Tag Archives: Blue Jays

Predicting the W-L record of the 2012 Blue Jays using WAR

By Eric Han

Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Boxscore updated his WAR spreadsheet today. What’s a WAR spreadsheet? Well, it’s a magical tool that lets you punch in a bunch of numbers, and shoots out some other numbers in return! It’s kind of cool.

To be specific, the tool uses an inputted value of a team’s total plate appearances, weighted on base average, baserunning value, fielding value, total innings pitched, and earned run average, and estimates the total WAR value, and thus the estimated win count, of that team.  You can download it here.

I assumed in this exercise that the Jays’ roster for 2012 is roughly the same as they had at the end of the 2011 season.

Hit the jump for my predictions for the position players:

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The value of Arizona’s middle infield

By Travis Reitsma

Yesterday, former Blue Jay Aaron Hill signed a 2yr/$10-million extension with the Arizona Diamondbacks after the team declined his $8-million option just a few days prior.  Hill hit well in his late season stint with Arizona after coming over in an August trade with the Jays along with John McDonald for Kelly Johnson, but finished the season with an underwhelming .246/.299/.356 slash line, hitting just eight home runs.  Although he rebounded from an absolutely disastrous 2010, his .356 slugging percentage was a career low and a far cry from his 2009 mark of .499.  He actually posted a lower WAR in 2011 than he did in 2010.

So, did the D’Backs overpay Hill?

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Should the Blue Jays sign Jonathan Broxton?

By Eric Han

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that several teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, have shown interest in Dodger’s closer, Jonathan Broxton. Good idea? Bad?

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The myth of Eric Thames’ fast-balls

A while back, I took to the blog to decry a myth that Corey Patterson was seeing more fastballs (or more strikes) while hitting in the two-spot in the Jays’ lineup.  It was found that there was virtually no difference.

You see, it’s a common myth in baseball that whoever is hitting in front of your best hitter (usually the number three hitter) will see more fastballs and strikes (i.e. controllable, hittable pitches).  Several studies have found that there is virtually no difference at all.

Then last night on the Twitter, someone speculated that Blue Jays new call-up and Canadian Baseball Moses Brett Lawrie should hit second in the lineup because he would see more hittable pitches and more fastballs.  When I calmly questioned the logic (and didn’t deny that he wouldn’t be the worst choice on the team for the two-spot), I was blasted from several angles.  The biggest argument against me was that Eric Thames was “tearing it up” whilst hitting in the number-two spot earlier this year; which was sort of true, although he hasn’t hit much worse in the six-hole in decidedly less games.

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Trade Deadline Reactions — July 27th

Like most Jays’ fans, words cannot describe just how happy I am with the Colby Rasmus trade(s).  Enough words have been spent on the deal by my many, many, many contemporaries in the Blue Jays blogosphere, and there are more than a few professional opinions on the matter, so I shan’t bore you with mine.  Needless to say, this one is an unequivocal win for Alex Anthopoulos and his front office of ninjas.  It seems like every trade he makes, he doesn’t just come out on top, he leaves the entire industry dumb-founded.

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How bad is the Jays’ bullpen, really?

The Jays’ bullpen has been the ire of a frustrated fan base over the course of this season.  The often cited statistic is the ‘blown save’ which the Blue Jays are tied with the Angels for the most in the American League at 17.

But if we are going to decry the save statistic (which, if you don’t, you might want to remove your breathing orifices from your rectal cavity), then don’t we have to decry the blown save stat too?

The obvious answer is yes, but there is something to be said about a team blowing 17 leads late in games when it’s only late July.  But keep in mind, a pitcher can record a blown save if he comes in with one out in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and a one-run lead, and then surrenders an infield-single before striking out the next two batters; there are certainly gaping flaws.

Blown saves inevitably occur in both good bullpens and bad ones.  Just as it is flawed logic to look at how many saves a certain bullpen has to determine how good they are, it is almost equally as absurd to look at blown saves to judge how bad one is.

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We knew this was coming

About two weeks ago, the Blue Jays were leading the American League in runs scored.  To anyone who has actually watched this team play in 2011, this seemed like a surprise.  Yes, Jose Bautista is a golden god, and Corey Patterson seemed to be fooling us with night after night of solid plate appearances, but we all knew this was coming.  After being swept by the Atlanta Braves this week, Toronto has scored a woeful three, THREE runs in their last forty innings.

When Toronto was scoring runs, they weren’t getting pitching; now they are getting pitching and the hitting has come unceremoniously crashing down to earth.

Many have offered up reasons for this sudden offensive collapse, but let’s face facts, a lineup that runs out Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, Edwin Encarnacion, Jayson Nix, John McDonald, and Rajai Davis on any kind of consistent basis, is going to have trouble scoring runs.

There are essentially three hitters on this team that have a future with this ballclub: Bautista, Adam Lind, and Yunel Escobar.  Everyone else is essentially a stop-gap player until something better comes along.  We knew heading into this year that this was not a contending team and that the offense would struggle, so let’s all just relax; better things are on the horizon.

Now, what is actually wrong with the Jays’ offense right now?  Why technically are they scuffling?

Well, that’s pretty simple; allow me to illustrate using a Brooks Baseball Pitch F/X graph…slightly modified.

The graph above (click to enlarge) shows only pitches thrown today by Braves’ starter Brandon Beachy in which the Blue Jays swung on and missed.  As you can plainly see, the plate discipline of our lovable losers bluebirds leaves something to be desired.  There has been an overriding lack of discipline and pitch recognition during this slump and Beachy’s 11 strikeouts in six innings today was the ultimate manifestation.  They made a pitcher throwing in only his 11th big-league start look like Pedro Martinez.  Using my expert counting skills, 10 of the 19 times that Beachy got the Jays to swing and miss, the ball was out of the strike zone; in some cases it was so far down and away from the right-handed hitters that there’s no physical way contact could have been made.

The sad part is that there might be a lot more games like this going forward considering the hitters in this lineup.

Stay patient, better days are coming.