Daily Duce: Wednesday, January 3rd


Jim Bowden of the Athletic bizarrely hands out grades for each team’s offseason so far, and yet somewhat amazingly, the piece has some actual value. No, certainly not in the pointless grading of an offseason that, in a lot of ways, has barely begun, but in some of the tidbits he adds. For example, he says that the Jays have indeed “discussed a possible extension with their best player, Josh Donaldson.” So that’s good! He also notes that the Jays have talked to the usual suspects of free agent outfielders and pitchers (Lynn, Cobb, Vargas), and suggests that the club could attempt to go big in one outfield corner, giving Teoscar Hernández the other job, which… could work. Though the nearly 40% strikeout rate he posted in September is a bit worrisome for a guy you’re just going to hand a job to.

Baseball Prospectus has come out with their top 10 Blue Jays prospects list, and it’s probably a little more conservative than some of the others we’ve seen recently — but that hardly means it isn’t glowing as fuck when it comes to the guys you’d expect. For example, Vlad Guerrero Jr. gets a 70 OFP (overall future potential grade — also sometimes called Future Value), but this is paired with a slightly more realistic “likely” grade of 60, which suggests he’ll be an “above-average hitting first baseman.” That’s maybe not the “.300/.400/.500 threat who can fill in at third” that the 70 grade suggests (i.e. if he truly hits his full potential), but it’s still obviously very, very good. Other things of note: “not a lot” of risk on Bo Bichette (who also has a 70 OFP, but comes below Vladito as a “likely” 55); Anthony Alford really just needs to stay of the field, they figure; Nate Pearson’s OFP 55 suggests “those really good Michael Pineda seasons (minus the injuries),” while his Likely 45 suggests “those really good Jim Johnson seasons (with more strikeouts)”; they’re higher on Conner Greene than some (perhaps conscious of not succumbing to “prospect fatigue” on him — something Ben Carsley notes could be an issue for fantasy players regarding Alford); “getting on the 40-man with his defensive skills probably leaves a long career as a third catcher even if most if the offense poofs,” they say of Danny Jansen, who we’re reminded got a “much-needed vision correction and recovered from lingering wrist injuries” before his 2017 breakout”.

Elsewhere on the prospect tip, Future Blue Jays goes deep with some potential breakout Jays pitching prospects for 2018, and also looks ahead to some key things to expect next season.

Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com has a nifty look at the Jays’ depth behind Russell Martin, which is… not exactly ready for Opening Day, but it’s getting there.

More prospect stuff, this time from Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, who redrafts the top picks in the 2016 draft, and places Bo Bichette at number two. Not bad!

Mayo also offers some breakout candidates for 2018, including the Jays’ T.J. Zeuch. He “threw very well in the AFL,” we’re told. “His heavy-sinking fastball and repeatable delivery worked very well and he could move quickly to Toronto’s rotation.”

Another from MLB.com comes from Jon Morosi, who looks at how our old friend Alex Anthopoulos might look to swoop in for the two remaining decent players on the Marlins, Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto.

OK, so maybe there aren’t just two players left on the Marlins. Jays From the Couch looks at whether Dan Straily would be a good candidate for the Jays, which… he would! At the right price. Which is, of course, something other teams are going to have a say in, too. But yes, a piece like Straily, if he didn’t cost top prospects, would be a smart add. (Jays Journal looked at this a few days ago, too.)

MLBTR passes along a report from Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that says the Jays are one of 13 teams to have offered a contract (certainly a minor league one) to Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi, who his 15 home runs and slashed .288/.373/.538 for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, but has been a poor hitter at the big league level. Meh.

Mark Colley of Bluebird Banter suggests forcing a position change on Troy Tulowitzki as a way to get him to refuse to play and get placed on the disqualified list… or something? Man, this offseason.

Speaking of there being shit all to talk about, Beyond the Box Score has a Jays-related trade retrospective piece… on the first J.A. Happ trade. Yowza.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Red Sox have offered a five-year deal to J.D. Martinez. He also reports that Eric Hosmer apparently has a seven-year offer on the table from the Royals (and one from the Padres). Neither is Josh Donaldson, but worth noting: Hosmer’s 2018 will be his age-28 season. Martinez will be in his age-30 season. The first year of Donaldson’s contract will come at age-33. The Jays should really be able to figure a way to do this.

Speaking of, a great one from Tammy Rainey of BP Toronto looks at how the Jays could fit a Donaldson extension in with their payroll.

And speaking of Hosmer, Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs looks deeper into the curious bidding war over him — and also writes a good one about the slow offseason too.

Over at the Canadian Baseball Network, Bob Elliott writes about the Jays’ director of team safety, Ron Sandelli, who is… retiring? It seems?

All the way back to Baseball Prospectus, where Rob Mains looks at some tremendously poor mid-80s award selections, including a couple with Canadian baseball connections: the 1987 MVPs won by George Bell and Andre Dawson, despite both pretty clearly not being the best players in their leagues that year.

Over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian has some shots of Troy Tulowitzki at a Leafs game in Vegas this week… wearing a Golden Knights jersey. Giant *wank-off motion* in the direction of anybody who actually, literally got mad online about this. Fuck sakes, people.

Lastly, strap in for the greatest thing you’ll see all week:

  • sons

    I’d love to see Teoscar given a chance (with Pearce and Carrera around as depth) if it means the savings gets applied to the other corner.

    What’s the issue with strikeouts? I thought they don’t matter?

    • Ethan Kelly

      I don’t think anyone’s ever said they don’t matter, just perhaps not as bad as people once thought. But yeah, a 35% strikeout rate is an issue, especially when you also don’t walk a lot.

      • Correct. They’re not all that much more detrimental than any other kind of out, so around here you used to see pushback against people moaning about Colby Rasmus or Kelly Johnson striking out so much while missing the ways that they did provide value, but they’re detrimental. An extreme example is the fact that Aaron Judge struck out 30% of the time last year, which nobody ought to ever have complained about. Another thing is, striking out in nearly 40% of your at-bats this early in your big league career suggests that maybe you’re not ready yet for the level. Teoscar’s numbers looked great (132 wRC+) because of the home runs, but a 30% HR/FB rate is hard to bank on, and if it dips, he’s a guy who struck out 37% of the time in September, and had just a .305 on-base. So… sons is probably right to point out that picking solely on the strikeouts is slightly misguided, but I think they’re the biggest indicator that he’s maybe not as ready for pitching this advanced as the bucket of homers makes it look.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      “if it means the savings gets applied to the other corner.”

      What ‘savings’? What are you talking about? There is no assigned salary for any position, that is ‘saved’.