Archive for Blue Jays

Job Posting: Blue Jays Baseball Research Analyst

Position: Analyst, Baseball Research

Description:
The Toronto Blue Jays are seeking a highly motivated and creative Baseball Research Analyst to conduct baseball research and contribute to ongoing departmental research. Additionally, the analyst will create tools that incorporate data into the decision making process, as well as learn how decisions are made in all areas of Baseball Operations and work to improve those processes.

Please note that this is a full-time position.

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Design, test, implement and maintain advanced baseball metrics and predictive models using statistical techniques in order to contribute to strategy and decisions across all departments within Baseball Operations.
  • Conduct empirical research related to baseball strategy and player evaluation, with an understanding of how findings would apply to better decision making and increased operational effectiveness.
  • Collaborate with the front office, coaches and scouts to develop best practices for analyzing and displaying baseball data, including the creation of reports, charts, graphics, and other tools to deliver information to end users. Results of this work should help those within the organization better understand, consider and apply the use of information and data to their decisions and operation on a daily basis.
  • Collaborate with members of the Research and Development Department to provide constructive feedback on their projects.
  • Complete ad-hoc database queries and analysis as dictated by circumstances.
  • Recommend new data sources for purchase and/or new techniques to gather proprietary data.
  • Work to integrate new information into existing Baseball Operations processes and infrastructure.

Experiences and Job Requirements:

  • Passion for baseball and excellent reasoning, problem-solving, creative thinking, and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully design and execute rigorous quantitative research projects.
  • Published quantitative research about baseball (either online or print), related experience with sports teams or facilities, and/or open source code to review is a plus.
  • Strong understanding of current baseball research.
  • Proficiency with R, Python or other similar mathematical language is required.
  • Proficiency with SQL and relational databases is required.
  • Understanding of Python, Perl, Ruby or other similar scripting language is a plus but not required.
  • Demonstrated experience with machine learning methods, including clustering, random forests, boosting, and neural networks is a plus but not required.
  • Experience with web design is a plus but not required.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals including members of the front office, scouts, and field staff.
  • Ability to read, speak and comprehend English effectively.
  • Ability to work evening, weekend and holiday hours.

To Apply:
Please email a copy of your resume to baseballresumes@bluejays.com and answer these 3 prompts in the body of the email. Please limit your answers to no more than one paragraph per question.

  • Describe in detail a time when you used your analytical and research skills to answer a research question, ideally about baseball.
  • What experience of yours do you feel has best prepared you for this opportunity?
  • In addition to FanGraphs, what baseball websites do you read and why?

Elegy for ’18 – Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays’ future is about to become the Blue Jays’ present.
(Photo: Tricia Hall)

Toronto flirted with contention in the early stages of the season, staying on the edges of the AL East race through the end of April. But then April showers brought May flowers — lilies — to the pitching staff and while the Jays never lost at the amusing rate of the Orioles, the patient was already in rigor mortis by midseason.

The Setup

The Blue Jays had high expectations going into the 2017 season. Not even expectations I can make fun of, given that the ZiPS projection system had them at 87 wins going into the regular season. Even with the benefit of hindsight, it still doesn’t seem like thinking the Jays had a good shot at the playoffs in 2017 was all that ludicrous a proposition.

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David Cone, J.A. Happ, and Jake Petricka on Developing Their Sliders

Pitchers learn and develop different pitches, and they do so at varying stages of their lives. It might be a curveball in high school, a cutter in college, or a changeup in A-ball. Sometimes the addition or refinement is a natural progression — graduating from Pitching 101 to advanced course work — and often it’s a matter of necessity. In order to get hitters out as the quality of competition improves, a pitcher needs to optimize his repertoire.

In this installment of the series, we’ll hear from three pitchers — David Cone, J.A. Happ, and Jake Petricka — on how they learned and developed their sliders.

———

David Cone, Former Cy Young Winner and Five-Time All Star

“I grew up gripping the baseball the same way. Right along the seams, on top of the baseball, was a two-seam fastball. I threw my slider the same way. All I would do was bring both fingers inside the seams a little bit, just to get some friction. I basically threw a two-seam slider my whole career. I’ve seen a few other pitchers who do it that way. Not many.

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Roberto Osuna’s Legal Case Is Over

On Tuesday, Astros reliever Roberto Osuna agreed to a deal to bring to a close the legal proceedings pending in Ontario for charges filed against Osuna for assault stemming from a domestic-violence incident that occurred earlier this year.

Per ESPN:

A domestic assault charge against Houston Astros closer Roberto Osuna in Toronto was withdrawn on Tuesday.

In exchange, Osuna agreed to a peace bond, which requires him to not contact the woman he is alleged to have assaulted and to continue counseling. He must comply with the conditions of the bond for one year or face criminal charges, which would carry a maximum sentence of up to four years’ imprisonment.

The bond was worth $500. At least according to one Associated Press report, the impetus behind the deal was that the complainant, Alejandra Román Cota, was unwilling to return to Canada to testify against Osuna.

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Ryan Borucki, Jacob deGrom, and Yefry Ramirez on Developing Their Changeups

Pitchers learn and develop different pitches, and they do so at varying stages of their lives. It might be a curveball in high school, a cutter in college, or a changeup in A-ball. Sometimes the addition or refinement is a natural progression — graduating from Pitching 101 to advanced course work — and often it’s a matter of necessity. In order to get hitters out as the quality of competition improves, a pitcher needs to optimize his repertoire.

In this installment of the series, we’ll hear from three pitchers — Ryan Borucki, and Jacob deGrom, and Yefry Ramirez — on how they learned and developed their changeups.

———

Ryan Borucki, Blue Jays

“When I was 12, I hurt my arm. I had ‘Little League elbow’ from throwing too many curveballs at a young age. Because my elbow didn’t feel so good, my dad canned my curveball. He was like, ‘Alright. You’re just going to throw a fastball and a changeup.’

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Sunday Notes: Tyler Clippard Sees a Save-Opportunity Disconnect

In all likelihood, Tyler Clippard’s numbers are better than you realize. In 696 career relief appearances encompassing 752 innings, the 33-year-old Toronto Blue Jays right-hander has a 3.17 ERA. Moreover, he’s allowed just 6.5 hits per nine innings, and his strikeout rate is a healthy 10.0. Add in durability — 72 outings annually since 2010 — and Clippard has quietly been one of baseball’s better relievers.

He also has 68 saves on his resume, and the fact that nearly half of them came in 2012 helps add to his under-the-radar status. It also helps explain the size of his bank account.

“My biggest jump in salary was the year I had 32 saves, and that was essentially the only reason,” explained Clippard, who was with the Washington Nationals at the time. “My overall body of work was pretty good, but numbers-wise it wasn’t one of my better seasons. I had a bad stretch where I had something like a 10.00 ERA, so I ended the year with a (3.72 ERA). But because I got all those saves, I received the big salary jump in salary arbitration.”

Circumstances proceeded to derail the righty’s earning power. The Nationals signed free-agent closer Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $22M contract, relegating Clippard to a set-up role. While Soriano was saving games, Clippard was being paid less than half that amount while logging a 2.29 ERA and allowing 84 hits in 141 innings. Read the rest of this entry »


A Viable Path for Vlad Jr. to Fight Service-Time Manipulation

Yes, this is yet another piece addressing the problem of service-time manipulation, an issue which has been discussed at some length both in these pages and others. In 2018, Ronald AcunaPeter AlonsoVladimir Guerrero Jr.Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, and even Byron Buxton have all spent extra time in the minor leagues this year, in whole or part to gain their teams an extra year of contractual control.

The MLBPA has weighed in against the practice, but with grievances — like the one filed by Kris Bryant in his rookie year — essentially having stalled out, there doesn’t seem to be a resolution on the horizon. Because minor leaguers (that is, players not on a major-league 40-man roster) aren’t members of the union, the issue of service-time manipulation hasn’t necessarily represented a priority.

Here’s the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. isn’t on it. He almost certainly will be next year. As of right now, though, he isn’t — which means he also isn’t a member of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s a way that might actually represent an advantage for him. Specifically, it might give him the opening he needs to challenge the practice of service-time manipulation in court… and win.*

*For our purposes, let’s assume that Toronto is subject to American law. As you’ll see, the argument below can be applied really to any minor leaguer. We’re just using Vlad as an example.

Few teams admit to manipulating service time. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the Blue Jays have also been reluctant to invoke service time when justifying the absence of Vlad Jr. from the major-league roster. Here is how Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro explained it back in July on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio:

We want to make sure from the teenage perspective, leadership perspective, defensive perspective, routines, nutrition, all the little things, that we have this guy with as good a foundation as possible.

Most of the traits invoked here are sufficiently dependent on the opinion of baseball professionals that the prospect of performing any kind of analysis on it, from the outside, is basically impossible. Leadership and routine: both are surely required, in some volume, to flourish in the majors. The people most well positioned to evaluate those qualities are all probably employed by the Blue Jays, however. To that degree, all one can do is take Shapiro at his word, even if those words seem quite convenient for Toronto’s bottom line.

Shapiro mentions another “perspective,” however, that is less frequently invoked by front-office personnel and which also seems more suited to some kind of objective assessment — namely, nutrition. Nor is this the only occasion on which it has been cited by Toronto as one of the reasons for leaving Vlad Jr.’s potent bat in the minors. So let’s consider nutrition for a moment.

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The Manager’s Perspective: John Gibbons on His Long, Crazy Career

John Gibbons is in his second go-round as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. The 56-year-old former catcher skippered the A.L. East team from 2004 to -08, and he’s been back at the helm since the beginning of the 2013 season. There have been a pair of postseason berths along the way — in 2015 and 2016 — and he heads into the waning days of the current campaign with a managerial record, exclusively with Toronto, of 789 wins and 782 losses.

It’s no secret that this will be his last year on the job. While nothing has been made official, the Blue Jays are expected to replace Gibbons once the season concludes. He won’t be fading into the sunset, though — at least not right away. Gibbons hopes to stay in the game, in one capacity or another, for the foreseeable future. As for his pair of tenures in Toronto, and the roads he traveled to get there… it’s safe to say that he’s enjoyed the ride.

———

John Gibbons: “In 1990, I was in Triple-A with the Phillies and kind of at the end of my rope as a player. Being a catcher with a little big-league experience, you can always find a job, but I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted. My original organization, the New York Mets, called. They wanted to know if I was interested in being their roving catching instructor. I debated whether I wanted to keep playing a little longer or get into coaching. I decided to go into coaching.

“After I roved for a couple of years, the Mets gave me a managing opportunity in Kingsport, Tennessee, in the Appalachian League. That was actually the first league I’d played in, back in the day. Things just kind of took off from there.

“I ended up with the Toronto Blue Jays when J.P. Ricciardi was hired as the general manager. I was originally in the bullpen, but then they made a couple of changes and I was the first-base coach. A few years later they made more changes, and I was the manager. So it’s been a long, crazy career. It wasn’t a very good one as a player, and from there it’s been what it’s been.

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Jerry Blevins, Taylor Guerrieri, and Lance McCullers Jr. on Developing Their Curveballs

Pitchers learn and develop different pitches, and they do so at varying stages of their lives. It might be a curveball in high school, a cutter in college, or a changeup in A-ball. Sometimes the addition or refinement is a natural progression — graduating from Pitching 101 to advanced course work — and often it’s a matter of necessity. In order to get hitters out as the quality of competition improves, a pitcher needs to optimize his repertoire.

In this installment of the series, we’ll hear from three pitchers — Jerry Blevins, Taylor Guerrieri, and Lance McCullers Jr. — on how they learned and/or developed their curveballs.

———

Jerry Blevins, Mets

“The story starts as a kid. You start learning about curveballs, and the reason mine is big and slow is because I wanted to visualize it. A lot of those smaller breaking balls you don’t really see from the perspective of a pitcher. I wanted to see the big break. That’s why mine is how it is.

“Did anyone ever try to change that? All the time. Every step of the way, coming through the minor leagues. Even in high school and little league. They were always telling me, ‘Look, you need something tighter.’ I always fought against that, and I think it’s done me well.

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Sunday Notes: Trevor Story Hovers, Then Explodes

Trevor Story has always been a good hitter. He’s never been as good of a hitter as he is now. In his third big-league season, the 25-year-old Colorado Rockies basher is slashing .291/.346/.555 with 40 doubles, five triples, and 33 home runs. In short, he’s been a beast.

According to Story, he hasn’t changed all that much mechanically since the Rockies took him 45th overall in the 2011 draft out of an Irving, Texas high school. But he has changed a little.

“I think you’d see something very similar (if you compared then to now), but there are some differences,” Story told me earlier this summer. “I had more of a leg kick when I was younger, and I was kind of bouncing my hands instead of resting them on my shoulder. Outside of that, my movements are basically the same.”

Story felt that having a higher kick resulted in him getting beat by fastballs from pitchers with plus velocity, and as he “didn’t really need a leg kick to hit the ball far,” he changed to what he considers “more of a lift than a kick now; it’s almost more of a hover.”

Leg kicks — ditto lifts and hovers — are timing mechanisms, and as not all pitchers are the same, nor is Story always the same. The differences are subtle, but they’re definitely there. Read the rest of this entry »


The Swiftly Mounting Legend of Rowdy Tellez

If there’s an upside to the Blue Jays’ decision to avoid promoting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for service-time reasons — which is to say if even the dumbest of clouds has a silver lining — it is in the arrival of Rowdy Tellez. The burly 23-year-old, who has endured not only the fall of his star as a prospect but also the recent death of his mother from brain cancer, recently began his major-league stay with a bang while taking advantage of playing time that might not have been available with Guerrero’s arrival. But really, what the hell more do you need to know before you embrace a player who acquired the nickname of Rowdy while still in the womb?

Tellez (pronounced Tuh-LEZ) spent the entire 2018 minor-league season at Triple-A Buffalo, an assignment he repeated after bombing in 2017 (more on which below). His modest final line (.270/.340/.425 with 13 homers) doesn’t exactly suggest an impact bat at first base or designated hitter, though he did improve over the course of the season, hitting .248/.329/.382 with six homers in 280 PA before the All-Star break and .306/.360/.497 with seven homers in 164 PA after it. What’s more, that improvement occurred against the unimaginably sad backdrop of his mom’s decline and, ultimately, her death on August 19 at the too-young age of 53.

Just over two weeks after Lori Tellez passed away, on September 5, her son was wearing a Blue Jays uniform, pinch-hitting for Jonathan Davis in the eighth inning, roping an RBI double into the right-center gap on the first pitch from the Rays’ Jake Faria, and, after receiving a rousing ovation from the Rogers Centre crowd, pointing to the sky in tribute to his mother:

Did it just get dusty in here, or is that my contact lenses going off? Pardon me for a moment… The next night, Tellez collected three hits, all doubles, off Shane Bieber (two) and Cody Allen (one). The night after that, he hit a pair of doubles off Carlos Carrasco, and then on Saturday, his first big-league homer, off Adam Plutko:

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Sean Doolittle Has Issued a Challenge

A brief examination of basically any human encounter ever reveals that people frequently do not agree with each other. This one human over here has an opinion; this other one, meanwhile, has a different opinion. It would be fine, perhaps, if those individuals never interacted, but that is also part of being human: there’s a lot of interaction. At stores, for example. Or on streets. And the one human says to the other, “Hey, your opinion is different than mine!” And the second one says to the first, “I am mad about that!”

Sometimes the interaction in question occurs at home plate during baseball’s postseason and Sam Dyson, for reasons known primarily to Sam Dyson, has decided that the proper course of action for someone like him is just to slap Troy Tulowitzki directly on the buttocks. Tulowitzki, whom one will identify immediately as a different person than Sam Dyson, regards this as not the proper course of action and proceeds to lodge some complaints verbally. Other humans get involved and all manner of other complaints are lodged, some verbally and some even physically. Complaints abound, is what one finds. Then everyone retreats back to their respective holes in the ground (known, in the sport of baseball, as a “dugout”) and awaits the next event worthy of their indignation.

One small thing over which humans frequently disagree is how much joy is acceptable to display publicly. One camp, whom we might characterize broadly as The Sons and Daughters of John Calvin, believe the amount is very close to zero. Another camp, whom we might call Basically Everyone Else, contends that — so long as no one is getting hurt — it’s probably okay to just do whatever.

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Donaldson on the Cuyahoga

The Blue Jays made the long-awaited trade of Josh Donaldson on Friday night, sending their former MVP third baseman to the Cleveland Indians and cash considerations for a player to be named later.

With the Blue Jays out of contention quickly in both 2017 and 2018, a trade of Donaldson was always likely at some point. Without an agreement on a long-term contract for Donaldson, it would have been very risky to hang onto him. The Jays’ had some concern, in fact, that, due to his recent struggles with injury, Donaldson would actually accept a one-year qualifying offer — a factor which changed the calculus somewhat as the non-waiver deadline approached. At the start of the season, retaining Donaldson would have seemed like a possible option even if the club didn’t remain competitive, because a characterstically productive Donaldson would have almost certain fetched a $50-plus million deal this offseason and commanded a compensation pick for Toronto.

At one point, with the Oakland A’s, Donaldson was in danger of becoming a minor-league journeyman, hitting .156/.206/.281 in a little cup of espresso in 2010 during his age-24 season. His .238/.336/.476 and .261/.344/.439 lines over his age-24 and -25 seasons for the Sacramento River Cats in the Pacific Coast League were extremely marginal for that league, not even at the level at which you’d call him a Ken Phelps All-Star, Bill James’ terms for minor-league sluggers who never received a real chance in the majors.

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Daily Prospect Notes Finale: Arizona Fall League Roster Edition

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Note from Eric: Hey you, this is the last one of these for the year, as the minor-league regular season comes to a close. Thanks for reading. I’ll be taking some time off next week, charging the batteries for the offseason duties that lie ahead for Kiley and me.

D.J. Peters, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Level: Double-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45+
Line: 4-for-7, 2 HR, 2B (double header)

Notes
A comparison of DJ Peters’ 2017 season in the Cal League and his 2018 season at Double-A gives us a good idea of what happens to on-paper production when a hitter is facing better pitching and defenses in a more stable offensive environment.

D.J. Peters’ Production
Year AVG OBP SLG K% BB% BABIP wRC+
2017 .276 .372 .514 32.2% 10.9% .385 137
2018 .228 .314 .451 34.0% 8.1% .305 107

Reports of Peters’ physical abilities haven’t changed, nor is his batted-ball profile different in such a way that one would expect a downtick in production. The 2018 line is, I think, a more accurate distillation of Peters’ abilities. He belongs in a talent bucket with swing-and-miss outfielders like Franchy Cordero, Randal Grichuk, Michael A. Taylor, Bradley Zimmer, etc. These are slugging center fielders whose contact skills aren’t particularly great. Players like this are historically volatile from one season to the next but dominant if/when things click. They’re often ~1.5 WAR players who have some years in the three-win range. Sometimes they also turn into George Springer.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/29/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Cal Stevenson, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Level: Advanced Rookie   Age: 21   Org Rank: NR   FV: 35
Line: 3-for-4, 2B, 4 SB

Notes
College seniors are expected to dominate short-season leagues after signing but what Cal Stevenson has done merits some discussion, in part because he played through a hand injury this spring that may have clouded his actual skill. Stevenson has a .513 OBP at Bluefield because he has walked nearly three times more often than he’s struck out. He’s also stolen 21 bags in 22 attempts since signing. These numbers corroborate scouting reports which compliment Stevenson’s plus speed and bat-to-ball skills before noting his likely corner-outfield defensive projection and lack of characteristic power for the position. But let’s keep an eye on this guy because Toronto has a track record of making swing adjustments to bat-first college players that have helped those players become more viable prospects.

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A Season Without Troy Tulowitzki

While Kendrys Morales’s consecutive-game home-run streak — which ended at seven games on Monday night — and the Blue Jays’ season-high five-game winning streak provided some distraction, this past weekend brought news that most people following the team probably already intuited, namely that Troy Tulowitzki will not play this year. The 33-year-old shortstop had undergone surgery to remove bone spurs in both heels in early April, and while there were initially hopes that he could return in late May or June, and optimism that he could still return this season as late as a month ago, he’s never gotten to the point of going on a rehab assignment. In fact, he hasn’t played a competitive game since July 28, 2017, when he sprained his right ankle running the bases. While he’s vowed to return, it’s difficult to be optimistic about his future.

Though he’s earned All-Star honors five times, won two Gold Gloves, and at one point appeared to be laying the foundation for a Hall of Fame-caliber career, Tulowitzki has always had problems remaining on the field. Since debuting with a 25-game cup of coffee in 2006, he’s played more than 131 games in a season only in 2007 (155 games), 2009 (151 games), and 2011 (143 games). He’s played 100 games in back-to-back seasons just once since 2010-11, and averaged just 115 games per year for 2007-17. In the words of Roseanne Roseannadanna, it’s always something.

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Kendrys Morales Is on a Home-Run Binge

Baseballs have continued to fly out of the park in 2018, if not at a record pace — the current per-team, per-game rate of 1.15 is the fourth-highest of all time, after 2017 (1.26), 2000 (1.17), and 2016 (1.16) — then nearly so. Nonetheless, over the past week-and-change, the game has produced something previously unseen amid this recent surge: a player challenging the major-league record of homers in eight consecutive games, a feat last completed by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993. Blue Jays designated hitter and occasional first baseman Kendrys Morales has homered in seven straight, something unseen in 12 years. Tonight in Baltimore, he’ll have a chance to put himself in the record books.

Here’s Morales’s entry from Sunday, a towering two-run blast off the Phillies’ Vince Velasquez:

Alas, the homer, Morales’s 21st of the season, wasn’t enough to help the Blue Jays continue their season-high five-game winning streak, which has been fueled by the 35-year-old switch-hitting slugger’s power burst.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/21/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Johan Quezada, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Level: Low-A   Age: Turns 24 on Saturday   Org Rank: 46   FV: 35+
Line: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 6 K

Notes
This was Johan Quezada’s first career appearance in full-season ball. An imposing mound presence at a towering 6-foot-6, he has recovered from the shoulder surgery that cost him all of 2017, and his velocity has returned. He sits 94-97 with extreme downhill plane created by his height, and he’ll show you an average slider every once in a while. Quezada’s breaking-ball quality and command need to develop as they’re understandably behind due to his limited pro workload. He’s a older-than-usual arm-strength/size lottery ticket. On the surface, he seems like a candidate for extra reps in the Arizona Fall League.

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Will Vlad Jr. Hit .400?

Projections suggests that Vlad Jr. is already one of baseball’s top 20 hitters.
(Photo: Tricia Hall)

It’s probably fair to say that batting average, as a shorthand for the quality of a hitter, has lost a bit of luster over the past decade or two as the public has become acquainted with metrics that correlate more strongly with scoring runs and winning games. That said, for a player to hit safely in 40% of his at-bats at any professional level is still incredibly rare and worthy of consideration.

Even if he weren’t to hit .400 this year, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would still be worthy of consideration. As the son of a Hall of Famer, as a 19-year-old who has already reached Triple-A, there’s plenty that merits attention. But he’s also batting .389 in the middle of August, which means that Guerrero the Younger has a shot at a historic season.

Over at MLB.com, Jim Callis went through the list of minor leaguers who have hit .400 in a season. It’s not long. Back in 1999, Erubiel Durazo was a 25-year-old playing in Arizona’s system after a few years in the Mexican League. He hit .404 in 409 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A before his callup to the majors. He hit .329 for the Diamondbacks, putting his average at .381 for the full season. Back in 1961, Aaron Pointer hit .401, but almost all of that time was spent in Class-D, which was low in the stratosphere of minor-league affiliates — sitting below not only Triple-A, Double-A, and Single-A, but also Class-B and -C. Given the state of the minor leagues before the 1960s, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that the last time a a player hit .400 facing a reasonably high level of competition was Ted Williams in 1941, when he hit .406 on the season.

Guerrero missed time earlier in the year with a knee injury and has come to bat just 351 times this season. If he plays out the minor-league season and starts 13 of 15 game,s averaging 4.3 plate appearances per game, he’s only going to end up with around 407 plate appearances, which isn’t quite a full season. Assuming 3.1 PA per game over 136 minor-league games, one arrives at 422 PA as the standard for the high minors. Even if the Blue Jays brought Guerrero to the big leagues — more on that later — and gave him 20 starts, he’d still end up at roughly 493 plate appearances, just short of the 502 needed to qualify for the MLB batting title.

To determine Guerrero’s chances at hitting .400 in the minor league season, we have to approximate Guerrero’s talent level against minor leaguers. He has a .389 total batting average between Double-A and Triple-A with a .339 average in only 71 Triple-A plate appearances. With 56 presumed plate appearances left in the minor-league season, we can expect him to take six walks, which would be consistent with his 10% walk rate this season.

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Roberto Osuna, Immigration Law, and Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is a very smart man. There’s not much dispute about that – he has an MBA (from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management) and degrees in economics and engineering. He’s developed a reputation for being well-prepared.

So after the club acquired Roberto Osuna for Ken Giles at the deadline, columnist Lance Zierlein was well justified when he wrote that “[t]here is no way the Astros haven’t done their homework on Osuna.” And while the organization’s public-relations department appears to have confused the word willfully with willingly (otherwise, this statement regarding Osuna would have a markedly different meaning), even Luhnow himself noted that his own office’s due diligence on Osuna was “unprecedented.” There’s no reason to doubt him.

That said, there are certain outcomes for which no amount of preparation can ultimately account — and that’s relevant to Osuna’s future with the Astros, because, while the right-hander has been punished by Major League Baseball, his criminal case in Canada remains pending. And the outcome of that case could have real consequences on Osuna’s career.

Osuna, for his part, doesn’t want to talk about it, “declin[ing] to provide specifics about the incident” according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. There are multiple reasons why Osuna would refuse to address the charge. To avoid conflicts with an ongoing case, for example. Or to avoid revisiting an episode about which he’s ashamed.

Finally, it could be part of a legal strategy. As Gonzalez notes in his piece, Osuna’s attorney, Domenic Basile, “has entered a not guilty plea on Osuna’s behalf and is reportedly seeking a peace bond that would essentially drop the charges in exchange for good behavior.”

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