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Tuesday Bantering

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jays had another good day on Monday, with both halves of the split squad picking up the win. Anthony Kay and a group of mostly minor leaguers went to Bradenton and beat the Pirates in a low scoring affair. The wind was howling in from the outfield again like it was against the Red Sox on Saturday, leading to some... interesting moments like this one in the bottom of the 7th:

Oneil Cruz hit an absolute laser to dead center that the wind caught just enough of to keep in the park, leading to the rare inning ending double play double. This bailed out Hector Perez, who as usual seemed to have only a vague idea where his pitches were going. He walked two and gave up two hits in his one inning, but escaped with one earned run allowed. It was the only run the Pirates would get. Kay was mostly good, with his stuff looking sharp but his command being a bit inconsistent. He finished with 3.0IP, 3H, 2BB, and 4Ks. Thomas Hatch also looked good in two innings of relief, touching 97 on the stadium gun and striking out two without allowing a base runner. His command was also shaky, but he got some ugly swings and misses from Pirates hitters. Jacob Waguespack, Sean Reid-Folley, and Jake Petricka also pitched clean innings of relief. The box score is here.

Back at the Jays complex, the A team jumped on the Rays right out of the gate and never let go. Blake Snell, making his first appearance after briefly being shut down with elbow soreness, walked four of the five batters he faced to start the game and recorded one fly out. Trevor Richards was brought in to right the ship, but Danny Jansen had other ideas:

Danny’s been scorching hot this spring, with three home runs, three walks, and only one strikeout in 18 PAs. Riley Adams would spell him and add a homer in the seventh, while Alejandro Kirk chipped in a single and a walk in two PAs. It was a good game for both the catcher of the present and some of the catchers of the future.

On the pitching side, Hyun-Jin Ryu made his second appearance of the spring and carved up a more or less full strength Rays lineup with ease. He went 4.1IP, allowing 3 hits including a double, walked non and struck out four. Ben Nicholson-Smith notes in his recap that Ryu doesn’t seem to have topped 90, which is maybe a little worrisome, but he also clearly didn’t need to reach back for more. His velo will be worth keeping an eye on throughout the spring. In relief, Wilmer Font, Marc Rzepczynski, and Elvis Luciano took the team into the ninth with one walk and no hits between them. Yennsy Diaz, brought in to close it out, wasn’t so lucky. The inning started with a runner reaching on a throwing error by Logan Warmoth (who also struck out twice and seems to be intent on driving nails into the coffin of his prospect status this spring). That was followed up by a walk, a groundout, and then back to back singles and a double that combined to plate three runs. They Jays managed to hang up the baserunner who had been on first in a rundown between second and third for the second out of the inning. Travis bergen was then brought into finish it off and managed to get a fly out. You can get the box score for that game here.

The first cuts have arrived in Dunedin. T.J. Zeuch and Julian Merryweather were optioned to Buffalo, while Patrick Murphy and Elvis Luciano were sent down to New Hampshire.

Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen has his Blue Jays prospect list up. Nate Pearson is #1, not that that was in much doubt. The rest of the top 10 includes:

  • Simeon Woods Richardson
  • Jordan Groshans
  • Orelvis Martinez
  • Alek Manoah
  • Alejandro Kirk
  • Gabriel Moreno
  • Anthony Kay
  • Thomas Hatch
  • Miguel Hiraldo

Hatch is the only suprprise to me. Eric praises his command and notes that his fastball has plus spin and could play better with the application of some pitch design techniques to improve his spin efficiency (which all the Jays pitchers seem to be talking about this spring) and get some more life. He sees him as a 4/5 starter, which is a pretty great return for two months of David Phelps.

In his system overview, Eric notes that the Jays have been all in on pitchers who have big spin on their fastballs. He also makes a brief mea culpa for not having Cavan Biggio on his top 100 last winter. There isn’t much point in play gotcha with prospect misses, given how hard prospect evaluation is and how often even the best scouts are wrong, but it’s nice to see Biggio get some belated respect.

In broader MLB news, Francisco Lindor and Cleveland have suspended extension talks. It’s a shame to see a team, even a small market one, unwilling to pay a homegrown superstar. Hopefully when the time comes the Blue Jays are willing to write the cheque(s) to their young stars.

Today, Tanner Roark and the squad travel to Tampa to take on Gerrit Cole and the Yankees. Cole got absolutely abused by the Tigers, of all teams, his last time out. He gave up six hits, including four home runs, in just 2.0 innings. I’d bet against that happening again. Because it’s a road game, it will be on SportsNet


Billy McKinney, DH

Randal Grichuk, CF

Cavan Biggio, 2B

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B

Joe Panik, SS

Teoscar Hernandez, RF

Reese McGuire, C

Andy Burns, 1B

Derek Fisher, LF


D.J. LeMahieu, 2B

Brett Gardner, CF

Gleyber Torres, SS

Luke Voit, 1B

Miguel Andujar, 3B

Kyle Higashioka, C

Rosell Herrera, RF

Chris Gittens, DH

Zack Granite, LF