Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Introducing Steve Delabar

Introducing Steve Delabar
(Or the Real Life Kenny Powers)

            After earlier on in the night dealing away formerly beloved prospect Travis Snider (covered by Gideon earlier), Alex Anthopolous continued to rebuild his bullpen, and at the same time jettison contact challenged outfielders.  In his second deal within the hour, Eric Thames (who started the year as the team’s starting left fielder) was sent to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for intriguing relief arm Steve Delabar. 

            The tale of Delbar’s trip to the major leagues is almost the polar opposite to that of the day’s other acquisition, in former 4th overall pick, Brad Lincoln.  Delabar started his career by being drafted in the 29th round out of Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, which isn’t exactly a baseball power house like Lincoln’s alma mater, the University of Houston.  Delabar spent the next 3 seasons bouncing between Rookie and High A ball in the Padres system.  To say he struggled would be putting it very mildly.  He posted ERA’s above 5 at almost every stop, and just could never find the strike zone enough to be effective.

            By the time 2008 came around, the Padres had seen enough, and released him after he posted an ERA of 5.27 in A ball.  Delabar seemed to be following the career path of most 29th round picks.  They could have fun filing out a low level affiliate (heck, its better than working at Sears), but to expect anything more than that would be a major surprise.  Delabar then took his act to the independent leagues, pitching both in the Frontier League, & the Can-Am league, in Brockton & Florence respectively in ’08, & ’09.  His numbers looked decent, but it looked like his career would be ended when a fractured elbow ended his 2009 season.

            This looked to be the end of the line for Mr. Delabar.  He didn’t pitch the entire 2010 season, instead going back to his home town of Elizabethtown, Kentucky and becoming a substitute teacher.  The only “competitive” ball he played was playing slo-pitch softball.

            If this tale sounds familiar it should, because this is the plot of HBO’s drama Eastbound & Down, minus the big league career, & cocaine abuse.  Guys like this don’t come back unless it’s a scripted TV drama.  Essentially no one had ever really believed in Delabar, evidenced by him being a 29th round pick, and at the age of 27, after a catastrophic elbow injury, and a year away from the sport, there wasn’t a sole who expected to see Mr. Delabar to turn into a major league pitcher.  No one.

            However Delabar wasn’t done, and he signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in 2011, and after reporting to the hitters paradise that is the California League it was obvious he was a wildly different pitcher.  He shot up all the way from the Cal League to make a late season appearance in the big league pen.  Over the 4 levels he pitched in he struck out 75 batters over the 63 innings he pitched for a 10.9 K/9 rate.  Somehow Delabar in the span of 12 months had gone from being a substitute teacher in the middle of Kentucky, to a member of a big league bullpen (and an effective one at that). 

            In 2012, he proved that the miracle 2011 season was no fluke.  He’s managed to get even better.  He’s struck out 31.1% of the batters he’s faced this season, which places him in the top 20 of all big league relief pitchers.  More impressively, unlike most pitchers with a strikeout rate that high, his control’s been quite good as well.  The only pitchers who’ve struckout more than 30% batters faced who have a walk rate lower than Delabar’s 7.4% are Craig Kimbrel (6.9), Octavio Dotel (6.7), Joel Peralta (5.7), Jake McGee (6.0), & Jonathan Papelbon (5.8).

            What’s almost more impressive than what Delabar has done, is how he’s doing it.  Unlike most big league pitchers, Delabar essentially doesn’t have a breaking pitch.  On occasion he’ll show his slider, but that’s only about 5% of his pitches.  Other than that he gets by on a power 4 seam fastball that averages 93 MPH, and a changeup, which at 86 MPH shows a pretty decent difference in speed.  This has been effective for pitchers in the past (two who stick in my mind are former all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, and former Brewers closer Doug Jones), but to say its rare would be quite the understatement. 

            While getting a pitcher with these type of peripheral numbers who’s under team control til 2018 is all very positive, that isn’t to say there aren’t reasons to be concerned. There is one notable weakness that Delabar’s shown in the big leagues, and that’s a proclivity to give up the long ball (especially when outside of Safeco Field).  The reason despite all the strikeouts, that Delabar’s ERA is still north of 4.00 is because he leads the league with a shockingly high 2.21 HR/9 rate (which if it keeps up would put him in the top 10 for my lifetime).  Away from the friendly confines of Safeco field it spikes to an absolutely unconscionable 4.70.

            Normally when I see a pitcher with a HR/FB rate of over 27%, but when I look deeper into his home//road splits I just don’t know what to think.  In the cavernous Safeco he’s only allowed 1 HR in 21.1 Innings for a HR/FB rate of 7.7.  On the road, in normal sized ballparks however, things get rather wacky.  He’s allowed 8 HRs in just 15.1 innings, good for a 4.70 HR/9, and a HR/FB rate of 45%.  Those numbers seem unsustainably high, but is something worth considering.

            The last thing to consider within Delabar’s splits are his reverse platoon splits.  This is something you could expect with a pitcher who features a changeup as his only off-speed pitch.  Righties batters have a wOBA of .409, while lefties have hit a pitiful .150.  To boot, all 9 of his Home Runs allowed have come against right handed.   He could function as a 2nd lefty in the pen the rest of the season, but John Farrell will need to be careful when matching him up.

            Even though Delabar has some flaws, and might need to be protected, he’s a worthwhile arm to acquire.  I’m willing to take a risk on a pitcher who misses as many bats as he does, especially when the cost was only a Quadruple A outfielder in Eric Thames.

Snider Traded: Blue Jays Nation Cries

We will miss you Travis!
Travis Snider has been traded to the Pirates... for a relief pitcher? Well more like a Carlos Villanueva type reliever,as Lincoln has started 5 games this season.After coming out of Monday's game, Travis gave a bunch of hugs to the players and coaches on the Jays, and headed out to pack. We are all very upset to see Travis go, as we have all gotten very close to him. He has been a fan favorite, and is one of the nicest guys you will meet. That being said, don't judge a trade without knowing anything about the player acquired. So here is a little break down of the trade.

To Pittsburgh Pirates: Travis Snidarggggh(see what I did there?)
Travis came up to the Jays in 2008 and was fantastic. Since then he has never lived up to his potential of a future MVP type player. It seems like every time he doesn't hit a home run, he strikes out. He has K'd 13 times in 34 at bats this season, which is way to much. He does have potential obviously as potential doesn't leave a player, but he was never going to be a successful in Toronto. We have to understand that as we react to this trade. He was a player that AA would usually pounce on. Out of favor young star with loads of potential. Would Colby Rasmus or Brett Lawrie have become who they are today if they still played on their original teams? Probably not. This scenery change is amazing for Travis, and I really hope he does win some MVP awards while in Pittsburgh. He now gets to go into a playoff race(weird saying that about the Pirates), and he deserves it. One last thing, Snider is under control until 2016.
To Toronto Blue Jays: Brad Lincoln(Hopefully Brandon Morrow 2.0)
Before you think Lincoln is horrible because you have never heard of him, look at this guys 2012 stats!
9.10 K/9
2.12 BB/9
3.44 xFIP
He is 27(not bad), and is under team control until 2018. The Jays need starters to compete this year. But the plan has never been to compete in 2012! Especially with all these injuries, there is no way the Jays are making the playoffs this season. So be happy that they strengthed the team for 2013-2014. With Lincoln they just acquired a reliever who if they want they can convert into a starter. I wouldn't because his numbers are great as a reliever, and could be a key piece in the 2013 bullpen which actually looks like it is shaping up pretty well. He throws a fastball(93 MPH), a sinker(92 MPH), a Curve(With a -43.81 Vertical Break), and a Change up(8 MPH slower than fastball with a 30.75 break). And one more thing. The Jays have the most scouts in the MLB. AA doesn't do this trade unless he has good reason too. Obviously he has good Intel that this trade is a smart. Lets hope Lincoln is truly the Pittsburgh Pirates "Travis Snider" as Kevin Goldstein described him earlier tonight on the Fan590.

As you all know Eric Thames was also traded(to the Mariners for Steve Delabar). Ewan will have an article up about that later tonight(or morning I guess). All I have to say about that trade: NINJA! Thames has no hit tool, and Delabar has a great fastball(11.29 K/9). Looks like a steal right now for the Jays.

By the way... Which reporter gave these trade away? #TheyDidnt #AA7 #Ninja

Would love to discuss these trades with you guys, so leave your comments in the section below.

You can follow me on twitter, @gideonturk.
To connect with the site, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Importing Mexican Gold

Importing Mexican Gold
(or Roberto Osuna’s debut in Vancouver)

            We all know that the Blue Jays system is as stacked as any other in major league baseball.  We know about the trio of pitchers dominating in Lansing, we know about the likes of Travis d’Arnaud, and Anthony Gose knocking on the door to the major leagues in Las Vegas, but its always exciting to see the newest studs begin to emerge down at the lower levels.  Saturday in Vancouver was one of those days, with the debut of Roberto Osuna.

            When the Jays signed Osuna (the nephew of former Major League reliever Antonio) less than a year ago it generated a lot of buzz.  At the time Osuna was the 4th ranked international free agent by Baseball America, and unlike most kids his age, had already pitched professionally (getting into 13 games as a 15 year old in the Mexican League).  Osuna is almost the direct opposite of the prior year’s prized Mexican signee, Luis Heredia.  Heredia when he signed was all upside, a 6’6 projectable monster, who had yet to fill into his frame. Osuna on the other hand, was much shorter (now 6’2), but already filled out (listed at 230 lbs). 

            The Jays potentially raised some eyebrows by skipping Osuna over the Gulf Cost league and started him in the Appalachian league, where he was stellar, registering a 1.50 ERA, and striking out a batter an inning in his 7 appearances.  After just 24 innings, the Jays continued his aggressive push, and promoted him into the college heavy Northwest league. 

As luck would have it his debut Saturday night was as glamorous a pitching matchup as you could ever expect to see at such a low level.  On the mound opposing him, was the only pitcher rated higher than him in the international market in fellow 17 year old Venezuelan Victor Sanchez.  These are the only two 17 year olds in the league, and despite Sanchez having quite a respectable start, with 6 innings pitched, 8 strikeouts to 0 walks (despite 5 runs), Osuna blew him out of the water.  In his 5 innings of work, he struck out 13 of the 19 batters he faced (which set a Vancouver Canadians record), walked just 1, and only allowed 1 hit. 

To put into perspective just how astounding this performance is, the lineup that Osuna mowed down has just 2 batters under the age of 21.  The first 7 outs that Osuna recorded were via the strikeout, including a strikeout of the #3 pick in the most recent draft in polished college catcher Mike Zunino.  To put it frankly its absolutely absurd that the best performance in the league this year, was put up the youngest player, in his debut at that level.  You just don’t see that type of thing happen very often, and when you do, its usually worth getting excited about.  

When the Jays spent $1.5 mil on Osuna, they were paying for a polished pitcher for his age, one who had been the star of youth Mexican teams, and good enough to play in the veteran laden Mexican professional league.  So as a result its not surprising that they’ve promoted him as aggressively as they have, however to see him excel this early in his career against this type of competition is very promising.

Lastly, and potentially the most exciting aspect of Osuna’s breakthrough performance is unlike some other systems around baseball that would be living and dying with the development of a 17 year old kid, the Jays don’t have that problem at all.  Osuna simply adds to the overflowing depth the Jays already have on the mound up and down their system.  Whether it’s the crop that we’ve already seen in the majors of Drew Hutchinson, Kyle Drabek & Henderson Alvarez, the next wave that’s currently in Lansing of Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard & Justin Nicolino, or the one just emerging at the lowers levels featuring Daniel Norris, Kevin Comer or Osuna himself things look incredibly positive for Jays fans moving forward.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

George Kottaras Designated for Assignment

George Kottaras Designated for Assignment
(Or to get more Canadians & Patch a hole in the roster)

            Today, with the return of Brewers starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the disabled list, the Brewers have decided to keep rookie Martin Maldonado as their backup catcher, and as a result veteran catcher George Kottaras has been designated for assignment.  This means that they have either 10 days to either place him on waivers (and if he clears to send him to the minors), trade him, or release him.  Tom Haurdicourt (@Haurdicourt) from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal tweets…

GM Doug Melvin said he is working on trade involving C George Kottaras, who was DFA'd. Hopes to complete it in day or two

            Meanwhile at almost the exact same time in Toronto, the epidemic of injuries to the Blue Jays continued to spread not only on the mound, but to the men receiving the pitches behind it.  Now that JP Arencibia has broken his hand, the top 3 young catchers are all injured for the rest of the season, including top prospect Travis d’Arnaud (torn PCL), AA catcher AJ Jimenez (undergone Tommy John surgery).   Essentially at this point the only healthy catchers in the Jays system are major league backup Jeff Mathis, pseudo-catcher Yan Gomes, & minor league journeyman Brian Jeroloman.  

            Kottaras is the perfect option to patch over this sudden hole in the Jays system.  Even though he doesn’t make a lot of contact (career .221 Batting Average), but over the past 3 seasons he has the 4th highest walk rate among catchers with 600 PA, and also has impressive power, with the 13th highest Isolated Power over the same period of time.  Even if we assume his walk rate is inflated due to him hitting 8th in the NL in front of the pitcher, he’s still a very capable backup, in fact one of the better ones in all of major league baseball. 

            To put a cherry on top, he’s a good Canadian kid, born and raised in Markham, which isn’t really something that should come into play, but is just a nice bonus. Even better yet for Anthopolous, not only is he Canadian, but he's another Greek-Canadian, which given how well Anthopolous has done has to be seen as a point in his favour.

            On to the actual baseball reasons, I really view this as the perfect situation, for a number of reasons;
  1. Kottaras’s skill set is a very nice compliment to Jeff Mathis, since Kottaras is excellent at getting on base, and that’s one of the few things that even this revitalized version of Jeff Mathis will never do well.
  2. Since he’s been DFA’d the cost of acquiring him will be little to nothing.  I’d think it would be possible to get him for as little as cash or a Player To Be Named Later, but at most it would cost a C level prospect (like a David Cooper, or Marcus Knecht)
  3. He wouldn’t even necessarily be a short term option.  He’s only in his 1st year of arbitration (and as a super 2 player to boot).  He wouldn’t be eligible for free agency til 2016.  With Jeff Mathis as a free agent this off-season, getting Kottaras might give them some options going forward.
  4. Lastly, like most Canadian baseball players, Kottaras hits left-handed, which is an especially useful skill for a catcher.  Given that every notable catchers in the Blue Jays (from Arencibia all the way down to AJ Jimenez in AA) are right handed, it could increase the chances of him sticking around going forward.

            While this might seem like a minor transaction, but I think it would make an awful lot of sense, and the downside is basically nothing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Hanley Ramirez Trade

The Hanley Ramirez Trade
(or how I’m glad the Blue Jays aren’t owned by a crook)

            Last night, as most of you probably know, the Marlins decided to trade the former face of their franchise, 3rd baseman Hanley Ramirez.  This has rekindled the ongoing questions as to the integrity of the ownership of Marlins ownership.

             I know Jays fans have lamented for years about how cheap the Rogers corporation has been when running our team, but I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to look at how much worse things could be if you were cheering for another team. 

            While the Marlins have had questionable ownership under original owner Wayne Huizinga, I’m going to focus on the man who’s owned the team since 2003, Jeffrey Loria.  Loria should be familiar to Canadian baseball fans, as he’s the man who presided over the dying years of the Montreal Expos, and the modus operandi that he used in Montreal, is essentially what he’s transferred to the south Florida market. 

            When Loria ran the Expos, he slashed payroll down to impossibly low levels, pleaded poverty, and threatened relocation as a way to blackmail the government into building the Expos a new stadium.  He’s done the exact same thing in Florida. 

From 2005, when the Marlins conducted their most recent firesale (notably trading Miguel Cabrera, & Josh Beckett away) til 2010 (when the stadium had been approved), it seemed that Loria’s goal was to spend as little as he possibly could on payroll.  His goal wasn’t to win ball games, but rather to drive people away from the ballpark both in order to receive as much in revenue sharing that he could, but more importantly to prove that the team couldn’t be viable in their current stadium.

If this was his nefarious objective, it was certainly effective.  Attendance fell from over 22,000 per game in 2005, and never gotten near that until this season (when the new ballpark is spiking attendance).  Combined with MLB threatening relocation, this was enough for Miami-Dade County, & The City of Miami to contribute over $500 million into the construction of new Marlins Park. 

After having a publicly funded ballpark fall into their lap, as well as the threat of an SEC lawsuit hanging over their heads (due to misappropriation of revenue sharing funds), the Marlins went out this offseason and spent like drunken sailors.  They committed $106M to shortstop Jose Reyes, $58M to starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, & $30M to closer Heath Bell.  With those signings (as well the high profile pursuit of Albert Pujols & CJ Wilson) it seemed like the days of the Marlins being a charity case were over. 

            Now less than 6 months after this spending spree, and a disappointing half season later, they seem to be in full on sell mode.  The first trade this week of Anibal Sanchez & Omar Infante didn’t seem too out of line, since it got them two pretty decent prospects, especially given the primary asset they gave up (Sanchez) was an impending free agent.  However, the trade of Hanley Ramirez really has raised my ire about how Jeffrey Loria operates his ballclub. 

            By taking the package they did from the Dodgers they announced, yet again, that they value the bottom line more than they do talent on the field.  Instead of paying a portion of his inflated contract and getting better prospects in return, they chose to dump the entire $31 mil that he’s owed over the next two seasons, and only received back end starter Nathan Eovaldi, and C level prospect Scott McGough.  

Today, we’ve seen increased rumours that they are shopping staff ace Josh Johnson.  If they do that they’ll have shed up to 30 million from this year’s payroll already. 

            Now put yourself into the shoes of a taxpayer in Miami-Dade County.  In the worst economy the country has seen in decades, you’ve paid over 500 million in tax payer money, and what do you have to show for it?  This season’s payroll increase seems all but gone.  All they’ve done is swap Jose Reyes, & Mark Buerhle into the salary slots occupied by Johnson & Ramirez, and you have a team that is back into the constant rebuilding cycle you thought your team had gotten out of by investing all this money.

I’m going to put on my tinfoil hat, and suggesting a conspiracy theory that this trade has raised in my mind.  Bear with me. 

            All three of the contracts given to Bell, Reyes & Buehrle were back loaded, meaning that of the total 196 million they gave out, only 20 of that is being paid out this season.  Now its standard operating procedure in MLB to backload contracts, but when it comes to the history of Marlins I have to wonder whether they did this with an eye to trading these players before the meat of the contracts needed to be paid out. 

If you go back and look at the Marlins history with signing free agents, you’ll see why I’m raising this as a possibility.  In their 20-year history the only player who has signed a long term deal, and been with the team at the end of the contract was Alex Fernandez (and that was only because he was hurt and so they couldn’t trade him).  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that none of the players they signed were given a No Trade Clause.  If this was any other franchise this wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary at all, but in the case of Marlins, I just don’t trust them.

Is it possible that they made these signings just to get publicity going into the new park (and to show the SEC that they were spending money, only to look at trading them before the meat of their contracts kick in? 

            It wont be long before we start to hear questions about the viability of the south Florida market, and about how bad sports fans in Miami are.  However before you go and take the easy cheap shot at those fans, think about how you would react if your team was owned by as big a scum bag as Jeffrey Loria?

            Rogers doesn’t look so bad in comparison, do they?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Minor League Roundup (July 16th - July 22nd) - Las Vegas 51s

Minor League Roundup (July 16th to July 22nd)
Every week I’ll be diving into the Blue Jays system to see how the up and comers have fared in the past 7 days.  I’ll only be looking at the prospects in the system, so, sorry to the Ruban Gotay types out there, you’ll continue to be ignored. 
Its very important to note, that while this is can be a useful exercise, its important to not take the stats put up in the minor leagues as gospel.  Minor league numbers can very often be deceiving, the calibre of competition can frequently vary wildly (often within the same game eve), and frequently skills that allow you to thrive in the minors wont translate at all to the majors (such as being a mistake hitter, or relying on a trick pitch for strikeouts).  Also, minor league teams don’t do advanced scouting, so holes in a players game that can be exploited at the next level won’t become apparent.  So take anything I’m saying here with a healthy grain of salt.
            I’ll be writing up one team per day (Las Vegas on Monday, New Hampshire on Tuesday, Dunedin on Wednesday, Lansing on Thursday, & Vancouver (and lower) on Friday. 

Las Vegas 51s (AAA)
July 16th – 9-6 Win v. Fresno
July 17th – 5-4 Win v. Fresno
July 18th – 11-5 Win v. Fresno
July 19th – 10-9 Win v. Fresno
July 20th – 4-3 Win v. Reno
July 21st – 6-5 Loss v. Reno
July 22nd – 7-5 Win v. Reno

The 51s returned home to Cashman Field, and promptly hit the ball all over the yard., like they always do.  Its really hard to analyze any of the offensive statistics this team puts up, when the play in this ridiculous offensive environment.  The only factor that makes the stats a little more believable is that in the latter half of the week they were up against the Reno Aces (their cross state rival), and they have some of the best pitching prospects in the PCL, including Trevor Bauer, Pat Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, as well as minor league vets like Barry Enright.  It doesn’t totally legitimize the stats, but at least is something.


            Over the past week the 51s have lost 3 of their top hitting prospects in Anthony Gose, Travis Snider, & Yan Gomes due to injuries on the parent club.  However to look at the hitting stats from this week, you’d have no idea (Go Cashman Field). 

Anthony Gose – CF – 21 Years Old
AAA Line – 436 PAs - .292/.375/.432 – 5 HRs, 41 RBI, 77 Runs, 93 Ks, 47 BBs, 29 SBs, 10 CSs,
Weekly Line – 0/1
July 16th – 0/1
            Gose only got 1 plate appearance at AAA the following week, before getting the call up to the big leagues to fill in after Jose Bautista strained his wrist.  Given that he wasn’t in the lineup this week I don’t have much to say, and its really just the spot for a quick note.

Adeiny Hechavarria – SS – 23 Years Old
AAA Line – 443 PAs - .304/.355/.426 – 6 HRs, 60 RBI, 70 Runs, 81 Ks, 33 BBs, 8 SBs, 2 CS
Weekly AAA Line – 34 PAs – .182/.250/.212 – 1 2B, 1 RBI, 5 Runs, 6 Ks, 3 BBs
July 16th – 3/5 – 1 2B, 1 1B, 1 Run, 1 K
July 17th – 1/4 – 1 1B, 1 RBI, 1 Run
July 18th – 1/4 – 1 Run, 1 K, 1 BB
July 19th – 1/5 – 1 1B, 1 K
July 20th – 0/4 – 1 K
July 21st – 0/5 – 1 Run, 1 K, 1 BB
July 22nd – 0/5 – 1 Run, 1 K, 1 BB
            Hechavarria has really been buried in a slump since he returned from the AAA all-star game, and this week was more concerning than the last, even though his numbers weren’t quite so dire.  The fact that this ineptitude took place in Vegas, and if he cant hit there, he wont hit anywhere.  I’m still convinced that his stellar defense is still there, but what’s the point if he cant hit.  If he turns out to be the next Rey Ordonez, that just wont play in the AL East.

Travis Snider – LF – 24 Years Old
AAA Line – 246 PAs - .335/.423/.598 – 13 HRs, 56 RBI, 49 Runs, 42 Ks, 34 BBs, 2 SBs, 4 CSs
Weekly AAA Line – 14 PAs - .643/.643/1.357 – 3 HRs, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 6 Runs, 2 Ks
July 16th – 3/4 – 3 1Bs, 1 RBI, 2 Runs, 1 K
July 17th – 1/4 – 1 1B, 1 K
July 18th – 4/5 – 2 HRs, 1 2B, 1 1B, 6 RBI, 3 Runs
July 19th – 1/1 – 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 Run
             In his last week in AAA (maybe ever), he proved again what we’ve known for about 2 years now, which is that he can CRUSH minor league pitching.  The question we’re about to find out is whether he can finally take that skill to the next.  As I detailed in the piece that I wrote when he was called up, this is his last shot.  If he fails over the rest of this season he’ll be moving along to the greener pastures of another organization.

Eric Thames – LF – 27 Years Old
MLB Line – 160 PAs - .243/.288/.365 – 3 HRs, 11 RBI, 17 Runs, 40 Ks, 9 BBs, 0 SB, 1 CS
AAA Line – 201 PAs - .322/.403/.509 – 4 HRs, 26 RBI, 26 Runs, 36 Ks, 24 BBs, 1 SB, 1 CS
Weekly AAA Line – .345/.406/.655 – 2 HRs, 3 2Bs, 6 RBI, 3 Runs, 6 Ks, 3 BBs
July 16th – 0/3 – 1 Run, 1 K, 1 BB
July 17th – 2/4 -
July 18th – 2/5 – 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 Run, 2 Ks
July 19th – 2/5 – 1 HR, 1 1B, 2 RBI, 1 Run
July 20th – 1/3 – 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 2 BBs
July 21st – 2/5 – 1 2B, 1 1B, 1 RBI, 1 K
July 22nd –1/4 – 1 1B, 2 Ks
Eric Thames really likes hitting at Cashman Field.  He utterly demolished the ball this week.  While Thames had been hitting well since his demotion to AAA, the one thing that had been lacking is power.  Coming into the week he only had 2 HRs since the demotion, and he doubled that last week alone.  Even though the HRs were in Vegas, its not like he hasn’t been hitting there all year before that.  This has to be seen as a major positive.

David Cooper – 1B – 25 Years Old
MLB Line – 69 PAs - .292/.333/.431 – 2 HRs, 6 RBI, 8 Runs, 9 Ks, 3 BBs, 0 SB, 1 CS
AAA Line – 283 PAs - .300/.385/.514 – 9 HRs, 48 RBI, 42 Runs, 34 Ks, 35 BBs, 0 SB, 0 CS
Weekly AAA Line – .454/.500/.758 – 1 HR, 7 2B, 7 RBI, 9 Runs, 5 Ks, 3 BBs
July 16th – 1/5 – 1 2Bs, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 1 K
July 17th – 2/4 – 2 2Bs, 1 RBI, 1 K,
July 18th – 3/4 – 2 2B, 1 1B, 1 RBI, 3 Runs, 1 BB
July 19th – 2/5 – 2 1Bs
July 20th – 1/5 – 1 2B, 1 Run, 1 K
July 21st – 2/6 – 2 1Bs, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 2 Ks
July 22nd –4/4 – 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 1B, 3 RBI, 3 Runs, 2 BBs
 By far the easiest way to see if the 51s are at home is to look at David Cooper’s hitting line for the week.  He’s a full blown MVP candidate when hitting in the heat and elevation of Vegas (.389/.464/.701), but anywhere else he turns into the worst hitter I’ve ever seen (.172/.270/.242).  This week he was in Vegas, so he was a great hitter.  Really doesn’t matter, he’s not a prospect at this point, and I’d be shocked if we ever see him in the big leagues again.

Yan Gomes – C/3B – 24 Years Old
MLB Line – 48 PAs - .214/.271/.476 – 3 HRs, 9 RBI, 6 Runs, 15 Ks, 2 BBs, 0 SB, 0 CS
AAA Line – 274 PAs - .340/.392/.584 – 11 HRs, 47 RBI, 37 Runs, 58 Ks, 20 BBs, 3 SBs, 0 CS
Weekly AAA Line – 8 PAs, .375/.375/.500 – 1 2B, 1 K
July 16th – 2/4 – 2 1B
July 17th – 1/4 – 1 2B, 1 K
*Called Up To Toronto*
             Yan Gomes got the call back up to the big leagues after Brett Lawrie jumped down into the pits of hell while in New York.  At this point Gomes is a nice asset to have in the minor league for depth.  He can get the call to fill in for a pinch to fill in if the team has a need at third base, catcher, or first base.  I’m not sure that he’ll ever deserving of full time at bats, because he just swings and misses too often.  Presumably he’ll be back down when we know that Lawrie is fully back healthy.

Moises Sierra – OF – 23 Years Old
AAA Line – 388 PAs - .298/.366/.481 – 16 HRs, 58 RBI, 59 Runs, 77 Ks, 34 BBs, 7 SBs, 6 CSs
Weekly AAA Line – 24 PAs - .333/.385/.583 – 2 HRs, 6 RBI, 4 Runs, 6 Ks, 2 BBs, 1 SB
July 16th – 3/3 – 3 1Bs, 2 RBI, 2 Runs, 1 SB
July 17th – 0/4 – 1 K,
July 18th – Off
July 19th – 0/4 – 2 Ks
July 20th – 1/4 – 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 1 BB
July 21st – 1/5 – 2 Ks
July 22nd – 3/4 – 1 HR, 2 1Bs, 3 RBI, 1 Run, 1 K, 1 BB
            Sierra had a solid week when considering Vegas.  He’s had a pretty solid developmental year for a raw latino outfielder.  His upside is probably a 4th outfielder longterm, and I see no reason to change that, but the 2 home runs this week is certainly nice to see.


There continues to be next to no talent in the 51s pitching staff, specifically the starting rotation.  Their rotation at the moment is Scott Richmond, Jesse Chavez, Nate Robertson, Sean O’Sullivan & Sean Hill.  That’s pretty pitiful, even for a AAA rotation.

David Carpenter – RH Reliever – 26 Years Old
MLB (Hou) Line – 30 Games, 29.2 IP, 0-2 W-L, 6.07 ERA, 1.921 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9
AAA Line – 8 Games, 11.1 IP, 1-0 W-L, 1.59 ERA, 0.874 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 0.9 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9
Weekly AAA Line – 1.2 IP, 0 Runs, 1 Hit, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HR
July 21st – 1.2 IP, 0 Runs, 1 Hit, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HR
            A  new addition to my minor league recaps, after the trade with the Astros last week, and he’s probably the piece from that deal that will be sticking around the longest with the Jays.  He doesn’t profile as more than a middle reliever, but he could be quite a capable one.  He hasn’t had a lot of success this year in the majors, but his minor league track record shows that he could be a very useful minor asset going forward. 
His debut into Vegas went pretty darn well.  Striking out 3 of the 7 batters he faced, and avoiding a home run.  I think he’ll be up with the big team pretty soon.

Jesse Chavez – RH Starter – 27 Years Old
MLB Line – 8 Games, 20.1 IP, 0-1 W-L, 8.85 ERA, 1.574 WHIP, 11.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 2.7 HR/9
AAA Line – 14 Games, 73.2 IP, 8-2 W-L, 3.67 ERA, 1.113 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
Weekly Line – 3.1 IP, 1-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 0.909 WHIP, 5.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.0 HR/9
July 16th – 3 IP, Win, 0 Runs, 2 Hits, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HRs
July 20th – .1 IP, 0 Hits, 0 Runs, 0 Ks, 0 BBs, 0 HRs
            Jesse Chavez sucks.  He’s a passable AAA starter, but he just doesn’t have the stuff to compete at the major league level.  He’s back in Vegas now, and he had one very good start (if one without any missed bats, which shouldn’t shock anyone). In the next one he sustained an injury and had to be lifted from the game after just 1 batter, because he was hit in his leg by a comebacker.  Not sure how long this will keep him out of the lineup, but it really isn’t likely to matter

Joel Carreno – RH Starter – 25 Years Old
MLB Line – 6 Games, 15 IP, 0-2 W-L, 6.60 ERA, 1.800 WHIP, 5.4 K/9, 6.6 BB/9, 3.0 HR/9
AA Line – 7 Games, 36.1 IP, 1-4 W-L, 4.71 ERA, 1.128 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
AAA Line – 10 Games, 36.1 IP, 2-5 W-L, 8.92 ERA, 2.119 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 6.7 BB/9, 1.7 HR/9
Weekly Line – 4.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 2.09 ERA, 2.09 WHIP, 8.37 K/9, 10.5 BB/9, 0.0 HR/9
July 18th – 1 IP, 0 Runs, 1 Hit, 1 K, 0 BB
July 20th – 3.1 IP, 1 Run, 3 Hits, 3 Ks, 5 BBs
            Joel Carreno took a major step forward this week.  When he came in to replace the injured Jesse Chavez he still walked 5 people in his 3 innings of work, but this time he didn’t accompany them with the 2 home runs he did last time out.  I don’t think I could damn someone with any fainter praise than that.  He’s contracted full blown Steve Blass disease.  He’s not coming back from this.          

            I’ll be back tomorrow to check around at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.  Hope you enjoyed it, and see you then.

            You can follow me on Twitter, @Mentoch.To connect with the site, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

Review of the New UA Core S Sunglasses

The Magnetic Lenses are 100% my favourite
feature in these awesome glasses!
I was contacted a few weeks ago by EyeKing asking me if I wanted to review a pair of Under Armour's new Core S sunglasses. Obviously I said yes as it is something I have never done before, and I thought it would be fun. It has, and I love the glasses. As I said, I have never done anything like this before, so bear with me throughout this post. They are very lightweight, and are amazing for all aspects of America's pastime! Whether it is playing baseball, watching baseball, or even umpiring baseball, they are perfect for the game we all love. I'm sure they are great for other sports, but I have not tested that out. I'm basically just going to say a lot of things about the glasses that I like, and then I'm going to give some links and other info about the product.

Things I Like About Them
1. The coolest thing about these glasses by far is the patented magnetic lenses. When you buy the glasses they come with two sets of lenses. The Crimson colour, for low light, and the Game Day MultiFlection lenses, for direct sunlight. The ability to mix and match these two lenses is amazing, and allows for much better visibility in some cases. I was umpiring a game and the sun was in my left eye, while a tree cast a shadow on my right eye. It was still bright on my right side, so I still wanted to use sunglasses. I has the crimson lens in the right eye, and the Game Day MultiFlection lens in the other. It worked out perfectly as I was able to see everything without worrying about a glare or anything like that.
Defying Gravity!
2. I already mentioned this above, but they are so light. It is awesome having such comfortable glasses that aren't heavy to carry around.
3. The glasses are very comfortable, and don't make your face itchy when wearing them.
4. I'm told they block all these different types of rays from the sun, and that can never be bad. More on this below.
5. As showcased by Reds Second Baseman Brandon Phillips when turning double plays, the sunglasses stay on your hat when turned upside down and don't fall off due to the "Cap Gripper".

The glasses are available in white or black. I have them in black.There are a lot more details about the sunglasses that can be found in the info below, or in the links below. 
Description of Sunglasses:
  • Powered by SWITCH patented magnetic interchange lens system—high-energy magnets embedded in the lenses and frame that let you swap lenses quickly and easily as light conditions and activities change
  • Ultra-light ArmourFusion® frames built from a combination of titanium and Grilamid® for maximum impact resistance
  • ArmourSight® lenses deliver up to 20% enhanced vision edge to edge, and are up to 10X stronger than ordinary polycarbonate lenses for ultimate durability and performance
  • WIth Purchase: 2 sets of lenses are included: Highly scratch-resistant Game Day Multiflection™ lenses to deliver superior visual contrast and object illumination & Crimson lenses to heighten visual acuity and enhance color, delivering a brighter field of vision especially in lower light conditions
  • 3-point grip and soft, adjustable nosepad and temples ensure a comfortable, secure fit
  • Cap gripper delivers a secure, slip-free fit when worn upside down on your hat
  • Advanced cushion hinge absorbs shock so you can keep moving without distraction
  • Airflow technology directs air through the lens to keep you cooler
  • All Under Armour® Performance Eyewear lenses block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays
The EyeKing Blog http://www.eyekingbuzz.com/
Video showcasing the glasses functionality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Technology explained: http://www.switchvision.com/

They are available for sale at Under Armour.

You can follow Eye King on twitter by clicking here!
You can follow me on twitter, @gideonturk.
To connect with the site, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Minor League Roundup - Lansing Lugnuts

Minor League Roundup (July 9th to July 15th)

Every week I’ll be diving into the Blue Jays system to see how the up and comers have fared in the past 7 days.  I’ll only be looking at the prospects in the system, so, sorry to the Ruban Gotay types out there, you’ll continue to be ignored. 

Its very important to note, that while this is can be a useful exercise, its important to not take the stats put up in the minor leagues as gospel.  Minor league numbers can very often be deceiving, the calibre of competition can frequently vary wildly (often within the same game eve), and frequently skills that allow you to thrive in the minors wont translate at all to the majors (such as being a mistake hitter, or relying on a trick pitch for strikeouts).  Also, minor league teams don’t do advanced scouting, so holes in a players game that can be exploited at the next level won’t become apparent.  So take anything I’m saying here with a healthy grain of salt.

Today I’ll be covering the exciting Lansing Lugnuts, and if I have time over the weekend, I might skim over the lower levels, but at that level the stats really don’t mean much, because the talent level varies so wildly.

Lansing Lugnuts (Lo A)
July 9th6-1 Loss @ Western Michigan
July 11th8-7 Win v. Quad Cities
July 12th15-3 Loss v. Quad Cities
July 13th4-0 Win v. Quad Cities
July 14th9-4 Win v. Cedar Rapids
July 15th6-2 Win v. Cedar Rapids

            The Lugnuts are the best team in the MidWest team, anchored by the best pitching in the league, and maybe the most promising rotation of any club in the minor leagues.  Their offense has certainly been getting the job done as well (ranking 3rd in the league).  Even though there’s talent up and  down the system as a whole, this is the team that really gets you excited for the future.
Christopher Hawkins – Right Fielder – 20 Years Old
Lo A Season Line – 375 PAs – .284/.342/.357 – 1 HR, 34 RBI, 45 Runs, 52 Ks, 31 BBs, 8 SBs, 0 CSs
Weekly Line – 22 PAs – .250/.318/.300 – 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 Runs, 4 Ks, 2 BBs
July 9th 0/4 – 1 K
July 11th 2/3 – 2 1Bs, 3 Runs, 1 K, 2 BBs
July 12th1/4 – 1 2B, 1 RBI
July 13th0/4 – 2 Ks
July 14th2/5 – 2 1Bs
July 15thOff

            For a player who is young for his age, Hawkins has acquitted himself well in his debut season in Lo A.  He’s an outfielder with a decent amount of promise, especially if you assume that power is the last tool that usually develops, and the rest of the tools he has are quite decent.  This week wasn’t necessarily a great example of that, as he did almost nothing at the plate.  Still, on a team that’s stacked with pitching prospects, he’s the one Lugnut hitter worth really keeping an eye on (especially now that Perez has been dealt).

Carlos Perez – Catcher – 21 Years Old
Lo A Season Line – 316 PAs, .263/.354/.439 – 5 HRs, 40 RBI, 48 Runs, 38 Ks, 35 BBs, 3 SB, 2 CS
Weekly Line – 18 PAs - .200/.333/.533 – 1 HR, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 Run, 3 Ks 2 BBs, 1/4 BR Thrown Out
July 9th1/3 – 1 BB, 0/2 Throwing Out
July 11th 1/3 – 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 Runs, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/1 Throwing Out
July 12th1/4 – 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 0/1 Throwing Out
July 13thOff
July 14th0/5 – 1 Run, 2 Ks
July 15thOff

            Perez has really taken a step forward in his second year in the Lo A, after last season took an awful of the shine off his prospect rose.  He’s shown increased power (especially evidenced by his .533 slugging % this week.  All these stats need to be taken with a large grain of salt, given that this is a repeat year at the level, which really raises a red flag.  This is however the last appearance in this column, since he was dealt to the Houston Astros this morning in the massive 10 player trade.

Michael Crouse – Corner Outfielder – 21 Years Old
A+ Yearly Line – 231 PAs, .203/.299/.347, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 42 Runs, 9 SBs, 5 CSs
Weekly A+ Line – 10 PAs - .333/.400/.667 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 Run, 4 Ks, 1 CS
Weekly Lo A Line – 3 PAs – .666/.750/1.000 – 1 2B, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 SBs
***In Dunedin***
June 9th0/1 – 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS
June 11th2/4 – 1 1B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 Run, 1 K
June 12th1/4 – 1 1B, 1 RBI, 2 Ks
***Demoted to Lansing***
June 13thOff
June 14thOff
June 15th2/3 – 2 1B, 2B, 3 Runs, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 SBs

            The young Canadian outfielder had looked like he was starting to turn his season around after a rough start to his season in Dunedin, however the team decided to demote him down to Lansing mid-week.  He had looked very overmatched earlier in the season, but it’s a little strange that the team would wait until he’d started to turn things around as he had the past couple weeks before demoting him.  As for his results this week, they were very good at both levels.  Hopefully that keeps up, and he can quickly return up the ladder to Dunedin sooner rather than later.


            Here’s where we get to the true gem of the Jays farm system.  The trio of pitchers in the Lugnuts rotation is what we can hope will anchor the Jays rotation when they are really ready to compete in a year or two.

Aaron Sanchez – RH Starter – 19 Years Old

Lo A Season Line – 64 IPs, 8-1 W-L, 1.41 ERA, 1.078 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 5.1 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9
July 12 – Loss, 1.1 IP, 5 Runs, 3 Hits, 2 Ks, 2 BBs, 2 HRs

            Coming into the season, Sanchez was generally ranked at the 3rd of the three pitchers, but that has changed as the season has gone along.  However, this week was certainly not indicative of that.  The start vs. Quad Cities was one a rare blowout outing for the tall projectable right hander.  He failed to get out of even the 2nd inning, and gave up 2 home runs, which has been highly out of character for him.  One poor outing doesn’t change the fact that Sanchez has been utterly terrific this season.

Noah Syndergaard – RH Starter – 19 Years Old

Lo A Season Line – 67.2 IPs, 6-2 W-L, 2.93 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9
July 14 - No Decision, 3 IP, 0 Runs, 0 Hits, 4 Ks, 0 BBs, 0 HRs

            Syndergaard might be the member of the Lansing rotation with the highest potential, given that he has the most overpowering stuff.  This week he threw a perfect 3 innings, and the 4 strikeouts are perfectly in line with what he’s done this year.  Not that there’s much to learn out of a 3 inning outing, but its really nice to see Syndergaard continue to put up good outings.

Justin Nicolino – LH Starter – 20 Years Old

Lo A Season Line – 77.1 IPs, 5-2 W-L, 2.68 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9
July 11 – Win, 6 IP, 2 Runs, 6 Hits, 5 Ks, 0 BBs, 1 HR

           Nicolino might be the member of the three with the lowest floor, but probably will never be better than a #3 at the major league level.  His calling card is his excellent command, which compensates for his lack of overpowering stuff.  A very typical start from Nicolino this wee featuring zero walks, and an efficient pitch count through his 6 innings of work. 
I'll be back on Monday to start this whole thing over again with the Las Vegas 51s.

If you missed any of the recaps through the week, be sure to check them out.

You can follow me on Twitter, @Mentoch.To connect with the site, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

The Smallest Big Deal in MLB History

The Smallest Big Deal in MLB History 

            Its been a very active 12 hours in Blue Jays news.  Last night was all abuzz about Travis Snider’s call up, but we wake up this morning to find out they’ve been involved in 10 player trade with the Houston Astros.  Here are the specifics.

To Houston: OF Ben Francisco, RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, C Carlos Perez, RHP Joe Musgrove, LHP David Rollins, & Player To be Named Later (likely cash)

To Toronto: LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP David Carpenter

Now it first glance it seems like the Jays gave up an awful lot of prospects, in order to acquire a back end of the rotation starter (Happ), and two middle relievers (Lyon & Carpenter), however if you dive into the prospects we gave up its really not that much at all.  Lets look at what the Jays gave up in detail before getting to the guys going the other way.

Francisco Cordero – Cordero might be one of the least popular Jays players in the past 5 years.  While I don’t think he’s been quite as bad as most Blue Jays fans think he’s been, there’s no way you can call him anything but bad.  He wouldn’t have had a place in this bullpen with Carpenter and Lyon coming in, so this is just a salary dump, as he matches up with Lyon’s money coming back the other way.

Ben Francisco – I never understood the Francisco signing in the first place.  All it seemed to do was prevent a roster spot from going to Travis Snider.  Now with Snider up and starting every day in Left Field, the Jays already had a right handed hitting outfielder on their bench in Rajai Davis, so this is literally nothing. 

Carlos Perez – Perez is probably the best prospect that the Jays gave up in this deal, but I still don’t think that’s anything to worry about.  He was having a very solid year in Lansing this year, however its his 2nd year at that level, and to me it really speaks to the club’s confidence in him, that even when AJ Jimenez went down for the year, they didn’t move Perez up a level.  Of all the team’s in the majors the Jays have by far the best catching depth in their system, so even after trading Perez away they still have uber-prospect Travis d’Arnaud ready to come up next year, and AJ Jimenez (if he can rebound from season ending surgery) as a developmental guy.  Not a major loss.

Joe Musgrove – One of the 7 picks in the first 78 in last year’s draft Musgrove is the type of prospect the Jays’ new regime love.  A young projectable high ceiling arm, but ones that come with a lot of risk.  In other system’s you might’ve seen Musgrove crack their top 10, but given how stacked the Jays system is (especially in terms of pitching), he was likely in the high 20s.  He’s a pitcher I really like, has a prototypical power pitcher frame (6’5 230), and an advanced breaking pitch for his age.  That being said, he’s still just 19 years old, and has just gotten to the Appy league last week.  Odds are by the time Musgrove gets to the majors we really wont be sweating it, because any number of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino (and many others), will probably be populating the rotation.

Asher Wojciechowski – This is probably the most recognizable prospect moved today to most Blue Jays fans, for a couple reasons.  1) The guy has a sweet 4 syllable last name, & 2) He’s a former supplemental first round pick in 2010.  However, despite coming out of The Citadel with some promise, he was a massive disappointment last year, a though his numbers look better this year there are many reasons to believe they don’t show a lot of progression.  For one he’s repeating the level in the Florida State League, which is never a good sign, especially not for a college pitcher who you thought might move quickly, and also because his decrease in ERA has come from a DRAMATIC decrease in his HR/FB rate, which is generally luck driven.  His velocity has plateaued in the high 80s, and his slider doesn’t have a lot of bite, so long term he looks to be a bullpen arm at best.

David Rollins – Rollins has been putting up nice numbers this year in the stacked rotation that the Lansing Lugnuts have.  However he’s 22 at that level (as opposed to the big 3 in Lansing, who are all 20 or younger), is relatively small, and as a 24th round pick, isn’t someone we’re likely to miss at all.  While you could dream on some of the other guys in this deal, that really wasn’t the case with Rollins.  He’s just a guy, nothing to see here.

To recap, the Jays gave up two major leaguers who had no role going forward, and have already been replaced on the roster, the #3 catcher in their organization, and two arms who probably ranked in the 20s, now that this year’s draft class has been added.  Its a lot of players, but overall there’s probably no one who we’re really likely to regret dealing in the long run.

Shifting our sights to the talent who are on their way into the major league roster.

J.A. Happ – First thing to note for any Jays fans not familiar with Mr. Happ, his name is pronounced “Jay”, not “J” “A”, no I don’t understand why either, but that’s just how it is.  Happ burst onto the scene in 2009 with the Phillies and got off to a blazing start finishing with a 12-4 record, and a BABIP aided 2.94 ERA.  That was never going to be sustainable, and might’ve gotten irrational Phillies fans hopes up a little too much.  However he has settled into a nice role as a back of the rotation starter, who’s strikeout rate has been trending up consistently the past few years.  He isn’t anything special, but he can help fill out the rotation for the rest of the year, and is under club control for another 2 years after this one.  If going forward our rotation recovers from the contagion of Tommy John surgery that’s been going around he could serve as a capable long man (and lefty out of the pen).

Brandon Lyon – Lyon is probably most notable for the contract he’s currently pitching on, that when former Astros GM Ed Wade gave it to him, was largely seen as one of the dumbest that off-season (due to the 3 year commitment to a middling relief pitcher).  However that contract isn’t a concern for the Jays, since its expiring at the end of the year.  All we really need to worry about is whether he’s better than Coco Cordero, and that really isn’t a hard task.  Since coming back from surgery that shut him down for most of last year his stuff seems to have taken a significant jump forward, as his 8.8 K/9 is the best he’s posted in hist career.  There is some concern that going from the NL Central, to the AL East might take some of the shine off him, but again, if Cordero is the bar, he can probably stumble and still go flying over.

David Carpenter – Carpenter is a 27 year old bullpen arm, who has fallen victim to the Luck Dragon this year.  His 6.07 ERA looks about as ugly as it gets, but that’s almost entirely based on his sky high .402 BABIP.  His underlying numbers are quite promising, a high strikeout rate is the type of guy who could settle into the major league pen allowing them to send guys like Sam Dyson, or Aaron Loup back to the minors to get a little more development time.

            All things told, this might be the most irrelevant 10 player trade in MLB history.  The Jays don’t lose very much out of their stacked farm system, and they get pieces to help them stay in the race this year, but also get two guys who we’ll have going forward in Carpenter & Happ.  The Jays have used pieces deep into their system to stay in the race this year, without giving up any of their top prospects.  All things told I’ll give this trade a thumbs up.