Friday, August 12, 2011

Something Ain't Right in Toronto

Something weird is going on when hitters get to Toronto. I don't know that it gives any credence to the Man in White conspiracy but it makes me uneasy all the same. An alarming pattern and something I'm not altogether okay with.

Why do hitters stop walking when the come to Toronto?

Colby Rasmus drew 5 walks in his final 7 games as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has drawn a grand total of 2 as a member of the Blue Jays, 1 in his last 10 games.

Brett Lawrie - one walk in 22 plate appearances as a Blue Jay after drawing 8 walks in 17 games since coming off the DL.

Travis Snider - twice as many walks and half as many strikeouts at AAA compared to the big league.

Even Fred damn Lewis - I guy I wanted the Jays to acquire because of his patience - posted the only below-average walk rate of his career as a member of the Jays.

This...isn't a welcome trend. It the ballpark to blame (Statcorner ranks the RC as a poor park for left-hand hitter walks, if you put stock into such phenomena.)

Maybe it is the hitting coach, the esteemed Dwayne Murphy?

I'm not saying the Jays should replace Dwayne Murphy at the end of the season but the Jays should certainly consider adopting a more sound offensive strategy. I can't pretend to know how the players feel about Dwayne Murphy or even if it is his doing. The hitting coach makes an easy and obvious scapegoat but this total lack of patience worries me.

Speaking of Patience

Patience is not something the good people of Toronto are known to possess in spades. They (we) certainly didn't show Vernon Wells a lot of patience.

When I first starting thinking of how best to receive Vernon Wells, I went with my usual "the idiots will do this so I'll do the opposite" contrarian shtick you have come to expect.

But then I thought about it for a second - when Vernon Wells left I wrote that he was just a guy.
Vernon Wells isn't much different from Roy Halladay or Carlos Delgado. They all presided over middling times for a middling club. Except those two players are better than Vernon Wells. They hit better or pitched better and smiled bigger and became the thing we desperately want athletes to be, each in their own way. Vernon Wells just played and went home.
He isn't a local legend or a player with whom the fans experienced great ups and downs. He came, he played, he was traded.

A nice enough guy but, for whatever reason, he didn't make as deep an impact as he probably deserved. Thems the breaks.

With that in mind, I hope Jays fans greet Vernon Wells with exactly what he deserves: a mild smattering of indifference. A few claps and a some boos but basically allow a non-event to unfold as such. Overzealous cheering will seem insincere, raucous booing pointlessly cruel. Just let it be. It is how Vernon would want it to be.

Image courtesy of the Ruin Porn flickr pool. Which is, of course, fantastic.


  1. Jayson Stark's article today seemed to suggest that the Jays' stealing signs was one of the reasons Bautista stopped chasing pitches in 2010 (apparently it took him over a season to figure it all out, though). Why isn't the man in white benefiting all the other Jays' hitters in the same way?

    As for Vernon Wells, he's one of the best players in franchise history. If anything, he deserves to be cheered for his accomplishments in Toronto. But, right or wrong, I expect indifference from most in the crowd tonight.

  2. The Jays simply do not have a batter like Shannon Stewart or Marco Scutaro who both could keep fouling off balls. Having aggressive hitters taking too many pitches could backfire but the team sure could use a leadoff with the ability of Stewart and Scutaro.

  3. As a player, Dwayne Murphy walked A LOT. I find it hard to believe he's preaching swinging at everything.

  4. Wells wasn't as good as Delgado or Halladay. Where's the mystery here?

  5. Isn't that what it says above? What mystery are you talking about?

  6. Well, when I went through this, "Except those two players are better than Vernon Wells" didn't stand out as much as "A nice enough guy but, for whatever reason, he didn't make as deep an impact as he probably deserved".

    The "whatever reason" follow up, seemed to be wondering why? When you already said why? He wasn't anywhere near as good they were... Sorry dude.

  7. Re: above
    This is Toronto where we always root for the underdog, we root for somebody who gives his all and who looks into the cameras, who steps into the community and honestly cares. Wells.. is not a raw raw guy so while he played well, played hard, we didnt see a lot of emotion we could relate to.

  8. Greg W @coolhead2010August 13, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Thames was 5 for 11 this week, and took 2 walks from the Angels on Saturday. Apparently just to spite you.

  9. I don't mean to suck too much dick - but that was the best 'Vernon returns' article I've read.

  10. The only reason we hated Vernon was the contract. He was a good player making great player money. Before the contract, we loved Vernon. We resented him afer his play slipped. He also was very gifted athletically and it did not appear that he had to work very hard to succeed, often looking complacent in the field. I don't hold these things against him, I hope he has a bounce back year for the Halo's in 2012 and wish him the best going forward. Go Jays!

  11. I've written about my issues with Murphy at least a couple of times and, while it's not conclusive proof that he's the problem, he is on record as saying that “on-base percentage is an overrated stat. Those guys getting on base, most of them aren’t getting them in. Give me somebody who drives them in after that. I need guys who can drive the ball.”

    If OBP is overrated, then walks must be too, no?


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