The Daily Duce: Monday, May 9th



Former Blue Jays number three starter, and current member of the Boston Red Sox, David Price, has struggled out of the gate with his new team. His velocity is down and his results have been worse. (There’s mostly good news on him, though, writes Owen Watson of FanGraphs, but who needs to read that when we can just be jerks?)

Roster stuff, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tells us about the versatile Andy Burns, who was promoted to the big leagues for the first time this weekend, with Ryan Tepera being sent down. But Tepera wasn’t in Buffalo for long — he was promoted here on Monday afternoon, taking the place of Brett Cecil on the roster. Cecil finds himself on the paternity list, as his wife is due to give birth this week. (Benny Fresh also talks a little bit about the club’s bullpen woes, which… yeah. Ugh.)

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Jeff Blair talks to Darwin Barney about the attention he got this weekend versus Clayton Kershaw, and Arden Zwelling talks to Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, who are relishing their chances to hit this week, as the Jays travel to San Francisco, where they’ll play under NL rules. “It’s pretty funny how they’re all amped up,” quipped JA Happ about his confident teammates. “They think they’re going to go out there and hit homers.” JUST DON’T GET HURT.

Speaking of the Jays’ pair of young starters, Kyle Matte of BP Toronto writes about them from an fascinating angle: that of fastball classification.

Jays fans have heard a lot of Dan Shulman lately, but it can really never be enough. He’s terrific. And Sean Fitz-Gerald of the Toronto Star has an excellent profile of the Canadian play-by-play man.

Elsewhere at the Star, Rosie DiManno talks about the Jays’ bullpen struggles through a haze of ungodly purple prose, while Richard Griffin weighs in on the return of Alex Anthopoulos over the weekend, and Brendan Kennedy also checks in on the Jays’ pitchers, as they get ready to take some hacks this week.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun talks to Justin Smoak, who is welcoming his new every day role with the club in the wake of Chris Colabello’s suspension. Uh… of course, it’s a role he’ll likely give up for the next three games, with Edwin Encarnacion likely to man first base while the club visits San Francisco.

Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press, via the Globe and Mail, talks to Joe Biagini, who is this week for the chance to pitch in his favourite childhood ballpark: AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Reuben Fischer-Baum of FiveThirtyEight looks at ELO (sadly not the Jeff Lynne kind), and how the stat views the best single season teams of all time. The Jays’ best ever team, you may (or may not) be surprised, was the one we watched last year. And as Guy Spurrier of the National Post tweets, the club’s two World Series teams weren’t even the next best ones in club history: the 1987 and 1985 versions place second and third, which… I actually totally buy.

Alykhan Ravjiani of tells us about a great initiative from the “Lady Jays,” who were collecting money this weekend for families displaced and impacted by the Fort McMurray wildfires, and has another great piece about the Jays’ honouring of Sunday’s honorary bat girl Michelle Riccio, a fan who is battling cancer.

Elsewhere at, it’s Kevin Pillar making a terrific diving catch this weekend. We’ve all likely seen this one already, and seen him pull this trick before, but really and truly never gets old.

Keegan Matheson of Jays Journal talks to Domonic Brown, who is finding a home in the Jays’ organization (even if it’s at  Buffalo). Someone who’s not finding a home with the club? Michael Bourne, who was released on Saturday, apparently.

Did I miss this one about Tulo’s contact issues from Nick Ashbourne of Sportsnet back at the end of last week? If so, here it is!

Roster Resource comes up with some performance-based prospect power rankings, and the Jays’ Francisco Rios — who was fairly meh last season in Vancouver, but has absolutely killed it so far this year in Lansing: six starts, 30 innings, 21 hits, 8 walks, 43 strikeouts, and a 1.20 ERA — finds himself in the top ten! Just ahead of number one pick Dansby Swanson and behind Boston’s Yoan Moncada. Uh… sure! (Rios, by the way, has just been promoted from Lansing up to Dunedin).

More prospect stuff, as 2080 Baseball checks in on Rowdy Tellez, among others, and they’re still seeing good things for the New Hampshire first baseman. “Despite only hitting .165 in his first 24 games for the Fisher Cats, Tellez has walked as many times as he’s struck out and that’s not a coincidence. Tellez has a patient approach at the plate, and he tracks pitches deep into the hitting zone. He has quality pitch-recognition skills and showed the ability to track quality breaking balls,” they explain. “He has plus bat speed and unique barrel control through the zone, giving him the ability to square velocity and spin in all quadrants. There is lift in his swing and with his bat speed being generated from his strong wrists and size, Tellez’s raw power is easy plus grade.”

Christopher Crawford’s latest Minor League Update at Baseball Prospectus checks in on a familiar name: Dawel Lugo. Traded to Arizona for Cliff Pennington last August, the 21-year-old shortstop is doing better than a lot of Jays fans would probably like to see. “All the physical tools are there for Lugo to be a competent shortstop. He just has to start taking more pitches (two walks in 122 trips),” he explains. Lugo was 4-for-5 with three runs scored on Friday.

Lastly, former prospect alert, as Travis Snider got into a game today for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA Royals)… on the mound! The lefty pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. Have a look: