Weekly Round Up : Mar. 1 - 7

Please consider this your required reading for the week: The Cold Hard Facts

Click here for your Toronto Blue Jays quotes of the week. 

Courtesy of King Jordan:

CECIL SLICED: Lefty Brett Cecil, who is in the mix for a rotation job this spring, was scratched from Thursday's game after cutting the thumb on his throwing hand. Walton said Cecil sliced the digit while cooking. Chatting with GM Alex Anthopoulos, he said Cecil can still throw, but the cut does hinder his curveball. So early in the spring, the Jays just wanted to be cautious, holding the lefty out of his two-inning appearance on Thursday. Cecil should be worked into a game in the next couple days.

"He did something to it in a kitchen-type accident," sadi pitching coach Bruce Walton, who did not indicate the injury was serious.

I'm calling bullshit on this one.

Let me see if I get this straight.  Brett Cecil cut his pitching hand with a kitchen knife?  Is that what I'm being told?  Think about it for just a couple of seconds.  Better yet, go get a knife and tell me which hand you would HOLD it in to cut something.  It would be your dominate hand right?  I don't even think I could cut something accurately with my offhand and besides I would never attempt it anyways.  And there is no way you can cut the hand you are holding the knife with.

It's impossible. 

Courtesy of Big League Stew:

Playing for 10 organizations, Ruiz has spent most of the past 11 years in the minor leagues, accumulating nearly 1,250 hits, almost 200 home runs, a .304 batting average (including two batting titles) and a .909 OPS.

Insightful stuff on journeyman Randy Ruiz.  Don't look now but Brian Dopirak has beefed up.  He has reportedly put on 10 to 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason.

I say keep both of them and trade Overbay but I also realize we can't just give Lyle away.         

Courtesy of THT:

Gregg's biggest shortcoming as a high-leverage reliever is his lack of a consistent secondary pitch. His fastball is good enough, but not so great he can get away with mediocrity elsewhere. But that's what he gives you with his splitter, slider or cutter. Frasor, who has an even better fastball than Gregg, also comes at batters with two quality off-speed pitches. This past season was the year of the Fosh, with Frasor giving it more work than in previous years, but the slider was still a key weapon against right-handed batters. Downs is an extreme ground ball pitcher who misses a lot of bats. Despite his lack of power, and his heavy use of a sinker, he actually has the highest whiff rate of the group.

This post was clearly written by an angry Cubs fan.  Aside from that, it is a great look into the only three relievers in our bullpen that are locks to open the year on the 25 Man Roster.

Courtesy of Fantasy Baseball.com

Jason Frasor credits mastery of the changeup with transforming his career from borderline major league reliever to possible closer in Toronto.


Analysis: If he gets a fair shot to beat out Kevin Gregg, Frasor certainly has the skills to make it happen. Don’t predict 20 saves for any Toronto reliever right now.

Courtesy of Sports Media Canada:

Get to know your Toronto Blue Jays official beat reporter King Jordan AKA Ryno.  Check out his blog while your at it: Window, please

Courtesy of hotstove.com:

Which of the Jays’ current starters, if any, do you see emerging as the ace of the staff this season?

Tom Dakers, Bluebird Banter
Ace will be a relative term for the Jays this year. We have a few guys that will likely be able to put together a few good starts in a row, but we won’t have an ace in the Roy Halladay definition of the term. I’d guess Ricky Romero will be our number one starter, hopefully he can pitch this season the way he started last season.
Mat Germain, Jays Journal
I know that I’m not the only one who believes this, but for me the guy with the highest ceiling — ironically because he stays so low in the zone — is Marc Rzepczynski. The poise and mound presence he showed last year at such a young age was outstanding and I do think he learned a ton from watching Doc. I do like Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow a lot, but I think they may be better thought of as #3 and #2 guys respectively in terms of ceiling. The wild cards for me are Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek. Both may begin the year in AAA, but both also have high enough ceilings to be potential #1 pitchers if they play to their talents. Even if only one of those 2 makes it to that status, it does give the Jays a ton of depth and youth at a key position.

Courtesy of Roto Authority:

The runs per game figures cranked out by these tools reflect only each team's Opening Day lineup, so perfect health is assumed.  Obviously that's not realistic, so the actual runs per game figures will be lower in 2010.  But if we operate under the assumption that it's all relative, we can rank the AL offenses based on these projections.
  1. Yankees - 5.826 runs per game
  2. Red Sox - 5.371
  3. Rays - 5.273
  4. Twins - 5.250
  5. Orioles - 5.242
  6. Rangers - 5.181
  7. Indians - 5.178
  8. Angels - 5.071 
  9. White Sox - 4.826
  10. Tigers - 4.719
  11. Blue Jays - 4.656
  12. Mariners - 4.559
  13. Royals - 4.536
  14. Athletics - 4.532
Courtesy of SI:

Anthopoulos is pulling the Blue Jays away from baseball's longstanding eat-what-you-want culture. If you go into a baseball clubhouse, you will often find boxes and boxes of candy. Players compete every day on a sugar high.

Anthopoulos realizes that if the Blue Jays are going to go through the Yankees and the Red Sox, they can't stop at Krispy Kreme. On the road, the Blue Jays bring extra money so the clubhouse guys can get fruit and other healthy foods. Anthopoulos also hiked the daily meal money for minor leaguers from $20 to $25 so they could eat higher-quality foods. (Major League Baseball has since done the same.)

Courtesy of Bob Elliot @ Toronto Sun:

Paxton Affair Update:

James Paxton left the Kentucky Wildcats program on the weekend. Paxton had not been able to pitch because he would not meet with NCAA investigators to answer whether he had his representatives talk to the Jays after being selected 37th overall in June.
Lawyer Richard G. Johnson wrote Paxton, who was seeking a review from the Kentucky, Supreme Court, that he was denied due process in a statement:
“Any review, if at all, would most likely happen after the season was over, thus making the effort a futile one, all the while leaving James in limbo during the remainder of the season,” the statement read.
Paxton now will play for an independent league team as did Max Scherzer, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew before him.
“Indy ball won’t hurt him physically, he’ll be facing wood bats rather than aluminium,” a scouting director said, “but he’s facing men, it might hurt if they hit him around or he walks guys.
“Usually it’s tougher from a scouting angle because indy leagues don’t start until May so his innings will be less.

Courtesy of detnews.com:

Get ready to meet ... Brad Mills, SP. Could this be his year? Last spring, he was the Blue Jays' final cut -- a poor outing forcing the club to take Scott Richmond north, instead, as the No. 5 starter. This spring, there's plenty of opportunity to join the rotation. Mills, who turns 25 on Friday, was 13-5 with a 1.95 ERA in 27 starts over three rungs of the minor league ladder -- including Class A Lansing -- in 2008, hence the long look last spring. After missing the club, he headed for his first work at Triple A, where he had a 4.06 ERA and 1.399 WHIP in 14 starts. Not great, but not terrible, either, considering the Pacific Coast League in which he was pitching has long been known as a hitter's paradise (the PCL's slugging percentage from 2007-09 was .433, highest in any minor league -- even higher than the AL and NL, too -- according to Hardball Times). His introduction to the major leagues wasn't nearly as kind, though. He made two starts for the Blue Jays last season -- and was pummeled in both. To be fair, both came against the defending World Series champion Phillies, but Mills allowed 14 hits, 12 runs and four homers in a mere 7.2 innings. If there's a bright spot, he did strike out nine in this 7.2 innings. He also immediately followed up the second major league clunker with a gem in Triple A -- seven strikeouts and two hits in eight scoreless innings -- to earn him another start with the Blue Jays in early July, but that got nixed after he complained of bruised ribs. The injury forced him to miss the rest of the season. Now Mills, a fourth-round pick in 2007 out of the University of Arizona, is back in the mix for a spot in the rotation -- a rotation that has plenty of question marks after the offseason departure of Roy Halladay. 

Courtesy of Morgan Campbell @ The Star:

Farm Facts:

Level: AAA
League: Pacific Coast League
Manager: Dan Rohn
Stadium: Cashman Field (capacity 9,334)
History: Affiliated with Jays since 2009 ...With San Diego Padres 1983-2000 and the L.A. Dodgers 2001-08.
2009: 71-73 (T-3rd, Pacific Southern Division)
2009 MVP: DH/1B Randy Ruiz
(.320 BA, 25 HRs, 106 RBIs)
Quick fact: Team named after Area 51, a secret military base 133 km from Las Vegas which has spawned several conspiracy theories about UFO sightings.

Level: AA
League: Eastern League
Manager: Luis Rivera
Stadium: Merchantsauto.com Stadium (capacity 6,500)
History: Affiliated with Jays since 2003. ...
Began MLB partnership with Colorado in 1994, followed by Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals.
2009: 64-78 (fifth in Northern Division)
2009 MVP: Brian Dopirak
(.308 BA, 19 HRs, 68 RBIs)
Quick fact: Fisher Cats have won Best Sporting Event to Take Clients To for three straight years in the New Hampshire Business Review's
Best of Business Awards.

Level: A Advanced
League: Florida State League
Manager: Clayton McCullough
Stadium: Dunedin Stadium (capacity 5,510)
History: Affiliated with Jays since 1985
2009: 34-33 (third in North Division)
2009 MVP: OF Moises Sierra
Quick fact: Stadium is also home field for Dunedin High School. Pinball Clemons is an alumnus of DHS.
Level: A
League: Midwest League
Manager: Sal Fasano
Stadium: Cooley Law School Stadium (capacity 7,527)
History: Been with Jays since 2005. ... Previous affiliations were with Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs.
2009: 28-41 (last in Mid-Eastern Division)
2009 MVP: OF Johermyn Chavez
Quick fact: Cooley Law School, which took over sponsorship of the stadium last month, is the largest law school in the U.S. with more than 3,600 full- and part-time students. 

Level: Short-season A
League: New York-Penn League
Manager: Dennis Holmberg
Stadium: Falcon Park II (capacity 2,800)
History: Affiliated with Jays since 2001
after 18 years with Houston Astros.
2009: 29-49 (last in Pinckney Division)
2009 MVP: C/1B Sean Ochinko
Quick fact: Club named after Abner Doubleday, famous Army general who attended college in Auburn, but didn't invent baseball as was once thought.

Level: Foreign rookie league
Dominican Summer League
Manager: Guillermo Peralta
Stadium: Academia de Prospectos
2009: 42-27, fourth in Boca Chica North Division
2009 MVP: LHP Jose Vargas
Quick fact: Last season, 42 of 69 positive tests in the minor leagues were for players in the DSL.

Level: Rookie
League: Gulf Coast League
Manager: John Schneider
Stadium: Bobby Mattick Training Center, Dunedin
History: Affiliated with Jays since 1981
2009: 30-28, third in North Division
2009 MVP: C Carlos Perez
Quick fact: Home field is at the Cecil B. Englebert Complex, named for the former mayor who was instrumental in having the Jays make Dunedin their spring training home in 1977.

Courtesy of MLB.com:

Toronto Blue Jays

PositionBattleAnalysisProjected Winner
Left Field The Blue Jays prefer to keep Lind in the designated hitter role and Snider, the Jays former top prospect, may have a leg up on the competition, considering he's a bigger part of the team's future. Reed is not known for his offense while the speedy Gathright could be a more valuable asset off the bench.Travis Snider
PositionBattleAnalysisProjected Winner
Right Field After letting Alex Rios go to the White Sox in a waiver claim last August, Toronto was left with a hole in right. Bautista has an edge since he will most likely bat leadoff out of necessity. Snider is a safer bet to man left field while the light-hitting Reed and speedster Gathright appear destined for reserve roles.Jose Bautista
PositionBattleAnalysisProjected Winner
No. 4 & 5 Starters Both rookies in '09, Rzepczynski and Cecil lead the pack of young starting candidates. Tallet's 25 starts last year put him firmly in the mix as well. McGowan, who is recovering from shoulder and knee surgeries, could also enter the rotation picture should he prove healthy. Purcey and Eveland were unimpressive in their limited time as starters last season and remain on the outside looking in. Drabek, the jewel return in the Roy Halladay deal, will likely begin 2010 in the Minors.Rzepczynski & Tallet
PositionBattleAnalysisProjected Winner

Downs and Frasor split closing duties last year and Gregg was signed over the offseason. Of the three, Gregg has the most ninth-inning experience but he struggled in the stopper role last year. Toronto will have a tough time relegating Frasor to setup duty as he was outstanding as the club's closer down the stretch in 2009.Kevin Gregg

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