Not Sunny in Philadelphia: Bo Bichette’s error wins the game for the Phillies

Part of baseball being a beautiful sport is that a game can be a snooze-fest through eight innings, then must-see, intense TV for two innings. That’s exactly what happened this afternoon, as the Blue Jays lost the lead and eventually the game 2-1, and the Phillies swept the mini two-game series.

With runners at first and second with one out in the 10th, Tim Mayza fielded a tailor-made double play ball and threw to second to get the first out. Bo Bichette’s throw to first, however, was wide to the left, and it took Vladimir Guerrero Jr. off the bag allowing the lead runner to score. It was Bichette’s fourth error of the season.
While this play will get magnified, Bichette was not the sole reason Toronto lost the game. Unfortunately, it was the final play of the game, and the Blue Jays lost their second game in a row.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Kevin Gausman
Gausman needed a rebound start after his last outing against the Red Sox in which he gave up eight earned runs after 3.1 innings. That’s exactly what he produced, with his stat line today featuring a whole lot of zeros. Gausman pitched six innings of shutout baseball while only allowing three hits, no walk …

Read More

Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Taking a deep dive into CJ Van Eyk’s first outing in 619 days

619 days.

The last time CJ Van Eyk pitched in a professional baseball game was 619 days before Sunday’s return to action with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays.
The 24-year-old right-handed pitcher threw his last baseball on August 26th, before receiving Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, as he stated in an interview with CsPlusBaseball’s Niall O’Donohoe.

The 2020 second-round pick made his return with the Dunedin Blue Jays on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the play-by-play of that game.
Taking a deep dive on Van Eyk’s first game of 2023:
He generated a swing and miss against the first batter he faced. On the fourth pitch, the batter lined out to right field. Van Eyk walked the next batter on six pitches, before getting the next batter to flyout. Up next was Carlos Aguiar, who singled to Jaden Rudd. Danny De Andrade, who had walked, made a foolish decision to run on Jaden Rudd, who threw him out at third.
In the second inning, he got Minnesota prospect Ricardo Olivar to ground out. The next batter struck out looking on a 92.6 mph pitch which Savant considers a curveball, but it was likely the fastball with a ton of sink. The next batter reached on an error, before Van Eyk generated his second ground out of the inning.
In the third inning, Van Eyk got a flyout, before Jorel Ortega had the only extra-base hit of the inning. A wild pitch and a walk put runners on the corners with one out, before the 24-year-old got a timely ground ball to end the third inning and his first outing in 619 days.
The metrics:
Anytime you can confuse Baseball Savant into thinking you are throwing a 93.9 mph curveball, you’re doing something right.
Van Eyk threw 25 fastballs, which averaged 92 mph. Moreover, the hardest fastball he threw was 94.4 mph, which also had the highest spin rate of 2292 RPM. The slo …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Oakland Athletics could relocate to Las Vegas

It appears that a Major League Baseball team could be on the move for the first time since the Montreal Expos left for Washington.

On Wednesday night, The Nevada Independent released an article stating that the Oakland Athletics ownership is planning to purchase land in Las Vegas, Nevada to build a brand new $1.5 billion stadium. It’s not quite a done deal, but Fox Sports’ Ben Verlander tweeted this photo early on Thursday morning.

Wow. A statement has been released by the Oakland A’s on the Vegas move.
This is happening.
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) April 20, 2023

Obviously, building a stadium takes time, so the team in Oakland may not be moving for awhile  However, after 20+ years of attempting to move out of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, it appears the team is just going to move to Las Vegas.
On top of having one of the worst teams in 2023, Oakland has an average attendance of 11,025 in their 12 home games according to Looking at the year by year numbers, they haven’t ranked above 20th since the 2005 season. That’s partially due to the stadium being awful, and also in part due to not making the American League Championship Series since 2006.
The Oakland Coliseum has gotten so bad that there’s apparently a possum living inside the walls in the visiting broadcast booth.

MLB teams visiting the Oakland A’s have been unable to use the visiting broadcast booth.
A possum is “living inside its walls”, and has been since last season.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 15, 2023

Meanwhile, Las Vegas is the new hottest destination for Big Four American Sport Leagues. In fact, this is not the first time a Big Four sports team made the move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The National Football League’s “Raiders” franchise had two stints in Oakland, …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Bo Bichette becomes the fastest Blue Jay to 500 hits as Blue Jays end Tampa’s winning streak at 13 with 6-3 win

Baseball is beautiful sometimes. One night you’re losing to one of the worst teams in baseball, and the next night you’re defeating a team who had won their first 13 games of the season.

“You,” in that sense, are the Blue Jays, who just stopped Tampa Bay from breaking the record for consecutive wins to start a season in the MLB era. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 6-3 behind a strong start from Jose Berrios – his best of the year thus far – and some self-inflicted errors from the Rays.
This was a critical game for both teams, as the Rays had a chance to take a six-game lead over the Blue Jays with a win tonight. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, were trying to prevent digging themselves into that kind of hole early in the season. Yes, it is April, but last year, the Yankees built a similar lead early, and it certainly paid off for New York down the stretch.
Regardless of the records, this was a win over a legitimate contender, and the Blue Jays showed some encouraging signs tonight.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Bo Bichette
It was between Bo or Berrios, but Bo has been really good to start this season, and he deserves some big-time recogn …

Read More

Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays introducing new Schneiders Porch at Rogers Centre

What’s better than hot dogs and baseball? Dedicating an entire porch at a professional baseball stadium so fans can enjoy the best of both worlds. And that’s precisely what the Toronto Blue Jays intend to do this season.
Amid phase one of the Rogers Centre’s $300-million renovation, the franchise has overhauled its outfield seating section over the winter and added several new fan experience sections, including multiple gathering porches. One, in particular, is being sponsored by Schneiders and will become the ballpark’s new “hot dog headquarters.”

Elevate your hot dog game at the new @Schneiders Porch!
How many will you be eating in 2023?
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 3, 2023

This new attraction will be located beyond the right field wall at Section 209 and will invite fans to explore a wide variety of one-of-a-kind culinary creations. Baseball fans will be able to stop by during a game, with the Schneiders Porch’s capacity capable of holding upwards of 150 fans, including a front-row section that can be reserved for a group of up to 20 people.
“We’re excited to partner once again with the Toronto Blue Jays,” said Casey Richards, President and Chief Growth Officer, Maple Leaf Foods. “The Schneiders Porch is designed true to the brand’s authentic recipes, high craftsmanship standards, and irresistible taste.”
Loonie Dog nights at the Rogers Centre were a major hit with Toronto’s fan base last season, and that is likely to continue even further in 2023 as Schneider’s Porch will transform into Loonie Dogs Central every Tuesday home game.
The first Loonie Dog night is scheduled for Apr. 25 against the Chicago White Sox.

Read More

Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Canadians to Watch Amongst the Top 25 Programs in Division I Baseball this season

As the college baseball season is right around the corner for many teams across the United States, there are tons of Canadians represented across numerous Division I, II, and III programs and in JUCO ball from coast to coast.

Using the D1 Baseball preseason rankings, let’s look at the Canadian players present on the rosters of the Top 25 teams in Division I baseball programs heading into the 2023 season. I utilized the Canadian Baseball Network’s Canadians intent page for assistance in making this list as well as going to each program’s roster. Some players listed below may not be on the official roster at the time of writing but have committed to the program.
Micah Bucknam – Lousiana State University (#2)
Born in New Zealand, Micah Bucknam grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia and was a Canadian Junior National team member. Those Blue Jays fans who follow the MLB Draft will likely remember Bucknam’s name, as he was drafted by the club in the 16th round of the 2021 MLB Draft but chose not to sign. At the time, he had a commitment to the University of Washington but he reclassified for the 2022 MLB Draft and also committed to LSU, with Bucknam spending the 2022 season in the MLB Draft League.

Micah Bucknam of Abbotsford, BC goes to the @BlueJays in the 16th round, 482nd overall!#MLBD …

Read More

Author: Tyson Shushkewich / Blue Jays Nation

Batted Ball Distribution is crucial for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to take the next step

Baseball is hard.

But it’s a lot harder when you hit the ball on the ground every time, something that the Blue Jays, as a team, do more than anyone else in the American League. At this point, it’s an undeniable problem. The correlation between Vladimir Guerrero’s groundball rate and his overall hitting ability couldn’t be more blatantly obvious…

We can see, that aside from a weird little run in the middle of his season, Vlad’s wRC+ seems to be the opposite of his GB%, suggesting that it could be at fault when he’s not doing well. Now, in fairness, correlation = causation is the oldest fallacy in the book. So let’s start by proving that the groundball issues are DIRECTLY responsible for the first baseman’s struggles this season.
What’s the best kind of batted ball? Let’s see…

This chart breaks down league average wRC+ based on what type of batted ball is entered. As you can see, the best specific type of batted ball is a pulled flyball. However, in general, line drives are significantly better than flyballs, which are significantly better than groundballs.
Groundballs are very significantly the worst type of batted ball, and the Blue Jays hit them more than any other American League in 2022. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. It hurt several of their biggest stars, not just Vladdy. It definitely hurt the first baseman, who saw his groundball rate jump 7% in 2021, as his wRC+ tanked more than 30 points. But it’s not just him. George Springer had a ridiculous 2021, as his groundball rate was only 32.6%. In 2022, it jumped up to 44.5%, and his wRC+ dropped 8 points.
But, let’s not kid ourselves. Vlad Jr. is a very good hitter. I’m not here to tell you about why a bad hitter could be a good one if he stopped hitting groundballs. He finished 2022 with a 132 wRC+. Nonetheless, there is so much room for improvement. Vladimir Guerrero is among the most talented hitters that the league has seen in decades. George Springer, Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman and Teoscar Hernandez are no slouches of their own. How can Vladdy unlock the (hashtag) next level?
Well, it would take fundamental change. Nothing is simple when you’re facing major league pitching.
However, let’s take Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as our example once again. This frame is from a game in Texas, during an at-bat that is just about to end, with a pulled groundball resulting in an out.

You can see that Vladdy is making contact with the baseball at the lowest point of his swing, t …

Read More

Author: Tate Kispech / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Yankees in the mix for Bryan Reynolds, other MLB owners are mad about Steve Cohen’s spending, and more!

Christmas is right around the corner and things in the baseball world are unsurprisingly slowing down but we’ve still got a few worthwhile notes to go through today…

According to Jon Morosi, the New York Yankees are among the teams who are in the mix for Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds…

Sources: #Yankees among teams in contact with #Pirates on Bryan Reynolds over recent weeks; one obstacle to a trade is that Pittsburgh prefers starting pitchers to headline the return and top end of Yankees’ system is deeper in position players. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 22, 2022

The switch-hitting Reynolds has been widely discussed as a fit to fill the Blue Jays’ biggest need right now, which is a big bat that isn’t right-handed. He reportedly requested a trade earlier this off-season and there’s an obvious connection between Toronto and Pittsburgh because Pirates general manager Ben Cherington used to work in the Blue Jays front office.
The interesting part of this note is that it gives us a little bit of a look into what the Pirates might be looking for in return for one of their best players. Morosi said that the Pirates are looking for pitching prospects to headline the return for Reynolds, which isn’t all that surprising considering they only have one pitcher among their top five prospects.
With that in mind, you’d figure that the Pirates would be asking for Rickey Tiedemann, Toronto’s top pitching prospect, in a potential Reynolds deal. Pittsburgh’s top prospect is catcher Henry Davis, so they likely wouldn’t be interested in making a deal that centers around Gabriel Moreno. That said, the Blue Jays could always get a third team involved and move one of their catchers for a pitching prospect that the Pirates like. Who knows.
Elsewhere, the New York Mets are close to finalizing a 12-year, $315 million deal with Carlos Correa, days afte …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Mike Clevinger’s contract with the White Sox further indicates an expensive free-agent market this winter

After a lull in the baseball world over the past week, we got a pair of signings on Sunday and Monday, as Jose Abreu inked a multi-year contract with the Houston Astros and Mike Clevinger inked a show-me deal with the Chicago White Sox.

This flurry of moves sees the White Sox move on from Abreu, who slashed a .292/.354/.506 line with the team over the course of nine seasons, and add a reclamation project to their starting rotation. Clevinger was moved in a big trade from Cleveland to the San Diego Padres during the 2020 season. He made just four starts with the team and underwent Tommy John surgery and then missed the entirety of the 2021 season.
In his first year back from Tommy John, Clevinger posted a 4.33 ERA over the course of 114 1/3 innings. His fastball velocity hovered around 93.5 miles per hour, a noticeable drop from where it was during his successful seasons in Cleveland. As a result, his strikeout rate dipped to 18.8% in 2022 compared to 27.5% in 2020 and 22.6% in 2019.
Now, why does any of this matter? Because Clevinger’s contract, which has $12 million guaranteed, further indicates just how expensive this winter’s free-agent market is going to be…

$12M is more than I e …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Checking in on Blue Jays players playing in the Dominican Winter League

The great thing about baseball is that it’s a year round sport, even if Major League Baseball ends in a week.

The Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) and Mexican Pacific Winter League are in full swing now, so how are Jays players doing for their respective teams? Let’s look at a former top 100 prospect to begin.
Nate Pearson:
After pitching in the big leagues in 2020 and 2021, Nate Pearson missed all of the 2022 season. First by contracting mononucleosis, then suffering a lat strain in a rehab game. The story of his career thus far has been injuries, but unlucky injuries. No better example of this than getting hit with a comebacker at the start of the 2018 minor league season, which broke his ulna (forearm).
To get innings, Pearson headed to the Dominican Republic to play for the Tigres de Licey. In his five innings, he hasn’t allowed an earned run, while owning a 25 K% and a 6.25 BB%. Pearson has been used mainly as a high-leverage reliever which is a good sign.
I think as the years go by, his ceiling leans more toward a high-leverage reliever, rather than a starter or a bulk reliever. Although some may argue that Pearson becoming a reliever may “lessen” his value, having a guy throwing 100 mph out of the bullpen is super important.
It will be interesting to see the organization’s plan for the 26-year-old righty heading into his eighth season with the team.
Rainer Nunez:
Rainer Nunez is the only other Blue …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation