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Tuesday Bantering - August 30

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

An excellent start for Estrada equals an excellent start to the week with the Jays winning the first game of the series in Baltimore. The batting order suddenly has some pretty great depth and should be even more formidable once Travis moves up. I’m very thankful that his hand appears to be fine. I was getting worried towards the end of last week.

Not a whole lot of Blue Jays’ news out there but let’s take a look at what is happening.

Over at ESPN, Eddie Matz previews the last 35 days of the AL East race, outlining each club’s pros and cons. I happen to like his prediction for the division winner. With Baltimore faltering it really seems as though it is shaping up to be a two-horse race, especially if the Jays can take it to the O’s this week. Every game matters right now, but I’m already beginning to look ahead to the two remaining series against the Red Sox (Sept 9-11 in Toronto and Sept 30-Oct 2 in Boston).

So apparently John Gibbons texted Mark Buehrle reminding him rosters expand in September. Looks like a fun exchange between the two.

Greg Wisniewski of Baseball Prospectus digs in to what has changed for Michael Saunders in the second half of the season. With Melvin Upton Jr playing better of late and covering the outfield, it is nice to have options in the outfield but it sure would be nice to see Saunders’ get back into form.

MLB Trade Rumors has posted a survey asking readers which pending free agents will get four year deals or more. Our own Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders are on the list. As of this writing (7PM EST), Encarnacion is leading the pack with just over 52% of readers believing he’ll secure a four-year deal.

Down in Buffalo, Erik Kratz made some history this year, doing something that hasn’t been done in over 100 years.

Futures Market

In this section I provide an update on how our top-20 prospects (according to MLB.com) fared in last night’s action. Only those that played are included.

Richard Urena (1) was 1-5 with a single and walk; batting .278. Anthony Alford (3) went 0-2 with 2 walks for Dunedin; batting .240. Reese McGuire (4) went 0-5 with 2 K’s; batting .254. Vladimir Guerrero Jr (7) went 1 for 4 with a single in Bluefield; batting .283 for the year. T.J. Zeuch (8) was roughed up for Lansing giving up 7 hits and 5 ER in 3.0 innings, though he struck out 7. Rowdy Tellez (9) was 2-5 including his 20th HR of the year and a double; batting .299. Bo Bichette (12) went 1-2 with a double and a walk in the Gulf Coast League; batting .423. J.B. Woodman (13) went 1-5 with a single and 3 K’s; batting .455 since his promotion to Lansing.