Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Blue Jays news & links. This edition: Marcus Stroman, Joe Biagini, Marco Estrada & More!
Welcome to the Blue Jays Morning News. We’re almost at the end of another week. In fact, this is the last full week before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training! Giddyup! Let’s take a look at the latest news and links in Blue Jays Land.
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* There is some good news about Marco Estrada and his back. After struggling throughout the 2016 season, he appears to be healthy and looking forward to hooking up with the team’s training staff. You’ll recall hearing that he had been dealing with back pain off and on thanks to a workout on his core last spring. The herniated disc caused by a workout would be enough to cripple most of mere mortals, but Estrada pitched through the pain.
David Singh of Sportsnet tells us that his last start before the All Star break was possibly the toughest of Estrada’s career, but also the Mexican hurler’s favorite games he ever pitched in. Ever. He went 5 innings that day and we could all tell he was in pain, but he gutted it out and calls it his favorite. Man, he’s tough.
* Recently, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com spoke about the need for the Blue Jays to replace the production of Edwin Encarnacion.
In all honesty, this might be a storyline that has been talked about quite a lot and one that might be quickly forgotten. If you look at Kendrys Morales as a one for one replacement for Edwin, you’re probably going to be worried. But, you’re probably looking past the 40 HR potential of Morales and the balance of the rest of the lineup. Steve Pearce, whether people want to admit it or not, does present a decent bat. And, should Troy Tulowitzki figure out how to avoid last year’s early slump, we could be moving on from this story with ease.
* Over at CBS Sports, we read that Joe Biagini will be leaned on in more high leverage bullpen situations. After establishing himself in 2016, that would make a whole lot of sense. Yet, pitching coach, Pete Walker joined Prime Time Sports and suggested the club would be looking to stretch Biagini out this spring. “Stretching him out is the plan” said Walker, who is probably a reliable source. The club seems to think that he could step in for a starter should he need to. As well, it means that he could be used for multiple innings in a relief role. This is an intriguing bit of depth the bullpen hasn’t had much of in the last few years.
* The Peterborough Examiner has an interesting piece on Mike Reeves, who hails from Peterborough. Mike Davies brings us a look at the Blue Jays farmhand, who has seen an increase in his power recently. “I was starting to hit home runs. I’ve opened up eyes that way which I think they’d been waiting for. They’ve been waiting to see my power potential.”
The 26 yr old Canadian catcher played in 53 games in Dunedin and slashed .244/.365/.348 with 3 HR, 8 2B and 7 SB.
* Back to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. He argues that Dalton Pompey does have a shot at making the Blue Jays opening day roster. While many assume that Ezequiel Carrera will get the longest leash to take the starting LF job, with Melvin Upton looking to challenge him and/or forming a platoon.
It would appear that Pompey has a rather difficult task ahead of him to steal the spot. We know that the club wants him playing everyday, so if he doesn’t win the job outright, he’ll be heading to AAA…again. But, Chisholm offers hope that his fate may not be sealed just yet. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Pompey than me, but this seems a bit overoptimistic. Hopefully, I’m wrong.
*At Yahoo!, Nick Ashbourne discusses how Marcus Stroman might be hurt by one of the two changes MLB is looking to put in place for the upcoming season. The first change probably won’t impact anyone, really. The intentional walk won’t take 4 pitches. Instead, a team just indicates they want to issue the free pass and we don’t have to wait for the 4 pitches.
But, in an attempt to speed up the game, MLB will be trying to raise the strike zone by two inches. As Ashbourne explains, Stroman gets into trouble when he elevates his pitches. As you can see, Stroman lives in the lower quadrant:
Obviously, Stroman is not the only pitcher in baseball that this will have an impact on. His height, etc will certainly make him one of the more hard done by should this happen. As well, one would have to find out if the top of the zone will be impacted. Raising the whole strike zone is the only thing that makes sense. The game won’t be sped up by a smaller overall zone. So, one assumes that it will also make those high offerings even harder to lay off. Hitters will have to start swinging at pitches higher than they’d like. Buckle up!
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