Not many more sleeps til Florida, peeps…..
Here’s a look at a recent mock draft from the keyboard of Alex Jensen, who has the Blue Jays selecting Missouri OF Kameron Misner with their first overall pick. Misner does not check a lot of boxes, but he is a bit of an under-the-radar prospect after missing the last half of last year due a broken foot. As Jensen points out, the Blue Jays are a bit thin on OF depth in the lower levels, so Misner makes sense to him. Regardless, he’s another name to watch.
Brent Cardy and I have never met face-to-face, but I feel like we’ve been best of friends for years. He’s been a great supporter of this website, and I was very honoured to be asked to guest on his 200th episode. Congratulations, Brent, and all the best with your next 200 podcasts.
Rowdy Tellez’ story was one of the feel-good moments from 2018. Tellez’ mom Lori lost a lengthy battle with cancer in August, and the Blue Jays decided to promote him to the big club when MLB rosters expanded in September. After a disappointing season and a half at AAA, Tellez turned his fortunes around mid-season despite the dark cloud of Lori’s health, and his MLB debut was a smashing success. Rob Longley of the Sun details Tellez’ story and his goals for 2019.
Are robot umps an idea whose time has come? With pitchers throwing harder than ever before, the value teams have put on catcher framing, and with technology helping to put more movement on those pitches, it could be argued that the job of calling balls and strikes has become increasingly more difficult. As a result, MLB has signed an agreement with the indy Atlantic League for it to become something of a lab for possible rule changes, including the use of Trackman technology to track pitches (giving MLB some added scouting data, as a bonus). Baseball America‘s J.J. Cooper discusses the robot umps idea and other possible experiments in his latest post.
One thing (among many) that we as average fans don’t always understand fully or appreciate is the amount of experimenting that is put into pitch design. By that, I mean the process (made much easier by technology) of altering and sometimes downright tinkering with grips on pitches to create better spin and/or movement. David Laurilia of Fangraphs details how three Padres pitchers developed their change-ups, a pitch that probably takes more time than any other to master.
Ian Hunter took a look at GM Ross Atkins’ recent comments about Vladdy Jr and the manipulation of his service time. Let’s face it: Guerrero’s bat is MLB ready, whereas the rest of his game might need a bit more seasoning. And with the Blue Jays likely headed for an 85+ loss season, there’s no need to rush him. Just the same, the Blue Jays are doing exactly what the 29 other MLB teams would do in a similar situation. Until there is a change of heart among MLB and the MLBPA at the bargaining table, this situation will repeat itself in the future after the next collective agreement is negotiated (which may be a contentious process in and of itself). The good news is that come mid-April, we can all take a breath and relax.
You may have seen this online already, but if you haven’t (and have an interest in baseball history), the University of Windsor’s Chatham Coloured All-Stars page is a great way to waste some time. The Stars faced considerable racism in becoming the Ontario Intermediate B champs in the 1930s, and the local newspaper of the time documented their rise in detail. The project came about when some old scrapbooks were donated to the school, and it has taken considerable life from there. As I’ve written, there’s a personal connection for me: the team Chatham faced in the controversial final was Penetanguishene, a Southern Ontario town right beside the one I grew up in, and the star Pitcher for Penetang was Phil Marchildon, who went on the anchor the rotation of some bad Connie Mack teams in Philadelphia in the 40s. To learn more about his relatively unknown Canadian hurler, here’s a backgrounder.