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Blue Jays Top Prospect Interviews

Jays From the Couch sits down with two of the Toronto Blue Jays’ top prospects, Conner Greene and Rowdy Tellez

 

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This past weekend the Toronto Blue Jays organization put together a wonderful treat for their fans in Buffalo, NY. In a joint effort with the Buffalo Bisons the event on January 24th, was held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo. Luckily, we here at Jays From the Couch were granted access to the event, and able to secure some excellent interviews with a few players.

 

Our first interview features a conversation with pitching stud, Conner Greene. With Greene finishing each of the last two seasons with Double-A New Hampshire, it is not unreasonable to determine he could start the 2017 season with the Fisher Cats. Should his progression remain steady a trip to Triple-A Buffalo, and perhaps a Toronto September call-up could be warranted. Greene discussed his progress and his new mentor.

CHECK OUT FULL INTERVIEW at Jays From the Couch

 

In our second interview, Rowdy Tellez talks to our Catherine Stem about his approach to hitting, coaching and much more! The addition of Rowdy Tellez to the Buffalo Bisons roster has some Blue Jays fans celebrating the talent coming up through the minor league system. Shaun Doyle wrote about his impressive season in New Hampshire with the AA Fisher Cats and The Toronto Blue Jays have certainly been keeping an eye on him. That has bred the hope that he could, sometime in the future, be a replacement of sorts for the power bat of Edwin Encarnacion, a point made by Ryan Mueller HERE.

CHECK OUT FULL INTERVIEW at Jays From the Couch

 

 

TORONTO BLUE JAYS FANS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET

 

FANS OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET ABOUT 2017 AFTER THE WAY THIS OFFSEASON HAS PLAYED OUT

 

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It has been a rather emotional offseason for many fans of the Toronto Blue Jays. As of right now, we seem to have lost out on Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Brett Cecil and not landed Dexter Fowler and others. People are livid. Earlier today, our James Dailey wrote that everyone really needs to calm down and take a step back for a second. James did a good job of using numbers to show how the Blue Jays actually aren’t as bad as we might think. It was a refreshing piece, honestly.

 

But, the problem is that fans DO have a right to be upset about how this offseason has gone and how management has gone about setting themselves up to repeat the success of the last two seasons…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

TORONTO BLUE JAYS POLL: WIN NOW, OR…?

 

WITH RUMORS OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS’ INTEREST IN ANDREW MCCUTCHEN, WE POLL OUR READERS: YOU COMFORTABLE MORTGAGING THE FUTURE TO WIN NOW?

 

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So, the Toronto Blue Jays look to be close to doing “something” soon, according to Stephen Brunt, who was on Sportsnet 960 The Fan in Calgary on Tuesday. All of this, of course passed on by Ian Hunter over at Blue Jay Hunter, so a hearty “Thank you” to him for the relay. And, what that something is could be anyone’s guess. But, one idea that has been floated before, and doesn’t seem to want to go away is the idea of trading for Pirates OF, Andrew McCutchen. But, it won’t come cheap: Vladimir Guerrero Jr!

In any trade talks this winter, we knew that it would cost a rather significant chunk of Toronto’s prospect capital. Names like Anthony Alford, Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, and even Rowdy Tellez were among the names we knew would have to be included in any deal of substance. And, some folks would be willing to part with a couple of those names if it means winning in 2017. But this one is a bit jarring.

TAKE THE POLL at Jays From the Couch

TORONTO BLUE JAYS & RUN PREVENTION, THEY’RE GONNA NEED IT!

 

JAYS FROM THE COUCH LOOKS AT THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS ABILITY TO MAKE UP FOR LOST HR POWER WITH RUN PREVENTION IN 2017

 

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The long and short of it is that teams can make up 20 HR in today’s game rather cheaply easily, so paying through the teeth for 35 HR doesn’t make much sense. Why pay so much more for what is only a small increase in the long ball. Guys who hit that many home runs have to be able to offer another skill set in order to be perceived as having value these days. The most obvious of those skill sets comes on the other side of the ball- defense.

 

Specifically, we are starting to see executives put more value on run prevention. If you can prevent a few more runs in a season, you don’t need to see as many leave the park. It is a logical approach- one that seems to be taking hold across baseball. This ‘renaissance’, if you will, is due to the advanced metrics, etc that teams pay lots of money for and keep close to their vests. Everyone has their system.

 

All of the above got me thinking about how the Toronto Blue Jays will look in 2017…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

TORONTO BLUE JAYS FANS SHOULD GET READY FOR JANUARY SIGNINGS

 

FANS OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS SHOULD BRACE THEMSELVES FOR THE JANUARY SIGNINGS THAT WILL LIKELY HAPPEN AS MILB DEALS WILL BE HANDED OUT

 

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Oh, man! The fans are restless. There is much disappointment to be found in the land of the Toronto Blue Jays. Things have not gone as hoped this offseason, and the club is left with some major holes to fill. The options available has changed dramatically from when this offseason began and it has taken its toll on those who were pining for big moves. It has caused many to wonder if there is any hope of contending in the AL East in 2017, the dreams of postseason glory fading rather quickly.

 

The signings of Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce (Hey! Don’t forget about Gavin Floyd!) have not done enough to alleviate the rage over losing out on Edwin Encarnacion and the potential of losing out on Jose Bautista. Those are holes too big to fill the way the club has tried to. That is not even mentioning the chasm that exists in the Toronto’s bullpen. Simply, many feel that, through their offseason efforts, the club has actually made the team less competitive. Rightly, or wrongly, there is a lot of disappointment.

 

That is why January is not going to make things any better. Not. One. Bit…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

DEVON TRAVIS: THE KEY TO THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS’ SUCCESS IN 2017

 

IF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS ARE GOING TO SUCCEED IN 2017, A HEALTHY RETURN FROM DEVON TRAVIS WILL BE THE REASON

 

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The staff here at Jays From the Couch will be able to have their own selection for the player they think will be the key to the Blue Jays’ 2017 success. Likely, they will not share my enthusiasm for the importance of Travis. I’ll also acknowledge that as readers (and fans) you will likely have your own ideas as to who will be of importance moving forward. Feel free to share those thoughts in the comment section and look out for future posts to see if our staff chose the same player(s).

 

OK, so Devon Travis. Here’s the thing: it’s rather difficult to pinpoint exactly what the Blue Jays will see from him in 2017. In his 2 years of big league ball, he’s really only played one season. After missing 100 games in 2015, he would turn around and miss 61 contests in the last campaign. Missing this kind of time tends to paint a picture of being prone to injuries. But, we can’t say that about Travis. The injuries he suffered were caused by unusual anatomical issues that he really couldn’t do anything about. I mean, he couldn’t avoid having bones grow weirdly in his shoulder, especially when he only noticed it after taking a groundball off the shoulder. No, the type of injuries he has dealt with make him a special case; one exempt from the injury prone label…for now. It is for that reason that any further conversation comes with the qualifier of him being healthy. This goes without saying…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

TORONTO BLUE JAYS HOT STOVE: GAVIN FLOYD RETURNS ON MINOR-LEAGUE PACT

 

THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS ARE BRINGING BACK GAVIN FLOYD ON A MINOR LEAGUE DEAL, HOPING HE CAN CONTRIBUTE IN 2017

 

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While much of the Blue Jays fan base reacts to the Cleveland Indians press conference introducing ex-Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays front office snuck an old friend back into the organization today on a minor-league deal. Gavin Floyd will be returning to the Blue Jays with an invite to Spring Training and as it stands right now – a likely spot on the roster come April.

 

Floyd pitched well in 2016 and posted decent numbers aside from a few blow-ups. In April he posted a 1.74 ERA over 10.1 innings, recovering from a rough start and eventually posting eight strikeouts to three walks and four hits for the rest of the month. In May he battled with the long ball, giving up four dingers in just 12.2 IP, but still maintaining a K/9 over 9.00…

 

READ FULL POST  at Jays From the Couch

TORONTO BLUE JAYS & JOSE BAUTISTA: ASSUMPTIONS ARE NOT SAFE

 

WHEN IT COMES TO A REUNION BETWEEN JOSE BAUTISTA AND THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS, IT IS NOT SAFE TO ASSUME IT IS INEVITABLE.

 

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At this point, the Toronto Blue Jays have few options to fill their outfield vacancies. To be more accurate, they have few options to fill the outfield holes beyond the current “in house” options. That means that, as things currently stand, the club will have to figure out how to fill out the lineup card using a mixture of Ezequiel Carrera, Melvin Upton Jr. and/or Dalton Pompey. Obviously, this is less than ideal.

 

As it turns out, Jose Bautista appears to have even fewer options. He remains on the market and appears to have seen his list of suitors shrinking more and more. Whether it is due to his asking price, his age, his ‘down year’, or his perceived “attitude problem”, or a combination of the above, he is still waiting for a deal. We’ve heard that he could be willing to take a one year deal at this point…

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

 

 

TORONTO BLUE JAYS MANAGER, JOHN GIBBONS: HOW HOT IS HIS SEAT?

 

JANUARY 1 HAS PASSED AND THAT USED TO MEAN ANOTHER YEAR FOR TORONTO BLUE JAYS MANAGER, JOHN GIBBONS. NOW, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT.

 

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Over the last few seasons, we’d be watching semi-closely as the calendar flipped to a new year. Doing so would trigger a clause in the contract of Toronto Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons. In a stroke of genius, Gibby, would be rewarded for not being fired. If he were still employed by the club on Jan 1, an extra year would be added to his contract, giving him 2 more years of pay.

 

Under new management, that clause has been removed from his deal. The removal of that clause would see him get a small raise to make up for the lack of security. And, before anyone could blame Mark Shapiro for this, Gibby told everyone that it was something he approached former GM, Alex Anthopoulos about. It is easy to see why the new deal would benefit both parties. For Gibby, it allows him to pursue other options should he feel the need; he is not locked in to staying with Toronto year after year. For the club, it also allows them to shift gears should they feel the need…

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

TORONTO BLUE JAYS RUMOR: CLUB INTERESTED IN BRETT GARDNER

ONE RUMOR HAS THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS INTERESTED IN MOVING ON FROM JOSE BAUTISTA & TRADING FOR BRETT GARDNER, WHICH JAYS FROM THE COUCH DEBUNKS.

 

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Well, here we go! A new year and some not so new tricks. Apparently, when it comes to the baseball offseason, there is no point in setting resolutions. The same old stuff keeps happening, year after year. This time around, the Toronto Blue Jays may find themselves in the middle of a rumor…again. Though, this one seems a little weak.

 

According to Ashley Varela of NBC Sports, Toronto is not interested in Jose Bautista anymore because they’ve moved on to coveting Yankees outfielder, Brett Gardner

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

ON BLUE JAYS & PLUNDERING THE PIRATES FOR LEFTY RELIEF HELP

 

JAYS FROM THE COUCH LOOKS AT THE POSSIBILITY OF THE BLUE JAYS EXPLORING SOME OF THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES POSSIBLE BULLPEN TRADE PIECES.

 

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On Monday, JP Morosi tweeted out some nuggets on the Blue Jays longing for lefty help out of the bullpen, mentioning interest in Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan. These are names that have been mentioned on Jays From the Couch before (Blevins here and Logan here), but Morosi went further to whet the mouths of Blue Jays fans with reported interest in recently-crowned World Series Champion, Travis Wood.

A tweet and poll later on Monday afternoon over from Pirates Breakdown led to some interesting thoughts in regards to acquiring lefty relief. The Pirates bullpen is a honey hole of strong left-handed relievers, enough that the team will likely consider moving at least one this offseason. Tony Watson and Antonio Bastardo highlight the list, but Pirates Prospects blogger Tim Williams also mentions Felipe Rivero, Wade Leblanc and Tyler Webb all as possible candidates to be dealt…

 

READ FULL POST on Jays From the Couch

On Mike Bolsinger as Blue Jays Pitching Depth

 

JAYS FROM THE COUCH PROFILES MIKE BOLSINGER AS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS PITCHING DEPTH IN 2017

 

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There is no way we can expect that the Toronto Blue Jays will be as lucky as they were in 2016. Where a normal year for a normal team necessitates the use of 8 or 9, or more, different starters to get through a season, Toronto got by on using just 7, with Drew Hutchison (2) and Francisco Liriano (8) being the only two “extra starters”. The starting 5 of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ and R.A. Dickey combined for 152 starts. It was an exceptional display of health.

 

One of the guys who would be called upon, should this trend not continue, is Mike Bolsinger. The Blue Jays brought him into the organization mid way through the 2016 season and have stashed him in AAA. But, he is now out of options and will have to be given a spot on the club, or be exposed to waivers- where he would surely be claimed. Teams are always looking for pitching depth. Bolsinger provides that, if nothing else…

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

Blue Jays Front Office Guesses Right on Market for Dynamic Duo

 

WHEN IT COMES TO JOSE BAUTISTA AND EDWIN ENCARNACION, THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS’ FRONT OFFICE HAS PROVEN TO BE BETTER JUDGES OF OFFSEASON MARKET

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It’s winter, alright. Spring seems so far away as we hunker down for some cold, snow and ice. What seems even further away was last spring when the Toronto Blue Jays were in a position to negotiate contract extensions for their Dynamic Duo, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. At the time, the talk of contracts overshadowed Spring Training, ending in nothing but a lot of hot air. No deals were struck and we entered the 2016 season trying not to accept that it could be the last for these two in Toronto.

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Houston Astros

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME WE SIT DOWN WITH ASTROS COUNTY TO CHAT HOUSTON ASTROS.

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This MLB Wrap Up features James from Astros County as he gives us his take on the 2016 season the ‘Stros had. They finished 3rd in the AL West, 11 games back of the Texas Rangers and ended up missing the Wild Card spot by 5 games. Once again, Jose Altuve was a bright spot for Houston as he hit himself right into the mix of AL MVP considerations.

JFtC: If you could sum up the Houston Astros’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

James: It was frustrating. Oh, a paragraph? Okay. For the first time in ten years Astros fans had some expectations about a legitimate postseason run…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Brewers

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WARP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH CHRIS ZANTOW TO GET INSIGHT INTO THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS

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This MLB Wrap features some great insight into a team we might not have been paying much attention to in 2016. Chris Zantow does a nice job of wrapping up the Milwaukee Brewers 2016 season for us. The Brewers finished well back of the race in the NL Central division at 73-89, 30.5 games back of the Cubs. They were also 14 games back of the Wild Card. That said, we can’t really call the season a disappointment if expectations weren’t that high to begin with.

JFtC:  If you could sum up Milwaukee’s season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Chris: The season was all about development of young players and seeing what General Manager David Stearns and Manager Craig Counsell could do with a full year in their roles…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Giants

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH THE GIANTS COVE TO DISCUSS THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

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This MLB Wrap Up features a discussion with Richard Dyer of The Giants Cove and his interesting thoughts on how his San Francisco Giants made out in 2016. They finished at 87-75, in 2nd place behind the Dodgers. They managed to snag the second Wild Card spot and played the New York Mets. The Giants would win that pitcher’s duel, but go on to lose to the eventual World Series winners, the Chicago Cubs.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up San Francisco’s season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Richard: The San Francisco Giants’ 2016 season was an extension of their 2015 season (and their doo-da lucky 2014 championship season): mediocrity on the field; no vision, creativity, or leadership in the front office…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Cardinals

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH CARDS ONCLAVE TO CHAT ST LOUIS CARDINALS

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For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Daniel Shoptaw of Cards Conclave to get his thoughts on the 2016 season for the St Louis Cardinals. The Cards finished 10 games above .500, and many would consider 2016 a disappointment. They trailed the Cubs by 17.5 to finish in 2nd spot in the National League Central and they missed the Wild Card spot by a single game.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up the Cards’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Daniel: It was a frustrating year for the Cardinals, summed up by the fact that they only reached 10 games over .500 on the last day of the season, and that still wound up keeping them one game away from a shot at the playoffs…..

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Detroit Tigers

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU MLB WRAP UPS. THIS EDITION, WE CHAT WITH TOTALLY TIGERS TO GET PERSPECTIVE ON THE DETROIT TIGERS

 

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For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Kurt Snyder and Holly Horning of Totally Tigers to talk about the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers finished 8 games back of Cleveland in the AL Central and seemed like they would take one if the Wild Card spots, but ended up 2.5 games back in that race. Led by Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers fell short, but were pleasantly surprised by rookie, Michael Fulmer.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up the Tigers’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

TT: Injuries had an unusual 2-sided effect on the Tigers. They closed some doors but opened others….

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Pirates

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH PIRATES BREAKDOWN TO CHAT BUCCOS!

 

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This time, we chatted with Jason Rollison, the founder of Pirates Breakdown to get his take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They had an interesting year, finishing 8.5 games out of the National League Wild Card spot and a whopping 25 games back of the Cubs, who won 103. After a few years of hanging around the playoff picture, the Pirates took a step back in 2016. They’re an intriguing squad that is looking to get back the postseason and maybe even surpassing their Wild Card run.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up the Pirates’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

PBD: The Pittsburgh Pirates returned a lot of their 98-win team from 2015. Unfortunately that alone could not save the team from dropping off to the tune of 20 less wins in 2016…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Red Sox

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH OFF THE BENCH BASEBALL AND DISCUSS THE BOSTON RED SOX

 

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For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Ari Glantz of Off the Bench Baseball to chat about the 2016 AL East Champion, Boston Red Sox. After signing David Price to a mega-deal, lots of things went right for this team as they climbed the standings late in the season to snatch the division title from the Blue Jays. They rode an amazing season from David Ortiz and an MVP type season from Mookie Betts.

 

JFtCIf you could sum up the Red Sox season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Ari: David Ortiz, David Ortiz, David Ortiz. (Is that a paragraph?) At times for better, at others for worse, this was the season of Big Papi….

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JFtC 2016 Wrap Ups Interviews: Yankees

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. WE SIT DOWN WITH OFF THE BENCH BASEBALL TO DISCUSS THE NEW YORK YANKEES’ SEASON

 

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To kick things off, I checked in with Max Frankel of Off the Bench Baseball to get his thoughts on the New York Yankees 2016 season. In many ways, it was a season that folks could probably look back on fondly. Despite the aging roster, the Bronx Bombers managed to make things exciting near the end of the year with Gary Sanchez captivating the imagination of the league. Max talks about the rookie phenom and much more in our little interview.

JFtC: If you could sum up the Yankees’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Max: 2016 was a genuine, actual, for real transformational season for the New York Yankees. A changing of the guard, if you will……

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Andrew McCutchen: Small Changes Add Up to Big Drop In Performance

Andrew McCutchen is slogging through the worst season of his professional career. His drop in production is a case of death by 1000 tiny cuts.

Andrew McCutchen‘s season is officially a cursed one.

What started off as an unsurprising bad start quickly mushroomed into one of the biggest storylines for the 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, something that was previously thought to be unthinkable has occurred. McCutchen has been benched for an entire series.

The search for answers is wide-ranging. Many have offered their own theories as to McCutchen’s struggles. The 29-year old center fielder is himself at a loss for words. He responded with exasperation when asked if he felt he needed to take a breather.

“I wouldn’t be taking days off”

Andrew McCutchen

The fact of the matter is that he is working to pull his bat out of its summer doldrums. But, as you will see, there is no easy fix. Rather, many small changes in McCutchen’s approach make up the large picture of a struggling former MVP.

Debunking The Lack Of Hittable Pitches

Andrew McCutchen has offered that he does not get many ‘hittable pitches,’ but the data culled from pitch f/x shows otherwise.

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The table above shows the Zone percentages (percentage of pitches in the strike zone) as well as percentages of fastballs seen overall. McCutchen is seeing the most pitches in the zone than he ever has before, and 4.4 percent more than his 2013 MVP campaign.

On their own merits, Zone and fastball percentages can’t tell the full story. They are imperfect metrics. Just because a pitch lands in the zone doesn’t mean the pitch did not have enough deception to freeze the batter, or outright fool him. In this particular instance, fastball percentage lumps in all fastball types. Thus, we can’t fully lean on it to help explain away McCutchen’s inability to drive the ball.

READ MORE AT PIRATES BREAKDOWN…

What would a Nationals trade for Mark Melancon look like?

The Pittsburgh Pirates historically move closers at the right time. Is history about to repeat itself?

Today, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been in talks with teams regarding Mark Melancon.

With the Washington Nationals specifically named, how do the Pirates line up as trade partners with the franchise formerly known as the Expos?

Before we can delve into that, we should note that the Nationals were in on Aroldis Chapman. As Jon Heyman reported:

The Nats declined to give up  Lucas Giolito for Chapman, then they declined to give up Joe Ross. After those two attempts by the Yankees, New York is said to have requested a four-player package centered around young pitching. Anyway, the Nats didn’t do it and never got close

Jon Heyman

First, let’s be very clear. In the closer market, there is Chapman, and then there is everyone else. We can use logic to tell us that the Nats will not give up Lucas Giolito – the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball entering 2015 – in any type of 1-for-1 deal. Thus, any deal that includes Giolito and Player X or Prospect Y likely will not work either.

Joe Ross is interesting as he can be seen as somewhat expendable. He’s been a very solid performer, with an ERA in the mid 3.5 or lower range with low-enough walk and home run per nine rates. This year he is averaging about 7.5 K/9. He is controllable through 2022, and is pre-arbitration.

Despite all these accolades, the Nationals are set at the top of their rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Giolito. Tanner Roark is in tow and controllable through 2020. Gio Gonzalez has a team option for the next two years, but the club might want to clear space for Erick Fedde, another talented starting pitching prospect.

Putting Together the Package

Taking all of that into consideration, and it would appear that Ross or Roark would be imminently available. Roark might have a slight edge over Ross in esteem due to a slightly longer track record and having slightly better control.

It is easy to envision a 1-for-1 swap of either Ross or Roark for Melancon’s services. We have seen a plethora of “baseball trades” in recent years, afterall.

But, as is often the case, trade deadline deals are rarely that easy. If we expand our criteria to see how the team’s farm systems match up, there is a lot of similarity. The Nationals have an abundance of infielders with multiple position chops as well as the usual assortment of pitching. Much like the Pittsburgh Pirates, their pipeline is surprisingly well-stocked for a team that traditionally has been built through free agency.

I could easily see a swap of B-level prospects being included in a potential deal, or a prospect going to the Pirates as a throw-in.  Regardless, any deal with the Nationals would have to involve either Roark or Ross. Both are young, controllable and capable.

With just over 72 hours left until the deadline, the club might just be able to find a better deal elsewhere, but it’s clear that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals line up well as trade partners.

Nine Innings/Questions With Dodgers Blue Heaven: A New BBBA Featured Series Of Its Members

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Note From Chuck Booth:  We have some talented bloggers at the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and our Executive Committee member (Peter Schiller) is going to start doing an article series interviewing them.  Today he asks our friend Ernest Reyes about his Dodgers site.

If you are a fan of these teams, I recommend to read their insights – and to also follow their blogs. Peter is a good man.  He gave me my first chance ever to have an authorship page at his site over 7 years ago.

Peter Schiller (Featured BBBA Executive Committee Member/Writer/Owner – baseballreflections.com) 

If you like what you read below, check out more from Ernest Reyes  at his site,  Dodgers Blue Heaven!

This is the first in a series of me asking fellow bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA) 9 innings worth of questions about their team.

The goal is to do this for as many teams as possible (all 30 would be ideal) a few times a season. This one is a pre-All Star edition, then a post-All Star edition, another down the stretch (towards the end of the season) and then either a playoffs edition or off season edition or both!

So, without further ado …

  1. How are the Dodgers’ offseason acquisitions working out so far? Any concerns?

This is a bit of a mixed bag.

To read the rest of this article on BaseballReflections.com, follow this link!

Do The Pittsburgh Pirates Miss Pitching Guru Jim Benedict More Than Expected?

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Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

This past off-season the Miami Marlins hired away former Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching guru, Jim Benedict and named him their Vice President of Pitching Development, which is a new position specifically created for the for the former minor league pitcher turned advance scout.

Despite being credited hand-in-hand with Ray Searage for their numerous reclamation projects, Benedict’s specific contributions were at times difficult to fully quantify.

With Benedict gone, the 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates have seen their pitching devolve from an area of strength to a current weakness. Is this simply due to the loss of Benedict? Or are there other factors at play? Can we draw any conclusions from Benedict’s new team’s performance?

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Time To Face The Facts Tigers Fans; This Team Is Not Good

Shane Kay (Featured BBBA Writer Owner – sonsof84tigers.mlblogs.com) 

Well Tigers fans, after 31 games and the Tigers sitting at 14 – 17 and 8 games out of first, it’s time for a reality check…the Tigers just aren’t that good.

This isn’t to say that they are absolutely terrible either, but the inconsistencies will continue to haunt them all season long.  During this 7 game losing streak, it seems when you get good hitting, then starting pitching is poor, or when you scrape enough runs to support good pitching then the pen blows it, and then there are just times when the team doesn’t hit.

There have been some positives with out a doubt so far an include:

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The Oakland A’s Offensive Struggles, And Where They Go From Here

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(Featured BBBA Website – offtthebenchbaseball.com) 

Saturday night, I had the pleasure of catching the Oakland A’s take on the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore’s Camden Yards. In addition to being a beautiful night, the first we’ve had on the East Coast in more than a week, and one of baseball’s best ballparks – if you haven’t been, go, its awesome- game 2 of Saturday’s day/night double header was a crisp and enjoyable game to watch.

Ubaldo Jimenez tossed 8 solid innings in his first start in forever and Chris Davis launched a mammoth 2 run shot  to help Baltimore notch a 5-2 win and earn a doubleheader split after Oakland took game one. But in watching the A’s, I couldn’t help think there was something missing. Sure, it was game 2 of the day but most of Oakland’s starters were playing and the lineup lacked any sort of fearsomeness or hint that it might be capable of competing in the AL West.

Of course, the A’s aren’t a bad team, but it doesn’t feel like it’s a team capable of being a good team either. Watching them meekly go down against a pitcher with an ERA north of 5 and a fastball topping out at 91 inspired me to go back and look at the numbers.

Right now, Oakland is 14-17, 4.5 games behind Seattle for 1st in the West. They have a -16 run differential, good for 4th worst in the AL and are currently 10th in the AL in runs, 10th in batting average, and dead last in on base percentage.

That last number really jumps out at you.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates Are Not A Shifty Bunch

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Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

Pittsburgh are shifting less in 2016 and their pitching is worse. Are these two related?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have earned a reputation around the league of being a very analytical front office and with good reason. The use of FIP and xFIP to find value starting pitching is well known, but the shift is where the Pirates really earned their stripes as a numbers-centric team.

From 2013-2015, the Pirates shifted a total of 2,446 times, which was good for third in all of baseball behind only the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays, two teams with sabermetric driven front offices of their own.

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5 Things About the 2016 Boston Red Sox That Aren’t Being Talked About Enough

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Andrew Martin (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – baseballhistorian.blogspot.com)

 

After finishing the 2015 season in last place, the Boston Red Sox look much better this year, currently on a pace for 93 wins. While some things have gone very well, there are others that have not.

Despite the chatter that seems to perpetually swirl around the team, some things haven’t received the attention they deserve. Here are five of them (keeping in mind the season is only about a sixth of the way over):

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The Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll In 2016 + Roster That Could Have Been

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Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

After a second consecutive exit from the playoffs by way of the wild card game, the Pittsburgh Pirates promised a bigger payroll this season, but could they have done better?

In December, Neal Huntington and Frank Connelly both hinted the Pirates target payroll would be approximately $105 million for opening day.  As it stands, the Pirates opening day payroll was about $100 million.

That wouldn’t be so bad if the team’s pitching staff wasn’t off to a rough start, the first base platoon partner wasn’t gone after two weeks, and the Cubs weren’t the center of the baseball universe at the moment.  The saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20,” but we consider what could have been if the Pirates had spent their money a little differently.

Let’s start with the breakdown of the opening day payroll broken down by position: (Note: Only players included on opening day 25-man roster/DL are included below.)

The rules for this little experiment are simple.  We cannot exceed $105 million, and our payroll has to include 28 players due to Jared Hughes, Elias Diaz, and Jung-Ho Kang starting the season on the major league disabled list. 

If we choose any players the Pirates did not sign, we will assume the Pirates could have signed said player(s) to the same terms.  Knowing what we know now, here’s a look at what the Pirates roster could have been.

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