Now it’s time for all the stuff I don’t figure on making full posts out of (and that I need to distract myself with in order to keep from arguing with the commenters), with the spiffy graphic by Matt English (aka @mattomic). It’s your Afternoon Snack… er… Afternoon Hangover… er… links!!!
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com sizes up the off-season at the midway point, and finds the Jays unanimously selected as the most-improved club in his survey of baseball executives. “This isn’t just a one-year fix,” said an NL exec. “Outside of Josh Johnson [a year from free agency], they have most of these guys under control for two or three years. In two or three years, if Reyes is still playing like hell and Buehrle is the same guy, and Dickey still looks like he’ll keep doing this till he’s 50, they might still be the team to beat.”
Stark’s piece also has win projections from Dan Syzmborski and Vegas odds, and the Jays have improved the most since October in both of those categories as well, moving from 78 to 93 projected wins, and 35/1 to 15/2 odds.
Sticking with ESPN, Keith Law joined Eric Karabell on today’s Baseball Today Podcast, in which they too sized up the off-season, talking a lot about what the Jays have done.
At Getting Blanked, Scott Lewis fills us in on the Cubs’ acquisition of Carlos Villanueva– who will now be competeing with the likes of Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, Travis Wood and eventually Arodys Vizcaino for the final two spots in that rotation (now that Edwin Jackson has signed there too, making for a decent front three with Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija). I can only hope for the best for Villanueva– while being glad that the Jays have improved so much that he didn’t have to be an option to return.
At Sportsnet, Shi Davidi talks to a still-confident JP Arencibia, who insists that he’ll get better, and thinks that people forget his track record. I agree on the first point, actually– catchers do seem to develop more slowly at the plate, and I don’t doubt that there’s more we could still see from him– but on the second? Yeah, we know the track record. And it’s shows a career on-base of .275.
Kiley McDaniel continues his excellent series reporting on the Jays’ players at instructs for FanGraphs, looking at middle infield bonus babies Franklin Barreto and Dawel Lugo, both of whom have big tools, big questions, and are extremely young. “Barreto’s bat has less uncertainty than his eventual position, as a long-time performer in international tournaments with good offensive tools and game-changing speed,” he writes. “Even from the right-handed box, I got Barreto at 3.75 to first base on a bunt. He’s still growing into his body and he has occasional awkwardness to his swing in games, such as a narrow base, but there’s some raw power present that could be average at maturity. Like fellow Blue Jay prospect D.J. Davis, that’s an athlete with a potentially above average bat at a premium position and Barreto isn’t even 17 yet.”
The Toronto Sun has a post up about Gregg Zaun’s tweet. How dare they try to make this into a story!
Elsewhere in the Sun, Melissa Couto takes a closer look at the prospects headed to the Mets, while Bob Elliott looks at the Jays’ history of making youth-for-veterans trades, and whoever captioned the photo in his piece puts Jeff Kent into Cooperstown.
I don’t know why you’d want to, but if you’re looking to relive the worst season in recent memory, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star takes us through the highlights in a year-end piece.
At Baseball Prospectus, Jason Churchill writes about one of his favourite prospects in the minors: Roberto Osuna, who he compares to Jurickson Profar for the fact that both have “polish beyond their years.” He says Osuna has number two upside. “I saw Profar in the same league at the same exact age in 2010, at a time when most outside the industry hadn’t a clue who he was and one thing was clear: he wasn’t going to remain under the radar much longer,” he writes. “Osuna possesses some of those same types of attributes but also offers fluid mechanics, above-average velocity into the mid-90s, and a body that is ready to take on a heavier-than-typical workload, which could get him to the big leagues quicker than otherwise would be expected.”
Lastly, a programming note: unless something changes, I’ll be on TSN Radio here in Toronto at 2:45 PM ET tomorrow, so stay tuned for that. And while I have your attention…
Allow me to give you a quick reminder that you totally should be following DJF on Facebook, to have all of our posts injected straight to your news feed as they happen. And don’t forget @DrunkJaysFans on Twitter, either– we’ve now surpassed 10,000 followers! Thanks!
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