Danny Jansen Joins the Jays

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


       After Yangervis Solarte went down with an oblique injury in Saturday’s loss to the Rays, the Blue Jays made the move to call up their No.3 prospect, Danny Jansen. Jansen was pulled in the middle of his AAA game on Saturday, and has now joined the Blue Jays in Toronto. He was on the bench for yesterday’s game, but I’d expect him to get some game action in the series against Kansas CIty.

       As the No.3 prospect for the Jays, and the No.73 prospect overall, there’s obviously a lot to be excited about with Jansen. In 88 games for AAA Buffalo this year, he hit .275 with 25 home runs and 58 RBIs. Jansen has also impressed defensively in his 6 year minor league career, only tallying 20 errors, and putting up a .992 fielding percentage behind the plate.

       Jansen is 23 years old right now and won’t turn 24 until April of next season, so this is about the perfect time for him to be called up. I’m not completely sure what his role will be this season - with Russell Martin and Luke Maile taking the playing time at catcher right now - but I expect Jansen to be the starting catcher for next year’s team. Russell Martin will probably still be on the team next year because of his expensive contract that will be nearly impossible to move, but I think Martin’s role will be diminished for sure.

     By keeping Martin and Jansen next year, the Jays would be getting rid of Luke Maile - who’s been good this year - but was never a long term option for the Jays. With Jansen starting, I think Martin could do a great job of mentoring the young catcher, while getting in the lineup every 3-4 days himself. Martin could also play some infield for the Jays if they need him to next season. All of that being said, the majority of the playing time behind the plate should go to Jansen next year. As for this year, I’d like to see him start to catch some of the guys that he’ll be partnering with down the road (Stroman, Borucki, and Sanchez once he’s back from the DL).

     Though it’s not official yet, the Jays are expected to call up another one of their top prospects tonight - No.10 prospect, Sean Reid-Foley. He should be called up to start tonight’s game in Kansas City. After a dreadful season in AA last year where he posted a 5.09 ERA, Reid-Foley has bounced back with a great season. He started the year in AA, where he went 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA. Then in 15 starts in AAA, he went 7-4 with a 3.50. So overall, he has a 2.98 ERA between the 2 leagues this season.

      Like I mentioned earlier, Reid-Foley will start against Kansas City tonight. The Royals are 35-81 right now and in the middle of a rebuild. I think it’s a good thing that he’s able to make his debut against such a bad team, because he’ll be able to sort of ease his way into things before his next start, which will be at Yankee Stadium.

       With both Jansen and Reid-Foley both being called up, a lot of fans are begging that the Jays bring up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as well. Guerrero is currently mashing in Triple-A, hitting .405, with 4 home-runs in his last 4 games, and has also made some nice plays at 3rd base. Now, I understand why there is outcry for Vlad Jr. in the big leagues from some fans. I mean, there’s still about a month and a half left of the season and people are just looking to get excited about something. The Blue Jays are not playing good baseball at all right now with their current roster, so a lot of fans want to see this super-prospect up and playing in order to bring some life back to Jays.

        Bringing Vlad Jr. up right now would definitely make the 2018 Blue Jays a better team, but there’s no reason to do that at this stage of the season. The Jays aren’t even close to the playoffs, so even if they were to go on an improbable run behind Guerrero and company, it wouldn’t make a difference, and they’d be wasting a year of Vlad’s service time. Instead, the Jays should keep Vlad in the minors, and bring him up in mid-to-late April next season, in order to keep the extra year of service time, and get him in the lineup for most of next year.


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Blue Jays Invade Seattle

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


       It’s that time of the year again. We’ve reached the part of the season where the Blue Jays visit Seattle for their annual home series away from home. It’s really amazing to see, because for Blue Jays fans that live in Western Canada, this is their only chance to see the team live, and they sure make the most out of it. It started off as something small, but now it’s gotten so big that the Blue Jays themselves are endorsing it with #BlueJaysInvade.

       The 2018 edition of the Blue Jays Seattle series began last night with a great ballgame. The game was destined to be a strange one, with Tyler Clippard starting for the Jays, and it ended up taking a turn that no one saw coming. The hero of the game was 28 year-old Mike Hauschild, who made his Blue Jays debut and made it count by throwing 6 scoreless innings, while racking up 5 strikeouts and only allowing 4 hits. Now, I’ll be honest, I follow the Blue Jays pretty closely, but I had no idea who Mike Hauschild was going into last night, and I’m sure the thousands of Blue Jays in attendance at Safeco Field didn’t know either. But, nonetheless, it was a great story for a guy who was looking for an MLB spot just a few days ago.

      As for the rest of the game, the Blue Jays' bats came alive late. With the game tied in the top of the 7th, Kendrys Morales took Juan Nicasio deep to right field for a 2-run shot to put the Jays up 4-2. The Jays then added some insurance runs in the top of the 9th, thanks to a pair of errors from Kyle Seager, and a pinch-hit 2-run bomb from Aledmys Diaz. That 7-3 lead held up in the bottom of the 9th, where Ryan Tepera finished the game off. Some other interesting notes from the game include a 4-hit game for Teoscar Hernandez, 2 RBIs for Devon Travis, and another hit in this one from Kendrys Morales, who somehow has his batting average up to .257; shocking, considering how bad his start to the season was.

     Looking forward to the rest of the series, there are some good pitchers that will throw. Today, the Jays will start Ryan Borucki, who currently holds a 2.83 ERA, but is still yet to record a big league win. He’ll be opposed by Marco Gonzales. Then, on Saturday, the Jays will throw Marco Estrada out there, while the Mariners start James Paxton, who no-hit the Blue Jays back on May 8th. We’ll see if Toronto can fare better this time. Finally, on Sunday we’ll see Sam Gaviglio take the mound against Mike Leake in the series finale.

    Some other notes from around the Blue Jays organization; AAA Buffalo Bisons: #1 Prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made his AAA debut on Tuesday. So far, he’s recorded 2 hits, an RBI, and 4 walks. Also, yesterday’s starter for the Bisons, Jacob Waguespack, struck out 12 batters in 6.1 innings in his Bisons debut. Waguespack was acquired from the Phillies in the Aaron Loup trade, and doesn’t look to be anything too promising, with an ERA of 5.13. But  with prospects, you never know. One last thing of note from Buffalo is Sean Reid-Foley’s most recent start on Monday. Reid-Foley threw 6.1 innings, giving up just 1 earned run on 4 hits, while striking out 6 batters. Reid-Foley currently sits at #10 on the Blue Jays prospects list, and it’ll be interesting to see if the 22 year-old gets called up this year in September, or if the team waits until next season.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 71

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 71

"DEADLINE'S UP"

TORONTO BLUE JAYs talk

Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • The MLB Trade Deadline has officially subsided and the Blue Jays ended up making a bunch of moves. In total, the Jays moved 6 players, bringing 10 back into the organization, 5 of which are pitchers & 5 are positional players, and 5 of the 10 are already slotted in the Jays' Top 30 prospect list according to MLB Pipeline. Although some of the moves were controversial, the vast majority of them improved the club and solidified some much needed depth that the Blue Jays can utilize at their will. 

         However, depth wasn't the only things desired. Conducting business with a moral compass            was certainly at the forefront.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by South of the 6ix contributor Craig Borden! Craig & Adam break down all the moves that the trade deadline, if Jays fans can expect any more moves in August, the ethical implications of trading away Roberto Osuna, and Vlad's recent promotion into AAA. Plus, Craig talks about his recent trip to Bluefield, VA to watch the Jays' minor league affiliate and what fans have to look forward to.

It's a Blue Jays Podcast you will not want to miss!

Follow Craig Borden on Twitter: @Craigers1221
Visit the Jays Bird Watching Gamecast: @BirdWatchingGC

Music:
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"
Audiobinger - "Shell Shock"
Audiobinger - "Rise & Shine"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


A View From the Farm - Bluefield Blue Jays Pride

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)  


I have had the pleasure of visiting many baseball teams over the years and all at various levels of competition. As for the Blue Jays system, the only team I have yet to visit is the Vancouver Canadians. I happened to be in the area of Bluefield, Virginia and couldn’t help but visit what has been a very talented team over the past few seasons.

I dropped a message to the radio voice of the Bluefield Blue Jays, Zach Helton, and mentioned that I was going to do everything in my power to be able to make the game on July 25 while I was in town. He was ecstatic that I was going to be able to visit and finally get a chance to meet in person. His energy got me excited for my visit as we talked the night before via text message as the game was rained out. Thus, the day I was to visit would be a doubleheader.

After completing my day job in Radford, VA, I jumped in the rental car and began the hour and a half drive to Bluefield. About an hour into my drive, the first game had started and I tuned into the radio to hear my buddy Zach call the game. The Bristol Pirates jumped out to an early lead, but was quickly answered by Alejandro Kirk in the bottom of the 2nd. Kirk destroyed the pitch to tie the game up and set the tone for the Jays' offense in Game 1.

An inning later, I had the pleasure of hearing a great call from Zach, as he painted a picture of an incredible play by Cal Stevenson. Cal went to the wall and completely committed to catching a fly ball, regardless of what that meant to him. You could hear the impact he made with the wall over the radio feed, as he pulled off a phenomenal grab. Cal would eventually get back to his feet and not only stay in the game, but contribute in a huge way the following inning. He laced a triple into center field to lead off the inning and would eventually score. The Jays were in flight with a 2-1 lead.

I got to the ballpark with a pair of outs in the top of the 4th and enjoyed a quick beer and a hot dog before I sat down in the stands to enjoy the great baseball culture in Bluefield. There were plenty of loyal fans in the stands, including one that I found out later to be known as "Double Out," who had been to nearly every game for years. dating back to before the Jays even were part of the Bluefield scene. I made sure I said hi to this particular fan on my way out after hearing some great comments, even from the announcers' booth during the game. This is how loyal these fans are in Bluefield about their sports and you can tell the players get into the game even more because of this enthusiasm.

The Blue Jays came up in the bottom half of the 4th and gave me a show complete with fireworks. After a nice single from Luis De Los Santos, first baseman Patrick Morris came up to the plate in a long ball state of mind. The pitch from Oliver Garcia was mashed over the right-field wall, and as Morris trotted around the bases, the fans went wild. Such a great environment for these young players to be getting into pro baseball. The family environment can be felt throughout the ballpark's fans, all the way to the ownership of the team. This dedication to teamwork and family has become apparent in the players that have had the fortune of playing in the Appy League with the Bluefield Jays.
 

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After taking in a few more innings in the stands, I decided it was time to go visit my friend Zach. He invited me right into the broadcast booth and we talked baseball between innings. We cheered as the Blue Jays tagged on a pair of runs in the 5th and 6th inning before things got interesting. The Pirates were able to mount a rally in the 7th inning and came within striking distance as they scored a pair of runs off of Joe DiBenedetto. Brad Wilson would come in and wrap up the game for the Jays in a 6-3 win.

Between games, Zach informed me that it had been a busy night in the booth and that I was not the only guest in town. Smokey the Bear threw out the first pitch and was a silent guest on the radio for the first game. Zach was nice enough to let me call Game 2 with him, but I was outranked by Grady Little in the second inning. During that conversation, I learned that Grady Little got his start as a manager for the Bluefield Orioles in 1980. It really was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet him. He told a great story from his time in Bluefield on the air that I will never forget. He mentioned that the team was going through a rough spot and was not hitting at all. He apparently got to the park early one day and stuck the players bats in the ground like tombstones. He told the team "the bad luck dies today," and sure enough, the team started hitting. You could tell he really enjoyed his time in Bluefiel from how he talked about it and helped shape him into a great MLB Manager for the Indians, Red Sox, and Dodgers.

Zach and I got to call a great game as the Blue Jays jumped out to an early lead in the first. Luis De Los Santos doubled home a pair on a ball hit hard to right field. The Blue Jays would slowly bleed out the lead over the course of a hard fought game. What shocked me the most about this team was they never stopped trying to get back into it. These young Jays players showed plenty of heart as they fought literally until the last out. I think this attests to the great environment that has been established for years in Bluefield. The fans love this team and the players put their souls into this game for them. They would lose Game 2, 5-2,  but they were never really out of the game. They were really just one timely hit short to get back into this one.

The ballpark is a great place to take in a ball game and has a feel you rarely see in typical stadiums. It is nestled in the mountains surrounded by the wilderness and had a great sunset during the game while I attended. I made the joke on the air with Zach that it almost has a Field of Dreams feel to it, just with a wilderness twist instead of the corn fields from the beloved baseball film.

This team has a ton to be proud of and this feeling of family is a thing of beauty. The ownership should be very proud of what they have built with this team. These guys clearly know how to have fun and put in a solid day's work. Plus, they get to watch the players that have since graduated from the team with pride and know that they learned how to play the game like professionals - the right way in Bluefield.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 70

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 70

"THE TRADE DEADLINE"

TORONTO BLUE JAYs talk

Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • With the MLB Trade Deadline just a week away, it marks a turning point for the Blue Jays and exactly what direction to intend to go. With trade chips such as J.A. Happ, Josh Donaldson, Roberto Osuna, and others, the Blue Jays as we have gotten to know them will (hopefully) look a whole lot different. Though some fans may not like the idea of seeing old faces in new jerseys, the light at the end of the tunnel will be the youth that brings this organization back into Championship contention where they belong.
  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views. Connor and Adam break down the possible trade candidates the Jays currently have, what the return may be, and what this means for the Jays' future. Plus, they discuss the incident involving the Toronto media and Marcus Stroman two weeks ago in Boston.

Follow Connor on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews & @connorchambers
Visit Connor's work: HERE

Music:

Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"
Chad Crouch - "Wide Eyes"
Audiobinger - "Cooling"
Anitek - "Nothin' Doin'"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


MLB: Half-Season Review

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


With the first half of the MLB season coming to an end, I thought I would look at how each division stacks up currently. Playoff spots will likely change from now to October, but right now we have a pretty good idea of who the teams in contention for the postseason are.

American League East

This division is playing out like most people expected it to. The Red Sox and Yankees are by far the best two teams in this division, and the only question remaining is which one will win it, and which team will have to play in the Wild Card Game. Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Toronto are all miles below Boston and New York in terms of talent, and it’s pretty clear that this narrative will stay the same for a while. All three of Tampa, Toronto and Baltimore will be sellers at the deadline this year, with the biggest fish being Manny Machado of the Orioles. Machado is going to be traded by July 31st, but to where? Boston and New York are both interested in Machado, but teams like Philadelphia and the Dodgers are in the mix as well. Boston currently holds a 4.5 game lead over New York for top stop in the division, thanks to a good starting rotation led by Chris Sale and a pair of unreal seasons being put together by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. The Yankees, on the other hand, are dealing with some injuries in their rotation (Tanaka & Montgomery), and are relying on quality outings from guys like Domingo German and Luis Cessa at the back of rotation. They’ve also been putting up with a very inconsistent Sonny Gray. That along with the injuries means they’ll look to trade for a starter at the deadline in order to fill one of their only holes.

American League Central

The A.L. Central might be the most boring division in baseball right now. The Indians are pretty much a lock to win it, with the closest team being the Twins with a 44-50 record, who have had an extremely disappointing season after making the Wild Card game last year. The rest of the division is filled with three rebuilding teams; the Tigers, White Sox, and Royals. I could see the White Sox being decent in a few years because of their deep prospect pool. But other than that, I don’t see any real threat to Cleveland for the next few years. The Indians are cruising to a playoff spot thanks to the usual greatness from Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor, but also because of another very productive season from Jose Ramirez. Ramirez finished the first half of the season with a .302 average to go along with 20 home runs, 79 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. Cleveland will definitely make the playoffs as the winner of the Central. But once they get there, I don’t think they will fair well against the other A.L. teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros.

American League West

The A.L. West is a division that is far more competitive than the East or the Central. This division features four teams with above .500 records, and two teams that are currently in playoff spots. The Astros are leading the division by 5 games over the Mariners - who are having a great season despite not having Robinson Cano due to a PED suspension. This division also has the A’s and the Angels, who are both good teams, but both currently sit out of the playoffs. With one of the Wild Card Spots going to the Yankees or Red Sox, the 2nd place team in the A.L. West will play one of those teams in the Wild Card Game. Right now, the Mariners occupy that spot, but the A’s are only 3 games back of them, thanks to good seasons from Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, Jed Lowrie, and Sean Manaea, who actually no-hit the Red Sox earlier this season. As for the Angels, they’re not having a bad year, but they just sit in a tough division. They’ve seen what a star Shohei Ohtani will be, and they’ve got Mike Trout as well, so I think they’ll be fine going forward. As for the Rangers, they’re pretty irrelevant right now, with the only interesting news around them being where they will trade Cole Hamels at the trade deadline. Like I said earlier, this is a very competitive division, but I still think there’s a team much better than the other ones. I expect Houston to pull away and win the West with ease. Their pitching staff, lead by Verlander and Cole, has been unreal, and they’re getting the normal production from the lineup. Maybe Houston adds a bullpen arm or two at the deadline, but other than that, I don’t really see any holes in their team.

National League East

This division is the one that’s probably surprised the most people so far. A lot of people expected the Nationals to run away with the division again, but instead it’s been the Braves and Phillies battling for the top spot in the division. Right now, the Phillies hold a 0.5 game lead on the Braves, and 5.5 game lead on the Nationals for the top spot in the division. Philadelphia has found their ace this season in Aaron Nola, who has a 2.30 ERA going into the break. They’ve also gotten a pretty good season out of Jake Arrieta so far, who currently holds a 3.23 ERA. The team they’re battling with - the Braves - has also surprised some people this year, and that’s largely due to the breakout season Ozzie Albies is having, as well as some great production from Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman. Like I said, the Nationals were expected to win their division this year, but so far, it hasn’t gone as planned. Max Scherzer has been himself, posting a 2.41 ERA, but the rest of the team hasn’t been doing their part. Bryce Harper is only hitting .214 on the season, and injuries have plagued Adam Eaton, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Daniel Murphy. I think Washington will pick it up after the All-Star Break, but the question for me is whether or not they will be able to catch Philly and Atlanta in the standings. In the basement of the division, you have the Marlins and Mets, who are both having abysmal seasons. The Mets started the season 11-1, but then completely fell off, and the Marlins are playing about as well as people expected them to, since they had a fire-sale in the off-season. I don’t expect either of these teams to improve any time soon, especially with the way Atlanta and Philadelphia have improved.

National League Central

The N.L. Central is a very close division at the top of it, with the Cubs leading the Brewers by 2.5 games. Chicago has had to overcome injuries to Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish, but they’ve been just fine thanks to some great production from Javier Baez and Willson Contreras, as well as another solid year from Jon Lester. The team behind the Cubs is the Brewers, who made some big addition in the off-season, with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. Both of those players have been great on their new team, and they’ve also been pleasantly surprised with 24 home runs from Jesus Aguilar. The weakness that the Brewers have is the starting rotation, so I expect them to be in the market for that at the trade deadline. At the 3 and 4 spots in the division, you have the Cardinals and Pirates. The Cardinals just fired Mike Matheny after a terrible weekend where the Reds destroyed them, so they’re looking to reset, and the Pirates weren’t expected to be good this year after they traded McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. So it’s a bit surprising that they’re only 9 games back. As for the last place team in the N.L. Central - the Cincinnati Reds - they’re having a very strange season. They sit at 43-53, but when you look at the leaders of the offensive categories in the National League, Reds players are all over it. Scooter Gennett leads the N.L. in batting average, with Eugenio Suarez 5th in that category. Suarez is also 2nd in the N.L. in RBI's behind Javier BAez of the Cubs. The fact that Cincinnati has these two players who are near the top of the league in these categories, to go along with another good season from Joey Votto makes it shocking that they’re last in the division, but their pitching has been pretty bad, so that’s what brings them down. In the end, I think this division will go down to the wire, but I think the Cubs will win it.

National League West

The N.L. West is the closest division in baseball; there are only 4 games separating the top four teams in it. The Dodgers lead the division, despite a season ending injury to Corey Seager, injuries to Clayton Kershaw, and an injury at the beginning of the season to Justin Turner. They’ve overcome those injuries thanks to a resurgence from Matt Kemp, as well as some unexpected production from Max Muncy. Only a half a game back of the Dodgers are the Diamondbacks, and then right behind them are the Rockies. Both the Diamondbacks and Rockies are within striking distance of the division, and I think a big deadline move is what could push one of these teams over the top. The Diamondbacks are another team tied to Manny Machado, and the Rockies could always use some more starting pitching. At the #4 spot in the division are the Giants, who are only 4 games back of the Dodgers. The Giants have gotten great years from Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, who are both hitting near .300. The problem for the Giants has been the health of their starting rotation, with both Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto on the DL a lot, so they’ll have to get that figured out in order to compete for a playoff spot. At the bottom of the division are the Padres, who despite signing Eric Hosmer in the off-season are still a rebuilding team, and shouldn’t be expected to win for a few more years. It’s really hard to predict what will happen, but if I had to choose, I’d expect the Dodgers to win this one.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Recap: Yankees at Blue Jays 7/6

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Article Written by Travis Aylward (@travaylward)


Coming into this series, it was all about Saturday's pitching matchup; Happ vs. Severino. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at the series opener.

Game 1 of this three game  series featured Sam Gaviglio vs. Sonny Gray. As mentioned in the series preview, Sonny Gray has been struggling as of late, and that trend continued against Toronto. Gray pitched just 2 innings Friday night - his shortest outing of the season - giving up 6 hits and 5 earned runs. The Blue Jays did most of their damage against Gray in the bottom the 2nd inning. It started with a double by Randal Grichuk. Aledmys Diaz followed and instead of trying to do too much, he had a fine piece of hitting -- intentionally grounding out to Neil Walker to move Grichuk up to third. Devon Travis then singled to drive in Grichuk. Travis is later brought home by a Granderson single. Yangervis Solarte then gets on base with a single of his own. Solarte and Granderson are both brought home after Smoak homers on an 0-1 count.

Gaviglio on the other hand was cruising. He was getting 1st pitch strikes, his fastball was good, and he was mixing in his breaking ball which was also good. All was well, and then the fourth inning rolled around. Romine, Gardener, and Judge all singled to load the bases. Gaviglio then walked Hicks to bring in Romine from third. That was the end of Sammy G’s night after just 4.1 innings. John Gibbons then called in Joe Biagini to get out of the inning. Biagini got out of the jam by striking out Stanton and getting Gregorius to line out. Joe Biagini ended up pitching 1.2 innings where he gave up 0 hits, 0 runs, and didn’t walk a batter.

Following Sonny Gray’s departure from the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called on David Hale from the pen. Hale was outstanding. There aren’t many relievers left that can give you multiple innings, nevermind 5 innings. Hale pitched 5.2 innings giving up only 5 hits. After Biagini came in and did his job, Loup, Oh, Axford, and Clippard managed to finish the final 3 innings.

Kevin Pillar went 1/3 on the night, while adding to his highlight reel in the top of the 2nd.

J.A. Happ takes the mound tonight against Luis Severino in the very anticipated battle of the aces. The outing starts at 4:07 PM EST and can be caught on Sportsnet.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 67

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 67

"REMEMBER JOSH DONALDSON?"

TORONTO Blue Jays talk

Weekly Toronto Blue Jays Talk!

  • With the lack of success that the Blue Jays are experiencing, it's hard to find things to look forward to. However, with the trade deadline looming, Jays fans are anticipating what will be coming their way to prepare the team for 2019 and beyond. Will big names be moved? Are the Jays strictly punting for the remainder of 2018? 
  • To tackle these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Ryan DiFrancesco of Jays Droppings and Blue Jays Nation, and Brendan Panikkar of Baseball Prospectus Toronto. The trio theorize as to what may transpire over the trade deadline and who may be on the move. Also, the topic of Aaron Sanchez's finger is discussed at great length. What's the deal with it and is it something that we should be worried about moving forward? Lastly, we talk about the return of Jose Bautista and our feelings seeing him in right field at the dome one last time.

All this and more on the latest episode of the South of the 6ix Podcast!

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanDifrancesco & @JDroppings
Visit Ryan's Work: HERE & HERE

Follow Brendan Panikkar on Twitter & Instagram: @Panikkar37
Visit Brendan's Work: HERE

Music:
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"


Blue Jays Welcome the Yankees to Town for a 3 Game Set

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Article Written by Travis Aylward (@travaylward)


One New York team leaves, another comes to town. Fresh off of splitting the mini two-game series with Jose Bautista and the Mets, the Bronx Bombers are coming to Toronto.

Game One: Sonny Gray vs. Sam Gaviglio

The New York Yankees acquired Sonny Gray at last year's trade deadline in hopes of bolstering their starting rotation. Gray currently has a 5.44 ERA and is averaging 7 IP per game. Not what they expected when they traded for him last season. Sam Gaviglio has been surprisingly good this season, owning a 3.97 ERA with a 1.196 WHIP.

Game Two: Luis Severino vs. JA Happ

Game two of this series features a battle of the aces. Luis Severino goes up against JA Happ. JA Happ has been the only Blue Jays starter this season to stay healthy. Marco Estrada was diagnosed with a mild glute strain just days after pitching 0.1 innings against the Mets, Marcus Stroman has been dealing with right shoulder fatigue for the majority of the season, Jaime Garcia has left shoulder inflammation, and Aaron Sanchez’s finger problems haven’t gone away. Not only has Happ stayed healthy, he’s also been really good -- probably good enough to earn himself an All-Star nod this year. Happ got roughed up in his last outing, allowing 10 hits and 7 earned runs while walking 1 in 5.2 innings pitched against the Tigers on Canada Day. Severino has also been really good. Severino has a 1.98 ERA to his name, while averaging 10 strikeouts per 9 innings. He is also a likely All-Star.

This game could go one of two ways for Toronto; either extremely good, or extremely bad. If Happ goes out there and does his thing -- pitches 8 innings while striking out 8 and not walking a batter -- it raises his trade value directly in front of the team rumoured to be the front-runner to land him. But, if he goes out there and gives up 5 runs in 4 innings and walks a couple batters, that lowers his trade value profusely. Blue Jays fans and front office are both hoping Happ goes out there on Saturday and does his thing and pitches a gem; for more reasons than one.

Game Three: Domingo German vs. Ryan Borucki

Ryan Borucki will be making his 3rd career start Sunday when he faces the Yankees. Despite pitching very well in each of his first 2 career starts in the Major Leagues, Borucki holds an 0-1 record to his name. In his most recent appearance, he pitched 7 innings against Detroit where he gave up 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and had 0 walks. Borucki looks to be a promising young pitcher. His counterpart on Sunday, Domingo German, has struggled as of late. German has a 5.37 ERA on the season and was pulled early in his last start. In his last start, he pitched only 4.1 innings while giving up 6 hits, 3 earned runs, and walking 3 batters.

This series means almost nothing for the Blue Jays standings wise, but it means a lot for their future. Whether JA Happ has a good or poor start Saturday against New York will not only help the Yankees decide if they want him, but also influence how bad they want him and what they are willing to give up in return.


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Your 2019 Toronto Blue Jays

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


With the 2018 Blue Jays struggling to get to the .500 mark, many are already looking forward to the not so distant future. This is the future that could be centralized around a potent offense that has been building in the ranks of the Blue Jays Minor League System. We have been seeing small flashes of this coming future over the past few weeks. Players like Teoscar Hernandez have shown what the possibilities are on the horizon and there is plenty of talent coming.

The Toronto Blue Jays currently have one of the best Minor League Systems in baseball. They are consistently ranked within the top ten on any of the lists that truly matter. Currently, Baseball America has them ranked at number 9. This is where the team currently stands and there was just a ton of excellent talent drafted, and the trade deadline could prove very fruitful for the Jays this season. They have talented players like J.A. Happ that could net a nice return of MLB ready talent in a trade.

All of this brings up questions and the most concerning might be - who will be on this team in 2019? I took a serious look through the current Blue Jays roster and their MLB ready talent to compile what the 25 man roster could look like. The results that I found are rather encouraging and actually excited me for next season. Once I scribbled this all down in an airport while I was waiting for a flight, I am confident that this front office has already built a winner for 2019!

First things first - there are plenty of players that can be free agents this coming offseason. For the sake of argument, I have assumed that Happ, Estrada, Donaldson, and company were not returning. By the end of this article, you will see that bringing those players back will create even more depth on an already crowded roster. I personally would like to see Happ back the most out of that group, but let us dive into my findings from when I pieced this 2019 Blue Jays 25-man roster together.

Let us first discuss what was thought to be a strength heading into the 2018 season - the starting rotation. This has been nothing but a disappointment for the Jays this season, outside of Happ. The injury bug is to blame for most of the struggles, but still, this was a flawed rotation that was relying too heavily on health. Looking forward, this rotation could look very different outside of Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. This pair will anchor next seasons rotation, but if no other additions occur in the offseason, there is a strong group ready to step in. We just saw the first of these possible pitchers with Ryan Borucki making his debut recently. He was solid against the reigning World Series Champs and picked up a quality start. The pair that would fill out the rotation at the moment would be Sean Reid-Foley and Chris Rowley.

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Stats from baseball-reference.com

In the above picture, I have put together this season's numbers for all five of these pitchers. The numbers do not lie that the trio of Minor League arms appears to be ready for new challenges. Borucki, Reid-Foley, and Rowley all have sub 3.50 ERA’s and WHIPs better than Sanchez and Stroman at the moment. The three of them combine for 18 wins and have been eating innings. This just screams "give them a chance!" at the MLB level and sooner rather than later. Reid-Foley might be the last one of this group promoted because he started the season in Double-A with the Fisher Cats, but he has clearly figured out something this season. He looks like a complete pitcher at the moment and has really put his critics to rest after a rough 2017.

The Toronto bullpen might be the weakest part of this team next season and much of it revolves around the Roberto Osuna story. If he stays a Blue Jay, he is one of the most dominant young closers in baseball. If not, there will be big shoes to fill in the back end of ball games. Right now that job appears to be Ryan Tepera’s. He has been having a crazy good season but has had issues slamming the door in the role of the closer. He might be better suited for a setup role. This season's bullpen is also filled up with a lot of one-year deals, with John Axford and Tyler Clippard. I would be surprised if either of these two is re-signed, with the front office focusing on the future but a veteran presence will be needed.

The 2019 bullpen has guaranteed players that could fill out a decent pen. One might guess that Sam Gaviglio, Tim Mayza, Danny Barnes, Matt Dermody, and Sanwang Oh could fill up the cupboards pretty nicely. To me, it lacks the punch without Osuna in that group or another live arm like his. There is also a ton of uncertainty in that group that is not welcomed after what has been a rough 2018 season. Below is the collected stats of this group and a spot that will need to be improved to support a young pitching staff.

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Now the part you probably have all been waiting for - the offense! How is this team going to score enough runs to support a young pitching staff and an average bullpen? They are going to score plenty of runs with a lineup that does not have a weakness. A solid 1-9 attack that will push opposing pitchers to the brink with nowhere to hide. The lineup will be anchored by returning starters Justin Smoak, Devon Travis, Teoscar Hernandez, Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, and Yangervis Solarte.

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You may have noticed that I did not include Russell Martin in that group. Currently, I am thinking that we are going to have the highest paid backup catcher/utility player in recent history. I just do not see any advantages to giving Martin a ton of at-bats next season with how his 2018 has been going. The flip side of that coin is that Danny Jansen has become a force in the Minor Leagues and has clearly outgrown Triple-A. Jansen currently holds a .299 batting average with 30 runs scored and 39 RBIs. Martin is batting .168 with 19 runs scored and 16 RBI in just 20 less at bats. The writing appears to be on the wall for this one as the changing of the guard is coming behind the plate.

The right side of the infield seems secure to Smoak and Travis for the near future. On the other side of the keystone there could be some major changes. It appears that Aledmys Diaz, Troy Tulowitzki, and Lourdes Gurriel will be manning short in some fashion. At 3rd base, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. appears to be having the red carpet rolled out for him as he has been one of the most exciting talents to ever come through the Jays system. It will be interesting to see the rotation of those players with Solarte between the positions and DH.

In the outfield, the Blue Jays will continue their current setup with Hernandez, Pillar, and Grichuk. This is a crazy athletic group that could put on a show defensively along with the lumber. Grichuk has show he can match Pillar defensively, but has shown some insane power. He just recently hit the Astros brand new World Series Champs sign in Houston which was a mere 479 feet from home plate. Pillar has been having another solid season in the field but has been one of the Jays most consistent hitters this season as well. Hernandez has been growing into a great hitter throughout the season and has been showing plenty of power to all fields.

This outfield could get even more athletic when you toss in Anthony Alford as the final player on this 25 man roster. Alford is one of the players with the most tools in the Jays' system. He has not put it all together and can look raw at times. If he does put it together, though, he will be something special and we saw a preview of that last season with the Fisher Cats in Double-A. If he pushes for an everyday spot, he could take Teoscar’s spot in left just because of his plus defense. This would make Teoscar the team's DH and occasional outfielder which could suit him well.

Projected Opening Day 2019 25-Man Roster

Starters

Marcus Stroman

Aaron Sanchez

Ryan Borucki

Sean Reid-Foley

Chris Rowley

Bullpen

Ryan Tepera

Roberto Osuna

Sam Gaviglio

Tim Mayza

Danny Barnes

Seunghwan Oh

Matt Dermody

Starters

C - Danny Jansen

1B - Justin Smoak

2B - Devon Travis

SS - Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

3B - Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

LF - Teoscar Hernandez

CF - Kevin Pillar

RF - Randal Grichuk

DH - Yangervis Solarte

Bench

Anthony Alford

Aledmys Diaz

Troy Tulowitzki

Russell Martin

This roster as it currently sits would not scare me with what I have seen from these youngsters first hand in my travels. The Jays have a very talented system and could be putting an all new product on the field next season. Vlad is the future and we all know it, but there are still plenty of other talents that just missed out on this list. Bo Bichette will not be far behind, but will more then likely start the season in Buffalo because of the depth up the middle mentioned above. Others will form great depth and provide some fun wild cards to push their teammates. A younger team is coming and that is a very welcome sign for a team that is currently one of the oldest teams in baseball. It is time to start fresh with some new faces and this team could be ready to win in 2019 if everything clicks like it has for these champions in the Minor League system.


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