Posted by Brad @ 10:12 am on April 27th 2011

Baseball Talk – April

Since it’s my blog, and I have no one to talk baseball to in Philly (being a Blue Jays fan), I’m going to put up a baseball thread every month. And you’re just going to have to like it. Alternatively, not read it.

April’s about in the books, how’s it going?

17 Comments »

  1. So, Blue Jays. They started the season opening series by absolutely pounding the Twins (19-4 in the first two games) and going 5 for 7, then they more or less disappeared for the rest of the month until this last week, going 4 for 7 and pounding the Rangers (16-7 in the first two games so far). The problem has been twofold: injuries have taken some key players (leadoff batter, #2 starter, #1 closer), and the middle of the road position players, of which the Jays team is primarily composed, just went cold after the first few games.

    The pitching injuries really killed us – our young prospects (Romero, Drabek, Morrow now that he’s ostensibly back) are pitching fine, but to fill out the rotation guys like Jo-Jo Reyes and Jesse Litsch are starting games, with predictable results. Our bullpen’s been fine, even with Frank Francisco out most of the month, but not being able to consistently go deep before having to go to them has been killing us.

    As to hitting, about 80% of our lineup is composed of .200 hitters at this point, and the guys that Jays fans were really hoping to have bounce-back (or breakthrough) years from – Lind, Hill, Travis Snider – just…aren’t.

    The bright spot: Jose Bautista is the best hitter in the baseball right now. Period. And he has been since September 2009. Was nice today to see ESPN.com finally cover a Blue Jay player, admitting that Bautista is the most feared batter in baseball – including Pujols, Votto, etc. His stats right now are 362/.522/.783 (BA/OBP/SLG), and he leads the majors in home runs and walks. It’s just sick to watch him bat – last night the Rangers broadcasters were stunned to discover that over the last 50 or something plate appearances, he has more extra base hits than outs. Trouble is, we don’t have a lineup that can protect him, so he’s going to keep getting a lot of walks.

    Other bright spot: Rajai Davis, who I have high hopes for but who has been out most of the season, will be returning soon, giving us a legit threat in the leadoff spot (Corey Patterson has been filling in, and not doing too bad). Fransisco and Morrow have just returned, and should be solid all year if they stay healthy. Adam Lind, behind Bautista, is picking it up – 2 HR 5 RBI game last night. A key bench player, Scott Posednick, should be getting back to the majors after a minor league rehab stint soon. And, we have some huge AAA players that are right on the cusp of being major league ready (Brett Lawrie (.407/.455/.679), Eric Thames (.372/.444/.603), Dave Cooper (.395/.438/.617)), and will probably get late-season callups to ready them for next year.

    That said, our mediocre stint this April was against our AL East rivals. In our stretch against the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees, we were 3-9 – a rather clear indication that we probably won’t be in contention this year. As it stands, we’re 11-12, 3rd in the division (up a game on Boston, down half a game on Tampa Bay).

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 10:30 am

  2. It’s my blog. I just let you post in it.

    Also, Philly has the only baseball team worth supporting, since back before Jim Bunning was sane and hale.

    Comment by Adam — 4/27/2011 @ 11:51 am

  3. Mine mine mine, I say.

    Comment by Adam — 4/27/2011 @ 11:53 am

  4. While I could not give a rats ass about most of baseball, I do enjoy the intrigue stories that are more about culture, society, and history. Such as the Black Sox got the Idea from the Cubs thing, or the MLB Commissioner taking over the Dodgers stuff, or the Absurdity of the Bonds Trial. etc, more of those.

    Comment by Jack — 4/27/2011 @ 12:04 pm

  5. I just haven’t been able to get into the Phillies since I’ve been here. They still don’t feel like “my” team. Teams that feel like “my” teams: the Blue Jays, the Royals, the Pirates. So maybe it’s the whole being competitive thing that throws me.

    I’ll always be a Halladay fan though.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 12:15 pm

  6. Also:

    Liz – 33
    Jerrod – 43
    Jack – 155
    James – 266
    Rojas – 955
    Adam – 1049
    Brad – 4056

    It’s not even particularly close.

    The website might be yours, but the blog clearly belongs to me.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 12:21 pm

  7. The Royals came out of the gate like a house afire based on unsustainable performances by a variety of players, particularly starting pitchers. At that point they continued to perform like a house afire by burning to the ground, as the last two series against the Rangers and Indians have brought them thudding back to earth. They’re still an above-.500 team, which is an astonishing rarity for them, and seem likely to finish closer to 75 wins than to the 63 I predicted at the beginning of the season.

    The single biggest item of news is that Alex Gordon, the perennially disappointing former best-prospect-in-baseball, has reengineered his swing and is suddenly playing like an MVP candidate both at the plate and in the field. If this proves to be a new reality for him rather than a quirk of small sample size, it bodes EXTREMELY well for the future, as his corner outfield position is one of the few at which the team doesn’t have a barrage of prospects ready to take over within a couple of years.

    Also promising: the gang of useless free agents that our GM signed to one-year contracts as space fillers (Jeff Francouer, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francis, etc.) are in most cases out-performing expectations, meaning that we have a legitimate opportunity to trade them this summer to teams in need of immediate production in exchange for more prospects. The flipside is the possibility that said GM may instead choose to sign these stiffs to long-term contracts just before they turn back into pumpkins. We shall watch and hope.

    We knew at the start of the year that, with the incoming wave of blue-chippers, this would be the worst Royals team for the rest of the decade. If this ends up being a .500 team…

    Comment by Rojas — 4/27/2011 @ 1:11 pm

  8. I’ve never doubted that Gordon, Francoeur, Cabrera, and Butler all have the ability to play at an A- level. It WAS certainly surprising to see them all hit at exactly the same time.

    It was almost the opposite of the Boston start – you knew it wasn’t going to be sustained, but it was fun to watch anyway.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 1:16 pm

  9. Speaking of the Phillies though, this is weird.

    Edit: Well, story’s changed now. Less weird – still kind of weird.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 1:16 pm

  10. My posts are easily four times better than anyone else’s. Mine!

    Comment by Adam — 4/27/2011 @ 1:19 pm

  11. Brad: you’re a bit behind on Butler (who has been a borderline all-star for the last two years) and way out ahead of the rest of us on Cabrera (who is really only a smidge above average this year) and Francouer (who is having another of his hot starts and needs to show that he can sustain it past May 15, as he has failed to do in every past year).

    Comment by Rojas — 4/27/2011 @ 1:20 pm

  12. Also, the Phillies being competitive is so recent it hardly counts. The Braves won over ten pennants in a row, as I remember, before the Phillies suddenly became good.

    Comment by Adam — 4/27/2011 @ 1:21 pm

  13. Rojas knows sporting failure like Eskimos know snow.

    Comment by Adam — 4/27/2011 @ 1:22 pm

  14. Not true. The Eskimos have over a hundred words for snow. KC fans have only “Royals,” “Chiefs,” and “Wizards”.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/27/2011 @ 1:27 pm

  15. Rojas 11: Butler’s what, 25? And as far as Cabrera/Francouer/Gordon, I guess I’m coming from a place of following a team that’s composed of almost nothing but those sorts of guys – high upside talent that nevertheless never seems to get there. C- everyday players that can suddenly go B+ on a dime. It’s very similar to Wells/Hill/Snider/Lind/Rios/Escobar – pretty much 80% of the starting roster for the Jays the last couple of years. Only difference – and the reason the Jays have been fun to follow – is they’ve actually had a lot of success tapping the potential in guys like that (good example: when we got John Buck from you, or Bautista off the Pirates;: I suspect Rajai Davis will be the next). The only problem – they’re streaky as all hell, and they never seem to all go hot at the same time (but they DO occasionally all go cold at the same time). The Royals this April are a very similar team, in that respect, to the Blue Jays all through 2010.

    Well, except for pitching, where we wind up relatively average but with a few potential aces, and a few lead balloons, and you guys just end up dreadful seemingly no matter what you do.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 2:16 pm

  16. Adam 12: the same could be said of the Yankees as well. When I was growing up there was a good 20-year period where they weren’t anything special. But the Phillies and Yankees both are now teams that seem to have put the days of ever fielding a mediocre team behind them, barring the McCourts buying them.

    Comment by Brad — 4/27/2011 @ 2:17 pm

  17. Man, I’m a slacker. And a late to comment slacker at that.

    Comment by Liz — 4/28/2011 @ 2:00 pm

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