I mentioned in last week’s edition that, with Melky Cabrera possibly hitting the DL, the Jays should absolutely not call up Anthony Gose as a replacement since, quite frankly, his play of late could be equated to horse dung. So, when Cabrera, heroically, decided to play through the pain, I thought that would be that. Imagine my surprise then, when I belatedly realized Gose had been called up anyways, to be ‘used primarily as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner.’ Soooooo, Rajai Davis then?
As this is a complete waste, although he did replace a reliever which is no bad thing, the Jays have obviously done it to piss me off after I unequivocally said they shouldn’t. So, this week’s edition will test the big club’s resolve further by making a few more suggestions which AA and co. should definitely NOT DO.
1) I touched on this one as well last week. It was a brief touching though, and before I knew the Jays were doing the opposite, so bears repeating. Josh Thole should absolutely NOT be promoted to the big club. I know his .336/.411/.496 slash line looks good optically, but hey, it’s AAA. So doesn’t really count. Although getting on base seems to be an issue for Jays catchers, with JPA’s .239 OBP leaving him dead last amongst qualified catchers, and Henry ‘Good Guy’ Blanco coming in at a slightly better at .242 in, admittedly, a small sample size, why call up a player who seems to thrive on getting on base? Thole’s .411 OBP is the eighth highest in the International League, and if we’re being petty, is only .070 behind the COMBINED percentage of Blanco and Arencibia. Interestingly, the average age of the seven players ahead of Josh is 28, so really the definition of ‘replacement player’. Which is exactly the value being provided by the Jays current catching tandem with JPA checking in at 0.2 WAR and Blanco at -0.2.
This is a no brainer, Blanco and his sage advice should stay.
definitely ready. Regular readers to this column may now be calling bull-poo. Weren’t you the guy that last week said (in regards to Nolin), and I quote, ‘I’d love to see how he would fare against big league hitting.’ Of course I would, however, I should have added a postscript stating that this would be ‘in the future.’ Nolin has now logged a mere 30.1 innings at double A, and although they have been very good, he still needs time to build arm strength and mature as a pitcher. It is worrying that, as per Shi Davidi’s tweet (linked on last week’s post) he could very well be in Toronto if another injury occurs (or management realizes that Ramon Ortiz stinks). Marc Hulet over at fangraphs also raises some very important points regarding a possible Nolin promotion from a business standpoint. There is no point in burning one of his option years when there are other routes open to the Jays.
One of those potential routes is Marcus Stroman. Admittedly this is a long shot at best, but AA did state prior to the season that Stroman would begin his year (post suspension) in Dunedin where he’d be stretched out as a starter. He’s already one level higher, debuting with New Hampshire. Does this mean he’s that much closer to the bigs? Who knows. Management were very impressed with his spring training appearance against Boston. And if he were to be used in a relief role, he probably could be in the bigs very soon. The point of stretching him out as a starter though, is to stretch him out. The minor leagues is the best place for Marcus right now. Let’s hope, and I’m sure they do, management agrees.
3) With Anthony Gose rightfully called up to the bigs, Eugenio Velez, the thirty-one year old career minor leaguer is definitely the right choice to replace him. I may be being a bit harsh in saying he is a ‘career’ minor leaguer. He has played 259 games in the bigs, where, according to fangraphs.com measurements he has put up a Henry Blanco like -0.2 WAR. So, effectively, a sub-replacement level. Therefore, I can totally see why he is getting the reps in Buffalo and not Kevin Pillar who has been tearing up double-A. Let me qualify that somewhat, Pillar doesn’t hit for a lot of power. But he is a prospect. Marc Hulet had him in his Blue Jays top fifteen (albeit after the Miami Marlins trade which saw that top fifteen lose a few names). He is a player that grows on you, and admittedly he as grown on me, as I named my Sleeper Prospect List after him. So I may be biased. And lord knows I am not fully cognizant of the machinations of running a minor league organization. But seriously??! Eugenio Velez. Give me a break.
4) The Adam Loewen experiment needs to end. This is more of a personal one for me. I’ve met Adam, had beers with him, he’s a nice guy, from Surrey, etc etc. I want to him succeed. His numbers in New Hampshire suggest that is not happening. His 36.4% K rate is not pretty, but he does take a walk, and can hit for a bit of power. And hey, the pipe dream that R.A. Dickey can teach him the knuckleball is still alive for me. Spring training 2014, book it.