Baseball Hot Corner: 2015 MLB Predictions

ball mlb logos (2)For this year, instead of asking just a few writers to give their picks of the standings along with their explanations of those picks, I decided to poll all the writers on Baseball Hot Corner (BHC) and summarize the results. I simply asked each writer to give me their predicted order of finish in each division along with their picks for the wild cards and World Series winner as well as for the annual awards.

Here is what we said:

AL East: Boston led the way with 8 first place votes. Toronto was the team with the second most picks to finish in first with … Continue reading→

Kyle Drabek Claimed by White Sox

DC_Spring_Training27.jpgKyle Drabek, who had been competing to join the Blue Jays’ bullpen when the team headed north, has been claimed on waivers by the Chicago White Sox. It isn’t entirely clear at present if Drabek will join Chicago’s bullpen or try to be snuck through waivers again by them since he’s out of options. David Robertson, Zach Putnam … Continue reading→

Current & Future Cuban All-Stars

rusney castillo4 (2)As the last instalment of this four part series I’ve written on both current and future Cuban all-stars, I’m covering outfielders and designated hitters. For previous instalments, check out Part 1 (1B & 2B), Part 2 (SS, 3B, C), and Part 3 (SP & RP). To continue reading this series over on Baseball Hot Corner, click here.

Ramifications of Michael Saunders’ injury

Image via Elaine Thompson/AP

Image via Elaine Thompson/AP

With news of the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting left fielder, Michael Saunders, out until the All-Star break with a torn meniscus in his left knee, the injury bug has already bitten this team and it’s the first day positional players had to report to spring training! While it’s way too early to play the “throw in the towel, it’s all over” card, Toronto has to regroup…Continue reading→

Candidates for the Canadian Roster at the Pan-Am Games

Above is that of Maxx Tissenbaum.

Above is that of Maxx Tissenbaum.

Last week, JP Morosi of Fox Sports wrote about the potential American roster for this summer’s Pan-Am Games taking place in Toronto from July 10-26th. The roster is truly stacked – go ahead, and click on the link to have a look. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to delve into who the candidates would be for the Canadian roster. Keep in mind, eligible players must not be on any MLB club’s 40 man roster, and they would also have to receive permission to play in the tournament…Continue reading→

Growing The Game Amongst African-Americans

youth field the star ledger scott lituchy

Image via The Star-Ledger’s Scott Lituchy

The percentage of African-American players in MLB has declined steadily since the mid 90’s. It was 8.3 percent in 2013 and it is believed, according to Mark Armour of SABR, that baseball has suffered a decrease from about twice that – around 18 to 19 percent – which is what it was from the 70’s into the 90’s. In contrast, Latino players were at 28.3 percent; Asian at 2.1 percent…Continue reading→

When Will The Tigers Window Close?

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Detroit TigersThis is hardly scientific, but here’s an attempt to shed some light on when the Detroit Tigers current window of contention might close. I’ll look at a recent, strikingly similar comparable and look at the Tigers’ performance in relation to their payroll, and how they’ve currently been trying to fill out their roster.

There are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the windows of contention between…Continue reading→

Notes on Blue Jays State of the Franchise

The following are some notes from the annual Blue Jays State of the Franchise event held at Rogers Centre, which was streamed live online.

GM Alex Anthopoulos explained his offseason goals in “getting more durable” guys like Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson. He mentioned improving the defense was a priority and he accomplished that with the Michael Saunders and Martin acquisitions. He also wanted to change the mix of the club, saying “we’ve added [to the roster], we’ve gotten better.”

The projected lineup and rotation flashed on the screen showing the following:

Reyes, SS

Martin, C

Bautista, RF

Encarnacion, DH

Donaldson, 3B

Smoak, 1B

Saunders, LF

Pompey, CF

2B

And they had Aaron Sanchez penciled into the fifth spot of the rotation.

Anthopoulos made it clear however that “things can still happen,” that they’re still talking to teams about trades, there’s still free agents out there, so there’s a scenario where Sanchez could still end up in the bullpen as a late relief arm.

Buck Martinez reiterated to the fans in attendance and those streaming the event live online “don’t get too concerned about your team until opening day” pointing to the fact that potential moves could still be made to bolster the bullpen, even during spring training.

Paul Beeston said regarding grass being put in Rogers Centre, “We can get the sun, we can get the water,” it’s just the air currents that they’re looking into. Apparently, they signed a contract today with the University of Guelph to research this issue.

Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said that reports on infielder Maicer Izturis are good, that “he’s in the best condition he’s ever been.” So that’s good because he’ll challenge to be the starting second baseman when the club heads north. Gibbons also reiterated that prospect Devon Travis will get a good look in the spring as well and he might just run away with it “if he’s ready”.

More from Anthopoulos, as he said “we’ve wanted Saunders for three years now,” as he mentioned how pleased he thinks fans will be of his “gold glove” defense in left field. He’s a “very excited” player to be on this Blue Jays team right now. The Mariners also claimed J.A. Happ on trade waivers (last August), so interest was there for the eventual trade to transpire between those two players.

Anthopoulos said that “Sanchez could have been our best pitcher last year” which is some high praise to put on a rookie, and yet very exciting for fans to contemplate for the coming season. He also made a Matt Harvey mention when talking about prospect Daniel Norris and what he can potentially bring to the team.

Beeston also shared that he spoke with new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred the other day about the Blue Jays hosting another All-Star game. “We’re going to put a proposal together,” he said. “We deserve it. It’s our turn!”  Quite right, it’s been 25 years since the last one in 1991 when Kirby Puckett hit a home run derby ball into the soup out in Windows Restaurant.

Lastly, Anthopoulos shared some insights on the Melky Cabrera negotiations, saying they talked to Melky early on in the offseason, and once again when the Saunders deal was on the burner. At that time, Alex was informed that Melky would be open to a three or four year deal, thereby implying that he was initially looking for five years. Ultimately, they were too far down the road with Saunders and they spent a fair chunk of money on Martin already. “Martin was a better fit,” Anthopoulos said.

Casey Janssen Signs With Nationals

janssen2 (2)Free agent reliever, Casey Janssen, has agreed to one year contract with the Washington Nationals. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports was the first to report it Wednesday morning with the contract being for a guaranteed $5M which includes a mutual option for 2016. The Nationals most definitely have added a quality reliever that will likely serve in a set-up role for closer Drew Storen, however with the fluidity of closers lately, Janssen could end up generating some saves… Continue reading→

Marco Estrada: Starter or Reliever?

marco estrada (2)Having dealt their fifth starter last year in J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays currently have an opening at the back of their rotation. While some people want stud prospect Aaron Sanchez to take that spot, or a free agent signee like Ryan Vogelsong or maybe even Chris Young, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi still thinks there’s a chance Marco Estrada may end up as the fifth starter depending on what happens with Sanchez.

By using shear logic, Estrada shouldn’t be anywhere near a pitchers mound to start a game as evidenced by… Continue reading→