Tuesday, April 30, 2013

R.I.P. Jake Eliopoulos

According to his sister(embedded tweet below), former Jays draftee(twice) Jake Eliopoulos has passed away at the age of 21.

Eliopoulos, a lefty, was reportedly offered around $500,000 as a signing bonus back in 2009, when the Jays made him their second round pick. He was then drafted by the Dodgers the following year in the 15th round, and did not sign again. In 2011, Eliopoulos was again drafted by the Jays, this time in the 43rd round of the draft. He did not sign.

Cause of death has yet to be reported. Rest in Peace Jake, you'll be missed.


Update: An obituary for Jake has been released. It can be read here.

Obituary for Jake Eliopoulos

It is with deep sorrow we announce the passing of Jake Thomas James Eliopoulos on Monday, April 29, 2013 at the age of 21.Jake was a kind, sweet, genuine soul who leaves behind parents Jim and Lea, siblings Derek and Zoe and his best friends Max, Grant and Colin. Jake found much of his joy in the game of baseball and his high school experience at Sacred Heart CHS in Newmarket. Numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents will miss the light that Jake brought to their lives. Jake, rest in peace, you are now pain free.
Friends will be received at the HERITAGE FUNERAL CENTRE, 50 Overlea Blvd. (416) 423-1000 on Saturday, May 4, from 3-8 p.m.and on Sunday, May 5, 2013 from 3-8 p.m. The Funeral will be held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. Private family Interment to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to the Canadian Mental Health Association-York Region Branch(CMHA). See Heritage website under "Place a Donation" for specific direction on how to make donations in Jake’s memory.Online condolences may be made at heritagefuneralcentre.ca
You can follow me on twitter, @gideonturk. To connect with the site, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Farm System Update- New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)

For now, Kevin Pillar is the only
note worthy player doing well
for the Fisher Cats.
Week 2 of our series brings us to New Hampshire where there a ton of prospects and noteworthy players, most of which haven't actually played yet because of injury/suspension. This is the list of players that are on the Fisher Cats roster, but have not played yet. They will not be talked about due to their zero appearances.

Chad Jenkins
Sean Nolin
John Stilson
Marcus Stroman
A.J. Jimenez

The following have played in games, and will be written about.

Deck McGuire
Evan Crawford (WHY IS HE ON THE 40-MAN????)
Clint Robinson (See Crawford, Evan)
Kevin Pillar

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (11-13 Last-Eastern League Eastern Division)

The Fisher Cats are not playing as well as the Bisons are. They're actually doing quite the opposite. The Bisons are succeeding with a monster offence and average pitching, whereas the Fisher Cats have one of the Eastern League's best pitching staffs(4th in ERA), and quite a horrible offence( 5th last in Runs). It's still a small sample though, so like last week, take the following with a grain of salt.

Deck McGuire-SP- 23 years old

All hope of McGuire turning out to be anything seems to be lost at this point. The big righty is repeating AA after a miserable year last season when he posted a 5.88 ERA in 28 starts, with high walk numbers and a low K rate. The 11th overall selection in the 2010 draft has never had the stuff scouts rave about, and at this point, he'd be lucky to make it on to a 40-man roster for a few years, if at all. He has repeated his 2012 self exactly(according to ERA a least) through 5 starts in 2013. He has had 2 good starts, but you won't be a successful pitcher when 40% of your starts are decent, and the other 60% are horrible. If McGuire doesn't turn it around, a career as minor league filler is in the works for this once top draft choice.

Evan Crawford-RP-26 years old

The only reason Crawford is on the 40-man is because he's a lefty, and if AA keeps on playing this waiver game(which I assume he will), I'd expect him to be removed eventually. He started the season in Dunedin, for a reason not known to me, and pitched horribly there, so he got promoted(that's how it works, right?). He's really barely pitched this year, so it'd be cruel to judge him already. All you need to know is that if he makes it to the Majors this year before September, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. Let's all just hope Crawford doesn't make it into Canada for a while.

Clint Robinson-1B-28 years old

Robinson, a victim of AA's famous waiver carousel is a career minor leaguer (he had a cup of coffee with KC last year in the majors), and doesn't seem to be on the 40-man for any reason other than David Cooper hurt his back and Robinson is decent filler just in case something happens to the first basemen in AAA, although I also assume, like Crawford, his time on the 40-man will come to a close soon. He has raked so far in New Hampshire, putting up an OBP over .400 in 21 games played. He's nothing special, although I'd be surprised if he doesn't keep these type of numbers up. He is what Deck McGuire will be in a few years(but in a hitters body). 

Kevin Pillar-OF-24 years old

Pillar is the one true "prospect" on this AA team(healthy at least), and he has kept up what he's been doing for the past few years, as he continues to demolish pitching and steal bases with ease. He doesn't have one tool that absolutely sticks out, but he could definitely be a solid option for a 4th outfielder in a couple years, or even better. He was our #9 prospect on our list last December, but come July when we take a look back at that list, he's sure to be higher. He is a gritty player who will walk, steal, and do everything in between, and you never know what type of careers guys like him could have. If he keeps this up, he might just be something Jays fans could get excited about.

Comments and criticisms welcome 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.

BlueJaysPlus Podcast Episode 6: The one Where we Interview Portlanders

Because the Jays are way to depressing to talk about, we only talked about them for about 20 minutes, and then had a couple of fantastic interviews. The first is with Matthew Kory of BP and Over the Monster, and the second is with Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs, USS Mariner, and formerly of Lookout Landing. Enjoy.








Stream: 

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Links Mentioned:

Waiver Abuse

Drunk Jays fans the drunkest in baseball?

Sullivan on Rasmus

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Web Works: April 24th 2013

I'm(Ewan) filling in for Gideon this week. Hope you enjoy.


The great Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs looks at both sides of Colby Rasmus' start to the season, specifically looking at the incredible decrease in the amount of fastballs Rasmus has been seeing at the plate this year.


Over at MLBTradeRumors, Charlie Wilmoth looks at the whether Alex Anthopolous' zealous use of the waiver market is going to require a change in the rules.  The waiver system is to ensure MLB caliber players have the best chance to stay in the major leagues, but AA's constant adds and drops are leaving players in limbo for as long as 20 days.  Is this fair to these players?  Do the rules need to be changed?

EffectivelyWild Podcast – Sam Miller & Ben Lindbergh – Anthopolous & Waivers
In the same vein, over at Baseball Prospectus, Sam Miller & Ben Lindbergh covered the aforementioned article in one of their topics on Monday's episode of effectively wild.

Curtis Rush - Toronto Star– Do the Jays have the drunkest fans in the league?
Curtis Rush of the Toronto Star looks into recent claims from both Yahoo!'s Big League Stew blog, as well as studio analyst Gregg Zaun that Toronto has the most boorish and drunkest fans in the league.

Blue JayHunter – 28 Years ago today (George Bell Karate Kicks)
As a part of his Flashback Friday series, the Blue Jay Hunter takes us way back to 1985, and George Bell's epic flying cross kick to Red Sox starter Bruce Kison.  Bell v. Kison is one of the most iconic charging the mound incidents in MLB history.    

Sportsnet's newest columnist, the fantastic Ben Nicholson-Smith (Formerly of MLBTradeRumors) looks at the continuing spike in MLB strikeout rate.  This has been an ongoing league wide trend, as BN-S notes the Jays are doing their part by employing Colby Rasmus & J.P. Arencibia. #Whiff

SI - CliffCorcoran – 10 most disappointing performances
Corcoran sites BABIP as one of the
reasons the Jays pitchers are struggling.
Over at Sports Illustrated, Clif Corcoran runs though 10 disappointments of the early season.  Rather unsurprisingly the revamped Blue Jays rotation is atop his list.

Globe &Mail – Tom Maloney – Grading the Blue Jays at the 20 game mark
Even as though Tom Maloney, of the Globe, mentions that it usually takes 40 games before its appropriate to take a look at how the team is doing, he jumps the gun slightly, and evaluates the team 20 games in.  Hint: Its not pretty.

Toronto Star– Brenden Kennedy – Bautista has a legit gripe about strike zone
Brenden Kennedy looks at Jose Bautista's consistent complaining about his treatment by the umpires, and finds that he may actually have a case.

MLB.com –Matthew Leach – Jays defense is awful
MLB.com's Matthew Leach takes a look at what has been painfully apparent to all Blue Jays fans, but he exposes their poor defense to the baseball world at large. Gideon predicted this back in December. It seems as if Brett Lawrie will turn out to be the Blue Jays' only plus defender.

Mop Up Duty –Matthias Koster – JP Arencibia’s changed approach
Over at Mop Up Duty, Matthias Koster analyses JP Arencibia's prodigious home run spike to start the year, and reveals that not only is the ball leaving the yard much more, but he's also doing it by changing his entire approach.  He's not pulling the ball nearly as much, and its certainly a positive.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Farm System Update- Buffalo Bisons (AAA)

So this is going to be a weekly thing here at BlueJaysPlus. Every Monday we'll look at the prospects and 40-man players on a different minor league affiliate of the Blue Jays. Today, I'll do the Bisons, next week will be the Fisher Cats, and so on. This should allow us to repeat every team once a month(until short season leagues stats), giving us a sample size that isn't ridiculously small as if we were looking at every team every week(or even day). Enjoy!

Buffalo Bisons
12-4 (1st place International League North Division)
So their offense is pretty good....


As a team, it looks as if the Jays AAA affiliate never left the PCL. They've been scoring in bunches(leading the league in basically every category), and their veteran pitching has been solid(well a little worse than that), allowing them to win 8 straight and to go 9-1 in their last 10. The Jays AGM in charge of signing MILB deals(I can't remember which one has that task), has kept the Blue Jays promise to the Bisons and their fans that they will put a competitive team on that field year in and year out, doing so with past their prime and AAAA players rather than top prospects. For this first issue, take everything with a grain of salt because of the sample that is relatively small.

Ryan Goins- SS- 25 years old
Goins is having quite the season so far, but not in a good way. In 42 ABs, he has yet to take a walk!!! He has always had a below average eye with a walk rate in the vicinity of 7.5%, but to not take a walk in 12 games J.P Arencibia bad. But it gets worse for Goins. He's hitting .283, which isn't bad, but factor in the .353 BABIP, and you have to expect some regression, even though he normally is a .330 BABIP guy.His strikeouts are also up from last year, which is probably a factor if him being over matched at the AAA level. His defense, like it has been in the past is nothing special. Goins is going to have to start taking walks again or else his mediocre performance might end up with him being taken off of the Jays 40 man, in which he was added to this past off-season to protect him from the Rule-5 Draft.

Mauro Gomez-1B-28 years old
Gomez, a pick up via the waiver wire game AA has been playing of late, has been a driving force in the middle of Herd along with Luis Jiménez. The Dominican is hitting with power, walking, and driving runs in. He could find his way up to Toronto as a lefty platoon partner with Adam Lind if the Jays decide to go that route in the next few months and cut ties with Mark DeRosa, but I'd bet on him staying a couple hours south and playing for the Bisons.

Anthony Gose-OF-22 years old
Gose is back in AAA to start the year to work on his contact rate, and his overall ability to just not strikeout. It has been a problem for him at every level he's played, from rookie ball to the big leagues, and for a player with his speed, it would be beneficial if he can cut down on them. So far, he's doing just that, reducing his K% from AAA last year to this season by almost 6%, a welcome sight in the eyes of Blue Jays fans. From what I've seen on milb.tv(and hope to see sometime this summer if I can make it down to a game) is that he's making contact with the ball, whether it be poor or strong contact, and as a result, it getting on base. He can beat out a lot of grounders, so if he continues to put bat on ball, and Colby Rasmus continues to be the worst contact hitter since samples have been collected, we might see Gose sooner than later. I can't imagine him being up here before June barring injury, but even that seems early. It's all in the hands of Colby at this point. Now Anthony just has to wait.

Brad Lincoln-RP-27 years old
Lincoln is not pitching so great right now, but it's 8 IP, so you really can't make any assumptions based on that. His velocity is still not in the mid-90's, likely because of the injury he had been battling during spring training. I'd assume he'd be the next candidate for 7th relief pitcher, but honestly, AA will probably pick somebody up off of waivers before there's another need, so who knows. He's had 3 straight good appearances(5 IP, 6 K), so maybe he's turning a corner after getting lit up in his first couple of games. Continued success will be key for him. At least he won't be in for a ton of regression soon like the player he was traded for (see Snider, Travis).
Moises Sierra-OF-24 years old
The future 4th outfielder with a great arm has continued to show that he can hit AAA pitching with the best of them, riding hot in his first 13 games this season. He's doing everything right at this point, and if somebody gets injured before Gose is ready later in the season, he'll be up in a hurry. His defense is nothing spectacular, but we're used to that from our backup outfielders(HEYO!!!!).

Josh Thole-C-26 years old
I was on the "Thole for Starter" train before the season, and I'm not necessarily off that, but with JPA's power so far, it's on hold for now. Thole has been fine in AAA(more than that actually) like you'd expect, but JPA's power is a lot sexier right now than Thole's OBP. All he can do is just wait in AAA until somebody gets injured, and keep on performing.

That's it for this week. Next Monday I'll look at the notables on the Fisher Cats. If you have any suggestions or comments, leave them 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, April 21, 2013

BlueJaysPlus Podcast Episode 5: Pitch f/x, Bow-Viste, and More!

After another somewhat disappointing week for the Jays, we're back with our 5th episode! This week, we talk more roster moves(Casper Wells, Ramon Ortiz, Brad Lincoln, Kawasaki), have an interview with the Pitch f/x Guru Harry Pavlidis, MILBer of the week, and we talk a little about some sports related Boston things... Enjoy! Click here to read some of Harry's work.

Stream:


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RSS Feed:Here

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Web Works: April 17th 2013

The lineup remains Jose-less today with Bautista taking another day off due to his bad back and Reyes sitting for the next three months due to his ankle. Anyways, here are today's links.

At Sportsnet, Shi Davidi confirms via sources what Andrew Stoeten(of DJF) speculated back in February could have been the mega-deal that fell through before the Miami trade in November. The proposed deal would include often injured pitcher Jake Peavy coming to Toronto, with the other parts not known. Read the article, it's great stuff.

Also at Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling writes about Brett Lawrie...I could swear I read this in Sportsnet Magazine's preview, so I guess they're just making it available online now. It's a funny piece, definitely worth a read.

MLBTR compiles all the waiver claims made over the past year, and lists how many each team has claimed...Not surprisingly, the Jays are first, claiming a whopping 22 players. Combine that with 13 players being claimed off of Toronto, and the Blue Jays have been involved in over 26% of the waiver claims. Look, eventually it has to work, right?

BlueBirdBanter previews tonight's pitcher for the White Sox. It's Jose Quintana. Sorry to ruin the surprise.

Kyle Franzoni of JaysJournal questions whether or not we should be concerned that Jose Bautista is out  again, for the third straight day. Not going to lie, I'm a bit concerned.

The BlueJayHunter writes about Munenori Kawasaki. #MuniTheBest

Matt Gwin has some excellent GIFs of the Jays(and other baseball things) over at GIF of the BlueBird. I recommend you check out out all of them, and keep checking for constant updates.

That's basically it. If you want to subscribe to our Podcast via RSS, this is the link to do so.

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

BlueJaysPlus Podcast Episode 4: The One Where We Cry About Reyes

It's going to be a long 3 months until Jose Reyes gets back from injury. On this episode of the podcast, we go over the injury and who might replace him, as well as talk about the roster moves that have occurred over the past week, and we dive into the new International Bonus Pool trading rules...Warning, they're a bit confusing. To download this episode, click here.

Stream:



Links Mentioned

Explanation of the rules to Bonus Pool trading.

Bonus Pool slots

Likely Trading Partners(Bonus Pool)



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Breaking: Lawrie to Play Second Base in Rehab Game

In MLB 13 the Show, to maximize Brett Lawrie's value, I always play him at second base...With All-Star SS Jose Reyes injured for 3 months, it looks as if AA and the Blue Jays will go that route as well. The tweet from the Dunedin Blue Jays this morning:

They later clarified that Lawrie is indeed playing second, followed by a RT from the official Blue Jays account.

When he comes backs to the Jays this week, I'd expect Lawrie at second, Bautista at third, and then a platoon of Emilio Bonifaco, Rajai Davis, and Casper Wells in right field. This is actually a pretty good situation, and major credit must be given to AA and Gibby for coming up with this.

After being drafted by the Brewers as a catcher, Lawrie was transitioned to play second, but when he was traded to the Blue Jays, they put him at the hot corner. Scouts have always said that his hands were not quick enough to play second, but they also said he wouldn't be able to play third base. Last year, he was the best third basemen in the league defensively, saving 20 runs according to DRS. If he can make the transition to second smoothly, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw this formation for more than just the 3 months that Reyes is out. It maximizes the teams offensive capabilities, and if all goes well, it could make one of the most feared infields in baseball with EE, Lawrie, Reyes, and Bautista.

This might just be a test to see how it goes, but lets hope, for the sake of our offense, that it goes well, and Lawrie is back up here in the next few days appearing with the number 4 next to his name on the line up card.

More on this later I guess when we learn more.

Update #1:
AA was/is on Sirius XM radio right now talking to Jim Bowden about things, mainly Brett Lawrie at second related. As always, @StivBators does an awesome job of tweeting all the info. Enjoy.





That's all he says on Lawrie. He said a lot of other important info regarding potential SS replacements, Romero, and more, so head on over to the twitter account named above if you're interested.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Analyzing the Jays Claim of Casper Wells (How to Construct a Quality Bench)

So way back on Friday(April 5th 2013) I wrote a piece imploring the Jays to pick up Mariners outfielder Casper Wells (who had been designated for assignment on March 31) off waivers.  I only had to wait 5 extra days, but yesterday (Wednesday April 10th 2013) that is the exact move that took place.  However, that was more than worth the wait, because the effects of this move I believe could be wide reaching on many different aspects of the team.

Before we get into those aspects, lets first take a look at the player. Mr. Wells is not a complete player, however he possesses many assets, which if used in a way to fully accentuate those skills, can have a decent impact on this club.  The first of those skills is his ability to crush left-handed pitching. 

Over the course of his 3 seasons in the majors, Wells has 276 PAs vs. left handed pitching (so about half a full season’s worth). In that time he’s raked to the tune of .264/.349/.489, good for a wRC+ of 132 (or 32% better than the MLB average).  However, if we look deeper than that, it gets even better. 

Wells has spent the majority of his career with the Mariners, and thus, has been hitting in MLB’s equivalent of death valley (especially to RHBs) in SAFECO field.  While I’m not one to generally parse statistics down to such a granular level, in Wells’ case it feels appropriate to find his true talent level.  As a result, when we look at his stats against Left handed pitching on the road in 129 PAs, he’s produced a Pujolsian .326/.404/.628, resulting in a stunning 182 wRC+. 

The second key skill that Wells possesses is a plus defensive reputation as an outfielder.  This primarily applies to the corner spots, where he’s played throughout the majority of his major league career (accruing 15 runs above average, according to UZR), however if forced to, he can also fill in at centre field, where he has played 25 games throughout his major league career.  He makes up for his pedestrian speed by relying on excellent routes to the ball, and a plus arm (having been named the best arm in the Detroit system twice). 

Unlike the roster moves made thus far this season (Dave Bush, Edgar Gonzalez), acquiring Mr. Wells will have far reaching ramifications on the other parts of Jays roster.

The first impact we should see when Wells joins the team Friday in Kansas City will be a return to the standard 7 man bullpen.  I’d expect Edgar Gonzalez’s short tenure on the Blue Jays 25 man roster to come to a close, and to be sent “home” to Buffalo instead of on to Kansas City with the rest of the team.  With how deep the rest of the bullpen is in talent, I don’t see this being an issue, and given that I’d expect Gonzalez to clear waivers, he could be stashed in AAA for additional bullpen depth (much like the recently DFA’d Alex Burnett). 

The next impact, is that Rajai Davis should probably be packing his bags, and calling his realtor to put his house on the market.  I’d assume that until Brett Lawrie returns from the disabled list (rumoured to be for the Yankees series next week), there is a spot for both for both on the roster.  However, once he returns there is surely only 1 spot left on the MLB roster for the two of them.  Given that aside from running, Wells does everything else better than Davis, I’d pray they opt to keep “the Friendly Ghost” in town. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of Rajai Davis, and his dreadful outfield routes.

The final impact, is that unlike having to rely on Mark De Rosa as your primary platoon partner, the
Wells' acquisition allows Bonifacio
to go back to the super utility role
 when Brett Lawrie comes back from injury.
Jays have finally found a player capable of manning the short half of a platoon with either Colby Rasmus, or Adam Lind.  Lind & Rasmus’ struggles vs. southpaws is a well known one, and clearly given that Lind has yet to face a single lefty this entire season, it's one that John Gibbons is more than aware with.  By acquiring a player who can truly punish the left handers, GM Alex Anthopoulos has given Gibby the type of tool he was sorely lacking on the bench prior to now.

If things shake out as I expect them to over the next 10 days, we can expect to see our bench be comprised something like the following.

UT – Mark DeRosa
OF – Casper Wells

What I really love about this bench, is that while each of these players have significant flaws, all of them have a signature skill. 

- Blanco brings plus defense behind the plate, not only when he’s operating as Dickey’s own personal catcher, but also potentially late in games as a replacement for JP Arencibia.

- Bonifacio may be getting stretch thin, while being asked to play every day at 2nd base.  However, if he can settle back into the super utility role he was brought in to play he can still be the asset we thought he’d be when acquired from Miami.  In addition to that, given his blazing speed he can be utilized as a pinch running option off the bench late in games.

- Wells has been discussed at length, but even when he’s not in the lineup replacing Lind or Rasmus he could be used defensively as a late game replacement for Melky Cabrera in left field.  This would give the Jays an elite set of arms in the outfield joining Jose Bautista, and Colby Rasmus. 

- Finally Mark DeRosa isn’t as specialized as the others on this list, but still offers versatility, and a 2nd right handed bat off the bench, likely to pinch hit for which ever of Lind or Rasmus is still in the lineup that day.

I’m thrilled with this pickup (as should be fairly obvious, since I advocated it last week), and am thrilled it actually came to pass.  Much like Gideon's prediction of the Mark DeRosa signing this past January,  we continue to have a relatively stable finger on the pulse of what Blue Jays management seems to be thinking.  Lets hope it stays that way, and they continue to make us look smart and insightful! 

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Web Works: April 10th 2013

Another Wednesday, another edition of WWW. Hopefully when I write this next week, the Jays will have won 7 straight. On the links! As always, if you wan't me to start linking to your blog, let me know on twitter(username below). We'll start with the newspapers, then move on to the good stuff on the blogs.

Leading off, John Lott of the National Post writes that it's going to be a slow process for Ricky Romero to make it back to the majors, as he is still pitching in bullpen sessions right now, and "will have to throw batting practice and rebuild his arm strength before he joins the rotation of the Jays Class A farm club."

Over at the Star,Richard Griffin gives his game recap from Tuesday's loss to the Tigers and suggests that the key to the Jays turnaround will be Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion...You think?

Also at the Star, Brendan Kennedy tells us about the Jays minor league signing of Miguel Batista. Not much info aside from the basic stuff(source, where he'll report, career numbers)

Robert MacLeod of the Globe informs his readers that the Rogers Centre is becoming a new launchpad for home runs...Maybe the man in white think's the Jays are batting all the time, or maybe it's just an extremely small sample of 6 games.

Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com writes about the Jays slow start, with quotes from Jose Reyes who says he isn't concerned. He shouldn't be. Enough with the Marlins of 2012 comparisons, national media.

At DJF, Archi Zuber does his day after WPA recap...Wasn't a good one for the Jays.

Staying with DJF, Stoeten highlights some Jays info from the latest BP chat with Jason Parks. Among the questions and answers, is this awesome piece about Aaron Sanchez, the Jays number 1 prospect!

canada (canada):What does Sanchez have to accomplish this season to get to your #5 top prospect crystal ball projection? Cut down on the BBs? Think it would be wise to get him up to AA by August if he dominates early?Jason Parks:If the command takes a step forward, he’s a monster.
Amazing.

At Fansided, Ty O'Keefe also jumps on the Jays slow start, but instead of writing an article that is factually correct, he decides to go the route of making things up and twisting the truth. Examples:

 After the initial interest surrounding all the expensive new faces subsided, attendance numbers for the first two series of the season [versus Cleveland and Boston] were significantly lower than expected.
False. Of the MLB teams who have played 6 games at home (like the Jays have), they rank 2nd in attendance, behind only the Dodgers.

After having a career year in 2012, Edwin Encarnacion has gotten off to a slow start and adding to the frustration, perennial powerhouse Jose Bautista has already been sidelined in order to rest his wrist which has been causing him discomfort. 
It's actually Bautista's ankle that caused him to miss time, not his wrist. Some decent fact checking can go a long way for this "writer".

 Jose Reyes has been one of the early bright spots hitting around the .435 mark and providing a solid defensive presence in the middle of the infield.
Jose Reyes' defense has been atrocious, like it always is.

But wait, there's more. He constantly refers to the Blue Jays as the Jay's. Last time I checked, it was Jays. They are not the Toronto Blue Jay, there's an s without an apostrophe. But whatever, we're Canadian, so obviously we only care about the Leafs...Right Ty?

For now, sports fans in Toronto are for the most part, focusing on the NHL’s Maple Leafs making the playoffs.
Horrible article.

That's it for today's edition of WWW. More next week!
You can follow me on twitter, @gideonturk. To connect with the site, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.

Monday, April 8, 2013

BlueJaysPlus Podcast Episode 3: One Week In

Just fooling around with different logos...
Time flies when you're having fun(and losing 13-0). After 6 games, the Jays sit at 2-4, yet have been entertaining every time they've gone out their and played. 3 episodes into our podcast,we hope we're even more entertaining(although it's not likely cause the Jays have Jose Reyes and we just have skype). Int his weeks episode, we look back at the week that was in Jays land, from the Blue Jays horrific defines, to Brett Cecil's awesome first few games, to Colby Rasmus' sweet swing. We also talk about John Farrell's return, whether or not players should be wearing Roy Halladay's number(we're looking at you Esmil Rogers), and as always, have our Jays MILB player of the week. Hope you enjoy!

To download click here

Stream:


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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Danny Knobler is Bad At His Job ... AGAIN


Danny Knobler Is Bad At His Job… AGAIN



So Danny Knobler is at it again.  It wasn’t even a month ago, that I wrote an article (on my personal blog), criticizing an incredibly lazy, and incorrect article that Mr. Knobler wrote analyzing the way “blogs” were handling the Houston Astros.  That article was merely a lazy writer choosing an incorrect narrative. This one is worse.

Also for the record, I’m not going link to Mr. Knobler’s article, because he doesn’t deserve the extra clicks that even a small blog like this would direct his way. However, in order to not take any of his words out of context, I will quote his entire article

Wasn't it right around this time last year that Bobby Valentine was getting booed?

I don’t think it was 4 games into the season, but regardless, how that is relevant?  I have no idea, but I’m sure Mr. Knobler will illuminate me.

It was, wasn't it? 

No, pretty sure they waited a few weeks, but whatever, you’ve already driven the point home, get to the useless premise of this article please.

And it was a reminder of everything that was already wrong in a Red Sox season that wouldn't get any better.

More Red Sox talk.  Get to the point.

So now it's a different year, and a different Red Sox manager, and John Farrell got booed Friday night for a completely different reason. And yet, the way and his team reacted to it says everything about how this Red Sox team and this Red Sox season are off to a different start.

4 games into a season.  Totally not too early to make sweeping proclamations about how “everything is different”.

Sorry, Blue Jays fans, but you can't hurt John Farrell. You can hate him all you want, you can boo him all you want, but you can't hurt him.

I think Mr. Knobler might misunderstand the point of booing.  It isn’t to “hurt” the target that you’ve directing them at, but rather (in this case) its to show him that the way he treated the fans that paid his paycheque isn’t appreciated.

You can't even get him to admit he doesn't like it."It was electric in here," Farrell said, on a night when nearly all the electricity was directed at him, more than anyone else who was involved in the 6-4 Red Sox win over the Blue Jays. "It was a great crowd. It's a great atmosphere."

First of all, this sentence is horribly constructed.  This guy gets paid to write by one of the biggest media companies in the world and this is the tripe he comes up with?  Just terrible.

It was a different atmosphere, anyway, on a night when the promotion was basically, "Let's all boo our ex-manager."

Now we get to the point that really set me off about this terrible article.  I’d like Mr. Knobler to point out any pre-game promotion that mentioned anything about booing the former manager.  It wasn’t necessary.  The fans in the southern Ontario market aren’t sheep that need to be told when to boo.  Frankly, its one of the things they do better than just about any sports town outside of eastern Pennsylvania.

It wasn’t the team (or any other Rogers conglomerate partners) who came up with the clever hashtag of #FFF.  That was done by the fans.  In fact, the only pre-game mentions of Farrell I saw on any broadcast as just to point out that the “former manager was returning”.  These fans may not have the longest memories, but they certainly can remember back to late fall, when Farrell informed people that he was leaving for his “dream job”.  They can remember the disrespect that he showed to not only his players, but the fan base as a whole.

Seriously, have you ever heard fans boo the pregame meeting at home plate? Have you heard fans boo the visiting team's pitching changes? Have you heard fans mockingly chant the visiting manager's name, over and over, inning after inning? 
No, I personally cant recall any time this has happened at a baseball game.  Though I do recall Mike Keenan returning to coach in Vancouver, and being booed out of the building. 

Also, I cant recall any time that a manager has asked to leave, merely because he wanted a job that he viewed as a “better” one.  If you can think of a precedent where that has been the case, please, I’d like to hear it.

The crowd -- and the "Let's boo" promotion attracted a near sellout -- even booed when Farrell went to check on the health of rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias (who took a Josh Johnson pitch on the right forearm and eventually had to leave the game).

1 – Yet again, there was no “Let’s boo” promotion.  The sellout was attracted by John Farrell’s mere presence back in Toronto.

2 – This is a cheap shot.  This implies that the fans were booing him coming out to attend to his poor injure player.  They weren’t.  They were going to take every opportunity to boo the man who told these fans that they were second class citizens in the baseball world. 

It was different, but then it's different for a manager to ask to leave one team to take over another team in the same division. It's different for that manager to publicly admit that he had wanted to make the switch a year earlier, and then to make comments that could be read to suggest he viewed the first city as just a steppingstone to the job he really wanted.Farrell probably would have been better off not saying some of the things he did after leaving the Blue Jays for the Red Sox last fall, and he certainly wasn't going to make the same mistake now. He had nothing but compliments for this city and its baseball fans Friday.

Really, this is about as close as Knobler comes to criticizing anything that John Farrell did this past off-season. 
Though, don’t worry, he’s going to spend the next two paragraphs praising all the wonderful changes that Farrell has brought to the “new look” Boston Red Sox. 

"I think history shows Toronto is an outstanding baseball town," Farrell said.Perhaps it will be again, although the Blue Jays' 1-3 start isn't doing much to build on the momentum the Jays generated with their big offseason. It certainly can't help that on the nights with the two biggest crowds this week, the Blue Jays lost.

Great, now that he has his “dream job” Farrell can throw ridiculous platitudes at us.  I’d much rather he done what Josh Hamilton did today and stick to his guns.  We know that John Farrell doesn’t see an “outstanding baseball town” when he looks at Toronto, and frankly it probably isn’t. 
Fans in Toronto know that it’s a hockey town first and foremost, but they don’t want someone they are paying to try and change that, waving that fact in their face. 

Perhaps it will be again, although the Blue Jays' 1-3 start isn't doing much to build on the momentum the Jays generated with their big offseason. It certainly can't help that on the nights with the two biggest crowds this week, the Blue Jays lost. 
Its four games Danny, Four.  Though, I suppose if its not to early to make sweeping proclamations about the “dramatic turnaround” in Boston, its not too early to be raising the white flag above the dome. 

That's hardly Farrell's problem now, just as it's hardly Farrell's problem that he's not the most popular guy in this town, or in the clubhouse he once ran."We'd rather have him there [in Boston] than have him here and wishing he was there," Jose Bautista said Friday afternoon. "We have a manager who wants to be here."

Hmm, so now we have a comment by star Jose Bautista about the new manager who is in the Toronto dugout.  I’m sure the next few paragraphs will be about how John Gibbons seems to have this team a lot more happy and cohesive than John Farrell ever did. 
Right?

The Red Sox have one, too. They have a manager who seems to have showed up at the right time (following the unpopular Valentine), and with the right group of players (in a clubhouse that was rebuilt with team chemistry and "Boston fit" in mind).


Farrell mentioned Friday night that people who only watch on television don't realize how much fun the Red Sox are having in their dugout.His team does seem to enjoy being together. It also seems significantly more ready to win than the team Valentine took over a year ago. Once again Friday night, the Red Sox were able to show off young talent (Iglesias made a brilliant play at short, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was on base three times) and their outstanding bullpen (four innings, one run).

Lets ignore the fact that Jackie Bradley made two poor plays in the outfield, or that Junichi Tazawa was rather dreadful out of the pen.

Nope, its all about having fun in Boston.  Who wants things like facts to get in the way.

The Red Sox were even able to turn the booing into a positive. They looked to be joking about it at times, although afterwards they would only admit that they enjoyed seeing people in the stands and hearing them make some noise."I think our players fed off it a little," Farrell said.

Projecting body language so it fits my narrative.  I thought we’d hit as many lazy journalistic tendencies, but Mr. Knobler proves that I had underestimated him.

There's no doubt things would have been different if the Red Sox were still the mess that they were under Valentine. Things may well have been different if the Blue Jays were the ones off to a fast start.Maybe then the booing would have gotten to Farrell. Maybe then he wouldn't have so easily been able to say that he enjoyed it.
And maybe then it would have stung a little when the fans taunted him about that "dream job" remark.
Right now, this does look like Farrell's dream job. Right now, it's hard to think he made any kind of mistake by leaving, or that the Red Sox made any kind of mistake by going to get him.
Right now, the booing won't hurt John Farrell.
It only helps prove how much the Red Sox have changed.

I’m tired of ripping this line by line, but I promised I’d include the entire article, so there is the rest of the tripe that Mr. Knobler closed his article with.

In an semi-related note.  On Baseball Prospectus’ Effectively Wild podcast this week, they’ve been doing a segment on “confirmation bias week”.  Meaning that this is the week of the baseball season where all the hack journalists, take what they thought were going to be the narratives coming into the season, and look for ways to make the facts on the field confirm these pre-established biases that they already have.

This is exactly what Mr. Knobler has done here.  Pre-season he assumed that because Bobby Valentine was out of the Boston clubhouse, everything would now be hunky dory, and as a result, he’s taken this largely irrelevant 4 games worth of data points to prove his point.

These 4 games essentially prove nothing, unless you want to force them into a pre-existing narrative.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Waiver Wire Target - Casper Wells


Casper Wells – Waiver Wire Target


During this past off-season, the Seattle Mariners went out of their way to upgrade the production they have received from their corner outfielders, first base, and designated hitter.  In order to do this, they acquired 1B/DH Kendrys Morales, 1B/OF Michael Morse, OF Jason Bay, and OF/DH Raul Ibanez.  What this has done is force a very capable outfielder in Casper Wells onto the waiver wire.  On the final cut down day, the Mariners made the wrong call in opting to keep the washed up Jason Bay instead of the multicapable Wells,  

Since Mr. Wells was designated for assignment, the Mariners have til Saturday to either cut him loose, or find a trade partner for him.  I think that the Jays should be one of the first teams claiming him if he makes it to waivers.  As Gideon, and myself have discussed on the last two podcasts, the Blue Jays may be looking for a platoon partner for both Colby Rasmus, and Adam Lind against tough left handed pitchers.  At the moment one of the primary options for that role is Rajai Davis, and so lets compare what Davis and Wells have done during their career vs. left handed pitching. 

Davis vs. LHP – 754 PA - .290/.349/.417 – 15.4 K%, 7.8 BB%
Wells vs. LHP – 313 PA - .264/.349/.489 – 26.2 K%, 10.2 BB%

While Wells isn’t a natural center fielder, but he has played there in 35 major league games, and over 200 minor league games. Unlike Davis, his speed isn’t a plus asset, but his instincts as an outfielder allow him to be a superior defensive outfielder than Davis has been throughout his career.  In limited playing time, Wells has consistently been 5 runs above average defensively, contrast that with Davis who is routinely 5 to 10 runs below average. 

Especially since the team is currently carrying 8 relief pitchers, I’d think there would be very little risk in claiming a quality depth player like Casper Wells.  I have doubts whether Wells would get past a team as desperate for talent like the Minnesota Twins, so I wouldn’t even have an issue with the Jays trading a low level prospect in order to jump to the front of the queue to assure they get him.

Tonight's the Night!

With the exception of the home opener,  tonights' game vs. John Farrell and the Boston Red Sox is quite possibly the most anticipated game of the 2013 season.  42 thousand are expected at the dome tonight.  Expect fans to boo their hearts out,  whenever the infamous traitor,  John Farrell appears.

Jose Bautista is out of the lineup tonight.  The Jays and Bautista said that it was an ankle injury.  We shouldn't expect the home run king to miss too much time (likely just tonight).

In Bautista's absence,  the Jays will put Rajai Davis in right field.  Lefty Felix Doubront will take the hill for the Jays,  forcing Adam Lind out of the lineup.  Mark DeRosa will play first,  with Izturis at third.  Gibbons has also moved Bonifacio to 2nd in the order tonight,  with Melky batting 3rd.

Let's Go Blue Jays!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Toronto Blue Jays(Part 2 of 2)

Sorry for the delay on the last 2 parts of the series.Better late than never though,right? Here are the previews for the pitchers. 5 starters and 8 relievers... As always, the author of each segment is under the player name.


R.A. Dickey-RHP-38 Years Old
By: Isaac Boloten
2012 Stats:233.2 IP,  20-6 W-L, 3.27 FIP, 24.8 K%,  5.8 BB%,  46.1 GB%
2012 WAR: 5.7 rWAR. 4.6 fWAR. 5.3 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
2012 was nothing short of a dream season for the 38 year old knuckleballer.  Despite statistically not being the best pitcher in the NL, he won the Cy Young and deservedly so.  At a point in the season, Dickey was the talk of baseball,  putting together an incredible stretch of games that included back to back 1 hit shut outs versus the Rays and Orioles.  He led major league baseball in strikeouts.
2013 Season Preview
Dickey is expected to be the ace of this loaded staff put together by AA this off-season.  Many have questioned Dickey's ability to keep up the brilliance of 2012, however what those people may be overlooking, is that Dickey was also brilliant in 2010, and 2011.  This means that the risk isn't as much as some are making it out to be.  While Dickey may not post a season as spectacular as 2012 was, there really is no reason to expect major regression from R.A., considering a knuckleball doesn't put too much strain on his arm. One other aspect to consider is how pitching in the dome for half his starts will impact Dickey’s knuckleball.  The controlled environment could lead to even more movement from his already incredible dancer.  While there is some dispute as to whether this effect is real, it’s at least something to keep an eye on.
2013 Projected Role
Staff ace, and will be looked upon to provide veteran leadership.
2013 PECOTA Projection
231 IP, 14-15 W-L, 4.30 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 50.0 GB%.

Brandon Morrow-RHP-28 years old
By: Isaac Boloten
2012 Stat Line:124.2 IP,  10-7 W-L, 3.65 FIP, 21.4 K%,  8.1 BB%,  41.1 GB%.
2012 WAR: 3.2 rWAR. 2.4 fWAR. 2.0 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
2012 was a terrific year for the fireballing right hander.While Morrow had shown flashes of brilliance in the past, what separated Morrow's 2012 from his other years, is that he learned how to pitch, rather than just throw.  His strikeout numbers did decrease, but along with that came improvements with his control, and an increase in his ground ball rate.  Many were talking about Morrow possibly entering the Cy Young conversation before he injured his oblique in June.  Prior to the injury, Morrow had already recorded 3 shutouts and was absolutely cruising.  When he came back from his injury he was quite shaky, but he regained his form in September and once again became one of the best pitchers in the American League. 
2013 Season Preview
Morrow will make his 2013 debut this Wednesday as the #2 starter in the rotation.  Many people are picking Morrow to finally break out, as he likely would have done if not for the injuries in 2012.  However, Morrow doesn't need to break out in order for his 2013 to be a success.  If he comes close to posting his 2012 numbers (except for innings pitched), that could be considered a very successful season.  That's what made Alex Anthopoulos’ offseason moves so great.  The pressure isn’t on one specific player, and if everyone just lives up to their potential then the team will be in the playoff hunt come September. If I were to bet on anybody having a good year this season, it'd be Morrow.
2013 Projected Role
Morrow will act as the #2 starting pitcher,  behind R.A. Dickey.  Some expect Morrow to see improvement due to the fact that there is a knuckleballer in front of him.  It certainly won't hurt.
2013 PECOTA Projections
174 IP,  11-11 W-L,  3.88 ERA,  9.5 K/9,  3.8 BB/9,  39 GB%.


Mark Buerhle – LHP – 34 Years Old
By:Marshall Henson
2012 Stat Line –202.1 IP – 13-13 W-L, 4.18 FIP, 15.1 K%, 4.8 BB%, 41.3 GB%
2012 WAR: 3.6 rWAR. 1.9 fWAR. 1.2 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
Buerhle had the year you’d expect from him, in 2012, posting over 200 innings for the 12th consecutive season, along with an ERA and FIP around 4.00. While the Marlins team around him certainly didn’t live up to expectations, it wasn’t due to Buehrle not living up to expectations.
2013 Season Preview
Perhaps due to Buehrle being overshadowed by the likes of Dickey, Johnson, and Morrow in the Blue Jays’ rotation, may allow Buerhle to be the dark horse in this rotation. Buerhle will quietly (and quickly) go out every fifth day and give the Jays a chance to win. He’s as sure as it gets with his performances throughout the years, and we should expect no different this coming year.
2013 Projected Role
Buerhle will start the 2013 season as the #3 starter in the Blue Jays’ rotation, but is probably the fourth best pitcher in the Jays rotation. He’ll pitch third to avoid back to back lefties in the rotation.
2013 PECOTA Projection
207.2 IP, 13-14 W-L, 4.53 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 46.1 GB%

Josh Johnson-RHP-29 years old

By:Nick Bell
2012 Stat Line: 191.1 IP, 8-14 W-L, 3.40 FIP, 20.7 K%,  8.2 BB%, 46.2 GB%.
2012 WAR: 3.3 rWAR. 3.4 fWAR. 2.3 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review:
There were some highs and lows in Johnson’s season in 2012 as he was able to pitch an excess of 190 innings after battling shoulder injuries, but also only posted 8 wins and a 3.81 ERA (the highest of his career). Many positives can be taken away for JJ from 2012, but he needs to build on that in 2013 in order to cash in this off-season. Being that he was the best pitcher in baseball from 2009-2011 according to FIP, I'd say there's a good chance he improves.
2013 Season Preview:
Johnson was one of the two starting pitchers acquired in the 12-player mega-deal with the Miami Marlins. The 6’6 right-hander from Minnesota has the build and talent to be the ace of this staff, but he is heading into the season as the number four starter in the revamped Blue Jays rotation. As Johnson enters his free agent year, you can expect a monster season from the best number four starter in the game, and who could end up being with the Blue Jays for a little longer than 2013.
2013 Projected Role:
Will go into the 2013 season penciled in as the #4 starter, but that’s just to break up the lefties.  If Johnson stays healthy he could form a formidable trio along with Brandon Morrow & R.A. Dickey
2013 PECOTA Projections
174 IP, 12-11 W-L, 3.60 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 48.5 GB%.

J.A. Happ – LHP – 30 Years Old
By: Marshall Henson
2012 Stat Line –144.2 IP – 10-11 W-L, 4.01 FIP, 23.0 K%, 8.9 BB%, 44.0 GB%
2012 WAR: 0.7 rWAR. 1.7 fWAR. 2.7 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
J.A. Happ came over in a mid-season trade from Houston, in which Alex Anthopoulos provided Houston with depth prospects—but nothing noteworthy. At the time Happ was acquired the Jays had a rare good quality turn thru the rotation, so the Jays decided to use the lefty out of the bullpen. His stint in the bullpen didn’t last long, as he gave up 4 runs in 7 innings and as the rotation started to weaken, Happ was given a shot. He ended the year well, with an ERA near 4 after the all-star break, showing that he could definitely handle a spot in the Blue Jays’ 2013 starting rotation.
2013 Season Preview
I have all the faith in the world that J.A. Happ can be a #4 pitcher in the MLB, especially in the #5 spot. His height creates a great plain for the fastball, which he controls easily in the 92-89 range. Happ will take this job and run, giving the Jays the quality starts they would’ve loved from Ricky Romero in 2012. Being the fifth pitcher comes with less pressure from the fans to be crazy successful, but also comes with more pressure from the minors if they stumble. Happ could thrive under this scenario and be has a chance to be of the best number 5 in all of Major League Baseball.
2013 Projected Role
Ricky Romero’s continued struggles throughout the spring, combined with Happ’s success, led to the decision ending with Happ starting in Toronto as the fifth starter. If Happ provides solid innings it’s safe to assume he’ll maintain the year as the fifth starter.  However, if Happ were to struggle, the club could look to the minors for a replacement, in options like Ricky Romero and Justin Germano.
2013 PECOTA Projection
125.2 IP, 7-9 W-L, 4.90 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 39.6 GB%


Casey Janssen– RHP – 31 Years Old
By: Ewan Ross
2012 Stat Line:63.2 IP, 1-1 W-L, 22 Saves, 3.08 FIP, 27.7 K%, 4.5 BB%, 42.4 GB%, 2.67 WPA
2012 WAR:1.2 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR, 1.0 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
Coming into the 2012 season, Casey Janssen was expected to have the same role he held in 2011, namely that of primary setup man to newly acquired closer Sergio Santos.  All that went out the window when Santos went down with a shoulder injury in April, and Janssen was forced to be installed as the closer.  While Janssen doesn’t fit the conventional mold you typically see from closers, given his below average 25% K%, that didn’t stop him from having a spectacular year as the fireman in the Jays bullpen.  Relying on his plus command (a BB% lower than 5%), he locked down 22 of his 25 save opportunities.  Also unlike almost every other pitcher on the Jays roster, he stayed healthy for the duration of the season. 
2013 Season Preview
The question that Casey Janssen faces this season is the same one he’ll have as long as he retains the closer job.  Can a pitcher who misses as few bats as Janssen does be an effective closer?  I’d much rather see a strikeout artist in the 9th inning, since balls in play have a tendency to find more holes than strikeouts do.  That being said, if Janssen can continue to keep his walk rate below 5%, and keep hitters guessing with his deep arsenal, there is no reason to think Janssen won’t continue his run of success.
2013 Projected Role
Janssen will begin the year in the same role he held all of last year, that of the closer.  That may not be a permanent role this season.  If or when Sergio Santos proves himself healthy, you could see Janssen and him flip roles, and Janssen would return to the setup role he held in 2011.
2013 PECOTA Projection
55.2 IP, 3-1 W-L, 18 Saves, 8.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 48% GB%

Sergio Santos – RHP – 29 Years Old
By: Ewan Ross
2012 Stat Line:5 IP – 0-1 W-L, 2 Saves, 6.49 FIP, 16.7 K%, 16.7 BB%, 50.0 GB%, (-0.70)WPA
2012 WAR: -0.2 fWAR, -0.4 rWAR, -0.1 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
After being acquired via trade from the Chicago White Sox, there were very high expectations from the former Blue Jays draft pick.  Santos was expected to be installed as the closer, and provide a significant upgrade.  Unfortunately, his 2012 season was over almost before it started.  After just five incredibly ineffective innings, he was shut down with season ending shoulder surgery.  This is hardly surprising since, like most converted position players, Santos’ mechanics are disastrous.  After undergoing surgery in mid-July, and rehabbing all off-season he is back ready to go at the start of 2013. 
2013 Season Preview
Now with a clean bill of health, Santos is ready to continue his career.  While the words “shoulder surgery” should scare anyone with even a passing knowledge of pitcher health (hello, Dustin McGowan), Santos has looked quite promising in spring training despite quite poor statistics.  Given both his past injuries, as well as the cringe worthy mechanics you never know when he might wind up back on the disabled list, but let’s just keep our fingers crossed he can stay healthy and on the mound. 
When Santos is healthy he has the potential to be one of the best closers in baseball.  He showed this in 2011, converting 30 of his 36 save opportunities, and powered by his awe inspiring slider posted a strikeout % of more than 35%.  If he can return to his 2011 form, Santos could be a key element of the Jays revamped bullpen.
2013 Projected Role
Santos will start the year as the primary right handed setup man to closer Casey Janssen.  As the season progresses we might see those roles flipped, since Santos has the more conventional stuff you would expect from your closer.  One last thing, is that because of the injuries we might see Santos’ workload restricted at least early on in the season.
2013 PECOTA Projection
43 IP, 2-1 W-L, 16 Saves, 10.7 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 42% GB%

Darren Oliver – LHP – 42 Years Old

By: Ewan Ross
2012 Stat Line:56.2 IP – 3-4 W-L, 2 Saves, 2.95 FIP, 23.5 K%, 6.8 BB%, 44.2 GB%, 1.58 WPA
2012 WAR:1.1 fWAR, 1.9 bWAR, 0.5 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
Darren Oliver continues to fight off the impending doom that father time has in mind for the rest of the human population.  Remarkably at the age of 41, he managed to put together the best season of his career.  He was managed very carefully by the Blue Jays staff so as to minimize strain on his old man arm, such as not being used on back to back days.  While this kept his innings total down, that can also be credited to a certain degree with his stellar production.
2013 Preview
While there was heavy speculation during the offseason that Oliver would call it a career, he is indeed back for an incredible 19th major league season.  Oliver projects to be the primary left handed setup man in the Blue Jays bullpen, and should see similar restrictions on his usage that he saw last season.  However, unlike last season, the Jays go into 2013 with a full complement of 3 left handed relievers (in addition to “fake lefty” Steve Delabar), so as to not be short handed on days when Oliver is unavailable. 
Of course the question with any 42 year old pitcher is if this is indeed the year that he loses the race against father time.  However, barring age related attrition there is very little to fear from Oliver, as he’s been one of the most consistent relief pitchers in MLB for the past 5 years.  He hasn’t posted an ERA north of 3 since 2008, and there’s no reason to think that should change this upcoming season. 
2013 Projected Role
Primary left handed setup man, and provide stellar leadership to the rest of the young relievers in the Jays bullpen.
2013 PECOTA Projection
51.2 IP, 3-1 W-L, 1 Save, 3.49 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 46% GB%

Steve Delabar – RHP – 29 Years Old
By: Ewan Ross
2012 Stat Line –66 IP, 4-3 W-L, 0 Saves, 4.08 FIP, 33.6 K%, 9.5 BB%, 42.9 GB%, (-0.57) WPA
2012 WAR:0.2 fWAR, 0.5 rWAR, 0.3 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
In 2012, Delabar continued his miracle return to baseball.  He had walked away from the game for two seasons after struggling with injuries.  After rocketing from A ball all the way to the major leagues in 2011, he established himself as a very capable member of the Seattle bullpen, before being acquired at the trade deadline in exchange for outfielder Eric Thames
2013 Season Preview
Delabar’s sky high strikeout rate, as well as his ability to face both left handed and right handed batters means he’ll play a major role in the Blue Jays bullpen.  While Delabar struggled with an increased HR rate, almost all those came off his slider, which was largely scrapped in the latter half of the year.  As long as Mr. Delabar relies on his plus fastball, and his nasty split change as his primary secondary offering I’m very positive on him this upcoming season.
2013 Projected Role
Primary 7th inning setup man, against both left handed, and right handed batters.
2013 PECOTA Projection –
51.2 IP, 2-1 W-L, 0 Saves, 4.23 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 43 GB%


Brett Cecil-LHP-26 years old

By: Gideon Turk
2012 Stat Line: 61.1 IP, 2-4 W-L, 0 SV, 5.03 FIP, 18.9 K%, 8.5 BB%, 37.0 GB%,  -1.20 WPA
2012 WAR: -0.3 rWAR. 0.1 fWAR. 0.4 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
Last season started off on the wrong foot for the lefty Cecil. He never built up his velocity in camp, and was sent down to AA New Hampshire to begin the season. After working his way back onto the Blue Jays roster, he struggled as a starter, and was sent back down to the minors in early August. But, when Brett came back up in September, he was brought up as a reliever, which in turn led to increased velocity and better results hope that over the course of a full season he could be a useful LOOGY.
2013 Season Preview
Brett is on the 25-man roster to begin the year, but might only be for a couple of weeks. He's the 3rd lefty in the bullpen behind both Darren Oliver and Aaron Loup, so work might be hard for him to find these next few games. After doing the "Steve Delabar" program in the off-season, Brett looks to use increased velocity and shorter outing to his advantage as he fights to stay on this team. If he does make it past mid-April, Brett should have a great year yielding the platoon advantage when he faces those lefties that Gibby is sure to put him in against.
2013 Projected Role
3rd lefty out of the pen. LOOGY. Mop-up guy. Long man. 7th-8th pitcher in the bullpen. Role up in the air until Brett Lawrie comes back from the disabled list. In competition with Jeffress to stay up with the big club.
2013 PECOTA Projection
30 IP, 1-1 W-L, 0 SV, 4.57 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 46.7 GB%

Esmil Rogers-RHP-27 years old
By: Gideon Turk
2012 Stat Line: 78.2 IP, 3-3 W-L, 0 SV, 3.48 FIP, 23.9 K%, 8.6 BB%, 47.4 GB%, 0.42 WPA
2012 WAR: 1.0 rWAR. 0.9 fWAR. 1.0 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
It was a tail of two seasons for the Dominican pitcher acquired last November by the Blue Jays. Through 25 innings last year in Colorado with the Rockies, Rogers pitched to an ERA over 8.00, and was then traded to the Indians. 44 appearances later, Rogers cut his ERA down to the mid-4's, increased his K% by 2% to over 24%, and cut his BB% by 8% to the mid 5-s. I guess you can say it was a nice second half for Rogers.
2013 Season Preview
Rogers comes into 2013 with a guaranteed role in the bullpen, and the faith of management to get guys out in big situations. Gibby will use his live arm late in the ball game to sit batters down, but Rogers is going to have to keep up his numbers from the second half last year if he wants to continue to get opportunities. The Jays aren't going to watch anybody fail at the big league level, and have good depth guys in AAA, so dominance is the only option for Esmil. As long as Colorado Rogers doesn't come back...
2013 Projected Role
Esmil is going to be used a lot this year, whether it be late in the game or as a mop up guy. He'll get his fair share if time on the mound, and because he's out of options, he's going to be given some rope as well.
2013 PECOTA Projection
43 IP, 2-1 W-L, 0 SV, 5.30 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 45.1 GB%

Jeremy Jeffress-RHP-25 years old

By: Gideon Turk
2012 Stat Line: 13.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0 SV, 4.07 FIP, 17.8 K%, 17.8 BB%, 47.8 GB%, -0.44 WPA
2012 WAR: -0.5 rWAR. 0.0 fWAR. -0.2 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
In the smallest of samples at the major league level (13.1 IP), Jeffress looked good, until his last two appearances, where he gave up 9 earned runs in 3 innings. Until then he had pitched well, averaging over a strike out per inning with an ERA under 1. In the minors, he had a 4.97 ERA, but still maintained that HIGH(hahahahaha) K/9 rate that comes when you throw 99 MPH consistently.
2013 Season Preview
Jeffress will be fighting with Brett Cecil until Lawrie comes back for the last bullpen spot, but Jeffress seems to have the advantage because of the numerous amount of lefties in the bullpen already, which makes Cecil redundant. If Jeffress cannot pick up his game from the spring where he did not look good at all, he'll be exposed to waivers, and likely picked up by the Astros, or Marlins, or Mets, or any 90+ loss teams. There will always be room in the majors for flamethrowers like Jeffress, but on a team looking for a championship like Toronto, there might not be one.
2013 Projected Role
7th-8th reliever until Lawrie comes back. Then threat of being exposed to waivers sets in. Long man if Cecil or Rogers not ready.
2013 PECOTA Projection
34.1 IP, 2-1 W-L, 0 SV, 5.22 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 5.9 BB/9, 49.9 GB%

Aaron Loup-LHP-25 years old
By: Gideon Turk
2012 Stat Line: 30.2 IP, 0-2 W-L, 0 SV, 1.92 FIP, 18.0 K%, 1.7 BB%, 55.4 GB%, 0.30 WPA
2012 WAR: 0.6 rWAR. 0.9 fWAR. 0.5 bbWAR
2012 Season in Review
Of all the rookies to make their major league debuts with the Blue Jays in 2012, Loup's performance was easily the best. He got half a season in with the big club workload wise(for a reliever of course), and was nothing short of fabulous. He never let the ball leave the park, struck guys out, and almost never put a guy on base via the walk. Of course, this was all in a small sample size, but his numbers were enough to earn him a spot in the bullpen out of the gate this season, even though he has options and other guys don't.
2013 Season Preview
There are a lot of questions about whether Loup will be able to continue his 2012 success in the future because of the cloud of whether or not he features "good stuff" or if it's just deception. Apparently they've lowered his arm slot even more, which has brought another uptick in velocity, and at the same time has increased his chances that he stays in Toronto all year. Another question about him is whether or not he'll be able to retire righties as proficiently as lefties, but only time will tell for exciting young pitcher.
2013 Projected Role
Loup will be the 2nd lefty out of the pen behind Darren Oliver, and as we saw yesterday in the opener, he should get some mop up time as well. He could still be sent down when Brett Lawrie comes back, but I wouldn't bet on it. The Blue Jays LOVE this guy. #LoveThisGuy
2013 PECOTA Projection
43 IP, 2-1 W-L, 0 SV, 5.31 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 46.5 GB%

That's it for the pitchers. Go Jays!