Now look, I’m counting on all of you. There’s no yesterday. There’s no tomorrow. Forget ant farm keyboard. That’s… forget that. I want you to go out there, and take this moment, and make it yours.
Jon Hale of the Mockingbird goes deep into the Pitch F/X to work through various hypotheses about why R.A. Dickey might prefer to pitch with the Rogers Centre roof closed. You’ve got to read how he gets there, but I’ll give you the money quote from his conclusion: “The results are significant enough that if Dickey was starting for the Jays in a critical game there is a strong argument to be made in favour of closing the dome.”
And there’s a second post at the Mockingbird, which looks specifically at the impact of wind on the knuckleball– as he did in the previous piece as well. As always, outstanding stuff.
At ESPN.com (Insider Only), Keith Law talks about who has looked best so far in the Arizona Fall League, including Marcus Stroman among those singled out for praise. He’s still worried about the fastball being a little flat, but he does add this little slice of awesome: “This year’s success of Sonny Gray, another diminutive right-hander, may give the Blue Jays more confidence that Stroman can remain a starter, although Gray has been better at generating ground balls in pro ball than Stroman has so far.” Nails much?
Sticking with the AFL, MLB.com’s Bernie Pleskoff saw Drew Hutchison throw a 45 pitch outing on Monday, and tweets that he “threw nice and easy. Can locate well under hitter’s hands. Very effective inside.”
Elsewhere still, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes about Aaron Sanchez, who is also at the AFL, and honing his curveball– and, according to the report, trying to “set himself up to open the 2014 season in New Hampshire, with the big-leagues in sight.” He wasn’t able to get past Dunedin this year, but that’s largely because the Jays were extremely cautious when he had some mid-season tightness in his shoulder. Interesting stuff– and especially so since Davidi also tells us that the Jays “are split internally between those who want to be conservative with the club’s prospects and those who want to push them more aggressively.”
More interesting stuff from the minor league system, as Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects reviews the season that was for Daniel Norris, who made very good strides over the course of the 2013 season.
Switching to big league off-season stuff, MLB Trade Rumors profiles Josh Johnson, predicting an $8-million deal (plus incentives) for the pitcher and running down the depressingly long list of injuries he’s faced in his career– a career that, it should be noted, has been excellent when he’s been healthy, apart from last year. The piece also points out that from 2006 until last year, among pitchers with at least 800 innings, his ERA ranked sixth in all of baseball. Yeah, he’s a different pitcher now than at the start of that sample– his velocity has lost a few ticks– but that was true when he posted a 3.81 mark with a 3.40 FIP, too.
Speaking of depressing, MLBTR also features the Jays in their Offseason Outlook feature. Yep…
Mike Petriello of FanGraphs doesn’t mention the Jays by name, but looks at how the remaining playoff rotations were built, and dispels the silly notion that the only way to do it is through the draft. Sure is the most efficient, though!
Meanwhile, Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com looks at the free agent case of Rajai Davis, speaking to him about hitting the market for the first time, and looking at how it’s not likely– with a glut of MLB-ready outfielders knocking at the door– he’ll return to Toronto for 2014. It’s too bad, too– would be a great platoon partner for Adam Lind.
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star looks back on last year’s John Farrell saga, and pretty much nails it in his assertion that it’s the Red Sox organization that needs the most credit for the club’s turnaround– as well as the fact that crisis at the end of Bobby Valentine’s tenure was overblown.
Speaking of former Jays staffers, David Laurila of FanGraphs talks to Torey Lovullo, who appears on track to be a full fledged big league manager sooner or later. Money quote on bunting: “At times, it can work to advance a guy into scoring position, but by and large, I’ve learned over the years that the sacrifice bunt can be a rally stopper. Every out is precious. You’re playing with 27, so if you give up two or three a game, you’re playing with 24 or 25. You’re giving up an inning’s worth of outs to sacrifice guys into scoring position, and the law of averages shows that just because you’re at second base doesn’t mean you’re going to score. If you’re at first base with no outs, you have a better chance of scoring runs. The numbers show that. That’s what we’re all about. We’re about putting up big innings and scoring a lot of runs, especially in [Fenway Park].” Hire him!
Aaaaand speaking of Jays coaches, Minor Leaguer of Bluebird Banter has a nifty chart with the Jays’ entire history of coaches on it.
Sad news last night, as longtime MLB umpire Wally Bell died of a heart attack at just 48-years-old. Austintown, Ohio’s Vindy.com broke the story. Judging by the many reactions on Twitter, he was very well liked and respected.
Lastly, don’t let the fact that it’s from before the weekend scare you off– Drew hosted episode 183 of the Getting Blanked Podcast last week, and spoke to both Eric Nusbaum and Jeff Sullivan in the process. Shit, we might even find ourselves doing a DJF Podcast this week at some point… though… uh… yeah, don’t count on it. Maybe, though! Stay tuned!