Here’s something we haven’t done for a while, mostly because we haven’t had a Keith Law chat at ESPN.com quite as jam packed with Jays-related tidbits as his most recent one: some… uh… Law Layin’. Let’s do this!

Andrew (Toronto)
Hello Keith! Do you see Dalton Pompey and Tom Robson as legit major league prospects? I hear a lot about them, but wonder if they might be overhyped on this side of the border because they’re Canadian.
I think it’s a bit of both. Pompey’s very interesting – an athletic kid who’s put on about 20 pounds since signing and has always had an idea at the plate. Leadoff profile rather than a power/corner bat. Robson was more interesting when he was getting more groundballs.

Canadian prospects getting extra hype from Canadian outlets? Well I never!

Interesting, though, to see Pompey’s name start to break through into the legit, top-end prospect conversation. If you missed it earlier in the week, BP also had a rather glowing write-up of him, as well, calling him a player whose “name was in the running for the Jays top 10 list, and after falling short of that distinction he was in the running (but not chosen) to be named a prospect on the rise in that organization. The omission is our mistake—and a foolish one at that—as the 21-year-old outfielder has blossomed into arguably the top position prospect in the Blue Jays organization, a toolsy dream of a player who is finally healthy and putting the pieces together on the field.”


steve (ny)
Syndergaard has struggled. Is he still a number 2 or 3 starter in your eyes?
Five of six starters in Las Vegas, a brutal environment for pitchers. Relax.

I think he’s missing the word “struggle” in the first half of the sentence there, and Law is, of course, right about the Vegas effect — as we all know too well from the Jays’ years with the 51s as their affiliate. But, y’know, just so you know, y’know? Syndergaard isn’t setting the world’s balls on fire: he’s got just 28 Ks and 12 walks through 32 innings in the desert, with a 3.94 ERA and a 4.20 FIP.

Keep dreaming if you think Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman wouldn’t be similarly struggling out there, but I figure that Syndergaard looking human, even if only for a 32 inning stretch in his first taste of triple-A, is worth pointing out.

Reba (Toronto)
I know it’s a small sample size but from what we’ve seen in Matt Boyd, is he for real? What does he project to be?
Senior sign last year, average stuff, good command. 23 in the FSL with four years of experience in a good conference, so those five starts there don’t tell us much. Probably a 5th starter/middle guy, unless something changes with his offerings.

Reba here takes her one chance and doesn’t let me down, even if the projection on Boyd — believable as it is — sort of does.

Will (Tacoma)
Has Taijuan Walker lost any projection with you this season so far?
He did last year, when he shortened his stride and started finishing very upright, while his new cutter superseded his curveball (which got worse because he shortened his stride etc.). I’m legitimately concerned about his shoulder, because that type of delivery is correlated with higher risk of arm injuries.

Not exactly Jays-related, but this one is notable because these are the same kinds of concerns that KLaw pointed out last fall about Aaron Sanchez’s delivery/stride/finish, and, of course, because Walker’s shoulder is currently euchred.

Mike (Toronto)
Any early reports on Phil Bickford (sigh)?
Terrible. Upper 80s at times, still no breaking ball. I criticized the Jays for taking what I saw as a second round talent at best with the 10th pick, but the end result will probably be OK for them.

Whoa. OK, then. I’m not exactly thrilled that another of these tidbits is of the “isn’t it great that this guy is struggling” variety, but… um… that’ll play. Now don’t fuck up the pick this year, Jays.

Bryan (Montclair, NJ)
From a scout’s perspective, what have you thought of d’Arnaud this season? He looks like he’s made some adjustments at the plate over the last 10 games.
I think his numbers this year are quite skewed by starting the year 0-for-15 … I doubt it’s adjustments so much as the normal variation we see over small samples. I’m much more worries about him staying healthy than him hitting.

Oh yeah, d’Arnaud is struggling, too. Or, at least, he was badly to start the year, and his numbers haven’t really made their way back to normal. He’s currently sitting on a .291 wOBA and a wRC+ of 86. You’ll still want to bet that he’s fine as long as he stays healthy, though. But, of course, cue: meat heads attempting to shit on the Jays’ player development anyway.

Mayday Malone (Boston)
Alex Meyer or Kevin Gausman? Both big clubs need these guys now.
No, they don’t. Stop looking at every minor league like he’s going to come to the majors and perform at his peak level right away.

Hint hint, Stroman salivators.

Lastly, one more for the premature Schadenfreude set:

Chris (Seattle)
You can’t stop Mookie KLAW, you can only hope to contain him. What would you do with him in 2015 if you were Red Sox GM?
I’d leave him at 2b for the time being and let him continue to hit, including a solid length of time at AAA. At least take the year to see how Pedroia bounces back after thumb surgery – he wasn’t good last year, and in a tiny sample he’s been worse so far this year. If Pedroia does bounce back, I’d consider moving Betts to the outfield.

Now… let’s not go nuts with thoughts of Pedroia’s demise — especially with, as is the whole point of the question, an excellent prospect behind him — but it’s not untrue that he hasn’t been quite himself of late. After posting a wRC+ of 129 in the first half of last year, he was a league-average-ish 95 in the second half, and — as Law says — has been an even worse 84 over 130 plate appearances so far this year.

Rings, though. Also: seriously, let’s not go nuts.

Comments (93)

  1. Legitimately interested to know how many people got the “Fancy” reference. Holy shit.

  2. I don’t understand prospects that turn down high bonuses to go to school (Bickford). Take the money and run. If it doesn’t work out your bonus will take care of sending you to any school you want (provided there is still some left after the hookers and blow). Hope it works out for Bickford.

    • Yeah, I don’t understand that either. It’s different if you’re taken in the late rounds and offered a few grand, but guys like Beede and Bickford are crazy. The upside is that they get a couple million more. The downside is that they blow out their arms and get nothing, or maybe they get taken as a late pick and get a couple hundred thousand. Either way, it doesn’t seem worth the risk at all.

      It seems to be going well enough for Beede so far, but apparently not so much for Bickford.

    • I can understand it, it’s easy to see why some 18 year old who’s never had any arm problems wouldn’t continue to trust their own health. I wrecked my own shoulder a couple years ago and I would have never seen it coming. I can also understand wanting to get a university experience in your life. It’s different going to university at 18 and at even 22. I think Beede said the same thing himself when he chose to go to school. It’s just a really awesome life experience. It really sucks for the guys that never get the chance again after going to college.

      • Also, not that I was on the track to be a professional ball player or anything, I just mean that if you’ve never experienced any kind of body related issues and you’re a teenager, it’s hard to even understand the health risk.

        • Another factor is the advice they get.
          Seen more than a few kids with everybody telling them stuff,getting into their heads,make bad decisions.
          It’s hard for them to sort out,especially with the shit scouts are whispering in their ears.
          There’s a lot of political issues they have to deal with also.

    • Some of these kids are just sacrificial lambs for their agents, who need to have a couple not sign so that their threats look legit. I get the feeling these kids would jump at the cash in a heartbeat, but their agents have them hold back with promises of a higher selection and much more money in three years. Young people always think they are indestructible and don’t think about injuries anyway.

  3. i once heard KLAW mention that 2nd basemen really crash, in part because they can’t be moved t another infield position. i don’t think Pedroia’s anywhere near it, but it’s worth considering.

  4. Didn’t you write a post about Farrell and his comments on the Jays being more scouting oriented and less successful with player development in the minors?

  5. In my head I know Stroman won’t put up the same numbers in MLB that he does in AAA. The MLB is chock full of AAA All Stars. Still.. How good would it be if Hutchison and Stroman could both get on a roll to compliment Buehrle and the Dick.

  6. I think Law meant 5 of Syndergaard’s 6 starts so far have been in Vegas, which is a brutal pitching environment. I think I read that somewhere else yesterday.

  7. good to hear the system is coming along. was only a matter of time until a couple of those high school lottery tickets broke out.

    Syndergaard struggles in the K/BB department (where he’s really shone in the past) is kind of disturbing, although one wonders how the conditions at Vegas impact pitch selection and how much a guy will nibble. because BABIP’s are always high there due to the quality of the field and the thinner air, i could see pitchers trying to be too fine with their location and therefore walking more than they otherwise would.

    D’Arnauds struggles are interesting too, adding questions about performance to ever-present questions about health. for that kind of risky player who’s bat seems unlikely to play elsewhere, playing the games most grueling position may be a recipe for a bust. he’s got talent, but how often will it play?

  8. happ is obviously being showcased. jays want to call up stroman and need to move happ. all he needs is one good start and he gone. teams only care about what you’ve done recently. think teams want jesse chavez now?

    • nonsense. Happ would have to do a lot more than have one good start to attract buyers to give up anything of value for him.

      anyone can have one good start.

      • It’s not about getting value, it’s about unloading that contract so alex can save face

        • I don’t usually use internet acronyms but… Lol..

          If you think that any reasonable analyst is looking at the fucking J.A. Happ contract and using it to judge a GM as success/failure then you are actually mentally behind the rest of the pack. A number of cards short of a deck.

          You’re a moron, is what I’m saying.

          • Have you ever said anything on this board that wasn’t a total asshole thing to say?
            like ever?
            you just strike me as someone who’s really unhappy with himself

    • Why is this obvious? Has anyone with real knowledge talked about this?

  9. Happ is not worthless. Before his injury last year, he was one of our more reliable starters. In April he had a 1.25 WHIP and 24K in 28IP. That’s not awful. I could care less what happens to Jenkins or Redmond, but Happ has (modest) value.

    • I agree. I don’t understand why everyone is clamouring to unload Happ, especially while his value is down.

      • because he’s not going to be back next year anyways so get rid of him instead of wasting a roster spot.

    • i agree too. and adding another lefty to the rotation could be a good thing..

  10. Gose slapped the ball for a base hit last night. Perhaps he’s seen the light. Once on base he created pure fuckery on the infield with his speed. That’s what he needs to do.

    • Or even if he could learn to take walks and get on base like a brett gardner type. Its doubtful he will though.

      • He’s always had solid walk rates in the minors, and it’s skyrocketed so far this year (usually around 10%, currently at 14.8% in AAA this year, which is among the best in the league). There are signs of progress.

    • Zaun was saying Gose could bunt .300 of he learned how to do it properly.

      • That’s mind blowing.

        • While I’m not a fan of Zaun’s, he said that Gose has Lofton upside if he learns to bat/bunt for average. It’s hard to argue with that. The arm is a cannon and he’s fucking fast.

          • Could happen. He’s still only 23.

          • It’s not so much bunting all the time it’s that he infield will play in because of the threat. He’ll get balls through the infield that slow players won’t.

      • Zaun’s comment is straight out of the loony bin. i dont know what the success rate is for bunts at the major league level, but i’d bet it’s a lot lower than all the small-ball supporters think. even for a guy with Gose’s speed it takes a damn good bunt to beat the defense, especially if you use it to the point where it’s predictable.

        i’m all for him starting to use the whole field and sacrificing some of his modest power for contact, but the reality is he will probably never be a good hitter. however, with his baserunning, range and arm, he might become good enough to be a valuable everyday player.

        • He doesn’t mean literally bunt .300, obviously. If Gose could legitimately add a bunt for hit as a weapon it changes the way the infield defends him and how pitchers approach his at bats. Both of those things help along with the successful bunt for hits.

        • im a small ball supporter. Because it wins games.
          The Jays need to get better at moving runners over.
          Gose could be very useful for this, and lets face it, hes not gonna crush HRs all day.

  11. Over his last two weeks/47 PA Brett Lawrie 310/383/548 159wRC+ 0.6 WAR

    • That’s been great to see. Most of the Jays hitters have been performing really well the last couple of weeks. OPS Since April 13:

      Lawrie – .898
      Edwin – .941
      Bautista – 1.034
      Melky – .938
      Navarro – .767
      Francisco .920 (since joining the team April 19)

      Reyes, Rasmus and the second basemen are the only ones who haven’t been hitting that well lately, Getz’s three game start notwithstanding.

      • And that ladies and gentlemen, is why knee jerk reactions/impatience regarding the pitching staff as a whole won’t be necessary, till, well, they are absolutly necessary.

        • Yeah, the offense can be good enough that the starters should just have to hold their own, for the most part, for the team to be competitive.

          Unless the bullpen keeps falling apart every couple of days. Which… I don’t want to say it absolutely, unequivocally WON’T, but… it won’t.

    • Sweet.

    • Small sample size, small sample sample size… …

  12. So I’ve been wondering if DJF uses any forms of traditional advertising to promote awareness and attract an audience. For the quality of the content having only 4000 facebook fans is kind of shitty. I personally tripped upon the site a few years ago because MLBTR linked to it and I was on the hunt for something better to read than Richard Griffin. Since then DJF has increased the depth of my understanding and enjoyment of baseball and I just want to share that with the braying masses of Canadian sports fans. I know the Score online is not owned by Rogers but a few mentions on broadcasts would help. Also maybe if Stoeten got a raise he wouldn’t be so grumpy all the time they may even make him shave his beard and wear a suit if he got too successful so why doesn’t everyone go tell three friends instead of keeping our little treasure a secret.

    • A friend told me about DJF a couple of years ago and it’s basically my only source for Blue Jays news (especially since any links you could ever really need end up posted here anyway). The analysis is tight and balanced for sure IMO.

      • I first heard about DJF when it was mentioned at bluebirdbanter. They won’t even let you say ‘shit’ there. Like what the fucking shit is that?!?!?!

    • DJF is for the hardcore and is very educational.
      I never really seen it advertised anywhere.
      Often wondered what would happen if I had a cap with Drunk Jays Fans embroidered on it and went to a Jays game,whether the ushers would throw me out for promoting drinking.
      Gonna try it later this year.
      Stoeten might even sue me for copyright infringment.
      i’m such a shit disturber.

    • 20,000 followers on Twitter. Also: Facebook is pretty much dead. Ask your kids.

      • don’t go stealing Deadspins quotes without giving proper credit :()

      • Plus going to now start pulling in the Reba and country music fans by the looks of it.

      • Why not Drunk Yankee Fans, Drunk Giants Fans (that’s all Parkes!)? Stoets you could really make a career out of this if you spread the DJF love and hate. I’ll mention it to JL next time he’s marketing but you should be all over that.

    • My story exact. Other than Davidi and Nicholson-Smith, I can’t read anything else Jays related. (Unless it’s Stoeten answering Griffin’s mailbag.)

    • Because it’s our treasure, and fuck everyone else.

      And 20,000 twitter followers is a fucking shitload.

      Been reading since JP fucking Ricciardi was around, used to love the lambasting there.

      First online stop of my day. Sadly, even being three hours ahead of me, it’s usually last nights content. But you still get the page view!

  13. Kratz up
    Jenkins down

  14. A side note congrats to Bawston once again showing their class with the racist bullshit during the Habs/Bruins game.

  15. A third catcher? Is Navarro hurt, as Thole’s late entry into last night’s game may have hinted? Or is this move just to give us a much-needed RH bat on the bench? If so, wouldn’t Pillar been a more obvious choice? Kratz would have been 3rd or 4th on that list, I think. Pillar’s raking in Buffalo lately. (And as an aside, doesn’t Pillar look too much like Paul Molitor not to be a good hitter?) And Pillar’s potential on defense must be more valuable than carrying a 3rd catcher. I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder (read: hope) if this callup might be a pre-trade move. Thole and RandomBullpenArm to Seattle for Nick Franklin mebbe? I like Thole and his improved approach at the plate, but maybe it’s time to sell high?

    • I’d say it allows Gibby to DH Navarro vs lefties, have Kratz catch those games and still have a backup catcher. I kinda like it actually.

      • I suppose the Navarro at DH scenario could be it, but I’m not sure how that requires a 3rd catcher. Navarro can still be backup catcher while he DH’s, allowing us a non-catcher to fill that spot, where we might need the defensive replacement in a NL park. Maybe Kratz’ history in Pittburgh has a role in the decision? (he asked, grasping at straws)

        • I don’t think they want to be put in the situation of losing the DH, which would be the case in that scenario.

          • True, but I doubt that Navarro will be DH’ing for the next 5 days at least. Curious timing on the Jays’ part, if your theory turns out to be right, wouldn’t you say?

            • Yeah, that’s true. I don’t know. I like AA for the most part but his in-season roster construction/shuffling is puzzling at times.

              • Indeed. I count 3 or 4 RH bats I would have chosen ahead of Kratz for this move, which is what makes me wonder if something’s up trade-wise. Of course it’s possible that the team brass know a few things I don’t…I suppose…

        • I think if the DH switches to a position during the game you lose the DH spot (ie the pitchers spot has to hit) for the rest of the game.

  16. BTW:
    Anybody take a look at the gash in Griffs melon?
    He posted it on twitter last night.
    very nasty.

  17. This Kratz/Jenkins thing makes no sense. Now we have a 6 man rotation and bullpen. We have a greater proportion of crappy starters, that have to be supported by a under performing, overworked bullpen that is 25% smaller?

    • Happ is making a SPOT START. Rogers, Redmond and Loup are all able to go multiple innings, and the pen is pretty well rested after 3 solid starts in KC, so a temporary 6-man pen is not really a concern.

      • but that spot start mean that you have one less long guy out of the bullpen, so if happ shits the bed whose coming in after Redmond? Bad starts by morrow, McGowan and happ could really screw the pen

        • Yeah, and I guess there’s no way they could possibly make another roster move to compensate if that were to happen. It’s kind of unfair that the roster’s locked in the way it is and they’re not allowed to make any more moves.

        • Bad starts from three starters one time through the rotation generally result in problems, regardless of how may there are in the bullpen.

    • Need the extra bat for inter league play.

  18. So…Lawrie at second tonight?

  19. It makes sense carrying an extra bench player for national league games. Pinch hitting for the pitcher and such. So I’ll ask again. What would you guys pay rasmus for a contract based on his hitting streakiness and defense? 10m? 12m?

  20. reyes rocking the parrot too!

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