1:31 AM Eastern

The Blue Jays and Royals seemed to sort of sleepwalk through their series opener, though maybe it only appeared that way because both teams’ offenses were clicking on a very few cylinders.

Through the first six innings of the game, there had only been four hits combined, and each team had scored just one unearned run.  The Jays appeared to break through in the 7th as Juan Rivera and J.P. Arencibia opened the frame with singles, and Aaron Hill followed with a run-scoring grounder to put the Jays on top, but that was all they could get.

Brandon Morrow left after six innings of two-hitter (and three-walker), giving way to Shawn Camp, who allowed a single around a couple of outs.  With a runner on first, two down and a lefty coming up, John Farrell made the call to go to the generally-reliable Marc Rzepczynski, who this night was anything but.

Zep walked Alex Gordon.  Then he walked Melky Cabrera to load the bases.  Then he walked Eric Hosmer, forcing in the tying run.  Zep threw a grand total of 13 pitches in his ugly outing, and only one of them was a strike.  Octavio Dotel came in to put out the fire, then threw a perfect 8th and watched Casey Janssen throw a perfect 9th.  Jason Frasor wiggled his way through the 10th and turned it over to Frank Francisco for the 11th.

Chris Getz took advantage of Francisco’s shortcomings as a defender by dropping a bunt on him right away and reaching.  Brayan Pena was next, and he hit a two-strike pitch on the ground, but not at anybody, and it snuck through for a single to left.  The runners were bunted over, and the automatic intentional walk was issued to load the bases, setting up a force at the plate.   The infield and outfield came in, and Cabrera scorched a line drive towards left field that was somehow flagged down by Mike McCoy, who had come in in the 9th as a pinch-runner.  McCoy, playing in, dove to his left to snare the liner, making an almost impossible catch to keep the Jays alive.

But he only kept them alive for about five seconds, because Hosmer smacked Francisco’s next pitch – a curveball – into centrefield for the walkoff single.

Francisco certainly didn’t pitch well, though he only gave up one hard-hit ball (the line-out), but it makes no sense to get beat on your second-best pitch.  The pitch that Cabrera hit was a 97 mile an hour heater, he’s got a rookie coming up and a second life, and he goes to the curve.  Not the best idea.

At some point, Francisco is going to turn his season around and start pitching the way he’s shown he can over the course of his career.  One hopes that point is going to come sooner than later.

The loss took a backseat – on this night anyway – to the beginning of the first-year player draft.  The first and supplemental rounds took place during the game, and the Blue Jays had five picks in the first 57, all of which were used on high schoolers.

The Jays took right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede with their first pick, 21st overall.  The 18 year-old stands 6’4″and boasts a textbook delivery, a fastball that can touch 95, a great curveball and an above-average change-up.  He also, apparently, scores off the charts as far as character is concerned, and while that doesn’t mean nearly as much as the 95 mile an hour fastball, it’s not insignificant, especially to Alex Anthopoulos.

Beede is committed to Vanderbilt University, so the Jays will have to buy him out of that commitment, but they’re prepared to do so, so long as it fits in with their idea of his value.  Every high schooler drafted has committed to a college or university of some sort – if they aren’t good enough to be recruited, they’re not good enough to be drafted – but some are more committed than others.

There’s an idea floating around that Beede, a Massachusetts kid, told teams that he was not going to sign because he wanted the Red Sox to draft him.  I don’t know how true that is – it might, like a lot of stuff that floats around here on the good old interwebs, be a complete load of crap – but if it’s true, one would think it’d be a lot easier for the Blue Jays to buy him out of his commitment to Vandy.

Beede is on The Twitter, you can find him @youngbeedah, and earlier in the evening he sent out a tweet thanking Blue Jays fans for their instant support and saying it was an honour to be drafted by the Jays.

The Jays split their next four picks between pitchers and outfielders, all of whom spent this last year in high school.  The pitchers, both right-handed, are Joe Musgrove and Kevin Comer, the outfielders are Jacob Anderson – winner of the home run derby at last year’s All American Game and Dwight Smith, Jr., son of the former Cub.

The draft continues Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Blue Jays will choose another 50 players before it’s done.

Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:

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We will endeavour to have either Jays’ Scouting Director Andrew Tinnish or Tyler Beede himself join us on the pre-pre-game show Tuesday at 7:00 pm Eastern.  You can hear that on Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590 or right here on this very website, ahead of the Network pre-game, then at 8:10, it’s Kyle Drabek against Vinny Mazzaro.  The last time Drabek pitched, he couldn’t get out of the first inning, retiring only two of the eight hitters he faced.  The last time Mazzaro pitched in the big leagues, it was out of the bullpen.  He retired seven hitters – but he also gave up 14 runs.  Join us, won’t you?

Give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590- I promise you won’t regret it.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

18 Responses to “Busy Night”
  1. 1.

    At some point your unwavering support for Francisco will cause him to turnaround his season.

    MW: I am hardly unwavering in my support of Francisco. Heck, I don’t even know if I support Francisco, unless by “support” you mean I’m not willing to say he sucks, which he doesn’t.

    - bg
  2. 2.

    Hello Mike

    You are one lucky guy, interviewing Doetzen – As to where her pitch was going, I have news for you – No one would be looking at where the pitch was going – we want heels, not running shoes!

    - francis
  3. 3.

    It was argued on here by guys that a good closer is not that important to a team. That it would only matter to the Jays when they were ready to compete. That a good closer only leads to 4-5 more wins. Well the bullpen has blown how many games this year?…I’m losing track. The Jays ARE competing this year and would be in first if not for all the blown saves. We were told to get all excited because there were 4 former closers on the team. Well none of them have been effective over the long haul and the results are showing that. AA tried to do it on the cheap, as far as the closer goes and it hasn’t worked. Time to pony up and go get a guy like Heath Bell, who is available. I’m not sure what his contract status is but assuming he’s under contract beyond this year, it’s time to get an established closer.

    MW: Believe it or not, the rate of conversion of 9th inning leads is basically the same now as it was in the 1920s, when there were no closers.

    - Craig M
  4. 4.

    Hi Mike,

    I really enjoyed watching parts of the draft last night. It really is a different animal than other major sports drafts. For one, the talent pool is so much deeper. It also adds a level of intrigue when you take into account the signability factors, which to me makes it a far more challenging process.
    I would like to take issue with you on one thing. I recently heard you say or blog (and correct me if I’m wrong), that you weren’t sure about trading for Reyes because he is “like glass”, (I think this was you) and you didn’t like the idea of signing Fielder because his body type might wear down. Yet, when someone recently said Brett Lawrie looks like a major leagur you raise a Spockian eyebrow. If someone says a player looks like a major leaguer, doesn’t this suggest that he looks athletic, durable etc., and that he has potential to be around for awhile? To me it goes back to Moneyball and Billy Beane’s argument with his scouts over Jeremy Brown. They clearly felt that body type played a factor when it came to his “draftability”.
    I guess what I’m trying to argue is that when somebody says a player looks a certain way there is a degree of validity to it, and therefore shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed.
    Mike, I love your blog and thanks for all your hard work and valuable insight!

    MW: Thanks. I said Jose Reyes is a piece of glass not because of his body type, but because of his proven tendency to get hurt. Prince Fielder has the kind of body that tends to break down in a hurry. But there are a lot of guys who “look like major leaguers” but can’t play baseball.

    - Rob H.
  5. 5.


    How good/accurate do you perceive the rankings of various publications, including Baseball America, to be in rating the draft? It might not mean anything but I am surprised that 1B Jacob Anderson, Ranked 157th, was chosen 35th; Joe Musgrove, Ranked 81st, chosen 46th; Kevin Comer, Tabernacle, Ranked 102nd, chosen 57th.

    In addition, I know in baseball they can’t trade draft picks but how long afterward can the player(s) be traded?

    MW: It’s all a shot in the dark, educated guesses. A player can’t be traded until a year after he signs his first pro contract.

    - JT
  6. 6.

    Do teams place any stock in a prospect’s training program? Beede trains with Cressey Performance, the same outfit that helped Tim Collins allegedly find a few more mph on his fastball. Is that figured in at all when the Jays look at the potential for future development? Or are all prospects training somewhere so that it’s basically a wash (unless they’re training with Mike Marshall).

    MW: They factor in everything, but they’re all training somewhere, it’s true.

    - craig
  7. 7.

    It’s on Farrel for leaving a reliever in for 3 consecutive walks.

    Hope Lowrie’s arrival puts an end to Rivera batting in the middle of the order.

    - Will
  8. 8.

    incl. the post game show & your personal baby, “the extendo jays talk” (nice btw)
    was hearing an awful lot of chatter and dialogue re’ the would be closer francisco.
    but c’mon. let’s call it as it reall ynwas shall we. what an absolute knucklehead lefty specialist bullpenner rzepczynski was last night in his frightful outing.
    that in fact just might have been the “sportsnet turning point” in last night’s game i’m thinking. (hey, you guys at sportsnet can have one of those too. it’s not a monopoly)
    i strike and 12-13 other pitches that weren’t even really all that close as i recall.
    tough night for the young man no doubt…

    - darrell bishop
  9. 9.

    Mazzaro’s outing was statistically the most runs in the lowest # of innings in about a hundred years. Fascinating. Drabek’s was the worst of his life, by his own account. Nowhere to go but up, I guess.

    I sure hope Bautista or Lind is locked in tonight, as JBau has been taking lots of pitches early in the count for strikes, and Lind has only hit in the game where he played first base.

    Question: Do we only see Thames and/or Snider when Corey Patterson gets traded away?

    The anti spam word was ‘beeded’ obviously a tip of the cap to the first round draft pick.

    MW: Cool. The answer to your question is no.

    - Greg W
  10. 10.

    Francisco at this point has, in his last 7 appearances, pitched 5.1 innings, let in 7 earned runs. In the 32 batters he’s faced, there have been 14 hits and 2 bases on balls with an OPS of 1.206 against him. Think of Jose Bautista at the plate every single time he’s been pitching. In the same time, he’s lost three games and blown both of his two save opportunites. In the other three games, the game was either in a situation where the Jays were down and up by four runs or more. He’s awful right now, and at some point, you would think that the Jays might consider just letting him go, BJ Ryan style. BJ Ryan doing was alot better before he was unceremously released — in the 11 games before the Yankee game where he let in 3 earned runs in the 5th inning, he had appeared 12 times; in 9.1 innings of relief, batters were hitting .194, walking 7 and letting in 1 earned run (off a home run). Francisco, at the moment, is much, much worse.

    To put Francisco into a situation with the game tied at the bottom of the 11th inning was asking for disaster, given his recent track record.

    Don’t you think it’s time to demote him to a less pivotal role and not use him as the closer until he demonstrates better stuff in non-critical situations.

    The other bullpen player suffering is Mark Rzepczynski with a WHIP of 1.731 in the last month with 10 hits and 5 bases on balls in 10 appearences and 8.2 innings of work… not great stuff. He’s consistently inconsistent. He started off as a mid-inning reliever. I don’t think his role as situational relief is working out as advertised.

    On the other hand when you score only two runs in the game, it’s not bad for your bullpen to give up only two runs in 5 innings of relief work.

    - Tim in Niagara Falls
  11. 11.

    I guess this season our starters are just that. Morrow was taken out with 99 pitches, 1 run, two I admire your patience when it comes to our closers.

    MW: You’re the second one to have said that. I don’t think I am that patient with them.

    - gary
  12. 12.

    hey Miguel…nice interview with ‘draft pick’ Dunstan Crews – he sounded really young…..and a foreign accent to boot…..

    1] Morrow: decent outing against not the strongest AL lineup – but I keep hearing Hentgen’s comments to the starters “If you don’t go 7 innings, don’t be expecting to get a ‘W’…..”

    2] Jansson: with all the energy he expends with his deliver (long stride, knee to the ground, arched back, over the top etc.) he looks nothing like Mariano Rivera. However, once the ball leaves his hand, his cutter is behavin’ very much like the Yankee closer’s — getting ground balls and K’s. Against lefties it misses their bats under their hands & back-doors them on the outside corner. Why not give him a shot at the 9th?
    I think the other closers have been given ‘plenty of rope’ (and are doing a fine job of ‘hanging themselves’).

    3] Snider: I’m thinkin’ he’s hurt — maybe the embarrassing spring rib-cage thing he did while golfing is still nagging & he’s just not sayin’…..I’m just sayin’

    4] Loewen: 6′ 6″ 240lbs (this is gettin’ fun) — 2 more dingers last night while batting second & playing …centerfield!
    Apparently he plays real shallow, uses an oversized glove on each hand and covers both power alleys…

    - Miguel
  13. 13.

    Just love the ways the Jays are conducting their business. I was very pleased with the draft, assuming we can sign our top 5. With a potentially huge number of pitchers in the fold, we can start to trade for top tier position prospects, like Lawrie, to fill particular holes. Congrats to the Jays staff. Also, Mike, any chance of getting one of the top guys on the show or to participate in a live blog?

    MW: No chance for getting one of them in a live blog, but I’ll try to get them on the show, for sure.

    - Burt
  14. 14.

    Hey Mike. I’ve wondered if you’ve noticed, or have any idea why, but I have seen Escobar use different bats at different points in the game. He has used a black bat and a wooden coloured bat, a pinkish coloured bat, at different points in the game. I have even noticed him switch bats after getting a hit in the previosu at-bat. Any reason you can think of for that? Have you ever seen a player do that before?

    MW: I have no idea. He has a few bats in the rack, he doesn’t pick the same one every time, I guess. Maybe he’s lacking in the superstition gene.

    - Anonymous
  15. 15.

    This was a great draft, Mike why do you think the BLue Jays are going after pitching, I thought they had plenty of depth but they keep addind arms, no dought we will have a great rotation for years to come.

    MW: If one of these guys makes it to the majors as a regular, the Blue Jays will have had a good draft. The overwhelming majority of draft picks don’t work out.

    - David
  16. 16.

    Where has all the starting pitching gone? I was surprised to see that apart from Romero, all the great arms that left Spring training have worst ERAs than the much maligned JoJo Reyes!

    MW: Weird, huh? Part of the process of developing young pitching.

    - Cito Man
  17. 17.

    Kyle Drabek is not ready to be a starter on a contending team. If Alex admits his mistake which I think he will, Drabek will be sent back down until September and be told to work on the mental part of pitching and keeping his immature emotions in check, much like the Kyle Drabek of the 1990′s, Todd Stottlemyre needed to do early in what turned out to be a pseudo .500 career despite tools to be a front line starter.

    MW: Admits his mistake? The Blue Jays are not a contending team. Kyle Drabek is a rookie who is getting his feet wet in the big leagues and not having an easy time of it, but who is getting valuable experience. The mistake may be you considering the Blue Jays to be a contending team – they’re a .500 team.

    - Mark from Ottawa
  18. 18.

    Listening to your interview with the supermodel made me think of an Eric Thames interview, we could see you smiling through the microphone.

    MW: It was hard not to, glad it came through.

    - Randy
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