Archive for July, 2011
|Photo by Herkie licensed under Creative Commons|
Naw I’m just kidding you I have the same reaction as many others in praising the Silent Assassin for the use of his Jedi Mind Tricks towards the betterment of this team (Although if you are looking for some more laughs click this link –> TSN Colby Rasmus Trade Analysis and read the Jays bashing in the comments from all the hockey fans who didn’t even know Colby before the trade).
Even though Anthopolous went to great lengths to acquire us our future center fielder, I think who us Jays fans really need to thank is a certain Adam Wainwright for giving us the chance to acquire such a talented young player
But no luckily for us with the whole Albert Pujols contract situation, the Cards are going all in this year, that means doing whatever necessary to get that pennant (Even if they are far away from the Giants, Phillies, and Braves).
This came after Bautista was snubbed from the mid summer classic in 2010, despite leading the league in home runs with 24 dingers before the break. Though to be fair at the time Jose was hitting only .237 and as we all know it wasn’t like Jose Bautista was a household name. This year the Blue Jays definitely made sure that the reigning home run leader would not again be snubbed and as we have seen their massive campaigning not only got Jose to the game, but they have made Jose Bautista a household name across Canada and the United States.
Another big event this week was Jose’s passing of George Bell‘s Blue Jays team record 29 home runs before the break, which Jose beat out with 2 home runs in the final game before the break to reach a total of 31 home runs. This puts him on pace for 62 on the season, which if he does hit 60 would be the first time in 10 years. The last time that milestone was reached was back in 2001 when Barry Bonds beat out Mark McGwire‘s single season home run record..
All of what Jose Bautista is doing is great for Blue Jays baseball today as they’re bringing fans back to the Rogers Centre and getting the Jays more known across the league, but what I feel really matters is the how well the Jays farm system is doing and the team that it will make us in the future. There is no better examples of this than the fact that there was 3 of the Jays top prospects included on Baseball America’s annual Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects list with Gose at #45, d’Arnaud at #29, and Lawrie at #10.
Lawrie who we know was acquired this offseason from the Brewers for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum was ranked 30 spots higher than the pre-season list. With the way that Marcum has performed this season it makes us Jays fans feel a little better to see Lawrie perform the way he did and make it this high on Baseball America’s propsect list. It will be even better to finally see Lawrie in the majors now that he is almost done recovering from his hand injury.
Regarding Gose it is nice to see that Baseball America realizes this guy’s potential. He was already known to have 3 super tools with his speed, arm, and fielding and none of those tools seem to have regressed at AA New Hampshire. Though it seems like in New Hampshire Gose has added some power with 9 home runs half way through the season and an ISO that has improved 34 points over his 2010 numbers.
It seems like the only problem that people have with Gose is that he hits for a lower average than most leadoff hitters with his .264 mark. But when you look at the stats you see that right now the mean batting average for leadoff hitters in the MLB is .266, but the mean on base percentage for leadoff hitters in the MLB is .330 and Gose’s OBP is 28 points higher at .358. A number that would rank sixth among MLB leadoff hitters. Finally considering that Gose’s BAs and OBPs have remained very consistent throughout his minor league career their is no reason to believe that either of those numbers will regress to much in the majors. Which means that with his speed and power he could very well make an all-star leadoff hitter.
Finally with d’Arnaud it is nice to see him bounce back to a .300 batting average after having hit about .255 the past two years between A and high A. It is further looking like he will become the Jays catcher of the future. He may not have Arencibia power, but his power isn’t bad, he can hit for a .300 average, and he has plus defensive skills. If Arencibia doesn’t raise his average soon, then d’Arnaud may very well take his spot within the next season.
This just about wraps it up for the first half of the season. We end off seeing a struggling major league team with many holes in its lineup, but we see a thriving farm system with strengths in both pitching and hitting. Because of this we are seeing an increasing trend of americans recognizing the single Canadian team. Recognizing how good we are and how good we are going to be with big name prospects such as Lawrie, d’Arnaud, and Gose soon to make an impact on the big league roster.
|Photo by Keith Allison licensed under Creative Commons|
The reason I clump Francisco and Frasor together is because they too have contract similarities, as well they are two players I believe are more unlikely to be traded. The contracts of these two guys are one year each with no options at about $3.75 million a piece. Why I don’t see them being traded is in Francisco’s case, it seems like the Jays believe that he is and should be their closer, which I don’t necessarily agree with, but whatever. As well it will be hard to trade away Frasor who has the longest tenure with the Jays of all current Blue Jays. Also the Jays need at least one solid bullpen piece to somewhat hold late leads. Even if the Jays do trade away Frasor, I know it will be a hard loss, but I think he would resign with them in the offseason.
We all know the story of Aaron Hill. The once great player, whose career seemed to have its climax in 2009, with everything after just getting worse and worse. I wrote more about this in the previous article “The Rise of One, The Fall of Another”. But as I stated in that article I would welcome the trading of Hill to whatever team still believes in him. Though as I also stated I don’t see that being a likely possibility. The reasons being as I stated that the Jays are weak when it comes to middle infielders, with only Hech in the higher part of the farm system. Then the fact that the 2B free agent class this year isn’t great, though Anthopolous has had interest in the past in one free agent second basemen Kelly Johnson. But Johnson isn’t exactly having an All-Star year either. So it leaves the Jays with the realization that if they trade Hill they won’t have anything else to fill the spot other than John Macdonald who is great defensively, but isn’t stellar with the bat.
Now to Corey, the former top prospect who never really panned out. The Jays saw him and gave him a shot with a minor league contract this year. Earlier in the year it didn’t look bad because Patterson was performing and we were able to plug his bat into the lineup every once in a while with Snider and Bautista manning the corner outfield spots. Then Snider was demoted to AAA to “revamp” his swing. This left us with the understanding that we would have to plug either Juan or Corey into left field and we really couldn’t afford Juan’s catcher like figure trying to run around and attempt to adequately fill left field. So this left us with Corey Patterson, a guy who really shouldn’t be a major league starter, but the Jays were almost forced to plug his bat into the lineup everyday. Though now that we have Thames and Snider in Toronto and Loewen in Vegas, we really have no need for Patterson and we can trade him away. He probably wouldn’t bring much value but there is still teams who would give away a lower tier prospect for him. As was said in a Fangraphs article he could be this year’s Cody Ross. Teams that may try to get Patterson includes the Diamondbacks and the Braves, both playoff contenders in need of an extra bat.
Now finally to Carlos Villaneuva, a pitcher that I have heard no body really talk about in terms of trade, but a guy who is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA should garner some interest. Especially when teams know that the Jays may be looking to shed a pitcher whether its Jo-Jo or Villaneuva. Because the Jays have 2 guys in Litsch and Drabek who could be pitching in the majors come August as well as a stocked farm system with such top prospects as Zach Stewart, Henderson Alvarez, and Deck McGuire. So shedding a guy like Villaneuva who is pitching much better than he should be according to his xFIP of 4.13 wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if the team is overpaying. If the Jays could get even a C level prospect for him than that would be more than enough. As well the fact that he only makes less than a million this year helps out. Teams like Cleveland, Detroit, and Arizona.
I think that our overall biggest trade chip would have to be Carlos Villaneuva, just based on the way he has played this year and I do think that he could help a contending team such as Arizona who has been known to be looking to add smaller pieces at the deadline. Other guys who I do expect to be traded include Corey Patterson and Jon Rauch. The other guys still could get traded, but I think with the situation that those guys are in and how they both excelled early, they would be most likely to go. Though none of these trade chips will net us any top shelf picks, but they can still get some positive contributors to our farm system. Because you never know what you have in a player until you can fully evaluate him yourself and as Jose Bautista has shown, anything can happen.