The Blue Jays enter their two-game set at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks 39-33, just 2.5 games back of the first-place Orioles
The Jays Nest Podcast is back for another week with Episode 79! Shaun Doyle of Jays From the Couch and I discuss Josh Donaldson‘s recent tear, Jose Bautista‘s toe, and what exactly the Blue Jays should do with the struggling Marcus Stroman
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Michael Saunders has arguably been the story of 2016 for the Toronto Blue Jays. The left-fielder has overcome a long injury history, culminating in his sprinkler-head accident last season, and a near-trade to the Los Angeles Angels to a 2.2 fWAR through 63 games with a .309 average and 15 home runs.
John Perrotto took a look at Saunders’ season for Today’s Knuckleball, which included an interesting view from an AL scout on how opposing pitchers may soon begin to challenge the lefty.
“He’s murdering inside fastballs,” he told Perrotta. “I’m surprised teams haven’t been going with soft stuff. If they start doing that then he’s really going to slow down.”
The hidden talent of Josh Donaldson
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Josh Donaldson is good at many things on a baseball field. Fielding, hitting, hairstyles, you name it. Dave Cameron uncovered another area of Donaldson’s dominance for FanGraphs, however:
Donaldson was last thrown out attempting to steal a base in early June, 2013. In the last three years, Donaldson leads the league in efficiency among players who have attempted at least 20 stolen bases, going a perfect 22-for-22. Base-running is criminally undervalued part of the game, but this is a great lesson that being a quality base-runner can often be more valuable than simple speed.
Going all the way back with Donaldson
Most Blue Jays fans know the story of Josh Donaldson, a late-bloomer who, like Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, did not fully reach his potential until later in his 20s. The fine details of that story, though, aren’t discussed often enough. Kyle Matte brings you through that story with this great piece for BP Toronto which not only follows Donaldson’s journey, but considers how he was impacted by player development (speaking of topics that don’t get enough attention…).
Storen inching back into form
For Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling takes a look at Drew Storen and his recent change of fortune on the mound. Storen is finding new ways to produce outs, and in his last 10 outings (10.1 IP) the right-hander holds a 1.74 ERA with nine strikeouts. This is still a work in progress, but one that is finally trending in the right direction.
Checking in on Pentecost
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi recently published a great profile of Blue Jays top catching prospect Max Pentecost and the difficult road he’s faced through the early parts of his career. After dealing with multiple shoulder injuries and procedures, Pentecost is now DH’ing for the Lansing Lugnuts as he builds his strength to get back behind the plate.
“We’ve worked on a bunch of things that’s really improved it,” he told Davidi, “the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of success and I’m all the way up to 120 feet with no pain on back to back days. It’s a really bright future. It’s going to be great to get back in there because … catching is where I’m most comfortable.”