Very early in Q1 of 2015, we took a look at the current Blue Jays players attractiveness as stocks. Since then the market got a wee bit volatile and a lot of the values changed, making it an appropriate time to revisit the team's holdings. First off, one of the value stocks from the previous report in Marcus Stroman (STRO) changed its symbol to OHNO as they've suspended their operations for the near future. The two assets that were recommended to find a buyer for are still with the team in Maicer Izturis, who has had little in the way of an injury update for a while, and Dioner Navarro who is still taking up an unnecessary spot on the bench limiting the Jays diversification options.
Blue Chip Stocks
Back at the beginning of the year the Blue Jays had five blue chip stocks, which has now decreased to a less flattering total of three. Jose Bautista (JBAT) and Edwin Encarnacion (EE) have started the season fairly mediocre but haven't done enough wrong to warrant a downgrade just yet. JBAT is only hitting .143, but his 11 walks makes his line look a lot less ugly.
Josh Donaldson (JDON) gets an upgrade to a blue chip asset as he's shown that he adjusted well to his new market and should continue the growth he showed in Oakland. With three home runs and an OBP of .368, Donaldson has fit nicely into the middle of the lineup which currently looks to be the only sure thing on the Blue Jays.
Three pitchers in Mark Buehrle (BUEH), Aaron Loup (LOUP), and Brett Cecil (CECL) have all been downgraded thanks to their less than impressive quarterly reports meaning that no Blue Jays pitchers are considered blue chips two weeks into the season. That's never a good sign. SELL SELL SELL Blue Jays hurlers.
At this point in the season with so many average performers on the team, this section is where the bulk of the stocks are currently placed. The aforementioned BUEH, along with fellow veteran pitcher R.A. Dickey (RAD) have the track record to not fall too fall down the list even though their first few starts have been average at best. Joining the starters is an up-and-coming stock in Roberto Osuna (ROBO) who was expected to flame out by many analysts after his Initial Public Offering with the Blue Jays. While it may be unfair to only give ROBO a neutral rating, it remains to be seen if he's just been the product of some good fortune with a .176 BABIP against despite strong other peripherals.
On the hitting side of the ledger, Russell Martin (RUSS) and Jose Reyes (RYES) have been solid if unspectacular with the frustrating underlying injury issues of Reyes being the only thing keeping him from a possible upgrade to a blue chip.
Bull run or future blue chip?
The most interesting and active category for the Blue Jays in the first month of the 2015 campaign has to be the early surprises who can't quite be considered here to stay yet. Kevin Pillar (GRIT) has flashed so much leather that there are murmurings on the trading floor that he could be here even when Michael Saunders (HURT) returns, although GRIT has yet to be as impressive at the plate as he is in the field. The same can't be said for Devon Travis (DEVO), who sports a .408 OBP and competent enough defence at second base to be considered a safe bet to remain at the position for at least the near future.
Impressive performance with worrying metrics
Although his post-IPO performance so far has been impressive, Miguel Castro (CAST) and his 1.23 ERA comes with a FIP of 4.64 thanks to less than impressive strikeout and walk numbers masked by a .200 BABIP and 91% LOB. Two stocks who should just be classified as UTIL.A and UTIL.B in Steve Tolleson (TOLL) and Danny Valencia (DVAN) have had hot starts but sport similarly high BABIP's and in TOLL's case a 33.3% strikeout rate. One of these players will likely be off the team soon and their misleading first two weeks will make the choice difficult for Alex Anthopoulos and company. Another player who has been solid with a worrying strikeout total is Justin Smoak (SMOK) who has a .385 OBP made up almost entirely of singles and walks.
Unfortunately there are a ton of Blue Jays who have no other category for them other than just pure disappointment. Drew Hutchison (UGH), Daniel Norris (VAN), Aaron Sanchez (SINK) all have new ticker symbols, but have been poor so far this year with little in the way of a silver lining. The lefty hurlers who were expected to shoulder the load in the bullpen in LOUP and CECL have fallen a long way thanks to some bad outings although the volatile market of relievers means a big jump in the near future is far from impossible.
On the hitting side of the coin (or loonie in this case), Dalton Pompey (POMP) has looked off both at the plate and in the field after the Blue Jays invested a lot in him this year. He's flashed some pop though and hasn't looked completely overwhelmed at the plate, so I wouldn't sleep on him just yet.
Wrapping up the other stocks who didn't fit into any of the above categories include Ryan Goins (AAAA) who has lived up to his ticker name, while Dioner Navarro (DION) has done literally nothing to change the market's mind that he should be sold to the highest bidder as soon as possible. A few bullpen arms in Liam Hendriks (AUSI), Marco Estrada (ESTR), and Colt Hynes (COLT) have looked varying levels of okay, but it's still much too early to get excited about these question marks.