SOT6 Podcast - Episode 76

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Follow host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)

EPISODE 76

"Season Ending Vibes"

TORONTO BLUE JAYs talk

Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • The season has reached its end, and it was one that Blue Jays fans would much rather put in the rear review mirror. Although there weren't many bright spots during the course of 2018, but there were also plenty of moments that the Blue Jays - as well as their fans - can learn from. Moreover, we were able to get a glimpse - albeit small - of what the future has in store for this ball club and how prolific they have the potential to be. In short, there's a lot to look forward to, but it requires a tremendous amount of patience.

  • Joining host Adam Corsair is South of the 6ix contributor Craig Borden. Craig and Adam tackle all the things that Blue Jays fans have endured during the 2018 season and how 2019 will mark the beginning of something special.

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"


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


Witnessing the Birth of an Era

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


The Toronto Blue Jays have been hardly relevant this season and have not had a winning record since April. Jays fans have responded as the game day attendance dropped like a stone from the sky. This is understandable and it has been hard to watch for even the most hardcore of Blue Jays fans. The old saying is that it is most often the darkest before the dawn. While watching the Blue Jays game Thursday evening, I could not help but hear these words dancing in my head as the Jays offense torched the bullpen of the Rays.

The Blue Jays tagged the Tampa Bay Rays pen for 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th to cap off an incredible victory. The Jays were down 8-2 heading into the final frame, but the young players had different plans on how this game was going to turn out. Leading off the attack was Dwight Smith Jr. who doubled. Rowdy Tellez followed with a double of his own that scored Smith. After Jonathan Davis was hit by a pitch, Danny Jansen powered up the offense. Jansen destroyed a 1-2 pitch over the left field bullpen to put the Jays within striking distance. Now just trailing by a pair of runs, Kendrys Morales pinched hit for Anthony Alford and singled on a bloop over the infield. This set the stage for one of the hottest Blue Jay hitters - Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel hit a towering drive that landed in the Jays bullpen to tie up the game at 8.

The improbable had happened and I was sitting on the edge of my seat. These talented youngsters had gotten the Blue Jays right back into this game in the final frame. This is something unheard of and almost something that you would have happened in a movie than real life. The Jays flipped the script from facing a certain loss and put themselves in position to take the win. That is exactly what Justin Smoak had in mind. One of the lone veterans in the lineup Thursday night and the 9th hitter to come to the plate in the inning for the Jays. Smoak got a first-pitch changeup and rocked it over the right field wall to cap the comeback in walk-off fashion.

As the celebration ensued I couldn’t help but think to myself how significant this moment could be. This year's roster has been an endless line of players being thrown into games for the Jays. The 40-man roster has only a few players that started the season. This change over has been mostly due to the talents in the Minor Leagues forcing their way onto the roster. Last night it felt like everything finally fell into place. It felt like a changing of the guard moment. The ignition has been started on the Jays’ future and this brand new muscle car is ready to burst off the line.

This feels like the beginning of something special as the young players have become big leaguers. Their confidence has been building over the past weeks and on 9/20/2018 they know they're going to be Toronto Blue Jays and they are hungry to win as they have throughout the Minor Leagues. These guys are ready to contribute and have made it fun to watch again. The best part of this whole thing is that this is only the beginning. The Jays have one of the best Minor League Systems in baseball right now and have possibly one of the best talents in all of baseball just inches away from making a big league debut.

The Blue Jays are in the same spot as some of the most recently successful teams. They are in that stage where the Astros, Cubs, and Yankees were after some rough seasons. They put in the hard work to rebuild their Minor League systems and have reaped the benefits since. The Yankees rebuilt their Major League team in what felt like record time. The Blue Jays have a chance to be relevant in 2019 if these youngsters perform as they have been through the month of September. If they continue to trend upward with their prospects like they have been, the Blue Jays could beat the Yankees’ turnaround by taking just 3 years to get back to the playoffs. Mark down 9/20/18 as the day the newest era of Toronto Blue Jays baseball was born.


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


The Fisher Cats Are Putting the Jays Future in the Spotlight

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


This season the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have been the juggernaut of the Eastern League. They have been a full on power house as they have dominated in every aspect of this game. The level of competition they have been playing this season has been no slouch either. The teams in the Eastern League have been very successful as they competed with the Fisher Cats for the best team in the league.

The Fisher Cats just swept one of these opponents in the Trenton Thunder. The Thunder won the Eastern Division with a 79-61 record during the regular season, where the Cats finished just behind them with a 76-62 record. Looking at that close division race that was only separated by a couple games led many to believe that the first round of the playoffs was going to be a battle. The Fisher Cats quickly put that idea to rest as they out scored the Thunder 23 to 5 during the 3-game sweep. As the Cats ride the lightning into the Championship series against the Akron Rubberducks, Blue Jays fans should be taking notice.

Throughout this season, the Fisher Cats have played host to some of the best talent the Blue Jays’ system has to offer. At the moment, the roster boasts seven of the Jays Top 30 Prospects. The talents of Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Hector Perez, T.J. Zeuch, Santiago Espinal, Forest Wall, and Jordan Romano have been main parts of this team. This team also has top contributors in Harold Ramirez and Max Pentecost. Ramirez has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters throughout the season and has shown no signs of slowing down. He is currently sporting a beautiful .320 batting average with 11 homers and 70 RBIs. Pentecost has had a stellar second half to his season and has really come on of late to offer another threat in the heart of this lineup.

So that is what has been going on lately with the Fisher Cats, but do not forget that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. started his historic season in New Hampshire. At the time of his promotion to the Buffalo Bisons, he was batting a mere .402 with 60 RBI on 19 doubles and 14 homers. Many thought this team would fade away after Vlad was promoted along with other top prospects Sean Reid-Foley, Jonathan Davis, Thomas Pannone, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but this team continued to gel and find ways to win.

This success can be attributed to a solid attack on offense and continued success from the young arms as they were called up from Dunedin. The Co-Champions of the 2017 Florida State League provided plenty of fruit for the Fisher Cats in 2018. There are nine active Fisher Cats that were on this Championship team with the Dunedin Blue Jays a year ago. This success has built a foundation for championships. As a cohesive unit this year, the Cats ferocious offense generated the highest runs per game average in the league. Their offense generated 5.08 runs per game and their closest foe were their Championship rivals - the Rubberducks - with 4.75 runs per game. The Fisher Cats’ offense also placed 1st in the league in Runs (706), Hits (1263), doubles (270), RBIs (650), Stolen Bases (153), and all three triple slash categories (.272 / .427 / .772). This is a prolific offense heading into the Championship Series.

On the other side of the ball, the pitching was average with a few standout performers. Ace T.J. Zeuch led the way with 3.08 ERA in 120 innings this season. The emergence of such dominance earned him a chance to start Game One of the Division Series in which he continued to mow through hitters. Jordan Romano was having an incredible season as well, but slumped at the end of the season and finished with a 4.13 ERA; even with an incredible WHIP of 1.187. The rest of the rotation and the bullpen was not as consistent and had flashes of greatness but was clearly benefiting from this great offense.

So what is next for this solid all-around team? Today, they start the Championship Series against the Akron Rubberducks and will look to keep the fuse lit on this explosive offense. The offense has been hot to finish the season and through the Division Series. Look for them to back up solid performances from Zeuch and Romano in the first couple games. They will be in Akron for the first two games. They will be looking to take at least one of those two games before heading home for the final three games if needed. I expect the killer B’s at the top of this lineup in Bichette and Biggio to have big series on offense. My breakout picks will be Harold Ramirez and Max Pentecost.

This is the look all of you Blue Jays fans have been looking for in your crystal balls. Watch this series closely because many of these names will be making debuts in Toronto over the next year or so. Some maybe sooner rather than later as they continue to perform at a high level and force the organizations hand.

Go Fisher Cats!!!


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Examining The Blue Jays' Call-Ups

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


     With it being September now, the rosters have expanded and teams are calling up a number of players from their farm systems. The Blue Jays have certainly done that, and even though we won’t be seeing Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, or Cavan Biggio this September, we will be getting a good look at some of the Jays’ other young players.

     Guys like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley and Danny Jansen were already up with the big club, but now we’re seeing Rowdy Tellez, Jonathan Davis, and Reese McGuire as well. Both Tellez and Davis made their MLB debuts in Wednesday’s game, and it went disastrously for one of them, and perfect for the other. Davis started in centre field and went 0-3 with 3 strikeouts and 7 runners left on base. As for Tellez, he had a pinch-hit opportunity in the bottom of the 6th and ripped the first pitch he saw into the right-centre field gap. Tellez has now gone on to hit 5 more doubles in his short time up, and is making history as he goes.

    Since the rosters are a lot more crowded with rookies now, it’s going to be difficult for the Blue Jays to find a lot of playing time for everyone. John Gibbons is going to have to figure out how to balance young players vs. proven veterans. Although, I’m not sure how many guys on the current roster can be classified as “proven veterans." Just looking at the catcher position, there are 4 guys who can play back there right now. I know Gibbons will probably want to mix everyone in there, but the way I see it, they should be giving the majority of the workload to Jansen and McGuire, while toning down the workload of Martin and Maile. The reason for this is that there really isn’t anything that the Jays can gain from playing Martin and Maile at catcher, but if they play these young prospects a lot, they can give them valuable experience that will be useful for them down the road. I love Russell Martin, but the guy isn’t even hitting .200, and there really isn’t anything else that he can give you this year.

   As for the rest of the infield, the Jays are going to be cycling through that a lot as well for the next few weeks. In fact, I seriously doubt that the Blue Jays will put out the same lineup two days in a row at any point this month. Travis, Diaz, and Smoak have been there all along, but the Jays now also have Gurriel, Richard Urena, and Rowdy Tellez to use. At first base/DH, the Jays will rotate through with Smoak, Morales and Tellez. Everyday you have one of them playing first, one at DH, and one sitting, and then rotate that sequence every game. As for the middle infielders, the Jays will start with Travis at 2nd and Gurriel at short, and then they can plug in Urena and Diaz there as well. And then at 3rd base, Diaz will probably get most of the work there, with Russell Martin occasionally playing.

   Onto the outfield, the Blue Jays have been rotating through 4 guys out there, but with Jonathan Davis and Dwight Smith Jr. coming up, as well as Anthony Alford and Dalton Pompey coming up soon, we could see some different looks out there. I mostly expect Davis, Smith Jr., and Pompey to be used as pinch runners, but they could also get a few starts in the outfield. Going into next season, the Jays have 4 pretty good options in the outfield, with Pillar, Grichuk, McKinney, and Hernandez, but I would like to see the Jays give Anthony Alford a shot to make it next year. He’s been with the big league club a few times now and I think they should finally give him an extended stay with the team. That way you can see more of him at the big league level, and get a real gauge for how good he is.

   Finally, on the mound, the Blue Jays are going with a 6-man rotation right now. Sanchez, Borucki, Gaviglio, and Estrada remain with the team, but now Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone are in the mix as well. Pannone’s in there to replace Marcus Stroman, who continues to struggle with a blister on his pitching hand, and that could keep him out for the rest of this season. One guy that needs to pitch well this month is Aaron Sanchez. He’s finally made a few starts in a row, and he was pretty good in his last outing against the Rays as he went 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, and picking up 8 strikeouts. This obviously hasn’t been a successful year for Sanchez, but he can still finish on a positive note and go into 2019 on a positive note.

   As for the bullpen, there’s too many guys down there to list all of them, but I’ll point out some of the interesting storylines. There are 3 main guys that I’m excited to watch this month out of the ‘pen. First off, there’s David Paulino, who was acquired as a part of the Roberto Osuna trade. His prospect value has gone down since a few years ago, but he can still be very effective, and I’m interested to see how he does. Second, Jose Fernandez has been very good since his call-up to the Jays. He’s gotten into 4 games and posted a 1.93 ERA and I’m excited to see how he does with more innings. Lastly, I want to see more of Justin Shafer, who was up earlier in the year, and if he does well again now, I think he could be in the fold more next year’s team.


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 75

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 75

"JOSH DONALDSON"

TORONTO BLUE JAYs talk

Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • Well, we knew it was going to happen sooner or later. The inevitable has become realized as the Toronto Blue Jays have traded former MVP, Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians for a Player to be Named Later (rumored to be Julian Merryweather). Many fans are outraged over how the situation was handled and how the end of the Donaldson/Blue Jays tenure is so underwhelming. Given how much he has done for the team since his arrival in 2015, many fans feel he deserved better. But business needed to be done.

  • To discuss the whole JD trade is host Adam Corsair with guests Ryan DiFrancesco of Jays Droppings and Blue Jays Nation, and Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views. The trio get into the entire trade and what this means for the Jays moving forward. Does this damage the level of confidence fans should have for Shapiro and Atkins? Was the talk of trying to compete a facade that we bought into? Or is just simply an unfortunate situation that couldn't end positively? 

    It's a Toronto Blue Jays show that you won't want to miss!

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

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

Music:
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"


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

Free Agent Options For The Blue Jays

Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


       The upcoming MLB free agent class is touted as one of the most star studded classes that we’ve seen in a while. The likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will reach the open market for the first times in their careers, and it will be very interesting to see where those two end up. However, as a Blue Jays fan, I’m not at all expecting the team to go after either of these two stars. So I’ve decided to look at some of the other free agents in this year’s class, and who the Jays could realistically sign. In this article, I’ll list 5 players that I think the Jays should go after, and why they should.

       When you look at next year’s team, it’s abundantly clear that the infield is covered and that no significant additions need to be made. The Jays have several options around the infield, with Diaz, Gurriel, Urena, Tulowitzki, Drury, Solarte, Travis, Bichette, Smoak, and even potentially Donaldson in the mix. With that, I think it’s pretty unlikely that we see any additions to the infield, but I would expect Diaz and Solarte to be traded away this off-season to make some more room for some other players.

       As for the rest of the team, that’s where I could see some changes made. The Jays have some good pieces in the outfield, with Billy Mckinney, Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk all likely returning next year. But, there is also a huge question mark on whether or not Kevin Pillar will return with the team. It seems like every winter we think Pillar will get traded, and maybe this is the year. Pillar has always been an excellent defender, but his inconsistency at the plate brings him down. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s still here next year, but I would also like the team to at least look at moving him to another club. It’s easy to look at this outfield core and say it’s set for next year, but I still think they could sign someone. There will be injuries for sure, and in order to prepare for that, the team needs to be active in the free agent market.

       Pitching is where the Blue Jays will likely make the most noise in free agency. They’re going to have at least 1 spot in the rotation open, as well as a few bullpen spots. I don’t think the Jays need to sign a No.1 guy, but if they were to sign a No.3 or 4 starter, it would really help bolster the rotation. As for the bullpen, we know of a few guys who will probably be back there next year. Ken Giles will likely remain the closer next year, and Ryan Tepera will probably stay in an 8th inning role. I think Justin Shafer has earned himself a spot back there with how well he pitched in his call up, and then I think Joe Biagini will be in the bullpen as a long reliever next year. But other than that, the Jays don’t have many locks for positions back there, and that will lead to them being active in the market for relievers.

Free Agent No.1 - Marwin Gonzalez

Right now, the Jays don’t really have a super-utility guy who can play all around the outfield and the infield. Marwin Gonzalez perfectly fits that bill, and he does it while being an above average hitter as well. This year, he’s hitting .254 with 14 homers and 58 RBIs, and that’s a very good line; but last year he was even better, hitting .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs. Gonzalez also has championship pedigree, as he was part of last year’s Astros, who won the World Series. If the Jays were to sign him, he would probably start in left field, and then move around the field more as injuries start to pile up. For example, if Devon Travis goes down, you play him at 2nd, or if Justin Smoak goes down, he can play 1st. A lot of teams will be in the mix for Gonzalez as he’s such a good player, but I really think that the Jays should push hard for a guy like him and maybe even overpay a bit.

Free Agent No.2 - J.A. Happ

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This name is familiar to Jays fans, because he pitched here for 2 ½ seasons before being dealt to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Happ has already said that he might want to re-sign here, and a reunion between the two sides makes a lot of sense. First of all, Happ would get to pitch in a place where he’s already comfortable, and he wouldn’t really have to adjust to being with a new team. Second of all, Happ is a really good pitcher, and he would easily slot in at the number 3 spot in the Jays’ rotation if Stroman and Sanchez are both healthy. He holds a 3.80 ERA this season, and that’s after posting a 3.53 ERA the year before, and a 3.18 ERA the year before that. You know what you’re getting with Happ, so signing him wouldn’t be very risky, and I think overall, this makes a lot of sense for everyone involved.

Free Agent No.3 - Kelvin Herrera

Herrera is currently on the disabled list and might miss the rest of the 2018 season. But that shouldn’t hurt his free agent value very much, considering how dominant he’s been over his career. He holds a 2.44 ERA between Kansas City and Washington this season, and a career ERA of 2.82. His closing days are behind him, but Herrera can still be a dominant late inning reliever, like he was for the Royals when they were making their World Series runs. The Jays should definitely look at signing Herrera, because other than Giles and Tepera, I’m not sure who’s going to get outs late in games for them.

Free Agent No.4 - Tony Sipp

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With Aaron Loup gone and Thomas Pannone probably heading towards being a starter, the Jays don’t have a “lefty specialist” in their bullpen. They could try Tim Mayza out in that spot, but I think we’ve seen enough of him to know that he’s not very effective at the big league level. So, that should lead the Jays to look at some free agent pitchers who can fill the role. The one I think they should go after is Tony Sipp. Sipp has had an up and down career to this point, but currently holds a 2.01 ERA in 41 games this season. He’s also striking out more batters this year, and that shows in his 9.8 strikeouts per 9, which is his highest since 2015. There’s no question that Sipp is a wildcard; he’s been very inconsistent in his career. But at this point, he’s dominating hitters, and it’s worth it for the Blue Jays to take a shot on a guy like him because they might get an outstanding pitcher out of it.

Free Agent No.5 - Matt Harvey

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This is probably the least realistic one on this list, but I do think it makes some sense. After coming into this season as the ace of the Mets' staff, Matt Harvey’s career has completely fallen off of the rails. He was abysmal this year with the Mets, and now finds himself on the Reds where he continues to struggle. He has put up better numbers in Cincinnati, but still not numbers that show he’s back to being a #1 starter. With all of that being said, Harvey is set to become a free agent this offseason and I think the Blue Jays should take a shot at signing him. Yes, he’s been bad this season, but good pitchers have bad seasons all the time, and what’s stopping him from bouncing back next year? It’s definitely a bit risky, but if you were to offer him a short-term deal and plug him into the rotation, you might be pleasantly surprised with the results. And if he continues to struggle, then he’ll be gone soon because he’d be on a short contract. Again, this probably won’t happen, but if I were the GM, I’d give it a shot for sure.


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


A Solid Mold That Could Work for Sean Reid-Foley

Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


In the past few weeks, the Toronto Blue Jays have been getting an awesome glimpse at what their roster could look like for the foreseeable future. With the additions of Danny Jansen, Justin Shaffer, Thomas Pannone, and Billy Mckinney making the most of their recent promotions, the future looks bright. All these young players are on the heels of a dominant start from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and what was a strong beginning for Teoscar Hernandez. Recently Hernandez has cooled off but the parade of new talent has not slowed down and will more than likely increase over the coming weeks when rosters expand.

So with all these promotions, we did see Sean Reid-Foley have some mixed reviews during his two outings with the big club. In those two starts, he only was able to muster 9.1 innings and a rough looking 8.68 ERA. Reid-Foley’s issues during those starts were not too hard to see and the Major League hitters of the Yankees made him pay for every mistake. He struggled with his control and left balls hanging over the plate. These balls were teed up for big runs during the outings.

I had the pleasure of seeing him last season first hand for W -

In case you were unaware of his performance this season in the Minors, let us set the record straight for you. Sean Reid-Foley has been nothing short of spectacular. The Buffalo Bisons have even named him the Pitcher of the Year for the organization as he won the Warren Spahn Award. As of the moment, he is sporting a cool 7-4 record with a 3.50 ERA over 82.1 innings. This is just how dominant he has been since being promoted. He started the season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he was ridiculously good. He was sporting a 2.03 ERA with a 1.060 WHIP over 44.1 innings. That is just insane!

So what do the Blue Jays do with someone that has clearly shown he can handle Minor League hitters? I think the blueprint for a player like Reid-Foley has already been established in the Blue Jays system. I think this mold could be the Aaron Sanchez formula. Sean Reid-Foley and Aaron Sanchez have pretty similar career paths when you look at their rise through the Jays system. Both players were highly touted draft picks. Sanchez was a 1st rounder and Reid-Foley was a 2nd rounder.

Sanchez had a great Minor League rise as he blew through hitters and ascended quickly. He became a fixture in the Majors after 5 seasons in the Jay’s system. At the moment, Reid-Foley has an identical career line as he made his MLB debut during his 5th season as a Blue Jays farmhand. The both even played in Double and Triple-A just before their debuts in the show.

After a not-as-smooth debut as Sanchez made, how do you get Reid-Foley to get comfortable with his MLB surroundings? I think you bring him back up to the show ASAP and slot him into the bullpen. He has 136 innings under his belt this season between the three levels and this would give him a chance to play for a .500 record with the Blue Jays. Sanchez was a wonder to watch out of the bullpen in 2014 and was electric during the Jays' rise to power for back-to-back playoff showings. In 2015, Sanchez had 11 starts, but played out of the bullpen the rest of the season. His arm looked even more explosive when he aired it out for an inning of work.

Aaron Sanchez

Sean Reid-Foley

Bring Sean Reid-Foley back up to the Majors and let him face batters in the 7th inning. He will be able to go out there for an inning and just blow away hitters with his excellent strikeout pitches. This will get him used to the show and more then likely build some confidence for him as he pairs up with his buddy Danny Jansen as part of the late-inning battery. He currently has 155 strikeouts in 135 innings this year with just 33 walks. This could be an easy way to have him get some Major League innings in before he gets thrown into the 2019 rotation or at least next year's bullpen.

Vote Sean Reid-Foley as a bullpen arm of choice for the rest of this season! Future ace for the Toronto Blue Jays as he eventually figures everything else out on the bump.


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 74

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 74

"COFFEE TABLE PUZZLE"

TORONTO BLUE JAYs talk

Toronto Blue Jays Talk

  • The season is all but lost and Blue Jays fans are searching for reasons to be inspired to watch the current team, other than for the love of the game. With playoff hopes dashed, as well as Wild Card aspirations, the Jays are basically aiming to hit .500 for the season in order to show that it wasn't all for nothing. 
  • But Jays fans are still holding on to the farm system that has been developed and how the youth movement has already begun. With Thomas Pannone pitching an amazing game for his first Major League start, Danny Jansen continuing to be on a tear, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. nearing his return, there are still some gems to look forward to from this team, albeit without any sort of endgame in sight.
  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by close friend and fellow Jays fan - Ryan DiFrancesco of Jays Droppings and Blue Jays Nation. Ryan and Adam tackle the aforementioned topics, as well as investigating the recent chatter regarding John Gibbons' future with the club. Is he destined to leave the team or will he wait out his contract? We also predict the outcome for the upcoming series against the Phillies, Orioles, and Marlins. 

It's a Blue Jays centered show that you won't want to miss!

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

Music:
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"
Kai Engel - "Traffic"


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


Jansen's Continued Success & Other Jays' Notes

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


         Since being called up last Sunday, Danny Jansen has been raking at the big league level. Jansen has recorded a hit in each of his first 6 games in the majors, and is currently hitting .381 with a home run and 3 RBI's. He’s also put himself onto a pretty interesting list in the Blue Jays' franchise record books. By recording a hit in his first 6 games, Jansen has put himself into a tie for the longest hit streak by a Blue Jay player to start their career. The record is held by Jesse Barfield and Ryan Goins, who both had an 8 game hit streak to start their career.

         It’s been nice to see Jansen succeed this much, because a few of the Jays’ other rookies had a rough time over the weekend in New York. In his 2nd MLB start, Sean Reid-Foley only lasted 4.1 innings, while giving up 6 earned runs on 7 hits. And then the very next day, Ryan Borucki - who was lights out in the MLB prior to this start - lasted only 0.2 of an innings, while giving up 6 earned runs on 4 hits. Reid-Foley has since been optioned back to Triple-A, but will definitely be brought back up with the big club again this season.

         In other news, the Blue Jays announced that Wednesday’s starting pitcher against the Orioles will be Thomas Pannone, who has pitched a few times out of the bullpen for the Jays, but has yet to make his debut as a starter. I’m interested to see how that goes, because I could definitely see Pannone being a lefty specialist out of the bullpen with his good curveball. But I also think it’s his intention and the team’s intention for him to be a starter going forward.

         If Pannone is able to succeed as a starter this year, he could definitely challenge for a spot in it next year. So far, I think there are 3 locks for next year’s rotation: Stroman, Sanchez, and Borucki. That leaves 2 spots up for grabs, and I do expect the Jays to sign a free agent starter this off-season. That will probably mean that the 5th starter position is battled for by Reid-Foley, Pannone, Sam Gaviglio, and probably others as well. If they’re all healthy, then I think that the Jays will have a great rotation next year, but that is a huge "if." Sanchez and Stroman can lead this rotation very well, but they’ve both battled injuries throughout this season, and they haven’t been able to get out there every 5 days as much as the Blue Jays need them too. Sanchez has especially battled injuries, as he’s now had 2 straight years where he hasn’t pitched consistently, and that’s been really frustrating for the team and the fans.

        Another interesting bit of news regarding the Blue Jays is that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been promoted to Triple-A and may join the Jays over the weekend. Gurriel Jr.’s knee injury could not have come at a worse time for him, as he was in the midst of an 11-game multi-hit streak (he had at least 2 hits in 11 straight games). The record for consecutive multi-hit games is held by Rogers Hornsby, who had 13 in a row in 1923. It’ll be interesting to see where Gurriel Jr. plays next season. I would expect him to start the year with the Jays, and honestly, with the way he’s hit this year, I’d put him at shortstop to start the 2019 season. We probably won’t see Bo Bichette in the MLB to start next season, so I’d like to see Gurriel get some more time at short. If the Jays need to, they can move him to 2nd or 3rd.


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How Do the Blue Jays Spell Success in the Remaining Games?

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


The Toronto Blue Jays have had an abysmal few months of baseball and are currently 32.5 games out of first place with a 55-68 record. As of the close of the Yankees series this past weekend, the Jays have only been able to put two months worth of quality baseball together. In the month of April, they got all of our hopes up with a 15-10 month and had a resurgence in June with a 14-12 month. Outside of those two months, they have a 26-46 record. This team has been marred by injuries and under-performance all season. So how does this team take a positive out of a lost season?

I think there is plenty to play for through the remaining 39 Blue Jays games. Things can only get better for the team at the moment and we have seen a few hints of what is to come. This should be the Blue Jays' push for the remainder of the season as they shift their priorities to the next season. I have compiled a list of four solid reasons the next month of games can be crucial to the Blue Jays future.

Early 2019 Roster Auditions

It is no secret that the Blue Jays have been testing the farm system lately, as they should be. As I mentioned above, this is a lost season as the Jays are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. They have already seen the successful debut of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who prior to being injured, was pushing for a Major League record of consecutive games in a row with multiple hit performance. This streak is still intact while he is currently on the 10 day DL at 11 straight games with multiple hits. The talented middle infielder was batting .322 with 5 doubles, 7 home runs, and 22 RBI at the time of his injury. This is the kind of production the lineup has been dying to have all season and what they should be looking to see if they have in the Minor Leagues ready to make the leap.

Following the success of Gurriel Jr. was a promotion for Ryan Borucki, who has also been very impressive in his first 10 starts. Prior to his start Sunday against the Yankees where he did not escape the first inning, he had a 3.29 ERA in 52 Innings. That has inflated some after recording just two outs and allowing 6 earned runs in the game Sunday, but regardless he has shown he can be a big league pitcher. He has shown that he should be in consideration for the 2019 roster, just like Gurriel.

So how do the Jays continue this early audition period? Well, they have recently promoted Danny Jansen and Sean Reid-Foley, who they should continue to start as much as they possibly can. While Jansen has been catching, Russell Martin has been playing 3rd base which is a great idea to maximize playing time for both players. This is where the team needs to balance their playing time with the vets along with the rookies, but the Jays would do themselves a big favor by seeing how some of their close Minor League players can perform at a Major League level, while other teams are pushing for a playoff spot. I think most of the big names on the Buffalo Bisons should be in consideration for this as they clear the 40-man roster for some of these guys. The Double-A level and below should be left untouched as many of them are looking to make the playoffs and that experience will also be great for those players.

Get the Veteran Hold-Over Back on Track

Getting some of these rookies into the everyday rhythm is a great thing, but the Jays need to make sure the veterans that return next season are ready to go as well. Seeing Russell Martin hit again over the past few weeks has been a breath of fresh air. Players like him need to be getting at-bats so they can stay in solid shape for next season. Getting Martin right at the plate here in the last month will go a long way to him performing next season. Having him playing 3rd base has been a nice bonus as it has freed up some of his time to focus on his approach at the dish. It has been noticeable over the past few weeks as he looks like a pro-hitter rather than a bearded knight swinging a sword up there.

Another hitter that needs to continue to trend up after a rough season is Justin Smoak. Smoaky has been off from his break out All-Star performance a year ago, but has shown signs that he has adjusted to the game being presented to him. In the month of July, he popped out a .303/.374/.596 slash line. He also laced 6 homers and drove in 15 RBI. This has continued into the month of August thus far as well. Through 17 games, he is batting .281 with a .370 on-base percentage. Finishing this year strong will go a long way for the confidence of Smoak heading into a new season with a new look ball club.

The next thing the Jays need to test is some of the veterans they may want to resign over the off-season. This would include Marco Estrada, Tyler Clippard, and possibly Curtis Granderson. Estrada is more than likely the most likely to resign out of those players, but with his recent performance, it's fair to wonder if the Blue Jays interested. They need to keep getting him out their every fifth game to see what he has left in the tank. Estrada is currently 34 and heading for free agency at the end of the season. If he has a decent outing over his next handful of starts, he will be a welcomed asset for a team looking for solid starting pitching. The Blue Jays have very untested but talented youth in the starting pitching arena, but some of their best assets might not be ready until 2020. Estrada would be a great sign for the 2019 rotation if he can put a string of good performances together.

Clippard and Granderson fall into that great veteran presence but still have tons of heart and competitive juice left. These are the kind of players that are critical to a rebuild. They show the youngsters how to play the game at the MLB level and have fun doing it. Granderson still looks like he is having fun in the dugout, even when Gibby is getting tossed out of games at a record pace. Clippard and Grandy also put it all out on the field and are great examples of playing your heart out, which rubs off on all the players in the dugout.

Spoil it!

The Blue Jays may be out of the playoff race, but the American League is far from settled as we have seen with the Oakland A’s charging into relevance over the past month. The Blue Jays will have a big say in that race as they play host to the Astros during a 3 game set with just six games left on the schedule at the beginning of that series. At the moment, the A’s and Astros are tied for 1st in the AL West. Those are going to be big games for the reigning World Series Champs as they look to repeat. The Blue Jays could very well knock the Astros into a Wild Card spot or out of the race entirely depending on how the Mariners perform over the last month.

The Blue Jays will also be in the way of the Indians, Yankees, and Red Sox over the last month of the season. Sixteen of the Blue Jays' final thirty-nine games are against teams playing for playoff spots. While the Red Sox and Indians have a nice lead, the Yankees, Astros, M’s, and A’s are all in the thick of it. The Jays should use that as a motivation to take a bite out of some of the big teams; or at least spoil the fun for the Yankees!

Shoot for a .500 Record

This team has the talent and the proper schedule to make a run at a .500 record to finish the season. While 16 of their final 39 games are against teams possibly heading to the playoffs, 12 of those games are against sub .500 record teams. The rest are against the Tampa Rays, who are on the tipping point between a winning/losing record. The Rays always play the Blue Jays tough, and many of those games will be hosted in the Jays' personal hell that is named Tropicana Field.

The potential for a .500 record is not out of the realm of possibility and I think the young hungry rookies will play a big part in that. Danny Jansen has already been crushing the ball, while Martin and Smoak have been coming around. The Blue Jays are supposed to get Gurriel Jr. back shortly to go with Diaz and Travis, who have been putting together solid second halves to the season as well. The pitching has been better as of late with the addition of Borucki and there are hopes that Sanchez and Stroman can come back soon as well.

This is going to be an interesting end to the awful year of 2018 for Toronto Blue Jays baseball. This should be the prelude to what could be a very different looking roster to kick off 2019. The Blue Jays have the talent to run into next season and become quickly scary to their American League rivals. They should light that candle up now and show what is coming for this great fan base.


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