Eager to know why you’re here.

At Minor League Ball, John Sickels lists his top 20 Jays prospects for 2014, with Aaron Sanchez coming in at the top, and a rather aggressive ranking for Mitch Nay, who he says he sees “as a huge breakout candidate.”

Allan Simpson of the Canadian Baseball Network tells us that Phil Bickford is projected by Perfect Game as the number one prospect for the 2016 draft, which… being a top ten pick who didn’t sign, isn’t particularly surprising. He’ll be one to watch, though, over the next few years. Something of a Young Beedah 2.0.

Speaking of prospect stuff, MLB.com names Aaron Sanchez the ninth best pitching prospect in the game right now. Noah Syndergaard is third. Gregor Chisholm has a follow-up piece on Sanchez alone, over at BlueJays.com.

Speaking of Sanchez, Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke to him for a piece over at Sportsnet from late last week.

Former prospect Justin Jackson may be a prospect again, now that he’s moved from the infield to the mound. Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects looks at the progress the former sandwich pick made in his first season on the hill.

On the former prospect tip, there’s also Ricardo Nanita, who has returned to the organization on a minor league deal according to a tweet from the Jays’ official account.

MLBTR passes along the latest on Masahiro Tanaka, including a report from Bruce Levine of Chicago’s 670theScore, who says that a source tells him the Cubs will outbid the field in terms of years and dollars, and yet also that none of the teams knows what the others have bid for Tanaka as yet. So then… how could the Cubs do that, exactly? Anyway, interesting.

In the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin swallows whole the Nikkan report about Tanaka being down to five suitors, and throws in some nonsense about the Jays not being a possible landing spot because of the non-existent policy about contract length. Come on.

Of course, that isn’t to suggest I think the Jays aren’t massive long shots here. At Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith ranks the suitors– including the Jays, for now.

Another one from Gregor, as he looks a the health of Brandon Morrow, as does John Lott of the National Post.

Sticking with BlueJays.com, here’s a trio of pieces from Alexis Brudnicki, who profiles Dustin McGowan, Esmil Rogers, and Todd Redmond.

Two more from Benny Fresh at Sportsnet, as he looks at AA’s recent comments about needing to strengthen his club’s bench, and also takes us through the arbitration process, which the Jays avoided with all three of their arbitration-eligible players back on Friday.

Interesting stuff from Jays Journal, as they comb through the past for calls in Jays games that may have been impacted had the new replay system been in place at the time. They also try to make the case for Johan Santana (not sure why he’d sign here, given the ballpark, league, and competition for back-end places, not that I’d be interested in a broken-down name anyway), and somehow come to the conclusion that the Jays are going to stand pat.

Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looks at some data on “catching up and catching down” — meaning: the ability to receive high and low strikes — and it looks like it might be yet another reason to think the Jays did pretty well for themselves in picking up Erik Kratz. The sample size on him is small, but only seven of 102 catchers had a higher percentage of low strikes called for them, and only 25 had a higher percentage (with 11 of those being within 1% of Kratz’s number). He’ll be the backup if he can catch the knuckleball and the Jays know what’s good for them.

The Tao Of Stieb takes questions from the unwashed masses in his latest Tweet Bag.

Baseball players playing saxophones? Baseball players playing saxophones.

Lastly, interesting stuff from Nick Ashbourne of Bluebird Banter, as he takes a look at John Gibbons’ bullpen usage in 2013, which was predictably reasonable.

Comments (63)

  1. Sickels likes Nay. I like that someone finally thinks we have a prospect that can handle the bat.

    • Pointed out to me on Twitter that Hulet and Longenecker also had him quite high.

      • Baretto 5th place on Longnecker’s list and 6th place on Sickels list.
        The kid is 17 years old !!!

        • He’s super awesome in my OOTP league too….
          …. Just thought I’d point that out… Because it’s super relevant…. and …. uhm….. Carry on.

          • In my OOTP league he was the #1 prospect.. Too bad I had already traded him in a package to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton.

  2. Andrew – you really get bent out of shape about the supposed fictiotous contract policy.

    In all his time with the Jays Beeston has rarely if ever taken on this type of risk as he has publically said many times explaining he doesnt think taking on long term risk like that is a good idea for a sustainable winner. AA skirts the issue with ambiguous responses while Beeston flat out says he is opposed to long term big money deals in general and would only change his mind in an extunuating circumstance. Bidding war amongst top market teams with Tanaka is not one of those circumstances.

    Until proven otherwise it is entirely reasonable to expect the Jays to be big long shots on any of these long term big money FA deals due to the philosophy of the front office. Not impossible but doesn’t seem likely at all because that is not how Beeston runs the team.

    There are examples of Romero, Bautista and EE with extensions of fairly long terms (not as long as many of the FA mind you) but those are very club friendly with team options and were extensions where the player accepted less money to mitigate the risk on their end since they had no other guarteed moeny options at the time before their current contract was up – like Rasmus may this year. From recollection it seemed pretty clear AA had to convince Beeston to take the risk on Romero. There is Reyes but he was acquired in a trade with other lower risk assets.

    I best not mention my feelings for soccer in the same breath as this!

    • you have to learn to ignore the commenter known as stoeten, he thinks if he keeps repeating ignorant things like they’re facts we’ll all eventually forget to see the truth – the jays policy has been very clear, to those of us who pay attention, for many years – an exception to a policy is always possible but in this case, thankfully, unlikely

    • “Bidding war amongst top market teams with Tanaka is not one of those circumstances.”

      So a potential top of the rotation 25 year old pitcher is not an extenuating circumstance? What would be an extenuating circumstance?

    • Nick, AA has said that they would bend it in the right circumstance, definitely to six years, and he wouldn’t close the door on seven. That it would bend at all should tell you how real it is. As has been pointed out, a 25 year old top line starter may indeed be one of those circumstances.

      As for “until proven otherwise,” that’s absurd. The Jays weren’t in the business of trading young top prospects for high-money big leaguers until late last November, and then they were. That did not make it the reasonable position on November 15th to say that they’d never do such a thing and don’t expect it. We have brains and we’re perfectly capable of using them, and just because the team has yet to do something doesn’t rule it out — not even when they publicly state their opposition to it, especially if that opposition is clearly soft.

      And you’re missing the biggest point, which is that none of this has anything to do with why they may or may not sign anybody. Zero. That doesn’t mean they’re not still huge long shots for Tanaka, but it’s not because of their unwillingness to offer a certain number of years. Not in the slightest. That fact is painfully obvious, which is why I get frustrated when this garbage is repeated. If the bidding war gets beyond where they’re comfortable, it will be about money, not years. Period. There is no limit to the per-year salary they can offer, and if they are only willing to offer a certain number of years, they can still offer the same amount of total money, or more, than other clubs. If the player chooses to go elsewhere (in addition to whatever other personal factors might be involved) it will be because they’re not offering enough total money. Has nothing to do with years. Nothing.

  3. Dickey-(Morrow?)-35-year old Buehrle-other-other

    I know we’ve been over this before, and none of the top guys have signed yet, but if the Jays don’t get Jimenez, Santana or Garza, this has the makings of a 70-75 win team for sure.

    Another sad year in Toronto on the way . . . I hope I’m wrong, but 1994-2013 says I’m not . . .

    • Your best projection without signing one of those starters is 75 wins? So that means you think signing one of those guys will get them the double digit additional wins they need to get for a reasonable playoff chance… A 15 win pitcher sure would be a nice pickup.

  4. Sanchez was actually the 9th best right handed pitching prospect, not overall.

  5. The first two Jays Journal links go to the same Santana article

  6. Im a fan of Nay, if nothing more for the fact that he played high school ball one block away from me at Hamilton High school in chandler AZ. Well, we’ve both since moved..but always nice to see a hometown kid do well.

    that school is a football powerhouse..not known for baseball so much

  7. “..none of the teams knows what the others have bid for Tanaka as yet.”
    Yeah, but you have to assume that they will at some point. And according to Levine’s source, when the Cubs learn what the high bid is, then they’ll outbid it.

    • Yeah, once teams have agreed to post the initial 20 million then he’s a traditional FA.
      I imagine his agent is instantly apprising other teams what the top bid is and that they need to go higher.

    • Yes as far as I understand this process it’s not a secret bid and more like a free agent negotiation for any teams that want to participate. So Tanaka’s agent can always go around to the interested teams flaunting the best offer to see if anyone wants to top it.

    • And then so will the next team that learns.

  8. An open post to fellow Baseball fans. Not directed at Stoeten or anyone else, just how I see the actual worth a coach provides versus the “new math rational”.

    I just read another article that was rating managers and their supposed entire contribution to their teams……

    I’m pretty tired of hearing the Saber guys saying that coaches aren’t that important and at best only worth a few WAR. Granted, a manager has only so much control over a single games outcome by personnel selection, pitching changes, and hit & runs …etc

    But there are two ways a player progresses from raw rookie to MLB regular to above average player. Players have their elite god given talents, they progress as those skills progress through repetition and better competition. They also improve of course through player development which comes directly through coaching and teaching.

    You can roll out all the graphs you want about the marginal differences that choices that TLR made over Coach-X to show he may have added a win here or a win there but you can’t and don’t properly afford him the praise or criticisms over how he helps a young player develop, learn, and extract the best of his talents.

    Players, GM’s and other coaches can recognize that a coaches wins are largely linked to the talent he has been provided but that he can do so much more for young players, a team, or a franchise in how he coaches and motivates. It’s probably one of the reasons why Joe Maddon was kept on in Tampa after being a combined 70 games below .500 in 2006 and 2007. He is one of the best respected managers and motivators in the game. He’s an intelligent teacher that takes concepts and ideas from all parts of life to help his players play better and be better people.

    If you’ve played a sport at any level you’ll understand a bit of what I’m getting at. Coaches teach ideas, build confidence and also, and most want the best for you as a person.
    That doesn’t stop at the top level, players still need to be coached, coddled, and be instilled with confidence.

    One example, Brett Lawrie made some well publicized mistakes the last few years. Screaming at a coach and teammate, running threw signs, umpire blowups, running recklessly. The media and fans wanted him benched or worse, run out of town. Gibby not only directly confronted Lawrie during these incidents but he also played Lawrie the next day each time. He was harsh by dealing with the incidents immediately, while on TV and not down the tunnel but was fair. He let the media know it was addressed and then played him the next day despite much or the world wanting him benched. I think the patience, confidence and teaching these incidents afforded Gibby, helped Lawrie turn his season around. In a perfect world your athletes aren’t immature or need a behaviour corrected, but had Gibby not done what he did, he could have alienated a great young talent and the media could have ran him out of town pennies on the dollar.

    Every situation is different, and even the greats like TLR and Bobby Cox exiled the likes of Colby and Yunel. But it could probably be argued that in doing so these players were taught another valuable lesson that helped them become better players, teammates and people.

    Baseball is not an emotionless, dispassionate computer game. It’s life, and life is messy, life means mistakes, learning, and leaning on those you trust. A coach is more then a guy who pencils in a lineup, he’s family. And his worth can’t be measured in WAR.

    • My boy’s wicked smart.

    • Player development is a thing, obviously, but you are vastly overstating how much of that comes out of the big league manager’s office.

      Then… let’s see, we’ve got a big ol’ appeal to authority about players and coaches and GMs having innate knowledge of this stuff, a bunch of mythology about Joe Maddon that doesn’t tell us anything, more appeals to authority (had to play the game!), trying to give Gibbons extra credit for something any manager would have done and absurdly pretending one incident might have seen a very talented player run out of town, and then the giant steaming lazy offensive turd of a straw man about people who are curious enough to apply scientific principles to how they look at the game, and actually demand evidence before just swallowing the game’s core myths, being computer nerds divorced from reality who don’t understand what it is to be human.

      How am I doing?

      • Fairly. I believe you believe what you are writing so I’ll say fairly.

        It’s a misconception that I’m taking a shot at all saber friendly folk and how they view the game. I just take exception to it being blindly applied to every facet of the game.
        You can’t possibly measure a mangers worth with any of these formulas so I think people are misguided doing so, and then stating it as empirical evidence why one coach is more valuable then another. Or worse, why none are that valuable at all.

        Some of my evidence about a coaches value is anecdotal but when there is such an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence from fellow managers, coaches, players and GM’s about what a single coach “like Maddon, or Sparky, or Gibby” can mean, then you need to give it some weight.

        • And I don’t believe I’m overstating the value at the major league level. More and more players are coming up barely cresting their 20′s, some are teenagers. More then ever coaching, teaching, instilling confidence is important at the ML level.
          These kids have excelled from age 5 through every level they have ever played at. They need coaches, leaders and teaching for when they finally experience failure.

          • Yes, they need coaches to be there. And you’re getting from there to “managers are worth more than only a few WAR” how?

            • Coaches, all coaches not just the manager, eat with the players, drink with the players, travel with them, celebrate with and console players. Somewhere a coach helped Encarnacion change his approach (a coach of Cano’s if I remember correctly), a coach noted that Bautista was getting started too late, he went from journeyman to allstar. A coach noted that Halladays early struggles seemed mental not physical. “The 2000 season was so disheartening that he actually contemplated retirement. After 19 games and 13 starts, he had a 4-7 record with a 10.64 ERA. With opponents hitting a robust .350 off him, he was handed a ticket back to Syracuse.” He changed his approach and credited much of his success to a coach. (I don’t remember his name.)

              My point is, these guys do soooo much more then write names on a lineup card. They teach very young men, how to be professional, how to become better players, better men.
              You can maybe judge a coach on his ability to make in game strategy decisions and equate some value….maybe. But you simply can’t measure a coaches value (or lack of value as many saber guys tend to believe) with any of these formulas.

              • You are talking about coaches in the broad sense, and then trying to place their value on big league managers in the very narrow sense. Doesn’t work. You’re also not accounting for the “R” in “WAR.” Nobody pretends that coaches do nothing, but if you were open to the opposing viewpoint enough to have got beyond the silly, slanted, patronizing stuff about “formulas” and, again, about how people who demand evidence can’t understand humanity, you’d recognize that. Hard to have a conversation without that.

                Mel Queen was the coach who helped Halladay find himself, by the way, and he also credits Harvey Dorfman’s The Mental ABC’s Of Pitching and some of his other work. Of course, the vast, vast, vast majority of Halladay’s value was produced exclusively by Halladay.

                • Interesting conversation gentlemen.

                • Agreed, the talent comes from the athlete. I stated in my first comment that a coach can’t win without being given the talent. Extracting the talent/value from those players is the issue I think we are disagreeing over. I obviously believe that it requires a coaches instruction and tutelage a little more often then you do.

                  All of these guys have different personalities and motivations. A coach has to approach each differently. Very difficult.

                  To your point on Halladay, had Queen not helped him change his approach he could have ended up flipping burgers. As I quoted earlier, Halladay was so lost he considered retirement.

                  Had coaches not worked with and supported EE and Bautista those guys could still be bouncing around waiver wire purgatory or out of ball. The most important factor in player success is obviously the players talent, but quite often these talented players need a little support. I think these few of the many examples out there illustrate that talent is not always enough and coaching can and does improve players.

                  That’s all I’ll say on the subject, I’ll give you the last word if you want it. Love your blog and I appreciate the discussion.

          • To quote my PhD supervisor — the plural of anecdote is not data.

            Piling up anecdotes doesn’t make a compelling story. Like having 8 number 5 pitchers doesn’t equal a number 1.

        • Fuckin right baby.

          Way more to the game than applying stats and graphs.

          Shit like pinch hitting Kirk Gibson in the World Series when he had knees like a stork.

      • Due to uncontrollable laughter, I lost your train of thought with the sentence that contained the phrase “the giant steaming lazy (following word underlined) offensive turd of a straw man.” (query: why underline “offensive” given the other possibilities in that sentence?) But on the other front you opened, the Jays and the bidding war over Tanaka, you’re doing great! You make hedging predictions almost, dare I say, sexy!

        • You’re going to have to up your troll game if you want to make it around here, son. And your grasp of English. When have I ever predicted anything?

          • Flailing away now…..you will notice a continued decrease in comments from the last post but hey the clicks will still be there.

            • Huh?

              • Not trying to be a troll. Just trying to make you laugh. Seriously.

                • Ahh. Sorry. My wires get crossed on that kind of stuff in here too easily sometimes.

                • RADAR, help me out here. I was just trying to be funny. Stoeten’s about to troll me./

                • And I thought it was going to a slow night at the DJF Bar and Grill.
                  Bartender,another round for the boys( and girls)

                  • I have a real, legitimate question.

                    RADAR, Small Potatoes, Formerly the Smasher;

                    Why do you guys read here if you disagree so vehemently with the point of view presented ninety percent of the time? There are plenty of outlets that cater to your particular type of fandom, but instead you opt to come here and argue about how the perspective of this one blog doesn’t line up with yours. I’m not telling you to leave or anything, regardless of my own feelings on the subject, but I’m seriously curious. I don’t read Damien Cox because he doesn’t view baseball through a lens that works for me, why do you read Stoeten?

  9. RADAR, we’re thinking maybe YOU are the troll.

  10. Another round,bartender!

    • Still I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      • Bartender, please put RADAR’s bill on my tab and send him home in a cab?

        • @ FTLOM
          My advice when there’s miscommunication with Stoeten.
          Beg forgiveness,light some candles,use a Gregorian chant and as always,sacrifice a small goat.
          If that fails to produce the desired reaction,do what always works.
          Throw money at the problem.Bribe him. Make it rain baby.

      • Tom Waits fan?

  11. A Young Beedah 2.0 or a James Paxton 3.0?

  12. Stoeten, did you see Angel Hernandez rule Josh Johnson out at 2nd in SF? That was the worst call I saw against the Jays last year, one of the worst in all baseball. I don’t think it got much notice because the game was a weeknight on the west coast.

    • Is it just me?…but I don’t wan’t to do this any more. Fuck it … Let’s just play ball

      • 3 more days until the agony of waiting ends… then you have the agony of listening to the tsn commenters bitch about the outcome (possibly say some racist stuff too).
        Followed by the agony of waiting to see where the other starting pitching dominos fall.

        Followed EVENTUALLY by the sweet sweet relief of spring training.

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