Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The outfield looks allright for now and in the future

Image result for baseball outfield
The outfield cometh

With the first Blue Jays spring training game scheduled less than a month away on Feb.23, as it sits today, barring any FA signings or trades, the outfield is set up as Granderson, Pillar, Grichuk with Carrera/Pearce off the bench. It's unlikely that there will be any changes to this line up, but never say never.

At a recent Pitchtalks event, both Wilner and Davidi speculated that both Hernandez and Alford should start the season in Buffalo. They should be seers, because they both will be joining Pompey in creating a young developing outfield core for the coming years.

I should note that I like what Shapiro has done here. In the absence of acquiring Stanton, Trout and Harper, he has put together an outfield that doesn't preclude the possibility of calling up any of the youngsters midseason, if they are out performing their big league counterparts. It allows the Jays to improve the outfield over the 2017 version without committing to any one player long term. It gives time to get a proper evaluation of those triple A players and give them the needed development time.

Proper evaluation because , in the case of Dalton Pompey, they need to monitor his performance after 2 concussions that occurred within a year.It took him until May 20th,2017 to get out of the "brain fog". Added to that, the knee injury suffered once he started rehab. He says he's good to go, but the real test will be his play in real games. Questions need to be answered. Any lingering effects of those concussions? Is the knee 100%? Can he return to his previous form after all that time off? This is Pompey's last option year and although rumour has it that Shapiro doesn't rate him as highly as Anthopolous did, he needs to know what Pompey can do, before he cuts him loose or makes him a part of the future Jays outfield.

Teoscar Hernandez is another player in need of more development. He still has 2 option years left and while he was called up last September posted a nice ops of .908 and a wRC+ of 132 but that K% of 37.9 was down right ugly. He's 25. He has the tools. They just need to be refined. Let's hope Buffalo does him good and he goes beyond being a AAAA player.

Anthony Alford also has 2 more option years left. The story has been told enough. 2 sports. Football didn't work out so he needs to catch up with reps in any place he can get them. Reports of his leadership and work ethic to improve, have impressed his coaches. And while rumours of post concussion symptoms from his football days swirl in the background, his play on the field doesn't reflect any of those problems. He has still has a high ceiling because of his exceptional athletic ability. If he puts it together, he's the centre fielder of the future.

There's additional depth for the big club in Ian Parmley, Dwight Smith Jr. and non roster invitee Roemon Fields.

2017, it appears, should be the low point for the Jays outfield going forward.
February 23rd isn't far away at all.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Poetry

We haven't done one of these for a while, have we? Feel free to use free form but you can truly impress your fellow JITHians by trying a haiku or a limerick. (Leave the sonnets to NoCramps.)

My contribution:

Contrary to what Simmons may think
Our 2018 team does not stink
Speed, defense and youth has arrived
Travis and Sanchez have revived
Wily vet has been bought
Returning players not forgot (looking at you, Cox)
And if health still has not mended
At least Dream Job has ended
Wild Card is not without reason
Bring on the new season!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Saturday Night Spanish Guitar aka WTFJITH

Hello All,

It's time once again to break out your best (or worst) music choices to share with the class.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The 2018 Hall of Fame Announcement and Father-Son Combinations

National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown

2018 HOF Ballot

Congratulations go to:

🔥 Larry "Chipper" Jones (oh, he'll hate me for this)
🔥 Vladimir Guerrero
🔥 Jim Thome
🔥 Trevor Hoffman

Results: (% of vote, ballot, 2017 total)
C. Jones 97.2% (1st) 
V. Guerrero 92.9% (2nd, 71.7%) 
J. Thome 89.8% (1st) 
T. Hoffman 79.9% (3rd, 74.0%) 
E. Martinez 70.4% (9th, 58.6%) 
M. Mussina 63.5% (5th, 51.8%) 
R. Clemens 57.3% (6th, 54.1%) 
B. Bonds 56.4% (6th, 53.8%) 
C. Schilling 51.2% (6th, 45.0%) 
O. Vizquel 37.0% (1st) 
L. Walker 34.1% (8th, 21.9%) 
F. McGriff 23.2% (9th, 21.7%) 
M. Ramirez 22.0% (2nd, 23.8%) 
J. Kent 14.5% (5th, 16.7%) 
G. Sheffield 11.1% (4th, 13.3%) 
B. Wagner 11.1% (3rd, 10.2%) 
S. Rolen 10.2% (1st) 
S. Sosa 7.8% (6th, 8.6%) 
A. Jones 7.3% (1st)
J. Santana 2.4% (1st) 
J. Moyer 2.4% (1st) 
J. Damon 1.9% (1st) 
H. Matsui 0.9% (1st)
C. Carpenter 0.5% (1st)
K. Wood 0.5% (1st)
L. Hernandez 0.2% (1st)
Carlos Lee 0.2% (1st)
O. Hudson 0% (1st)
A. Huff 0% (1st)
J. Isringhausen 0% (1st)
B. Lidge 0% (1st)
K. Millwood 0% (1st)
C. Zambrano 0%  (1st)

- Bullshit.  Put Edgar into the Hall.  
- Yay for Vladdy!  Rub some of that magic onto Junior, huh? 
- Fuck off on giving Vizquel more votes than Larry Walker. 
- Next year will be Walker's penultimate appearance on the ballot - if he can make it to 50%, then he'll have a pretty decent chance of getting in through the Veterans Ballot as those who reach that level have historically had a high chance of getting in.  
- At least Walker appears to be making a big move upward -- it's essentially dead for Freddie McGriff who has spun his wheels, getting only a tiny bump up on his 9th ballot.
- The stench of being a colossal asshole seems to be slowly wearing off for Curt Schilling as he's gained about 6% in the vote.

From a Blue Jay fan perspective, this is phase one of a special relationship we'll be monitoring over the next 25 years or so -- the two Vladimir Guerreros.  As some may know, there has never been a father-son combination where both made the Hall of Fame as players.  I look forward to Vlad, fils doing his part to join Vlad, p
ère as the first such combo.  Oh, it's happening!

On a related topic, Joe Posnanski has an interesting article where he looks into 10 father-son combinations where the father has made it into the Hall and the son has played in the bigs, as well as Roberto Alomar and Ken Griffey being the only sons (to date) of big league players to make the HoF.  I was surprised to see that there's only been two sons that have been enshrined.

Link: Fathers-sons and the Hall of Fame

Up next:  
Roy Halladay joins the ballot for the 2019 vote.  Will he get in on the first ballot?  Mariano Rivera also joins the ballot and he's an absolute lock to get in.  Edgar should get in next year, as well.  Todd Helton and Andy Pettite will get a little chunk of the votes, but neither should get in any time soon (if Walker isn't getting in, then Helton won't).  Oh, hey, and our old friend Vernon Wells will be eligible for the ballot, too.  He might get in just for the Bad Contract Hall of Fame category.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

So… now what?

Randal Grichuk, the reason I had to re-write a bunch of this post.
As it usually does in mid-January, the offseason continue to drag on. This year, however, it’s really dragging. Actually, “dragging” is a bit of a generous term for what we’re witnessing. More accurately, it’s just kind of sitting there.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s really boring. Nothing is happening. Between the Ohtani and Stanton situations, there were a few exciting moves in December whose resolutions looked like they were going to open the floodgates of transactions, yet here we are, nearing the end of January, and the floodgates remain firmly shut. Every now and then, we get a trickle – Jay Bruce signed! Here we go! – but it looks like the only thing that will get this year’s market started will be time.

Monday, January 22, 2018

To bid or not to bid on Josh Harrison

If I may quote Mr. Kenny Rose over at The Athletic:
"Josh Harrison wants to play for a winner."

I mean, who doesn't.  Losing sucks, and any highly-competitive athlete (professional/Olympic) will always tell you the same.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday Night Spanish Guitar aka WTFJITH

Hello All,

It's time once again to break out your best (or worst) music choices to share with the class.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Could the 2018 New York Yankees be the greatest baseball team of all time?

As usual, the New York Yankees are trying to buy their way to another championship. Rumor has it that Yankees owner George Steinbrenner Jr. hates losing. This rumor is supported by the decision to fire manager Joe Girardi days after the Yankees lost game 7 to the eventual World Series Champs Houston Astros. Their biggest off-season move thus far was trading for NL MVP Gioncarlo Stanton. Could the Yankees become the best regular season team ever? Currently, the Seattle Mariners hold the record for best regular season with 116 wins (the 1906 Chicago Cubs also had 116 wins but they played 10 less games). Just for the sake of argument, let's compare the two lineups. Note: this analysis will not include players the Yankees have either traded away or lost to free agency or retirement. This analysis will be limited to players currently signed by the Yankees and will exclude free agents who have yet to sign a contract.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Jays to Sign Curtis Granderson: Rosenthal

As reported by The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays are set to sign outfielder Curtis Granderson to a one-year deal.
The 37 year-old three-time All-Star split last season between the Mets and the Dodgers, slashing a combined .212/.323/.452 over 147 games, good for a respectable 105 wRC+ and 2.1 fWAR.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday Night Spanish Guitar aka WTFJITH

Hello All,

It's time once again to break out your best (or worst) music choices to share with the class.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 Hall of Fame Projections - and the stumping for Larry Walker continues

The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Greetings, JITH denizens... hope the New Year is treating y'all well so far. A big hand-clap to Nego for his Monday post on the Minnesota Twins.

With the lack of baseball news of late, it's time for a Hall of Fame update!  Especially since this could be a historic vote -- based on the most recent projections, we could be in for the first five-man Hall of Fame class since the inaugural ballot of 1936 that saw Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner voted into the Hall.  There's a very long-shot possibility that we'll see 6 voted in.

There are two different projections out there - one is by Ryan Thibodaux, who has been collecting data on revealed votes for a few years now.  His tabulations as of Monday the 8th:

(169 ballots revealed/about 39.9% of the vote known)

Chipper Jones - 98%
Vladimir Guerrero - 94%
Jim Thome - 94%
Edgar Martinez - 81%
Trevor Hoffman - 79%
Mike Mussina - 73%
Barry Bonds - 67%
Roger Clemens - 67%
Curt Schilling - 66%
Larry Walker - 40%
Omar Vizquel - 29%
Manny Ramirez - 26%
Fred McGriff - 17%
Sammy Sosa - 13%
Scott Rolen - 11%
Jeff Kent - 11%
Billy Wagner - 10%
Gary Sheffield - 10%
Andruw Jones - 5.3%
Likely to get chopped off the ballot with less than 5%:  Johnny Damon, Johan Santana.

Another analysis of the revealed HOF ballots is by Nathaniel Rakich over at Fangraphs as he digs deeper into writers' tendencies:  Certain types of writers are more likely to reveal their ballots early, and those types of writers are likely to over- or under-represent the constituencies for different types of players.

He has turned "unskewing the results" into a science - last year, he correctly predicted every player's total within 3.5 percent, with an average of 1.5 off.

His methodology here:

Some observations:

It's fantastic to see that Edgar Martinez is finally getting his due and here's hoping that he picks up that extra 1% (by Rakich's breakdown) to get in this year.  Ditto with Larry Walker who looks like he'll double his vote total from last year; with two ballots to go after this one, he'll bear watching to see if he can make a significant-enough leap.  (Don't hold your breath, though)

And it's a complete travesty that Andruw Jones is only getting 5.3% so far and in danger of falling off the ballot while Omar Vizquel is at 29%.  Ridiculous.  Jones matches Vizquel in terms of sublime defensive prowess and he's a far better offensive player. I don't think Jones is a HOFer but he's not 24% less worthy than Vizquel.

Larry Walker as a HOFer:

Speaking of Larry Walker, it's time for my annual stumping for him with some new info gleaned elsewhere.  This new tidbit helps make the case that Larry Walker should be a Hall of Famer:

(Link:) A New Case for Larry Walker

Joe Posnanski has accumulated top-100 lists in three categories - batting runs, fielding runs and baserunning runs.  Only three in baseball history has made it into the top 100 of all three categories.  Take it away, Joe...

Last year, I put together a spreadsheet that had the top 100 players in three categories. (Yes, this is the sort of thing I do in my spare time.)
The three categories -- all pulled from Baseball Reference's excellent search tool -- were:
1. Batting runs
2. Fielding runs
3. Baserunning runs
The idea was to see just how many players in baseball history ranked in the top 100 in more than one category. See, there's something about the National Baseball Hall of Fame that few people know: Most of the great players in baseball history were great at one thing. They might have been good or average at multiple things, but generally speaking, they were great at one thing.
Frank Thomas. One thing. He was great at hitting baseballs very hard.
Ted Williams. One thing. He was great at hitting baseballs very hard.
Jim Thome, who will be elected this year, was great at one thing: hitting baseballs over fences.
Now, you could say -- and you would be right -- that hitting is more than one thing. The three guys I listed above all were not just great at hitting the ball, but also great at getting on base by drawing walks. Also, the single act of hitting a baseball is the most important one in the game … and it takes multiple skills.
But my point is -- and my top 100 spreadsheet proves it -- very few players are all-time greats at more than one part of the game. Babe Ruth ranked in the top 100 in one category. Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, all just one category. Even players who were widely acknowledged to be great all-around players, such as Barry Larkin and Joe DiMaggio, showed up in only one category.
Larkin made only the top 100 baserunning list, and DiMaggio made only the batting list (though it's worth noting his career was shortened by World War II).
So you can see: This is exclusive territory. In all, 34 players made the top 100 list in multiple categories. These are the players you would expect, for the most part. Players who made the list for batting and fielding included Roberto Clemente, Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols and Al Kaline. So did John Olerud, a bit of a surprise.
Players who made the list for batting and baserunning included Derek Jeter, George Brett, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson (of course), Ty Cobb, etc.
And then a few speedsters made the list for baserunning and fielding, including Ichiro Suzuki, Luis Aparicio, Ozzie Smith and, interestingly, Chase Utley.
That's not all of them, but you get the idea. But now comes the big finish: Only three players appeared on all three lists. THREE.
One is Willie Mays, though you probably knew that.
One is Barry Bonds, and you knew that, too.
And Larry Walker is the third.
Time to put Mr. Walker into the Hall of Fame.
Sorry I haven't been around as much as I'd like - some family health issues going on.  Cancer can fuck right off.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday Night Spanish Guitar aka WTFJITH aka No recent holiday

Hello All,

It's time once again to break out your best (or worst) music choices to share with the class.