Blue Jays Morning Brew: Welcome to trade deadline month!
Happy Canada Day, Blue Jays fans, and welcome back to the Morning Brew! There’s an inspiring new feeling around this 2015 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays as July opens with the club squarely in playoff contention and seemingly 1-2 pieces away from a true push. Alex Anthopoulos has not backed down from suggesting that the Blue Jays will be aggressive, but will it come to fruition? When, and for who?
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Recent history offers trade deadline lessons: Over at Sportsnet.ca, Shi Davidi suggests that Toronto’s offseason acquisitions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin show that the organization won’t be afraid to make another big investment, both in terms of money and assets.
Martin, of course, came with the heavy price tag of $82 million over five years. Davidi also points out that the Blue Jays gave up four players with 21 years of team control for Donaldson in Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto. Regarding this deal and his philosophy on the trade market, Anthopoulos told Jeff Blair “it’s better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.” Who will be this July’s wonderful company?
Also on Jays Journal: How does Toronto’s lineup stack up against quality pitching?
Matt Boyd and the fluctuating curveball: Kevin Ruprecht from SB Nation’s Beyond the Box Score took an interesting look at the curveball of Matt Boyd, which his title describes as “both amazing and terrible”. Ruprecht offers up two great examples of the five curveballs thrown by Boyd in his first start.
The first, representing the “amazing”, came on a strikeout to Joey Gallo where Boyd leaned into a beautiful curve that froze the batter. The horizontal break on this pitched moved it away from Gallo after freezing him out of the hand. In the second example, repressing the “terrible” realm, Boyd’s curve to Robinson Chirinos hangs flat and is taken yard. It’s worth nothing that Chirinos was batting right-handed compared to Gallo from the left side, and that Boyd seemed intent on keeping the curveball away. It didn’t work.
Blue Jays sign high-ceiling OF Reggie Pruitt: Blue Bird Banter’s MjwW brings us this great breakdown on Reggie Pruitt, the Blue Jays 24th round draft pick who surprisingly signed with the team on Monday. After being ranked in the top-150 prospects by many scouts, the blazing fast Pruitt plummeted in the draft due to widespread concerns that he would not sign.
MjwW sums it up well: “Ultimately, this pick is a lottery ticket, as if Pruitt’s hitting ability doesn’t develop then it’s difficult to leverage defensive and baserunning abilities beyond perhaps a role/bench position. Conversely, if things come together than he can be an all-around, impact MLB player.”
Pruitt certainly fits the type of young outfielder that Anthopoulos has targeted recently, and can be loosely grouped in with the likes of Dalton Pompey, Anthony Alford and D.J. Davis. If Pruitt’s bat clicks he could shoot up prospect boards, but until that point he will be an extremely raw developmental project. With his tools, this move is well worth it.
Toronto’s most deceptive pitches: Kyle Matte of Capital Jays gives us one Hell of a breakdown when he looks at the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff and their most deceptive individual pitches. Kyle isn’t necessarily looking for the best pitch, but instead to “discern the level of difficulty in distinguishing pitches upon release based upon how frequently they are swung at within versus outside the strike zone.” You’ll see .gifs and valuable analysis on Aaron Sanchez, Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar and more.
The Blue Jays as a family: Over at the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliot gives us an eye-opening story on Blue Jays manager of community marketing and player relations Holly Purdon Gentemann, and the team that has rallied around her since the sudden passing of her father on June 17th.
Upon hearing the news, past and present players reached out to Holly through text messages, including manager John Gibbons. “John Gibbons sent me a text saying how the ‘team is like a second family, we spend so much time at the park we spent more time there than with our own family,” she told Elliot.
What leaped off the screen in this article was the presence of one particular Blue Jay at her father’s wake on Friday, during which time the Blue Jays were playing the Baltimore Orioles back home at the Rogers Centre. Mark Buehrle travelled with several front office employees to Kingston to attend the wake. I looked on Friday night, there was Mark and people from the office and I bawled my eyes out,” Holly said.
If there’s a better man than Mark Buehrle in this league, I haven’t found him yet.
Next: Blue Jays WUTS: Encarnacion to Seattle for Walker?