Friday, June 29, 2007

Most dysfunctional clubhouse: The Padres!

Reports are coming out that San Diego has acquired Milton Bradley. Bradley is extremely talented but known to be emotional and sometimes troublesome and was designated for assignment by the Athletics for unknown reasons although it was said to create room for players such as Travis Buck. Milton "The game" has had 5 consecutive season of an OPS+ over 100, he's not quite a home run threat and not quite a good base stealer but he does a lot of things well. It seems as though the Royals had completed a deal for Bradley but then reneged on the deal.

This comes not long after their acquisition of Michael Barrett, the ex-Cubs catcher who had been in a couple altercations with his own starting pitchers and one with friend AJ Pierzynski last season. Should be interesting to see how Bradley and Barrett co-exist, but it's for sure that they're adding a lot of offense to a team currently tied for first in their division even though they are in the bottom tier of the National League for runs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 28th Live Blog During The Game

End of first inning: Is anything more maddening than AJ Burnett?
-Hit By Pitch
-Ks one of the best young hitters in the game on three pitches
-rbi single
-Ks last year's MVP on four pitches
-Enduces Ground Out.
He doesn't even look dominant for full games anymore, just against a couple batters an inning. Glad he got out of that jam without giving back more than one run though.

And congratulations Frank Thomas, his 500th home run is a 3 run shot that gives us a big first inning lead. Prediction: This guy will be a monster now that is off his mind.

Gotta love Carlos inning, one pitching coach visit.

End of Second Inning:
Nothing to talk about on the Jays end... except why is Jason Phillips starting? After everyone being mad that Clayton made an error in his return to the lineup yesterday, McDonald makes only his third error of the year to make Royce feel better, what a teammate. AJ mows two of them down and has now thrown 75% of pitches for strikes.

End of Third Inning:
Good prediction on the Big Hurt, RBI Double in the third inning. Before the season, had I said that you had Matt Stairs and Howie Clark as the number two and four hitters in the lineup, would you ever think this team would be up 5-1 over the Twins after three innings? Stairs looks like he needs a break, hopefully one of the 1b/LF comes back and puts him back in a more part time situation.

How? HOW does Burnett do it? How do you give up a home run to Jason Bartlett when you're looking so filthy and dominating against better batters? Oh look...makes Mauer ground out, striked out Cuddyer, strikes out Morneau. Maddening...

End of Fourth Inning:
1-2-3...gosh I want to get rid of Phillips....

Another home run given up by AJ, at least it's against a legitimate power threat this time...and Lind gets all the action with three pop outs. What's wrong with Lind right now? Is he simply over-matched, is there now a confidence issue there too? Hopefully he finds himself in AAA when Johnson comes back...

End of Fifth Inning:
It seems like Silva has quite calmed down...another 1-2-3 inning...think Twins fans get as frustrated with him as Jays fans sometimes get with Burnett.

Single-Single...and AJ is done for the day. Must have been a 75-80 pitch count for the comeback. Frasor coming in to try to get him out of this....and this may not be the best game to blog. Frasor blows it open by allowing a Hunter home run and the Twins now lead 7-5. Welcome back AJ...

End of Sixth Inning:
Stairs tries to prove me wrong with a single...followed by a Big Hurt strike out and Aaron Hill double play. Hill now has 15 double plays on the year, matching last season's total...and he's not a slow guy. Might want to start taking bigger swings with guys on base...

And Jordan de Jong makes what could be his last appearence with League looking ready in AAA. Helped by a double play, he only allows one run...joyous day. De Jong came up with so much promise when we struck out the side but he just doesn't seem ready either.

End of Seventh Inning:
Blue Jays fail to manufacture a run, the bottom of the order is 0 for 8 today, at least Lind has drawn a walk...with Cleveland winning and Detroit leading, this may be a tough day for the Jays. Someone asked of me, do you think the Jays should sell now? My answer is heck no, not when the team is looking better, wait until mid July when you'll have added a Johnson, Overbay and Chacin trio then see where things stand. With the injured players coming back it will be like if this team added three players by July trades and that should give them a boost. The Johnson/Lind swap alone should be worth a couple wins to this team.

Jordan De Jong gets the double play to end the inning after a K then BB to the first two batters. At least someone could stop Torri today.

End of Eight Inning:
I know the Jays are down by 3 and not only one but why let Clark have another AB instead of Troy Glaus? Oh gee...1-2-3 inning...if they lose, they lost this one ugly...almost as ugly as these jerseys.

De Jong ends up with three inning and one unearned run with one hit and 2 walks. We'll see if he sticks with team with league coming off the DL.

End of Game:
Well the Jays finally showed some more first in the ninth...Gibby and the Big Hurt got ejected. 2 more errors today for the defense, and I'm hoping...hoping that Stairs doesn't have to play the field for too many games anymore, this game was painful but at least it wasn't long...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And they're a game over .500

Unfortunately, I could not catch the game last night but I did get a chance to watch it in about half an hour this morning. The team is a game above five hundred and actually has a 4 game winning streak! Marcum goes tonight against Scott Baker, who is fighting for his job in the rotation.

  • Wells really seems to be getting comfortable in the lead off spot, he'll get less RBI opps but he's bringing it. A home run, a double and a single last night plus 3 RBIs, maybe he's getting out of that slump!
  • Rios continues his claim as the offensive MVP with a 3-4 night, 7 TBs and a SF along with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. Stairs is challenging with less at bats but a big go ahead shot last night!
  • Doc just isn't Doc right now but the team is playing well behind him, he gave them 7 good innings yesterday but gave up 5 earned runs with only 9 base runners even though he did not give up a home run.
  • Jays cast-away John Thomson pitched a good game in his first start this season with the Royals. He gave up 2 earned runs on 6 hits and no walks to get the W. Interestingly, he did not strike out one batter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

From Goat to Hero?

  • Frank Thomas had a fabulous weekend and it showed when looking at VORP, his Value went up 3.6 from Friday morning to Monday morning. One away from 500, let's see if he can get that and get on a roll, came close tonight against Minnesota
  • Biggest VORP gain this weekend? Matt Stairs jumped 7.2 to go up to 15.7 value. Is anyone (non-arbitration) a better bargain in MLB than this guy? If so, I'd like to see him! This from a guy that was penciled in as a be a bench player!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why the Jays aren't in first...the offensive part

Welcome back...after a busy NHL playoff season working sales for a Stanley Cup finalist followed by relaxing over at Lynx Stadium and actually catching Jays, and so many other teams', games on TV. Great game to catch on Sunday, I actually turned to my friend during the 2nd or 3rd inning and stated "McGowan looks filthy today"...good call...too bad my opponent in the pool had him.

So as of Thursday, these stats were compiled in trying to see why the Jays aren't better than they should have been. In taking a look at the offense (the problem spot as per expectations, it doesn't take long to figure out why). There are four positions where the Jays vastly under performing as per the expectations and even last season's performances.

  • Catcher: With the injury to Zaun, the Jays have sent Jason Phillips ( -4.8 VORP) for the bulk of at bats. When Zaun has played, his numbers have been disappointing as he has only managed a VORP of -2.4. Last season both Molina and Zaun had VORPs over 15, hopefully Zaun regains his form as he comes back from the injury but the lack of a capable backup has hurt the team offensively.
  • Left Field: The Jays lost half of their platoon in LF this off-season and the injury to Reed Johnson has not helped things. While they managed a combined VORP over 20 in LF last season, this season it is under 0! Adam Lind has had the majority of at bats and is a -4.1, in his limited ABs Johnson provided 1.1 VORP and Matt Stairs has over performed offensively in his at bats at LF and 1B. When is Reed back? The spark he brings to the top of the lineup is missed and Lind just needs more seasoning in AAA.
  • Centre Field: Vernon Wells has been a bust since receiving his big contract, last season he had a VORP of 58.5, this season it's a VORP of 5...meaning by the end of the year he'll be approximately 45 VORP lower than he was last year...he needs to pick up his game, let's hope a move to the leadoff spot will help.
  • Designated Hitter: Frank Thomas was expected to bring a spark to the lineup but has instead managed to get a VORP of only 5...not quite the improvement the team was looking for. Here's the good news, at this time last year the Big Hurt was not playing and his numbers were .239/.356/.522. His numbers after June 21st? .228/.375/.395, obviously he needs to start slugging (which he has with 2 home runs in his last 3 games) but he's still drawing a lot of walks and at least getting on base.

What's interesting will be to see how much their stats improved after a great weekend that pushed the team into second place in the division, can they get a 4 game winning streak tonight?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Big update SOON!

BVTN is coming back...big update coming up, you'll notice the stats are already updated!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The New Style of the Draft

Major League Baseball took a huge step in the growth of the popularity of the draft and in the exposure to top prospects. The first ever televised draft was a big deal for MLB and it should lead to positive growth for baseball as a whole. The lead-up to the draft had more mock drafts than I have ever seen available on the internet, and the draft itself provided a good look into the different prospects being drafted by each team along with organizational needs.

The impact this will have on baseball as a whole cannot yet be measured but there are several ways that it will positively impact the world of baseball:

First of all, the draft being broadcast brings attention to baseball in a fashion that the other sports do for their drafts. Fans tune in to see what players their teams draft, receive instant analysis on these players and this allows fans to formulate opinions about low level prospects they would otherwise not have. It also allows baseball fans to follow every team’s moves and see the different draft strategies.

This also boosts interest from fans to both high school and college baseball along with minor league baseball. The College World Series is immediately after the draft and being able to recognize which team a new drafted player is on allows fans to follow new prospects before they even reach the minor leagues. Once they are playing in the Minors, there is more name recognition with players and therefore more interest in Minor League games.

Having said this, there is some work to be done. Not allowing draft picks to be traded (or prospects to be traded until a year after they are signed) is a big step to keeping competitive balance and restricting teams from trading away their future. However, to make the draft more exciting, MLB should allow the trading of draft picks for other draft picks. Per example, if a team really wants a player, allow them to trade a later pick to move up in the first round or to bundle picks for a higher pick. This would bring more excitement to the draft, everyone loves a trade, and would also allow fans to truly recognize how wanted some player were.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Draft Day One

Day one of the MLB draft is complete and the Blue Jays organization added 10 new players in the first five rounds. The players were varied in both positional and their level of experience. Here's the top 5 picks from the first round and supplemental:

  • 16th pick: High School Shortstop Kevin Ahrens: 6'2, 180 pound Texan switch hitter who played shortstop while in high school but will probably end up as a third baseman. Has a great accurate arm and has added power from his right side.
  • 21st pick: College Catcher JP Arencibia: 6'1, 195 pounds from Tennesse U who may not stay as a catcher but has great power although he was slowed down by a back injury.
  • 38th pick: College LHP Brett Cecil: 6'2, 225 pound University of Maryland product was mostly a reliever but may start in the majors with a repertoire of four pitches. His slider is a big plus and some believe he will quickly be in the Majors as a set-up man and later closer.
  • 45th pick: High School shortstop Justin Jackson: North Carolina product who stands at 6'2, 175 pounds who is a great defensive shortstop but may lack the bat.
  • 56th pick: College RHP Trystan Magnuson: 6'7 giant from the University of Louisville used a slider and fastball to mow down the opposition coming out of the bullpen. Another one of these picks who may be on the fast track to the majors as a reliever.

    The Jays then followed this up by choosing a 2bman who is purely a hitter but lacks a defensive position, an incredibly athletic outfielder who dropped because of a football commitment along with two lefties and one righty. The draft was very much oriented towards the difficult fielding positions and mixing up players who could help quickly along with players who will need a lot of work to be rounded players. More analysis later on!

Heartbreak...and movin on

Well...after two long months of working 12 hour days and having your emotions fully invested into something, I shall have some spare time to get back to working on this great site after last night's dissapointing loss. We will be back on board A.S.A.P. and with a lot of content so stay tuned! A great day to be back on board also as the draft is on at 2pm, stay tuned...lots of different names being projected to the Jays in the first round.

Both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America have JP and co. locking into catcher J.P. Arencibia from Tennessee in the first round. Matt Dominguez is still a top priority to the team but may not fall to them, although both BA and MLB.Com have him going to Toronto with their first pick.

Stay tuned...oh and a word from our friend Nicholas Burton is doing a study for his thesis right now and needs your help.

I am inviting you to participate in a research study I am currently conducting for the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, of the University of London.I am researching the strength and importance of David Beckham as a brand; in order to accomplish this, I have created an online survey that I would invite you to complete.
The survey can be found HERE