Toronto Blue Jays Talk Radio: The Unplugged Version

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A little treat. Many people believed that the 2015 Blue Jays relied heavily on home runs. This is an inaccurate impression. The 2015 Blue Jays led the American League in runs scored 891, 227 more than the second-best scoring offense, the Yankees. Toronto has scored more runs from live balls than any American League team. The distribution of runs from live balls and runs from home runs were 57.7% and 42.3%, respectively.

Alex calling: Hello, numbers guy! And if we were talking about the players? Specifically about how the Ross Atkins diet did a terrible job drafting and developing pitchers. What you say?

Radio host: And a pleasant hello to you. I don’t think we have enough information to assess how well or poorly teams are developing players. Therefore, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume we’re looking at bWAR production of drafted launchers during Atkins’ tenure as GM.

Atkins served as Toronto’s general manager for the June 2016-21 entry draft. When it comes to the total bWAR of pitchers drafted during the stated time frame, Toronto has the ninth-highest bWAR. When it comes to each team’s highest bWAR thrower, Alek Manaoh’s 5.6 bWAR ranks fifth.

The top five bWAR total teams produced by drafted pitchers, ball clubs are as follows:

  • Cleveland (26.1)
  • San Diego (17.7)
  • St. Louis (16.4)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (16.1)
  • Milwaukee (13.1)

The Blue Jays check in with a bWAR of 6.8. The top five pitchers by bWAR to date are Shane Bieber (13.0), Corbin Burnes (9.4), Tony Gonsolin (7.0), Cal Quantrill (5.7) and Manoah.

It would certainly be nice to have Bieber and Burnes, both fourth-round picks in 2016, or Gonsolin (a ninth-round pick in 2016) on the Jays’ roster. However, I’m afraid I disagree that having a pitcher who has produced the fifth highest bWAR to date from the June 2016-2021 drafts is indicative of a poor drafting pitcher record .

Usain calling: I hear the Blue Jays have been less effective at hitting high speeds this season. Is it true?

Radio host: That’s right. In 2021, facing pitches with a speed of 95 mph or more, Toronto produced BA and xBA ratings of 0.265 and 0.271, respectively. Those scores were the highest in the American League. On SLG and xSLG, the Jays were second with their data points of 0.426 and 0.462.

The 2022 season is another story. Toronto’s rankings in BA, xBA, SLG and xSLG are eighth, sixth, ninth and seventh. Toronto’s scores are 0.232, 0.263, 0.360 and 0.435 respectively. A deeper dive is needed to determine why the Blue Jays are less proficient at hitting high-speed pitches this season than they were in 2021. However, 2021’s decline is concerning, especially when predicting how the Jays will perform. will draw some against high-velocity relievers in the playoffs (hopefully).

We have time for another call. Who is online ?

Caller Lou: It’s Lou; let’s talk about baserunning. How are the Jays doing on bases this season?

Radio host: As measured by BsR, the Blue Jays are eighth among American League teams. Toronto’s 1.4 is a tick above average. BsR is the sum of the following three elements, as described by FanGraphs.

  • wSB – an estimate of the number of above or below average runs a player contributes to his team by stealing bases and being sent off while trying to steal.
  • UBR – the run expectation of advancement (or lack thereof) running the bases (non-stealing situations) and attributes this to the base runner based on how often the average runner advances in the same situation.
  • wGDP – the extra outs a player costs their team (or saves) by making more double plays (or fewer) than average given their opportunities.

Regarding wSB, the Blue Jays rank thirteen (-2.7). Toronto has only two players with positive ratings: George Springer (0.9) and Raimel Tapia (0.2). Bo Bichette (-0.9) and Vlad Guerrero Jr. (-0.8) are the two latecomers. Bichette was caught in four of nine stolen base attempts; Springer hit eight of nine attempts. Toronto’s stolen base success rate is 68%, which is below the American League median (75%).

When it comes to UBR, Toronto is second with a score of 3.7. The top base runners by UBR are Matt Chapman, Cavan Biggio and Tapia, each with an UBR of 1.0. The three lowest ranked Jays are Alejandro Kirk (-1.1), Guerrero Jr. (-0.5) and Danny Jansen (-0.4). Considering Kirk’s lack of foot speed, his negative UBR score should come as no surprise.

When it comes to wGDP, the Blue Jays are eighth best (0.4), slightly better than the American League average. The top two Jays in grounding in double plays at a below-average rate are Springer and Chapman, both at 0.7 wGDP. Guerrero Jr. (-1.1), Tapia (-0.7) and Kirk (-0.7) got into double plays at a higher than average clip. For the record, Guerrero Jr.’s wGDP score in 2021 was minus 1.7.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks for listening.

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