallet) was 6-15, and many of these were lopsided losses. They got some better performances from other guys such as Shawn Hill, Kyle Drabek and an improved Rzepcynski towards the end of the season, but by that time they were out of the race. If they could have gotten .500 pitching from the #5 spot, they might have won 90 games.

- Cito Gaston - I am not a Cito Gaston fan. The Jays offensive beliefs were obvious. Try to hit it out of the park every time up. Who cares about getting on base? Why take a walk? What's a stolen base? Cito has also never liked playing rookies, from John Olerud, to Shawn Green to Travis Snider. Snider didn't get to play every day until the end of the season, and when he did, he went on a 14 game hit streak with 5 home runs. Yet all season long, he platooned with Fred ####### Lewis. Cito is gone now, and hopefully the new manager can find a balance between the power the Jays have shown, and actually having people on base when the home runs are hit. Cito is also obviously involved in a relationship with Brian Tallet. No matter how many times he got shelled, Tallet was always out there day after day.

- Brian Tallet - Tallet is done. It's really not fair to bag on Tallet too much, because really this all goes back to Cito. Cito kept putting him out there even when it was clear Tallet was done. It's also Cito's fault Tallet is done, he went from 56 IP in 2008 to 160+ in 2009. His arm is dead. He finished the year 2-6 with a 6.40 ERA, and easily led all Jays relievers in innings pitched.

- Fred Lewis - Only listed here because he cried about playing time but did nothing to earn more playing time. Weak defensively, slowest "fast guy" I've ever seen. He isn't suited to be a 4th OF, because of this (not fast, not good defensive replacement, #####es), maybe he can start on a different team, but as a depth guy give me Dewayne Wise every time.

***LIKELY OFF-SEASON OUTCOMES***

- New manager is hired

- Jose Bautista signs a 3-year extension - it just seems like this is what's going to happen. Worst case, he goes to arbitration and comes back on a 1 year deal.

- John Buck leaves via Free Agency (type A)

- Lyle Overbay leaves via Free Agency (He's already sold his house)

- Scott Downs leaves via Free Agency (He deserves a big raise from someone, I'd love to see him back in Toronto but it doesn't seem likely).

- Jason Frasor leaves via Free Agency (He married a Toronto girl and his qualifying offer will be about fair market value for him, so he could be back).

- Kevin Gregg has at least one option year picked up - He made things interesting but overall, he was pretty good and his option years are very reasonable (1 year 4.5 or 2 years 8.75).

- Jose Molina re-signs a 1 year deal to return as backup catcher - I don't get the impression the Jays are 100% sold on Arencibia as the catcher for next year, they may decide they want someone better than Molina, who can go 50/50 with JPA.

- I have no idea what happens at 3B. It wouldn't shock me if Encarnacion is brought back. I do think Bautista will spend most of his time in RF, not 3B though.

- Anthopolous makes at least one trade that absolutely no one saw coming, rendering this thousand word post useless. It happens with no rumours or hints that something is about to happen (this is how the Morrow/Escobar/Wallace trades all went down).

***2011 EXPECTATIONS***

- Jose Bautista doesn't hit 50 home runs, but he does hit 30+ while playing a solid RF and continuing to be patient at the plate and providing a solid power bat in the middle of the Jays lineup.

- Kyle Drabek starts the season as the Jays #5 starter, I think if he can be a .500 pitcher in his rookie season, while holding down the 5th starters job (barring injuries in the rotation, of course), that will be a huge positive for the Jays.

- Travis Snider starts 150+ games in RF, in doing so, he easily hits 30+ home runs and establishes himself as the true star of this Jays team going forward. He's gone through the cycle from prized prospect, to a guy who doesn't get talked about much anymore, but people who follow the Jays closely know it's just a matter of time. It seems like he's been around a while, but he's only 22 years old. In the next 5 years, he wins an AL MVP award.

- The bullpen takes a step backwards. If Downs and Frasor leave, that leaves a huge hole in the Jays bullpen. Those two have been rock solid for the Jays in the 7th/8th inning for the past few years. There is a chance that Frasor would accept his qualifying offer, but otherwise, the Jays will need to bring someone in, or hope that guys like Josh Roenicke, Casey Janssen, David Purcey, Robert Ray, Brad Mills, etc... can take a big step forward. If he can't beat out Drabek as the 5th starter, Marc Rzepcynski could be a factor in the bullpen as well.

- Aaron Hill & Adam Lind return to form - Hill is not as good as his 2009 season, or as bad as his 2010 season. He'll level off somewhere in the middle. Same goes for Lind. While neither may hit .300 next season, they won't be down near .200 either.

The Jays finish next season above .500 again but aren't quite there yet to win the AL East (2012 remains the target). The Yankees will reload, the Red Sox will have better luck and the Rays will have young guys come up and fill the shoes of the players they lose. The Jays will be in the mix with all of them and won't be a pushover but will ultimately finish with a similar record to this season. They would win most other divisions though.

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Nice summary of a team that doesn't get a lot of US press. The Jays are the best 4th place team in baseball if that's any consolation.

Good luck w/ the Travis Snider prediction. He has more to work with than Bautista, maybe lightning will strike twice. Shaun Marcum had a very nice year coming back from a 2009 lost to elbow surgery. His WHIP, K/9, BB/9, HR/9 were all better than they were pre-injury and he stretched it out to nearly 200 IP.

The real big money years of Wells' contract kick in next year. :thumbup:

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