Post-season awards have come and so far, the Blue Jays are o-3, with manager John Gibbons finishing fourth in AL Manager of the Year voting, Roberto Osuna finishing fourth in AL Rookie of the Year votings and David Price finishing second (and Marco Estrada finishing 10th) in AL Cy Young voting.
David Price had a great shot to win the AL Cy Young and ended up finishing second in a fairly close race, finishing with eight first-place votes and 143 points in total. Unfortunately, the Astros took another major award with Dallas Keuchel winning the award with 22 first-place votes and eight second place votes with 186 points overall. Sonny Gray was well behind the top two with 80 points. Estrada earned 10th place with a fourth-place vote and a fifth-place vote.
In other news, the Blue Jays added two players to the 40-man roster ahead of Friday’s deadline to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, coming on December 10. To refresh your memory, the Rule 5 Draft is designed to prevent teams from stockpiling young talent without adding them to the 40-man roster. Any player who isn’t on a team’s 40-man roster and has been in an organization for four seasons (five for players who signed at the age of 18 or younger) is eligible to be drafted. If you draft someone, he must remain on a club’s 25-man roster (or the DL) all season or he must be offered back to the team from which he was selected.
I’m a big fan of Bluebird Banter’s Rule 5 Eligibility table, compiled and updated by MjwW. It keeps us all abreast on who is eligible when. Some of the bigger names who are eligible for the first time this year are Dwight Smith, Jr. and Tom Robson. Holdovers who are eligible include Andy Burns, Taylor Cole and John Stilson.
The Blue Jays added two players to the 40-man roster, taking two pitchers off the table for other teams next month. Unsurprisingly, righty Blake McFarland was added to the roster. McFarland has been excellent over the past couple of seasons since adding a splitter to his repertoire. Despite throwing around 90 mph, McFarland can combine his fastball and splitter in a way that allowed him to strike out 34.1% of batters in Double-A and 23.8% of batters (in a small sample size) in Triple-A this year.
The second pitcher was a guy who was added to the 40-man roster is a little further away from the majors. Brady Dragmire has more velocity (average fastball of 93 mph) as a sinker/slider guy who has some great movement on his sinker. Dragmire’s stats don’t stand out much, seeing as he had a 5.26 ERA in 63 1/3 innings with the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays last year. Still, much of the damage was done in the early going of April and May and Dragmire finished July and August walking just five batters in 31 2/3 innings and striking out 39. Dragmire has also been excellent in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 0.82 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with a 33.3% strikeout rate and 9.5 % walk rate in 11 innings.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the Rule 5 draft. I can see Andy Burns going to a team who could use a utility infielder while I can see Jon Berti as being somewhat attractive as a speed guy off the bench who can also play multiple positions. Danny Barnes could also be a solid arm despite not having pitched above Double-A. A dark horse could be Jorge Flores who has had a couple of very solid seasons and plays good defense in the middle infield. Robson could also be weapon out of the bullpen for a team willing to take a risk on a guy who’s just coming back from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t thrown at a level above Class-A.
Finally, I’ll note that Marc Hulet of Fangraphs has mentioned that he thinks that Angel Perdomo could be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Perdomo is just 21 but after signing in late 2011, he’s eligible to be selected and Hulet thinks that “there’s an 85% chance he goes…”
— Marc Hulet (@marchulet) November 19, 2015
Personally, I’m not so convinced that a player who only made it to Short-Season-A ball at the end of the year last year (with only 21 1/3 innings in Vancouver) and who walked 16 batters in that time will be selected in the Rule 5 draft. Teams are likely wary of selecting a player, despite a high ceiling, who they’ll have to bury in the bullpen and has had trouble with command (saying nothing of his lack of playing experience in full-season ball). Teams have generally been very risk averse in the Rule 5 draft. However, there is the recent example of the Milwaukee Brewers selecting Pirates minor leaguer Wei-Chung Wang in 2013 as a 21 year old who had only rookie ball experience. Chang pitched 17 1/3 horrible innings in the majors and spent some time on the DL in 2014 before heading to Advanced-A Brevard County for most of 2015.
In other news, the Blue Jays announced that Devon Travis had surgery to repair a condition in his shoulder that is thought to have been causing him his troubles. The condition, “os acromiale,” meant that a bone was not attached and it was corrected using screws in surgery that will keep him out of baseball activities for 16-20 weeks. This timeline has Travis resuming baseball activities around the middle of March and could have him well behind Ryan Goins in the competition for playing time at second base when the 2016 season opens.
In piece of news announced just one hour ago, the Sportsnet is bringing back one of the game’s best play-by-play men to call at least 30 games for the Blue Jays in 2016. Toronto’s own Dan Shulman returns in 2016. That is the best news since that I’ve heard since the Blue Jays were eliminated by the Royals.
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