Friday, March 29, 2013

Jays Head (Mostly)* North

Welcome to the last weekend of the year without real baseball.  Feels good, doesn't it?  Real baseball with a team that has absolutely realistic expectations to contend is about to arrive in Toronto.  Just a long, Christian-holiday-ish weekend to go.**

What shall we do this weekend (aside from watching/listening to the 2 "fake fake" games against the Phillies)?  We can watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones.  And, we can rosterbate over the lineup and pitching staff that Alex Anthopoulos has put together for the 2013 season.

I'll be putting together some mini-profiles of the Jays and try to dig for info that you might not have read yet, although I make no promises since most of the other bloggers are pretty darn thorough covering this team, but since I'm still unemployed (and a giant baseball nerd), I'll cram it into a weekend rather than 30-something days.

Today, however, I'm going to go over some of the Grapefruit League stats and call your attention (and mine) to some interesting things that they reveal.  Since these stats don't count for anything really, this may just be an exercise in futility, but since I don't have anything else to do, futility is better than nothing.***

Fun Fact #1:  Mark DeRosa had the 3rd highest OPS on the Jays (1.207).

1st and 2nd are J.P. Arencibia (1.356) and Jose Reyes (1.221), both of whom are easy to see at the top of this list.  Reyes was on fire before and after the WBC, while Arencibia was a monster after returning.  But DeRosa?

In fact, ranks 3-5 on the Blue Jays OPS leaderboard are DeRosa, Jim Negrych, and Lars Anderson.  While Anderson only had 14 at bats before being sent down to the minors, Negrych showed almost as much pop in his bat as DeRosa (again... Spring Training warning).

While this doesn't mean that DeRosa is going to rake, especially in the first week where he'll probably get more playing time with Brett Lawrie on the DL, it definitely makes me feel more comfortable than if he had shown nothing with the bat and all I was hearing from the Jays' management was that he was "good in the clubhouse."

Fun Fact #2: Josh Johnson doesn't need to be this good to be flat out awesome. 

How good was he in Spring Training?  In 16 innings, he gave up 2 earned runs on 8 hits and 1 walk.  In fact, if you erase the two home runs that he gave up this spring, he gave up 0 runs.  And he struck out 21 batters.

Obviously that's not going to happen in the regular season.  But holy bat-holes,^ Batman.  I'll take a 21/1 K/BB ratio any day.  In fact, I'll take a quarter of it.  If Johnson has even a 3/1 or 4/1 K/BB ratio in the regular season, he's going to have a phenomenal year.

Fun Fact #3: The Blue Jays went 14-17 in Grapefruit League action.

But, who cares?  The Jays went 24-7 last year and where did THAT get them?  The fact is that the Jays had the third most players on their team go to the WBC and while some of these guys were minor leaguers like Adam Loewen and Trystan Magnuson (who both played for Canada), the majority were key players like Brett Lawrie (ok, he didn't play, but he suffered an injury and wasn't available to either Team Canada or the Blue Jays), R.A. Dickey, J.P. Arencibia (Team USA), Jose Reyes, and Edwin Encarnacion (Team Dominican Republic).

With so many players away, watching the spring training games during the WBC (especially away games) was like watching minor league games.  The lack of "success" as a team in Spring Training for the Jays was pretty meaningless.  It also gave guys like Anthony Gose more playing time than they would have otherwise had.

Fun Fact #4: Justin Germano threw the most innings without allowing a walk (13).

While stats show Aaron Loup as being a close second with 10 walk-less innings, I distinctly remember hearing him walk someone in one of the audio broadcasts with Mike Wilner and Dirk Hayhurst.

So who is this legendary pinpoint-control-artist named Justin Germano?  He's going to be a key member of the Buffalo Bisons starting rotation.  He's a 30 year old journeyman who has over 300 major league innings, including almost 65 last year split between the Cubs and the Red Sox.  He's always shown good control.  In 2011, he pitched 49 innings in Columbus (the Indians AAA club), walking only 4 batters.  His problem in the majors has been hits.  He doesn't throw hard, but has a really nice breaking ball.  Kryptonite to minor leaguers, but hardly something that fools seasoned major league hitters.

Fun Fact #5: Trivia time.

Question: Jose Bautista hit 5 HRs to lead the Jays in Grapefruit League HRs.  J.P. Arencibia was tied in for second with 4.  Who was he tied with?

Answer: 2013 International League All-Star# Andy LaRoche.  LaRoche is a 29 year old utility guy who has shown a LOT of pop early in his minor league career, culminating with 30 HRs in 2005 between A+ and AA.  He only hit more than 12 HRs in a year twice after that (in 2006 and 2007 - spending time in both years in Las Vegas).  In fact, LaRoche has only 22 HRs to show for 1180 major league at bats.

Basically, I'm saying "don't get your hopes up."

So, there's some fun facts to get you through tonight.  Profiles begin tomorrow!  Happy Easter, and Chag Sameach!


* By "(mostly)," I'm referring to the fact that the Jays fly to Philadelphia for their two exhibition games against the Phillies this weekend, not the fact that some Jays are staying in Florida.  I'll definitely be wearing my Dunedin Blue Jays cap to my first game of the year to support guys like Ricky Romero staying behind.  And because it's way cool.

** Or, if you're like me and Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590), you just have to survive the rest of Passover.

*** That turn of phrase has really started to grow on me.  I shall adopt it as my motto!

^ No, I'm not being rude.  Lots of strike outs =  holes in the batters' bats.  Holy bat-holes.  Get your minds out of the gutter.

# I'm predicting that he'll be one.


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @Jaysfromaway

No comments:

Post a Comment