The Daily Duce: Tuesday, April 19th



Hey, so the Jays played yesterday in Boston’s traditional Patriots’ Day game, which every year since 1959 has seen the Red Sox scheduled to be at home for that day, which… tell me again why it’s apparently not possible for the Jays to do that on some of the unique holidays we have around here? The Jays are off on Victoria Day this year, by the way. And they’re in Houston on the August Civic Holiday. *COUGH*

Hey, and so the Kevin Pillar leadoff thing ended yesterday, too. Meh. Was bound to happen at some point. And it’s not like the other options the club has are a whole lot better. They’re just… better. (Matt Gwin of BP Toronto goes a bit deeper on this point). More important was the fact that Devon Travis took batting practice, meaning his return is about a month away, barring setbacks.

Christine Dobby of the Globe and Mail looks at Rogers’ finances for the first quarter of 2016, and they’re, y’know, not great. Profit for the company as a whole fell 3% compared to Q1 2015, though company head Guy Laurence noted that “sports revenues, which represent about half of the media segment, continue to grow.” He added that the Blue Jays’ ad revenue was “better than expected.”

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated talks to Mark Shapiro about the club’s new department of high performance, and sports science as the next frontier for professional clubs, of which the Jays now seem to be leading the way. Shapiro calls Angus Mugford, who heads this new department, essentially an assistant GM, and we’re told Mugford was the one responsible for making the (relatively easy) call to lighten players’ workloads this spring. Interesting stuff.

More national media coverage in the US, as Jerry Crasnick of gives us a lengthy feature on Josh Donaldson, who has come out firing on all cylinders so far this season (unlike a whole bunch of his teammates).

Over at FanGraphs, they reveal their list of the top Jays prospects for 2016, and have a separate, Richard Urena-loving piece about the club’s top prospects based on their KATOH projection system.

Elsewhere at FanGraphs we’re told about a job posting from the Jays, who are looking for a data architect. The posting should still be interesting to the 99.9% of us who aren’t qualified, just because of the insight it gives us into what the club’s new front office is doing.

Speaking of prospects, Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects talks to Sean Reid-Foley, who is having a second go at Lansing (he’s one of many prospects who was not pushed as aggressively by this new front office as the last one would have — and did, seeing as he finished 2015 up a level at Dunedin), and working to improve his command.

Great stuff from Sportsnet and Shi Davidi, who spoke with Drew Storen after Monday’s near blown save, and got praise from him, and from JA Happ, for Russell Martin. He also talks to Chris Colabello about Sunday’s scary hit-by pitch incident.

A trio of good ones from Ben Nicholson-Smith at Sportsnet, too, as he looks at how clubs are trying to keep a lid on whatever might be the next statistical revolution in the game, how the Blue Jays are also keeping mum about innings limits for their pitchers, and why bullpen by committee is still a dirty word (er… three words) for big league managers.

Elsewhere still at Sportsnet, Nick Ashbourne goes under the hood for a look at Roberto Osuna’s new slider.

Raccoon Blue Jays logo forever.

Nice story from Dave Bidini’s Slapshot Diaries about a fan who dropped his wallet (and watched a whole bunch of bills flutter out from within it, mid-flight) over the railing from the 500 Level at Rogers Centre, and the impressive reaction from fans below when he went to retrieve it.

Bluebird Banter tells us that the Jays are responsible for 25% of MLB’s increased strikeout rate in 2016, which… whatever. They’ll be fine.

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star writes about the strikeout thing, which… meh.

Elsewhere at the Star, Brendan talks to a ballerina about the graceful, dance-like play of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, while Richard Griffin writes about the ace-like potential of Aaron Sanchez, following yet another strong start.

It turns out Russell Martin can frame a pitch.

Lastly, MLB Trade Rumours notes that the Jays have released catcher Humberto Quintero from the Bisons. Perhaps the addition of Tony Sanchez just before camp opened made this one a foregone conclusion. Perhaps it’s the fact that Quintero is, y’know, kinda bad.