Tuesday, 22 December 2015

All Good Things

Those who've remained loyal readers at The Southpaw already know that I've been floundering a bit recently while I processed the realization that there are just too many great Blue Jays focused sites out there now for this one, as a standalone entity, to have a purpose. They are diverse, high quality, and enjoy my respect as well as, sometimes, my envy.  The Southpaw is never going to be a "destination site" in that crowd, even though I'm willing to (gratefully) acknowledge there's more than a few that enjoy my contributions.

I have decided, therefore, to go in a different direction.

I owe my first debt to Twitchy and Johnny Was, who conceived this site and partnered with me for the early years.  Both of whom seem to have disappeared into the ether. I got early encouragement from the ever prolific Andrew Stoeten and the other "Drunks" as well as TaoofStieb and Ian at BlueJay Hunter, the influence of all you can no doubt notice in my posting style. For this I'm very grateful.

Likewise, while my audience is not huge there's a regular contingent of visitors to this site despite my increasingly infrequent posting. They speak words of encouragement and praise whenever I allow myself to doubt my usefulness to the Blue Jays blogosphere. Never think I do not notice or appreciate the kindness.

All these good things I take with me as I close up shop (in terms of active posting - the site will continue to exist) at The Southpaw. What's next you ask?

I have accepted an exciting invitation to join the roster of contributors at Blue Jays Plus.

As you surely already know, BJP already features a roster of nine impressive writers, so it is no small matter to be invited into their ranks. If you're a fan of the site (and if not, what the heck is WRONG with you?) you've surly realized they bring the goods when it comes to in-depth analysis from all the angles.  You also no doubt noticed that that is no my strongest suit. What I hope to bring to the site is commentary and, with any luck, some insight. Sometimes just as simple as a contrary opinion. You'll have to be the judge of how well I accomplish that goal.

So with these things said, this will be my last post her for the foreseeable future, but I'm anticipating great things to come and I hope you come along for the ride.

Thanks for everything.

~Tammy Beth Rainey, aka, The Southpaw 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Seasons Change

My first responsibility before I say anything else is to explain my absence during the most comment worthy fall in 22 years. The truth is, everything I felt inspired to write, someone else - some many others actually - were already posting much the same thing, or something better. I'm not a stat head, i don't live in the Toronto area or in close proximity to anything they are doing. There's almost nothing I do better than others, ranging from long timers like Ian Hunter and Andrew Stoeten to others that are newer to me such as Gideon Turk. I just don't bring anything to the plate except an echo.

So I rode the wild ride and enjoyed it immensely but all the things that might have been said were either already said everywhere or so very obvious that there was no point in writing them up. When the playoffs hit, every time I had the urge to write there was always something that was going to happen tomorrow which might well render what I had in mind moot. So this will be sort of a long post that covers a lot of lingering thoughts and then gets to the real point - the heartbreaking (to me) departure of Alex Anthopoulos.

As far as the playoffs go, I'm disappointed but at peace with ow it turned out. As AA pointed out, the odds that this lineup would not get the key hit even once in 12 opportunities were very slim, but that's baseball and stuff happens. I have a lot harder time dealing with the 7th inning of game 2 as rallies like that, in that situation, are just not supposed to ever happen. I have no specific complaints about anyone associated with the team this season (well, except Drew Hutchinson).

I almost wrote a piece last week looking ahead at the upcoming decisions, particularly regarding the pitching staff. About how I'd be willing to give Price a 200 mil deal if needed to keep him, how I'd put a QO on Estrada, about how I'd keep in mind the potential to trade Dickey/Thole if both Price and Estrada came back on those terms (to lessen the financial hit from Estrada), about how I'd try to get Lowe to resign, put Osuna in the rotation and put Sanchez and Hutch in competition for the 5th spot  with the realization that Sanchez can go to the 'pen...unless I decided to just make Sanchez the closer and be done with it.
I'd do with Sanders what they did last year with Smoak, assuming he came back I'd deal Revere (presumably for a good reliever) and open the door for Pompey who can do everything Ben Revere can do and more. Maybe see if Navarro can be brought back but otherwise, I'm fine with the line-up. It might be gravy to put a big bopping left handed first baseman but with the existing lineup, Smoak-abello is fine. Let's not forget how much production they combined for.

Now, who the hell knows? None of us have any CLUE what Mark Shapiro will have in mind.

I had intended to write something by now about my subjective view of the prospect rankings, but it just seems awkwardly timed at the moment.

So, to the news of the day. In the same theme I opened with, Richard Griffin - whom I seldom cite or quote or even reference - pretty much nailed my feelings in this column.   I'm NOT of the opinion that Shapiro is going to be bad for the team or screw things up, we really don't have any evidence of that. I DO think the team is set to be a contender with reasonable management for several years to come.

That said, Alex deserved the job, he deserved to work in the role he was good at with virtual autonomy and ownership bungled things and, implicitly if not overtly, drove him out by misplaying how they replaced Beaston. With every respect to Shapiro, they could have easily went out and perused someone who was an excellent business mind who could revolutionize the fan experience and directed the stadium renovations and so forth while Alex handled the baseball. He earned that. He deserved that. And no matter what the team does next year, it will offend my sense of justice that Alex won't be a part of it. If they win the World Series, or enjoy whatever level of success, he will still be the one who made it possible and he won't be there to be in integral part of it. I'll never be content with that. I've never been an ownership basher before, but I am now. This is on them.In the wake of a magic season when they had more good will accumulated than they ever will again, they botched it.

As for implications, as I said who really knows? Whither Gibby? He deserve to return but ill he? Who's the new GM? Will he (wisely) promote Tony LaCava and leave Alex's talented staff in place, or will he bring in a bunch of folks with personal loyalty to him? Don't forget that there's impact on the field as well. What if Joey Bautista decides his loyalty was to Alex and that changes his view of going to the FA market next winter? Just for one example. Remember how Tulo worried about not being able to trust anyone? Rogers kinda just proved where they fell on that scale.

I wrote when the Shapiro deal was announced that if they were hiring him for the business side then great, if they were castrating Alex on the baseball side then it was a very bad idea. I'll also remind the reader that last winter when the whole "AA is on the hot seat" drama was going on that I was very clear he didn't deserve to be. Even before 2015 the man was a success, the team was very good and the future looked very bright, and firing him before that success had a chance to bear fruit would be insane (look at how long the Royals waited on Dayton Moore to finish the task). It may well have been that Rogers didn't see things that way and had designs all year to clean house - and then the team that Alex built took 3 months to prove them wrong and leave them with all kinds of egg on their face.

To quote Griff: "Rogers is proving they are bad baseball people."

To that I say, A-fucking-men.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Revised and amended!

So,  the Blue Jays - clearly creeping my blog for an edge! - took my suggestion on Friday to heart and flipped  Marco Estrada to today's game and Mark Beuhrle to tomorrow's contest with Boston. In so doing, as has been widely reported now, they align Buehrle and Stroman's schedule and pretty much everyone assumes that if Stroman looks good tomorrow for Buffalo that he'll take that start and Buehrle will get extra rest again. They may skip papa altogether or may just push him back - but the former option makes the rotation for the rest of the year much more straight-forward and it only seems sensible to me that I do a "Part 2" follow up to Friday's post in light of the adjustment. Trust me though, I won't keep this bit running through the rest of the season every time they make an announcement. This one - like the last - is simply about how you make the best use of Stroman as a part of a modified 6 man rotation - not an effort to keep up with every move they make.

To review, I'll again post the first chart which reflects how the current five fall if Stroman were not coming back and they stayed on turn.

7at BostonBuehrle7
8at BostonDickey4
9at BostonHutchinson4
10at New YorkPrice4
11at New YorkEstrada4
12at New YorkBuehrle4
13at New YorkDickey4

15at AtlantaHutchinson5
16at AtlantaPrice5
17at AtlantaEstrada5
21New YorkPrice4
22New YorkEstrada4
23New YorkBuehrle4

25Tampa BayDickey5
26Tampa BayHutchinson5
27Tampa BayPrice5
28at BaltimoreEstrada5
29at BaltimoreBuehrle5
30at BaltimoreDickey4
10 ' 1at BaltimoreHutchinson4
2at Tampa BayPrice4
3at Tampa BayEstrada4
4at Tampa BayBuehrle4

That is, of course, almost identical to the one which appeared in my post 2 days ago. The one simple switch the team made, then, makes it much easier to sort out how you integrate Stroman into the schedule:

7at BostonBuehrle7
8at BostonDickey4
9at BostonHutchinson4
10at New YorkPrice4
11at New YorkEstrada4
12at New YorkStroman4
13at New YorkDickey4

15at AtlantaPrice5
16at AtlantaEstrada5
17at AtlantaStroman5
21New YorkPrice5
22New YorkEstrada5
23New YorkStroman5

25Tampa BayBuehrle6
26Tampa BayDickey6
27Tampa BayPrice5
28at BaltimoreEstrada5
29at BaltimoreStroman5
30at BaltimoreBuehrle4
10 ' 1at BaltimoreDickey4
2at Tampa BayPrice4
3at Tampa BayEstrada4
4at Tampa BayStroman4

There are alternate versions, primarily flowing off whether or not you try to push Buehrle back from the NY start or skip him altogether, but I think the latter produces a much more consistent result. Notice that after tomorrows game, which is going to be 7 days either way, you have two pitchers who skip a start, and otherwise everyone is on either 4 or 5 days' rest except for 2 games with 6 days, which go to the two older guys. Of course, to do this I dropped Hutchinson for the last two weeks. The alternative to this would be to take a start away from some other starter and in this, he draws the short straw not by luck but by his own doing.

I'll be watching to see how the Jays line them up after the next off day to see if we're thinking alike.

All the Minor league seasons are done after tomorrow, save Lansing's playoff games, and I'll be getting together my version of the season review and look back and the pre-season top 40 at my earliest convenience. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Proposed Rotation for The 6

Isn't there something serendipitous about a hot team that represents a city thats lately been refereed to as "The 6" suddenly has six solid options for the five man rotation? The 6 pitchers will need to be handled in such a way as to maximize their Ace and provide extra rest for the older members of the rotation, here's my proposal.

First, let's look at the schedule as it would fall if the current five-man rotation goes in order (apart from the already announced weekend flip of Price and Buehrle - which may be indicative) along with the number of days rest that starter would have before the given turn.

7at BostonEstrada5
8at BostonDickey5
9at BostonHutchinson4
10at New YorkPrice4
11at New YorkBuehrle4
12at New YorkEstrada4
13at New YorkDickey4

15at AtlantaHutchinson5
16at AtlantaPrice5
17at AtlantaBuehrle5
21New YorkPrice4
22New YorkBuehrle4
23New YorkEstrada4

25Tampa BayDickey5
26Tampa BayHutchinson5
27Tampa BayPrice5
28at BaltimoreBuehrle5
29at BaltimoreEstrada5
30at BaltimoreDickey4
10 ' 1at BaltimoreHutchinson4
2at Tampa BayPrice4
3at Tampa BayBuehrle4
4at Tampa BayEstrada4

As you can tell, Beuhrle got a +1 for six days off before this start Sunday and it demonstrates something about how they want to give him some rest. The same might in theory apply to Dickey but knuckleballers are obviously different and we've seen no indication of them backing him off, nor of his performance being anything like an issue. In fact, in his 2.78 post-break ERA, and 3.18 over his last 18 starts certainly says no (Buehrle by that measure is 3.99 since the break and 2.90 in his last 21starts). Estrada? 3.35 as a SP, but 2.44 in his last 14 starts. Even the enigmatic Hutchison is at 3.76 since the break and 4.11 n his last 19 starts which is not awful, and his xFIP has been the best in the rotation (other than Price) all year. Also, for those wondering about maximizing Price, even if you keep him on 4 days rest consistently, you can't (as I've pointed out before but members of the media keep not noticing apparently) get another regular season start from him.

Now, Stroman will pitch for Buffalo on September 7, Labor Day, so he can't start for the Jays before September 12.  Here is, after experimenting some, my best proposition for how to do a modified-not-quite-six-man-rotation.

7at BostonEstrada5
8at BostonDickey5
9at BostonHutchinson4
10at New YorkPrice4
11at New YorkBuehrle4
12at New YorkStroman4
13at New YorkEstrada4

15at AtlantaDickey6
16at AtlantaPrice5
17at AtlantaHutchinson7
21New YorkPrice4
22New YorkDickey6
23New YorkStroman4

25Tampa BayEstrada5
26Tampa BayBuehrle5
27Tampa BayHutchinson9
28at BaltimorePrice6
29at BaltimoreStroman5
30at BaltimoreDickey7
10 ' 1at BaltimoreEstrada5
2at Tampa BayBuehrle5
3at Tampa BayPrice4
4at Tampa BayStroman4

First things first, in the original rotation everyone has six turns left except Dickey who has five.  In the modified, it breaks down like this:

Price - 6
Buehrle, Estrada, Stroman - 5
Dickey, Hutch - 4

So Stroman takes one each from Estrada, Buehrle and Dickey and 2 from Hutch, which is unfortunate given his recent success, but worth it in my opinion. Taking a closer look, Buehrle at New York on the 11th would be nice to avoid, but if he pitches Sunday there's no way around it. If Gibby would push him back to Monday, then you could put Stroman in for him the next turn and just skip him that time through, but in the absence of such an announcement (and given my history on this blog, one will come within 12 hours of my posting this article) I'm going to assume it's not happening.  

Beyond that, Dickey has the +1 day because of Stroman and the off-day on the 9/15 game at Atlanta. Which is actually a small bonus pushing the former NL player into a no-DH game. Hutch goes two days later with 7 days off which is just happenstance, but pitching on the road against a weak team will be an interesting test of his recent success vs. his bizarre splits. The next noteworthy date is 9/20 when Buehrle goes having essentially skipped a start. That should take care of the rest issue and still give him a practical chance to hit 200 IP again. Two days later Dickey again turns up on 6 days rest but that's just where he plugs in.

On 9/27 Hutch gets the last home game, having skipped a start and avoided any more road starts ("coincidentally"). The next day Price goes on 6 days rest, which may seem odd but it keeps Buehrle from going 7 days again - you want him to get his normal routine back before the post-season - and
 it still keeps Price lined up for the first game of a semi-finals series on his regular rest. Plus he might benefit from a small breather anyway. On the last day of the month, Dickey goes having gotten 7 days for no particular reason, that's just where he falls in accommodating the needs of others. As a knuckleballer he should be better equipped to go on an odd number of days than standard pitchers. After that everyone falls into a 4/5 off day "normal" rotation. Thus over the course of 29 games and 31 days, a SP will get more than 5 days rest 8 times. Once for Price, twice for Hutch and Buehrle, three times for Dickey and not at all for Estrada or Stroman (the freshest arm, after all). Perhaps interesting, if you push Buehrle back to Monday of the upcoming week, then skip that NY start to give it to Stroman, then you can line up the rest of the year such that you only have four occasions when a SP has had more than the customary 4/5 days, and  3 of the 4 would fall to Buehrle.

In terms of match-ups, I've mentioned getting Dickey into the NL game, within the week following you move Buehrle into the 9/20 game vs. Boston and out of 9/22 against the Yankees who have a good history against him. You end up the year with your theoretical play-off rotation in order with Price and Stroman back to back as you'd need them for games on October 8 & 9.

All this, of course, assume no setbacks.

Coming up in the next few days (hopefully!!), I'll do a review of the minor league system including a look back at my top prospect list and how those who are left in the system faired, along with noting any surprises or players I failed to list in the spring, as we get ready for the next showdown with the New York Yankees coming up in one short week.  


Friday, 21 August 2015

Dust Having Settled

Not entirely, of course, but with the first six of well reported 13 game showdown between the Yankees and Jays now in the books, it's an opportune time to catch our breath and take stock. As you might guess, my intent was to post this entry on Monday but as is so often the case lately, life got in my way o a regular basis. Now we've put two more games behind us but, ya know, oh well.

That does give me the chance to point out something that I don't think any of the mainstream writers have pointed out. A lot of what was said over the course of last weekend made reference to the Yankees having "3 games in hand" (that is, that they had played three fewer games than the Blue Jays). The presumption, of course, being the Yankees might win all three and so they had a bigger advantage that the 1.5 games they left Toronto with Sunday night. But now, four days later, the Yankees have burned 2 out of those 3 and are still only 1.5 games ahead. Having 1 more or less game played from here on out becomes pretty irrelevant. That's a sort of unseen win for the Jays this week.  Meanwhile, while rooting for the pitching-rich Indians to dominate the Yanks this weekend, I do worry that we still have to play that Cleveland bunch before the end of the month.

Also, am I the only one who notices how well  Marcus Stroman's re-hab schedule is aligned to Drew Hutchison's turn in the rotation? I don't think that's a co-incidence. Even with Hutch coming off two good starts, it sure looks like a lack-of-confidence issue on the part of the team. Stroman is going to get three chances through his re-had to prove himself and then he'll line up with the Sept 9 start, that would normally fall to Hutch, at Boston. This also happens to be the next Hutch start that falls on a road game. Hmmm.  It would not be too conspiratorial to suppose that Hutch's two home start (Detroit, and Baltimore) serve as a sort of audition for the Boston game. And that game, in turn, an audition for the rest of the season (potentially 4 more starts).

That assumes, of course, that they don't skip Hutch on 9/3, but if they do that he'll have a start in New York instead of one at home against the Orioles (and it's just as crucial to beat the O's at this point too). One would assume that's not the outcome they'd want.  Speaking of skipping turns, Ben Ennis was grumbling a bit on the air today about not getting maximum usage out of David Price because of the off days and not keeping him on 4 days rest. But I think he's missing the boat. In his first start, the Blue Jays pushed him back a day so that not only would he open against the Twins, whom the Blue Jays were chasing for the wild card at the time, but he would start twice versus the Yankees rather than one against NY and one against Oakland. Which is a GOOD thing. But as I noted at the time, once he started that second time vs. NY (also on 5 days) that guaranteed the Jays would only get 12 starts from him, rather than 13. From tat point onward, even if he goes every 5 days instead of every 5 games, it doesn't help. So on that front, there's no motivation to skip Hutch to get more price - rather it's just about match-ups. 

Here's a trivia for you: Josh Donaldson, with 1/4 of the seasons left, is already sporting the 8th highest season WAR in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. He's still on pace for #1 on that list. A the moment, he's just passed Colby Rasmus (who had 3 times as many PA and if he hits the 8.8 he's on pace for, he'd pass Joe Carter - who had more than 6 times as many PA in the uniform as Donaldson is on pace to have.

Finally, regrading Alex Anthopoulos' future. Having heard a plethora of conversations on the subject, here's what I think should happen. I'd promote Alex to president of Baseball Operations, and hire a business focused executive to be president of all the non-baseball matters. Which of them is superior to the other wouldn't be all the important to me, but if the business guy is technically Alex's superior, he wouldn't have the last word on the baseball personnel decisions. The latest rumor, of course, is Shapiro from Cleveland. And I respect his baseball acumen and in my scenario, I'd be glad to add another mind to the decision making process but Alex would have the ultimate authority. He's shown himself to be an incredibly prepared and intelligent executive with an uncanny instinct for making the right decisions (not to say perfect but no one is). While I don't think he has the experience to carry out the duties of the president on the business side, I for one don't want anyone between him and ownership anymore.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Update to Previous Commentary

About that playoff roster, it seems wise to clarify and expand my comments in light of the shorthand Wilner is tweeting (which is not wrong, just has the potential for misunderstanding due to brevity).

The major effect of the Aug. 31 deadline is that it's the last day you can bring a player into the organization and that player be eligible to play in the post-season. There is another intended effect, but that effect has a major loophole. The intended effect is that the pool of players from which you may construct your playoff roster consists of the 25 active players, plus anyone on the DL (either sort) or the bereavement, suspended or military leave list.

As the roster currently stands for the Blue Jays, that's the following:

Price, Buehrle, Dickey, Estrada, Hutchinson (Stroman)
Osuna, Sanchez, Lowe, Cecil, Hawkins, Hendricks, Loup, Schultz
Martin, Navarro; Encarnacion, Smoak, Colobello; (Travis), Pennington; Tulowitzki, Goins; Donaldson;(Izturus)
Bautista, Pillar, Revere, (Saunders)

So that's 29 names.
Scratch Izturus who's done, and it looks like maybe Saunders who we never get updates about, and who has precisely 4 weeks left in which to get in a proper rehab assignment. Down to 27. It's safe to say a healthy Stroman would likely bump either Schultz or Loup (or Hutch?) and if you want Travis, and he's ready to play, one would assume that costs you another pitcher from that group.  And you still end up with Goins or Pennington as your reserve outfielder. But there's really no other stop where you might squeeze in a Dalton Pompey.

But then there's that huge loophole I mentioned, and this is why Wilner explains it as he does. The rules state that a player from your 25 who's injured at the time your playoff appearance begins (or anytime thereafter, may be replaced by ANY player in your organization, even if they are not on the 40 man roster, as long as they were in the organization before the August 31 deadline expired at midnight. So if, say, Revere got hurt the Jays could theoretically replace him with Anthony Alford if they were of a mind to.  (with respect to Pompey, how col would that be?)

If Hutch were "injured" then Loup or Schultz, or Tepera, or Delebar, or heck, Conner Greene could take his place.

All clear now? By the way, one of the guys I mentioned yesterday has been promoted. Conner Fisk is up to Dunedin.That's a pretty impressive reward.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Prospect Progress Report, 4/5 and stuff

 (for reals this time!)
So I only just now noticed I put 4/5 on the July report - which was actually the third of five. I'm going to have to speak to my copy editor.

Let's never rest Tulo again, right? This is fun stuff. Is it too unrealistic to hope for sweeping the Yanks in the Bronx? (Apparently not!) Today Yesterday was in some ways a practically perfect game. Still, there was a bit of news in the last day or two that even in the face of all this joy I'm going to grumble about.  John Gibbons has said that as of now they do not plan to flip Buehrle and Hutch in Oakland. Even though I did not realize it when I first remarked upon the subject, doing so, or not, is an important choice that has implications beyond just minimizing Hutchinson's exposure. It affects the days of rest for other more effective members of the rotation.

Take a look at this:
Here's the ideal, IMO, way to arrange the rotation that I published in the last post, side by side with the rotation kept in it's current order -

7at New YorkDickeyDickey
8at New YorkPricePrice
9at New YorkEstradaEstrada
14New YorkPricePrice
15New YorkEstradaEstrada
16New YorkBuehrleHutchinson

18at PhilidelphiaDickeyBuehrle
19at PhilidelphiaPriceDickey

21at LAEstradaPrice
22at LABuehrleEstrada
23at LADickeyHutchinson
25at TexasPriceBuehrle
26at TexasEstradaDickey
27at TexasBuehrlePrice

Do you see what I see? A full week between David Price starts? When does THAT start making sense? Same for Estrada, and Buehrle and Dickey get 5 days rest. Then the next time through Buehrle and Dickey get a full week between starts and Price and Estrada five days. And there are 3 off days in September so added rest isn't really a factor. Moreover, in the schedule I'm suggesting Price gets an extra days rest twice, as does Estrada, Dickey and Buehrle get an extra day once. But more importantly, you take the single biggest weakness on your team out of play for two full weeks while maximizing the three plays for whom you collectively paid a very high price to obtain.

I realize that Gibby knows so much more than I do about the situation and that he's managing real live people and not moving chess pieces on a board - but looking in from the outside, I don't see any logic at all in this.

Now, to the farm...

It's rather redundant to brag even more about Dalton Pompey, but let's alert the folks that tuned out on him in May.Since being  promoted to Buffalo on July 17, in 79 at bats, Pompey's slash lines is .380/.490/.4904/.984 (see why I'm dying for him to be promoted?). Matt Hague is the only other offensive guy worth noticing, he's been leading the team consistently all year. Since the trade, the pitching staff is made up mostly of veteran guys. There's really no one you'd look at as a prospect.

New Hampshire
Center fielder Roemon Fields in now technically a Buffalo Bison, but only for a few days and the noise he made this month was for NH. "Noise" meaning a .351 batting average (and .792 OPS) in 97 at-bats before the promotion. There's not really another hitter to get excited about from a prospect status on this team. Among pitchers, Blake McFarland was unfairly squeezed out of AAA as the Jays continue to accumulate veteran arms to stack in the bullpen, but he's clearly too good for AA (49 K and 4 BB in 34.2 IP, 2.08 ERA) as is Danny Barnes (56/16 in 45, 2.40).

Currently this is far and away the most prospect-laden squad in the organization and many of them are living up to their billing. After a scorching start upon being promoted to the D-Jays, Anthony Alford has struggled for the last couple of weeks. I haven't heard anything but I'm relatively certain that what we're seeing here is fatigue. He did go through a slump in Lansing and then recovered just before the call up, so this could be a matter of the adjustment game too. On the other hand, Rowdy Tellez just keeps getting better. Since July 17 his OPS is .872 and he's yet to go hitless in more than 2 consecutive games. Fellow 1B Matt Dean is tied for second in the FSL with 11 HR (1 off the league lead) but given the same # of AB, Tellez would have 20.
The pitching staff that has seen Jeff Hoffman and two talented relievers leave the organization is actually better than ever right now thanks to three promotions from Lansing. Shane Dawson just arrived (2 weeks late IMO) and showed well in his first start. Sean Reid-Foley, whom MLB is now ranking as a top 5 prospect in the system, bounced back from his worst start of the year to throw 5.1 no-hit innings last time out - if he ever learns to command his stuff he has monster potential.
And Connor Greene who came into the season as an interesting little sleeper and thanks to a boost in velocity is following the footsteps of Kendell Graveman. Greene is currently on a run of 19 innings without an earned run and in his last start struck out 10 in 7 innings. I could see a scenario in which he got a couple of starts at AA, and/or was assigned to the AFL and he very likely gets an invite to big league camp next spring.
The unsung heroes of the staff are Jeremy Gabryszwski and Brady Dragmire. The former has held the opposition to 1 earned run in 5 of his last 7 outings (and 2 in another) for a 2.52 ERA over that span. The latter saw his ERA hit 10.80 on June 9, but since then he's thrown 32 innings, giving up a mere 3 earned runs on 11 hits and 6 walks while striking out 30 - that works out to an ERA of 0.84 and a WHIP of 0.53 - you'll hear his name again.

No matter who comes and who goes the Lugnuts remain a well-oiled machine. Ryan McBroom, who'd have log since moved up if Tellez wasn't in front of him, continues to lead the league in several categories including OPS. Unheralded Chris Carlson has been his stalwart companion while higher profile players have moved up and organization players move up and down. His OPS is higher than that of Alford or Tellez when they were promoted. The downside is that this was his age 24 season so he's basically 2 full years too old for the league - and McBroom is 23. DJ Davis continues to be consistently good-but-not-great which is great progress from last year.
The surprise is that the rotation lost Greene, Reid-Foley, and Dawson and continues to purr. Unheralded Connor Fisk, 7 excellent outings in 9 appearances since his first start, has stepped up  and equally little noticed Starlyn Suriel (who racked up 12 K in 6.1 IP last night) has been doing it all year, though prospect watchers never mention either. Lately they've gotten serious reinforcements from recovering Tom Robson and just promoted (and also coming off of TJ) Clint Hollon. Both men have been very impressive in a small sample with Lansing and should be fast risers up the prospect chart next season.

There's less real prospect porn on this team than in any year since affiliating with the Blue Jays.Among the hitters, observers talk about a couple of 2015 draftees that look good - catcher Ryan Hissy (rd. 14) and infielder turned center fielder Andrew Guillotte (32) but it's more about being the best of a mediocre crew than being notable prospects.
The pitching staff which just lost Hollon still has the Jays' 2015 1st round pick, Jon Harris. MLB.com now ranks him as the Jays #2 prospect. But he's had some trouble stretching out and was roughed up last time out. After a long college season, fatigue may be an issue here and most think he'll be assigned higher and be a fast mover next year. Otherwise, there's not much to comment on here other that Ryan Borucki who's well regarded by plagued with injuries.

The hitter to watch on this team is CF Rodrigo Orozco. He's a slender (only 155 pounds) speedy (20 steals in 28 attempts in the DSL last year) 20 year old Panamanian that none of us had ever heard of before this year. He has a good eye at the plate and sports an .881 OPS. Expensive Venezuelan signee Yeltsin Gudino, who's a SS, bottomed out on July 12 with a .440 OPS, but the next game he went 3/4 and he turned his season around. He's hit .306/.383/.431/.814 in the 19 games since.  Another prominent signing, OF Freddie Rodriguez has a strikingly similar track for the season, seeing his OPS hit a season low of .488 on July 12 as well, his line is .259/.333/.370 since. 
The pitching story is all about Dominican Angel Perdomo and Venezuelan Juliandry Higuera. The former a high-profile signing who's been moved slowly, the latter more under the radar but both have looked very good so far. Perdono has a 2.01 ERA and Higurea is at 2.82 after having his first rough outing last time out.   Both have avoided the wildness that has plagued some of the Jays' other Latin pitchers. Top 20 prospect Matt Smoral is on this team too, at least two levels too low. He's struggled with injuries interfering with honing his delivery mechanics so apparently they are putting him in a low pressure environment. So far, he's been effective but far too wild.

The hitter who caught everyone's attention on this team was 2015 draft steal Reggie Pruitt who exploded out of the gate hitting .379 in his first seven games. A couple of slumps since have brought the numbers down for the 18 year old but he likely still the highest ceiling guy among position players here.  Outfielders Lance Jones and Kalik May both have good stats but they are 22 years old which is far too old to be in the GCL. Among pitchers, 2015 draftees Justin Maese (3rd rd.) and Jose Espada (5th) have dominated and (like Higuera and Perdomo above) are pushing the Jays to try them at the next level. Maese has a 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings and Espada is at 2.35 with 26 K and only 4 walks in 23 IP. A couple of relievers are putting up nice numbers, Mike Estavez and Griffin Glaude, but again, they are 22 and 23 respectively so those numbers don't mean a lot.

The  DSL is another league in which you can't consider the stats without putting them in the context of age. Catchers Antonio Conception and Yoman Rodriguez have both hit well and both just turned 18. Sterling Guzman, a 17 year old SS has a .393 OPS and looks like a name we might here more about in years to come. Among pitchers, the high-profile signing and clear #1 prospect on the team is 17 year old Juan Meza, but after having been tested in the GCL he was dropped back to the Dominican but he's had control issues with both teams. Wilfri Aleton got a lot of money too and like Perdomo before him, the Jays have taken it slow with him and it's begun to pay off. Look for him to potentially make a little noise stateside. Less well know is 17 year old Colombian reliever Alvaro Galdino and recently promoted (to the GCL) starter Guadalupe Chavez, also 17, from Mexico.  Both have more K's than IP and respectable walk rates.

A lot of these guys will get a longer look when I do the off-season prospect list.

And as I finish this post, the Toronto Blue Jays finish off the Yankees and now stand a mere 1.5 games out of first place in the AL East. They still haven't lost a game in which Tulo has played, taking 11 of 12. Wow!