While some folks still aren’t quite ready to buy into what the Jays are selling about the progress Adeiny Hechavarria has made, people who’ve been in the organization continue to heap praise on him. People like… Chris Woodward?

“Las Vegas inflates the numbers on home run hitters, not on line drive hitters,” said Woodward, according to a piece from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. “He reminds me of Tony Fernandez watching his line drives.”

“I’m watching him in the cage and don’t understand,” Woodward added. “He doesn’t swing like a .235 hitter.”

Omar Vizquel liked what he saw as well, noting that “He’ll be back soon. One year, maybe two,” and adding that, when he does return, “They’ll have to trade someone.”

This brings us to the nut of Elliott’s piece, which is the question of what happens to Yunel Escobar if Hechavarria proves he’s ready and Woodward’s specious analysis of the Vegas hitting environment proves true– and the fact that Elliott thinks the Jays might be most inclined to trade Escobar.

“He’s what, 28 year old? He may be able to move like this for a few years, but what happens when he gets to 32, 33?” asks Vizquel, who says he think Escobar will be more of a third baseman down the line. The Jays seem pretty OK at that position, for the moment, and Escobar signed a team-friendly extension last year, which Elliott notes will make him rather attractive in trade.

Most interestingly, though, is that he says “privately the Jays complain about Escobar missing signs.”

This shouldn’t be entirely surprising. You might recall the time last May when the right-handed Escobar missed a squeeze sign and swung away with Rajai Davis racing from third base towards home, and nowhere to hide if Escobar had ripped one down the line. Granted, that’s kind of a fucking dangerous play, but… do missed signs wipe out that much of the value of a 4+ win shortstop who got on base 37% of the time last year?

I’m gonna go ahead and say no. And I’m also gonna go ahead and say it’s not something we really need to bother even worrying about worrying about at the moment.

Ahhh, spring! Where letting nature take its course is never an option.

Comments (31)

  1. There seems to be a theme with Hech commentary lately, and it’s something like this “we don’t exactly know why he can’t hit….he’s big, great body, his swing is great….why, just look at him in the cage! There’s no obvious reason he can’t hit yet, so we’re sure he will figure it out”

    And reports are that it’s breaking balls he has trouble with. Isn’t it entirely possible that he just can’t hit breaking balls? As in, it’s nothing to do with his swing, with his work ethic, with his body, his brain just doesn’t pick them up? I would say the majority of peoples brains wouldn’t be able too, so it’s not like it’s a defect in him or anything. I’m not positing an argument, just asking the question. What was his history before he came here? Has he ever hit at any level? Cause he hasn’t done it as a pro, except in a small sample last year in Vegas.

    • Sounds like that scene in Moneyball. “Good face, good body, ball really comes off his bat, he’s gonna be a player, give him 400 ABs and he’ll hit” etc. I don’t know if it’s so much junk or they’re doing the pump and dump.

  2. First, why do you call Woodward’s analysis ‘specious,’ and secondly, if it is specious (superficially plausible, but actually wrong) how could it be proven true?

  3. I can certainly buy the missing signs thing. How many times last year did a fuckup occur on a hit and run when Escobar was involved? Seemed to be quite a few, and then afterwards he would look sheepish in the dugout.

  4. Just so fucking annoying this whole Escobar vs. Hechavarria debate. Escobar comes to this team and is nothing but a solid all-round ss and puts to rest the BS that surrounded him in Atlanta. Now all of a sudden stories start coming out abut Escobar not being such a stud after all. Fucking pathetic. Hechavarria still hasn’t proved shit at the big league level and we’re debating why the fuck Escobar won’t willingly move to another position.

    • Hech hasn’t proved shit at ANY level, let alone big league. His short stint in vegas is too small to be definitive, so we need to look at his previous 1.5 years for some sort of reference point….and the best he hit was .622 at AA.

      Ouch.

      • I agree with both of you. Defensively hes great but in baseball, being a 4 rWAR player is quite hard without a bat.

        At the moment he can’t hit, and while like ANY player he can improve, if he doesn’t, he won’t be a good MLBer.

        Escobar has been gold for us(not gold glove), hes an All-Star caliber SS.

      • More good news, in the only data available for 2012, Hech is hitting .353 – awesome! Give the kid some time…I want to read these posts back to you next year at this time.

  5. Kind of crazy that so many seem willing to jettison Escobar already for an untested prospect. I could see if Escobar was a chump there might be some reason for the people getting on Escobar’s case but look at what he’s done since coming to Toronto. His contract is so ridiculously team friendly for the kind of performance he’s been offering.

    The comments in the article about his age and future performance are totally stupid. Who the fuck cares what he’s going to be like at short in 3-5 years? Yeah he’s going to lose a step most likely but that means we throw two or three 4-5 WAR years away now and put someone in who hasn’t proven he can hit major league pitching? Yeah great plan. Guess we need more spring drama.

    • +1!

      Seriously, this whole notion is ridiculous and it’s more than a little bit irresponsible (although for fuck’s sakes, is anyone surprised?) of Toronto’s Dunedin-bored baseball writers to invent controversy where quite literally there is none. Four WAR shortstop with w plus glove in his prime on a team-friendly contract versus guy who hasn’t proven he can hit a baseball with plus-plus-glove that’s a year or two away from the majors. Hmmm…
      Oh, also the first guy gets on base at a .370 clip and hits leadoff. Yup, lots of motherfycking controversy here, Toronto baseball reporters!!

      Also, I can answer Omar Vizquel’s question, no problem: when he’s 32 or 33 he’ll be a free agent and Hechavarria will theoretically be in his prime. So, yeah, when h’s 32 he’ll be able to figure his own shit out.

  6. Wait till next offseason when we don’t have a 2nd base candidate at all. Then this conversation will really heat up.

    • Good point. There could be drama to start 2013 if both Escobar and Hech look good this year and we want to keep both. One’s gotta move to second in that case, but neither will want to.
      .

      • IF they both do well, and IF we keep Hech, I would say put Hech at 2nd.

        It’d be one thing if Yunel was average or below. He’s himself a very good SS, and how many balls would Hech get that Yunel misses in a year? 10 or so?

        Also, there’s something to be said for loyalty. Yunel signed to a very friendly contract (even at the time) and has played well for us here. You don’t move that guy while he’s STILL performing at a high level for a 24 y/o kid. Put the kid at 2B, let him pay his dues. Then in 2015 or so, when Yunel starts to slip, put 26/27 y/o Hech there and let him play for 10 years or whatever.

        Yunels body type won’t allow him to play the position much more then 3-4 years.

        • There’s also something to be said for putting your best defensive lineup out there. And if Yunel is going to be the guy that has to move soon anyway, why would you move Hech?

      • “One’s gotta move to second in that case, but neither will want to.”

        And you know this how?

      • Do we really know Hech doesn’t want to play second? And even Yunel for that matter, beyond rumors? Either might be perfectly willing to move.

        In any case it’s a problem the Jays don’t have to worry about unless Hech actually learns how to hit enough.

        • Lots of speculation here, but at the end of the day, the better defensive SS should probably be at that position, no?

          • Not if the upgrade is negligible.

            Also, Yunel is an emotional player who we know plays much better when happy. Is that stupid? Maybe, and I know argument could be “well, we pay him a lot, he should play wherever he’s told” but what would that prove?

            So you move him there because you “refuse” to give in to a players demands, but now you have a hole at 2B because Yunel sucks.

            Whereas Hech will probably be happy just to play in the Bigs, with the promise thatwithin 2-3 years, he’ll be the starting SS.

      • If Hech seems good enough to move other players (positions or organizations), although obviously problematic, it makes the most sense to shift escobar to 3rd, lawrie to right, rasmus to left, gose in centre, bautista to 1st, then sign phillips or johnson for 2nd. If gose isn’t ready you just leave bautista in right with lawrie in left.

  7. So if Chris Woodward is right, then David Coopers .364 Vegas batting average is completely legit, and his .257 batting average in over 1000 PA`s in double A was just bad luck.

    • I honestly believe Cooper is going to hit fine at the major league level if he ever gets a decent chance. He’s probably closer to a .290 average but 15 hrs and 35-45 doubles wouldn’t look bad at dh next year if they don’t resign Edwin. The year he hit .257 he had a below average BABIP of .266 while increasing his power nicely. He’s got a pretty good eye and takes a walk.

  8. Am I the only one who is blown away by Vizquel’s comments? I don’t care who he is, he really shouldn’t be making comments about players getting traded, even in the context of complimenting another player.

    Was the, “Privately the Jays complain about Escobar missing signs.” comment from Vizquel or Elliot? Because that is another weird thing for a player to say.

    • I found it really strange that Vizquel commented on the longevity of Escobar at SS.

      He’s supposed to be their mentor and he’s talking about how Escobar will decline in 3 years

      • It makes it even funnier when you find out Vizquel is ancient and still plays.

      • I agree with both of you. I’m dying to see Visquel play this year, but at 44 he has some nerve throwing cold water onto (28-year-old) Yunel’s likely future at SS. And these intemperate remarks are coming from a dude who was brought in to help mentor Yunel, not to dash his hopes. I’m not sure that Escobar will thrive with this ‘tough love.’ Strange indeed.

  9. Escobar moves to 3 or 2 when Adeiny comes up or is traded… no secret there.. but if you Trade him.. do you go after minor league talent? or Big league talent?

  10. The real problem raised by the Escobar missed squeeze play sign isnt that he missed a sign..its why the fuck are they telling their second best hitter to bunt with a man on third and less than two out? god damn right i would ignore that sign if I were him.

    • I get your point, but come on. You could literally kill a baserunner rushing towards the plate if you miss the sign and rip a ball up the line. It’s not an insignificant problem.

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