Big sports night tonight. Jays game, of course, and game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. I'm a big baseball fan (no kidding) but even I figure to watch most of the hockey. I wonder if the Canucks will get the good or the bad Luongo tonight?
Keith Law did a chat over at ESPN.com, and mentioned the Jays a few times:
Do you think Zach Stewart will end up being a starter or a reliever?
Klaw (1:05 PM): Starter. Four pitches, gets groundballs, needs to miss more bats but the raw stuff should allow him to do so.
Easy to agree with that one. It seems to me that it would be a waste to put him in the pen. and since he isn't strikeing out a bunch of guys, I'm not thinking I'd want him as a closer. Things could change but he should be looked at as a starter.
Travis d'Arnaud having a better year than expected?
Klaw (1:28 PM):No, this is about right. He's really good.
Catchers tend to have up and down years in the minors (and the majors), it is easy to take a ball off a something that isn't padded and have it not cost DL time but cost stats.
Who's the last man standing among those Blue Jays catching prospects -- Arencibia, D'Arnaud, Perez, Jimenez? Good enough crop that there's some trade bait there?
Klaw (1:46 PM):d'Arnaud is the elite guy there. But Arencibia might be a solid-average regular which would give him quite a bit of trade value.
Having a lot of good catching prospects isn't a bad thing. I'm hopeful for Perez but he's, at best, a couple of years away, lots can happen.
What do you think of the decision to send Drabek down to the minors, and the Jays' "quick trigger" when it comes to demoting guys to Las Vegas (Cecil, Snider, now Drabek)?
Klaw (1:43 PM): Drabek was struggling to the point where a demotion seemed inevitable - but Vegas isn't a great place to find yourself as a pitcher. That's not entirely Toronto's fault, of course.
I thought 20 somethings had to go to Europe to find themselves?
Chances Josh Bell signs with the Pirates? And do you think Beede had a predraft deal done with the Jays? Which would make that letter a big smokescreen.
Klaw (1:31 PM):Under 10%. And yes, I heard that story last week, which is why I said right after the draft that I believed Beede would sign. However, I didn't mention the predraft deal story because it would have triggered an MLB investigation. Cat's out of the bag now, though.
I wonder if the Jays are going to get in trouble. I don't know what the punishment might be, if it is decided they did wrong.
Here is an question and answer that I didn't much agree with:
Keith, my law school does a mock MLB salary arbitration competition judged by agents, gms and other knowledgeable baseball personnel. When arguing a case, in your opinion, how much emphasis should be put on stats like WAR, UZR ect, and what is the best way to respond to opposing arguments using the same stats
Klaw (1:12 PM):If someone quotes WAR or UZR, remind them that the goal is to win games, and therefore pitcher wins are the most important stat of all.
Yeah the goal is to win, but wins are a team thing. But you guys already know that.
Shawn Green also had a chat on ESPN.com but Toronto didn't come up and I saw it too late to ask anything. I did learn that his favorite Subway sandwich is the turkey on wheat with lettuce, tomato, green peppers, salt and pepper.
Baseball Prospectus takes a look at how the AL East teams did in the draft. Course, the Blue Jays section is 'members only'. So we'll cheat a bit:
Who They Are: Beede was one of the biggest surprises of the first round. He sent pre-draft letters to scouts insisting they he intended to go to Vanderbilt, with rumors of a $3 million demand. Scouts saw him as more of a standard seven-figure late first-round talent, but clearly the Blue Jays either think they can sign him, or are simply willing to pay the fare. He has a classic power pitcher's body and three average-to-plus pitches, so to give him big money involves a lot of projection that not all teams agree with.
Anderson is another tough sign, as he's an advanced hitter with plenty of power potential and a right-field profile.
Musgrove was the safe pick of the group, and has already signed for a well below-slot bonus of $500,000. He's a tall, wide-bodied pitcher with good velocity and sink, but the rest of his game needs work.
Smith is similar to his father, as he can hit and has above-average speed, but might not fit in center and might not have the power normally associated with a corner.
Comer is another Vanderbilt commit with a big price tag. He's a little bigger than Beede and his fastball and curve both impress.
Norris could be the toughest sign of all, as he floated a rumored $3.9 million price tag before the draft and could have going in the first 15 picks without fears of a tough negotiation. He was generally seen as the top high school southpaw in the draft, with a fastball than can get into the mid-90s with ease and a plus power breaking ball.
Gabryszwski is a big Texan who can get it up to 95 mph, but unlike many from that area, he's quite unrefined.
Stilson was a shocking pick, as while he had late first-round hopes in the weeks leading up to the draft, he suffered a shoulder injury in late May and will likely need surgery.
Later Picks Of Note: The Jays took another injured arm in fifth-round lefty Andrew Chin, who has plenty of projection but also underwent Tommy John surgery two months ago. Seventh-rounder Christian Lopez is an excellent high school hitter, but there's no way he can play on the left side of the infield as a pro, so he'll have to develop into an everyday player as a second baseman. As if the Jays didn't ruin Vanderbilt's recruiting class enough, they popped New Jersey high school outfielder John Norwood in the 10th as a center fielder with above-average speed.
Analysis: No team had a more aggressive draft than the Jays, and now it will come down to how many of them sign over the next two months. If they can somehow land all four over-slot picks in the first two rounds, this has the potential to be a monster class.