Archive for the ‘Playoffs?’ Category

janssenTX

Tonight:
8:00 PM ET – Boston (2) vs. Detroit (2) – Jon Lester (3.0 rWAR) vs. Anibal Sanchez (6.3 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

Casey Janssen, if you look at the overall numbers, had his third straight tremendous year in 2013. An ERA of 2.56, a WHIP below 1.00, 34 saves compared to just two blown (if you’re into that sort of thing), and using FanGraphs’ WPA-based metric, 36 shut downs compared to just six meltdowns.

By every standard, he’s been terrific. Over the last three years, by FanGraphs’ ERA- stat, his mark of 59 in the top ten in all of baseball among pitchers with more than 150 innings. That’s just a shade ahead of Clayton Kershaw– which isn’t a great comparison, granted, given that Kershaw provides boatloads more value by pitching so many more innings, and has a much tougher task by having to turn lineups over multiple times… but still!

Among relievers, he’s comfortably among the elite ones by that metric, behind Kimbrel, Koji, David Robertson, Greg Holland, Sergio Romo and Brad Ziegler, and ahead of Aroldis Chapman, Mike Adams, Joe Smith, Kenley Jansen, and many, many others.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Janssen cementing himself as one of the top relievers in the game: many Jays fans, myself included, started having trouble believing what they were seeing.

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lawriethrowsPPTB

Today:
4:00 PM ET – Boston (1) vs. Detroit (1) – John Lackey (2.8 rWAR) vs. Justin Verlander (4.6 rWAR)
8:00 PM ET – St. Louis (2) vs. Los Angeles (1) – Lance Lynn (1.8 rWAR) vs. Ricky Nolasco (0.4 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

To say that Brett Lawrie’s 2013 was a tale of two halves somehow doesn’t even do it justice. There was certainly a point where it looked like that was going to be the case– much to our delight. Back in late August, we passed along a comment from a scout who had spoken to Baseball Prospectus and said, unequivocally, “I am comfortable saying that he is going to be a superstar third baseman, and it’s more likely to happen sooner than later.”

At that moment Lawrie was healthy for the first time in basically a calendar year. His swing was quieter, and he was finishing up his best month at the plate since he burst onto the scene in August of 2011.

Taken as a whole, the difference between his first- and second-half splits is encouraging, with the second-half ones being pretty close to what you’d expect of a player who missed Spring Training, rushed himself back into the lineup, went down with an ankle injury, and then came back as healthy as he’d been since the first half of 2012. In the second half of this season his walk rate ticked up by two percent over the first half, and his strikeout rate dropped by 12%, thanks largely to a month of August in which he made crazy contact, combining to walk and strikeout in just 12% of his plate appearances.

His second half slash line of .283/.346/.417 looks very nice for a third baseman who plays outstanding defence (despite not being nearly as well liked by the advanced metrics– perhaps because of the lack of shifting– in 2013 as compared to 2012), and still might have some additional home run power in his bat, considering that he’s still going to be just 23 years old for another three months.

But, while we really don’t want to put too much stock into a single month of data, his September wasn’t so hot, and it would be much easier to salivate over the possibilities of a Jays lineup fully healthy and running on all cylinders, with Lawrie fulfilling his supposed superstar potential, if not for it.

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reyeshighfive

Tonight:
8:00 PM ET – St. Louis (2) vs. Los Angeles (0) – Adam Wainwright (6.2 rWAR) vs. Hyun-jin Ryu (3.3 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

In a post last week at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote about the Jays’ evolving core of players, and mentioned the name of Jose Reyes. He went as far as openly wondering about how far the Jays could choose to go to reshape their core into a group more capable of winning, and quoted Alex Anthopoulos as saying that nobody on his team has a no-trade clause.

What he didn’t do, however, was suggest that the Jays will specifically consider trading Reyes this winter, except in as much as he said that they would, in general, consider trading anybody if it made the team better. But why should that stop the New York media for pining for their shortstop back?

Here’s Mets beat writer Howard Megdal, writing for Capital New York:

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moraplayoffs

Have at it. Go whoever isn’t the Red Sox.

delabarLAA

Tonight:
8:00 PM ET – Detroit (2) vs. Oakland (2) – Justin Verlander (4.6 rWAR) vs. Sonny Gray (1.4 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

The story of Steve Delabar is truly a remarkable one: a 29th round pick and would-be career minor leaguer who walked away from the game after a devastating elbow injury following six years as a pro, in his second season in independent league ball, Delabar became a teacher and a high school baseball coach, implemented an arm-strengthening program for his players, used it himself, found renewed velocity, then following a tryout ended up returning to baseball in the Mariners system, eventually working his way to the Majors, getting traded to Toronto, and becoming a 2013 All-Star.

A tremendous, bat-missing right-handed power reliever, Delabar looks like he could either be a fixture in the Jays’ bullpen for as long as his arm holds out, and as long as his command issues remain at bay. Yes, his second-half ERA ballooned to 7.02 from a 1.71 mark in the first half, but actually some of his peripherals got better over that span. His BABIP and HR/FB spiked, and his strand rate bottomed out– all of which to large enough degrees to feel comfortable they’ll regress to the mean, especially given that we’re only talking about a 16.2 second half inning sample that’s unduly impacted by an early August blown save in Anaheim. His walk rate actually went down by four percent, and his strikeout rate was up slightly, so there probably isn’t a whole lot to worry about.

Except, of course, his health.

Delabar missed most of August with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, then returned for September and– albeit in a small, nine-inning sample– had his worst full month of the season.

It would be silly to take his September swoon as too much of an ominous sign– I mean, his whole season comprised less than 60 innings– but… uh… weren’t the weighted balls supposed to be protecting Jays pitchers’ arms from stuff like this?

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melkythrow

Here’s an idea I’m instantly regretting: instead of empty open thread posts for playoff games, as we’ve done around here in years past, each day I’m going to attempt to have a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and whatever else stands out on a Jays player’s 2013 season, because… what the hell else is there to do for the next month? Or the next week. Or just today– or however long I actually continue to follow through on this exercise.

Tonight:
8:00 PM ET – Pittsburgh (2) vs. St. Louis (2) – Gerrit Cole (1.3 rWAR) vs. Adam Wainwright (6.2 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

Melky Cabrera’s season ended on August 1st, in the inning following the incident above– his comical attempt at returning an Erick Aybar single to the infield, which allowed Mark Trumbo (or Trumble, if you’re Buck Martinez) to score the Angels’ sixth run off the day off Josh Johnson, who to that point had recorded just six outs.

Ten days later he turned 29-years-old.

Yes, for the entirety that Jays fans saw Melky Cabrera this year– as he, at times, looked creakier in the field than Vladimir Guerrero at the end of his long career, much of it spent patrolling the concrete-and-felt of the knee-destroying outfield of le Stade Olympique– he was just 28-years old.

It’s a little bit hard to believe, isn’t it? His body seemed to be breaking down before our eyes. Of course, we now know that there was a very serious problem– a non-cancerous tumour in his spinal cord of his L1 vertebrae.

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izturisthrows

Here’s an idea I’m instantly regretting: instead of empty open thread posts for playoff games, as we’ve done around here in years past, each day I’m going to attempt to have a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and whatever else stands out on a Jays player’s 2013 season, because… what the hell else is there to do for the next month? Or the next week. Or just today– or however long I actually continue to follow through on this exercise.

Today:
5:30 PM ET – Oakland (2) vs. Detroit (1)– Dan Straily (1.2 rWAR) vs. Doug Fister (4.1 rWAR)
8:00 PM ET – Boston (2) vs. Tampa Bay (1) – Jake Peavy (1.5 rWAR) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (-0.8 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

When the Jays signed Maicer Izturis eleven months ago nobody jumped for joy, except maybe for his agent, who’d somehow managed to land him a contract three years. Yes, the term was a little longer than you’d like to see on a utility player who had posted an on-base over .334 just once in five seasons, while what little power he’d exhibited faded to almost nothing. But he had positional versatility, had for years been generally well-liked by both DRS and UZR at second- and third-base, wasn’t budget-busting, was about league-average in terms of his walk rate, struck out less than average (something the Jays felt their OBP-averse lineup needed), was an actual damn switch hitter(!), and seemed a reasonable enough upgrade over Omar Vizquel as an infield backup.

In other words, it wasn’t crazy.

I mean… shit, in our post when the signing was made official, I passed along a comment from a reader– *COUGH* Brad Fullmer Fan *COUGH*– that compared his career numbers favourably, or at least evenly, to those of Marco Scutaro.

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