Does Rogers Centre's retractable roof have a significant impact on scoring?
Earlier this year, there was some talk in the Toronto papers about Rogers Centre and its status as a new “home-run haven.” The linked article is mostly a case of failing to stop writing once you have to say “it’s early, but...” However, the ideas described within it are consistent with conventional wisdom surrounding the stadium. Namely, that there are differences in batted-ball outcomes depending on whether the roof is open or closed.
Desperate for a starter, the Jays call up their no. 2 pitching prospect from Double-A.
The Situation: After an active offseason that included the acquisition of starting pitchers Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Johnson, the Blue Jays are now prepared to send their 10th starting pitcher of the season to the mound. In addition to Johnson’s injuries, J.A. Happ has been dealing with injuries of his own and Ricky Romero has been struggling through the first two months of the season. As if that weren’t enough, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison are still several months away from returning to the mound and the club was forced to send Ramon Ortiz to the hill this week. All of that leads to the call-up of left-hander Sean Nolin, the team’s no. 2-rated pitching prospect.
Background: A sixth-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2010, Nolin has had little trouble motoring through the minor leagues. After a 6.05 ERA in six New York-Penn League starts during his professional debut, Nolin has improved at every stop. With Low-A Lansing in 2011 he posted a 3.49 ERA in 108-1/3 innings, allowing just 102 hits and 31 walks while fanning 113 batters. He followed up that strong performance with a dazzling 2.19 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) for High-A Dunedin in 2012 before being promoted to Double-A New Hampshire. In just three starts with New Hampshire, Nolin notched a 1.20 ERA and better than a strikeout per inning. After some missed time early this season due to a pulled groin, Nolin has continued his Double-A dominance with a 1.17 ERA in three more starts.
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The shift is here to stay, but to be embraced, it has to be rebranded.
In 50 years, and that may be a conservatively distant estimate, we will hear much less talk about defensive shifts.
First of all, there might not be baseball in 50 years. It’s why I’m always hesitant to answer questions that start with “will we ever see,” because “ever” is a really, really long time compared to the current lifespan of baseball (unless it isn’t).
I'm dumb, so when I see something like the Angels falling nine games out of first place after 31 games, I think "welp, that'll do it then." And then when I look at the playoff odds and see that they're still 20 percent likely to make the playoffs, I'm surprised. I understand the mechanisms at work -- the Angels are probably a good team, and so the odds expect them to play like a good team going forward -- but it's impossible to imagine any team making up an 11-20 stretch. It's impossible to imagine it because I'm dumb. It shouldn't be that hard to imagine.
Ben and Sam discuss how deep a hole the Blue Jays have dug, then talk about whether it's fair for people to gloat about the Diamondbacks' decision to trade Justin Upton based on what's happened so far this season.
The Blue Jays are dealing with a tumultuous start to their season. R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson have endured rough starts, Jose Bautista's biggest blast involved umpires, and, on Friday night, Jose Reyes suffered a severely sprained ankle. The injury will cost Reyes potentially the next three months and opens a spot on the roster for Munenori Kawasaki, who hit .192/.257/.202 last season for the Mariners. Everything that could go wrong is seemingly going wrong. But were there warning signs about the quality of the Jays' roster even before Reyes' injury?
The third installment of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we continue with a look at the group of six teams with the third-highest odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.
Ben and Sam answer listener emails about PECOTA's projections for the Yankees and Blue Jays, how the amateur draft and free agency would work in an auction format, and whether teams should offer players like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg $100 million lifetime contracts after drafting them.