Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eagles, eagles, and more eagles.

I was going to write about the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen, but I got bored. The Jays are so over. Fire AA.


On a different bird note, I'm a scoreboard watcher on PGATour.com. A nice way to pass a few minutes, seeing who's hot and who's not. I especially like that they've added a color for triples. Brown. Shit brown.

Anyways, I noticed some serious eagles happening at the Albertsons Boise Open Presented by Kraft.

In the 2nd round, 2 guys made 3 eagles apiece. Both made them at the same holes. 3, 15, and 16. 15's a par 4, the other 2 are par 5's.

Chris Smith (tied for 31st at -15)



Brad Elder (Elder missed the cut by 2 shots despite the 3 eagles and his 2nd round 64)



Then along comes Hunter Haas. He eagles the par 5 16th in the 3rd round. Then in the 4th round he again eagles 16, and throws in an ace at 17 for good measure. Haas finished T6 at -20.


See the ace here: http://www.pgatour.com/content/pgatour/video.html/2013/07/28/haas-aces-no--17-in-round-2-of-the-albertsons-boise-open

And another guy, Jason Allred, makes eagles in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th rounds. He also makes 24 birdies. Unfortunately he also made 8 bogeys and one double bogey, so he finished 3 back. And since I haven't bothered looking at all the cards, for all I know there could be more guys who made 3.

17 guys finished the tournament at -18 or lower. That's -1 for every 4 holes played. That's birdiemania. Oh yeah, Kevin Tway won for the 1st time. Bob's kid. Another 2nd generation future superstar? Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays Part 2

Pitching. The Jays and their pitchers. Truly a tale of 2 extremes. Let's look at the first extreme, the starters.

So far the Jays have used 13 starting pitchers this season. My analysis will start from the "top", with the pitcher with the most starts. Stats as of 10:27 AM PST, July 9 2013.

1. R.A. Dickey. 19 starts. ERA+ 89.

AA gave up the farm for this guy, not only trading some great prospects but signing him to a massive extension. Yes, he's a great feel good story. But oh my goodness, what a terrible decision to bring this guy to Toronto.  Seriously, what could possibly go wrong in bringing in a 38 year old knuckleballer from a pitcher's league and a pitcher's park and dumping him into a hitter's league and hitter's park? I'm not an "I told you so" guy, but when this deal was going down I knew it was going to suck. All the arguments from the mostly clueless Jays fans about how knuckleballers pitch forever (except they really don't). He's slightly better on 5 days rest than on 4 days rest, so if the Jays could put together a 6 man rotation.....ah, forget about it. If he has any value at all, he should be traded immediately. Who would want the 2 guaranteed years at 12 million per I don't know. Especially for a pitcher who absolutely SUCKS this year. Sorry R.A., the story is great, the book was a good read, but you need to get back to the NL ASAP.

2. Mark Buehrle. 18 starts. ERA+ 95.

I kind of feel bad for Mark. He made an intelligent decision to move to Miami and pitch in the NL. He realized that as he got older he needed to be in a more pitcher friendly league. Unfortunately he chose to believe the supposed promises that he wouldn't get traded, and now here he is in Toronto, in the AL, and without his family and dogs. Now, before you go warming up the violin, keep in mind that so far in his career he's been paid over 100 million dollars to pitch, and will receive another 37 million dollars in 2014-2015. So my sympathy is limited.
Pitching wise he's been below average, but with age and the move back to the AL, he's right about where I expected him to be. And how long can he keep throwing 200+ innings a year? If he makes it to 200 this year, it'll be 13 straight seasons. The absolute definition of a workhorse. And more than a little lucky to not have had a major injury.
Buehrle would be a solid 3 or 4 guy in a good rotation. Statistically he's #1 in the Jays rotation, but that isn't saying much. I'm sure he'd love to get back to the NL and a pitbull friendly city just as soon as possible.

3. Brandon Morrow. 10 starts. ERA+ 76.

This is how bad the Jays rotation is that this injury prone terrible pitcher has the 3rd most starts. Morrow was decent in 2012, but in 2013 he's back to his terrible self. He has bad mechanics that cause injuries, and he's incredibly inconsistent. The occasional flash of brilliance will never make up for the end product. And he's getting 8 million dollars this year to suck!

4. Josh Johnson. 10 starts. ERA+ 87.

Another part of the deal with the Marlins that supposedly guaranteed the Jays a World Series title. Another abject failure. Another injury prone guy who will never be as good as he could have been. And another shocking failure by AA. He's making 13.75 million this year to suck. Fortunately he'll be a free agent next season. I hope the Jays can move him and get something in return before his arm finally falls off.

5. J.A. Happ. 7 starts. ERA+ 88.

Happ was lucky to survive the liner to the head that sent him to hospital. I hope he gets better. I also hope he ends up pitching for a different team, because he's simply not a very good pitcher. Fortunately for him, his continued ability to be left handed will almost certainly guarantee him a major league roster spot for another 10 years or so.

6. Esmil Rogers. 7 starts. ERA+ 111.

Not even truly a starter, although he did make some starts for Colorado in the past. And was terrible. He pitched decently for Cleveland last year in relief, and was doing an ok job for the Jays when he was forced into the rotation due to injuries. After being useful in his first 6 starts, he got bombed by Detroit in his last one. I still think the Jays would have been better off keeping Aviles and Gomes, as both those guys would be more useful to the team. This guy has a very brief history of being a good pitcher, and quite frankly I don't expect it to last. I also fully expect him to be the next injured Jays pitcher.

The other 17 starts have been made by retreads and suspect prospects. No team can expect to contend with this horror show of a rotation. Nice work, GM!



Monday, July 8, 2013

The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays

It's been a long time between posts, but for some reason I feel the need to write about the Jays. Living in Canada I find that the Jays get a lot of coverage, so naturally they're one team that I still keep an eye on. And with Alex Anthropolous being GM, I sometimes wonder if he thinks he's playing in a fantasy league.

So, I'm going to look at the hitters first, in order of plate appearances (as of 2:03pm PST on July 8, 2013).
                                         AVG   OBP    SLG    OPS     OPS+
1. Edwin Encarnacion.  .268     .357     .532     .889     138   

EE is having an excellent follow up to his break out season of 2012. He's also less worse than usual in the field, and as long as he mostly plays 1B or DH's he's obviously an integral part of the lineup.

2. Jose Bautista. .265     .364     .513     .877     135

Still solid with the bat. I think he's settled in to a level of hitting that won't improve much over time. The .302 season in 2011 was an outlier. Fielding is average, and as a 32 year old his returns will begin to diminish. As much as I think it's time to get some huge value for him now, the Jays can't possibly afford to lose his bat from the lineup. His batting second is intriguing, clearly not the best place for a slugger to bat, but he gets on base a lot and the Jays really don't have a classic 2 hitter.

3. Melky Cabrera. .278     .321     .362     .684     86

I hated this signing when it happened, I had no faith that Melky could hit anywhere near his PED levels, and he's actually been even worse than I expected. A terrible, terrible signing. Truly one of the worst signings by AA in his time with the Jays.

4. Colby Rasmus. .250     .324     .476     .800     114

It's a shame he wasn't a fireballing pitcher, because then one could say "And Colby brings the cheese". He's been better than I expected with the bat. The power being the redeeming factor, but also a few walks thrown in to boost his OBP. With his decent glove in CF he's an important member of the team. However, I can't see him ever being as good as he was in his 2nd season with the Cards. Still way too many K's.

5. J.P. Arencibia. .219     .252     .418     .669     78

Just freaking terrible. A terrible hitter, and a terrible catcher. With his complete lack of sense of the strike zone while batting, I think it would be impossible for him to be a good catcher. If he can't figure out what the opposition is doing to get him out, how can he ever figure out what to call for from his pitcher? However, with a complete black hole for backups, the Jays are stuck with him. There's basically NOTHING in the system for catchers that would be considered a prospect, aside from maybe this Derrick Chung who is playing in A+ at Dunedin. However he's 25 years old and has no power, so he's not much of a prospect. There are no catchers in the system, other than ancient Ramon Hernandez at AAA, who could play in the majors. What the hell is AA doing?

6. Maicer Izturis. .243     .280     .341     .622     68

Another useless signing. Maicer's OPS+ of 68 is abysmal. Even his career mark of 91 isn't so hot. And where did his speed go? He had 17 SB last year, 0 this year.  He's not a good fielder, and not a major league hitter. What a waste of money.

7. Adam Lind. .309     .368     .519     .886     138

A true surprise. He's hitting at almost the same level as his 2009 season. He's not a total klutz at 1B either. He's even hitting lefties decently, in the few AB's he's had against them. The big question though is will it last? Is the Adam Lind of 2009 back to stay, or will the Adam Lind of 2010-2012 rear his ugly head again?  At his current level of hitting, he's a useful piece. If he drops back to previous levels, he's a useless piece.

8. Emilio Bonifacio.  .209     .242     .312     .554     49

Possibly the worst hitter around. How this guy can keep getting AB's is beyond reason. The Jays have Jim Negrych in AAA. He's a .300 hitter in his minor league career, and he's having an excellent season (.319 .384 .452 .836). He can't possibly be worse than Emilio. Sure, he's 28 and never played a game in the majors, but I personally guarantee that he can't be worse than Emilio. Heck, I might be better than Emilio.  Emilio's current level of expertise is running. He can stick around to pinch run and be a late inning defensive replacement if he has to be on the roster. But keep this guy away from the plate, please.

9. Munenori Kawasaki. .212     .315     .300     .615     69




He can draw the occasional walk, and steal an occasional base, and play an ok SS, and be all fun and a crowd favorite, but he is in no way at all an everyday player. More proof of the incredible short sightedness of AA. Sure, you can't know that Jose Reyes was going to get hurt, but you've got to have something better available as a middle infield replacement when needed.

10. Rajai Davis. .296     .341     .395     .736     100

He's a player that must hit around .300 to be worth putting out there at all. Currently he's doing so. It won't continue. His only true benefit to the team is his speed. His fielding isn't great, and he's lacking in power. If Rajai Davis is your best replacement outfielder, you're simply not going to have a winning team.


So, clearly the fact that Jose Reyes isn't in the top 10 of Jays plate appearances is one major reason that the Jays have a middle of the pack offense. But it's clearly not the only one. Gaping holes at C, 2B, SS, and 3B contribute greatly to a weak lineup. A telling stat is that the Jays have only drawn 4 IBB, last in the league.  It shows that no one on the Jays isn't pitchable, especially if you consider that Jose Bautista led the league in IBB with 24 in 2011.

I'll try and take a look at the pitching tomorrow, and add in some final thoughts.

All stats from baseballreference.com


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thoughts on the Vancouver Canucks and the riot.

I was hoping to write a post about how great it was that my hometown team had finally won a Cup 40 years after coming into existence. Seeing as I'm about the same age as the team, it would have been nice.

I've always supported my home town team. In 1994 I worked in a sports card store during our playoff run, and whenever someone asked me who was going to win that night, I'd always jokingly say "Not the Canucks!". It got us all the way to game 7, and we all know what happened after that.

After the lockout of 2004/05, I gave up watching hockey. I still kept tabs on it, but I quickly went from being a guy who knew every player in the league to a guy who didn't miss it at all. In fact, aside from the Olympics, I didn't watch a full game until this season's playoffs.

Surprisingly enough, I found that the game had changed somewhat for the better. No line changes on icings sped things up a lot, and despite the usual idiocy by players like Matt Cooke, the league seemed to be moving in the right direction.

Being a real Canucks fan isn't easy. People here love to hate a player if he isn't perfect. For years the Sedins have been called "The Sisters", and whenever Roberto Luongo gives up a goal it's as if he's personally letting down everyone in the city. Basically the city is full of bandwagon jumpers.

So anyways, we got past Chicago this year (finally), dispatched Nashville and San Jose pretty easily, and won the first 2 games against the Bruins. There was talk of a sweep, people were saying that they should purposely lose one in Boston so they could win it on home ice in game 5. Seemingly these people didn't realize that we barely won the 1st 2 games, that the Sedins were completely nullified, and that Ryan Kesler was playing hurt and without effectiveness.

So sure enough we got bombed in Boston. We scored one goal in 2 games, but all the blame was on the goalie. Hello people, you don't win games when you average half a goal per. It just doesn't happen. Without Luongo's play, the Canucks don't win games 1 and 2 and the series is over in 4.

So back to Vancouver for game 5, and we fluke a goal and Luongo holds the fort and we win another 1-0 game. And again, everything is roses. Ankles healed, the bandwagon jumpers are back aboard, predicting an easy win in game 6. Forgetting that Boston has a better defense, and actually has more than 1 scoring line. Heck, the Canucks didn't even have 1 scoring line. And we lose, and yes in game 6 Luongo let in 2 bad goals. Again though, we only score twice late, and you can't consistently win while barely scoring.

So back home for game 7. I was nervous, couldn't sleep even. I didn't have a good feeling though. And the pest Marchand set up one goal, scored another on a wrap around, then they scored short handed, and really that was it. No comeback was in the offing. The crowd was completely dead, which compared with the level of noise in Boston was shameful. I can truly say I've never seen a worse effort in a game 7 in a final series in any sport, ever. And yeah, people will complain about the officiating, but in reality, we only scored 8 goals in 7 games. The fact that we won 3 of those games was completely because of Roberto Luongo. That we lost the other 4 and only scored 3 goals in those games was down to Boston's great D and of course Tim Thomas. We just weren't good enough.

So, who knows how long until we get back to a final? Could be next year, but that's what we said in 1994. Could be another 17 years.

And we have another riot to pick up after, a horrible pre-planned riot that was going to happen win or lose. The rioters weren't concerned about the result of the game, they wanted to wreak havoc. They wanted to burn stuff. They wanted to steal stuff. Our Police were naive enough to assume that having 150000 people in the downtown core watching the game on big screens was going to end peacefully, despite what happened in 1994. What would have happened at the 2010 Olympics if they hadn't arrested many of the troublemakers early on. It was a sad and horrible night. I hope those guilty and stupid enough to show their faces and brag on social media actually do some time, but I don't have much faith in the system really punishing them. Just the incredible stupidity of so many people is enlightening and very sad at the same time.

On the bright side, a lot of people came out this morning and helped clean things up, thanks to a facebook page and the goodness of their hearts. Real sports fans didn't commit these acts, but real sports fans came out in droves to pick up the pieces, and to try and identify the perpetrators online. You can easily find the facebook groups involved if you so wish.

So I leave with congratulations to the Bruins and their fans. It was at times an ugly series, and the sad fact that 2 players suffered career threatening injuries during it is almost unforgiveable. Hockey needs to change, yet I don't think it will ever change enough to rise above the level of pro wrestling and roller derby in most people's eyes. And that's sad.

And I leave with this great shot of a young fan last night, not understanding why the third goal counted, and our coach who could see the dream disintegrating in front of his eyes.

That look was on a lot of people's faces while watching the riots.