What Time Is It? Why It's Spring Training Links Mar 2, 2014

This is my "Home Run Force Grip Pose" - David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that the Jays are now playing baseball so we fans can focus on the games and not the tumultuous offseason which disappointed many. The bad news is that Scott Boras is still acting like a bad Jaystalk Caller. The good news (so far) is that AA is treating him as one by ignoring him.

JAYS LINKS

Toronto Blue Jays’ Mark Buehrle, a quirky starter, breaks in a new catcher | National Post
Buehrle is a rarity among pitchers

Healthy Blue Jay Melky Cabrera attempts to rehab image: Griffin | Toronto Star
Jays outfielder running freely after back tumour surgery, eyes rebound in final year of contract.

Toronto Blue Jays’ Drew Hutchison focuses on finding strike zone in spring start | National Post
Toronto starter Drew Hutchison, battling for the fifth starter's job, struck out four in throwing two scoreless innings

More mature Blue Jay Brett Lawrie ready to blossom on his own: Griffin | Toronto Star

The question is: when is Lawrie’s athleticism going to translate into a breakout season for the tightly wound young star?

Hutchison not making things easy for Stroman - Sportsnet.ca
If Saturday's game against Baltimore is any indication, Marcus Stroman is facing a steep climb in his bid for a rotation spot due to the performance of his main competitor, Drew Hutchison.

The Blue Jay Hunter: Maybe Scott Boras Was Right?
Scott Boras criticized the Blue Jays ownership for their lack of moves this winter. Maybe his points were valid?

MLB LINKS

Did MLB Rig Its Own Stupid Contest?
It is very unlikely that you weren't at least peripherally aware of MLB Network's irritating, interminable, "Face of MLB" contest, a bracket-style competition where fans voted on Twitter for a meaningless award. David Wright was announced as the winner this morning, but not after some curious voting irregularities.

Twin prospect Miguel Sano headed for Tommy John surgery, will miss 2014 | Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports
The Minnesota Twins were holding their breath after power-hitting prospect Miguel Sano — ranked No.6 in Baseball Amerca's preseason prospect rankings — reported discomfort in his right elbow on Friday. Unfortunately, their worst fears were realized on Saturday when it was determined he will require Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2014 season.

Vin Scully Calling A Kid Rolling Down A Hill Is What Spring Is For (text sort of NSFW0
Part of me loves this clip because that little kid is way cute and listening to Vin Scully talk about anything is always a good time, but another part of me hates it deeply.

MLB Announces Revolutionary New Fielding-Tracking System
Even in their recent state of repair, defensive metrics have always had a certain reverse-engineered, SABR-in-retrograde quality to them, even in a statistically mature sport like baseball. MLB Advanced Media just announced a new system that would slam the door shut on that era.

The Significance of Pitching to the Park | FanGraphs Baseball
Would you really want a fly-ball guy in, say, Baltimore? Would you really want a fly-ball guy in Toronto? Those are pretty homer-friendly parks. In theory, they’re not suited to Santana’s skillset.

Exceptional Defense Touches Everyone | FanGraphs Baseball
Here’s something that should be pretty evident: If you’ve got a ground-ball pitcher, you want him pitching in front of a strong infield defense. Likewise, if you’ve got a fly-ball pitcher, you want him pitching in front of a strong outfield defense.

How Batted Ball Distance Ages
Never before had Ellsbury displayed that kind of power at the big league level, or even in the minor leagues over a significant number of at-bats. The question, of course, was whether this was a massive power breakout for the talented center fielder or if this was simply an outlier performance.

The Injury Zone, Revisited
When Kalk wrote "The Injury Zone" in early 2009, a new form of baseball data had just been released to the public. Kalk was able to take advantage of data produced by PITCHf/x cameras that have been recording baseball games since 2008, and that now sit in every major league stadium. The information that Sportvision’s system provides essentially allows for the reconstruction of the ball flight and release point of each pitch thrown in a major league ballpark.

The State and Future of Pitch-Framing Research
We need to better understand catcher defense. It is not a matter of small weight. It is not a final flourish on player evaluation. It is a weighty, vital next and present step in baseball analytics.

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