13 Blue Jays Thoughts: Late Spring Training
These thoughts on their own weren’t enough for full articles so I present them here in this epic random, but still somewhat connected, list of musings.
I’ll just give this caveat once for this article as a catch-all: Spring training stats are insignificant statistically but are very significant for roster decisions. So while the sample sizes are very small, it’s pretty much all we and management have to base things off.
A Baker’s Dozen thoughts:
1. Steven Tolleson won’t be denied. He has come on very strong in the past few games. Slotting him as the backup outfielder until Saunders’ return would be one way to spare him from the waiver wire. They could then attempt to stash him in the minors or have him take over if Ryan Goins struggles. One big knock against him has been his struggles against righties. But thus far this spring, he’s gone 6/19 with 2/3 of his homers against righties. Does that mean he’s now an even splits guy? Obviously no, but it’s encouraging. Kevin Pillar and Danny Valencia have also made strides with their weaker split.
2. Is it time for a bold trade? Pat Gillick made a few key, audacious swaps in his day to put the Jays over the top. Is it time for similar moves now? This idea may sound like heresy but consider it: Edwin Encarnacion should be a full time DH at this point in his career and has back troubles. You’d be selling him near his peak value. Offence is never really a problem at Rogers Centre. Imagine what you could get in return to help you prevent runs (which is usually the Blue Jays’ issue). It would be risky and initially unpopular but so was the Carter/Alomar/McGriff/Fernandez swap. I like Edwin and he’s got a tremendous bat but the Jays could use his value to subtract from an area of abundance to address an area of need.
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3. Devon Travis (via Anthony Gose via Brett Wallace via Michael Taylor) and half of R.A Dickey/Josh Thole are the remaining traces of Roy Halladay.
4. Regarding Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro’s age: Since 2005, there have been eighteen players who have pitched a ball in their 20 (and under) year old season. So yes, such pitchers are rare but there is fairly recent precedent for pitching success by a <21 year old in MLB. The success stories have included Jose and Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Rick Porcello and Madison Bumgarner. Relievers this young have been even rarer. Arodys Vizcaino, Marcos Carvajal and Jenrry Mejia have been about the only ones in the last 10 years. Of course, the door is far from closed to Osuna and Castro returning to starting in the future.
5. Worst idea of the spring goes to an unnamed gentleman who suggested that the Blue Jays should deal Castro for Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez…sigh
6. The Blue Jays will begin the season with 6 rookies. That many rookies is not really out of necessity (that’s a good sign). It’s not like Travis, Osuna and Castro are on the team because there weren’t other options. They played their way on. The Jays could easily have broken camp with 3 rookies instead of 6. The rookie situation is not as extreme as it sounds. If Travis, Osuna and Castro struggle, there’s Maicer Izturis, Muni, Steve Delabar, Chad Jenkins et al.
7. The 2014 Giants had 6 rookies on their World Series roster.
8. Joe Beimel, Matt Lindstrom and Jared Burton are free agents again. Would be worth a look for a minor league signing after the article xx(b) deadline.
9. Ryan Goins, just give us a 70 wRC+. That’s all. The glove can do the rest.
10. Guess which team has the lowest WHIP this spring? Your Toronto Blue Jays. 1.15
11. The Jays’ current payroll for 2015 is 127.3m. Add to that ~3.5m in J.A Happ/Michael Saunders equalization payments and 2-4 million set aside for injuries/contingencies. I’m no Fields medal winner but 132.8 is not a higher number than 137. 137m was the payroll last year and Beeston promised over and over that it would rise this year.
12. Most surprising underperformance: Could be Ezequiel Carrera or Wilton Lopez but I’m going with Chadwick Jenkins. The incumbent reliever was expected to push hard for a more permanent role. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him lots this season though.
13. Most surprising over-performance: Could be Castro, Osuna, Bo Schultz or Caleb Gindl but I’ll give it to Colt Hynes. We knew Castro and Osuna were good but did anyone foresee Hynes having this in him?