Daily Duce: Monday, February 27th

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Daily??!?!?

In case you missed it over the weekend, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tells us that the Jays have been pleasantly surprised by the progress Josh Donaldson has made as he recovers from a calf injury that you may have heard of. Good stuff!

Elsewhere from Benny Fresh at Sportsnet, he tells us all about the Jays’ new “quality control” coach, Derek Shelton. “He’ll be impacting not only hitting but collaborating with our defence and pitching and working with our analytics to help our players get better on an individual to individual level,” says Ross Atkins in the piece. Very interesting stuff.

Also from Benny Fresh is a piece on Kevin Pillar, who talks about preparing himself for the 162 game grind — something especially important, I’d suggest, for the guy who ends up diving all over the damn concrete every game.

Speaking of Pillar, Ashley Weisberg of Jays Journal argues that the centre fielder hasn’t hit his ceiling as a hitter yet, which… uh… is a nice thing to believe, and it’s certainly true that he couldn’t be an everyday player and be much worse, but I’ll believe it when I see it. And the stuff in this piece about Pillar’s injured thumb being a reason for his down year? Uhhh… Pillar was hitting .261/.292/.385 (79 wRC+) when he hurt his wrist and actually was slightly better after he came back.

Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star sees where the conversation is going, writing about the Jays’ first base situation and how Rowdy Tellez, at least here in the early part of the spring, making it seem like he might genuinely be knocking on the door.

Lots of great stuff from the Star, as Laura also looks at how John Gibbons is easing his big names into the lineup so far this spring, while Richard Griffin talks to the Jays’ new lefty, J.P. Howell, their old knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey, who is now with the Braves, and his teammate, Team Canada’s best-player-by-default, Freddie Freeman.

Uhhhh… Ross Atkins played on a little league team with Mike Lowell and A-Rod??? 

That one came from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, who also talks to Gavin Floyd, who really likes Toronto and the Jays, and Dalton Pompey, who needs to have a big spring.

Paul Hagen of BlueJays.com also looks at Pompey and the good impression he’s trying to make in camp. And he has a rather interesting one of two of the Jays’ biggest characters, Mat Latos and Joe Biagini, who may be linked as long men for the club.

Hagen also has a BlueJays.com piece that looks at Lourdes Gurriel, after the young Cuban made his debut for the Jays over the weekend.

Callum Hughson of Mop Up Duty also has an outstanding, lengthy profile of Gurriel, featuring scout quotes, projections, and more.

Great stuff, as always, from Tammy Rainey of BP Toronto, who looks at the Jays’ surprisingly strong pitching depth, examining, in particular, the key players competing for big league roles.

More BP, as Jeff Quinton goes under the hood on Aaron Sanchez, from a fantasy perspective, while BP South Side highlights how our old friend (and theirs), Mark Buehrel, is friggin’ awesome.

Great stuff from Graham Milne of Graham’s Crackers, as he goes big picture on the Jays, the off-season, and the optimism and trepidation of spring.

Not Jays-related, but an interesting one from Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, as he looks at how clubs sniff out “bad players” — guys who might disrupt clubhouse chemistry — and how much easier it is in this age of social media and more scrutiny of players than ever.

Also not Jays-related, but interesting nonetheless, is a piece from Eno Sarris of FanGraphs, as he wonders if we’ve reached the high water mark for the shift.

Lastly, as I’ve been noting every time I do one of these lately, if you’re an aspiring writer looking for exposure for your Blue Jays content, I’d love to help you out in whatever small way I can. My advice: start your own site. Once you do that, send me the link (or if you already have one and I haven’t been linking it, send it too!). I can be reached at via email at stoeten@gmail.com (I will respond… eventually), or on Twitter at @AndrewStoeten. I will put your site in the RSS feed I use when compiling these posts. I will read what you write. If it’s good, I will point people to it. If it’s consistently good, we can definitely talk about having you do stuff for us. If we agree to work together and I don’t have it in the budget at that moment to pay for it, you’re welcome to do some things for us anyway, and if its gets good traffic and demonstrates value, I’ll certainly be able to make a business case to bring you on for pay.

I’ve been a little slow responding to some of these, because email is trash and I hate it, but I assure you I will!