Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Starting to get nervous...

Now the Jays are hanging tough, and Lind is starting to show signs. But I'm getting near panic mode with this team right now. And these are the 5 reasons why:

#1: Aaron Hill despite hitting the occassional homerun is friggin awful. He should come around, I mean he was one of the best 2B in baseball last year, right? BUT there is not one logical argument that can be made as to why he is currently batting in the 2 hole. He is one of the worst hitters in baseball right now. Yet we give him tons of at bats and put loads of pressure on him to produce.

#2: Overbay sucks again. That it took a 10 game hot streak to get him up around 210 before he started plummeting again the last few days. We've now released Ruiz and are stuck with this guy and he flat out needs to produce for us to have a shot.

#3: Our bench is absolutely awful right now. Johnny Mac, Mike Mccoy, Jeremy Reed and Jose Molina? Seriously? Yeah we are going to get Snider back and that is going to push somebody to the bench (hopefully Overpaid). But man... can we at least call up the Big Lubanski or someone with some pop in the meantime?

#4 Gaston is talking about going with a four man rotation. That's an awesome idea, when you have four good pitchers. We have three, Morrow these days is lucky to give us 5 innings. Essentiall this means if any of our other starters struggle to give us innings we are going to have a gassed bullpen. That is the last thing this team needs.

#5 Kevin Gregg has turned up the suck and because of his hot start the Jays may be way out of it before Cito reacts and makes a change if one is necessary.

So what is the solution? Here is what I would do to keep this ship from sinking:

#1: Swap Jose Bautista with Aaron Hill in the batting order. Everywhere we've put Bautista this year he has produced. Moving Hill down in the order will take some pressure off him and in the meantime Bautista will be coming up in the key situations that Hill has been choking in every game.

#2: Encarnacion is going to kill this team with his defence. We all know it. Bautista is by far the superior defensive third basemen. So why not slide Edwin across the diamond? It is a tried and proven tactic to move your worst defender to first base and minimize the damage that player can do to your team D. I'm absolutely convinced Encarnacion's bat is higher value to the team than Overbay. There would also be some value to having a lefty off the bench. We'd then have Edwin on first, Bau on third, Lind DH'ing and Lewis/Wells/Snider in the outfield.

#3: Rommie Lewis to close? I puked in my mouth a bit as I typed that. I wouldn't do this immediately. Gregg has bought himself enough rope to get a few more games to show he can rebound. But if we do need a new closer who would you go to? Back to Frasor? Sure that is an option but we know what we have in Frasor and I like him as a versatile mid innings guy. Shawn Camp? This is intriguing actually. I'd love to see how he would do the way he is throwing right now. But Camp can give us multiple innings a few times a week and he's our best option with inherited runners so I have to say no dice. Which brings us to Rommie Lewis, here is his statline:

2010 TOR 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15.0 10 4 4 1 3 12 2.40 0.87 .189

Hard to hit - check.
Strikes guys out - check
Solid control - check

AND -- he was closing in AAA so it isn't like the role is new to him. I actually think Rommie might do quite well in the roll.

#4: Go get Kevin Millwood! I never was that big of a Millwood guy in his prime 95+ mph fastball years. But I've grown to appreciate him late in his career. Millwood is a grinder who is a virtual lock to give you 6+ innings every game and keep you in it. With the amount of runs we are scoring he'd win a lot more than he'd lose. He'd also allow us to give Litsch and Rzepczynski some more starts to round into shape before thrusting them into the rotation. When Litsch or Zep is ready they could then push Morrow if he can't develop consistency. Millwood would also go a long way to keeping the pen fresh and would be a great influence on the young staff.

The Sox have caught us, the Yanks and Rays continue to be great... we need to do something to hang around.

That's my 5 cents.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Unlike Overbay, I'll comment on today's game

Well well well Lyle, not only did you get your way into the lineup, you hit a double and a homer.

Make no mistake, I find Overbay to be frustrating 'cause so many of his homers or extra-base hits come in low-pressure blowouts. But this is a promising sign.

Because with Snider out, the only way Overbay sits is if Ruiz plays. Which I wish he would.

Sooner or later, Ruiz or McCoy is going down when Snider is back. I still believe that if Cito gave Randy a week in a row's worth of at-bats, we'd see results. But Cito's love affair with Overbay prevents it.

But for one day, Hill, Lind and Overbay were all very productive.

This upcoming Mariners series is the type of letdown series we need to avoid. Fister is on fire and Cecil's got his hands full. Let's just hope the Mariners don't remember how to hit all of a sudden.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why the blog name?

Just thought I'd explain that as well.

Willie Canate, the 25th man of our 1993 World Series winning team. A rule 5 player who played in 38 games for us with this statline: 213/309/277/586. He hit one homerun. For whatever reason the Jays found him intriguing enough to keep on the roster all year rather than risk losing him to his old team. He never surfaced in the majors again.

Why is Willie Canate important to me? Two reasons.

#1: My mother who passed away the year I graduated highschool was an avid Jays and baseball fan. I collected baseball cards and she from time to time would pick up certain cards she knew I wanted. On one trip to Seattle she picked me up a Ken Griffey Jr Minor League rare card. It was quite valuable at the time.

My mom who was a joker right to the end and always told me she had a safe deposit box at the bank with some of the best cards I ever wanted. But they were hers, not mine. In that box she had 1989 Griffey Upper Deck, Bonds rookie card, and basically every card I ever hoped I would get but didn't. She also claimed to have a Willie Canate rookie card in there. Which leads to #2

#2: My mom as much as she loved it really never knew baseball like I know baseball now. I adored Willie Canate. Couldn't understand why he didn't play more. He had all the tools, a cannon, was fast, a ferocious swing and looked like he was made to play. I was convinced he was going to be a star. So was my mom. That's why the card was in her fictional vault.

So in a sense Willie Canate is a symbol for the way I used to think about the game vs the way I do now.

I wonder if such a rookie card was even made?

Sick of the Overbay apologists

I've been thinking about starting a Jays blog for a while. For one to slow down my FB/TWitter rants on them. For two because I am hugely invested and like talking about them. But why tonight? Because of a fairly infuriating article I read on DrunkJaysFans. Now, I love DrunkJaysFans blog. I read it daily. But today they decided to write defending Overbay on a night he made two errors and went 0-4 with two strikeouts. That doesn't sit well with me. They point at his numbers from last year -- a year he didn't play vs Lefties and still managed to be 11th out of 14 AL regular first basemen. He just isn't that good!

Why is it that it was completely fine for this same blog to shit all over Vernon Wells all last year. To completely write him off and spew hate at him neverending. But it isn't ok for Jays fans to boo Overbay?

Jays fans booing Overbay is a good sign. It shows we give a fuck. And actually, this first post is basically designed to show why Jays fans should be right pissed off that Overbay is being given so much rope.

Here goes:

To put into context why Jays fans need to be fed up with Overbay's play and Cito's refusal to sit him or move him down in the order here is a somewhat ominous look at what is to come with Snider out and Edwin "Easy E" Encarnacion up. We have a few options... what I think Cito is going to do is:

LF - Lewis
2B - Hill
DH - Lind
CF - Wells
1B - Overbay
SS - A Gon
RF - Bautista
C - Buck
3B - Encarnacion

But what I wish he would do is vs RH pitching:

LF - Lewis
2B - Hill
DH - Lind
CF - Wells
RF - Bautista
1B - Overbay
SS - Gonzalez
3B - Encarnacion
C - Buck

vs LH pitching:

RF - Lewis
2B - Hill
LF - Lind
CF - Wells
1B - Bautista
SS - Gonzalez
3B - Encarnacion
C - Buck
DH - Ruiz

Fred Lewis: I love Freddie. Toronto loves Freddie. But Freddie is slugging way over his career slugging. The good news is, he is also not getting on base as much. So while he likely isn't going to be the RBI/Extra Base guy he has been. He isn't going to be why we come back down to earth when and if we do.

Aaron Hill: Did you know that despite Aaron Hill hitting nearly 100 points below his career average, his OBP remains 15 points below his career average? Hill is doing one thing very well this year, and that is drawing walks. It actually is the one aspect of the game he's sucked at his entire career. I believe last year was a landslide career year. I'd be surprised if Hill ever hits 30 homers again. But if he could eventually get his average up at say 275-280 with tons of extra base hits, 20 homer power, and a 360ish OBP we are looking at Toronto's very own Dustin Pedroia. So yes, I am saying that Hill is one of the reasons we have a chance to stay in the hunt.

Adam Lind: Lind is a mystery to me. I thought perhaps Cito's grip it and rip it if you like it approach was the problem. But turns out he is seeing essentially the same amount of pitchers per AB this year as he was last year. Though he seems to be swinging at many more bad pitches. He should come around, but I'm not really seeing signs of it. Ideally we wouldn't have to wait this out with him in the 3 hole. But we do.

Vernon Wells: This guy is smoking hot and I don't see it ending anytime soon. Wells is actually having better plate discipline this year than at any point of his career. He's using all fields, and his bat speed is as good as it has ever been. Yeah I predicted 30/100 BUT largely due to his spot in the order. The only problem I see with Wells is the guy batting after him...

LYLE OVERPAID: Our situation is not unlike that of Boston with Ortiz. You just have to believe if you give Overbay the at bats he is going to get his average up and start hitting some doubles and a few jacks. Problem is, we are already believing that with two better players in Hill/Lind who occupy 2 of our top 4 spots. Cito's stubborn approach is about to kill us. I for one hope that with Easy E coming off the DL today that Bautista will slide across the diamond and start taking time away from Overbay. Bare minimum, he needs to be DRRRRRRRRRR-oppppppppppped (Beastie Boys style) in that lineup.

Alex Gonzalez: Guess what? Alex Gonzalez is about to drop off. That isn't news. But you know... I am starting to believe it won't be as bad as it could be. Here's 2 reasons why:

1. Alex Gonzalez actually had great success last year in limited at bats in Boston. 150 at bats is enough to at least look at what he is doing now and last year and wonder if he has a better understanding of the type of hitter he is later in his career. Actually, sort of like Scutaro though the two are totally different players.

2. Cito Gaston's strong suit is getting the most out of his hitters and the whole find your pitch and be aggressive approach is made for Gonzalez.

I just wish he was in the 8 hole.

Jose Bautista: It is only beginning for Bautista. See I saw a few projections this year that had Bau up around 25 homers. The guy has legit power and actually a very strong idea of the strikezone. His career OBP isn't sparkling. But people forget his career average is 239. All of a sudden a 331 OBP isn't bad. I mean if Aaron Hill and his career average of 281 had an OBP of 381... he'd be one of the best hitters in the game. Bautista this year might just be a poor man's Raul Ibanez. 245-250 with 25 homers and 90 RBIS is what I'm projecting. This bad man should be our #5 hitter until Cito decides to move Snider up there.

John Buck: Buck is part of the bad news. While I believe his career stats show he might hit 18-20 homers this year. He is about to collapse in a big big way. Thankfully, Cito actually has him way down in the order so we won't feel it that much.

Edwin Encarnacion: Who knows... my guess is as good as yours. But I am certain he isn't going to produce nearly as effectively as Snider was.

Conclusion: Our lineup without Snider and with Hill/Lind continuing to struggle cannot withstand Overbay playing everyday and batting 5th. Mark my words, Overbay will be the death of us if we keep on trotting him out there.