Daily Duce: Friday, March 17th

Top o’ the Daily??!?!? to ye…

Before we start, a quick programming note: don’t forget to send some questions my way for Monday’s edition of my new Griff-style Jays mail bag for VICE Sports. Hit me up at stoeten@gmail.com!

Awesome stuff from Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, as he sits down with Ross Atkins for an interesting and wide-ranging conversation. It’s all worth reading, but this bit on Vlad Jr. is surely the money quote: “There aren’t a lot of players that go into live batting practice for the first time and hit multiple home runs and doubles into the gap when they’re seeing, for the first time in a while, 92-mph sinkers, guys throwing breaking balls and changeups. Live BP isn’t traditionally a time you see 17-year-olds shine; he does.” SWOON.

Great stuff from Callum Hughson of Mop Up Duty, as he looks at the Blue Jays’ culture shift, pivoting off a must read piece on the same subject from Peter Gammons. It’s OK to get excited about this stuff, Jays fans.

According to Jon Heyman over at Fan Rag, this winter Cleveland “made a nice play for Jose Bautista, offering around the same guarantee he got from Toronto ($18.5 million). There was a possibility they might have made it a multi-year deal, but Bautista wanted to go back to Toronto so he cut off talks. Though Indians people say the Jays’ offer he signed was actually better than the one they did offer, which was a creative idea, including a buyout.” Plus, there ain’t no Booster Juice money in northeast Ohio.

As you’d entirely expect *COUGH* the Toronto Sun has their finger on the pop culture pulse when it comes to the Jays, as Rob Longley notes that Jeopardy got the year of the Bautista bat flip wrong in a question (er… answer) this week, and also catches Josh Donaldson on TV during the Leafs-Lightning game last night in Tampa (there’s some stuff about Donaldson’s recovery in there too).

A trove of good ones by way of Sportsnet: Arden Zwelling explains how Aaron Sanchez ended up making the league minimum, and tells us that Sanchy’s changeup will be key for him in 2017. Arden also tells us about Steve Pearce’s rehab from off-season surgery, and the fact that the Jays’ new approach to conditioning has been a revelation for him. Meanwhile: Benny Fresh looks at the Sanchez (or, let’s be honest, the Boras) situation and suggests that it may be time for the Blue Jays to consider a policy change, while the Tao of Stieb looks at the downside of baseball’s peak stats era.

Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press has a great one, here via the Globe and Mail, about the budding bromance between Blue Jays Russell Martin and Roberto Osuna — and about their post-win celebrations.

Awesome stuff, as always, from BP Toronto, as Elie Waitzer looks at how the fly ball revolution has arrived in Toronto — and no, I don’t mean fly ball-heavy pitchers. Meanwhile, Andrew Munn makes the case for Melvin Upton to be the Jays’ starting left fielder, which isn’t an awful one, but looks better here, I think, because there’s so little talk about his platoon splits, and how big a gap there’s been over the last two season between his value against left-handers (128 wRC+ in 220 PA against lefties, 77 wRC+ in 547 PA against right-handers).

Back to MLB.com, as their man on the Blue Jays beat, Gregor Chisholm looks at five questions the Jays still must answer, as we reach the mid-point of Spring Training, and also looks at some unheralded Blue Jays having spring success so far. Meanwhile, Paul Hagen looks at Kevin Pillar’s “refined approach” and the possibility of him hitting lead-off for the Jays (ugh, really?), which is something he’s been doing a bit of so far this spring.

Encouraging stuff for Jays fans from Paul Swydan of FanGraphs, as he looks at a potential weak spot for the Red Sox: behind the plate. Not that we don’t all believe that Sandy fucking Leon is going to repeat his 2016 success or anything *COUGH*.

Over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian looks at the Jays’ defence, which is projected to be the best in baseball this season. Projected by whom? Go find out!

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!