Tag Archives: Blue Jays

This Brett Lawrie Guy is Pretty Darn Good

Courtesy of BlueJaysPlus

When the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Brett Lawrie from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Shaun Marcum, most people were aware of how special of a player Lawrie would be. The only question was when he’d be able to illustrate his special talents at the Major League level. On August 5, 2011, that question was answered; Lawrie was recalled.

In just 38 games (149 plate appearances), Lawrie has surpassed his lofty expectations. The third baseman has posted a .303/.378/.629 line with 9 homeruns, 23 RBI, 23 runs, and 7 stolen bases. While Lawrie’s bat always impressed in the Minors, his sensational 14.3 UZR/150 in the field has solidified his “completeness.” Continue reading

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Casey Janssen, The Blue Jays Closer in 2012?

Courtesy of Zimbio.com

The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen has been a mess lately. Part-time closer Jon Rauch is on the disabled list, and current closer Frank Francisco might join him too. Regardless of whether or when they return, both pitchers will be free-agents after the season. Unless the Blue Jays sign a closer during the off-season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them hand the job to Casey Janssen.

Janssen’s success in 2011 is hardly shocking. The right-hander debuted as as a reliever back in 2007, and was quite the workhorse–hurling 72.6 innings, while owning a 2.35 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 1.95 K/BB. He also saved 6 games. But the then 25 year-old endured a torn labrum in the beginning of 2008, which forced him to miss all of 2008, and hampered his 2009 season.

In fact, after posting a seemingly dismal 5.85 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, and 1.71 K/BB in 2009, most people assumed Janssen was toast. To Janssen’s credit, his peripherals told a different story. His .367 BABIP suggested too many of his groundballs–which he rolled out at an elite 49.7% rate–resulted in hits. In addition, despite posting a bloated 5.85 ERA, the reliever’s more down-to-earth 4.38 xFIP illustrates how unlucky 2009 was, overall, for Janssen. Continue reading

Yunel Escobar is the Best Overall Shortstop in the AL

Courtesy of Zimbio.com

It wasn’t too long ago that being a top American League shortstop meant you were probably named Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, or Nomar Garciaparra. But now that Jeter is in a steep decline, Rodriguez is playing third base, and Garciaparra is retired, being an elite AL shortstop has more or less lost its zeal. That said, 28 year-old Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays has quietly emerged as the preeminent shortstop the AL has to offer.

Yunel Escobar didn’t exactly appear out of thin air, as he was formerly a top prospect in the Atlanta Braves system. The shortstop showcased his diverse abilities in 2009, by posting a .299/.377/.436 line with 14 homeruns, 76 RBI, 89 runs, 5 stolen bases and a 1.7 UZR/150. Despite improving both offensively and defensively from 2007 to 2009, he still always found himself in Braves manager Bobby Cox’s doghouse. Given his rocky standing with the Braves, Escobar was unsurprisingly dealt in 2010 with Jo-Jo Reyes to the Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky. Continue reading