Join Jays From the Couch after another week of Blue Jays spring training baseball and analysis of the mostly meaningless games.
Welcome back to Jays From the Couch for another Spring Training week recap. We laid out some things we’ll be looking for this spring last weekend.
While some of the bullpen mainstays have had some mixed results this spring (Danny Barnes, Carlos Ramirez), the relief corps has been solid. Ryan Tepera is yet to allow a run in four innings and Matt Dermody had a bounce-back game on Sunday (1.0 IP, 1 H).
Some pitchers have been exceptionally good – Taylor Guerrieri has more strikeouts (3) than baserunners (2) in his 4.2 innings. Aaron Loup has allowed five hits, but he’s also struck out five in just 4.0 IP. The new guy, Tyler Clippard, struck out two in his Blue Jays debut on Friday.
Joe Biagini was rocked on Tuesday by Atlanta (three runs in 3.1 IP) and Sunday versus about 1/3 of the Pittsburgh Pirate regulars, giving up all five runs in a 5-0 loss. After starting the spring strong with one run on three hits over his first five innings, he’s allowed eight runs in his last five innings, giving up three home runs. He has not managed more than 3.1 IP in any start yet.
Jaime Garcia was solid against the Tigers MiLB squad on Saturday, blanking that team over three innings on just three hits, Estrada allowed just one run over four innings against the Orioles on Friday, and Aaron Sanchez allowed just one run in three innings, but struck out five, against what appeared to be close to an Opening Day lineup for the O’s.
Thomas Pannone and Jonathan Harris were worked over by the Tigers on Wednesday, allowing five runs in five innings, allowed a HR each.
Anthony Alford and Teoscar Hernandez continue to impress. With Steve Pearce shelved for the time being with a wonky calf, Hernandez has put up .910 OPS in 26 ABs with two HR and five RBI. Alford has been even better, hitting .333 in 27 ABs with a 1.025 OPS and six extra-base hits.
Kevin Pillar and Curtis Granderson, two regulars who we expect to see a lot of in 2018, have been solid as well. Pillar is hitting .455 and has managed one free pass to first base while Granderson has hit an insane four home runs in 20 ABs this spring. Needless to say, but the outfield picture is looking solid. These stats won’t carry into the regular season, but it’s nice to see the potential this outfield can put together.
Ezequiel Carrera has been designated for assignment, meaning we here at Jays From the Couch will have to find a new player to focus our white-hot rage.
Offense in General
Despite the strong performances of the outfield, there hasn’t been much offense from the Jays to start the spring, unless they’re playing the Orioles, of course. They remain middle-of-the-pack in runs scored this spring (16th, 88) and OPS (17th, .760). For some reason, they’re not walking, with just 52 BB in 17 games. While that doesn’t sound terrible, it’s 21st in the league.
In short, the offense needs to improve around the infield. The outfielders have been surprisingly strong. Solid performances have come from the bullpen and the starting pitchers not expected to start in Buffalo, and there have been few injuries. The team is in a good spot right now, and if the offense from Justin Smoak, Josh Donaldson and whoever is playing SS on Opening Day can wake up just a little bit, they should be able to avoid the April slump that nearly destroyed their 2017 season.
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.