Now I’m thinking of I.P Freely. Now I’m thinking of Ace Frehley. Stan, Ace Frehley…
Contra some of the other noise we’ve heard, Keith Law’s latest mock draft says that it’s “far from a lock” that the Jays are dead set on taking any specific player at either the ninth or the eleventh pick in this year’s draft — which goes Thursday, and which I’m sure I’ll live blog, or something. He’s now got the Jays taking Touki Toussaint at nine and the Tommy John’d Jeff Hoffman at eleven. This sounds better to me than what we were hearing before — namely, Toussaint, who is constantly being linked to the Jays, at eleven and safer college bat Trea Turner at nine. Hoffman has big talent and not a lot of leverage because of the surgery, and therefore the risk, meaning money to be saved for first round talent elsewhere (i.e. hopefully not Rogers’ fucking pockets). I can live with that. But we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out. One other name KLaw throws into the Jays’ mix is Max Pentecost, a “toolsy” Kennesaw State catcher he has going to the Reds at 19.
It’s Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail on grass. No, he’s not high! He writes an interesting, informative piece about where the Jays’ pursuit of grass stands, from a technological perspective. “The Blue Jays and the [University of Guelph] are close to formalizing a business arrangement that will see the institution oversee the science of getting grass to grow within the stadium,” he tells us, adding that Eric Lyons, an “associate professor in turfgrass science and physiology” at Guelph, “is planning to set aside an area within Rogers Centre – away from the current playing field – to start growing different species of grass to see what best thrives.” Cool stuff. Can all this happen, like, yesterday?
Great stuff from David Laurila at FanGraphs, as he contrasts the draft and minor league experiences of Braves 2nd rouder Alex Wood, and Jays’ 32nd rounder Kevin Pillar — and Pillar waxes nostalgic about the Appalachian League: “We stayed in dorm rooms at a small Christian college. I had a roommate and we were on twin beds. There were no blankets or pillows when we got there. It was definitely culture shock. The college I went to wasn’t great, but Bluefield was like going back in time. Not only the area, but the facilities were a little backwards.” Bluefield is just off I-77, which is part of the route to take via Pittsburgh on the way to the southern Atlantic coast, and… uh… yeah, I think I buy that.
It wasn’t just Edwin Encarnacion who received a Player of the Month honour this week, as MLB.com named Daniel Norris their top minor league pitcher for the month of May. Teddy Cahill explains that Norris’s improved ability to repeat his delivery and throw strikes has carried over from last year, “and his fastball velocity has ticked up as well.” Not that I know a damn thing about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Jays are thinking that keeping his mechanics on track could prove tricky, and that this might be peak value for him on the trade market, but, of course, if they think it’s real, that’s even better.
Sticking with MLB.com, they note that the Jays called up Chad Jenkins today to take Liam Hendriks’ place on the roster. He will, of course, pitch out of the bullpen. That is, if he even pitches before getting yo-yo’d back down the QEW. Think he gets Mike McCoy’s old locker?
Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun talks to Jose Bautista, who is currently being overshadowed a bit by teammate Edwin Encarnacion, but has still been absolutely amazing.
Elsewhere in the Sun, Ken Fidlin writes about the quiet confidence that the Jays have exhibited all year, and the better mental state that the players seem to be in — and does so even-handedly enough that I’m not even going to scoff. “We lost a heartbreaker to end the streak and then (the Royals) swung the bats well the next day,” Jose Bautista explained. “We just did what we’re capable of the next two days. Now we have some momentum back and hope to take that to Detroit.”
Fidlin’s piece also makes the point of noting something that definitely needs to be remembered in any of the insufferable conversation about the Jays’ attendance “issue,” which is the fact that, for example, “Sunday’s turnout of 38,008 was an astounding number, considering that one line of the subway system was closed, the Gardiner Expressway was closed and the Lakeshore also had lane closures.” He makes the claim that “there isn’t a city in North America that makes it more difficult for fans to get to the games than Toronto,” which… yeah, I don’t exactly buy that one. But the Gardiner closures will definitely take their toll.
Michael Grange of Sportsnet looks at the attendance “issue,” which… you certainly can’t say he’s doing his employers any favours, so points for that. Assuming, that is, that Rogers doesn’t think shaming fans into coming into the ballpark is a productive strategy, which… they usually don’t.
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi looks at the Jays’ preparation for the upcoming draft, which is a crucial one for the franchise, given their two high picks. Though it’s not like there are drafts that aren’t crucial, one supposes.
More draft stuff, as Your Van C’s looks at the 2012 first round, which produced Marcus Stroman and… um… actually, I don’t want to talk about it.
More SkyDome memories, as Duane Ward looks back at the first game played there, by way of Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star.
Bluebird Banter notes that, according to Bodog, the Jays’ odds to make the World Series now sit at 10/1, compared to 25/1 on May 1st. Did something happen over the last month???
The Blue Jay Hunter’s most recent Flashback Friday post took a look into the origin of Edwin Encarnacion’s home run chicken wing — i.e. his taking the parrot for a walk.
Lastly, because why not — and because I hadn’t linked it yet — Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet looks at Marcus Stroman’s outstanding debut against the Royals. We can’t expect that every time, but shit yes, this team can use this guy.