Toronto Blue Jays news and notes for Monday, January 30th
Jays Nest Podcast, Ep. 106
If you thought the Jose Bautista podcast was a wild ride, wait until you get a load of the Jarrod Saltalamacchia episode! (Perhaps marketing is my true calling). Regardless, Shaun Doyle of Jays From the Couch and I break down Toronto’s new picture at backup catcher for your listening pleasure right here.
It’s also top prospect season. We’re counting down our own top-30 and the league-wide top-100 lists are releasing, so Shaun and I discuss where the Blue Jays’ system is at and look at five of the top Blue Jays’ pitching prospects (including some sleepers)
Subscribe using the links below and get the show delivered right to your device for the arguably fair price of $0.00 each and every week.
Stroman feeling strong
Blue Jays’ starter Marcus Stroman tells Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith that his left knee, where he tore his ACL in 2015, is feeling much stronger after a full season of work.
“It’s going to allow me to do a lot of things: velocity, go deeper into games, be more accurate,” Stroman told Sportsnet. “I take pride in my body and it’s at a point now where I can take some huge strides this year.”
Stroman’s early numbers did not meet his high expectations in 2016, but he was much better later in the season and worked 204 regular season innings. His improvements this year will go a long way in holding off any overall regression from the starting rotation, and Stroman should be a lock for another 200 strong innings.
Power around the horn
The Blue Jays’ infield will still hold a ton of pop, even with the departure of Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland. Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com breaks down that infield picture here, including the platoon possibilities at first base with Justin Smoak and Steve Pearce.
Pearce, whose signing has slipped under the radar for much of the off-season, is a menace against lefties but has struggled to stay healthy or seize full-time roles throughout his career. He’s set himself up for an excellent chance, however, and if his glove plays well enough at first, he’ll could have a chance to eat into Smoak’s at-bats early on.
Vladdy Jr. tops the Blue Jays’ entrants to MLB’s top-100
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. cracked the MLB’s top-100 prospect list at No. 34 this past weekend and was joined by Sean Reid-Foley (64), Anthony Alford (70), and Richard Urena (94). Joe Trezza has a breakdown of the Blue Jays’ picks here for MLB.com.
Guerrero was ranked 48th by Keith Law for ESPN, but after a full season of ball in 2017, where he’ll still be 18 for the entirety of the season, the young star has a legitimate shot at cracking top-10 lists next season.
Sickels ranks the top-20
John Sickels of Minor League Ball recently released his own list of the top-20 Blue Jays prospects with analysis, which is another great voice to add to the conversation. You can read John’s rankings here.
A fond farewell
The end of January marks the end of my time steering the ship at Jays Journal, as I’ll be moving on to work with MLB.com as their associate Blue Jays reporter for the 2017 season.
You’ll still see my name atop the odd piece leading up to opening day, but after 1,500+ articles over the past three-plus years, there won’t be many more. My hope is that, on the good days, Jays Journal helped you become a better baseball fan, and on the bad days, Jays Journal was the distraction you were looking for.
So please follow me down the road @KeeganMatheson, and most of all — thank you.