BJN Radio Ep. 10: A split in Oakland, the Springer Saga, Free Manoah, and more!

There was a lot to talk about after the Blue Jays’ four-game set out west in Oakland.

We recapped the good from the A’s series, including Robbie Ray again not walking anyone and Marcus Semien popping off in his return home, and we talked about the bad, including the injury bug that won’t leave the Blue Jays alone and Steven Matz’s second consecutive rough start.
We also went into a bit of a rant about the puzzling George Springer injury saga. After being told Springer wasn’t playing simply because he needed some rest, the $150 million man is back on the Injured List. Who would have guessed! Why the Blue Jays are being so coy about this whole thing is a mystery and it’s incredibly frustrating.
After that, we talked about the Angels releasing Albert Pujols and how funny it would be if he inexplicably finished off his career as a Blue Jay in Buffalo. Finally, we wrapped things up by talking about Alek Manoah’s amazing Triple-A debut and how he could factor into the team’s plans when the trade deadline comes around.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

More fastballs, more strikes, more success for Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray has had a strong start to the season for the Blue Jays. His first two starts were very Robbie Ray-esque. Ray allowed two runs in 10 innings against the Yankees and Royals, with nine walks versus just six strikeouts. Ray limited the damage as he only allowed one home run in those two starts, even though the Blue Jays lost both of those games; they could have been much worse.

In his next two starts the home run was back, Ray allowed three homers accounting for all five of the runs he allowed. But he struck out 14 batters, didn’t walk anyone and pitched deeper into the games, throwing 12.2 innings. You total everything together and Ray has a sparkling 2.78 ERA but with a 4.73 expected ERA, a 4.83 FIP and 4.33 xFIP. Indicating Ray hasn’t pitched as well as his ERA suggests and that regression is coming.
Regression is certainly coming soon for Ray. A 93.5% left on base rate and a .237 batting average on balls in play is not sustainable over a full season. Ray however is doing certain things differently this year, which will help him continue to succeed even as certain things regress.
For Ray everything starts with the …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays call up rookie catcher Riley Adams

The Blue Jays just made a whole bunch of roster moves.

Heading to the Injured List are Alejandro Kirk, Tommy Milone, and Anthony Castro. Coming up in their places are Ross Stripling, who was activated from the 10-day Injured List, and Riley Adams and Anthony Kay, who have been called up from Triple-A.
The most interesting add here, of course, is Adams, the No. 18 prospect in the Blue Jays system. Adams was drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2017 draft and has largely flown under the radar due the organization having more highly-touted names in the system, like Kirk and Gabe Moreno, plus a couple of young catchers already at the big-league level in Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire.
Adams has put together some nice seasons in the minors and ultimately proved enough that the team added him to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft a few months ago. Most recently, he spent the 2019 season between New Hampshire and Dunedin, slashing an impressive .261/.366/.443 line with 14 homers across 415 plate appearances.
Here’s his profile, via MLB Pipeline…
Adams has a rare physical profile for a catcher at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, which led many to question his …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

George Springer homers twice, Blue Jays pull off comeback, but Alejandro Kirk and Tommy Milone wind up on the Injured List

That was definitely the most exciting game of the Blue Jays’ season this far. It looks like this team is finally rolling.

The Braves went up 4-0 early on the power of a grand slam off of Tommy Milone but the Blue Jays kept battling back. George Springer homered twice, the team put together a sixth-inning rally, and then Randel Grichuk hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to complete the comeback. What a blast that was to watch.
Things worth mentioning…

Saturday night felt like the true arrival of George Springer. He had a goose egg in his first game, got on base a few times in his second, but exploded in his third. Springer grounded out in the first inning and appeared to re-aggravate his injury as he hobbled to first base. Despite that, Springer stayed in the game and was key to the comeback effort. He hit a two-run dinger to cut Atlanta’s early lead to 4-2 and then hit the game-tying homer in the seventh inning. Springer is now 3-for-12 with a couple of dingers and three walks as a Blue Jay. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field.

George Springer …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Teoscar Hernandez returns as the Blue Jays host the Atlanta Braves

The Blue Jays are inching closer and closer to operating at full strength.

Well, when it comes to their lineup, at least. They still have about a dozen injuries to their pitching staff, but, after activating George Springer on Wednesday, the Blue Jays will also welcome back Teoscar Hernandez from the COVID list on Friday when they host the Braves.
So, with Springer and Hernandez back, Charlie Montoyo will be able to put together an optimal Blue Jays lineup for the first time this season. What would that look like? I’m thinking…
Springer DH
Bichette SS
Vladdy 1B
Hernandez RF
Grichuk CF
Semien 2B
Biggio 3B
Gurriel LF
Kirk C
How they’re doing…
The Braves have had a very underwhelming start to their season. They sit 12-13, and while that’s enough for first place in the NL East, it’s a far cry from what you’d expect from a team who came within one win of reaching the World Series last year.
Just like pretty much everyone else, the Braves are dealing with a decimated pitching staff. They’re still without Mike Soroka (who underwent Tommy John surgery last year) and will be until at least …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

What does the lineup look like when George Springer and Teoscar Hernández get back?

No matter how you slice it the Blue Jays have been a poor offensive team to start the season. They rank among the bottom third in runs scored, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and weighted on base average. Their 88 wRC+ as a team ranks 24th, sandwiched between the Pirates and Orioles; not exactly great company for a team that was supposed to be built around offense.

The good news is that the team is expecting to get two key offensive contributors back very soon in George Springer and Teoscar Hernández.  With those two returning from injury it raises of the question of where will they hit in the line-up and who gets replaced.
Springer is going to hit leadoff. Yes his skill set might be better suited for the number 2 or 3 spot in the order, but Springer for the majority of his career has hit leadoff. For his career 77% of his plate appearances have come from the first spot in the batting order.  This is clearly a spot he’s comfortable hitting in, and has been successful there.
After that Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should remain hitting second and third. Bo has struggled at times offensively this season. …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: George Springer’s impending return, other injury updates, Baseball America’s new Top 100, and more!

Daily?!?!?!?

George Springer’s Toronto Blue Jays debut is near.
The $150 million man will play centre field in an intrasquad game at the Blue Jays’ Alternate Training Site in Dunedin on Friday afternoon. If all goes well, we could feasibly see Springer activated from the Injured List to join the team down the road in Tampa Bay on Saturday or Sunday, but I would still bet on the team waiting until Tuesday when they’re back in Dunedin to play the Nationals.
That intrasquad game will also feature Nate Pearson tossing two or three innings. Springer vs Pearson?! That should be televised!
Pearson, of course, is still a ways away from being ready to make his 2021 debut as he’s building himself up to a starter’s load all the way from scratch after missing virtually all of spring training with a groin injury. I would guess he’s back with the team in mid-May, barring some kind of setback.
Also, according to Ross Atkins, there’s a good chance that Tyler Chatwood is activated from the Injured List on Friday and that Jordan Romano follows him on Saturday. Ross Stripling threw off a mound on Thursday and apparently he …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays acquire pitcher Jeremy Beasley from the Diamondbacks, Thomas Hatch goes to the 60-day Injured List

The Blue Jays have added some pitching depth.

The team announced today that they’ve acquired right-handed pitcher Jeremy Beasley from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Beasley had been designated for assignment earlier this week. In a corresponding roster move, the team has moved Thomas Hatch from the 10-day Injured List to the 60-day Injured List, which opens up Beasley’s spot on the 40-man roster.
So, who is this guy? Good question!
When searching “Jeremy Beasley Scouting Report,” the best report I could find was one from last January when he was traded from the L.A. Angels to Arizona for Matt Andriese. The report suggests that Beasley is most likely an option for a team’s bullpen…
Beasley spent the bulk of 2019 at Double-A, as well as making three starts at Triple-A, though it’s hard to call him impressive at either level:

Double-A (108.2 IP) – 4.06 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 8.45 K/9, 3.48 BB/9
Triple-A (13.2 IP) – 7.90 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 8.56 K/9, 3.95 BB/9

He did show an ability to miss bats, with a 13.8% SwStr% overall, but both his control and groundball rate (45.8%) were lackluster.  That, along with a limited arsenal, make you think that his future lies in the bullpen.  Here’s what Baseball America said about his …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 6: The bullpen comes up huge in a two-game split at Fenway

The Blue Jays rolled into Fenway and earned a split in their mini, two-game series with the Red Sox this week.

All things considered, given Toronto’s wealth of injuries and how well the Red Sox had been playing early on, earning a split here is a pretty good outcome. The Blue Jays limited the Red Hot Sox bats to just eight runs over the two games, impressive given Boston came into the series with the best offence in baseball.
We talked on this post-series podcast about the team’s unlikely hero, the bullpen, the one-two punch of Bo and Vlad absolutely mashing, the team’s challenges with defence, particularly Lourdes Gurriel and Cavan Biggio, and what the lineup should look like when George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez return.
We also looked ahead to the looming three-game series at The House of Horrors with the Rays. Tampa is also dealing with a wealth of pitching injuries but they’re starting to find their stride offensively. This is a big series for the Blue Jays but they have their best three arms, Hyun Jin Ryu, Steven Matz, and Robbie Ray going.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu gets knocked around for the first time this season as the Blue Jays fall in Boston

The losing streak extends to three as the Blue Jays get dropped in Boston by a score of 4-2. Those Sox, they might be pretty good!

Things worth mentioning…

For the first time this season, Hyun Jin Ryu got hit. Heading into tonight’s game, Toronto’s ace had allowed just four earned runs over the course of 19 innings. Tonight, he allowed four in five innings. Ryu was masterful through his first three innings but the Red Sox got to him their second time up to bat. In the fourth inning, Ryu allowed a single, a single, a homer to Xander Bogaerts, a double, and a triple for four runs. He managed to work through a double and a fielding error in the fifth inning and then got pulled. Boston just came off a win in which they put up six innings in the first on Lucas Giolito, so I wouldn’t pin this so much on Ryu pitching poorly, more so on Boston being very hot.
Even despite Ryu’s ho-hum start, the Blue Jays bats, yet again, did virtually nothing. The team scored only two runs, both on solo homers from Bo Bichette and Randal Grichuk. They only …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation