Archive for the ‘Keith Law’ Category

santosthrowsreds

A few small items of note have come down the ol’ information superhighway this afternoon, and while none of them really deserves its own post, they all certainly are worthy of some attention…

Sergio Santos Clears Waivers

Cue the conspiracy theory twits clamming up: according to a tweet from Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sergio Santo has cleared waivers and will go to Triple-A Buffalo in order to work on getting his command back. So if the Jays’ super-secret — *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* — plan with this move was to save money, I guess they fucked up. Shocking, really, that no team was willing to piss away nearly $4-million (which is what Santos is owed for the remainder of this season plus the $750K buyouts of his three remaining option years) to see if an oft-injured non-closer with 17 walks in 19.2 innings could stave off the injury bug for his longest stretch since 2011 while regaining the form that made him a force at the back of the White Sox bullpen back then.

The Jays, of course, are already on the hook for that money anyway, so obviously they’ll try to get him right and hope that he can be a weapon for them later in the season — just as they’re currently doing with Steve Delabar. It could make for a pretty deadly bullpen if it all works out and everybody stays healthy, especially once rosters expand in September, with options like Janssen, McGowan, Sanchez, Cecil, Loup, Redmond, Delabar, Santos, Wagner, and maybe even Morrow.

One might suppose that they wouldn’t have been crying if somebody took that contract off their hands, but the money is already so spread out that I don’t think it matters too much in the grand scheme. If it meant clearing that almost-$4-million for next year, that would be a different story, but in practical terms they’d be clearing about $1.4-million this year, then only $750K from the budget for each of the next three years. Not helping them that much unless they really want to add another guy at about his salary and really are already stretched to the max — neither of which is impossible, but I just don’t see it when the obvious answer is that they think he can help this year if he gets himself straight, which wasn’t going to happen pitching as sparingly in the majors as his current performance warranted.

Gibbons: The Jays Were “In On” Headley

It’s real fuckin’ easy to say after the fact, but according to a tweet from MLB Network Radio, in an appearance on Power Alley with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette, John Gibbons said that the club was “in on” Chase Headley. You can listen to Gibbers’ comments on that, as well as on Aaron Sanchez’s workload, and the fact that Ryan Goins is going to be playing a lot (because he really helps the club’s defence — though also, for some reason, they seem optimistic that he’s found a better level at which to hold his hands while at the plate, which according to a piece from Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, is a little higher than where Kevin Seitzer had lowered them to earlier in the season).

The Headley thing… I honestly don’t know how inside the trade talk stuff John Gibbons would be. I think a lot of people might immediately start thinking that this means that the team was in it down to the wire, our in-over-his-head GM beaten out for Headley’s service by the smooth-talkin’ total pro Yankees, or some such utter fucking horseshit. The way I imagine it is more that Gibbons was aware that they were looking at Headley, was asked how he might be a fit, what plans there might have been to use him, whose playing time would have to be sacrificed, etc. I’m entirely just making that up, but I dunno… I’m sure not going to jump to any bigger conclusions based on Gibbers’ supposed knowledge of high level trade talks. He’s got his own job to do, y’know?

Renewed Focus On Pitching Trades?

An insufferable criticism that is too often levelled at the Jays without the hint of any basis in truth — at least as far as anything on the public record is concerned — is the one that goes that the front office operates without a plan. It’s one of those things that people without anything better to piss and moan about, who are unwilling to take a moment’s thought about  the reality of how the front office works, use just because they have some pathological need to spray piss all about as a means to defend against having to contemplate any other of their own feelings.

But… uh… sometimes you maybe see a little kernel of truth in it.

I mean, I know they didn’t actually do anything yet to address the lineup, and that not remotely every rumour you hear is actually true, but… um… really? Back to pitching? We didn’t entirely see these hitters coming back to full health on the horizon? All of the sudden it’s, “Hey, Hutchison’s been bad, maybe we should get a pitcher”?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that these guys are getting closer to returning — and seem to be doing so on or ahead of schedule — but… really?

Layin’ Down The Law

Lastly, Keith Law had a chat with readers today at ESPN.com, and while there weren’t many Jays-related tidbits, one sure stands out. *COUGH*

Keith (kc) [via mobile]
A few years back you were on record as saying Sanchez> Thor. What changed during development to make them flip flop?
Klaw
The Jays shortened Sanchez’ stride, claiming it would help him get over his front side more – when the opposite is true – and it has ruined him in several ways. He’s less athletic, his command has gone backwards, he doesn’t finish the breaking ball as consistently, and of course guys with upright finishes and short strides are at greater risk of injury. Meanwhile, Thor just keeps getting better, going from a below-average curveball to a solid-average one in about a year and a half – and the Mets didn’t touch what was already a good delivery.

Ouch.

This is better, at least:

Sagar (NYC)
Jim Bowden suggested that the Mets could get Franklin Barreto for Bartolo Colon. Any thoughts on Barreto? Wouldn’t that be a steal for the Mets?
Klaw
Zero chance of that happening. Like, zero to the power of ten.

klawchips

Back on Thursday, Keith Law had his weekly chat with readers at ESPN.com, and… uh… for lack of a better preamble, here are the Jays-related tidbits…

James (NYC)
With a few teams in the playoff hunt needing a 2B, what are the chances the Mets could get a top 100 (or top 150) caliber prospect for Daniel Murphy? How much does the fact that Murph is not a Qualifying Offer candidate affect his value (I am assuming a team wouldn’t give him $16 million after 2015)?
Klaw
If someone believes he can play an average 2b, then yes.

The Jays, as we’ve heard, are not one of those teams who think he can play an average second base, so even though he could certainly help them — he has a 116 wRC+ this season, and has already accumulated 2.6 WAR per FanGraphs, after a three win season last year (though the fact that he hits left mitigates just how much “right now” value he might have for the Jays) — I guess we don’t have to worry about it. Assuming those original reports are true, that is.

If not, a top 100 calibre prospect, eh? You’d like to think the Jays could solve their infield issue for less, which… yeah, that probably goes a decent way to explaining the whole stalemate on the trade front, eh?

 

Clay (Hoboken)
How the heck did Jeff Hoffman manage to get full slot from the Jays?
Klaw
I don’t know.

This is one that didn’t really get as much attention as it should. The way the Jays spun it was that they figured they’d already gotten a big discount on Hoffman simply by his sliding due to Tommy John surgery from a likely top three pick down to them at nine, which… is really kind of insane, isn’t it? I mean, I’m glad they got him signed and we didn’t have to go through the whole Phil Bickford/Tyler Beede/James Paxton nonsense again, but it sure seemed like Hoffman didn’t have the kind of leverage to get slot money — he wasn’t going to be back on the mound in time next spring to show enough to improve his stead much, and even if so, as a college senior at that point his option would be to either sign what’s in front of him or go to independent ball for a year.

I don’t know. I’m not saying it isn’t a bit ugly when teams play hardball with players like they’d have had to — look at what’s going on with the Astros and top pick Brady Aiken — but for all their talk in previous years about holding firm to their valuations and not wanting to set bad precedents, this sure seemed a bit off. Good for Hoffman, and good on him, but I wonder what the story is.

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klawmoses

Alright, let’s ease our way back into the ol’ content game with something of a much needed distraction — at least for those of you who weren’t World Cup-ing and Pitch Talk-ing and therefore only barely cognizant of much of the “disaster” unfolding at Yankee Stadium this week *COUGH* — by ignoring (for the moment) what the hell is going on with this club right now (hint: baseball, mostly) and dipping into some prospect-y goodness via all the Jays-related tidbits from the two most recent weekly chat sessions Keith Law had with his readers over at ESPN.com.

Sound good? We’ll get through this…

From his June 12th chat:

Tom (San Francisco, CA)
Keith, Aaron Sanchez was apparently promoted to AAA. That seems a bit premature, to me. Thoughts?
Klaw
I don’t think his performance merited it, but I know the Jays have a ton of respect for their AAA pitching coach, Randy St. Claire, and his ability to work with young starters.

This is a part of the Sanchez promotion that I hadn’t really touched on much (though, to be fair, what exactly have I touched on lately? HEYO!), but certainly seems plausible — unlike, say, all the “trade showcase” silliness people like to theorize about — and all the more reason to be OK with the move, I think. Now if only St. Claire could do something for aging former All-Star starters who just had season-ending knee surgery, then the Jays would really have something on their hands!

 

Craig (Belgium)
Were you surprised to see Reid Foley sign for slot? From what I heard he was going to be a hard sign that’s why he slipped to the 2nd round. Is there maybe some injury concern we don’t know about?
Klaw
No, he signed for an appropriate dollar figure. Don’t create worries for yourself.

Law has been quite consistent about the fact that if a top pick doesn’t sign, it will be because of some sort of rare and unforeseen circumstance, and not something to worry terribly about. I get why Jays fans are a bit scarred, but relax.

 

From his June 19th chat:

Joe (Ontario)
Assuming a return to health would you put Hoffman in New Hampshire to start in 2015?
Klaw
I don’t think he’ll be ready to pitch at all until mid- to late May next year, and then I imagine he’ll start in low-A or so on limited pitch counts.

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klawmoses

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.
Klaw
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.”

Nice.

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klawdredd

Keith Law of ESPN.com has been all over the Jays this week, and not necessarily in a good way. Actually, almost exclusively in a less-than-positive way, though not unfairly so. The thing is, though, he isn’t just exclusively picking at the low-hanging fruit like we’ve sort of been doing around here. He’s really poking a needle around a bunch of inflated hopes that fans have on the good side of this club. So if you’re not ready for bad news, or are just going to scream incoherently about bias, maybe just take this post off, thanks.

For those of you willing to indulge the dark side, though, follow me…

Notes From Dunedin

Back on Sunday afternoon at ESPN.com (Insider only) Law posted his notes from the Jays and Twins game he took in at Dunedin over the weekend, and while much of what he writes is about the Twins and their outstanding collection of up-and-coming talent. But as we all know, up-and-coming talent doesn’t always translate to the big league level — not immediately, and sometimes not ever. This is illustrated by the pair of comments Law zeroes in on after talking in relatively positive terms about Drew Hutchison: Kyle Drabek and Brett Lawrie.

Drabek, he says, was “ showing average to below-average stuff across the board,” and “used mostly cutters and two-seamers rather than the four-seamer, hitting 85-89 mph on the cutter, 87-89 on the two-seamer, commanding neither pitch and not getting enough life on the latter one.”

That’s not even the dagger, as he later adds that Drabek is “approaching two years since the surgery, so more of his stuff would be back by now if it is ever going to come back.” Ugh.

And Brett Lawrie? Double ugh.

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klawmoses

Keith Law’s outstanding annual top prospect and system-ranking work for ESPN.com was released this week, and unlike most years, I didn’t exactly rush to breathlessly reveal as much of it as could stomach. That’s no knock on Law, of course, it’s just that this is a bit of a down year for Jays prospects relative to the rest of the league — at least in his estimation — and it’s not like I was going to be shouting “We’ve got the 24th ranked system!” (which, according to Law, we do) from the rooftops. We all understand why that is, so there’s not much need to rehash it.

Or, we all can understand it, if we’re interested in hearing out his perspective on why some of the big talent lottery tickets the Jays have in the low minors couldn’t push them up the rankings, the way it did with other evaluators — Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus, in particular, raved about what’s percolating up from the depths of the minors (and called it a top ten system). Fortunately, Law did elaborate on why the Jays rank where they do, on this week’s 2014-debut edition of his Behind The Dish podcast (with local boy made good, Adnan Virk, as his guest!).

To wit:

I love Aaron Sanchez, I’ve got him 30th overall on the list, but he’s not going to be ready to help them this year. There’s one starting pitching prospect in the system, Marcus Stroman, who I think could come up and make a difference for the Blue Jays at the big league level this year. Most of what I like about their system, if you look at the rest of the top ten, it’s a lot of short season guys. Guys who, especially Latin American signings from 2009 and 2010, under Marco Paddy, who now actually works for the White Sox, but did a nice job getting a lot of talent — a lot of hard throwers and a lot of middle infield prospects — into the system.

Those guys are turning 18, 19 now. They’re starting to pop, but they’re a ways a way. I mean you’re dreaming — I’m dreaming on a lot of these guys. I see the ability, I see the promise. But then, when I try to do these rankings, one through thirty, or when I’m just evaluating individual prospects, one thing I keep in the back of my mind is, ‘Would you trade this guy for that guy?’ ‘Would you trade Toronto’s system for the Orioles’ system?’ ‘Would you trade one for the other?’ And with Toronto, they kept coming out on the short end of the stick, because the fact is, the industry does not value short season players; 18-year-olds who’ve been in the Gulf Coast League, or the Arizona Rookie League, or the Appy league. They don’t value them very highly. Those guys, if you see them included in a trade — Neftali Feliz was something like the fourth of fifth player in that Mark Teixeira trade. I mean, he turned out to be tremendous, but at the time of the deal, I think a lot of people didn’t really know who he was, and he was seen as sort of a sleeper — an odd inclusion in the trade. Those guys still don’t move very often, because they’re just not valued within the industry. So, I look at the Blue Jays and say, ‘Two or three years from now this could be pretty special, because of all those 18-year-olds we’re talking about,’ but right now, if I’m being honest about how the industry perceives these guys, even if scouts like them, they just have very little trade value. The value of those players as assets is really quite low.

I think that makes total sense, but I think the way Parks sees it makes sense too. And the thing is, if you expect that a few of the short season guys take big steps forward this year — examples: Charlie Caskey of the Vancouver Province spoke to Alex Anthopoulos last week about Mitch Nay (no higher than 14th for Law), who the GM seemed especially high on, along with Franklin Barreto, who Law has at 8th in the system, saying many now think he’ll stick at shortstop, and “he has a chance to be an impact guy with the bat” — and if the club does well with the ninth and eleventh picks in June’s draft (and actually signs the players), this has all the makings of just a temporary ebb.

It’s not like the Jays have had trouble producing talent. I know I said it didn’t need rehashing, but the club did have six of Law’s top 100 in their system a year ago — Syndergaard (24), Sanchez (30), d’Arnaud (36), Stroman (58), Marisnick (84), and Nicolino (93) — it’s just that all but two are now playing elsewhere. Still, the only AL clubs to place that many, or more, products of their system on the list were the Astros, Red Sox (seven each), and Twins (six), and those were the first, fifth, and second-ranked clubs, overall. Sure, it hurts that the Jays no longer have that talent — doesn’t hurt so much that they have Reyes, Buehrle, and Dickey, though — but that they identified these guys and helped nurture them to where they did (even despite Law’s still-existent knocks on the mechanical changes made by Sanchez), is — sorry — a very positive thing.

Shit, there’s even more evidence of the good job they’ve done identifying prospects, as Baseball America recently ranked the top college prospects the next draft, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth spots went to players drafted out of high school by the Jays, who ultimately chose instead to go to college. Tyler Beede is the obvious one, since he was a first rounder (who, it should be noted, got the Jays the compensation pick they used on Marcus Stroman, so probably best not to complain about Young Beedah), but Aaron Nola (22nd round, 2011) and Luke Weaver (19th round, 2011) also fall into that category, though less crazily so, seeing as they’re in line to make a whole lot more money this time around. Aaaaand Perfect Game has Phil Bickford as the early leader as the top pick for 2016.

So… yeah. Identification doesn’t seem to be an issue. It would just maybe be nice if they could keep a few more these guys.

lawmoses

Before it gets too stale, and before a fresh round comes our way– and… y’know… because there isn’t a whole hell of a lot else to do at the moment– let’s catch up on some highlights from Keith Law’s most recent chat with readers over at ESPN.com!

And for good measure, let’s throw in a few items from the week before– even though it was the most recent Thursday chat that really took the direct route in terms of their Jays-related tidbits.

To wit:

From Thursday, November 15th

James (San Diego)
AFL aside, what does the future hold for Aaron Sanchez?
Klaw
Ace potential, but I’ve outlined my concerns with his delivery and still think that is a serious obstacle for him and the Jays.

I wrote about Sanchez yesterday, of course, and back on Thursday, and yeah… there are concerns about the short stride coming from more places than just Law. One of the issues, raised in yesterday’s piece, was about how the lack of stride impacted him, specifically, from the stretch. Funny– though certainly not “ha ha” funny– that similar concerns were being discussed yesterday about how Josh Johnson’s season went so badly awry, and that Brandon Morrow has had troubles from the stretch in the past, aaand how in today’s Daily Duce we noted a Gregor Chisholm piece where he suggested the club was re-thinking some of its player development strategy. Issues from the stretch weren’t specifically noted (and obviously Johnson was brand new to the organization this year), but still… interesting. Would be nice to see this, y’know, not be a thing.

 

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