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Bluebird Links - The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Yeah, that song is stuck in my head right now.  Odd time of the year for a Christmas carol but such is life.  It's cloudy, it's raining and it doesn't feel like baseball is set to start in just over two weeks.  However, I'm sure it's nice in Florida.  Spring Training seems to be a bit of a drag right now and I'm ready for some actual meaningful games.

There's quite a few interesting links today so have at it.  Some interesting words on Rajai Davis, more prospect rankings and a baseball adage that might actually be true.  Oh, and apparently Jeter is the best athlete in the history of New York sports.  Head on over the jump for that doozy.  And lots more after the jump.

Dropping Like Flies
Wilner, mostly writing about the Jays injuries, however I liked this part (and yes, it could just be the usual Spring Training jargon, but he does have three bombs now I think).  I think we'll like Davis in centerfield this year - he might not be the long term answer, but if he can add a bit of power, he should be a welcome addition. 

As for Davis, he showed off every aspect of his game today, going 3-for-4 with a 15-foot single, a long double and a big homerun. The out was a fly ball to the warning track in left. He also chased down what appeared to be a sure double deep in the gap in right-centre field. I spoke to him after his mini-tour de force, and he gave hitting coach Dwayne Murphy a lot of credit for helping him tap into the power he always knew he had, but which had never manifested itself in game action. And credit where it’s due, Davis used the Cito Gaston credo of getting ready early and being on time with the swing, saying that’s made a big difference. He also talked about the work he did in the off-season on his running, and trying to more efficiently put his speed and quickness to use.

 Top 30 Prospects: The Toronto Blue Jays
Marc Hulet at FanGraphs gives us his Jays Top 30 Prospects, and places the Jays minor league system 3rd overall. He provides Estimated Peak WAR on all of the players.  Here's the top 10 with their estimated peak WAR, but head over to the article for the write-up.

  • Kyle Drabek, 5.0 WAR
  • Brett Lawrie, 5.0 WAR
  • JP Arencibia, 4.0 WAR
  • Deck McGuire, 4.0 WAR
  • Carlos Perez, 3.5 WAR
  • Zach Stewart, 3.5 WAR
  • Travis D'Arnaud, 3.5 WAR
  • Asher Wojchiechowski, 4.0 WAR
  • Aaron Sanchez, 4.5 WAR
  • Adeiny Hechavarria, 3.5 WAR

    Thoughts on the peak WAR numbers and the list?  Most seem to be in the right ball-park.  I'd say JP could pass 4 WAR quite easily if he sticks at catcher.  Probably not this year, but in a few years.  I'd probably have Stewart a little higher too.  Maybe in the 4.5 range.  My final thought:  Wojchiechowski has to be the most difficult name to type of the players in the Jays system.

    Pitching (almost) always wins championships
    And in a not-related to the Jays note, a baseball adage that might actually be true...

    What you should notice immediately is the plethora of dots above the red line which delineates an average pitching team (ERA+ of 100 or more) and a below average pitching team (ERA+ below 100). There have only been three teams in 106 chances who have won a World Series when their regular season ERA+ was less than 100. They are the 1987 Minnesota Twins, the 2006 St. Louis Cardinalsand the 1913 Philadelphia A’s. A team of below-average pitching has only won it all 2.83 percent of the time, which I personally find to be mind-blowing.

    Emphasis mine. 

    Head on over for the rest.

    Jays Links

    One start could determine Reyes’ future with Blue Jays
    John Lott thinks Reyes' start on Thursday is an important one. It is, but I think, barring disaster, he's already made the team (especially considering the bullpen injuries and his lack of options).

    Five questions: Toronto Blue Jays
    The Hardball Times makes it to the Jays in their 5 question's series.

    The Company You Keep
    Drew at Ghostrunner is worried about Arencibia's offence, and not because of his spring training numbers.

    Expansion Brothers Face Similar Decisions
    Drew Fairservice compares the M's and Jay's and how they're handling their young prospect pitchers.

    Jays Affiliate Assigments Begin
    Mat at Jays Journal has some updated roster looks for the AAA and AA teams. Gives an idea of where some players will be playing.

    Around the League

    Poll says Derek Jeter tops Babe Ruth for New York's greatest athlete
    Wow...just wow.  What else can I say?

    Brett Wallace's grand slam powers Astros past Orioles
    A quick note on two ex-Jays:

    After a fourth-inning single, Wallace picked the perfect time for his first spring homer, taking Orioles reliever -- and closer hopeful -- Kevin Gregg deep with one out in the fifth. Wallace's homer was the third of four hits allowed by Gregg, whose spring ERA rose to 13.50. Gregg exited after recording just one out. Wallace finished the day going 4-for-5 with seven RBIs.

    There’s No Such Thing as a Position Battle
    Eno Sarris at FanGraphs thinks the idea of a positional battle is overblown.

    2011 MLB Baseball Hat Rankings
    The Jays didn't fare so well in this exercise. They really should go back to the old logo and uniforms from the early 90's.

    And one for the road...

    No games means cash for Browns ticket holders - Sports -
    Not baseball related, but there was a few good ones in here regarding the upcoming NFL stoppage.  Again, emphasis mine.

    Cleveland Browns fans finally might get their money's worth and more if any NFL games are not played this season.

    The Browns will make full refunds with interest for any games cancelled.

    Longtime Browns fans would note that their players have staged a work stoppage on the field for the past several years.

    Haha - zing!