Friday, 23 November 2012

Platooning Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus has been a Blue Jay for nearly a year and a half now and other than him being streaky, one other thing has been realized, he cannot hit Left Handed Pitching.  Rasmus has posted a career wRC+ of 72 vs. LHP including his outlier 2010 season where he posted a 122 mark. His other 3 MLB seasons have been seasons of 25 (2009), 88 (2011) and 52 (2012).  This is not to say he's a RHP masher either though (career 107 wRC+).

Rasmus doesn't do anything particularly well vs. LHP, as it isn't a case where he posts awful slugging numbers but good on base.  His triple slash vs. LHP is .206/.285/.341 despite his walk and strikeout rates not really changing.  His line drive rate drops nearly 4 % from RHP to LHP and ground ball rate shoots up 8%.

What I'm proposing right here and now is a platoon between Rasmus and ... wait for it... Maicer Izturis.  With Rasmus out of the lineup Emilio Bonifacio would slide into CF and Izturis would fill in at second base.  There would be little defensive difference between Bonifacio and Rasmus in CF (both are average defenders) and Izturis may be a slight defensive upgrade at second over Bonifacio.

Maicer Izturis hasn't posted incredible results vs. LHP with only a 90 wRC+ for his career, but does get on base at a solid rate (.333 career OBP).  While Rajai Davis has produced better against LHP for his career (108 wRC+), the loss of defense in CF would be huge and I feel that the loss of defense outweighs the offensive gain. Also, Davis would then be free to pair with Lind as a platoon partner (assuming no other RHB bench bats were brought in).

Given the power of the lineup already at hand, Izturis seems like a great fit at the bottom of the order with solid OBP helping to set the table for the secondary power hitters. Given the current personnel, I could see a batting order vs. LHP look like this.  Personally, I like the Idea of stretching out the order by building the second half of the order as you would the first.  Lawrie hitting behind EE could offer some protection as well.

It could be that platooning Colby isn't something to do right away, after all he is only 26, and has lots of potential. On the other hand though, the Blue Jays could be in the hunt nearing the middle of the season and if Colby continues to struggle vs. LHP, the prospect of potential may have to take a back seat to getting production out of the lineup, and in that case a platoon would be a great idea.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Don't Call It A Fire Sale

After announcing John Gibbons as the new Blue Jays manager, Alex Anthopoulous made an appearance on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt and gave arguably his most candid interview since he became the Blue Jays GM.  The usual character who said much, yet said nothing, was no where to be found.  Anthopoulos talked about the Marlins trade, and bring back John Gibbons.  

Of course the deal with the Marlins was the big topic of the day, and Anthopoulos went into surprising detail about how the trade went down.  It started with Anthopoulos asking about Josh Johnson and feeling the Marlins asking price was too high and it just went from there. Then came Buehrle and Reyes, with AA tossing Bonifacio in with every trade proposal before the Marlins finally relented and offered up Bonifacio. The last sticking point ended up being Jeff Mathis for John Buck, which may not seem like a big deal (especially with the Jays receiving 4.5 million to offset salaries) but Mathis provides so much to a team that doesn't show up in the numbers, but finally Anthopoulos relented and the deal was completed.  I love the fact that Anthopoulos had A) The common sense not to let Mathis hold up trade and B) Considers loyalty when it comes to a situation like this. The Jays do not wish to become the Marlins. This was not a fire-sale by Miami where everyone was on the block. Anthopoulos worked at this and talked them into parting with them, contrary to popular belief according to what Alex was saying.

Anthopoulos gushed about Gibbons and his baseball mind, but the one thing that stood out was the great working relationship they have.  In the present where analytic reports are becoming a larger and larger part of the game, it's an extremely underrated part of dealing with a front office. Gibbons is someone who can understand and act upon what the data says, and thus relieves tension between front office and those on the field.  Alex had always thought about Gibbons for some sort of role with the club, but until he talked with him on Sunday, he didn't realise how much sense Gibbons made for this team at this time.  He also said that hiring Gibbons is the most confident he's been in a transaction he's made.

As someone who believed Gibbons got a raw deal in his first sting as manager when he was fired, this pleased me greatly that Anthopoulos would have the openness to go back to the past.  Alex knows more about what happened in that club house and with J.P. Riccardi then any of us will ever know, and I believe that knowledge had some impact on his ability make this move with Gibbons and feel supremely confident in it.

Lastly, Anthopoulos admits that he's made moves based on optics before rather then his gut and that those are his biggest regrets. The fact that he may be over that, shown by the hiring of Gibbons and signing of Melky Cabrera, shows some definite growth in his ability as a GM.  

Its been a huge week for the Blue Jays and its only November, What does the rest of the off season have in store?

Looking For: Right Handed Platoon bat.

            After a lengthy twitter discussion with bluejaysbatboy and gosensgo101 (follow them), discussing the Jonny Gomes platoon option with Lind (and the subsequent Gomes to Red Sox signing), it felt like a good time to look at platoon options.

            If you follow me on twitter, you likely saw the discussion and know that I am against a DH only type sitting on the bench in the RHB part of the platoon. That means for me, if someone is going to be on the bench, they have to be able to do more then just DH.  Some of my favourite options are Cody Ross, Scott Hairston, Reed Johnson, and Delmon Young (surprisingly).

            All of these players (save Young) can play passable OF defense. And Young is a better defender then Jonny Gomes which says more about Gomes then Young.  Ross has a career 141 wRC+ vs. LHP, Hairston has a career 119 wRC+, Delmon Young has a 125 wRC+ vs. LHP, Reed Johnson has a career 119 wRC+ vs. LHP.

            My order of preference is obviously Ross number one overall, then Reed Johnson due to his ability to play all 3 OF spots. Hairston is 3rd on my list and ahead of Delmon Young because, well he isn't Delmon Young.  Lastly is Delmon Youn who is a last resort to me, but if he does 1 thing well, its hit lefthanders.

            Reed Johnson was part of one of the better platoons in the last while when, SURPRISE, John Gibbons paired him with Frank Catalanotto and the due posted fantastic overall results combining to OPS well over .800 as a duo. Gibbons coming back opens up this option, as he’s used platoons in the past to great success. I honestly couldn't be any more excited at the prospect of maximizing value in this way. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

An Open Letter to J.P. Arencibia

            Hey JP, it’s me, one of those “haters” you like to refer to.  To start things off, I’d just like to get it out there that I don’t hate you.  I actually find many of your tweets quite humourous and I also greatly appreciate your involvement with the community doing charity work.
As for your abilities as a baseball player, I think you are a good player who has a lot of value, as do most of the fans you label “haters”.  The reason we are bringing you up in trade rumors is that we think that you have enough valuable to fill another position of need.  You like to deal from a position of strength and Catcher is strength on this team.  Given John Buck’s contract and Travis d’Arnauds top prospect status, we feel that you can get the most value to help out the Blue Jays in a trade. It is no slight to you that we believe in Travis d’Arnaud, all the things that we hear say and influence our thoughts and opinions.  Despite knowing that there is no such thing as a sure-fire prospect, we believe in his ability.  It is not that we don’t believe in yours, but we just feel that he can be a rare talent.  Once again, this is not meant as a slight, you are a talented and will have a long career.

As I said, it just boils down to the fact that we think you can greatly help this team, just maybe as a part of an equation to add a piece.  No matter what happens, trade or not, we will support you and we will believe.  I would also like to apologize for those who have been tweeting you asinine comments. You don’t truly deserve that.  Twitter searching your own name though will lead to fan concocted rumors. These are just fans looking at ways to improve the team, they aren’t out there to insult you or push you off the ship.  As fans, this is what we do, we speculate and look at ways to improve the team.  If you are traded, I can guarantee that we will be sad, even if we really like what we get in return, because we do appreciate the players who come to the Jays and have a great attitude and work hard. It really is nothing personal JP.
It’s going to be a good year.

Jays fans who speculate.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Melky Used PED`s? So What?

            First things first, contrary to what the title suggests, I am not a proponent of Performance Enhancing Drug use.  I think it is unethical and one of the lowest things you can do WITHIN the game of baseball.  Also, if you asked me to pick a Cabrera I’d want on my team, I’d pick Melky over Miggy.  Miggy drank and drove putting innocent people at risk and has been accused of domestic battery. Despite all of Melky’s flaws , I love the acquisition and I don’t worry much about the drop off in production post-PED use.
Looking at Melky Cabrera’s skill set that he doesn't rely on power, his ISO the last 2 years has been higher (.164 and .170) but even before his terrible season with the Braves he posted a .142 ISO.   Some of the Melk Mans detractors point out that he has had inflated batting averages on balls in play over the last 2 seasons (.352).  Melky hits lots of ground balls, nearly 50% for his career.  That factor combined with the turf at Rogers Center should/could lead to a higher than normal BABIP.
One of Melky’s strengths is his plate discipline, he has decent on base skills (7.3% career walk rate), and doesn't strike out a tonne (12.1%) and those rates have been fairly consistent year to year.  His whiff rate is very low (5.5%) despite a slightly higher than average out of zone swing rate, but he makes great contact on pitches out of the zone, and has good results compared to normal, on pitches out of the zone. 
All said and done, Melky doesn't have to be great to live up to his contract, he basically just has to go out there and be a league average LF.  If he’s more than that, and I believe he will be, it’s a great sign.  If all he is, is his 2009 season, he’ll still be a worth his contract.  His skill set doesn't lend itself to being a product of his PED use, but we don’t truly know the impact of PED’s really. That is one of the reasons I am looking at the glass of Melk half full. I’ll show myself out now.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Batted Ball FIP Database

As I have written about at Runs Batted Out and frequently posted about on twitter, I have put in many many hours and have updated bbFIP databases back to the 2003 season. I have never truly publicly posted them, not in an attempt to hide knowledge, just never getting around to it.  So here it is, all my time and effort in this post. There are two different spreadsheets, one for American League and one for National League.  I will continue my work on updating and improving the information within.  The plan for the baseball off-season is to work on career statistics for each pitcher and providing career bbFIP numbers.  I have more plans as well such as bbFIP split as reliever and as a starter.  I'm always looking for new ways to break down the numbers, so feel free to drop me a line with any idea's you may have. You can email me here or tweet at me on the twitter @SMcEwen_Eh

For those who aren't aware of what bbFIP is exactly, (click) here is the link to my post explaining it.

Without further ado, I give you bbFIP 2003-2011

American League (click)

National League (click)

Keep posted as I will star posting updates every 5 days plus full data for 2012 after the season ends.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Quick Thoughts: J.A. Happ Returns To The Rotation

Early Saturday morning the Blue Jays announced that Brett Cecil had been optioned to AAA and that J.A. Happ had moved into the rotation in Cecil’s place.  From 2007, when Happ debuted, until the 10 player trade that landed him in Toronto Happ had started 90 games for the Astros and Phillies.

The last 2 seasons Happ has put up poor ERA’s in Houston partially due to a hitters park and  poor defense.  As a regular in 2009 and 2010, Happ posted ERA’s of 2.93 and 3.40 while playing in front of a pretty good defensive team in Philadelphia.  In those 2 seasons Happ posted BABIP’s of .266 and .262 with batted ball rates that lined up with his low BABIP (~18% LD rate, 40% GB rate, and 12% IFFB rate).  In these 2 seasons he posted bbFIP (click here for primer) of 4.17 in 2009 and 3.53 in 2010.

 In 2011 his GB rate dropped and his LD rate spiked resulting in an BABIP of .297, which can’t be blamed on defense alone as his 4.68 bbFIP corroborates.  Flash forward to 2012 and Happ is posting the highest GB rate of his career at nearly 47% and a low 17% LD rate, yet his BABIP is over 300 at .313. It isn’t exactly a secret that the Astros are terrible this season and have the second worst DRS, or Defensive Runs Saved, of any team in the majors. His bbFIP this season of 3.67 is more in line with what you would expect considering his early years in Philadelphia.

In the end Cecil showed flashes of success and other times he was hit hard.  It was just time for the Blue Jays to see what they have in Happ. The Blue Jays have been a pretty good defensive team during the season (65 DRS, so it will be interesting to see if Happ’s numbers improve. In any case, Happ should be more consistent the enigmatic, light throwing Cecil.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Is Bautista's Arm an Asset in RF? No Really

As most anyone that follows the Blue Jays knows, Jose Bautista has a rocket arm in RF, but how much of an asset is his arm really. Using BIS (Baseball Info Solutions) data, we see that Jose Bautista had the extra base attempted 61% of the time, ranking 20th among Right Fielders in 2011 with at least 150 outs made. While he posted the 2nd highest kill % among Right Fielders, at 17%, opponents advanced on 50.5% of opportunities ranking 14th out of 24 qualifying Right Fielders.

In itself, the high Kill% and advance rates aren't awful, ranking 2nd and 14th respectively, but Jose Bautista's ranks on shallow (12th), medium (16th) and deep (24th) aren't very good. His rating (-8) on basic balls in play ranked 23rd out of all Right Fielders. Looking at the RF's whose arms didn't limit runners as much as Bautista, all were at least 4 runs better on basic balls in play then Bautista and were (minus Cruz and Ichiro) among the best at getting to deep balls, which can affect an advance % due to being better balls to run on. 

In conclusion, the evidence shows that Jose Bautista isn't really an asset in RF defensively, and a defensive move to 1B or DH should be in the cards soon.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Blue Jays Prospects Who Could Be In The Bigs 2012: Part 1/3 Infielders

With spring training now in full swing, the “rosterbators” are out in full force predicting 25 man rosters for the upcoming season.  This is not is not an article about my own personal rosterbation, but actually one about what prospects could see the big leagues this year.

Lets start this off this three part series with the infield, where the Jays have top notch Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, wizard defender Adeiny Hechavarria and not much else in terms of near impact talent.

Travis d’Arnaud

Travis d’Arnaud could be a September call-up this season, or maybe earlier if J.P. Arencibia goes down to injury, as there is no chance that Anthopolous would entrust every day at bats to Jeff Mathis. Possessing solid defensive and receiving skills, he should in time become a plus defender.  d’Arnaud draws rave reviews for his ability to handle a pitching staff to go along with a strong arm and athletic body.  At the plate d’Arnaud has good pop for a catcher projecting as a 20+ homerun hitter down the line with solid on base skills, who will hit for solid average and has a good approach using all fields.

Adeiny Hechavarria

The young Cuban who will be 23 on April 15th is one of the best defensive players in the minors and already plays defense that is MLB ready.  Hechavarria’s questions lie with the bat though.  Over 775 AA plate appearances Adeiny has a triple slash of .248/.286/.362. “Hech” posted fantastic numbers in AAA, at hitter friendly Las Vegas though, in 116 PA.  His triple slash of .389/.431/.537 was off the charts and a complete aberration from the past. While those numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt, scouts of always liked his swing and there is a little potential to hit.  Another problem for Hech at the plate is right handers. He hit .305 off LHP in AA last year,, and only .207 of RHP.  Hechavarria is in line for a September call-up, but likely wont hit much at all. His glove will get him to the big leagues, but his bat will tell if he can play every day or is a bench piece down the line.

Mike McDade

First Basemen Mike McDade has mammoth power, but around that ability there isn’t any tool that really jumps out at all. McDade slugged .457 last season and it wasn’t a product of his favourable home park as he hit 9 of his 16 home runs on the road.  Despite hitting .281 as a switch hitter last season, questions remain about his ability to hit. McDade has struck out over 100 times in every full season since turning pro and not walking much (133 time in 1915 AB’s).  The .281 average he posted last season was his best as a pro though his 5.3% walk rate was below his minor league rate of 6.7% heading into last season.  McDade is not a great defender, but he can hold his own at the position despite his 6’1 260 lb frame. McDade could see time as a September call-up or could end up spending the full season in AAA splitting time with David Cooper at 1B/DH.  Cooper is the higher thought of prospect though.

David Cooper

Cooper had a couple of small cups of coffee last season, where despite not putting up gaudy numbers he didn’t look last. His advanced plate approach led to .678 OPS in 81 big league plate appearances.  While his .211 batting average was nothing to write home about, he managed to slug .394 despite the low batting average which slotted him in between Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion on the Blue Jays leader board.  Cooper doesn’t post typical 1B power numbers but does use the whole field and has a knack for hitting the balls into the gaps in right and left center leading to doubles galore (Cooper recorded 58 doubles and 11 homeruns in 538 At Bats. Coopers supreme approach at the plate had him strike out only 57 times last season while walking 74 times (7BB/14K with the Jays). He’s not a very good defender at first base, but does have the athleticism to one day become and average at least defender. He could spend the full season in the big leagues as Adam Lind’s back up or could be a September call-up.  Should Lind be traded or injured you can bet Cooper will get some serious AB’s with the Jays whether at DH or 1B.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Dustin McGowan's future with the Blue Jays

One of the highlights of the 2011 season occurred on September 6th when Dustin McGowan, 1155 days removed from his last major league appearance, appeared in relief versus the Boston Red Sox.  McGowan pitched 4 innings of relief, while McGowan wasn’t his old self just getting back to the majors was a huge accomplishment.

After his first appearance McGowan made 4 starts with mixed results, with his September 21st start vs. the Angels standing out.   He pitched 5 innings of 5 hit, 2 run ball.  Striking out 8 and walking none and giving up 6 ground balls 4 fly balls and 2 linedrives.  While in other games he struggled greatly with commend and gave up hard contact at an alarming rate.
McGowans stuff still looked good out there, though inconsistent.  The curve flattened out more often then it used to, and his command of his pitches wasn’t as sharp. 

I wont get into predictive stats in this case because really with such a small sample size and the context of the situation, they are just not applicable at all.

2007 PitchFx Data Is the top chart, 2011 the bottom.

As the data shows his fastball clocked in 2.5 MPH slower then in '07. His Slider, curve and changeup all lost velocity, but that was expected with 3 year layoff.  While his pitches recorded similar movement at the finish of the pitch, the command of his pitches was not nearly as consistent and pitches were breaking earlier then in previous seasons.  He threw the lowest % of pitches in the strike zone in his career and the number of whiffs he generated drop from 10.7% in 2007 to 8.5% in 2011.  McGowan did flash the stuff though that made him the Jays top prospect in 2003 and 2006.

McGowan's future will likely be decided in Spring Training this year.  If he can stay healthy there is a good chance that he can jump in and contribute as the #5 starter in the Blue Jays rotation. Its unlikely he fits in with the bullpen with his previous shoulder issues and lack of a routine for dealing with his shoulder.  Should McGowan make the team Farrell has projected an innings cap of around 140-150 innings for McGowan.  With more workouts, throwing more regularly and just resuming normal baseball activities full time it wouldn't be surprising to see McGowan gain a tick or two on his pitches.

McGowan's long term future with the Blue Jays is uncertain, but should he remain healthy and regain a bit more of his previous ability, there is no reason to believe he can't be a valuable contributor in the rotation for at least a few years.  If not, he'll likely be cut as he can't be sent to AAA without being put on waivers.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Why this year's bullpen (re)acquisitions are different.

Today the Jays signed former Reds closer Francisco Cordero to a one year deal.  There are those who are cynical about the deal and overall are comparing this years bullpen to last years.  This years acquisitions have very subtle differences, and ones that show either a changed philosophy from AA (stocking draft picks to contending) or that AA has just improved his judgement.  Either way, its a good deal.  Lets look at the key acquisitions from this and last year.

2011: Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco
2012: Sergio Santos, Francisco Cordero, Jason Frasor, Darren Oliver

Lets look at the biggest 2011 bust Jon Rauch's 3 years prior to signing.

Jon Rauch

2008 - Washington/Arizona
2009 - Washington/Minnesota
2010 - Minnesota

Looking at the teams he played for, you see Washington and Minnesota where he pitched 176 out of 199 1/3 innings over the 3 seasons. Washington and Minnesota are both pitchers parks, posting Park Factors of 98 overall for Minnesota (65 for Homeruns) and 99 overall for Washington (96 for Homeruns). 

NOTE: 100 rating means an average major league park with no difference for pitchers/hitters.

2008 - 4.14/3.96/3.71
2009 - 3.60/3.88/4.57
2010 - 3.12/2.94/3.98

As you can see, in 2008 he posted his worst season due to his trade to hitter friendly Arizona. Prior to moving to Arizona his ERA/FIP/xFIP was 2.98/3.09/3.44.  Which shows us alot more consistancy in the data for those 3 seasons.

Rauch has never been a ground ball pitcher and has always had extreme flyball tendencies (2008 - 45.9%, 2009 - 43.6% and 2010 - 44.3%).  Despite these high flyball rates, he managed to keep his HR/FB quite low in Washington and Minnesota (2008 WAS - 8.1%, 2009 - 6.3%, 2010 - 3.7%). 

NOTE: Average HR/FB is usually around 10% (9.7% in 2011)

As all Jays fans know, Rauch was plagued by the longball last season posting HR/FB rate of 12.9% well above his rates in 2008-2010.

Rauch was never a fit in the Rogers Center for this main fact (Rogers Center has a 135 Homerun Park Factor) . 

While Dotel and Francisco had their struggles at times, overall they pitched quite well and both had plenty of experience in pitchers parks (Dotel has had every park as a home park pretty much and Francisco was used to playing in Arlington).

If we look at the 2012 acquisitions we can see a huge pattern forming.  Anthopolous is targeting pitchers who are proven (Santos maybe not quite "proven" yet) performers in hitter friendly ballparks.

Cordero has posted great seasons in Cincy consistantly.  His ever improving GB rate is proof that he's learned to pitch in these situation and thrive, trading strikeouts for soft contact. 

Darren Oliver has played in many places, but definitely knows how to pitch in small parks as he posted incredible seasons in Texas. Another ground ball pitcher Oliver had a weird season last year, but his career track record shows he's a ground ball pitcher who enduces a tonne of pop ups.

Jason Frasor knows the Rogers Center, I don't think I need to explain that one.  The Jays all time leader in appearances.

And lastly, Sergio Santos.  Santos played in a great hitters park in Chicago. While he had a ridiculous 2010 in terms of HR/FB, it came back to earth in 2011 and he showed that he can be dominant in a hitters park. His HR/FB being in line with league averages, and even a bit higher bodes well for his move to Toronto where in 2010 both parks posted identical HR Park Factors of 135.

To say that these bullpen moves are of a different breed from last year would be an understatement.  Something has changed with AA's targeting of relief pitchers, and by god, his moves look even greater when you really get down to the nitty gritty of the advanced numbers.  Here is to a greatly improved bullpen in 2012!

The great mentor Omar Vizquel

Its about 7 o'clock on a Monday night, you're sitting at home watching a movie.  Being as tech savy and dependent as you are, you calmly grab your smart phone and check your twitter feed.  Then BAM!

Your twitter feed has exploded with "Omar Vizquel WHAT THE?" tweets.  Bewildered you flip to your MLBTradeRumors app trying to make sense of this. Could it be another elaborate hoax upon Jays fans for attention (ala Gavin Floyd rumors).  You scroll down the Blue Jays feed and see there in the timeline "Blue Jays sign Omar Vizquel", and its confirmed by Jerry Cransnick.

Your mind is spinning trying to make sense of why the age conscious contract extension mastermind Alex Anthopolous would make this kind of move.

To put it vaguely, its for veteran presence.  The Blue Jays are one of the youngest MLB teams out there. There are other options, yes, but none of them are Omar Vizquel the person or Omar Vizquel the aura.

Lets look at it this way.  Omar Vizquel has been around MLB since 1989.  A year before Brett Lawrie born, and only a few months before Henderson Alvarez.

While Omar Vizquel has declined in the field, and will never play as a shortstop again likely (13 time gold glover at SS).  He can be a mentor.  Given that he is on a minor league deal and only can really play 3rd and 2nd anymore and not at a very high level the move could be perplexing, but all you have to do is look at Vizquel's past to figure out the Blue Jays future.

1999: Omar Vizquel takes a young shortstop named John Joeseph McDonald under his wing. For the next 6 seasons Vizquel would take this young shortstop who was full of all the character and grace Vizquel possessed and drive to be the best he could be and helped mold him into the defender and person we now affectionately refer to as Johnny Mac.

2009: Having passed through San Francisco and his defensive abilities clearly starting to wear down, Vizquel headed down to the Texas Rangers where he backed up the very young and very talented shortstop who is one of the best defenders at his position in Elvis Andrus.

2010: Having spent just one season in Texas, Vizquel went north and ended up being signed by Alex Anthopolous' favourite trade partner, Mr. Kenny Williams.  A young position player had been miscast as a 2nd basemen for a couple of seasons, not able to move to his true position of shortstop because of Orlando Cabrera.  Alexei Ramirez had one season at shortstop under his belt when Vizquel came to town, but with Vizquel came the mentorship that had helped John MacDonald and Elvis Andrus before Ramirez, and Ramirez blossomed.  Winning the "Fielding Bibles" Gold Glove equivalent at shortstop and became known as arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball.

While we can't predict the future, the odds are good that any time spent with Vizquel will do nothing but good for Adeiny Hechavarria and even Yunel Escobar.  The Blue Jays are lucky to have Omar in the organization and the best of luck to him.  I know I'll be hoping to see him in the Jays dugout.

Breaking down Morrow's struggles with runners on base.

 With Brandon Morrow's press conference coming up in just about half an hour to announce a brand new 3 year 20 million dollar extension that will buy out his last 2 arbitration years and his first year of free agency. its become a hot topic about Brandon Morrow's productivity and what his productivity should be considering his peripheral numbers.

Chris Cwik over at fangraphs posted a tremendous article on Brandon Morrow and his struggles with runners on base. Click Here

In his article he points out how Brandon Morrow's walk and strikeout rates remain fairly constant with and without runners on base.  Yet Morrow gives up more flyballs when runners are on base, which should lead to a lower BABIP, but has actually in fact raised his BABIP by nearly 8%!

I am willing to offer up a solution the the unlucky/poor performance debate.

I watched all of Brandon Morrow's starts last season. he tends to give up alot more hard contact with men on base. The ground balls are sharp, the flyballs are deep to the wall and everything results in hard contact. He also falls behind more often with runners on base and he’ll follow up those outside pitches with ones right down the middle because of his being down 3-1 and such in the count. His stuff is just so good that sometimes he gets away with pitching in the heart of the plate resulting in K’s.

At this point, Brandon Morrow is still equal parts thrower and pitcher, and he'll need to keep improving to be worth his deal.  More likely than not though, Morrow for a potential 4 years and 30 million or 3 years at 21 million will be a steal.