Baseball will always take a break for a special lady in your life. Make sure you let them know how much they mean to you!
Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category
In life sometimes you have to just take a step back and breathe… Thought this was a worthy break from baseball for everyone today. Enjoy.
Heard this last night on the UFC Ultimate Fighter finale. Thought it sounded great and got me pretty fired up. This should be the Blue Jays theme song with Jose Reyes gone.
The wide open AL East just got a lot more interesting as the perennial division favourites New York Yankees suffered a major loss to their lineup when it was learned Curtis Granderson will miss up to ten weeks with a fractured forearm. This will create a gaping hole for the Yankees and a major power source lost for the foreseeable future.
Tags: al eastbound jays blog, baseball blogs, best blue jays analysis, blue jays blogs, blue jays statistical analysis, current blue jays blogs, jays blogs 2013
Last year right around this same time I wanted to write a piece defending the Toronto Blue Jays against what seemed like an onslaught of negativity as the team was being bashed, beaten and mostly written off by a good majority of the fan base.
It was a “State of the Union” story that took a contrarian view to what the populist view towards the team was. I didn’t see a failing or regressing franchise because we couldn’t sign Yu Darvish and I certainly wasn’t disappointed that we weren’t the team lucky enough to sign Prince Fielder for a decade and $200+MM.
I saw a robust and booming farm system considered by sources I trust as among the game’s best. We had an intelligent, driven and hard working front office led by one of baseball’s best young general manager’s in Alex Anthopoulos. I had a cautious optimism that our ownership was indeed willing to spend the type of money needed to compete in the AL East.
I also saw a renewed presence in Latin America and an increased focus on the things that truly turn a franchise around – scouting, player development and the draft. We were signing the best international prospects, spending incredible amounts of money (over-slot) on high end talent and starting to actually churn out a young big leaguer or two.
We had recently signed one of baseball’s best hitters to an extremely club friendly contract and if healthy (2011) had a chance to be a wild-card contender.
“It was a mission statement”. –Jerry Maguire.
What was supposed to be only a one time story morphed into an entire blog!
It’s been a great year, filled with an up and down baseball season and trial and error here at AL Eastbound. We have taken an active interest in bringing all of the latest Blue Jays news, rumours, stats and prospect news on almost a daily basis.
One of our most active readers and participants turned into the second writer and the best move made all season was the addition of “Wes Kepstro” to the site. Like the Blue Jays this blog is definitely ready for the 2013 season and we hope we can continue to inform, enlighten and entertain one of the most knowledgeable fan bases in baseball.
Some of our regular features include a daily prospect report highlighting the top prospects as they grind out a minor league season, top prospect of the month, monthly minor league system recap, latest trade and free agency rumours, statistical analysis and more.
Thanks for making this a great year!
Tags: Desert Storm, Great War, Korea, Major League Baseball players in wartime, Poppies, Remembrance Day, Veterans, Viet Nam, World War I, World War II
Baseball’s a great game. It’s entertaining to watch, write about, discuss, and pretty much anything else that you can imagine. It also has a deeper history than most other organized professional sports, stretching far back into the 19th century for its origins. As a baseball nut, history nut, and given my own family history, Remembrance Day is a time when aspects of who I am coalesce in a satisfying way.
For many of us, sports provide an release from the stresses and ugliness of everyday life. That’s not its sole purpose, of course, but it’s a purpose nevertheless. As we ‘escape’ into this world (baseball), within a world (the entertainment industry), within a world (the one where sometimes, if it wasn’t for gravity, we’d lose our grip completely), it’s easy to forget that some people made sacrifices beyond our comprehension.
The world isn’t always filled with dreams and imagination; sometimes it’s a world filled with horror. There are those who were an integral part of both worlds: the world of baseball, and this planet. They witnessed things and experienced things that would make Stephen King blanch with horror and sob uncontrollably. They were called from dream careers to serve in the military, and some of what they witnessed was humanity at its worst.
The links below connect to some websites that are worth perusing. Using the search engine of your choice, it shouldn’t be very difficult to find other sites in addition to those I’ve included. No MLB players served in Desert Storm or Afghanistan, but there are plenty of links. If you enjoy baseball history as I do, some names from the previous conflicts will be familiar to you. For instance, Joe DiMaggio was a non-com and Ted Williams was a fighter pilot.
But don’t stop there. Hearken back to history class, and try to imagine them taking part in one of the major conflicts of the 20th century. Then go thank a veteran. They aren’t as far away as pro athletes can seem, playing a kids’ game with their gigantic contracts. They’re part of our everyday lives, and they deserve our gratitude.
Poppies help us to remember, lest we forget.
The Great War/World War I, 1914-1918
World War II, 1939-1945
It doesn’t matter if he’s Canadian. It doesn’t matter how well he pitched with the Cubs before he was traded. The Jays need pitching but if they sign Ryan Dempster, it’s a mistake. Ryan Dempster isn’t the type of guy that they need.
He’s performed pretty well, but…
- Ryan Dempster has been better-than-average in three-and-a-half of the last five seasons (his FIP has ranged from 3.41 to 3.99);
- In 2011 he was bad, but in 2012 he pitched very well in a poor pitchers’ park for a bad team, while in Texas he pitched very poorly in a poor pitchers’ park for a good team;
- An issue in TEX was the long ball: Rogers, YSIII, Fenway, and Camden Yards all ranked in the top 15 in home runs yielded this past season; the Trop ranked #24 (I knew that park had value…)
- About three out of four or five starts (60-75%) would come in one of those parks.
He has too much experience…
- He’ll be 36 in May: the Jays need experience but not that much experience;
- Hiroki Kuroda is in the same age bracket and would take a one-year deal;
- The Jays need to focus on younger pitchers: they’ll require a greater outlay but they’re much more likely to contribute positively for a longer period of time.
His Second Half in 2012 is Closer to the Truth…
- Let’s face it: pitching in the AL is different from pitching in the NL, and Dempster has pitched poorly during Inter-League play during his career;
- The AL East has typically been a strong hitters’ environment;
- Even with favourite receiver Geovany Soto going to TEX, Dempster yielded four or more earned runs five times in 11 starts.
This table shows his performance vs. the AL East for his career:
It’s a decent sized sample (about three-quarters of a season), giving us a better idea of how he would perform pitching for the Jays. Using the table as a guide (minus his numbers against the Jays), an average line against an AL East team would look something like this: 5.9 IP, 6.3 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2.3 BB, 4.9 K. It’s close enough to say that he’d make a quality start, but just barely.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs suggests a contract of 3 years/$36MM for Dempster. Two things need to be said about that: it’s a great contract length for a younger pitcher; and TOR ought to put that money toward a younger pitcher.
Ryan Dempster might be a shrewd pick-up for a contender but he wouldn’t be for a team like the Jays. So, with apologies to the folks in Sechelt, I’d prefer if the Jays let someone else sign Ryan Dempster. The Jays’ best marketing scheme is a winning team, and he wouldn’t necessarily help them do that.
Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers, miguel cabrera, mike trout, mvp, pennant race, playoffs, san francisco giants, Toronto Blue Jays
Playoff positions are being decided in the final series of the regular season, Miguel Cabrera is chasing history and making a strong case for AL MVP, Oakland is 30 games over .500 since June 30, and the Dodgers fell short of the playoffs. Does it get any better than this? Well, Blue Jays fans sure hope so. Let’s look at what’s happening.
Cabrera or Trout for AL MVP
This is truly a no-brainer. The Triple Crown isn’t really that important and Mike Trout has not only outplayed Cabby all season in every facet of the game (offense, defense, base running), but he’s outplaying him in the stretch run, too. Even in the final 3+ series of the season, Trout’s been more impressive than Cabby:
Trout’s done this against SEA, TEX, and the CWS; Cabby’s OBP and SLG have suffered against two bottom dwellers, KC and MIN, but his chances of winning a Triple Crown have improved.
There’s no doubt that Mike Trout is the player most deserving of AL MVP. That said, he’s unlikely to win it. The Tigers are going to the playoffs and the Triple Crown’s just too sexy. Just ask Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler.
The Oakland A’s
On June 30, the Texas Rangers beat the A’s 7-2. Since then the A’s are 30 games over .500 and their most recent win propelled them into a first place tie with Texas. In doing so, they erased a 13 game deficit. No one predicted this except, perhaps, Billy Beane and the most diehard of A’s fans.
Smaller budget teams dream of this kind of run (Baltimore’s somewhat flukey season should get a mention here, too). How have they done it? Good pitching, timely hitting, and good internal leadership. These are all things that the Jays lack. Alex Anthopoulos has promised to be aggressive in the offseason: we’ll see. There are a lot of holes to fill and questions to answer.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Miss the Playoffs
I don’t know where the cockle is on my heart (Near the aorta? The right ventricle?), but it’s warm. I’m a Jays’ fan first and foremost but I’ve cheered for the San Francisco Giants for decades, since they were a (very) bad team. When Magic Johnson and the new owners made several moves to improve the LAD this summer, I was impressed but I also feared for the SFG. It was all for naught. The Giants didn’t falter, despite losing Melky Cabrera, and the Dodgers have not impressed. As a Giants fan, I’m glad to see the Dodgers miss the playoffs.
There’s another reason why I’m glad they missed the playoffs, though. Over the decades, I thought I’d noticed a trend: it’s virtually impossible to buy a champion. Do teams need to spend to win? Yes. Can they throw money at whoever’s available, and expect to win? This is less likely. Magic Johnson thought teams needed to spend to win in this league, and made his thoughts public. Sorry Magic, it takes a lot more than that. Among other things, it takes time, discipline, trial-and-error, heartache, and lots of things have to fall into place. There’s more of a process to it than Magic, et al, were willing to grant but they attempted a shortcut anyways. Their stretch run confirms my long-held impressions.
Tags: aaa international, blue jays minor league team in buffalo?, blue jays moving triple-a team from las vegas, Buffalo Bisons, Las Vegas 51s, Toronto Blue Jays
A few weeks ago, AL Eastbound & Down quoted a Yahoo! report mentioning that the Jays were interested in moving their AAA ball club to Buffalo. TSN.ca has confirmed that the Jays have succeeded the Mets as the Bisons’ parent club:
The team announced a new two-year affiliation with the Buffalo Bisons of the AAA International League on Tuesday. The move ends the Blue Jays’ four-year affiliation with the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.
The Buffalo franchise traces its history back to the 19th century, playing as a major league team in the National League from 1879 until 1885. Following its brief tenure in the NL, it became a minor league club in the International League and Western League. As the turn of the twentieth century approached, Buffalo was a whisker away from joining the original American League. The Boston Americans were chosen instead.
Over the next 70 years (until 1970) the Bisons played in the AAA International League, winning four titles along the way (1933, 1936, 1957, 1961). Through the ’70s, however, the franchise experienced difficulties and was replaced by the Memphis Blues. The Bisons were resurrected in 1979 as the AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They rejoined AAA ranks in 1985 and have since been affiliated with the CWS, PIT, CLE, NYM, and now TOR.
Here’s to hoping that the Jays enjoy a long and productive relationship with the Buffalo Bisons, a team with a rich history.
Trivia Question: Which Blue Jays coach managed the Bisons at one time?
Tags: Babe Ruth, Cooperstown, Hall of Fame, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, Omar Vizquel, Rollie Fingers, Ted Williams, Willie Mays
Lately I’ve read a lot about Omar Vizquel being a Hall of Fame shoe-in. I confess to being mystified by it, and I don’t mind telling you why. First, there are no objective standards employed by voters. We try to apply some (300 wins, 3000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 saves, etc., etc.), but they don’t distinguish between positions or eras very well. It’s hard to be a ‘lock’ for anything that has no clearly defined standards.
Second, the subjectivity can be polarizing. Why does Player A get in, while Player B doesn’t (even though some of his stats may be much better)? Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax present some difficulty here. Are they in because of what they might have accomplished, had they not been injured? If so, then Ray Chapman should be considered. He was a very good shortstop before a pitch from Carl Mays killed him.
Third, defense is very difficult to quantify and the numbers we get from quantifying defense tend to be less meaningful and reliable. If we don’t have numbers, then the only things we have to go on are impressions and opinions. Bill Mazeroski is the key name here.
This brings us back to the great cloud of unknowing: Omar Vizquel doesn’t meet any of the non-standards that we haven’t established.
In my mind I use a fourfold distinction that Bill James suggested a couple of decades ago to rate a player’s suitability for Cooperstown:
1. Was he considered the greatest player of all time?
2. Was he considered the greatest player of his generation?
3. Was he considered the greatest player at his position?
4. Was he considered a good player for a long time?
Here are examples of players who fit these four categories: (1) Babe Ruth; Willie Mays; (2) Joe DiMaggio; Ted Williams; (3) Rollie Fingers; Johnny Bench; (4) Bert Blyleven; and Enos Slaughter. To these I’ll add the usual ‘objective’ standards mentioned above, like 300 wins or 3000 hits. I also consider players already enshrined, focusing on players of similar talent, position, and impact. The playoffs are factored in as well. As you can tell there’s still a great deal of room for subjectivity, leaving plenty of room for disagreement.
I like Omar and think he’s headed for Cooperstown, but he’s hardly a shoe-in. He falls short of almost every perceived HoF benchmark. 3000 H? No. 500 HR? No. 1000 RBI? No. He’s been excellent defensively (11 gold gloves), but the lack of standards for defense regarding HoF suitability is problematic. He’s never been considered the best player in history, the best player of his generation, or even the best shortstop of his era. He’s never won a World Series. He was a great playoff performer thrice (’95; ’98; ’01), but he’s no Mr. October. He’s never been the greatest player on a great team. He’s never been the greatest player on a bad team, either. His value has always been qualified by the word ‘defensive’: he’s been a very good defensive player for a long time. That’s his big credential. That leaves us with little other than nostalgia, sentimentality, and lateral comparisons to fill in the gaps.
Perhaps a key reason why Omar’s considered to be Cooperstown-bound is Ozzie Smith. Ozzie was enshrined primarily on his ability as a defender and Omar is strongly reminiscent of the Wizard. That said, I’ll enjoy watching Omar Vizquel tie the great Babe Ruth’s career hits total. I’ll also leave you to chuckle about the incongruity of Omar Vizquel and Babe Ruth being mentioned together on the basis of a fairly significant offensive achievement.