The Hall of Fame Isn’t Far for Roberto Alomar.

21 11 2010

Posted by Brady

Ten Gold Gloves (deservedly), two World Series rings, 474 stolen bases, and 12 All-Star games make up Roberto Alomar’s Hall of Fame resume. Alomar, along with Bert Blyleven, should easily make it baseball’s shrine on this ballot.

When people speak about Alomar, the phrase “greatest second baseman in history” is often times uttered. And rightfully so. According to baseball-reference.com, several of the most similar hitters to Alomar are Hall of

When people speak about Roberto Alomar, the phrase "greatest second baseman in history" is often times uttered.

Famers. Ryne Sandberg, Joe Morgan, Bill Mazeroski, Frankie Frisch, Charlie Gehringer, and Bobby Doerr are all Hall of Fame second basemen, keeping this Hall of Fame second baseman company.

Alomar spent most of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays (5 whole years) and won two World Series rings with Cito Gaston’s Blue Jays. And he was a stud in the Jays title drive. He hit .320 /.380/.471 during it. Alomar took home the ALCS MVP in 1992. In 1993, during the Jays second title drive, it was a similar story, but no MVP award.

After the 1995 season, Alomar signed with the Baltimore Orioles, and he did not miss a beat. He put up almost identical numbers, and proved to be one of the best top of the order hitters around. Though he didn’t run as much in Baltimore as he did in Toronto (his Baltimore high stolen base total was 17, which would have been his low in Toronto), he did find more power. He clouted an at the time career high 22 home runs and 43 doubles.  As productive as Alomar was in Baltimore, his first season there was not without its controversy. After arguing with an umpire over a third strike call, Alomar hurled his saliva in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. Naturally he was thrown out of the game, and fined. But, luckily for Alomar and Ty Cobb, being a nice person is not a requirement for enshrinement, despite how much some voters try to tell you it is.

After Alomar was done with Baltimore in 1998, he went to Cleveland, to play with older brother Sandy Alomar. This was actually the second time the two would play on the same team. They both played on the 1988 and 1989 Padres team. He put up great numbers in every aspect of the game, and his first year in Cleveland, he hammered a new career high in home runs. 24.

Through his time with Toronto, Baltimore and Cleveland, Alomar was racking up the awards. 12 straight All-Star games, 10 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers.

He was as disiplined at the plate as they come. He never struck out more than 96 times, and he walked more than he struck out seven times.

It’s hard to keep Alomar out of the Hall of Fame. The only question is what insignia will he have on his cap? My guess is Toronto.





Doctober: This Toronto Fan’s Perspective

7 10 2010

Posted by WAMCO:

“Bittersweet.”

Amongst many Blue Jays blogs and websites and comments, this is the word I am consistently seeing with regards to Roy Halladay’s 104-pitch no-hit masterpiece in his playoff debut. If you told me five years ago that he would have this type of performance in his first playoff game, I would have believed you. However, there are some things that would have seemed strange: He pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies. In the National League division series. Less than one year after he was traded away from Toronto.

“Bittersweet.”

As a lifelong Blue Jay fan, it is difficult to know how to react to a situation like this.

“Bittersweet.”

For many Toronto fans, it is bittersweet to see Doc Halladay succeed with the Phillies, and not their beloved Jays

Roy Halladay is a winner; there is no question about it. Whether he was receiving appropriate run support or not while he pitched for Toronto, he still won games, and still dominated most nights. As a starting pitcher, he has been above 5.0 in WAR seven times in his career. He has lead his league in complete games in six of the past eight years. His other numbers are well known; the dominant ERA, WHIP, etc. Even if you are partial to pitcher wins, he’s had over 16 wins in seven of the past nine years. He is the total package. Add to that his incredible work ethic, his contributions to the community, and his influence on his fellow pitchers, and you pretty much cannot dislike this man, unless you are in the unfortunate position of being in the batter’s box against him.

“Bittersweet.”

The Blue Jays could not put a team together to surpass New York, Boston, or (more recently) Tampa Bay during his time in Toronto. Halladay, on two occasions, signed under-market extensions with the Blue Jays in order to make it work there. The team could not get over the hump. Despite their best efforts, they fell short every year. The man that the late, great Tom Cheek christened as “Doc” Halladay did not pitch in a playoff game for Toronto.

“Bittersweet.”

Toronto fans are torn. Halladay did ask out, in the end. He knew he was running out of time, and needed to make a move. On the other hand, all of the good things Doc did in Toronto will stick with many fans. I know this fan was on the edge of his seat from the sixth inning on last night. I know this fan jumped when the final out was recorded. I know this fan had a tear in his eye. Even though it is too bad it didn’t happen in a Blue Jay uniform, this type of performance couldn’t have been turned in by a better man. Those who saw the game were witnesses to baseball history, Blue Jay fans or otherwise. From where I sit, that is the bottom line.

“Sweet.”





Blue Jays – 2011 Lineup Options

15 09 2010

Posted by WAMCO

Jose Bautista can play RF and 3rd base

There is a lot of sentiment for the Blue Jays to make a run at the AL East in 2011. The 2010 season has been extremely encouraging in many ways, and this kind of optimism can be both good and bad. For my part, I am expecting a regression by some of the young pitchers as they continue to develop, so I am not sure I would necessarily dump a ton of money into the 2011 payroll myself, depending on who you could get of course.

If the Blue Jays as an organization decide that they have the core to make a run in 2011, though, they will need to improve in a couple of areas. Position by position, this is what I would do:

Catcher: Use J. P. Arencibia as the starter, and sign a good defensive backup (read: not Jose Molina, get someone who will actually block balls in the dirt. Fun fact: Molina actually played two innings at third base for the Yankees last year; that is truly terrifying)

First Base/DH: I put these two positions together, because a lot depends on who they can sign in free agency. If they are going for it, I would love to see them sign or trade for a big power hitter to play first, and allow Adam Lind to be the DH. Another option would be for Lind to play first, and for them to sign a strictly DH guy. The best solution might be to have a job share, where Lind plays 1B sometimes and the other guy plays 1B the rest of the time, and they DH when they are not at first.

Second Base: Aaron Hill. He won’t be as good as he was in 2009 or as bad as he’s been in 2010. Fangraphs suggests that Hill has been extremely unlucky this year with a .204 batting average on balls in play.

Third Base: This is where I would use Jose Bautista. I do not see a lot of other options for them here, unless they bring Edwin Encarnacion back, and the only way that should happen is if he is non-tendered and re-signed at a lower salary.

Yunel Escobar could be decent batting leadoff, if a better option cannot be found

Shortstop: Yunel Escobar. Based on his career thus far, I would think he might be a decent option at the leadoff spot, with a career on-base percentage of .366.

Right Field: I’ll go here first, it works better that way. This is where I want Travis Snider. He’s played right most of his minor league career, and while his defensive metrics, according to fangraphs, are somewhat better in LF, he has not played nearly enough games for those to be accurate. He could also play LF, depending on if they sign anyone else.

Center Field: They need to stick with the twenty-million dollar man in center, barring the acquisition of a better defender, which would push Wells to LF.

Left Field: Right now they have Fred Lewis. I think they need to do better. The best option on the free agent market will likely be Carl Crawford. Whether Toronto could lure him or not, going the trade route is another option. The Blue Jays have a surplus of quality pitching prospects in the minors, and if they plan on going for it in 2011, this offseason might be the time to consider dealing a couple of them for a quality bat in the outfield, or at first, or at third.

In summary, the great thing about the players that the Jays currently have that are worth keeping for next year is that they have a decent amount of flexibility. For example, if they acquire a 3rd baseman, then Bautista goes back to RF and Snider to LF. A 1st baseman pushes Lind back to DH. I believe they need two bats for next year, one for the top and one for the middle of the lineup.





Fred Lewis – Everyday Player?

17 08 2010

Posted by WAMCO:

Earlier this year, the Blue Jays picked up Fred Lewis from the Giants for a small amount of cash. Lewis had been squeezed out of a roster spot in San Francisco, and the Jays stepped in and took him off their hands. At the time, this seemed like a minor move, to pick up a guy who would likely be a fourth outfielder at best. Much like many moves made by Toronto since Alex Anthopoulos took over as the general manager, it did not seem to make a lot of sense at the time.

Fred Lewis is having a solid season with the bat, but can the Jays live with his defense in the outfield?

Almost immediately, Lewis began to hit, and aside from a few slumps that every player has, he has had a great season up to this point. He has not matched his career norms in on-base percentage, but his other numbers have been decent, as he has .ops’d .777 thus far, hitting for a bit more power. He has somewhat solidified the leadoff spot for the Jays. Sounds like the kind of guy you definitely want to keep in the lineup every day thus far.

However, there is a downside to keeping Fred Lewis in the lineup, and that is his defense. Upon his trade to Toronto, I read some comments from many Giants fans, and most were to the tune of “good luck with Lewis in the outfield.” Watching him play, he looks lost out there on some fly balls, and does not appear to get good jumps. His arm seems weak as well. Knowing, of course, that looks can be deceiving both on offense and defense in baseball, I felt it was important to check out some defensive metrics to ensure that I was, indeed, correct that Lewis is not a good outfielder.

According to fangraphs, Lewis’s UZR thus far in LF in 2010 is -5.6, and his UZR/150 is -12.6. In 2008, his UZR/150 was 2.1, and in 2008 it was 7.0. So he has clearly regressed in LF this season. His career UZR/150 in LF is 0.1. His career numbers in RF and CF are much worse, albeit the sample sizes are not nearly as large. It is fair to say that Lewis is an average outfielder at best, and probably below average. It would seem that my eyes have not been deceiving me.

Can Toronto do better? My feeling is yes, they probably can. Even if they were to put a similar defender in LF, they could likely get someone who hits for more power than Lewis. They have others (Yunel Escobar?) who could potentially take over the leadoff spot. Going forward, if Toronto acquires a third baseman, they will likely have a crowded outfield which would include Lewis, Travis Snider, Vernon Wells and Jose Bautista. To me, Lewis should be the odd man out in that scenario. Even if Bautista plays third base, they can probably improve on Lewis. I would like to see him in the fourth outfielder role we all originally thought he would fill.