Alek Manoah pitched a gem, Peyton Williams smashed the ball, and more as the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 6-3

Another day, another Blue Jays victory.

On Friday evening, the Philadelphia Phillies visited Dunedin, Florida to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Sadly for the visiting team (Phillies), they lost the game.
Let’s look at the player of the game, as well as some things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: Daulton Varsho:
Admittedly, it could have also been the starting pitcher, who we’ll get to soon, but Friday’s player of the game goes to Daulton Varsho.
Varsho had three plate appearances, reaching all three times. His first plate appearance was an RBI triple down the right field line. The second was a scorching single up the middle, before taking a walk in his final plate appearance.

It’s a Daulton Varsho (@DaultonVarsho25) triple!
86.4 mph exit velocity, and drives in Brandon Belt!#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 24, 2023

It’s also worth mentioning that he started a play in the outfield where they tagged out a runner trying to score.

Fundamental 👏 Baseball 👏
Varsho 👉 Chapman 👉 Kirk
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 24, 2023

Varsho has three hits in his past two games (five at bats). He’s heating up at the right time.
Things worth mentioning:
Alek Manoah also deserves the player of the game, as he continues to impress in spring training. On Friday in his last spring training start, he pitched six innings, allowing three hits and an earned run, while striking out six.  He finished spring training with 20.1 innings pitched,  21 strikeouts, eight walks, and an ERA of 3.10.

Here’s Alek Manoah (@Alek_Manoah6)’s strikeout thread from this evening!
82.3 mph slider ties the batter up.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 24, 2023

Peyton Williams’ makeup is my favourite from the 2022 Blue Jays draft class. The first baseman stands at 6’5, 255 pounds, but slashed .317/.455/.593 with 21 homers, a 16.9 K%, and a 15.7 BB% in 492 plate appearances with the University of Iowa. He also has a ton of raw power, evident in his 110.9 mph double on Friday.

Surprised no one posted the Peyton Williams (@peyton_w2) double, which clocked in at 110.9 mph.
He’s so fun to watch.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 25, 2023

Trent Thornton looked solid in his limited …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Former Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Pat Tabler lands new role in the booth with Cleveland Guardians

From the booths of the Rogers Centre to the booths of Progressive Field, Pat Tabler has a new broadcasting role.

Tabler, 65, joined TSN as a studio analyst covering the Jays back in 1993, and got his start in the booth working alongside Dan Shulman all the way back in 2001. This past year, Tabler and Sportsnet parted ways.
But now, according to The Athletic’s Zack Meisel, Tabler will be pinch-hitting for some broadcasts for the Cleveland Guardians…

The Guardians are adding former players Pat Tabler, Ellis Burks and Chris Gimenez to their broadcast lineup this season. Tabler will join the booth for certain games and Burks and Gimenez will join the pre- and postgame shows. The broadcast regulars will also return.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 23, 2023

Tabler’s longevity has been a calling card for the Blue Jays nearly becoming synonymous with the team. He’s been a huge part of the media landscape in Toronto surrounding the team.
Tabler, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, played 1,202 Major League games over 12 seasons and 707 of them came while playing in Cleveland. He joined the Blue Jays in the 1991 season and helped them win their first-ever World Series the following year.
Here’s some of what Blue Jays Nation writer Evan Stack wrote about Tabler last December:
Tabler, who has as many home runs as a Blue Jay as Munenori Kawasaki, spent two seasons with Toronto as a player. He was a part of the 1992 World Series club, serving as a utility man. One of the more unique assets of Tabler’s game was his ability to come up in the clutch; Tabby was a career 43-for-88 with the base …

Read More

Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Jose Berrios tosses five innings in return from WBC, Daulton Varsho hits his first homer of spring, and more as the Blue Jays beat the O’s 2-1

I’m not going to lie, it’s incredibly difficult to go from last night’s World Baseball Classic finale back to following along with Grapefruit League games. Just one more week to go!

The Blue Jays sent what might be their Opening Day lineup to the field in Dunedin on Wednesday and beat the Orioles by a score of 2-1. Let’s go through the noteworthy things from the game…
Things worth mentioning…

Jose Berrios returned to the mound for his first start since the disastrous inning he tossed for Peurto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. Berrios getting lit up by Venezuela generated some panic among those who follow the Blue Jays but Pete Walker wasn’t overly concerned about it, saying on Blair and Barker “I didn’t get to watch it live, so at first I was a bit concerned, but after I replayed the entire game I wasn’t concerned. The pitch selection and sequencing was nothing like what we’ve been working on all winter.”
Berrios went five innings against the Orioles and allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk while striking out five. It’s also worth pointing out that this was much like how a lot of his “good” starts went last season, as Berrios would look dominant at times but also had a lot of loud contact resulting in outs because of the play of the defence behind him.

José Berríos got up to 77 pi …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Addison Barger’s MLB debut will have to wait, but for how long becomes the question

Toronto Blue Jays fans haven’t seen the last of prospect Addison Barger.
Barger, who was optioned to triple-A Buffalo following Monday’s 5-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers, entered this spring with plenty of optimism after being added to Toronto’s 40-man roster last November but was seen as a long shot to break camp with the big-league club as their 26th position player. And understandably so, considering the 23-year-old played just eight games with the Bisons last season.
With Barger and veteran outfielder Wynton Bernard headed to the minors, the battle for the Blue Jays’ final roster spot appears to be down to two players: right-hander Otto Lopez, who is likely the favourite and is coming off a tremendous performance at the World Baseball Classic, and left-hander Nathan Lukes.

#BlueJays assign the following players to minor league spring training camp. 42 players remain in big league camp (8 non-roster invitees), which includes 25 pitchers, 3 catchers, 9 infielders, and 4 outfielders.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 20, 2023

This isn’t the end for Barger, though. It is just the beginning. While he is likely disappointed about not making the big-league roster, the organization’s No. 6 top prospect successfully put himself on the coaching staff’s radar this spring, beginning that process when he first arrived at the player development complex as his six-foot, 210-pound frame could barely fit inside his tight workout shirt.
It wasn’t that long ago that the sixth-round selection from 2018 weighed in the 150-160 pound range. But he made the best of the COVID-19 pandemic, which wiped out the 2020 minor-league season, allowin …

Read More

Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Joey Votto on the Blue Jays would be perfect

It’s all about perspective.

On Monday morning, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden tweeted out that the plan is for Canadian first baseman Joey Votto to retire as a Cincinnati Red, unless…

Nick Krall #Reds GM told us their plan is for Joey Votto to finish his career as a Red. However, if the Reds are out of it at the trade deadline and Votto came to them and asked if they would trade him home to Toronto #BlueJays..he said he would consider under those circumstances
— Jim Bowden⚾️🏈 (@JimBowdenGM) March 20, 2023

The most interesting part of this tweet is that Votto would consider being traded to his hometown Blue Jays if the Reds are out of the playoff race. We’ll go over this more in the contract section, but keep this in mind.
In terms of fit, you may be saying “well Brennan, the Jays don’t need another first baseman, they have Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and Brandon Belt to back him up.” While that is true it’s all a matter of perspective.
Let’s dive into the numbers, his contract, and how I think he fits.
How good is future Hall of Famer Joey Votto in 2023:
I don’t think it’s unfair to say that out of any current players in the league, Votto may be one of the only locks to make the Hall of Fame. For his career, he has slashed .297/.412/.513 in 8504 plate appearances and has accumulated 57.9 fWAR in his 16-year career. For first basemen since 1900 with 5000+ plate appearances, Votto’s 57.9 fWAR ranks 26th overall, beating out 2023 Hall of Fame inductee Fred McGriff.
However, what about recent times? At the end of the day, Votto is in the twilight of his career, so it’s unlikely that he puts up a considerable amount more.
Last season, he slashed .205/.319/.370 with 11 homers in 376 plate appearances. It’s worth noting that his season was derailed by i …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Ricky Tiedemann threw a bullpen session on Sunday after being shut down with shoulder soreness

Well, Blue Jays fans got some good news on Sunday!

According to, Ricky Tiedemann threw a bullpen on Sunday and apparently felt good. Last week, it was reported that Tiedemann had soreness in his pitching shoulder, which had shut him down for a few days.

Left shoulder soreness for Ricky Tiedemann. Shut down for a couple of days but expects him to throw a side Wednesday per Schneider #BlueJays
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 13, 2023

It’s also worth noting that Tiedemann was cut in the first wave of cuts, meaning that the young pitcher will start his season in the minor leagues, likely with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The 20-year-old left-handed pitcher is the Blue Jays’ consensus top prospect, with multiple publications such as MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, Fangraphs, Prospects Live, and several other sites awarding him the number one spot.

Here’s every single pitch from Ricky Tiedemann (@TiedemannRicky3)’s afternoon.
I’m going to say it right now. This man is going to win multiple Cy Young awards.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) February 28, 2023

And for good reason, pitching mainly as a 19-year-old in 2022, he had a 2.17 ERA in 78.2 innings pitched at Low-A, High-A, and Double-A. Here’s to another good season that could potentially propel him to a top-10 position on lists, and potentially make it to the big leagues.
Other notes from the article:
Mitch White hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but that looks likely to change this upcoming week. While it may not be in a spring training game, it will be a game scenario, unlike the bullpen sessions he has recently had.
It’s also worth noting that the Jays made their second wave of cuts on March 18. Pitchers Adrián Hernández and Casey Lawrence, as well as first baseman Rainer Núñez, were all sent to minor league game on Saturday afternoon.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.


Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Whit Merrifield hit his first home run of spring training, Bowden Francis pitched well, and more as the Blue Jays beat the Yankees 5-2

It’s always a good day when the Blue Jays beat the Yankees.

On Saturday afternoon, the Jays beat the Yankees in impressive fashion. Let’s look at the standouts, as well as some other things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: Whit Merrifield
Merrifield had a productive game on Saturday afternoon, hitting his first spring training home run and driving another insurance run in his next at bat.
The battle for second base continues to brew, with Merrifield’s slash line sitting at .360/.393/.640. This is better than Santiago Espinal’s slash line (.324/378/.500) and Cavan Biggio’s slash line (.270/.341/.351).
I have no idea who will be the starting second baseman, but this battle is fun.

Raking WHIT the bat 💪@WhitMerrifield is hitting .333 this spring!
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 18, 2023

Things worth mentioning:
Bowden Francis looks damn good, doesn’t he? On Saturday afternoon, he pitched three innings, gave up three hits, two runs, and walked a batter. However, he also struck out a game-high five, generating a game-high nine whiffs. His role is yet to be determined, but I think there’s a good chance he will start the season as a starter with Buffalo.

Here’s Bowden Francis (@Bowdenpoint0)’s strikeout and whiff edit.
Very good fastball today, as it had a 43 whiff percentage (9 whiffs on 21 swings).
Could be a starter to look out for this season.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 18, 2023

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s knee is doing better. He hit his third home run of the spring in only 21 plate appearances. That home run tied him with George Springer for the most, but the latter has 36 …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Yusei Kikuchi’s spring training shutout streak comes to an end as Blue Jays drop both split-squad games to Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies have finally gotten revenge for 1993.

They beat the Blue Jays by a score of 4-2 at home in Clearwater and they also pounded the Blue Jays by a score of 8-1 in Dunedin, earning themselves a Grapefruit League split-squad sweep. Flags fly forever!
Things worth mentioning…

Yusei Kikuchi had been perhaps the biggest story at camp for the Blue Jays, as he went 9 2/3 innings in his first four appearances of spring without allowing a run. Kikuchi’s spring shutout came to an end on Friday, unfortunately, as he walked the first two batters of the game, Brandon Marsh and Alec Bohm, and then allowed a double to Jake Cave. Kikuchi allowed one more run to score in the first frame on a sac fly but he settled down and found his groove after that. All told, he went three-and-one-third innings and allowed two earned runs on one hit and three walks while striking out three.

Kikuchi says he’s very happy with where he’s at right now, feeling free to let loose & attack hitters instead of thinking about mechanics.
Yusei did today’s post-game interview in English without an interpreter (after joking that I had to ask my questions in Japanese). #BlueJays
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) March 17, 2023

Following Kikuchi, Adrian Hernandez and Paul Fry both got knocked around and combine …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays apparently made a “contract suggestion” to Alek Manoah this winter and the two sides were “not close”

We’ve got some Blue Jays news (?) shoved in the middle of a News and Notes article from Jon Heyman at the New York Post…

The Jays in nearby Dunedin can really hit. And their outfield, which formerly had one part-time center fielder, now has three who can do it. Their baserunning is also much improved, a consideration with those pizza-box bases.
The Jays made a contract suggestion for Alek Manoah this winter. Word is they were “not close.”
The way this information is presented is funny because it goes from Heyman complimenting an improvement the team made over the off-season and then quickly chiming in with a quick jab that they’re “not close” on a “contract suggestion,” which makes it appear as though there’s some rift between the team and their young ace.
Heyman calling it a “contract suggestion” indicates that no actual offer was made from the Blue Jays to Manoah but it also doesn’t give any indication of how serious the talk was. It’s more than likely just the standard early stages of a negotiation, in which both sides present what they feel would be a worthwhile long-term agreement for them to make.
From Toronto’s perspective, they’d be looking for a hometown discount from Manoah in exchange for security, while Manoah would likely only want to lock himself down in exchange for a gigantic bag of cash given how well the first two seasons of his Major League career …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Home run from Blue Jay Otto Lopez leads Canada to huge win over Colombia at World Baseball Classic

Canada and Colombia faced off earlier today in an important contest for Pool C, one that was going to help the winner on their quest to advance in the World Baseball Classic while the loser is likely advancing out of the round-robin stage.

Team Canada was coming off a demoralizing loss to the United States last night, losing 12 to 1 through seven innings, while Colombia dropped their contest to Great Britain yesterday 7 to 5, an upset that gave the country its first win in World Baseball Classic history. Both teams earned a win earlier in the week however, Colombia upset Mexico in extra innings while Canada scored 18 runs in their opener over Great Britain, mercying them in the seventh inning. 
For Canada, Phillies prospect Noah Skirrow was given the start while Colombia sent southpaw Adrian Almeida to the mound. The right-hander put forward the best start for Team Canada so far in the tournament, going 5.0 innings without allowing an earned run with two hits and one walk while striking out five, including Angels infielder Gio Urshela. Skirrow was able to avoid any damage from the walks by getting catcher Jorge Alfaro to ground into two separate double plays while also getting some help from Bo Naylor, with the two combining for a strikeout/throw-em-out double play, nailing Oscar Mercado at second base.
Canada Earns its Second Win of the World Baseball Classic – Shuts Out Colombia
At the …

Read More

Author: Tyson Shushkewich / Blue Jays Nation