Friday, June 23, 2017

Dwight Smith Jr - Blue Jays Prospect - How good can he be?

The Blue Jays have a shortfall in MLB ready prospects, most teams have 4 or 5 guys who are ready and waiting for an opportunity.  The Jays have basically Dwight Smith and that's it.  Who is Dwight Smith Jr? Well his dad won the rookie of the year in 1989 for the Chicago Cubs.  He was a great hitter with decent speed.  Sounds kind of like his dad.   Dwight Jr was a decent prospect up until this spring, he impressed in Spring Training and was sent to Triple A Buffalo to start that year.  In Double the last couple years he didn't show much power or average.  Hitting in the 260's two years in a row, he definitely wasn't setting the house on fire.  That said, people liked his game and intangibles.  Dwight knows the game and how its played, he isn't going to be a burner, or win a hr title or batting title.  But he will probably hit 280-300, steal 15 bags and 18-22 hr's.  Play great defense and be a great teammate.    

He is coach-able and a good guy to have in the club house.  I have too believe that Jays management knew they were getting this guy when they decided not to bring in a free agent for Left Field.

My rank on Dwight Smith Jr was a C+ at the beginning of the season.  I would rate him a B now with upside.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rangers beat up on Stro Show and Jays - Split Series

Marcus Stroman had a tough outing and the Jays couldn't find any middle relief to keep them in the game.    A major league season is full of games when the starting pitcher just doesn't have his A Game.  Today was one of those outings and who entered to fill the void?  Cesar Valdez.  Who?  Yes, Cesar Valdez.  Cesar has an ERA of 8.71 - his job today was to shut down the Rangers.  Kind of like what Dennis Lamp would in the mid 80's or Mauro Gozzo did for the 89 Blue Jays, he may have only won 4 games that year.  But if you remember that season went down to the final game.

This middle relief has been a problem for the 2017 Jays.  Guys like Dermody, Valdez and Beliveau the guys who need to stand up and keep the Jays in the Game.  That is the biggest difference in where we are and where we need to be.  6 or 7th inning onward, the Jays have been terrific.  Danny Barnes and Ryan Tepera have been a god send.  Barnes has 3 pitches he can throw at any time and he pitches to both sides of the plate.  Tepera can bring the gas.  His slider is nasty and turns hitters into guessers.

Today's game shows how the Jays continue need some long relief, someone who can bridge 3 innings and keep them in the game.  Both the front and the back end of the staff is excellent.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sightlines Restaurant Review - Is it worth the price?

So my Family decided to take me to Sightlines for yesterdays Blue Jays vs White Sox Game.  The view was terrific!  We got there early around noon, we dropped everyone off in the round about for the hotel.  I parked just up the street for 20 dollars.  But this was a great way to get everyone to the park and in the stadium.   The reception seems a little confused about things, they are always talking to each other.  We reserved seats a couple months ago, so we were front and centre.  Right on the rail over looking the field.  We had 5 kids in our group, the ability to let them roam around makes it a much better environment for everyone.  Having taken the kids to lots of Jays games, they get pretty bored sitting in the regular stadium seats.  So, having the open environment makes it easier to keep them happy.

Now the important part, the Food! There are 2 carving stations that have all different kinds of meat from Pork to Sausage to Prime Rib.   All of the sides you can imagine go along with the meat, this includes salads, potatoes, breads, carbs of all kinds.  They also offer a great brunch on weekend games, which includes eggs, sausage, bacon and waffles.  Desert is always available and will ensure that you are very content.   Items like alcohol and juices are a la carte.   If you keep to water and pop there is no extra fees.  Groups of 5 or more and they will add the gratuity to your bill. 

Greatest benefit of this facility is the price of the ticket and buffet is around 100 dollars.  If I buy a ticket anywhere in the 100 level I am paying minimum 50 dollars.  Ad a hot dog, bag of peanuts and a Pop and its 100 dollars.  Sightlines gives me all of that and much more, for basically the same price.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Joe Biagini handed an early exit - Jays go down early against White Sox

Being a starting pitcher is not an easy Job.  When you are bad, you're really bad and everyone sees it.  Joe Biagini just didn't have the rhythm on this day.  He was out of sorts from the first pitch and the Sox put the wood to him.  Unable to throw strikes and get ahead, he was easy pickings for the gap hitters.  Although Biagini throws hard, he is not nasty.  He relies on command and throwing all his pitches for strikes.  When the curve isn't getting over, or the first pitch is a ball.  He is instantly more hittable than when getting ahead of the hitter.  His first time through the order, Joe is dominant - hitters hit .156 against him.  The 3rd time around hitters are hitting .296, what this means is that hitters start to get locked into hitting against him.  The more he can limit the pitch count, the better he will do that 3rd time through the order.  Pitchers need to understand that the best thing for hitting is to see lots of pitches.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blue Jays gut out win against scrappy Rays - Jays win 7-6

Yes, the Jays had some timely hitting and the bullpen was clutch.  But this game was won by a terrific ability to extend Jake Odorizzi.  Odorizzi is one of the Rays top pitchers.  He throws strikes  works to contact.  But the Jays were able to run up his pitch count and jump on him in the 5th inning with Kendrys Morales doing the most damage with a 3 run homer.    Jake's pitch count was over 40 after only 2 innings.  Okay, so why am I making such a big deal about pitch count.  Winning teams wear down the starting pitcher and get into the bullpen early in the game.  Hitters like Morales and Donaldson are excellent at this approach, today we saw Goins and rookie Dwight Smith Jr battling to full counts on multiple at bats.  This was the major reason they won a 1 run game.

Players to note - Dwight Smith Jr looks like a real player.  Currently hitting over 300 at Triple A.  We are excited to see a young player with a great approach to hitting.   He also stole 3rd base and did it with ease.

Mallex Smith for the Rays is going to be exciting.  Pure speed and this kid can bunt.  Watch out because he is the next Carl Crawford. Smith is 7 for 7 in steals and has only played about 15 games.  He is an exciting player.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Is Marcus Stroman a top 10 Pitcher in the American League?

So, yes, Marcus is sub 6 feet tall. And he doesn't remind anyone of your prototypical power pitcher.  But he has the nastiest stuff in the American League.  Everything he throws moves, either to the left or to the right, up and down.  His record is 7-2 currently, ERA of 3.07 with 2 complete games.

He also gives his team a chance to win every night.  People usually make a lot of being a big game pitcher.  Jack Morris was measured more for his ability to win the big game, more than his actual numbers.   That said, it was usually Jack telling everyone that fact, but given his 10 inning 1 hitter against Braves in the World Series.  He probably knows what he is talking about.    Stroman in his young career has been a very big game pitcher, 2 playoff runs for the Blue Jays and a Gold Medal game win for Team USA.  Being named MVP of the WBC says everything about his performance.

Do I think Stroman is up there with Sale, Keuchel, Darvish? No, but I think he is right there with the rest of the bunch.  Who would you rather have pitching a big game, David Price or Marcus?  Yes, that's a pretty simple question.  Most young pitchers don't have quite the pedigree for playoff games that Stroman has in such a short period.  Stroman maturity is growing, he no longer gets excited about umpires and his celebrations are more tempered.   He is definitely a big game pitcher.   Since returning to the rotation in 2015, Stroman has been a stalwart for the Blue Jays rotation.

If you haven't seen Marcus pitch from behind home plate, you are missing out.  I encourage everyone to pay the extra couple loonies and see a game from behind home plate.  You won't be how much movement he has on his pitches.  His slider absolutely explodes and his fastball is electric.  Stroman might not have the history to be called a top 10 pitcher just yet.  If I had to win 1 game, he would be in that top 10.  Gotta love the Stro Show! 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Who is Joe Biagini - Scouting Jays starting Pitcher

Rule 5 waiver pick from 2016, Joe Biagini has been a great addition to the Blue Jays roster.  Taken as a non-protected rule 5 player from the San Francisco Giants in the spring of 2016.  Giants Manager was shocked to find out that Biagini was part of his system and had gone unprotected, "we need guys like that on our team."   What makes Biagini so special is his ability to throw all his pitches for strikes.  His fastball ranges in the 93-94 range and occasionally hits 95-96.  In 2015, Biagini had a great year for double A Richmond.  Posting an era of 2.42 in a a very hitter friendly league.  The Jays looked at his ability to control the strike zone.   Biagini works down in the strike zone and its very tough to get the ball in the air.  He throws a sinking 2 seam fastball.  His year in 2015 as a starter at  Double A, Biagini gave up just 5 homers in over 130 innings.  Astros prospect Kelvin Marte also dominated that league in 2015, but his ERA was higher.

Why did the Giants leave Biagini unprotected.  Sometimes teams get obsessed with the swing and miss affect of a prospect.  The Giants clearly missed the boat on Biagini and most teams would be happy to have a pitcher as advanced as Joe.  His whip is currently 1.02 and he is striking out 8 batters per nine innings.  He is clearly going to be in the Jays rotation for the foreseeable future.

Joe is also loved by his teammates.  Here is a crazy video - very funny!!

And here are the funny quotes from Joe!