Travis Sawchik Nick Stellini of FanGraphs goes deep into what Dylan Bundy was doing last night to keep the Jays hitters at bay, and with apologies to the pissbabies who only want to mewl about the Jays, it was pretty fucking masterful. And it included, Sawchik notes, a lot of use of a pitch that Bundy has almost never thrown in the big leagues: his slider. Yeah… that’ll fuck a lineup up — especially when he could also drop his curve at will into the upper zone for strikes, and had everything else working as well. “Bundy was in total control last night, and he looked for all the world like the kid we heard so much about for so long,” Sawchik writes. Yep. Moving on…
Hey, and also at FanGraphs, they have some pretty sweet new team pages. Check out the Blue Jays’ one.
Awesome stuff from Clutchlings, as they look at a small comment from Eric Longenhagen’s terrific work on the Jays’ farm system this week for FanGraphs, and turn it into a mighty piece on Brazilian pitcher Eric Pardinho, a July 2 free agent who the club is said to be the front runners for. Very interesting…
More prospect stuff, as Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com looks at the most stacked farm teams to open the 2017, and the Blue Jays get a mention for their one at Double-A New Hampshire. The Fisher Cats rank fourth best in terms of being “stacked” with top prospects, as they right now are carrying Sean Reid-Foley, Anthony Alford, Conner Greene, Richard Urena, Reese McGuire, Jon Harris, and others. Not bad!
As a companion to this, Mike also lists the starting spots for each of the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com.
And we also have Jays Prospects, who spoke at length to Joshua Palacios, who is looking to build on a very strong 2016. (He’s the club’s 15th best prospect, per the MLB.com list noted above, and will start the year at Lansing.)
Hey, and here’s a great one from Matt W at Bluebird Banter, as he grades the Blue Jays off-season in a rather interesting way: considering where the roster ended up compared to where the club started the off-season — i.e. what the roster would have looked like had they let their free agents walk and replaced them only with what was in the system. Rational, reasonable stuff.
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star gives a little background on the mess that was Roberto Osuna’s sudden placement on the DL before the season started — termed a “bombshell” here, though that seems a bit much. “If having the 22-year-old closer open the season on the DL seemed like even a possibility, the Jays would not have brought him to Montreal for the final two exhibition games against the Pirates,” he explains. “If the Jays had known, they could have delayed the move placing right-hander Mike Bolsinger on waivers. Bolsinger was clearly the next man up before they waived him off the roster, hoping that he clears and can then be sent to Triple-A Buffalo. Instead they had to reach down and bring up right-hander Dominic Leone who had just been optioned to the Bisons late in the week and had not even made the trip to Montreal.” Yeah… a lot of that’s probably on Osuna for not being entirely forthcoming about how much he was hurting.
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun gives an update on Osuna, who the Jays are being cautious with, but who seems like he’ll be fine in real short order.
The great Guy Spurrier of the National Post previews the Jays-Rays series which begins tonight in Tampa.
Marcus Stroman takes the hill for his season debut tonight, and Kyle Matte of BP Toronto wonders whether the young right-hander will use his WBC strategy against a lineup very familiar with him. What was that WBC strategy? You’ll have to read to find out…
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet passes along the news that broke on Wednesday that the Jays have released reliever Gavin Floyd. Evidently his shoulder still just isn’t good enough for him to pitch. It’s too bad: Floyd looked like he could be a useful piece for a little while last year.
FiveThirtyEight uses something they call “pitcher score” to rate the rotations of every club in baseball — just the front fives this time — and the Jays trail only the Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers. That’ll play.
An interesting pair from Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, as he tells us he’s not done selling us on Kendall Graveman — who of course Jays fans will recall as also being part of the Franklin Barreto and Brett Lawrie trade — and looks into Jake Arrieta’s fastball velocity problem. What does that second one have to do with the Jays, you ask? Well, Jeff gets into a lot of background on the fact that velocity readings are a little fuzzy right now because the powers that be have changed the way they’re taken. So, to make his point about how it looks like something’s up with Arrieta, he gives us a big table of all the starters who’d pitched in 2017 and how their fourseamer velocity compared to 2016. At the very bottom of the fuzzy list is Arrieta, who averaged 91.1 (according to the new measure) in his first start of this year, compared to 93.7 last season. And at the top of the list? Your Marco Estrada. He was averaging 90.2 on Opening Day, compared to 88.1 last year. Fingers crossed that’s less the measurement change and more his back feeling better!
Genuinely great stuff from Jays Droppings, as Ryan looks at the Blue Jays’ five starting pitchers as characters from Goodfellas. Do the parallels work perfectly? Who cares, it’s funny! It’s here to fuckin’ amuse you!
Alex Chamberlain of Baseball Prospectus attempts to diagnose what went wrong with Francisco Liriano last season, and thinks he’s found a culprit: the loss of vertical movement on his sinker compared to his successful 2013-2015 run in Pittsburgh. Thing is, he’s looking at it on a year-by-year level, and when you look at Liriano’s vertical sinker movement by month, it wasn’t that different in 2016 than 2015. But sure, it’s down. Thing is, it pretty much stayed down when he turned his season around in Toronto. And though his horizontal sinker movement swung dramatically upward at the end of the season, that makes it a somewhat different looking pitch at the end of last season than his best three years in Pittsburgh — and, of course, there were subtle differences in both is vertical and horizontal release points post-trade, too. In other words: I’m actually not sure what this tells us at all. Interesting that it isn’t glaringly obvious though!
Several of the folks from over at Batter’s Box had themselves a nifty pre-season roundtable, which… I think I can still link to even though the season is a couple games old!
Jays Journal surveys readers about whether the Rogers Centre should return to being officially called SkyDome. Go get them clicks! (Also: Holy shit, let it go, people. No, don’t change it.)
Also at Jays Journal, a piece with a headline that talks about Marcus Stroman stopping “the slide” they’re on, and telling us that “the Jays will need to start capitalizing on their opportunities with runners in scoring position or it won’t matter who is on the mound for them.” I’m much too hard on these guys sometimes, but Jesus. Deep breaths, Jays Journal. Deep breaths.
Lastly, Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com has a fresh Inbox post up, and while I don’t think I’m going to hijack this one outright, you could certainly help my hijack it in a roundabout way, by sending some of the best questions my way — or, better still, original questions of your very own — for the next installment of my Blue Jays Mail Bag for Vice Sports. Hit me up at stoeten at gmail with some Q’s!