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Offseason Notes for January 23rd

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Projecting: ZiPS for Toronto
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: New York (NL)

Assorted Headlines
The State of Morneau’s Health
Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune has a profile on Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, including a first-person account of the experience of having, and recovering from, a concussion.

A sample:

The symptoms — headaches, fogginess and fatigue — came and went into December. Imagine you are riding a bus traveling 65 miles per hour, Morneau said. When you look out the side window, the landscape races by. When you look out the front window, it shouldn’t seem as fast. But at his worst moments, he’s looking out that front window and feels like he’s looking out the side.

Plantier Is Padre Hitting Coach
Lost in the post-postseason — for this author, at least — was the announcement by the San Diego Padres that Phil Plantier had replaced Randy Ready as the team’s hitting coach. I can’t speak to Plantier’s qualifications, specifically, nor to the effects of a hitting coach on a team’s offense, generally. I can, however, use this information as a pretense upon which to upload a grainy image of Plantier’s 1992 Fleer card.


Projecting: ZiPS for Toronto
Dan Szymborski has published his ZiPS projections for the Toronto Blue Jays. Below are some of the notable ones, accompanied by very rough WAR projections (for the hitters, per 600 plate appearances, at least) calculated by the method outlined here. All numbers assume major-league competition. OPS+ and ERA+ are park-adjusted.

Jose Bautista, RF, 31: .273/.408/.566, 158 OPS+, 6.6 WAR
Bautista beats out Miguel Cabrera (155) for highest OPS+ so far through the 22 team projections posted by Szymborski. Disregarding any fielding-run adjustments, Bautista now has the highest rough WAR of any player projected, too, beating out Evan Longoria (5.9).

Travis D’Arnaud, C, 23: .253/.299/.421, 90 OPS+, 2.8 WAR
J.P. Arencibia, C, 26: .229/.281/.442, 90 OPS+, 2.5 WAR

D’Arnaud slashed .311/.371/.542 (.365 BABIP) and hit 21 home runs in 466 plate appearances at Double-A last season, which means — provided Toronto is satisfied with his defense — he’ll begin 2012 at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he’s likely to hit many more home runs. There’s no rush to promote him any further than that: Arencibia was worth 1.5 wins in 486 plate appearances during his first prolonged exposure to the majors. Both catchers are cost-controlled for at least half a decade.

Henderson Alvarez, RHP, 22: 155.0 IP, 89 K, 31 BB, 22 HR, 94 ERA+, 4.35 FIP
Following an August promotion, Alvarez made 10 starts, to this pretty excellent effect: 63.2 IP, 15.4% K, 3.1% BB, 53.5% GB, 84 xFIP-. Just from the stat line — the low strikeout and walk rates, specifically — Alvarez profiles as a soft-tossing sort. In fact, the opposite is true: his average four-seam fastball velocity per PITCHf/x (93.3 mph) would’ve placed him 12th among 94 qualified starters, and was recorded as high 101 mph in the minors. A pitcher who has excellent velocity and command — plus, in Alvarez’s case, a reportedly plus changeup, too — is a good major-league pitcher. In the event that he figures out his curve at all, he’ll be a menace.

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: New York (NL) Television
This offseason, FanGraphs is asking readers to rate the broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs. (Click here for more on this project.)

Rate other teams: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago (AL) / Chicago (NL) / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Miami / Houston / Los Angeles (AL) / Los Angeles (NL, Home Games) / Los Angeles (NL, Away Games) / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York (AL).

Image courtesy Derek Erdman.