Great stuff from the Athletic on Roberto Osuna’s battle with anxiety, which for author Eric Koreen, hits close to home. This one isn’t behind the paywall, so take the chance to check out some of the great content they have over there. (Here’s a link to sign up for the site for a discount!)
Elsewhere at the Athletic, Israel Fehr has an terrific, in-depth piece about Russell Martin and the art of reading an opposing batter’s swing, and using it to his pitcher’s advantage. Great stuff. And John Lott has another great one that (for now) isn’t behind the paywall, as he speaks to Aaron Sanchez, who opens up about blister troubles (which “tormented him through 2016, too”) and the lost first half of his 2017 season.
Justin Smoak’s All-Star vote totals are surging as the vote nears its end, writes Keegan Matheson for BlueJays.com. God love ya if you can actually give a shit about a thing like this, but I assure you I cannot.
It’s nearly a given that the Blue Jays, and every team, will sign every pick taken in the first 10 rounds of this month’s draft. This is meant in a completely different sense than even a few years ago, when the Blue Jays were somewhat routinely failing to come to terms with top selections. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America noted earlier this month that 8% of players picked in the top 10 rounds went unsigned in 2011, and 8.5% in 2011. The number in 2016 had dropped to 0.6%, and those mostly came about because of lowered offers due to medical issues discovered post-draft, he explained. There is truly no need to worry or to watch with bated breath to see if the Jays and their just-drafted prospects put pen to paper anymore. It will happen. If you just can’t help yourself, though, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tells us that the Jays are very close to inking deals with first rounders Logan Warmoth and Nate Pearson. They’ve already signed an over-slot deal with second round pick Hagen Danner, as well.
Elsewhere from Shi, he looks back at the 8-10 trudge through a soft spot on the schedule that the Blue Jays have just gone through, and the tough series ahead.
The big one from Sportsnet, though, is Arden Zwelling’s lengthy and awesome profile of the awesome (and possibly lengthy) Bo Bichette. “My goal is to be the best player that’s ever been on Earth. Seriously,” he says. Read it!
More prospect stuff, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star caught up with “Vlad the Dad” as he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario, this weekend, chatting about Felipe Alou, his own career, and a certain son of his who has the whole of Canada buzzing.
Griff also writes about Roy Halladay’s induction, which he uses to *wank-off motion* shame the Blue Jays for letting Halladay do some work this spring for the Phillies. Which isn’t to say that I’m opposed to Halladay helping the Jays — not in the slightest — I just don’t think it’s a thing that needs to be made into red meat for Shapiro-hating dipshits, is all.
Elsewhere at the Star, I think Rosie DiManno has written something about how José Bautista has been good lately, but I honestly have no clue what she’s saying.
The Canadian Press, here via the Toronto Sun, talks to the voice of the Blue Jays, Jerry Howarth, who says he’s feeling good after last winter’s cancer scare — which, of course, is great to hear.
Elsewhere in the Sun, Mark Buehrle confirms the legendary story that he’d been drinking — “definitely no more than three, though, I swear” — when he was called upon in the 2015 World Series to close out the 14th inning just two days after taking the ball in Game Two. He was credited with the save, the White Sox were crowned champions the next night, and ohmygod, Mark Buehrle is the fucking best.
Great stuff, as always, in this pair from BP Toronto, as Mike Passador looks at how BABIP has played a role in the Jays’ issues at the plate, while Elie Waitzer has noticed that J.A. Happ is throwing his changeup harder — and it’s working.
Over at Bluebird Banter, eelliott29 writes that we shouldn’t expect much from the Jays at the trade deadline, and that it’s best that they stand pat anyway. In terms of big, splashy moves, sure, whatever. But there will be Melvin Upton-like no-cost deals to be made, and I can’t imagine the Jays not finding anything to do here. There’s maybe more reason for them to do so than most, even, as in the piece we’re also given this sobering thought: “Of the nine teams within four games of the second Wild Card spot, or tied, none have a higher chance of making it to the postseason [per FanGraphs] than the Toronto Blue Jays who have a 37.5 per cent chance of making it to the postseason with a 9.4 per cent chance of capturing the division title. If they had even a marginal or acceptable month of April instead of going 8-17, we aren’t even having this conversation as much as we’re looking forward to another October.” That’s not quite right either, I don’t think, but the point is: as much as it sucks to watch them spin their wheels, the Jays really aren’t in such bad shape. (Also: hoo boy, did April ever fucking suck.) Call me crazy, but maybe they should actually play for 2017 and we shouldn’t preemptively begrudge them for it if they did. I guess I just like fun, though.
Speaking of fun, Ross Atkins told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com last week that the team is “very much in it.” He suggests Ian Kinsler, Jed Lowrie, Kolten Wong, or Brad Miller as potential options for the club’s hole at second base. We go back to Sportsnet regarding that, where the Tao of Stieb looks at Lowrie, as well as Howie Kendrick, as possible fixes there — and comes up with an interesting solution: why not both?
More still from Sportsnet, as Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at Josh Donaldson by the numbers, giving us a great appreciation for the Jays’ best player. And Jeff Blair makes the case that nobody ever seems to want to make: that Roger Clemens deserves a more prominent place in Blue Jays history.
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looks at how Eric Thames is kinda no longer awesome — which may entirely be a blip, but still: Justin Smoak, 149 wRC+, 1.9 WAR; Thames, 137 wRC+, 1.7 WAR.
The Royals are trash.
OK, tweet time! This is nice:
Seriously can we please talk about how wonderful it is that this is somehow happening in 2017? pic.twitter.com/GpfqjfqMm1
— Ty Berry (@tberry3) June 26, 2017
And this (which is surely a reference to this), is bang on (naturally):
If your top 10 MLB players list doesn't include Josh Donaldson, you have created a very bad list.
— Drew F (@DrewGROF) June 26, 2017
And lastly, definitely check out the great and prolific Keegan Matheson on Eric Roseberry’s outstanding pod, On Baseball Writing:
— Eric Roseberry (@ericroseberry) June 26, 2017