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Roster moves R Us.

Updated: 2017-05-30T08:15:02-04:00


2017 MLB Draft Preview: Reviewing Mock Drafts (part 1)


For previous entries of BBB's 2017 draft preview, see the 2017 Draft Storystream With the 2017 MLB Draft now just under two weeks away on June 12th we've started the transition from looking backwards at the Jays organizational depth, past drafts and tendencies to looking forward and the players who will available in the 2017 draft. That continues with a survey of mock drafts from some of the more reputable sources. Due to the Jays having two essentially first round picks (22nd and 28th overall), there are more players to discuss, so I'm splitting it in two, with Baseball America and Keith Law today, and MLB Pipeline and Perfect Game tomorrow. Keep in mind that the earlier it was published, the less it's usually a mock draft and more of a ranking based on tendencies and maybe a little intel. Baseball America 2.0 (April 20; first version only top 10) 22nd Pick: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State University Comment: Burger has done nothing but hit for three years, a starter from the beginning of his freshman season on the same team as Jon Harris. His lowest BA was .341 this year, his highest .349 in 2016, so he's hit consistently. His power has developed, with 21 and 22 home runs the last two years, though he didn't hit any with the USA college national team last summer. He's played third, and has been passable at the college level, but opinion is at least divided whether he can do so at the pro level and as he gets older. Otherwise, he goes to first where the offensive bar is a lot higher. Basically, this is a bet on his bat. While he's certainly produced, there's some significant caveats for me. Missouri State plays in the Missouri Valley Conference (surprise!), which doesn't typically have the highest competition. In particular, MSU has barely faced any higher calibre opponents this year. Moreover, it is typically an offensive league, with inflated power production in particular. That said, Casey Gillespie was taken out of the MVC 20th overall in 2015, and he's produced at the upper minor levels. Overall, I wouldn't be terribly enthused. 28th Pick: Wil Crowe, RHP, South Carolina Comment: Crowe is a redshirt junior who had Tommy John surgery halfway through a breakout sophomore year in 2015, and missed all of 2016. He'll turn 23 in September, so he's also older. He's had a good junior year, 3.41 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 92.1 innings, but tailed off somewhat in SEC play against better competition. The profile would be a for a mid-rotation ceiling if things went right. As a college pitcher, he fits the general profile. In my view it would be an okay if uninspired pick. Baseball America ran a good profile of Crowe in March. Baseball America 3.0 (May 18th) 22nd Pick: Evan White, 1B, Kentucky Comment: White is a really curious profile, as he's not at all your typical college first baseman. He's a very good athlete, so much so that he could easily handle the outfield in the pro ranks and possibly even CF (at least starting there in the minors). That's important, because while he's one of the better pure hitters in the college ranks, he hasn't shown much power and doesn't profile to have much. That's a tough profile at first base, though he'd be outstanding defensively. A comp here might be Lyle Overbay if he worked out. But the record of college first basemen is pretty dismal in recent years, and I'd prefer the Jays look elsewhere. 28th Pick: Alex Lange, RHP, Louisiana State Comment: Lange burst upon the scene with a dominant freshman season, going 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 114. But while he's been good the last couple years, he's been plagued by inconsistency. He has starts where he dominates, starts where he piles up walks. Lange has a big fastball and a wicked curveball, but lacks a usable third pitch. Part of the reason that he took a step back after 2015 is that the book on him got out, which is avoid chasing the curve since he had trouble throwing it for strikes, and key in the fastball when he makes mistakes. If he didn't work out as a starter, he would have the potential to be a wipeout high l[...]

Jays Crush Reds


17 to 2 win for the Jays. Reds 2 Blue Jays 17 (or so, I quit counting) We’ve been waiting for a drama free game, and we got it. So I’m not really going recap that. But, let’s look at some of the offensive performances. We had 23 hits and 7 walks. We had 5 doubles and 3 home runs. Josh Donaldson: 1 for 4, with a walk, 1 RBI. Jose Bautista: 2 for 3, double, walk. Kendrys Morales: 3 for 4, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 1 RBI. Justin Smoak: 3 for 5, home run, 4 RBI. Russell Martin: 3 for 4, walk, homer, double, 3 RBI. He was also thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. And he was hit by pitch. Troy Tulowitzki: 2 for 5, grand slam, 4 RBI. Devon Travis: 4 for 6, double, 2 RBI. Ezequiel Carrera: 4 for 5, walk. The only starter not to hit was Kevin Pillar, who was 0 for 6, but he did make a great catch, crashing into the fence in CF, and, at that time, the game was close so it was a big catch. His BA drops from .289 to .281. He was hitting .315 on May 13th. Marcus Stroman was very good. He allowed a run in the first. Billy Hamilton put down a bunt single, acted like he hurt his leg, stole second (great throw by Martin almost had hit), went to 3rd on a ground out and scored Adam Duvall single. Duvall also homered in the 6th. Stroman went 6 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned, 0 walks with 5 strikeouts. Dominic Leone pitched 2 scoreless with a walk and a strikeout. J.P. Howell pitched a quick 9th, with a single and a k. The Reds had everything go wrong. The got called for a balk, called for Obstruction, when they had Ezequiel dead to rights in a run down, dropped a ball that was caught on the track, had one official error (and like 4 or 5 plays that could have been call an error.) They had a crappy start from Lisalverto Bonilla, and even worse relieve work from Robert Stephenson and Jake Buchanan. Jays of the Day: Martin (.176 WPA) and Tulo (.105) get the number. Let’s give an honorary mention to everyone else. No Suckage Jays. Game Graph: src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width="450" style="border:1px solid black;">Source: FanGraphs We had 1034 comments in the GameThread. Drinkin’ Wit’ Terrell Farley led us to the easy victory. Good job. # Commenter # Comments 1 Drinkin' Wit' Terrell Farley 124 2 Tom Dakers 73 3 MidnightOverlord 68 4 lalalaprise 67 5 DangYouToHeck 63 6 TimmyMax 61 7 Nelson Liriano 59 8 Matt W 56 9 delv213 53 10 radivel 48 11 Eric H 38 12 Pillar for President 37 13 hpatton 28 14 K.B.A. Scott 27 15 MartsB 26 16 Cameroli 25 17 otter79 21 18 vinnievanloewen 17 19 FrankDrakman 14 20 yyzcalifornia 13 21 barraqudie 12 22 phoenixzhng 12 23 Mike Hannah 12 24 TArcher86 12 25 wroth91 11 [...]

Blue Notes: Happ to start tomorrow


Plus: Happy Birthday Biagini and today’s lineup The Blue Jays have announced that J.A. Happ will be starting tomorrow against the Reds. No word on who will be going down to make room for him. Happ threw 3 innings for Dunedin, last Thursday, throwing 56 pitches. I’d imagine they will stop him short of 90 pitches tomorrow. Before his injury, he made 3 starts, 16 innings. He allowed 18 hits, 8 earned, 4 home runs, 0 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a pretty good strikeout to walk ratio. We are getting closer to a getting a full starting rotation back. Francisco Liriano threw 72 pitches for Buffalo yesterday. I’d imagine he’ll be called up soon too. I’m not sure if they will want him to make another start before calling him up or not. Mike Bolsinger is listed to start Wednesday, but that could be his last start for us, until the next time he’s needed. I imagine the team will go with Stroman, Estrada, Happ, Liriano and Biagini until Sanchez is ready to go again. Speaking of Biagini, it is his birthday today. He turns 27 today. It has been awhile since we’ve have a Rule 5 draft pick turn out as well as Joe. I wonder, had he not been taken in the draft, if he would be in the majors now. Grabbing him has worked out well for us and for Joe. It will be interesting to see if/when we get all give of our starters back from the DL, if they keep him in the rotation and move Francisco to the pen. I would think Gibby wouldn’t mind having a lefty he can trust (as much as Loup has pitched better of late) in the bullpen. Or maybe he’d prefer having Joe out there, knowing Joe could give him a few innings in an appearance, when needed. More good news. Rowdy Tellez, after a .194/.298/.333 April, is hitting .278/.352/.430 May. He has just the 1 home run this month, but his numbers look much better this month. With that April/May split, he is a true Blue Jay. Today’s lineup. Coghlan in over Carerra again: Blue Jays v Reds this evening— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) May 29, 2017 Gare Joyce of Sportsnet published an article entitled “The Introvert” yesterday, previewing Joey Votto’s career and personality before the Reds travel to Toronto. At just under 3,000 words, it’s a long article, but it’s extremely interesting and definitely worth your time. In other Joey Votto news, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will present the Tip O’Neill Award to Votto today. Former Blue Jay Nolan Reimold announced his retirement yesterday, ending an eight-year major league career. Reimold spent a short 22 games with the Blue Jays, one of three teams he played for. He appeared in seven games for the Arizona Diamondbacks and 451 games for the Baltimore Orioles. We’ve got another Fun(?) With Numbers article from Gerse (finally), and things are looking up. Now I can at least sound educated when talking about Toronto’s postseason chances. Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkColley. [...]

2017 MLB Draft Preview: The ones that got away


For previous entries of BBB's 2017 draft preview, see the 2017 Draft Storystream In recent years, it has been common for Blue Jays fans to see college players chosen in the first round, and sometimes near the very top, who had been drafted by the Blue Jays but did not sign and went onto college. Some notables would include Kris Bryant (2010), Aaron Nola (2010), Tyler Beede (2011), Luke Weaver (2011), Andrew Suarez (2011), Eric Lauer (2013), Dane Dunning (2013), and Phil Bickford. There figures to be at least another name added in 2017. In 2010-11, this volume of talent could be attributed to an aggressive drafting approach to rebuild the farm system, and since 2012 a major impetus is teams drafting harder-to-sign players after round 10 as back-up plans in case deals fall through and they unexpectedly have more slot money. Every year, these players become points of intrigue as to who will sign and who doesn't, so it's interesting to look back and see how the players have actually develop. Below are updates on unsigned 2014 high school draftees, with the top names first and then in the order selected in 2014. Tanner Houck (12th round) Houck was a classic projection play as a 6'5" RHP from Illinois, who was rated 458th overall by Perfect Game. His fastball velocity jumped, and he was an impact pitcher in the SEC from his freshman year, posting a 3.49 ERA. He was even better in 2016, with a 2.99 ERA and his velocity reaching into the upper 90s. He was selected to the USA collegiate national team, and was talked about as a potential 1-1 pick. The primary knock against him coming into this year was having a potential reliever profile, as he hasn't developed a true third pitch and command/consistency remains an issue. His junior year was inconsistent, and his last start in the SEC tournament was bad, which has lowered his stock this spring. Baseball America currently ranks him 25th, and MLB Pipeline has him 18th, meaning he could be in play for the Jays. Zach Pop (23rd round) The Jays made a serious run at signing Pop in the run-up to the deadline, apparently offering more than $500,000 but he elected to go to Kentucky (where he plays with Tristan Pompey). He's got a huge arm with electric fastball velocity, into the upper 90s. Developing his slider as a secondary weapon and command have been issues, so he's worked out of the bullpen and projects a reliever. That raw potential still has him ranked highly, 83rd overall by MLB Pipeline and 171st by Baseball America. Michael Papierski (16th round) Papierski was a consensus top 500 prospect as a catcher out of high school in Illinois, ranked as high as 194th by MLB Pipeline. Hewas not able to seize or hold the regular catching job for LSU over his first two seasons, struggling to produce offensively. Before this year, he dropped switch hitting, and though he got off to a slow start he has come on really strong the last half of the year in SEC play including added power. As such, it wouldn't be surprising to see shoot up draft boards and be drafted on the second day (rounds 3-10). Drew Lugbauer (21st round) Lugbauer worked his way into the Michigan lineup as a freshman in 2015 and been a starter at third base since. He took a big step forward with the bat last year, hitting .299/.389/.489, and built on that in 2017 with a similar line but a little more pop (11 home runs). Jake Latz (11th round) Things have certainly not worked out as expected for Latz, who had offers to sign as high as $900,000. Part of a heralded recruiting class for LSU, elbow troubles caused him to miss his entire freshman year and a portion of 2016 as well, though he pitched in some important games in May/June. He then decided to transfer to Kent State, which meant sitting out all of last year. So he's barely pitched in game action the last three years. Surely some team would take a flyer if he wanted to sign, or stay in school as a redshirt junior in 2018 for Kent State. Keith Weisenberg (38th round) Weisen[...]

Fun(?) With Numbers: Tastes Great, Less Fulfilling


It's tricky to rock a rhyme to rock a rhyme that's right on time it's #content Hello and welcome to the 10th of somewhere between several and many looks at the historical and statistical tidbits that arise from having a W-L record somewhere near the tail end of possible.  Inspired by the 1-9 post, I've painstakingly collected the data from the Baseball-Reference season logs for each team-season from the Wild Card era (1995-2016) and, through ExcelMagic TM, am now passing the savings along to you!  Onward! Important programming note: If you somehow interpret this as 1) analysis, which 2) is drawing a conclusion about the Jays' expected rest of season performance based on how teams that started similarly performed, and 3) are outraged by your inference, please see this very important link. Record The Blue Jays are 23-27 Could you express that in low-res 1990s gif form with a large watermark? Number of teams with the same record since 1995 Of the 654 team seasons from 1995 to 2016, 58 teams (8.9%) have started a season 23-27.  For some reason every time I write one of these articles the Jays manage to go .500 in the intervening games.  The most recent teams to start the season 23-27 are the 2016 Colorado Rockies (75-87) and Milwaukee Brewers (73-89). How many of those teams made the playoffs? 7 teams, or 12%. frameborder="0" src="" height="315" width="560"> The least recent team to do so was 2006 Minnesota Twins.  The Twins won the AL Central with a record of 96-66, playing .652 ball from game 51 onward.  Cy Young winner Johan Santana and face of MLB The Show Joe Mauer led the team with 6.7 and 5.8 fWAR respectively.  The team also featured former Blue Jay Shannon Stewart (0.1 fWAR), future former Blue Jay Francisco Liriano (2.9), pretend French-Canadian Justin Morneau, and 1980s time travelling nemesis Boof Bonser (1.0).  The Twinkies won the division on the final day of the season after the Detroit Tigers pooped their way to 5 straight losses to close Septober. Give me an end of season record distribution 99th percentile: .593 (96-66 MIN 2006) 90th percentile: .543 75th percentile: .496 50th percentile: .469 (76-86 CHW 2015) 25th percentile: .445 10th percentile .4141st percentile: .389 (63-99 TB 1998) According to this new and improved table, given your chosen projected estimates of the Blue Jays' true talent going forward and the number of wins required to make the playoffs, the Jays have a ___% chance of making the playoffs Over their remaining games, the Blue Jays would have to play like a ___ team to win ___ games Summarize the above in one word Sideways. [...]

Happy Birthday Duane Ward


Duane Ward turns 53 today. How come his birthday makes me feel old. Duane is number 2 on the Blue Jays all time saves list. He likely has a couple of years before Roberto Osuna catches him up. Ward has 121 saves, Osuna sits 6th on our list at 65 (10 more catches him up to B.J. Ryan). Duane Ward was born May 18, 1964 in Park View, New Mexico. He was drafted in the first round of the 1982 amateur draft, 9th overall, by the Atlanta Braves, out of high school. Dwight Gooden was picked 4 spots before him. A big (6'4") right-hander Ward struggled as starting prospect in the Braves system, having big time control issues walking 5 per 9 innings without getting the strikeouts the way he would later. On July 6, 1986 the Jays traded Doyle Alexander to the Braves for Ward. Doyle was a pretty good starter but is safe to say we won that one. After a couple of cups of coffee in the majors in 1986 and 1987, Duane started the 1988 season in the Jay's bullpen and quickly became setup man for Tom Henke. He was terrific, going 9-3 with 15 saves and a 3.30 over 111.2 innings in 64 games. With 60 walks and 91 strikeouts, part of his effectiveness was his wildness. It seems like such a short time again, but it’s a whole different world. No way could a setup man pitch 111 innings these days. For the next four seasons Ward was the setup man for Henke and they were great together. Duane improved in the role each year having ERAs of 3.77, .3.45, 2.77 and 1.95. He wasn't used like setup men are used now; he would pitch multiple innings and he got to double figures in saves each season, with a high of 23 in 1991. He had a very high strikeout rate getting up to 11/ 9 innings in 1991 and he lowered his walk rate. He in 9th in Cy Young voting in 1991. After the 1992 season Tom Henke left the team thru free agency and Duane was given the closer job. He was great, saving league leading 45 games, striking out 97 in 71.2 innings with a 2.13 ERA. The 45 saves are still the most saves in a single season in Jay's history. When you strike out 12.2 per 9 innings and just give up a .182 batting average you know you are doing good. He also made the All-Star team, was 5th in Cy Young voting and received MVP votes. Ward was a big part of our two World Series wins. In 1992 he pitched in 3 games of our ALCS wins over Oakland and had 1 win and in that year's Series win over Atlanta he pitched in 4 games, got 2 wins, gave up no runs and struck out 6 in 3.1 innings. In 1993 he made 4 appearances, with 2 saves in our ALCS win over the White Sox and 4 more appearances with a win and a save in our win over the Phillies. Duane missed the whole of the 1994 with a torn rotator cuff. He tried to come back in 1995 but after 4 appearances his career was over at 31 (a large vote against having relievers throw 100 + innings a season). He was a great pitcher for 6 seasons but he threw a lot of 95 mph fastballs and hard sliders over those years. He wasn't used a one inning pitcher and he would pitch 80 games a year. Rob Neyer rated him our second best reliever in team history. He runs the "Duane Ward Baseball Clinic" and does motivational speeches. He also traveled with the Jays baseball clinic. My youngest son went to those clinics a couple of times. Duane was good with the kids. Happy Birthday Duane. Hope you have a good one. [...]

Nice start from Biagini, but Jays lose


Rangers 3 Blue Jays 1 That one wasn’t as fun as the first two games. I’ve heard that 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, but I would have loved a sweep. Joe Biagini gave us 6 good innings. He seemed to be pitching in bad luck, giving up a lot of soft-contact hits. He allowed 7 hits, 2 earned, 1 walk with 7 strikeouts. Only one of the hits was extra base hit, a laser beam home run by Joey Gallo, which just cleared the left field fence. It seemed like everything was hit just out of reach of a fielder. Dominic Leone gave up a run in the 7th, off a single, a ground rule double and a wild pitch. Jason Grilli pitched a nice quick 8th, getting two strikeouts and a ground out. It was nice seeing him come off the field raging like he did so many times last year. J.P. Howell got through a scoreless 9th, despite a walk and a double. He was helped out by a great play by Russell Martin, quickly jumping on a ball that got away from him, and making a perfect throw to second, getting the runner trying to move up. On offense, we seemed to be hitting the ball hard, but into gloves way too much. We had 7 hits (the only extra base hit was a Pillar double) and 2 walks. We had 0 fors from Josh Donaldson, Kendrys Morales (he had a walk) and Troy Tulowitzki. We made an effort in the 9th, getting 2-out singles from Smoak and Martin. Tulo got up 2-0, but ended up grounding out. No Jays of the Day. Suckage: Smoak (-.099), Donaldson (-.107) and Tulo (-.188). We had 570 comments in the GameThread. TimmyMax led the way. Good work. # Commenter # Comments 1 TimmyMax 94 2 Tom Dakers 46 3 lalalaprise 41 4 Matt W 39 5 Alan F. 38 6 Eric H 31 7 Expo45 27 8 Belisarius 24 9 MidnightOverlord 24 10 hpatton 23 11 vinnievanloewen 23 12 Drinkin' Wit' Terrell Farley 22 13 Bird-In-Blue 16 14 Pillar for President 15 15 the_tbj_fan 14 16 delv213 14 17 Matt Gross (RhodeIslandRoxfan) 11 18 Kangvegas 10 [...]