The Jays’ analytics deparment hard at work crunching numbers.

So this feels like a better time to discuss the piece about the Jays’ shamefully small analytics department that was posted by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet late Wednesday night, doesn’t it? No vultures circling, no hopeless, mindless negativity surrounding the club. Shit, last night J.A. Happ took the bull by the horns a little bit, even — at least as much as a fifth starter can do — and for a time Juan Francisco was sporting a higher wRC+ than Yasiel Puig and Giancarlo Stanton. The Jays, despite being just 21-21, are a mere one-and-a-half games out of first place in the AL East. Things are alright, right?

They’re at least alright enough, for the moment, to maybe not lose our minds as we tackle some of the stuff that folks — myself included, to an extent — were seething about the other night. None of that is about Davidi’s work, which as usual is excellent, and in particular is valuable by lifting the veil on a corner of the Jays’ organization that is intentionally little seen by the public. For the club allowing such a profile, though, the instinct for me — and I would assume most analytically inclined folks — is to view it as a misstep. Here we have the club, through the proxy of the TV network that is subsidized by their content (and the lack of competitive bidding needed to acquire the right to air it) ham-fistedly trying to boast about their progressive credentials, instead painting themselves as hopelessly out-of-touch when it comes to their usage of the thing called analytics — the thing our old friend Parkes, at his old blog, Fanatico, succinctly and perfectly a year ago called “measuring performance through the best available metrics, and then attempting to implement what’s been learned as a means of improvement.”

If “hopelessly out of touch” sounds harsh, that’s because it is. An organization attempting to compete with the likes of the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays has absolutely zero excuse for not clawing with their fingernail for ever additional inch of competitive advantage. Period, end of sentence. An organization that doesn’t run, arms open, towards analytics as — at the bare minimum — a means of acquiring extra information their opponent may not have, is beyond dumb as fuck and deserves to lose. No one — at least not at this point, or at least not anyone worth listening to — in the divide between analytics and traditional evaluation sees one or the other as the be-all, end-all, so I’m not even saying this as though I demand that the Blue Jays organization applies every detail gleaned from advanced, proprietary metrics and research to better the team, but holding themselves up and patting themselves on the back for saying “we don’t disdain this stuff,” as they’re trying to compete for the division with the Tampas and the Bostons? And for the Wild Card with the Clevelands and the Oaklands? That’s not just hopeless, it’s frighteningly fucking job-undeservingly out-of-touch!

That all said, let’s not lose perspective here.

Obviously I’m a big believer in analytics and in the fact that anyone incurious enough to be dismissive of them — especially with respect to any halfway serious discussion of sports — is deserving of scorn. That’s such a basic, utterly inarguable stance that ought to go without saying, really. That the hockey world, for example, and the Maple Leafs world, in particular, insists on not getting this is hi-fucking-larious beyond comprehension sometimes. In other words, I’m fully with the people who find the idea of the Jays holding themselves up as having a tiny, behind-the-field, practically insignificant analytics department pretty sickening, given the massive emotional investment we make in these teams in the hope that the people running them aren’t incompetent fucking boobs handcuffing themselves with an informational disadvantage. The fact that the Jays openly handcuff themselves in other ways — their supposed limits on contract length, their apparent refusal to deal with Scott Boras — only stokes such fears, as do last year’s still-ringing comments from John Farrell about this being a “scouting-based organization.”

However, in the spirit of maintaining perspective, let’s think a bit more about what Shi’s piece really told us.

Many fans of the same mind as I regarding analytics zeroed in on a few particular things, at least as far as my interactions on Twitter and in the comments of this site in the wake of the piece’s publication informed me. One was the fact that the club’s analytics department is small. Another is the fact the usage of the tools at the department’s disposal is relatively recent. Another still is the fact that the club isn’t willing to invest in the department enough to entice real talent — i.e. non-baseball fans unwilling to take a pay cut — to join it.

Are these things as damning of the organization as they may initially have come off on the page? I actually don’t think so.

One of the more interesting things in Parkes’ Fanatico post is the fact that, in his evisceration of a Toronto Star writer’s piece on a Grantland piece that unveiled some of the obscure data collected and applied to on-court practice by the Toronto Raptors, he makes it clear that he is aware — seemingly unlike the author of the piece he’s responding to — that there may be far more to the story than was simply allowed to go to print.

In Davidi’s piece, Anthopoulos is said to be “leery” of “appearing like ‘we’re doing something everyone else is not.’ ” He acknowledges the fact that his analytics people aren’t allowed to speak to the media, citing the utter lack of benefit in giving away too many club secrets. There is a very obvious P.R. dance going on here, and what ought to have been plainly obvious from such talk is that we may merely be getting an up-close look at the tip of the iceberg. Yet many fans that I’ve seen react passionately to the piece have been quick assume that the superficial details are absolutely true — that the Jays had a one-man analytics department until very recently, that until this year they didn’t seem to take what was coming out of the department very seriously, and that there are now only two men employed to focus on this vital aspect of the organization.

What’s necessarily true in that, though? While the piece very clearly calls the hiring of former Cleveland employee Jason Pare as adding “a second member to their analytics department,” we’re not given much of a look into how the department really works. Projects may be contracted out, interns may be leaned on heavily, and we have no idea just how much other members of the front office staff actually work on projects overseen by the department. The slant is that it’s a two-man team — formerly a one- or one-and-a-half-man team — and the image conjured for some is of a department that’s hopelessly threadbare. That absolutely could be true, and the Jays would be absolute fucking idiots if it were, but its far from clear, especially in light of the admissions of being coy about all that’s going on with their proprietary data. In fact, it’s entirely possible there’s more to the overlap between Analytics and other departments that we’re simply not hearing about, as we’re told that former assistant GM, Jay Sartori, was working on a major project — the BEST (pronounced “Beest,” as in Paul Beeston) database — with Joe Sheehan, the club’s top analytics man, and that when the analytically-inclined Sartori left the club for an executive position at Apple, staff from many branches of the front office covered his former duties.

If we’re starting to believe that there really may a bigger internal focus on this stuff than the article was permitted to say — and, to be clear, we don’t know this (and yes, it’s somewhat wishful thinking from someone who doesn’t want to have to agree too much with the braying dolts who’ll insist Anthopoulos must be fired immediately) — we next need to consider who the piece is speaking to. And also, perhaps, the climate surrounding analytics in terms of mainstream acceptance — especially in this city, where the Leafs are now (supposedly) being brought kicking and screaming into the modern world by a president, Brendan Shanahan, hired over the heads of the previous administrators, and who actually has espoused vaguely progressive ideas on advanced metrics being important pieces in the evaluative toolbox.

In the media, Alex Anthopoulos has spoken exclusively for almost five years in regressive terms like OPS, RBIs, and pitcher wins, and as much as that’s terrifying to those of us who worry that they really are the sorts of statistical terms he thinks in, to a lot of people it’s comfortable. Not only that, to a lot of those people Anthpoulos is just some seamhead bean counter, even if he’s never actually gone to the trouble of acting like one. Viewed through that prism, and the prism of the P.R. dance, I can understand Anthopoulos perhaps having learned a valuable lesson of the Ricciardi era and being careful not to arrogantly sound like the smartest guy in the room when speaking publicly, or not to speak over the heads of his audience.

Even if that’s not the case, I’m reminded again of something from Parkes, who explained, entirely sensibly, that in the corporate world “decision-makers rely on analysis from those capable of it. They don’t receive all of the nuts and bolts. They receive a recommendation. A smart executive team will look to multiple branches of its company to offer such recommendations when making a decision.”

Translation: Anthpoulos doesn’t even have to be an “analytics guy” himself, as long as he respects the people capable of providing the club with data, and recommendations based on it. And there is nothing in the piece to suggest he wouldn’t — in fact, it goes out of its way to suggest he already does.

Anthopoulos “automated” Brian Butterfield’s old job of suggesting defensive adjustments on the infield — and don’t think there isn’t a political aspect of applying some of these metrics within the tradition-bound world of the clubhouse, especially for a non-athlete who is already likely viewed with some suspicion (though, of course, the Rays seem to have no trouble with this). Anthopoulos, we’re told, also leaned on the department this winter in helping to make the second-biggest off-season free agent acquisition of his tenure, Dioner Navarro. And importantly, despite the impression of recency that it gives, the club seems to have been thinking this way for quite a bit longer than just the past six months. We’re told that the BEST is “a database launched in January 2013 designed to unify separate resources for scouting reports, proprietary analytics data, medical reports, contractual information and video in a single spot,” and that “the project was in development for 2½ years under former assistant GM Jay Sartori.”

The takeaway some fans tried to glean from this is that it wasn’t until bloody 2013 that the club utilized such data, which actually seems rather untrue. Yes, the unified database launched then, but we’re certainly not being told that the data in it was unavailable before that point, it was just disparate, and difficult to get all at once. It’s not like two-and-a-half years ago, when Sartori began the project, the club was in the dark ages on any of this. Nobody creates one big, unified database to house this kind of information before they even know what data they’re looking for. The implication, then, even if it’s not stated, is that more than two years before January 2013 they were already using the kind of stuff now being collected entirely by the BEST.

Plus, it may feel like Alex has been around forever, but let’s remember that two-and-a-half years before January 2013 is mid-2010, when Anthopoulos was only about a half-year on the job.

Does that make it acceptable that the club’s analytics department isn’t in the vanguard of the league? Should the line about “the really good programmers” being “hired by companies and make a lot of money, and you have to get someone who’s a baseball fan” not make us wince? No, it is not acceptable, it should make us wince, even if we’re able to recognize that the budget for front office staff can’t really be related back to the budget for unbelievably scarce on-field commodities. There is more to be demanded of the club with respect to this stuff, absolutely. But a more careful reading of Shi’s piece should give us a little more comfort with the department than was maybe initially there. I don’t think it’s two guys on Commodore Amigas arguing over whether they should try to poach the Phillies’ analytics plant, in other words.


Crotch grab in the direction of @thegrumpyowl for the image.

Comments (94)

  1. Sooooo. Hiring more people in the analytical department would make it the vanguard of the league? Isn’t that like throwing more people into a managerial role to say your managers are the vanguard of the league? I think a small analytical department may actually make more sense, particularly if you understand that even NASA scientists deciding to launch a rocket into space are NOT immune from group dynamics and make less scientific decisions than assumed. But the sociological issues organizations of all kinds face are less studied so that it’s always assumed more means better.

    • Would be a better point if you hadn’t just assumed I was advocating throwing more bodies at the problem for the sake of it.

      • except you don’t really specify how more money will help — I mean, surely there are analytics on how to best set-up an analytical department? What I get is a) we spend less than other analytical departments b) spending more is necessarily a good thing. Except, we aren’t sure what they should be spending more on — I assumed it was with staff….I think most of this is black boxed for good reason. But it sounds like the same old stuff we hear about payroll – spend more….more spend good

  2. yeah and what were the analytics on yan gomes or JPA??

    oh and they were so confident in navarro that AA was only going to give him a 1 year deal. You need analytics to figure out he hit .300 last year and a 2 year deal is a steal?

  3. professional researcher (and baseball fan) reporting in. great piece. true that more people doesn’t mean better; but more data almost always means better. that more people allow you to get more data is fairly tried and true.

    “But the sociological issues organizations of all kinds face are less studied so that it’s always assumed more means better”

    actually, it’s extremely well studied. counter-productive philosophies can be locked in by leadership very easily.
    see robert michels’ “iron law of oligarchy” 1901, for the first real good study on the sociology of organizations and how counter-intuitively they can act. protip: don’t assume anyone is capable of making a decision you regard as rational when you do not have the same information as they.

    • i meant it is less studied and considered useful in these circles….i brought it up because it is well studied elsewhere…..but thanks for mansplaining things to me and assuming you are the only professional researcher here!

    • in fact, my original comment was alluding to Vaughan’s analysis of the Challenger explosion…finding that a lot of data can actually conceal things (which was your point) among other things. To me, most baseball organizations that talk about dealing in analytics is great but they should probably invest in organizational sociologists or people can analyze the decision making process. That would be a smarter investment of money

  4. One of the more damning things in his article was that the small market Cleveland racists employ a larger analytical group which would have blocked Pare’s career advancement. HOW CAN THAT BE A THING

  5. The only analytics this team needs to worry about is wins.

  6. I love that they named a sophisticated computer analystics database after a guy who is proud of the fact he’s never used email.


  7. Hard to believe that analytics don’t play a huge role for the blue jays when you consider the signing of Navarro over Salty, Pierzynski, or Carlos Ruiz.

    I would suggest that AA perhaps does a lot of the analytics himself and therefore doesn’t need a huge department

  8. Seems like Shi missed the point of his own article, since Navarro’s poor offensive numbers (78 wrC+) are being masked by an empty .276 batting average.

    Having an OBP above .227 is nice, of course, but he really hasn’t been good offensively (or defensively, for that matter, but I digress).

  9. Burn the witch! Plus, surround yourself with people smarter than you.

  10. I work for a small consulting firm. The thought that you could run an organization that spends the kind of money that the Blue Jays do on player salaries annually and not be on the cutting edge of analytical thinking is absolutely horrifying.

    I mean, I cannot think of a project that I’ve worked on in the past 5 years where every inch of the organization and performance wasn’t measured in some way though the capture of data. The fact that the team is owned by a ginormous corporation that is probably run exclusively through financial metrics aside, how on earth do the Jays get to a place in 2014 where they don’t know about the revolution in big data that has only been the number one story in business for YEARS!

    • Also – Stoeten – your point about the “BEST” system is an important one. The system (or modules of it) could have been used prior to its launch with full functionality. This is often the case in large Enterprise systems which will incorporate modules which may or may not have existed previously.

      2013 may have been the first time in which medical reports and financial data might have been accessible together for example, even though the information would certainly have been accessible in other forms prior to that date.

      • +1

      • Yeah, and I think a lot of the “negative suckholes” who follow the team hear about a system like that and jump to the conclusion that prior to January 2013 the team’s analytics system was a milk crate full of scouting reports scrawled on napkins. The fact that they’ve implemented a new system doesn’t mean they were working from scratch before.

        I would guess (and I really, really hope) the work going on behind the scenes is a lot more advanced than anyone is letting on.

    • I work for a company with a dozen project managers. Pretty puny. Except they manage the efforts of two thousand contractors. Two guys in a department can coordinate the number-crunching of a whole lot of other people.

      • Except we don’t know that there was anyone beyond those 2. Could be – but that doesn’t count either way. Certainly the advantage of some sort of automated system is that you don’t need a lot of other people to manage things. That isn’t the impression that is given by the available info.

  11. I know the team does make good use of minimum wage interns – and Sheehan is the one in charge of that hiring – so I agree with the point that the amount of people involved in analytics is greater than the “two full time employees” makes it sound like.

    • As I understand it however, there has been an alarming amount of interns who have quit midseason in the reason past.

      Additionally as I understand it, whereas the Clevelands, Tampa Bays, Houstons and Oaklands generally hire highly overqualified interns (think former BP writers, qualified computer programmers and mathematicians from the private sector etc.) with an eye towards training them and turning them full time employees of the front office, the Toronto internship program is little more than having a local baseball fan or two act as an adminstrative lackey for the season.

      • That’s sort of the impression I’ve got too, though not entirely on good authority in my case.

        But if you’re an organization that views analytics as a supplement to the scouting infrastructure, and not the other way around, maybe it makes sense — apart from the kind of dickishness.

  12. Great post. I’m glad this is a focus for the Jays, the fact that they allowed for this profile shows there’s some commitment here. Going to harp on the payroll here, but Pare’s hiring would certainly correspond to the team needing to move in a smarter, leaner direction after a tightening of the purse strings by ownership during the offseason.

    The Jays have a lot of good pieces on the scouting side. If they can build up some kind of replacement-level analytics department it would go a long way towards having one of the better analytics/scouting balances in the game.

    I can’t help but think there’s some serious synergy between Rogers, a giant technology company and a Jays analytics department. Be it in terms of talented programers or database guys or even just general IT infrastructure, I would hope that’s an option that’s being explored.

  13. The name BEST pronounced Beest is what makes me fucking wince. I can’t stand that slimy old fuck.

  14. But seriously, how good has Juan Francisco been in his small sample size? FIngers crossed that people can actually get better at things than their history had previously demonstrated.

    • So good.

      Also it’s not an absurd idea to think that a guy could have a break out season at age 26-27, after not having a huge amount of consistent playing time. He’s not going to slug .622 for ever but it wouldn’t be the first time that a guy with a lot of talent road a little bit of luck and opportunity to being a regular MLB player. Sure there is a history there that indicates he could be due for a large regresssion – but the same could have been said for Melky Cabrera or EE or Lind at points in their career. Its not until they were given regular time to prove themselves that people stopped (did they?) wondering about them.

      • I also remember the day when commenters on this site were absolutely livid that Jose Bautista was being given regular playing time.

    • I love the bat, but I hope he gets better at fielding. His presence in the lineup weakens the defence at 2 positions and is making Canadian Jesus unhappy.

      • i wouldn’t be surprised if the end result is packaging lind with some decent relievers if the front office truly believes in francisco… maybe for a starting calibre second baseman.

  15. I’m a computer professional so I know the difference between data and information. I really hope the Jays are building quality into their data selection/acquisition, and even more so with their information harvesting. Just because you have a pile of data doesn’t mean you are getting the correct information nor getting it in a timely, meaningful manner. Who knows what the reality is. I would say the mif on Gomes, the calculated risk on Josh Johnson point to recent failures in their analytics, while extending Bautista, EE and pickup of Francisco (too early to tell) are feathers. No doubt what the Jays will never say is their good moves are founded in just dumb luck and their bad moves made with narrow lenses.

    • Further to the point how the information you do have is analysed and used is most important

      • Yes, information harvesting encompasses both. I really, really have a difficult time believing an MLB team runs MySQL on a laptop for all it’s BI a la Moneyball. If Jays were smart, and quite possibly their internal workings are not, they would lease access to MLB, minors, US college, US high school, international (Japan, Korea, etc), AFL, winterball, and beer league baseball data. There’s absolutely no need to acquire and manage this raw data, rather they should “own” the business logic and heavy lifting required to extrapolate meaning from the various data marts – meaning leading them to more effective, timely decision making.

  16. What’s funny to me is that Davidi’s piece seems to be (as most of his are) an attempt at being very team friendly.

    It’s almost like the expectation was that it would make the Jays FO look advanced and ahead of the game, because analytics are becoming “increasingly important” which implies their being forward thinking.

    In reality, the exact opposite impression is gotten.

    It’s like a remote and undiscovered culture that decides to place increasing reliance on technology by supplanting their stone tools with bronze ones……in 1995

  17. I expected a fire breathing post on this,going all nutsoid.
    But a well done,balanced piece,Stoeten.
    I believe Tango was hired as a consultant,3 or 4 years ago,( he’s now with Seattle I believe) and then parted ways.
    And i’ve seen more this year, that when there’s an opposing pitcher change.either Sietzer or Hale are bringing out a binder full of data to show the batter.
    I don’t think the Jays are as backward as some people think.

    • Tango has worked exclusively with the Cubs since 2013, he was a consultant for the Jays and Mariners before that (I dunno when specifically)

  18. This is funny because the one area that the Jays have invested in is the scouting dept. Jason Parks and Mike Ferrin say the one thing you’ll see at a baseball field with a prospect is 2 Jays scouts.
    Spending that much on scouting and not putting more into analytics seems imbalanced. Maybe this is what Farrell was talking about.

    • Farrell was talking about a deficiency in player development after acquisition as well

    • What if the scouts are actually somewhat stats and analytics savvy? It is possible they combine two skills and make their recommendations from a balanced view.

    • Thing is, for prospects, I’d say analytics have less value, and eyes on a player become increasingly important given the disparities between talent that can exist between players in the minors and the ages of those involved.

      Analytics would be completely useless for high school kids entering the draft, too.

  19. What’s missing here though is what are these other team dep’t sizes?
    The assumption is Boston or Tampa have a team of 5/10/20 guys. Are they, or are they 2 dudes and Andrew Friedman?
    Maybe the Jays, with this system are now far ahead of the competition, no other team has anything like this, while the rest of the guys work out of Excel spreadsheets (or prob more complex data modelling programs).

  20. Fucking love that the thing is named after Beeston. It’s like naming the Rogers Centre backstop “Arencibia”, or the clubhouse treadmill “Francisco”.

    Nice article — as with every case where secrecy seems an issue, the team can always claim “national security” and keep us in the dark, but this post does a great job of piecing together some indirect evidence of more of an infrastructure than we thought.

  21. Somewhat related, right now Fangraphs’ projected standings have the Jays squeaking into the second wild card berth. So chin up, everyone.

  22. I don’t understand the pay cut thing. I would take a pay cut and leave my finance job in a second to go work for the Jays as a programmer. Fuck I’m half thinking to apply – I’m just not particularly smart at programming or baseball.

    • Think that was the point of the pay cut thing. Rather than attracting passionate fans with some skills willing to work for cheap you could try to attract the top talent in the industry for competitive wage who aren’t even necessarily fans.

      • But there certainly ARE programmers that are brilliant AND are fans.

        In fact, IT/Programming is one of the fields most known for people walking away from a good, solid gig to go start something up that is new and different or exciting.

        I’m not even sure that you need a genius. You just need someone passionate enough to work hard and keep at it.

  23. squeeking

  24. Holy fuck! And I thought Hemingway wrote a long sentence! Great piece, as always, though.

  25. I get the whole point of the article, Stoeten and I try not to be a negative suckhole. My point would be that I remember that in the offseason, when everyone was trying to read the tea leaves as to what moves were possible and how much money was available, that was the time to give the team the benefit of the doubt. Since then the fans have been royally fucked in those hopes. I’m thinking management really doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on when saying to us, “trust us. we know what we’re doing.” Right now, I’m hoping for good luck in the success of this team rather blind faith that management and ownership is doing all it can for continued success.

  26. Fell asleep about 2 sentences in… Wake me up when the playoffs start.

  27. Where did it say Pare was the second guy in the department? They said “No.2 guy”…implies 2nd in heiarchy, not department staff guy No.2.

  28. it’s probably not all that bad in reality, but as soon as he said that Cleveland had a much larger department, it immediately begs the question “Why don’t we have a much larger department?”

    and obviously it’s not all a question of warm bodies filling the cubicles – talent matters, as in all things – but in a lot of cases data organization is pretty mindless grunt work that can be done by people who are not experts in the “analysis” portion of the field.

    plus, it just didn’t jive with me when AA complained about lack of manpower in the department. isn’t that a problem that can be remedied quickly and cost-efficiently (relative to player or coaching acquisitions) with Uncle Ted’s pocketbook?

    • Interesting read from Sheehan himself…


      (Cliffs: When stathead teams fail: Cleveland has always been one of the more advanced metric teams, yet have no winning to show for it until last year)

      • that’s a good article.

        it really is the big things that matter to the overall success of the franchise, as much as we like to piss and moan about poor allocation of the 25th spot on the roster or the merits of an 8 man pen.

        the success of AA’s Blue Jays are probably going to come down the the results of a few major decisions, for example:

        - the Halladay trade (signaled a rebuild, will the returns ever pay off?)
        - the Bautista extension (signaled that maybe the rebuild wouldn’t be so long after all; will his performance/health stand up?)
        - the Marlins/Mets trades (rebuild over; did we get the right pieces at the right time? at what cost? impacts to future spending?)

        those are the franchise altering moves AA has made in his tenure. there were other nice and not so nice moves along the way (Wells, Napoli, Morrow, Escobar, Happ, etc.) but none that altered the course of the franchise like the three above.

      • That’s a different Joe Sheehan.

  29. It’s all about balance. Reportedly, the Jays have or used to have the largest scouting staff in the MLB with several dozen scouts scouring any live person at or near a baseball diamond (with video cameras and radar guns ready). And with the plethora of ex GM’s and AGM’s chiming in with their views as cross checkers or what have you, it’s fair to say that AA has a steady flow of scouting reports and other “data” streaming in.

    Not haviing an analytics department that is equal measure to the scouting department shows lack of balance. Or maybe the front office is just plain scouting orientated and would rather watch videos and look at spray charts rather than follow the latest sabermetric trends.

    What intrigues me the most about the FO is how it’s managed by ownership. The bean counters at Rogers like numbers and spreadsheets. I doubt many of them know much about scouting. Why not give them what they want? Hire the brightest analytics staff you can, give them enough budget and wiggle room to be effective, and have them spit out numbers like a broken pez machine.

  30. Whenever I here AA speak, I get the impression that he’s trying to reach as many different segments of the fanbase as he can.

    Sure, he’s talked about OPS, RBIs and, for example, Brandon Morrow only having 2 wins in 2013.

    But he also mentioned, for example, how Josh Johnson’s HR rate last season may simply have been bad luck.

    He hasn’t DFA’d Esmil Rogers yet so perhaps he is aware that a couple of flyballs leaving the yard can really fuck up a relievers superficial numbers.

    Personally, I’ve always gotten the impression from Anthopolous that he is willing to use any and all information at his disposal, is open to new ideas and values the opinions of his staff.

    I found Davidi’s piece interesting but I really don’t think we can take it as a full view of the Jays’ analytical process or, as some are bound to do, link the poor-mediocre performance of the Jays in the last couple of years to failings in the Jays’ process.

    There’s little incentive for AA to give more than a glimpse into the Jays’ process.

    Great piece as usual Stoeten.

  31. Royals just DFA’ed Justin Maxwell. Right-handed bat, can play any outfield position…sounds like a much better depth piece than Pillar.

    • Gose looks better than Maxell to me.

      • Looks like Pillar has a better bat than Maxwell. But I’d pick him up and park him in Buffalo, if the rules (I’m totally ignorant about this) permit it, but the men in the grey suits at Rodgers might balk at his salary.

        • Maxwell was a career .241/.358/.431 hitter against LHP to start the year and can play CF in a pinch.

          I’ll take the .350 OBP with some pop over Pillar any day…… But that’s just my old fashioned eyeball test.

          Let’s explain what OPS is to the Jays analytics department and let them make the call.

  32. According to traderumors, Chris Getz a pension.

  33. I would take with a large pinch of salt *anything* AA said for attribution about the metrics guys he has. He may well only have a couple on salary. But he could have ten on contract as permanent freelancers. He doesn’t need to tell the media or the fans all about this.

  34. Ricky Ro 9 walks today, Bison record ….

    • as a teammate, i think i would absolutely dread the days he pitches. literally no hope for a win, nothing you can do to help, just waiting for the trainwreck to happen.

      and worst of all, knowing that no matter what he’s going to pitch again in 5 days because of a contract that makes giving up on him incredibly difficult to swallow for the organization.

    • Why exactly is Romero still in the Bisons rotation?

      If the Jays want to salvage something out of that contract, might as well see what he can do as a reliever.

      It’s probably still terrifying, though.

      • i think the best thing for Ricky is probably to get released and take a long break from the game.

        as they say, “when it isn’t fun anymore, it’s time to stop playing”. i may be playing arm chair psychologist, but i dont think it’s a stretch to think that Romero hates just about everything about coming to the ballpark these days. the amount of embarrassment and shame must be unbearable.

        join a monastery, plant a garden, climb a mountain… ANYTHING but baseball

        a long break might do wonders for his wonky knees as well.

  35. aa has said that his stance on getting a starter changed when he saw hutch in the afl and morrow in simulated games stay healthy. and he still ultimately went after santana. ok now morrow is gone. we have to make a move. sanchez+ for the shark is out there.

  36. Two things…

    1. Some of the best writing (column and comments) I’ve ever read on this site. Great job!
    2. I’m really dumb! Thanks to all of you who debate and teach me in the process :)

  37. Thanks for talking me in off of the proverbial ledge, Stoets.

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