Hey, remember prospect porn! It’s been a while since it’s felt necessary to really lose our minds about who each and every prospect the Jays have coming through the pipeline. The big league roster is pretty full, a whole lot of the best prospects in the are still some distance away, and… frankly, every team has prospects one could slobber over, but it doesn’t really mean much until they start actually getting close. I don’t know. You see enough of the best prospects flame out too soon and you start having reservations about investing too much time and thought and too much of your emotions about even fringe top 100 guys before it’s time. Or at least I do. Or… at least I do when prospects don’t look like they’re going to be any sort of answer for the Blue Jays in 2017 or most likely 2018. However…
Baseball America released their Blue Jays top 10 here on Wednesday, and holy… they kinda like Vlad Guerrero Jr., it turns out. “Guerrero covers the plate well and should be an above-average hitter with 30-plus homer potential down the line,” wrote John Manuel, citing Jays employees who compare him to Edwin Encarnacion. Hmmm.
Keegan Matheson of Jays Journal, who still has much more thirst for prospect coverage than I’ve had in recent years, covers this stuff, noting that Guerrero still wants to make good on his claims that he’ll in the big leagues by 20. That will be tougher under the more conservative Shapiro-Atkins regime, but Keegan notes that Manuel says Guerrero should reach Lansing next year. “A season ending with the Lansing Lugnuts at age 18 would set him up for runs at advanced-A Dunedin and double-A New Hampshire as a 19-year-old the year following.” Hmmm again.
In a giant mess of purple prose you can’t believe her editors let her get away with, Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star ruminates on “why Toronto was so enfeebled by the moundsmen encountered” in the ALCS. Fun fact: per this excellent mid-September BP Toronto piece, the Jays were actually really selective this season with pitches out of zone.
Elsewhere at the Star: Brendan Kennedy reports that Edwin Encarnacion’s lawyers have filed to have the STD lawsuit brought against him earlier this year thrown out, and Richard Griffin makes something of a business case for the Jays to reload for 2017.
Speaking of Brendan, he passes on a quote from a Ian Crouch of the New Yorker, whose recap of the first game of the World Series includes a summation of playoff baseball that’s especially perfect for us Jays fans who’ve been “baseball’d” out of a pair of World Series chances. “Winning the World Series consists of a series of sometimes flukish incidents that allow one to defy baseball’s relentless and eventual triumph of the statistical mean for just long enough, and at just the rigth ime, to win the most games in autumn.”
Sometimes I’ll start reading a Cathal Kelly piece angry at the things he’s saying, only to come around by the end into total agreement. It’s a great rhetorical trick and Cathal is skilled enough to often pull it off. And maybe he did in his latest for the Globe and Mail, but I’m sure I’ll never find out! I could only barely get past the part where he wrote that “if the Blue Jays were serious about either [Bautista or Encarnacion], they’d already be making public declarations to that effect,” like… uh… they did with Marco Estrada last year. Okaaaay. And I definitely couldn’t read past the part where his “translation” of a Ross Atkins quote was that the Jays have no money. Holy reading the tea leaves in most negative way possible! Pass.
In another piece for the Globe, Cathal feigns surprise that Mark Shapiro should have had to confirm that John Gibbons would continue to manage the Blue Jays, then runs through a litany of criticisms of the manager — like the doubly condescending idea that he leaves his players too alone, allowing them to “go feral” — and then concedes that “since Shapiro’s arrival a year ago, Gibbons has been living on borrowed time.” So… you do get why the confirmation was necessary? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Speaking of stuff that missed the mark for me, Matt Gwin (who is usually excellent and certainly doesn’t have to always write stuff I agree with!) has a piece at BP Toronto on the first year of the Shapiro era that tries a little too hard to validate negativity in the direction of the new regime. Specifically, he suggests that they’ve “made the task of wooing the fan base as hard for themselves as possible,” citing the fact they didn’t fake more interest in David Price, that Shapiro dared comment on Rogers Centre grass (cutting though the bullshit Paul Beeston had been selling fans for years), and that they were too public on the Aaron Sanchez question — you know, the question that was asked fifteen times in fifteen different ways every day for months. Yeah… pretty sure I could think of a few better answers to the question of how the moronic fires of outrage were stoked.
“Why did Toronto lose?” asks a familiar face, according to Scott Mitchell of the Toronto Sun, in Cleveland covering the World Series. “Don’t have Kawa. That’s it.” (Kawa and the speaker are, of course, one in the same: Munenori Kawasaki.)
Back to Jays Journal where Jim Scott wonders if the Jays should go after Arizona’s Yasmany Tomas (hint: no), and Keegan Matheson looks at big(ish) names the Jays could look at in free agency or trade… via slideshow. Ugh.
Similarly, Steven Tzemis of CBC.ca looks at potential replacements for Edwin Encarnacion.
At TSN.ca we have a clip of Buster Olney, who apparently says Jose Bautista should consider taking the qualifying offer the Blue Jays will offer him, which… doesn’t sound like a thing he’ll do or we should be taking seriously.
A pair of important reads here, I think: One, Sterling HolyWhiteMountain at ESPN.com points us toward a deeper way of looking at the Cleveland mascot/nickname issue. Two, Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin meticulously dismantles the way that sports leagues approach domestic violence — including how zero tolerance policies, while making the league look good and fans feel better, can actually make the problems worse. Eye opening stuff.
Lastly, before we fully close the book on the 2016 season, some great thoughts from a pair of OGs: at Sportsnet, the Tao of Stieb talks about how it all still hurts a week later, and at Ghostrunner on First, Drew Fairservice superbly distills all of last weeks many feelings.