What do you mean this is basically all stuff I could have put into the MLBTR post?
Baseball Prospectus makes Aaron Sanchez their AFL Pitcher of the Day for Friday, after he gave up an unearned run, pitching five hitless innings with eight strikeouts. “When he throws strikes and has his command, Sanchez can make pitching look easy. Sanchez’s velocity was actually down a smidge on Friday, with his fastball sitting just below 95 mph, but reigning things in clearly worked for him,” Jeff Moore explains. Sanchez now sports an ERA of 0.98 in 18.1 AFL innings, with eighteen strikeouts, just five hits, and nine walks. Of course, with the extremely varied quality of competition, those numbers don’t mean a whole lot, but it’s certainly better that he’s dominating than if he weren’t.
Speaking of BP, their Jason Parks had a bit of a Twitter exchange with a fan about Marcus Stroman, saying that while the reports on his changeup are mixed, it’s improved– with some having it as high as “solid average”– and he thinks he can start. Parks also likes the cutter that Stroman has started throwing– “hard as shit,” he says, hitting as high as 93 on the radar gun. That’ll keep ‘em honest.
The Atlanta Braves are moving to a new stadium, at some crossroads of Interstate highways in Cobb County, well northwest of the city centre, and the Marietta Daily Journal had the scoop! Turner Field, if you’re counting, was used during the 1996 Olympics and became home to the club starting in 1997, or eight years after SkyDome opened.
At Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith is live blogging/Storifying all the events of what has so far been a fairly slow first day of the GM Meetings.
I linked to it earlier, but it’s worth another look at Shi Davidi’s piece in which he speaks to Alex Anthopoulos about his off-season plans. “It seems like with all the different things we’re looking to do, half of the scenarios are in free agency, half of the scenarios are in trade,” he says.
Another one that I’ve linked to earlier but is still worth a look if you didn’t catch it is Davidi’s talk with Brandon Morrow, who says he isn’t quite over the nerve impingement that cut his season short, but he feels much better, and is making great progress. The money quote, though, is about his reputation: “To hear the questions that different people may bring up about your health, or ability to stay healthy without looking at all the numbers, it’s unfair to say those things when it’s been different reasons. Up until this year, I spent a total of (five) weeks on the disabled list for arm troubles and even before that I was labelled injury-prone because I had a sore arm in spring training a couple of times. It’s kind of funny. The fact I had the oblique injury last year and now this, all of a sudden I can’t stay healthy?”
Elsewhere still at Spotsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith notes that a bunch of teams watched Cuban catcher Yenier Bello’s workouts last week.
Also from last week, Gregor Chisholm looked ahead to the winter as well, answering reader questions for his Inbox column at BlueJays.com.
Jays Journal looks at whether the club Jays should non-tender Esmil Rogers, who Tim Dierkes of MLBTR suggested was a candidate for such. Which… yikes, you’d almost think they have to keep him just on principle, for having given away Yan Gomes to get him. Though I think there are performance reasons for it too. And… y’know… let’s see Gomes do it a second time. But still!
More from Jays Journal, as they get a bit wishful– he said being kind– in thinking the Diamondbacks would trade Tyler Skaggs for Casey Janssen. Huh? They’re redeemed, however, by looking at Ryan Hanigan as a buy-low option at catcher, because he just got forced out by Brayan Pena, but had a BABIP outlier this year, and can still take a walk, which could bode well for a bounce back.
On the other hand, Drew writes about Hanigan at Getting Blanked, zeroing in on the “he can’t hit” angle, and noting the especially high number of intentional walks he drew– hitting ahead of the pitcher will do that, even when you’re as shitty with the bat as Ryan Hanigan– which drops his walk rate from 11.4% to 7.9%. Not bad, but definitely less good. I’d like to hope the Jays can go elsewhere– or at the very least do as Drew suggests and use him in, y’know, a proper role.
Elsewhere at Getting Blanked, Jack Moore’s Primary Sources pieces continue to be awesome.
Reports on Sean Nolin from the Dominican Winter League are good! Like this one from BlueJays.com.
In the National Post, John Lott provides another excerpt from his and Shi Davidi’s new book, Great Expectations, concerning Brett Lawrie’s maturation process, and how Mark DeRosa, Chad Mottola, and Edwin Encarnacion helped it along. Cue people seeing ghosts. Which I don’t say to devalue the information– it’s interesting, well-written, and helps us understand what was going on with the club– but yeah, let’s not go ascribing any magic to anyone here. On one hand, stuff will start to click better at 23 than it will at 22, and on the other, if you look at the overall numbers, Lawrie was worse in 2013 than he was in 2012, both offensively and defensively.
Speaking of the book, the Blue Jay Hunter chats to Shi Davidi about it, and about the season that was. Great stuff!
David Laurila of FanGraphs has an excellent Q&A with “thinking man’s pitcher” Neil Wagner. Great stuff!
Sticking with FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan looks at the pitch framing skills of the catchers on the market this winter.
The Jays have signed Marcus Walden, Jonathan Diaz, and Michael Broadway to minor league deals with Spring Training invites, per a team release. Not the cracking start to the off-season that we’d hoped for, huh?
Elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Alexis Brudnicki tells us about former Team Canada star, and big leaguer with the Red Sox, Adam Stern, who has opened up a new baseball facility in London, and recently showcased 117 young players to a large group of scouts and college recruits.
Robbie Alomar is launching a company– which makes equipment or something– at an event tomorrow. The Jays’ official account tweeted it, for those of you might be interested in such a thing, for some reason.
Lastly, great stuff from Brendan Kennedy in the Toronto Star, taking up the tradition of Proudfoot’s Corner.