Blue Jays News & Notes | September 1
(Title photo courtesy of Arturo Pardavila III, https://www.flickr.com/photos/apardavila/)
This is the second post in the Blue Jays News & Notes series, where I run down and offer opinion on the latest items that Blue Jays fans are talking about.
– With both the Blue Jays and Yankees losing yesterday, the Blue Jays maintained their roughly 70-30 edge on winning the AL East, as evaluated by both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus. The Yankees and Blue Jays have seven games remaining against each other, and there is plenty of baseball to be played. But, it is clear that the Blue Jays are the better team and having a 1.5 game advantage even a month out is meaningful.
– Toronto’s current opponent, Cleveland, is suddenly back in the second wild card chase. Led by three fantastic starting pitchers in Kluber, Carrasco and Salazar, the Indians have have won six straight games and are now only two games under .500 and chasing some very flawed teams.
– David Price has been as good as the Blue Jays could have asked for so far. With 50 strikeouts and 8 walks in 43.1 innings pitched, he’s compiled a 2.27 FIP in a Blue Jays uniform. If Dallas Keuchel gives up a few extra runs in September and Price continues to excel, Price will have a shot at winning the AL Cy Young Award.
– Drew Hutchison continues to put up good peripherals, and over his last four starts the run prevention has actually followed. It will be very interesting to see how Marcus Stroman is inserted into the rotation. As I wrote last week, Hutchison’s peripheral point to him being a better starter than RA Dickey or Marco Estrada.
– September call-ups will see Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, Jeff Francis, Munenori Kawasaki and Dalton Pompey join the club today, according to Shi Davidi. Loup and Pompey in particular could have real utility for the club. Brett Cecil has been the team’s only lefty reliever for a while, and Loup is actually a decent reliever. Pompey provides outfield depth that the club has not had this season. He can really play centrefield and is likely a better hitter and fielder than Eqequiel Carrera.
– Ben Revere has been collecting hits left and right for the Blue Jays over the past week while Troy Tulowitzki has been slow to get it going with his new club, but Tulo is clearly the superior leadoff option. Conventional wisdom suggests that a fast guy who gets on base at an okay clip like Revere does should bat first, but sabermetric research argues that your best hitters should hit first, second and fourth. The leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to “lead off” once a game and ends up getting the most appearances of any batter over the course of the season. You want one of your best hitters getting the most plate appearances, not Ben Revere.
– Mark Shapiro will be the team’s new president and CEO following 2015! This is pretty exciting. Shapiro has on the analytics frontier for over two decades while a member of Cleveland’s front office. He is well-respected in the game, understands how players are evaluated these days and has experience as a team president.
– As has been widely disseminated, the Blue Jays had a historic month for them, finishing 21-6.
Blue Jays lose, but finish August with a 21-6 record. Their .778 winning percentage was highest in club history for a calendar month
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 1, 2015
– As Gideon Turk of Blue Jays Plus notes, Ryan Goins is doing different stuff at the plate right now. It’s too soon to draw any real conclusions, but the situation is worth monitoring. For his part, Goins has dug himself out of sub-replacement level recently, and sits at 1.2 fWAR on the season, which makes him a very productive bench piece this season. The Steamer projection system has him at a 66 wRC+ going forward, which makes him a marginal major leaguer, but is an improvement on his pre-season projection of 58.
There you have it! The Blue Jays take on the Indians again tonight at 7:07 pm.