Author Archive

Chris Colabello Turning into a Reliable Contributor for Toronto Blue Jays

May hasn’t been a great month for the Toronto Blue Jays, but one of the bright spots for the team has been the recent play of outfielder Chris Colabello.

Claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays this past offseason, the 31-year-old Colabello was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo to open the 2015 season. He proceeded to hit .337 with five home runs and 18 RBI in April and won the International League Player of the Month award to earn a call-up to the major leagues.

Since making his debut with the Blue Jays on May 5, Colabello has quickly become one of the team’s hottest hitters. In 20 games, Colabello has an impressive slash line of .378/.439/.581 with three home runs, 12 RBI and 13 runs scored.

While those numbers are terrific, the most impressive aspect of Colabello’s performance has been his consistency game to game. He has gotten at least one hit in 15 out of 20 games played and has nine multihit games during that span.

Colabello’s emergence has come at an ideal time for the Blue Jays. After a spring training injury to Michael Saunders, Toronto started the season with an outfield consisting of Jose Bautista, Dalton Pompey and Kevin Pillar.

Since then, Pompey has been sent down to the minors after a poor showing in April. Pillar has struggled at the plate, hitting just .222/.258/.307 with an OPS of .565. Bautista has been hampered by a shoulder injury that he suffered near the end of April and has primarily served as the team’s designated hitter since then.

This is where the addition of Colabello has really helped the Blue Jays solidify their outfield while they wait for Bautista and Saunders to get healthy. Offensively, Colabello has also helped Toronto make up for the extended loss of other regulars in the lineup, such as Jose Reyes and Devon Travis.

Sure, it’s unlikely that Colabello will continue to hit near .400 for the rest of the season. According to FanGraphs, Colabello’s batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is at a whopping .510 at the moment. That is considerably higher than his career BABIP of .325.

Considering Colabello has struck out in nearly 30 percent of his at-bats, expect his on-base percentage to also drop once less of the balls he puts into play start going for hits.

But Colabello’s hot stretch has given Toronto another dependable bat in the lineup while the team waits for its outfield situation to improve. Even when that happens, though, expect Colabello to get plenty of at-bats if he can continue to produce at such a respectable clip.


*All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

Devon Travis Should Be the Toronto Blue Jays’ Player of the Month in April

The Toronto Blue Jays have had an up-and-down month of April. But one of those “ups” has definitely been the play of rookie second baseman Devon Travis.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that Travis has been Toronto’s best overall player during the first month of the 2015 season.

In 21 games, the 24-year-old Travis has hit .342/.405/.658 with six home runs, six doubles, 19 RBI and 17 runs scored. His 1.063 OPS leads all qualified hitters on the team.

Entering play on April 30, Travis led the Blue Jays in home runs and was second on the team in doubles. Who would’ve figured that on a team with proven power hitters such as Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, the 5’9” Travis would have hit the most home runs during the first month of the season?

The offensive production from Travis has been much welcomed by a Blue Jays offense that has seen slow starts at the plate from some of their big stars such as Bautista, Encarnacion and Russell Martin.

Toronto manager John Gibbons has also quickly realized what he has in Travis. When the Blue Jays played their first game of the season on April 6, Travis was the No. 9 hitter in the lineup. Since then, Travis has gradually moved up Toronto’s batting order and has currently been slotted in the leadoff spot as the replacement for the injured Jose Reyes.  

With his impressive performance this month, Travis should be a favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Month award. He leads all qualified rookies in batting average, OBP, OPS, home runs, RBI and runs scored during the month of April.

While the high batting average and on-base percentages are one thing, the most surprising thing about Travis has been his display of power. Throughout his minor league career, Travis has hit just 29 home runs in 993 at-bats. So it’s going to be interesting to see if he can keep his power display going.

Speaking of minor league careers, it’s worth noting that Travis has never played a single game above the Double-A level.

Acquired in an offseason trade with the Detroit Tigers that sent Anthony Gose the other way, Travis was originally slated to start the 2015 season in Triple-A. But a strong performance in spring training earned him the Blue Jays’ second baseman job. So far, Travis has seized the opportunity and is on his way to having a great rookie season.


*All stats are from and are current entering play on April 30, 2014.

Read more MLB news on

Toronto Blue Jays Release Former All-Star Pitcher Ricky Romero

In an unexpected move on Saturday, the Toronto Blue Jays released left-hander Ricky Romero, per Gregor Chisholm of

Romero was in the final year of a five-year contract and was set to earn $7.5 million this season. The Blue Jays will have to pay that amount in full along with a $600,000 buyout fee for Romero’s $13.1 club option in 2016.

This move closes the door on Romero’s tumultuous tenure with Toronto that was full of ups and downs.

Taken sixth overall in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft, Romero reached the majors in 2009 and posted a 13-9 record with a 4.30 ERA that season. He won 14 games in 2010 and had his breakout season in 2011 when he went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and made the American League All-Star team.

That was Romero’s last great season in the major leagues. He struggled badly in 2012 and posted a 5.77 ERA. Heading into the 2013 season, the Blue Jays decided leave Romero off their starting rotation. Since then, the former top starter has spent most of his time in Triple-A Buffalo.

This past offseason, Romero underwent surgery on both of his knees. While he has begun the rehab process, the Blue Jays felt that he wouldn’t recover in time to help the team this season. With that in mind, Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos made the decision to release Romero.

“We just didn‘t think that by the end of the year he was going to be able to factor for us up here. Knowing this was the last year of his contract, we felt it was best to just give him the opportunity to give him a head start somewhere else,” Anthopoulos said.

While Romero’s time with Toronto didn’t end well, Anthopoulos had nothing but praise for his former top pitcher as he’s going through rehab.

“He’s worked tremendously hard. We have nothing but the highest praise for the way he’s gone about it,” he said.

Romero’s future is now unclear. The 30-year-old is likely going to continue rehabbing from surgery on his own and hope that can catch on with another organization on a minor league deal.

Regardless of what happens next, it’s a shame to see how things between Romero and the Blue Jays turned out after they began with such promise.


All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

3 Observations from the Blue Jays’ Series Win Against the New York Yankees

The Toronto Blue Jays started off the 2015 campaign on a high note by winning their season-opening series against the New York Yankees. Toronto won the first and third games of the three-game series.

While it’s obviously way too early to draw any conclusions after just three games, here are three observations from the Blue Jays’ season-opening series against the Yankees.


The Starting Pitching Was Impressive

Drew Hutchison started the first game of the series, pitching six innings of one-run ball and earning the win. The 24-year-old also became the youngest pitcher in team history to start on Opening Day.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey started the second game of the series. This was Dickey’s first start with catcher Russell Martin behind the plate. During his tenure with the Blue Jays, Dickey has usually been paired with personal catcher Josh Thole (now at Triple-A Buffalo).

Despite having a new batterymate, Dickey went 6.1 innings and surrendered just one run. He did give up three walks during that span, but it’s worth noting that the cold temperatures and high winds at Yankee Stadium weren’t exactly optimal for a knuckleballer.

Rookie Daniel Norris started Game 3 and got the win after pitching 5.2 innings and giving up three runs while striking out five batters. Despite making just his first career start in the majors, Norris looked very impressive during most of his outing. Things only unraveled for him in the fifth inning when he gave up homers to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

Heading into the season, Toronto’s starting rotation was a huge concern, especially after the season-ending injury to right-hander Marcus Stroman.

But, at least for this series, those concerns were alleviated as the Blue Jays got some strong starts out of their rotation.


Devon Travis Continues To Hit

Rookies Devon Travis was one of Toronto’s most impressive position players during the spring training, hitting .359/.400/.453 in 64 at-bats. That performance led to Travis being named the team’s starting second baseman.

Three games into the regular season, Travis has continued his hot hitting. He currently has a slash line of .333/.455/.667 along with one home run, three RBI and three runs scored in just nine at-bats.

It will be interesting to see if Travis can maintain this success once pitchers start making adjustments against him. Remember that the 24-year-old has never played a game above the Double-A level before the making it to the major leagues this season.


Miguel Castro Earns First Career Save and Could Be the Team’s New Closer

Blue Jays right-hander Miguel Castro pitched a perfect ninth inning and earned the save as the Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 5-3 during the third game of the series on April 9.

Even though there has been no official word from the team, it’s probably safe to assume that Castro will be the team’s primary closer going forward.

The Blue Jays were forced to make a change at the position after incumbent Brett Cecil imploded during the second game of the series and was part of a bullpen meltdown that led to the team blowing a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning and losing the game, per Gregor Chisholm of

In three innings pitched this season, the hard-throwing Castro has yet to allow a run, hit or walk against him. He also has two strikeouts during that span.

It’s amazing how far Castro has come in such a short time. The 20-year-old was pitching in A ball last season. He made Toronto’s big league roster after posting 2.19 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched during spring training.


*All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

Rookies Dalton Pompey and Devon Travis Both Crack Blue Jays’ Opening Day Roster

The Toronto Blue Jays announced today that rookies Dalton Pompey and Devon Travis will both be part of the team’s Opening Day roster, per Gregor Chisholm of

Pompey is set to open the 2015 season as Toronto’s starting centre fielder, while Travis will start at second base.

It’s not a surprise to see the Blue Jays give Pompey a shot in the major leagues so soon. After all, the 22-year-old is coming off a strong 2014 season in the minor leagues where he held a slash line of .317/.392/.469 with nine home runs, 51 RBI, 84 runs scored and 43 stolen bases in 50 attempts.

Those stats are even more impressive considering that Pompey moved up three different levels in the minor leagues last season.

Despite being a switch-hitter and having plus speed, Pompey will likely be slotted near the bottom of Toronto’s batting order to start off the season so there is less offensive pressure on him.

Considering that the Blue Jays are short on outfield depth after an injury to left fielder Michael Saunders, Pompey should have a significant amount of leash going into the season.

While it seemed likely that Pompey would be named to the Blue Jays’ starting lineup, the same definitely can’t be said for Travis.

Acquired in an offseason trade in exchange for outfielder Anthony Gose, Travis seemed ticketed for Triple-A Buffalo heading into spring training. After all, the 24-year-old had never played above the Double-A level in the minor leagues during his professional baseball career.

But, a strong performance during spring training where he hit .351/.393/.456 in 57 at-bats got the club’s attention. Travis also looked sound defensively, not making an error in 121.1 innings of work.

When Maicer Izturis went down with a groin injury, Travis became a serious contender for the second base role and ended up beating out the likes of Ryan Goins and Steve Tolleson for the job.

It’s worth noting that Goins also had an impressive performance during spring training, hitting .286/.364/.490 in 49 at-bats. So if Travis struggles early on in the season, it’s likely that the Blue Jays make a change and give the second base job to Goins.

Like Pompey, the Blue Jays will likely slot the right-handed hitting Travis near the bottom of the batting order. With Toronto’s lineup already being top-heavy, the Blue Jays will need a decent contribution from both Pompey and Travis in order to have a balanced offense.


All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

Toronto Blue Jays Claim Infielder Andy Wilkins from Chicago White Sox

The Toronto Blue Jays made a depth move Sunday, claiming first baseman Andy Wilkins on waivers from the Chicago White Sox, per Mike Wilner of Sportsnet (via Twitter).

In an ironic twist, the White Sox had to place Wilkins on waivers in order to designate him for assignment so they could clear a spot on their 40-man roster. Chicago needed that spot after it claimed right-hander Kyle Drabek on waivers from the Blue Jays earlier this week.

So, while it’s not an official trade or anything, think of Wilkins as some compensation for the Blue Jays for losing Drabek.

The 26-year-old Wilkins is coming off a very impressive 2014 season in the minor leagues with Triple-A Charlotte where he hit .293/.338/.558 with 30 home runs, 85 RBI and 79 runs scored in 127 games. For a power hitter, Wilkins also did a solid job of keeping his strikeouts under control. He struck out 91 times in 491 at-bats while walking 34 times.

Over his minor league career, the left-handed hitting Wilkins has amassed a slash line of .276/.349/.480 and an .830 OPS in 555 games.

While Wilkins—who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB draft by Chicago—has primarily played first base throughout his professional baseball career, he has also seen time at third base. That being said, Wilkins doesn’t really provide plus defense at either position and is likely best suited to be a designated hitter.

According to Peter Galindo of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have optioned Wilkins to Triple-A Buffalo where he’ll start off the 2015 season and serve as organizational depth.

While he has gaudy minor league numbers, Wilkins has not been able to translate that success to the major leagues. The White Sox called him up for a brief stint in the majors last season and the results weren’t pretty. Wilkins hit just .140 in 43 at-bats and struck out a whopping 22 times.

With Justin Smoak, Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion likely splitting time at the designated hitter and first base spots, it’s unlikely that Wilkins gets a chance to play in Toronto this season. But it never hurts to have depth in the minors in case of injury, trades or underperformance.


All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

Roberto Osuna Making Strong Case to Be on Toronto Blue Jays’ Opening Day Roster

With just two weeks left until the end of spring training and the start of the 2015 season, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Roberto Osuna has made a strong case to make the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster.

In 9.2 innings of work this spring, Osuna has yet to allow a run and has eight strikeouts during that span. Numbers aside, the right-hander’s stuff has looked very sharp. His fastball has topped out in the mid to high 90s, and his slider and changeup have both looked effective.

Considering that Osuna missed most of last season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, it’s a surprise to see how quickly he’s rebuilt his arm strength and gotten back to a high level on the mound.

Then again, it’s worth keeping in mind that despite being just 20 years old, Osuna isn’t really inexperienced when it comes to playing professional baseball. The Mexican native actually started his professional baseball career in Mexico when he was 16 years old.

So, should Osuna make Toronto’s Opening Day roster after his impressive spring? That’s an interesting question.

On one hand, the Blue Jays badly need impact relievers after their bullpen finished 25th in the majors last season. While Osuna‘s been a starting pitcher throughout his minor league career, he could spend the 2015 as a reliever in the majors and have his role re-evaluated at the end of the season.

The Blue Jays used employed a similar tactic with top prospect Aaron Sanchez last season. Sanchez got his first taste of the majors as a reliever and is in the mix to be part of the team’s starting rotation during the upcoming season.

On the flip side, despite Osuna’s strong showing this spring, he’s still working his way back from a serious injury. It’s also worth stressing that Osuna has thrown just 128.2 innings during his minor league career and could use some more seasoning before having to pitch in the majors.

The best course of action here for the Blue Jays might be to send Osuna down to the minors at the end of spring training and call him up to the majors later on in the season if the need arises. This way, Osuna gets some much-needed innings in the minor leagues under his belt and the Blue Jays have a high-upside prospect ready to call up in case of injuries or underperformance.

Despite what Toronto decides to do here, it’s obvious that Osuna’s brilliant performance this spring has significantly raised his stock within the organization and has fast-tracked his way to the major leagues.


*All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

Toronto Blue Jays’ Spring Training Outlook: Miguel Castro

Despite not being as well-known as some of his peers, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Miguel Castro is quickly climbing up the organizational depth chart and could be knocking on the door to the major leagues soon.

Signed as an international prospect in 2011, Castro had a breakout season in 2014 during which he moved up three different minor league levels and posted a 2.68 ERA in 80.2 innings pitched.

Despite only weighing in at 190 pounds, the 6’5” Castro possesses a fastball that usually sits in the high 90s and has been clocked at as high as 100 mph. The right-hander mixes his fastball with a sharp slider and a changeup that both have the potential to be above-average offerings at the major league level in the future.

Since starting his pro career, the 20-year-old Castro has put up very strong numbers in the minor leagues. He has a career ERA of 2.47 along with 186 strikeouts in 171 innings pitched. Unlike most young pitchers his age, Castro has actually displayed decent control of his pitches. He’s given up just 55 walks in the minors.

Invited into major league camp this spring, Castro has performed well early on in Grapefruit League games. He’s thrown two scoreless innings while working as a reliever.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Blue Jays decide to use Castro from here on out. While he’s been a starting pitcher for most of his minor league career, Toronto could opt to accelerate Castro’s ascent to the majors by converting him to a reliever.

Keep in mind that the Blue Jays desperately need relievers after their bullpen finished 25th in the majors in ERA last season. Toronto also didn’t acquire any new end-high relievers this offseason and will go with in-house options for its bullpen this season.

While Castro ideally needs at least one more season in the minors in order to hone his secondary pitches and become ready to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues, he could make the big league team as early as this season if Toronto converts him to a reliever.

Coming out of the bullpen, Castro wouldn’t need to use his off-speed pitches regularly and could rely on his plus fastball to get hitters out.

It’s worth noting that the Blue Jays used a similar strategy last season with top prospect Aaron Sanchez. Despite not throwing many off-speed pitches, Sanchez posted a 1.09 ERA in 33 innings while throwing his fastball 88 percent of the time, per FanGraphsPITCHf/x.

If Castro can do the same thing, he could become a dominant power arm in Toronto’s bullpen during the 2015 season. If the Blue Jays decide not to go this route, Castro will be sent down to the minors at the end of spring training.

Regardless of what happens next, Castro has quickly started to make a name for himself within the organization and has become one of the team’s top prospects. Look for him to make an impact with the Blue Jays soon.


All stats are from FanGraphs

Read more MLB news on

Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Outlook: Steve Delabar

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Steve Delabar is heading into spring training looking to bounce back from what was a difficult season last year.

After breaking out in 2013 and getting selected to the American League All-Star team, Delabar’s 2014 numbers significantly fell off. He posted a 4.91 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched before being demoted to Triple-A Buffalo for most of the season.

Delabar’s two biggest issues last year were a lack of control and a decline of velocity. The 31-year-old gave up a whopping 19 walks and hit three batters in 2014. This was a huge increase when compared to his 2013 season, during which he gave up 29 walks in 58.2 innings of work.

According to FanGraphs’ PITCHf/x, the average velocity on Delabar’s fastball also decreased during the 2014 season. After averaging 94.1 mph on his heater and topping out at 97.8 mph in 2013, Delabar averaged 93.0 mph with his fastball and topped out at 95.6 mph in 2014.

Delabar traces his problems last season to multiple factors. He told John Lott of the National Post that a shoulder injury prevented him from properly working out on his conditioning during the 2013-14 offseason. Then, later in the 2014 season, Delabar’s struggles were further compounded by a jammed left knee and a hyper-extended right knee. These injuries negatively affected both his delivery and control.

After having a healthy offseason this time around, Delabar claims that his velocity numbers are “back up.” It remains to be seen if his control has also improved.

If Delabar can return to the same level he was at during the 2013 season, it could end up being a huge boost to the Blue Jays. Toronto’s bullpen was one of the team’s major weaknesses last season and finished 25th in the majors in ERA.

During the offseason, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos opted not to make any major moves toward upgrading the bullpen. The team also lost several relievers from last season, such as Casey Janssen, Dustin McGowan and Sergio Santos.

With Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada both set to compete for a spot in the rotation, the only guaranteed spots in the bullpen right now belong to Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup and Todd Redmond. Even if one or both of Sanchez and Estrada end up as relievers, it still leaves multiple spots open in the bullpen.

Toronto wants to hold an open competition for those open bullpen spots during spring training. This should open the door for a pitcher like Delabar to impress the front office and win back his former role with the team with a good showing this spring.


All stats are from FanGraphs.

Read more MLB news on

Michael Saunders’ Injury Puts Toronto Blue Jays in Huge Bind

The Toronto Blue Jays’ first major injury of 2015 came before the team had even played a single spring training game.

Michael Saunders—acquired during the offseason in exchange for pitcher J.A. Happ—tore the meniscus in his left knee while shagging fly balls during batting practice, per Gregor Chisholm of According to Saunders, he heard a pop in his knee after stepping on a soft patch of grass that surrounded a sprinkler head.

While Saunders will wait for a second opinion, the initial prognosis for his injury is surgery that will likely keep him out until the All-Star break.

Losing Saunders for an extended period of time could turn into a huge problem for the Blue Jays. The 28-year-old was expected to be Toronto’s starting left fielder heading into the 2105 season. He hit .273/.341/.450 with eight home runs, 34 RBI and 38 runs scored in 78 games last season for the Seattle Mariners.

With the departure of Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus, the Blue Jays don’t have a lot of major league-ready outfield depth in the organization. The team is expected to play rookie Dalton Pompey in the centre field. Now, with Saunders’ injury, Toronto will likely be forced to go with another unproven player in left field.

While Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos could decide to make a trade for an outfielder, it’s worth keeping in mind that Saunders is expected to be back before or around the All-Star break. So giving up significant assets to acquire a player who might only play every day for a few months may not be the best course of action.

If the Blue Jays decide to go with an in-house replacement for Saunders, Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera are likely the favorites to win the job out of the spring training. Both Pillar (.641 career OPS) and Carrera (.645 career OPS) have limited offensive upside, though.

Other non-roster invitees to camp who could have a chance to win the job include Chris Dickerson, Caleb Gindl and Andy Dirks (who is in minor league camp while rehabbing an injury).

Of course, it’s also likely that Toronto opts to go with a platoon of multiple players in left field rather than just handing the job outright to a single player.

The biggest issue that could potentially arise from losing Saunders is Toronto’s lineup becoming too top-heavy. Currently, the top five hitters in the Blue Jays lineup are: Jose Reyes, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson. That should be one of the best groups of top five hitters in MLB this season. 

Following those five hitters, though, Toronto’s lineup sees a significant drop off.

With unproven players such as Justin Smoak and Pompey expected to see plenty of playing time. Toronto’s starting second baseman hasn’t been chosen yet, but chances are that it will be utility man Maicer Izturis or rookie Devon Travis. Saunders was supposed to bridge the gap between the top and bottom parts of Toronto’s batting order, but his injury just adds another unproven player into the mix.

With there still being more than a month remaining before the start of the new season, it will be interesting to see how Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays deal with their first major challenge of 2015.


All stats are from

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress