Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition looks at hitting the breaking ball and much more!
So, um…there sure has been quite a bit of news surrounding your Toronto Blue Jays, the bulk of which involved the suspension of Chris Colabello for 80 games thanks to a PED violation. This certainly captured the attention of Blue Jays Land. But, there was some other stuff, too:
*At Jays Journal, our friend, Keegan, looks at whether Justin Smoak is a better option than pairing him with whomever will eventually come up and join him as the replacement for Colabello. Keegan brings up Jesus Montero as a possible replacement. Whichever bat is brought up, Keegan is of the same thinking that I am: Smoak needs a month or so of steady playing time before we write him off and start platooning him with someone else.
*Murray McCormick goes one on one and plays 20 Questions with former Blue Jay second baseman, and Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar for the Regina Leader-Post. Alomar dishes on everything from Colabello’s suspension to his own dramatic home run in the 1992 post season. For his part, he thinks that Colabello simply made a mistake with the supplements he took. Alomar also feels that the 1B/DH will be able to bounce back from this. Alomar also feels that his home run against Dennis Eckersley gave the Blue Jays the momentum that propelled them to win in ’92. Tough to argue against it. Alomar also discusses The Bat Flip and a comparison between himself and Ryan Goins, which might be a bit premature.
*Over at the Toronto Sun, Steve Buffery looks at the trouble the Blue Jays have been having at the plate to start this season and whether it is because of the breaking ball. The club’s success last season seems to have impacted what they’re going to get in 2016. They are seeing a healthy diet of the breaking stuff. I wanted to find out if there is more than just the old gut feeling to this. I checked The Baseball Savant and found that the Blue Jays rank as follows for curveballs seen:
Russell Martin: 10th most (39) for 16.1% of the time, more than double last year.
Jose Bautista: 20th most (34) for 9.5% of the time, nearly the same as last year.
Josh Donaldson: 23rd most (33) for 10% of the time, up from last year.
Troy Tulowitzki: 62nd most (26) for 8.4% of the time, down from last year.
Without doing a comprehensive look at each player (and different types of pitches), we can really just say that the results are mixed and that Buffery is using the eye test and the feeling that folks have.
*At The Star, Raju Mudhar highlights the popularity of Toronto sports as he compares the viewership the Toronto Raptors are enjoying as well as the numbers the Blue Jays are pulling in. Both franchise’s seem to have captured the interest of television audiences. That is good news for Rogers owned Sportsnet as their coverage of hockey is waning. Mudhar continues his look at Toronto coverage as he opines that the articles in the Player’s Tribune by Marcus Stroman and Patrick Patterson were complimentary of the city. However, Mudhar complains that both athletes could have toned down the emphasis on the cold…so…yeah.
Around the League:
*Over at Dynasty Digest, Trey Rose suggests that perhaps fantasy baseball players should not be so obsessed with Bryce Harper or Mike Trout. He says instead, we should be after Orioles 3B, Manny Machado. Admittedly, I had to grit my teeth to read anything about Machado. But, once I did, I learned that perhaps he is a smart pick. His numbers are right up there among the best so far this year. And, thanks to being listed as a shortstop and a third baseman in some leagues, he offers flexibility that Trout and Harper don’t. This actually makes sense. That is if you can stomach actually saying you have Machado on your team.
*Tyler at Big Three Sports suggests that we all should take the time to appreciate Adrian Beltre, he of the new 2 yr/$36M deal with the Texas Rangers. As pointed out, Beltre currently ranks 3rd in WAR among active players. We might remember the hobbling mess that Beltre was during the ALDS last fall. That really is not him. If you picture a guy who’s back was so bad, he could only kick the ball when it was hit to him, you’re not thinking of the real Beltre. At 36, he is still a great third baseman. Actually, his age, performance and value would be an interesting comparison to Jose Bautista, perhaps.
*When a player sees an increase in power these days, the easy narrative is to point to his cheating. It is unfair, but is the mature of MLB today. However, at Bleeding Royals Blue, we get insight into the power of Mike Moustakas. Apparently, when he pulls the ball more, he hits for more power. As well, his fly balls turn into HR. He has also improved his pitch recognition. Here is another 3B that causes me anger, but only because of the team he plays for, not him as a player or a person. In fact, I’ve always liked Moose.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.